Tips and Tricks: A Challenging Scenario

Scenario: You’re the Worship Pastor of a large, rapidly growing contemporary church. Your church has outgrown your current worship facilities and the board has chosen to move to a larger, pre-existing building. This new worship space was not designed with acoustics in mind. This building has all the acoustical charm of a large metal box.

Question: Is it possible to achieve “good acoustics” without spending a fortune on renovations and equipment?

Answer: Yes, absolutely. It is possible to achieve “good acoustics” without spending a fortune. There are certain things that you need to consider:

  • What will the space be used for? Acoustic standards vary greatly depending on the intended purpose of the space.
  • How will the building will be finished? Room acoustics are primarily affected by room size & shape, ceiling height, parallel surfaces, furnishings and the number of people occupying the space. Other things to consider are carpeting, wall hangings, ceiling tiles, etc.
  • Will you be performing an acoustical analysis? An acoustical analysis performed by a competent audio consultant can help you to determine the acoustical state of your space and help you decide on the proper method of treatment.
  • Will you be using acoustic treatment? You cannot eliminate the reverberations in a space, you can only control them. Many people attempt to eliminate a poor acoustics by purchasing expensive gear and increasing volume. This ALWAYS compounds the problem. The best, simplest and often cheapest fix is to use acoustic treatment.

Rule of Thumb: Generally, to achieve a 1.2 – 1.6 second reverberation decay, which is acceptable for spoken word and music generally found in the contemporary church, you must cover 25 – 30% of your vertical wall space with acoustic treatment.

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