How to recognize speech?
How to wreck a nice beach?
How does your church sound system perform?
When you’re listening to your church sound system what are you hearing?
If you are listening to your minister and you can’t tell the difference between these two phrases, don’t be too quick to blame the sound system. The acoustics in your worship space could be limiting the performance of your sound system. Chances are, if this is happening, congregational singing and praise and worship could be affected too.
Did you know that 90% of churches with poor acoustics can be fixed? So how much does it cost to fix the acoustics of a church? A typical turn-key installed church sound system runs from $55 to $140.00 per seat or higher. High performing acoustical fixes in existing building run from $12.00 to $35.00 per seat and for new churches before they are built the acoustics can be a low as $23.00 per seat. A fraction of the cost of a church sound system.
Well, you will need a sound system anyway so why do acoustics? If you include the acoustics, you can have the acoustics and sound system combined for the same $55.00 to $140.00 per seat and have even better sounding sound system with less sound equipment or even with budget equipment. That’s right! A lot of current mid to high-end church sound systems are over designed because most of the designers of them think that more equipment will somehow side step physics and correct the room acoustics. Well, that will never happen. Oh!
Did you know that when many of these touring companies go from venue to venue, not all of what you see is turned on? In many cases the same rig that needed everything turned on in one 10,000 seat venue only had 1/3rd of the same sound system turned on in another 10,000 seat venue. For most outdoor systems, everything is used but for indoor venues the room decides what gets turned on and what is kept off but for convenience, the whole rig is set up every time. What you see is not always what you hear. Many times only a third of the twin line arrays are turned on. Every professional sound engineer who mixes live sound for a living who knows and gets great sound consistently will tell you that less is better.
So what does this mean for churches? When the acoustics are great and it meet all of the needs for worship including congregational singing, you can have great sound with up to a third less sound equipment. That then give you two other options. You can add more to the multi media budget or have higher quality equipment to get that extra sonic quality you wanted for the pastor or the praise team.
By getting your church acoustics managed properly, the church win in many ways. First off, churches that have better acoustics and matching sound systems have an average higher attendance of 10 to 25%. With higher attendance you have a larger financial base for missions and other church programs. Churches with better acoustics also have a much more stable memberships and have better successes at planting new churches. Church staffing is easier to support and when building maintenance is required, the funds are easier to raise. Along with that and something that is rarely mentioned, a church with higher attendance should also mean church pastors being better supported.
Finally something that I have repeated often, church acoustics usually pays for itself in 12 to 24 month. What other item can a church invest in that pays for itself? What investment is there that pays out a 100% return in two years or less?
by Joseph De Buglio
PS: The opening lines are from an audio magazine news article in the 1980’s. Couldn’t find the author. However, the origins of the phrases many have dated back to Bell Lab around 1928.