The problem with church acoustics

Your message is important and needs to be heard and felt by congregants. Whether it is the sermon, the worship music or a video presentation, intelligibility and control of the sound are paramount. Houses of worship are often large, cavernous rooms made from hard surfaces such as concrete, plasterboard, gypsum, tiled floor, expansive windows and wooden beams. Sound bounces from surface to surface creating a long trail of echoes known as reverberation. This causes sound to arrive at the ears from different angles and at different times, creating a confusing cacophony that makes music and speech difficult to comprehend. With all of the echo, we are no longer able to discern the important message being transmitted from the noise. In recent years, the advent of more powerful PA systems and the influx of concert-style Christian music has introduced a new set of problems. To achieve the feel of a rock concert, sound pressure levels are increased to the point where the rooms ability to dissipate sound energy is completely lost. Turning up the volume only exacerbates the problem.

How can Primacoustic help you?

Covering between 17% and 25% of the wall surface area with Broadway™ acoustic panels can tailor the acoustic performance of the space to suit the style of worship. For instance, in a traditional environment, the instrumentation and organic nature of the program rely on a certain amount of reverberation to provide the depth of sound the listener expects to hear but speech clarity is still crucial. Applying 17% coverage controls the reverberation while still allowing sufficient air in the room for the pipe organ and choir.  In contemporary worship where the service is driven by a sound system, controlling the environment is even more beneficial. In these spaces, a higher degree of sound absorption at 25% is suggested. Once the room has been treated, intelligibility will be greatly improved allowing the congregants to understand every nuance of a carefully worded sermon. The reduction in reverberation will aid the worship team in hearing each other and they will actually play quieter as they are not fighting a wash of uncontrolled sound.  This will in turn make it easier for the audio engineer to mix the voices and instruments for a more natural and enjoyable sermon.

Executive Summary

  • Most churches or houses of worship have too much echo
  • This makes it impossible to understand what is being said
  • The solution is to apply Broadway panels to 17-25% of the wall surfaces
  • You will enjoy significantly better speech intelligibility
  • Musical performances will be more dynamic and exciting
  • A greater degree of engagement by ‘hard of hearing’ congregants
  • Sermons will finally be understood no matter where you sitting