The Town Hall, New York City, NY


New York City’s Historic Town Hall, a non-profit theater/auditorium located in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district, has installed three BAG END OPAL high-output loudspeaker systems in the balcony area.

A National Historic Site, Town Hall, at 123 West 43rd Street, is famous for its outstanding natural acoustics and its unobstructed view of the stage from any seat in the house.

The genesis of the building dates back to the early days of the 20th Century and a vibrant group of suffragists, known as the “League for Political Education.” The league, fighting for passage of the 19th Amendment to give women the right to vote, needed a place to conduct public meetings. It purchased a site at 123 West 43rd Street and commissioned renowned architects McKim, Mean & White to construct a meeting hall, “to reflect the democratic principals of the league.”

Adhering to those principles, the architects designed a meeting place that did away with box seats and eliminated obstructed views of the stage area, leading to the coining of the phrase, “Not a bad seat in the House.” During the construction of the building, the 19th Amendment was approved, and the new hall opened its doors Jan. 12, 1921, an ever-lasting symbol of the victory fought for so gallantly by its founders.

From the very beginning, Town Hall has been the site of a wide variety of performing artists from the La Gran Scena Opera Company to diva Celine Dion, song stylist Michael Feinstein, pop star Billy Joel, humorist Garrison Keillor and many, many more.

Although the hall boasts exquisite natural acoustics (discovered accidentally by Spanish violinist Joan Manen during a recital in February of 1921), even the most ideal of venues is required to offer electronic sound reinforcement in this day and age. Recently, Town Hall’s chief sound technician, David Smith of Triton Sound, decided sound reproduction in it’s 300-seat balcony needed help and turned to BAG END Loudspeaker Systems of Algonquin, Ill, for a solution.

He selected three BAG END OPAL speakers. The OPAL is a two-way ported system loaded with a 12-inch high-efficiency, low-frequency cone driver and a high compression driver with a 3-inch copper voice coil driving a custom designed oval, high-frequency wave guide. The system provides extraordinary high output and fidelity in a relatively compact enclosure. The trapezoidal shape of the enclosure gives it a coverage area of 40 degrees vertical and 50 degrees horizontal. Frequency response of the OPAL is 100 Hz to 18 kHz with a sensitivity of 100 dB SPL for one watt at one meter. Its power handing is rated at 400 watts continuous program.

“We chose the OPAL after extensive research because of their qualities and cost,” Smith said. “We’ve found them to perform very well, not only with our in-house sound system, but also with the sound systems brought in by major sound companies that come through who use them to supplement their own systems.”