Finally, we cannot talk about PA without talking about
the theme of church acoustics. Often the acoustics are just
given and you cannot change them. This is a common task
for sound production companies. But if there is the oppor-
tunity of changing the sound character of a room, for
example at a renovation, you should take this chance,
offering major improvements with small changes. What
you get here, is worth gold afterwards, not only for the
PA but also for the preacher, the organ and/or choirs.
It is not about altering a church into a completly dry and
dead acoustics. But it is about special tricks, many already
used in former centuries.
The invention of the sound reflector above the pulpit is from ancient history. This small roof prevents the sound of the preacher's voice going up to the high ceiling and reflects it directly downwards to the gathered flock. With similar small measures you can improve the acoustics of your church significantly, to improve it by an amount, so that an over-reflective room is avoided and speech gets easily understood. Reflections can be avoided, deviated, damped or transferred into diffuse sound. Normally, a big difference is noticed in the sound of an empty and a full church and often the acoustics are just left in order to be alright for the 'full' version. And on most of the Sundays you are struggling with the "empty" acoustics. By having soft-chairs and a carpet, for example, you can minimise this big difference.
Some small acoustic improvements, together with a church PA which is well adapted to your needs, you can create an acoustic environment in your church where people enjoy being and worshipping.
Control and Correction of the Acoustics
The acoustics are the basic conditions for sound in a room. All the following measures have to adjust accordingly. Good acoustics cannot be substituted and complicated acoustics cannot be fixed by any PA.
Ask these questions:
· Are your church acoustics very reflective?
· Do these reflections make listening to speech very exhausting and difficult to understand?
· Do you have to speak slowly because of this?
If so, you should experiment to see whether absorbent materials give an improvement. Typically carpets, thick curtains, damping materials for the ceiling, soft chairs will all give significant improvements. The latter ones especially minimise the difference between empty and full rooms.
© 1999 DH Records Ltd
DOUGLAS & HAUSER PRODUCTIONS