You know that phrase "it's not rocket science"? Well audio design may not be rocket science, but it IS a science. And when it comes to worship in the main sanctuary or other gathering places, it is arguably the most important element of design when it comes to the technical needs of any ministry. If the congregation can not clearly hear and understand the most basic of speech, how can the message of Jesus truly be delivered? The biggest challenge to delivering the message, regardless of the room, is the room itself! God Himself may not have written the Bible directly, however He did write the laws of physics. The construction of a recording studio is designed and built to control those physics and provide an acoustically proper space. The cost to do so is immense! To achieve these same results in a church sanctuary....let's just say that "unaffordable" would be a significant under-statement (to say the least!). In fact, it would be impossible to build due to how physics really work. This is why every loudspeaker system design we provide is completely custom to the room and to the ministry needs of the congregation. We take into account how the space is built, any parallel walls, ceiling height, the seating space, proximity of walls to the seating, location of the audio booth (if the audio
Reflections are basically "copies" of the sound that reach the listener after the original source has arrived. In other words, early reflections are sounds that arrive at the listener after being reflected multiple times off the walls, ceiling, and even the floor. There are early reflections and late reflections due to the law of physics that states "the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection". Imagine throwing a tennis ball at a wall--it will reflect back at an angle equal to that which it was thrown. In these audio reflections some will arrive early while others arrive later. We often talking micro-seconds, but in some case a few seconds, but these reflections are more than enough to make speech and music unintelligible. Depending on where one is sitting in the sanctuary, the amount and timing of those reflections changes. There is NO loudspeaker design that will ever resolve reflections, this must be handled in the design and installation of acoustics control often through the use of specially designed sound absorption panels..
Listed as "dB", a decibel is a unit of measurement that determines how loud a sound is. Technically speaking a decibel doesn't really measure anything. WHAT? It's true! A decibel really is a ratio of two amplitude levels. One decible is the smallest change in volume that the human ear can detect, however such a small change is typically not noticeable. But a change in greater than 3dB of an audio source is very noticeable. In fact for every change of 3dB in sound you are doubling the overall volume. Or in the case of the loudspeaker system in a sanctuary, how loud the overall system is at any given location within that space and at what frequency response. A properly designed loudspeaker system distributes sound
evenly in both coverage and amplitude that is consistant throughout, but at what frequency is just as important. Without doing so then there will be congregants in certain parts of the sanctuary that hear everything clearly and at a comfortable level just fine, while others will struggle due to a drop in amplitude level. And forbid if the audio mix position is out of the direct path of the main loudspeakers forcing he or she to increase the amplitude, potentially blowing everyone out of the water! It's also critical to understand there's both a direct correlation, and an indifference, of how frequency relates to amplitude.
Unfortunately many sound systems are designed without an actual design in place. These are determined on-site by visually saying "this looks about right". The following images show why this theory NEVER works. The image on the left shows a 1,000 seat sanctuary with a line array system of (3) hang locations. There are DRASTIC variances in frequency response and coverage--as much as a 12dB variance in seats only 10ft apart. With every 3dB being equal to twice the volume, that means sitting only 10ft away the sound could be four times as loud or soft. When the client contacted HOWAVL their request was to add more speakers, which is not surprising. The common response to areas where there is such a drastic drop in audible level is to install more speakers, but that is almost NEVER the solution. The image on the right shows this same room with a completely new loudspeaker design, one that provides consistant coverage and amplitude measuring no more than a 3dB boost/cut at a frequency of 2kHz. Why 2kHz? This is the frequency where clarity of the voice, in spoken word, is most prominent.
Are you ready to discuss the audio design needs of your sanctuary? Contact our team today to start the conversation!