House of Worship Acoustics
Watch Pastor Glenn Howell of Zionsville United Methodist Church speak about the acoustic difficulties his church had in their sanctuary.
How important are the acoustics of your worship facility?
Studies have shown that acoustics and sound have a direct impact on learning and understanding. In other words, if the congregation has trouble hearing clearly – worshipers feel less engaged and as a direct result of this participation and eventually, attendance may suffer.
“It’s Not Your Gear… It’s the Room”
When there is a issue with sound and/or clarity of speech and music in a worship facility the tendency is to think the equipment is the problem. Before you rush out to purchase a new sound system, consider this: The Room! Auralex itself has been preaching for many years that in all spaces, the room creates acoustical problems.
What Makes house of Worship Acoustics Different?
Small rooms’ acoustics are more governed by room geometry — and the resulting room modes and nodes, which are peaks and dips in a room’s frequency response and time-domain signature — than are large rooms. In small rooms, the tonal character of the room can change dramatically if one moves six inches, but I don’t find this in larger spaces. Yes, there can be tonal differences in large rooms, but they tend to occur over broader areas.
Due to their modal activity, small rooms suffer from bass buildup in their corners, which is why we tend to implement bass “traps” — often a misnomer, as we’re more diminishing in strength than we are truly “trapping” the waves — in small rooms’ corners. Small rooms also suffer from prominent axial mode interference (axial modes form when waves bounce between two parallel surfaces), which is why we often will also “trap” the front and rear walls, as well as certain parts of the ceiling, in sound-critical smaller spaces. These types of treatments are inappropriate, though, for larger spaces like houses of worship, which suffer from different modal activity and thus require a different plan of acoustical attack.
In larger spaces, low-frequency waves don’t fold back onto themselves like they do in smaller spaces; they tend to propagate farther and grow in intensity…then come back for a second pass throughout the space. This behavior dictates that instead of putting bass traps into corners, we spread the low frequency absorption throughout the room. Whereas this plan of attack would do little to alleviate low-frequency anomalies in a small room, it tames low-frequency issues quite nicely in a larger space, but only as long as the appropriate products are chosen and they’re properly implemented.
“Auralex‘s ProPanels changed the entire room’s dynamics,” said Michael Smith, Associate Pastor/Worship. “We now have better sound clarity without dealing with any reverberant sound or ambient noise.”
Case Study: Grace Presbyterian Church
Grace Presbyterian Church switched from a traditional to a more contemporary service and discovered they needed acoustical assistance!
See how Auralex helped diagnose and solve their unique sound problems in this detailed Case Study
“How Can The Congregation Heed the Word, If They Can’t Hear It?”
Additional Resource from Technologies For Worship Magazine:
Ready For More Information? We Can Help!
Want to know more about your options? Auralex is the industry-leading Acoustics company and one of the oldest and most respected companies in the business. Since 1977, we have helped thousands of people with their unique acoustic needs in all kinds of facilities from auditoriums to bedroom studios. Our highly trained staff is available for phone support to answer questions. If you have some basic measurements and information about your space and you are ready to receive an estimate we even offer a Free Room Analysis for any space!