Church Acoustics & Sound Systems

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Passive verses Active Worship. Is there a difference?

Posted by jdbsound on October 8, 2021

Many people ask how the panels will look before hearing how they perform when it comes to managing the acoustic of a sanctuary for worship. Here is a short video compare two acoustic treatments. One system comes from a non Biblical solution that partially works and very expensive. The other system comes from the Bible. It provide the proper acoustical conditions for worship every time and at a fraction of the cost. Our experience shows that most church members change their opinions on aesthetics when the acoustical fix does a great job at fixing the room.

Congregation members of most churches do agree with one idea. It seems that if the acoustic system fails at improving congregational singing, the panels on the wall have to look good as wall furniture. If the acoustic treatment improves all parts of worship, especially congregational singing, concerns about how the panels look melts away. The aesthetic issues disappear.

The half round diffuser systems are also passive noise cancellers. If you have a noisy HVAC system, they can reduce noise up to 20dB at no extra cost without over dampening or compromising the worship space acoustics.

If you have any questions or comments or want other subjects discusses, please post them below.

Phase Gradient Diffusers vs. Tube Radiators. Which gets better results. Church Acoustics

Passive worship is when people feel alone during congregational singing. Feeling alone prepares people for hearing a feel good message, whether it is the prosperity or self help gospel.

Active worship is when more that 60% of the congregation is actively singing all the time, and for some, sing the harmonies in the hymns. When there is active singing, it helps to unite people to hear the full Gospel message regardless of how strongly that message is preached. Active worship often leads to a stronger church and people making long term relationships.

The acoustical condition of a worship space is a very accurate measuring tool to determine the type of worship any church practices. A good sounding worship space supports congregational singing and does a better job at supporting amplified speech with less sound equipment.

An under-performing worship space not only makes a room full of people feel like they are all alone, but it takes 3 to 4 time the audio equipment to get decent speech quality and since less that 60 to 75% of the congregation is not singing, the excessive sound system is also used to entertain the congregation with worship teams and performance singers. What better way to end a long session of feel good music to cap it off with a feel good message. Here is an article that explains this more.

By Joseph De Buglio

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Church Acoustics is really simple.

Posted by jdbsound on September 24, 2021

At least according to the Bible.

Church sound is in a mess.  Many Christians are being denied true Biblical worship and they don’t even know it. There is an easy way to fix it, and the solution comes from the Bible. The following article covers many details on how the Church community has gotten itself into this mess and a proven solution from the Bible that works 100% of the time is shared in detail.

The article is 15 pages and is about a 30 minute read. If you want to just get to the recipe for the Bible’s solutions to ideal church acoustics, where you can upgrade any existing worship space, go to page 11. However, if you want to know what direction your church is going, and to understand how acoustics is changing church worship into church entertainment, there is an opportunity to reverse the decline, and to restore the kind of worship the bible describes from cover to cover.

PDF Article Link – Church Acoustics is really simple

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Is the church community ready for the return to partial or fully attended worship?

Posted by jdbsound on September 8, 2021

These days, many Christians have been getting their Bible and Gospel teaching through the internet during the long-term pandemic lockdown because of the Covid-19 virus.  Hearing worship services or sermons online may not be the best way to experience church, but it does have its benefits.  For one thing, the quality of sound from a computer or TV will be surprising much better than the quality of the current condition of the live sound in most worship spaces. Should any words or phrases be misunderstood at home, a person can pause the video and repeat the segments they had trouble understanding.  A person can adjust the volume on demand to make spoken words as clear as possible.  After 18 months of hearing sound from a TV or digital device, how will people react when they return to church and find the sound much lower in quality than they are now used to at home?  Do they stay or leave?

It takes time to get people used to listening to the sub-quality amplified sound found in most churches.  Will people want to go through the learning processes of having to adjust their hearing again?  Will people want to stay home to hear worship where the sound is much better?  Many churches have made the best of a bad situation with this Covid-19 pandemic and imposed restrictions.  When people return to live worship, will they prefer to worship at church or the televised worship?

Shouldn’t it be that the live worship is of higher quality than the broadcasted worship?  Is it possible to get the live worship to be of better quality than the broadcasted or pre-recorded message without compromising anything?  Yes, it is possible.  The good news is that in 90% of the cases, the sound system does not have to be upgraded or other expensive changes.  What anyone can do is follow what the Bible teaches about large room acoustics.  The Bible has a clear and straightforward plan that can raise the quality of sound of any worship space and often for less than the cost of a wireless microphone system or two. 

Imagine for a moment of a church seating 200-350 people and spending less than $1,000.00 to make the sound in the worship space of equal or better quality than hearing worship at home. What about churches seating 350 to 500 seating? Would it be worth investing $2,000.00 to get better sound?  How about churches seating from 500 to 800 people? Would investing $3,500.00 be a reasonable price to pay to offer church members sound quality that makes coming to church a great experience?  How about investing less than $5,000.00 for a 1200 seat church?  How about investing $6,500 for a 3000 seat church, creating a sound quality as good or better than what people hear on the internet?

The Bible has always offered higher-quality sound in worship spaces. However, until now, people have been looking outside of the Christian community for answers.  The Bible offers a solution to transform any worship space to have superior congregational singing for hearing clear speech, and it draws out the highest level of sound system performance for speech and music regardless of the quality of the equipment.

If there is a concern about how people will react when they return to the sanctuary for worship, it is never too late to make such an upgrade.  To learn more about upgrading the acoustics of a church affordably by following the Biblical teaching of the scriptures, contact JdB Sound Acoustics today for assistance.

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Why post free information about church sound and acoustics on the internet?

Posted by jdbsound on August 6, 2021

The Bible is sufficient in all things.  That includes worship space design, acoustics, and sound – including amplified sound.  While it is true that amplified sound did not exist until 100 years ago, by following the design details in the Bible, the result is having the fullest performance out of any properly designed and installed sound system and hardware in God’s house.  The moment the Bible’s teaching is ignored about sanctuary design and acoustics, it limit the performance of every piece of electronics installed. It limits congregational singing, and, in many cases, speech becomes compromised enough that the sound system becomes a barrier between the minister and the audience, denying some people the chance of understanding the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the teaching the minister is trying to convey.

Every year millions of Bibles are printed and given away.  With the internet, the Bible is free and accessible to everyone around the world.  As said earlier, everything we need to know in building a house of worship that fully supports Christian Worship in every way is in the Bible.  The problem has been that while there have been examples of people who tried to copy Solomon’s Temple in the past, they failed because no one understood the real purpose of the palm tree carvings on all the walls and doors in this holy place.  If they had known its actual function, then it could be possible that both Jewish Synagogues and Christian worship spaces would all be looking very similar on the inside. 

For years people have thought of the carvings as decorative while others have given these shapes spiritual meanings.  While spiritual meanings can be attributed to the Cherubs and open flowers, the palm tree is the most out-of-place item within the temple.  Many Bible scholars and historians state that everything in the Bible has a purpose.  Then what was the purpose of the carvings of palm trees?

Furthermore, how did the details of the palm tree carving survive 3500 years in Jewish and Bible Scriptures?  Knowing a little about how the Bible was compiled, such detail could have been easily left out and forgotten unless there was a purpose for it that God wanted us to discover.  In 1994, I stumbled across the purpose of the palm tree carvings.  This led to a universal way to fix existing Christian worship spaces and Synagogues.  This method of improving churches is the most effective system of fixing worship spaces, and it is a very cheap solution as well.  Once the purpose of the palm trees and Cherubs were decoded, it became the key to unlocking how Solomon’s Temple was supposed to function.  I started looking under the gold and discovered that the temple is a template of every aspect of modern worship space design that all churches need, and it has been in the Bible all along.

I cannot speak to the reason it took us so long to figure all of this out.  I know that if I were to keep this information private or patented it or licensed it, it would deny more people from hearing the Gospel within worship spaces, and I do not want to be responsible for that.  It would be wrong for anyone to keep such information a secret to the Christian Church community.  Three years later, and after 30 church installs of this acoustical system, I began sharing my knowledge on the internet in 1997 as a DIY system any one church can do on their own.  I tested the worship spaces to document and confirm the effectiveness of this method of finishing the walls of existing sanctuaries is. 

The struggle of hearing and congregational singing within a confined space has been with us since Christianity began.  In 313, after Emperor Constantine became a follower of Christ and ended government persecution of believers, Christians took over pagan temples and began worshiping in them. Since then, Christians have turned to everyone else in designing worship spaces and have allowed the secular world to dominate church Architecture.  From then to the present, Christians have been worshiping in buildings that can never meet all of their worship needs unless that house of worship follows what the Bible teaches.

Today, because of radio and TV broadcasts, mass media, and the internet, the number of false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing are so abundant and clever that it is harder to tell who is teaching Christ and who is teaching a false version of Jesus.  These false teachers have become so good that they have formed congregations of people who are followers of a false Gospel and build large mega rooms, and claim that their buildings are houses of God.  There are thousands of congregations following false teachers around the world.  It is so bad that it is almost impossible to tell the false teachers apart from the faithful ministers for Christ.  Both in broadcasting and internet media, these false churches are now dominating the screens of what non-Christians are exposed to the first time they see this type of religion.  This form of religion preys on the poor, the weak, the un-education, and all classes of those looking for a shortcut to wealth and prosperity to satisfy their hidden sin of greed.

The one thing that I do know is that false churches don’t want to fix their acoustics as detailed in the Bible.  They want the kind of acoustics and sound systems that are as good or better than what you will find in Las Vegas or any other secular performance space.  They don’t even want their worship spaces to be as good as concert halls.  They want a place where you can put on a show, a place where it is easy to manipulate people’s feelings to be more receptive to false teaching.  Get people all excited for a half hour or longer, and you can get them to do and believe almost anything.  Then, add in lights that change colors, fog machines, huge video walls, and abstract backgrounds, and what doesn’t get you emotionally hooked with sound, they add “eye candy” into the mix to secure your loyalty to them.  These false churches put on a fantastic musical show. 

They don’t care whether you sing or not, as long as they can get you addicted to being in mood and be receptive to hearing false messages of spiritualized positive thinking.  Positive messages are always about focusing on self-improvement.  Self-improvement is code for placing yourself on the throne of your heart above God.  People are being duped into believing everything from being able to save yourself to deserving to be as wealthy as the false teacher they are following.  Not only do these false teachers put on a spectacular, addictive musical show, but they put on a verbal presentation that is as good or better than most professional self-help motivational speakers who also live like the rich and famous.

In a way, these false teachers have convinced millions of people into believing that their version of religion is better than winning the lottery.  Give us your money, and God will make you rich!  They turned tithing into the concept of buying lottery tickets as a group celebration.  The tickets have no numbers, the winner is always the leader, and the losers are all those people who don’t have a clue that there is a life after death.  Live for the moment, that tithe will pay out any day now!  People who are in this trap, do they know they sold their souls?  Nowhere in the Bible does it say such teaching or imply such promises.  One of the greatest fears these false teachers have is a worship space that performs as well as Solomon’s Temple.  Why?

When a worship space follows the Bible’s design for a house of God, the Christian will not need the show to experience authentic congregational singing and true Biblical worship.  They won’t need the manipulative entertainment performance to get people into a hyper mood.  The congregation will hear and understand the words in the songs they sing and get a blessing without being manipulated.  Singing chouses gets boring fast when somebody can’t maneuver you into a trance.  When you can get a blessing from singing hymns as a congregation, you don’t need to be entertained with a 3-ring circus.  True hymns include the Gospel message.  Most new songs that are sung as worship songs these days have no gospel message in them whatsoever. Saying Jesus 30 times doesn’t make it spiritual but telling people Jesus died for your sins just once can open a persons’ heart.  A true house of worship exposes false music entertainment performed in churches.  Once the false music doesn’t have a hold on the congregation, it becomes almost impossible for false teaching to follow.

Spiritual warfare comes in many forms, and one of them is by having houses of worship that perform better as an entertainment center.  It is in those places where a corrupted gospel can get a foothold into the church community.  Fix the houses of worship we have and design new ones as God always intended for us to have, and you can reduce the number of false teachers significantly. 

There is enough information here for you to figure out how to fix your church and get most of it correct.  By making this information freely accessible for existing churches, where they are determined to preach the Gospel, they can affordably upgrade their churches and add another roadblock to false teaching entering the church. Already hundreds of churches have taken the leap of faith, and all of them have seen and experienced dramatic change.  Trust the Bible, and you will expose your church to True Christian Worship, and you will join the other churches that are growing because of the Gospel, not in spite of the Gospel.

This battle cannot be fought alone.  With your help, pass this information onto other Christians and churches, we can put a dent in slowing down or stopping the ever-expanding plague of false churches around the world.  It becomes easier to preach Jesus and the full Gospel message the right way in large spaces when existing churches are transformed into acoustically friendly worship spaces.  Good acoustics is a big help in making God’s Word that much more effective. 

Pass this on.  It only takes a spark to make a difference.

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Bible Questions the Church Community is not answering.

Posted by jdbsound on July 31, 2021

Here are 27 questions for Biblical scholars, pastors, and experts to answer about Solomon’s Temple. Please ask your pastor and church leaders and see if they understand the purpose of these questions.

  1. There are carvings of palm trees on all the walls and doors in the temple.  Were these decorative, spiritual symbols, or was there a practical purpose for them?  1 Kings 6:29
  2. Why were there also carvings of Cherubs and open flowers?
  3. What was the purpose of these carvings on the doors to the Sanctuary and Holy of Holies?
  4. Was there any other purpose for the veil on the Sanctuary wall, in front of the entrance to the Holy of Holies?
  5. Is the height of the Holy Place or Sanctuary the ideal height for congregational singing?
  6. Are the floor dimensions of 60L x 30W feet or 2 to 1 ratio ideal for teaching and hearing?
  7. Do these dimensions offer the best conditions for hearing clear speech?
  8. Are the upper windows part of a method of controlling temperatures in the temple?
  9. What was the purpose of the gold on the floors of both the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place?
  10. What was the purpose of the gold on the side walls?
  11. Why were the walls and floor covered in gold, considering that no one other than the Levite priests was ever allowed to see the gold or to enter the temple?
  12. Why was cedar used under the gold on the walls?
  13. Why was Fir or Juniper wood used under the gold on the floors?
  14. Did the wood offer any thermal stability in the main building, considering that people cooked and slept in the chambers around the temple?
  15. Why was pure olive oil used for the oil lamps in the Holy Place / Sanctuary?
  16. Are the olive oil lamps a statement or example of being environmentally responsible?
  17. How much illumination did the 10 lampstands with 7 oil lamps provide?
  18. Would that be enough illumination to read scriptures before and after sunset?
  19. Would the design of the building using the outer rooms where each floor and roof sat on a ledge for each of the 3 levels, create an earthquake-resistant building?
  20. The total floor space of the temple is 9,156 sq feet.  The Sanctuary is 1800 sq feet.  That creates a space of 7,356 sq feet for a prayer room and storage rooms, which is about a 5 to 1 ratio for supportive space to the Sanctuary.  Why are modern churches always complaining of not having enough space?  Would following the Bible in this matter solve that problem?
  21. In Numbers 7:89, “Now when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him.”  Did this account of what happened to Moses set a precedence for how God would communicate to the Israelites after Moses was gone?
  22. If it does, consider this: The Holy of Holies was a cube, 30 x 30 x 30.  Such a room covered in gold would sound awful.  Conversation beyond 3 feet would be impossible if there was no acoustical treatment.  Would there have been the need for acoustical treatment in the Holy of Holies as the priest could not get any closer than about 12 feet from the Ark of the Covenant?
  23. Would the design of the temple be soundproof enough to be neighborhood-friendly by keeping worship noise in and city and traffic noise out?
  24. If John 1:3 is true, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”, and King David said in 1 Chronicles 28:19, to Solomon that the hand of God was upon him in the designing of these patterns, then who is the true designer of Solomon’s Temple?
  25. When Jesus said about the laws and the prophets in Matthew 5:17 “I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”  Does that include anything that Jesus designed in the Old Testament? Does this make Jesus Lord of the Worship Space? (how do you fulfill Solomon’s Temple in the New Testament?)
  26. Why don’t modern churches follow the Bible’s example of what seems to be the perfect worship space?
  27. Does acoustics affect how modern churches worship today?

Bible experts on Solomon’s Temple or Biblical Historians seem mute on answering these questions.  Why?  These are questions some Christians think about but never bother asking Biblical academia as they know they will not get any objective answers.  Also, some experts have a way of making you feel like you just asked a dumb or foolish question.  It is time for Christians to ask their pastors and church leaders to do the research for answers to these questions.  These are not spiritual questions, but knowing the answer could be a big help with solving many of the problems modern congregations have with their church buildings today.

Interestingly enough, there have been many times where from the pulpit, many ministers and clergy will say that everything we need as Christians come from God or something similar.  Why is it then that when it comes to church design, which includes sound and acoustics, we look elsewhere for the answers rather than use the example of what the Bible teaches?  Isn’t what Jesus designed good enough for us today?

If you know the answers to any of these questions, post your comments below.

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Passive versus Active Worship. Is there a difference?

Posted by jdbsound on July 26, 2021

Introduction

Within the Church community, when someone speaks of worship styles, they will often refer to one of these terms, Traditional, Contemporary, Blended, Liturgical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic.  These terms are not exclusive, but they are an accurate description of how worship is conducted.  When studying congregational singing, all churches fall into one of two groups: Active Worship or Passive Worship.  Active worship is defined as congregations that always have more than 50% of the people singing.  Passive worship is when less than 50% of the people are singing all the time.  In most churches, less than 30% of the congregation is singing all the songs.  This single observation is the most common link that is driving many churches to turn to an entertainment style of worship.  Let us look at why many churches are going in this direction.

Traditional Passive Worship

Under the Traditional, Contemporary, Blended, and Liturgical styles, there has always been a commitment to an active style of worship – meaning – where the congregation is expected and encouraged to sing.  In some houses of worship, they sing acapella, while other churches will have a person conducting with the traditional piano and organ.  Some will add a guitar and bass.  While the focus is on the people actively singing, even if only 20% of the congregation is singing, it is accepted.  For these churches, the musical instruments are downplayed, even though they unintentionally perform louder than the congregation.  For these churches, the focus is on the Gospel message within most hymns and songs they sing.  This leaves some people with the idea that worship is boring or lame.  Some think that this style of worship is old, outdated, and needs to be modernized.  For the churches that have tried to modernize, the level of active congregational singing has not changed, and the impact of attendance decline continues.

Contemporary Passive Worship

Under the Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic worship styles, we should include churches that also use the word “contemporary” in defining their worship.  For these churches, it doesn’t seem to matter if the congregation is singing or not. The service, being conducted by a music team or band, will have the sound levels of their performance dominating everything.  The worship leader will choreograph songs and some Bible verses to get more people in the mood to sing.  Words are projected onto a screen where some people just mouth the lyrics.  Others attempt to sing loud enough to try to hear themselves and hope they are making a joyful noise.  Regardless of how much effort is made to get the congregation singing, less than 30% of the people are actively singing.

Some Evangelical and Pentecostal churches fall under a conservative style of worship.  What makes these churches conservative is because everything is focused on the coming sermon.  For these churches, it can take up to 45 minutes to get to the sermon.  Between prayers, announcements, scripture reading, someone making a presentation in song or words, and 3 to 5 songs that take up 20 minutes for their worship, the emphasis is on Jesus, the Gospel, or a lesson the congregation needs to learn.  Attendance in these churches is often directly linked to the preaching skill of the pastor, regardless of if they are conservative in their messages or not. 

The New Age of Passive Worship

Churches that have heavily invested in technology and worship teams, come under two groups.  They are either part of the conservatively lead churches, where the sermon is the main event of the worship experience, or they are the hyper evangelicals where the music portion of the worship service is 30-90 minutes long. Often the music is as long as or longer than the sermon. 

For a growing number of churches, there has been a dynamic shift in worship styles.  The transition is a style of worship where the visual experience is synchronized to music. Where lighting, video, and moving images are synchronized to amplified music.  Churches are adding motorized lights that can change colors and video walls to create an atmosphere ripe to deliberately stimulate the senses.  In this environment, the song leading is crafted to guide people into a manufactured energetic form of worship.  Even if people are not singing, at least some are swaying to the music, and others are raising their hands.  For such churches, the music has become the event, not the teaching of the Gospel.  Furthermore, in such churches, the Gospel is hardly part of the message. 

Rather, it is a message that is mostly about what God can do for me and a strong focus on how I can become a better person.  These messages promote programs and steps, when followed, the members are promised a better life.  The teaching is, tithing, serving at a food bank, and helping people more, and the reward is a better self.  Just praying to God, the sinners prayer with a promise to do better is a ministry of works, not salvation.  James 1:19-27 clearly explains how people are to Love God first.  After learning to love God and becoming dead to self, then a person is properly motivated to follow His laws (notice that it doesn’t say to obey them).  Christians are to be doers of the word.  Because we love God, we do what the Bible teaches.  Sadly, many ministers teach it the other way around.  Their message is, do the work for a spiritual experience to feel better.  Feeling better, means being saved!  Right?  No!

There is nothing more deadly than a carefully crafted message of false hope and a message for a better life by doing things that include something holy, sacred, spiritual, and secret, and never knowing what true salvation is.  These are people who have never experienced being transformed by the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised everyone who accepts Him as Lord, who is our sin sacrifice, and begin a new life as a born-again Christian.  When a person accepts Jesus as Lord, what changed?  The change was going from hating or being indifferent about God to loving God.  This is it.  A person who is Born again will have the Holy Spirit helping them to stay on the narrow path.  A person who thinks they are Born Again and continues a life of sinning without a second thought may not be saved at all.  This is the trap of false teaching and teachers.  The addictive entertainment style of feel-good music and messages is crafted to create a manufactured artificial spiritual experience found nowhere in the Bible.  Anyone promising a better life by following a recipe outside of the teaching of the scriptures is a wolf.  That includes teaching where scriptures are taken out of context to say whatever message the composer wants.

Passive Worship is turning into Secular Style Entertainment

How are so many ministers getting away with preaching such a distorted message?  Mostly through entertainment.  Going to a healing service is like being at the circus?  It often begins with a short pep talk and then music for thirty to ninety minutes long.  During that time, promises are being made and testimonies from people who are caught up in the hype, raising false hope to a feverish pitch.  They shout out repeatedly, “Your faith will set you free!” followed by, “You pray, and God will give you whatever you want!” Where in the Bible does it say that God is a servant to man?  Rather, true Christian disciples choose to serve God as an act of reciprocating love.  When people get stimulated enough, the focus on true Biblical teaching gets diverted with shrewd speech.  The message is focused on the “new golden calf,” on the promise of miraculous healing on demand.  Here is when the blinded follower will do almost anything to get what the fake healers are promising or selling.  It is common that during such an event, the collection plate is passed around more than once, and the first time is before the healing service begins. The second or third time is during the healings and then at the end of the service/show.  They talk the devoted followers into continuous tithing for a miracle.  The hidden message is that healings and miracles can be bought.  That money is the replacement image of God, but what they are really doing diminishing faith down to nothing more than a “faith healers’ lottery game.”  Faith and salvation is not a game that can be bargained with.

The Elephant in The Room

This carnival-like atmosphere over time has moved from healing services into an entire worship program that gets people engaged into the most important person in their lives – self.  This artificial entertainment style of worship has progressed into an alternative to confronting the elephant in the room, “room acoustics.” Room acoustics controls how many people will actively sing during congregational singing.  Who wants to sing in a room where hearing one own voice isn’t possible, nor the person nearby, no matter how much effort is made?  The unmanaged room creates the feeling of loneliness.  Sure, there are many times in almost every church where more than 50% of a congregation will sing a very familiar song, especially to celebrate an event. Such singing happens only a few times a year and, in most rooms, it sounds dull and forced.  There is no return on anyone’s effort to sing with other people.  For most churches out there, regardless of size or attendance, only 15% to 35% of the people sing 95% of the time.  With such low participation, no matter how good the song leader or worship teams are, getting people to engage in the worship singing becomes an effort of futility.  Out of desperation, people will do whatever will work. 

The church is not built on Programs

Many churches have chosen an entertainment style of worship to draw more people into the flock.  With enough technology, anyone with modest musical talent can create an energetic rock concert-like atmosphere to get people to be passively engaged, if not actively engaged.  The difference is people can be stimulated with sight and sound to trigger the senses to release those feel-good drugs the body naturally creates called dopamine and endorphins.  Music can move people to started tapping a foot or finger when hearing a familiar feel-good song.  Music stirs feelings when several songs are played back-to-back.  When the music changes or stops, it often leaves people wanting more. 

Music is often used to trigger the body to crave more.  When the high energy and emotional music stops, there must be an equally good emotional message to follow up to keep the dopamine and endorphins flowing.  What better attention-grabbing message than a message on self?  And what comes before the sermon and after the music?  Most churches pass the collection plate—what better time to get people to give than when they are all pumped up and engaged into a well-crafted program.  There are church leaders and pastors who have been trained in the art of knowing how to carefully manipulate people with music and feel-good messages. Those churches will hire professional musicians who have had some success in the concert music world to shape the beginning of a church service to hyper-stimulate people to get them addicted to participating in passive worship.  If this sounds like a seductive form of brain washing, rest assured, it is.

People are so pumped up, not realizing that even though they are surrounded by many people and enjoying this passive form of worshiping, deep down, many have this subtle and distressing feeling that they are still all alone.  The common thread in all these churches is acoustics.  The room physically cannot support congregational singing.  Everyone wants to sing but they give up because of how the room makes them feel.  Before worship starts in some churches, the young people are encouraged to put their hands up and sway to the music as they scatter throughout the audience.  When people see the youth doing this, it looks so spiritual.  That is when peer pressured sets in and more of the audience joins in to make the appearance, they are actively worshiping.  Watch any YouTube video where people are raising their hands in worship and it will be the youth, spread throughout the audience, raising their hands up first.  How artificial is that! 

Active Christian Worship

However, that is different than being in a worship space where the acoustics are so good; over 50-80% of the congregation sings without being self-conscious.  They are singing effortlessly, with complete freedom to express themselves as a coral of congregational singers expressing themselves, often with four-part harmonies. This is what active worship is like all the time.  When the acoustics of a church is good, it is easy to have enough people engaged in singing to the extent that there is no need for an entertainment style of worship to lead the congregation.  When the worship space properly supports congregational singing, people will also do a slight sway and raise their hands for many of the traditional and modern hymns.  These people do this spontaneously because they are free to comfortably show their love for God.  They don’t do this to make themselves feel good, but it does help to feel a sense of peace to show God love in a respectful way.  This is not about getting rid of worship teams, but where the job of the worship leading is reversed.  Where the worship team follows the congregational singing in a support role rather than leading and overpowering anyone who is singing, even if their joyful sound is just a whisper.  This is different than when music is used to manipulate the audience into hyper stimulation and feeling better about themselves. 

History on the Order of Worship

Another item that will be seen as controversial is the notion that music should follow the reading of scriptures and the teaching rather than before the sermon.  The Gospel message, when properly taught, is never a feel-good message, but rather, it is supposed to be about reinforcing our love for God as a community.  The message is about keeping the believers on the straight and narrow path.  It is about following God because we love Him, as He has always loved us.  It is about following His laws to be safe.  When Jesus ended the Sermon on the Mount, He didn’t end the lesson as a feel-good message.  When Jesus finished preaching from a boat in Matthew 13, that message also ended as a warning.  In preaching the Gospel properly, the end of most sermons will either be a warning or a lesson in how to be a follower of Christ.  There will be teaching on sin, repentance, and change.  There are no feel-good messages in the Gospel. 

And when should the scriptures be read?  Through Jesus’s own example in Luke 4:16 “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.” In most cases whenever the Pharisees or scribes confronted Jesus, He would answer with a scripture verse first, then a rebuke or teaching. 

Here is the dilemma, people get emotionally hyped with feel-good music at the beginning of the worship services, only to be brought down to earth by the end of the sermon.  The pastor closes with a 1- or 2-minute prayer.  Then out of consideration or desperation, the closing song is for blessing or to brighten things up.  There is no time for reflection or meditation on the sermon.  If anything, the song is more of a distraction than comfort.  It’s no wonder people hardly remember what the sermon was 10 minutes after worship.  The reality is, it takes several songs to lift people up, but with everyone already investing over an hour into the worship service, most people are not in the mood to be comforted by three to five more hymns or songs again.

As it was the practice until the 1800s, worship service in protestant churches began with the reading of a complete scripture passage of the Bible by an elder or someone who has rehearsed the passage, or a person who is talented at reading out loud to an audience, The passage or passages should reflect what the sermon will be about.  Next is the sermon; after that is a time of prayer to reflect on the sermon, and engage the congregation further, a short Q&A lasting 5 to 10 minutes to secure the understanding the minister taught everyone, then announcements.  Finally, 3 to 5 songs to lift people up as a group where their unison of singing strengthens them in the message they just heard, regardless of how hard or direct the teaching was.  Biblical singing is about celebration with God and His teaching.  The Sheep will flock to a full Gospel message while the goats will run.  In researching about church history, it wasn’t until the 1820s where worship music moved from the end of church service to the beginning.  This was done deliberately to get people excited for the following feel-good message.  Yes, even 200 years ago, getting a congregation to have more that 50% of the audience singing was a struggle and historically, congregational singing has always been an issue dating back to 4th century churches.

Bound in a False Spiritual Trap

Sure, there are some charismatic ministers who can start off with a feel-good message without music to get things started, but the reality is, without the music, people are not going to stay for an hour for a feel-good message unless the pastor is a guru at motivational speaking.  People who participate in extended music programs become hyper-stimulated. They become malleable in teaching and brainwashing the followers into- whatever cult or false teaching they want to bind their followers to.  The hidden message here is to divide and conquer.  Fill the building with goats, call it church and watch the sheep scatter.  Making the sheep feel like they are failures. 

Having people worshiping in a room where the wrong type of acoustics cannot support authentic congregational singing, and by having an entertainment style of worship, people are trapped into being happy and feeling alone at the same time.  The false hope is that in going to the church, the feeling of loneliness during worship is replaced with “works” by helping with random, well-advertised “community” feeding programs, community projects, staging drama and music concerts, small groups programs, volunteering, tithing, and a hope for a taste of a holy or spiritual experience.  The entertainment style of worship draws in people with good hearing, which is mostly younger people.  Older people are excluded, and without elders who are not brainwashed to hold the leader accountable, the person leading such a church can get away with running the church like a business and do whatever they want. There is nothing more contentious than a church full of young people without older people who can demand accountability when the leadership becomes questionable.  

For an entertainment style of worship, where lighting, video walls, online TV video cameras, a huge sound system, paid musicians, and drama performances are as good as shows people would see in Las Vegas, worship quality acoustics doesn’t matter.  The whole program is set up to entrap people, take their money in an artificial religious experience where people come and go like a revolving door.  None of this is from the Bible, but the Bible is hyphenated to create a false message, blinded by the heavy use of technology.  Sadly, those who leave such a church often want nothing to do with Christianity again. This cycle of keeping people from the message of salvation must end.

The Bible is the Source for Meaningful Church Growth

The proper type of room acoustics that supports congregational singing does not need any gimmicks.  It quickly becomes apparent as good worship spaces become distinguished between being drawn into a ministry of salvation and loving God, or an organization of false teaching and false hope.  The Bible is the source of everything we know about God.  The Bible is also the source for knowledge about the right type of church acoustics for modern church buildings.  When canvasing and testing churches, 95% of all existing church buildings in a giving community cannot support active worship?  This is a problem the whole church community is struggling with all over the world.  The churches that are trying their best to stay on the straight and narrow path Jesus taught are losing to churches that are filling buildings void of the message of salvation.  Entertainment is the new gospel, whether it be a seeker sensitive, purpose-driven, or a self-help preaching message.  Church acoustics that cannot support the kind of congregational singing that can unite people is the single common thread all these church buildings share, and it leaves the church vulnerable to false teaching and teachers.

The good news is that the Bible has a universal plan that can transform any existing church from passive worship to the right type of acoustics for active congregational singing and maximize speech clarity at the same time.  In studying the Bible for answers to the right type of worship acoustics, the scriptures say who designed such a system – Jesus – the author and finisher (John 1:3, 1 Chronicles 28:19, Hebrews 12:2).  Unmanaged acoustics is simply a noisy room and entertainment style of acoustics is where the room has no performance qualities for worship whatsoever.  It allows false teaching and teachers to hide in plain sight within the walls of a building where worship service looks more like a talent show to a false god, and the minister is playing the audience like the Pied Piper.

Other clues of false teaching are:  Are the people encouraged to bring a physical Bible to worship services?  Are most of the song’s choruses?  Are some of the choruses repeated more than three times?  Do the verses of the songs have true Biblical teaching or are they about creating warm and fuzzy feelings?  Are the song leaders swaying to the music back and forth with their eyes closed, looking like they are in a trance?  Are all the texts the minister uses conveniently posted on a large screen for a short time, not giving anyone time to look them up?  Does the minister read full passages of what they are teaching, or are they just quoting fragments of the scriptures, hoping no one will read their Bibles?  Does the sermon begin with reading a complete passage of scriptures, and start teaching from what was read, or does the speech begin with a story – often with the minister involved?  (2 Timothy 4:2-4, preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.)  For those who follow such teachers, things don’t end well. 

Seriously, Acoustics can help fix the Church!

A church with good acoustics that can support proper congregational singing, in most cases, can expose the sheep from the goats and those wolves in sheep’s clothing sitting next to the sheep.  There are many people giving up on the church, as attendance seems to be declining. Fixing the acoustics of a church for better congregational singing is one way to fight back dwindling attendance that doesn’t involve innovative outreach programs or turning to an entertainment style of worship.  If anything, it helps the minister to feed the Lord’s sheep and to fulfill the promise; when Jesus said in John 10:25-29,  “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.” 

Church acoustics is a tool, much like hymnals, Bibles, pianos, organs, choirs, and sound systems.  Good acoustics can’t fix the health of a congregation, but a better worship space will expose false teachings and make the preaching of the Gospel easier.  Some churches are not prepared to see the congregation separate as in the sheep from the goats, for once the goats leave, where will the sheep come from?  Have faith that the Gospel message will bring the sheep back, and before long, the flock will grow with new sheep.  That is the true work of the Holy Spirit.

For the Record

From the firsthand experiences of many churches that have already upgraded their acoustics, the change begins with a healthier fellowship through congregational singing.  Active singing during worship can be the difference between following Christ and hearing the preaching of the whole Gospel message and worshiping in a place that divides the church community by not addressing the elephant in the room.  This may sound like a stretch, but after seeing hundreds of church buildings transformed, and observing with following-up visits how acoustics directly contributes to a growing congregation, the impact is unmistakable.   If there is any good news here, it is a fact that in following the Bible for true acoustical change, any church can afford it, regardless of the size of the sanctuary.  The secular community can’t make that claim ever.

For those who have read this far and attend a church building doesn’t support active congregational singing, have some faith.  In Mat 17:19-20, “Then the disciples came to Jesus apart, and said, why could we not cast him (the demon) out?  And Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you.”” Making a difference is possible by letting those in leadership know that there is a Biblical way to bring real Christian worship back into the Church and start by attracting those distracted and wandering sheep who know His Voice back into the flock.  Then, have faith that Gospel message will do the rest.  What happens after that is all about leadership and who is the head of the church.

Copyright © Joseph De Buglio 2021

Posted in Church Acoustics, Church Sound Systems, Educational Must Read Articles, Rants | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Average Church Buys Ten Sound Systems

Posted by jdbsound on July 15, 2021

Do churches really buy that many sound systems?

The first sound system

The first sound system is the cheapest system the church can afford and is installed without much knowledge or research about system design, by someone with good intentions. 

It does amplify sound, and everyone adjusts their hearing and puts up with it.  Every time the system is turned on, it sounds different.  This sound system lasts only until the minister threatens to leave, when church members do leave, or enough people complain about it.

The second sound system

The second sound system is by a church member, or a friend of a church member, or a person, who does church sound on the side or as an extension of their secular business.  The new sound system is better behaved but, in the end, the overall performance is only slightly better that the previous system.  The minister is annoyed by people asking him to repeat or explain parts of the sermon almost every week.  The person or company installing this sound system are under the notion that at the end of the project, they will have a modest profit. Did anyone see a Profit! Oh! What a novel idea! 

The third sound system

The third sound system is a sound system designed and installed by a professional, meeting most of the goals promised in a verbal agreement.  While some parts of the sound system are performing well, other issues become more noticeable.  Yes, there is less audio feedback heard, but speech clarity for people over 40 has not improved.  Amplified music sounds mushy.  The minister’s confidence takes a hit every time people talk to him after the service or through the week, asking questions as if he is not preaching the Gospel properly, when it was the sound in the room that changed the words that left his mouth and arrived to the listeners as being something else.  Some people returned because the sound was more stable, not because it is much better, and for others, it is more likely they miss their friends.

A written agreement is never offered or requested because we all know the myth and lie, that the outcome is too unpredictable and rarely lives up to expectations.  Often this sound system is in whole or in part paid for from a single donation or is bequeathed from a persons will.  The professional thanks the churches he helps for upgrading his car every few months.

The fourth sound system

The fourth sound system is designed and installed by another professional promising to do better.  In making some parts of the sound system better, it came at a compromise of something else regardless of the cost.  The church buys additional hardware for the system from someone else and it does provide some marginal improvements, but not enough to satisfy most of the church members.  The designer had suggested for acoustical improvements but downplays it so that the acoustics would not impact the sound system profits.  People with hearing aids that have the “T” switch like the loop system but even in the hearing aids, real sound clarity is not there, even with the high quality digital technology used to make a loop system work so much better.  While these people are not straining to hear because of loudness, understanding the message does come into question.

Another mythical illusion that is often perpetuated, is that there is more profit in audio hardware than in supplying acoustical treatments and proper acoustics fixes are too expensive for the average church to afford.  The professional thanks the church for the new motor home. 

The fifth sound system

The fifth sound system is installed by a well-known professional who also expresses a warning that the acoustics must be fixed too.  After the installation is completed and after the honeymoon phase of the upgrade has passed, you realize that things that have improved did get better, but other problems showed up, limiting the sound system’s overall performance as being no better.  You call him to come back, he offers you more gear, but you cannot afford it. 

Many people say they like hearing the MP3 playback of the message in their car, on their computer, or Bluetooth, and most of them quietly wish they could have understood the message while at church, so as to being able to ask the minister meaningful questions at the end of the service to expand their understanding of the Gospel.  Church elders notice a high turnover in church attendance. They attribute the turnover to social and economic reasons, certainly not because of sound.

Inside of all the fancy professional paperwork, there was supposed to be a professionally written performance agreement, which was never included, so the church has no recourse.  The cycle of stepping two steps forward is met with surprise when everyone finally realizes that they also took an equal two steps back.  The professional keeps your money regardless of your choices and swims victory laps in his new family swimming pool.

The sixth sound system

The sixth sound system is installed with great promise by a high-end professional with the same warning that the acoustics should be addressed.  The proposal included an acoustical design that came from a person who is a professional at noise management, and has never designed a successful performing acoustical space in any of those type of projects.  The church ignores doing the acoustics, banking on the new “state-of-the-art” devises that are filled with promises of improvements to make the sound problems go away. 

In silence, the church leaders accept another expensive system upgrade that shows just a minor change that hardly justifies the cost.  There was hope that the congregation would be more involved with singing, but they are just as passive as before.

The high-end professional takes your money without hesitation so he can have bragging rights to sell to other churches.  These professionals know that the majority of churches do not talk to each other or check references.  They also know that most churches are too stubborn to get their acoustics fixed first.  The professional upgrades his home theatre to schmooze and impress his secular clients who are harder to sell products and services to, because they have specific performance goals written into their contracts that they will not compromise on. 

The seventh sound system

The seventh sound system looks impressive, and it also includes a different acoustical design.  The professional suggests that the bigger and “better” new sound system would be a great sales gimmick to attract more people from the church across the street.  More people do come, but because the Church board, did not implement the acoustic plan, congregational singing languishes, and more hardware is purchased to do entertainment style worship, leading most of the people into getting engaged in the show.  The rock concert quality sound system, the video walls, motorized lights, smoke machines, are all adding to the entertainment elements that distract people from the subpar sound quality.  The professional now travels first class.

The eighth sound system

The eighth-sound system the professional designs is used as a gimmick along with multi-media to compete with other online ministries.  Additional digital technology is used to mask the real sound of the church from the online service and to broadcast publicly. The equipment does an excellent job in preventing people from hearing echoes and the poor-quality reverberation of those who have attended church, have learned to put up with.  For those who attend regularly, they like the weekly show.  The right acoustical treatment would have been cheaper, but the enslavement of technology blinds everyone from seeing the bigger picture.  The church continues down the path of substituting worship with entertainment – but still calling it worship because they include words like Jesus, Holy Spirit and God in some of the songs.  After all, it is all about Him.  We can get saved later.  Right!

After getting a contract and deposit, the professional, who used an expensive rental car during earlier visits, shows up in a new luxury car, demonstrating that high end sound systems are needed in every church, regardless of whether they make any meaningful improvements.

The ninth sound system

The ninth sound system the professional designs is to keep the church growth momentum moving forward to attract more people from the other side of town.  Again, acoustics is ignored.  Since most of the other churches have subpar acoustics, most people attend the church with the best music show, the best motivational preacher, the best coffee, the best free food, the shortest sermons, or all the above. Such churches get people addicted to the drug like effect when dopamine and endorphins are released after following a specific ritualistic, high energy program.  Who can pass up that kind of drug and alcohol free high every week? 

Scientists call dopamine and endorphins the Happy Drugs the body naturally releases when stimulated.  A galvanizing, well planned choreographed series of songs, music, visuals, and storytelling events trigger the natural drugs in the brain.  Many people are hooked to this type of worship.  Whenever the show becomes too routine and it does not have enough stimulation, many will look for other churches to get the same buzz.  When that stimulation isn’t enough, then they go back to the first church and start over again.  Biblical teaching becomes secondary or nonexistent and any teaching from a Bible is focus on ways to keep people stimulated by focusing most of their attention on themselves. 

Who knew that sanctuary acoustics could lead to secularizing the church worship into worship entertainment?  Many churches, look and sound like a business rather than a place where Christians come to show their love of God through a holy time of gathering of the faithful – and not the addicted?  Some churches have bought different versions of the ninth sound system purely to attract those who thrive on that kind of stimulation which is a cheap way to get rich in a religious business.  Oh, didn’t you know!  Most people with a higher income greatly support churches that make them feel good.  Being saved or born again, is assumed or skipped over if you give a lot and the message makes you feel better.  That is no different than those high priced motivational speakers living very wealthy lives entertaining people with their secular version of the health, wealth and the prosperity gospel.

The professional tells his neighbor how another church paid for another addition to his house.  If you want to soar with eagles you have to be an eagle.  In case you didn’t know, eagles are classed as scavenger birds.

The tenth sound system

The tenth sound system is designed by an expert.  This is the final new sound system most of us never hear about.  It is a sound system that will never have to be redesigned again.  All that is required in the future is that as equipment ages, you only need to replace what is broken or upgrade the technology as more capabilities become available. 

This sound system is designed the same as the 3rd sound system following the upgraded acoustics designed by someone who does church acoustics and sound systems exclusively and gives a written description of how the worship space will perform after the upgrade.  Even though his professionalism is lacking, everyone is thrilled that congregational singing was finally fixed since the church opened at no added cost.  The acoustic upgrade, which costs a fraction of any of the other sound systems allows this older sound system design to outperform all the other six previous sound systems by 400 to 2500%. (Audio improvements follow a logarithmic scale.)  If your church is past its third sound system design or upgrade, stop, save your money, and fix the room.  The room is essentially screaming that it needs to be fixed and the sound system is always amplifying the problems.

There are a lot of sound contractors who will keep designing, selling, and installing you a newer sound system so they can buy a newer cottage, a bigger home or take another cruise ship vacation this month. The expert looks into the full church and prays that another soul hears the Gospel message and starts living a life with Christ, than seeking religion.

The facts

The fact is, not many churches will really buy 10 sound systems.  Few churches will start with the tenth sound system.  The majority of churches skip steps, but the outcomes are no different.  Many churches start with the first sound system while many newer and wealthier churches start with the 3rd or 4th system.  Other churches go from the 4th, to 7th, or 8th system.  Some churches are on the 3rd or 4th version or the 9th system.  The shortfall of these worship spaces are all predictable by the mere fact that any room that doesn’t have any acoustical treatment or the right method of managing church acoustics, means  the results are always the same.

Equipment

Churches that are on system 3 through 9, often have individuals who are gadget and technology driven.  To some of them, fixing the acoustics is like putting the brakes on technology.  If anything, visit any church out there that has upgraded their sound system in the last 5 years and you will find lots of perfectly good hardware that was deemed useless because it didn’t live up to its promised performance.  The truth is, all of that hardware that is still working or repairable would have never been bought in the first place had the acoustics been ideal.  With good acoustics, the tendency is to buy higher quality technology less often because you know it is going to work the first time and every day after that as the manufacturer designed it.  Every piece of audio hardware is limited by the acoustics of the room it is used in.  That is a hidden secret every equipment manufacturer knows about and intentionally leaves out of their manuals.

If you ask any audio manufacturer these days, many will admit that 50 to 60% of their equipment ends up in churches.  Yet after 70 years of churches with sound systems, in all of that time, the quality of worship hasn’t really improved.  The only change is that in more and more churches the worship is switching from active participation in the pews and seating, to passive worship.  That really isn’t worship – that is being entertained.  That is like being addicted to feel good messages and a focus on what you get out of worship rather than worshiping because you have a true love for God.

What should worship look like, Matthew 22:37-39 He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the lord your god with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like unto it, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

When you are at church, during worship, do people sing and pay attention to the sermon with the focused attention of someone loving God with all their heart, mind and soul, or does it look like people having a good time, swaying to the music, sipping coffee during the sermon, remembering the jokes and the story at the beginning that often has little to do with the short message? 

After working with churches for a long time, these are some of the stories some churches have shared on their journey to getting the performance from their worship space and sound system their congregation deserved.  The ongoing myth that eventually audio technology can replace or put off the need to complete or fix the acoustics of a church is one of the most expensive decisions a church can make.  For some churches, the repeated cycle of redesigning sound systems to reach that elusive goal of perfect sound every few years, costs more than replacing a parking lot, a roof,  more storage, employment for a second pastor or church staff, and so much more.  Technology improvements comes with the illusion that it has the power to defy the laws of physics when it comes to church sound systems. 

A sound system can only perform as well as the room allows it.  You do not have to take my word for it.  Look at any concert hall or performance space that is profitable and it will have acoustical planning, panels or features that help to turn any performance into a memorable event.  The same applies to recording studios.  The better the acoustics, the less time it takes to complete a project, the lower the cost to the customer.  The quick results and lower costs lead to a higher rate of returning customers for future projects.  Recording studios and concert halls depend on repeat business and the single most common elements they have are acoustics.  Why would this model for sound excellence be any different in a church?

What is the difference between an expert and a professional? 

The church sound professional is the knowledgeable salesman with business degrees and higher education, often in unrelated fields for his business or company.  While their company does a lot of churches, church work is not exclusive and is no better than anyone else’s results.  Everything that they do is profit driven.  The professional knows how to say what the customer wants to hear, manipulating the customer into believing they are the best.  The professional shows an extreme level of patience, well-rehearsed business etiquette, confidence, quick with the paperwork, and makes the promise that whatever you ask for, they have the talent to do it.  Professionals count on repeat customers who remember their professionalism that masks their recollection on the unimproved results. 

The church sound expert is the person who works exclusively on churches.  He knows how to accurately diagnose the problems, and is compelled to tell you the truth, whether you like to hear it or not.  He believes that the more informed the church leaders are, the more likely the church will make the right decisions that will save the church thousands of dollars in the future.  He can precisely predict the results before anything is done and rarely makes mistakes.  He can back up the results from past experiences.  The expert will be honest and care more about getting you the right solution that will work the first time, at the expense of any illusion of being a fancy, smooth talking professional.  The expert is often not profit oriented, he cares more about your reputation within the church community, by getting results that count.  He often gets referrals or is asked to fix other rooms in the same church, and never gets a repeat customer.  If the expert must go back and fix the room again, he is not an expert. He is a “professional expert,” you know, the jack of all trades, passing himself off as an expert.

Who is fixing your church today?

A PDF Version of this post is here. the average church buys 10 sound systems photos_s.pdf (jdbsound.com)

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Does sound quality in a Worship Space –

Posted by jdbsound on June 22, 2021

  • Affect church attendance?
  • Affects church finances?
  • Affects church health?
  • Affects a church’s reputation within a local community?
  • Affects how people respond to the Gospel message?
  • Affects what a minister preaches the Gospel?
  • Affects how a minister preaches?
  • Affects people emotionally?

Myths vs Facts: 

According to various hearing organizations such as the American or Canadian Hearing Societies and other health organizations, 8 to 25% of people will have hearing loss or impairment within any community. For some people, the hearing loss is in one ear or both ears. For other people, using a hearing aid does make up the difference so those people can interact socially with others without needing to use sign language. The bottom line is, if a person can have a normal conversation in a living room but has trouble hearing and being engaged in conversations in larger rooms, these people are less likely to attend a church with less-than-ideal acoustics and amplified sound. Hearing loss, the invisible disability, does make social gatherings awkward for many. Numerous people with hearing loss resort to the practice of self-isolation from social events, including weekly worship services. Sound does have an impact on church attendance for those who have any kind of loss or impairment.

Good acoustics and sound system design in a church make the worship space much more accessible and appealing for those with hearing loss within any community. That is why churches that follow the Bible, when it comes to worship space acoustics, experienced a consistent and sustained 10% attendance increase on average 6 to 18 months after upgrading, while churches that just upgrade their sound system and not the acoustics realize a short-term increase of 5% and 2% over long-term follow-ups. Churches that upgraded both the acoustics and sound system saw no significant attendance changes when compared to churches that just upgraded the acoustics. (However, some churches did reinstalling the existing speaker system to take advantage of the better acoustical conditions and expand the performance of the sound system.)

These facts have been consistent with churches where the pastor, church leadership, and local economies had not changed from 3 years before to 5 years after upgrading the acoustics. The conclusion is, no matter how good or popular your pastor is as a preacher and leader, if the acoustics and sound system are not up to Biblical standards, there are many people who are being excluded. Depending on your point of view, some people see this as a denial of service.

Another thing to consider is that an attendance change of 10% also adds up to a 10 – 15% annual increase in tithes and offerings. For a typical 400 seat church, that could represent an income difference of $208,000.00 over ten years or enough money to replace a church roof.

(Fact: Most churches will sell parts of their property, including their parking lot, to pay for building repairs such as roof replacement.)

Church Size400 seating
Before average weekly church attendance230 people
People returning to attending because of hearing improvements10% or 23 people
Average giving per person (Health Research Funding Org. May 2020)$17.00
Weekly giving increases$390.00
Monthly increases$1,564.00
Annual increases$20,280.00
Over 10 years$208,200.00
Stats are provided from client follow-ups of 5, 10, and 20 years which followed the Biblical method of managing church sound.  The sample size is from 130 of the 400 churches that upgraded their acoustics between 1994-2019.


Not knowing if the acoustics of your church are up to Biblical standards could mean that your church is denying people from attending your church more frequently or from ever returning.

While there are many personal and spiritual reasons for people not attending a particular church, our records show that good acoustics combined with a quality designed and adjusted amplifying sound system constantly translates into higher attendance and tithing. For some churches, the better-quality sound translated into higher giving from people who did not have a hearing issue which was unexpected in our research. These were people who responded to a questionnaire where one of the questions asked, if they noticed the higher quality of sound and whether it affected their tithing. The most consistent response was that when the church board invested in its members by making the worship experience better with quality acoustics, then they felt it was worth investing in a church that took care of its own first, and out of the excess, they could better support others including missions. Church sound is not just an emotional experience; it is a physical experience that directly impacts church attendance and finances.

The Biblical standard for church sound comes from the Bible and specifically in the Story of Solomon’s Temple. In following the story literally, we find that what God designed through the hand of King David is a house of worship that makes it possible for modern sound systems to perform at their highest levels. This makes the room compatible for people with all ranges of hearing loss, and it provides ideal sightlines for people who start to learn lip-reading as their hearing declines with age. Solomon’s Temple is also compatible with ADA (access for Disabilities Act) and other similar laws around the world as the Temple had no steps in the sanctuary, making the worship space wheelchair friendly, even before wheelchairs were invented. Solomon’s Temple doesn’t just set the standard for church sound; it sets the standard for all aspects of church worship and building planning.

You should get your worship space assessed and know it’s acoustical score. If there is room for improvement, have a plan in place when your church can afford to upgrade. On the other hand, some churches have upgraded their acoustics as a last-ditch effort to remain relevant in a local community. All of the churches that made such a desperate move are still open, healthy and have expanded their status in their local community. The knowledge we now know about Solomon’s Temple can benefit your church today.

Then there is the issue of quality versus quantity or loudness. Do people want their sound louder or of better quality? Research suggests that most people choose quality over quantity, hands down. This is especially true for people with hearing problems. While those with hearing loss and using aids to help them hear, a loud sound with distortion renders their hearing aid less capable of help than a clean sound at a lower volume.

Sound systems that have too much distortion at any level are a turn-off because distortion can become painful as the sound levels increase at certain frequencies. Many expensive high-end sound systems are distorting long before reaching their maximum loudness levels. Young people who hear distortion tolerate it better than people over 25 years of age. They often have the mindset that if you turn up the sound system loud enough, the distortion goes away. What they are really doing is desensitizing their ears while damaging their equipment at the same time. Ears have a limited natural way to protect themselves by tightening muscles around the ear canal and drum for short-term excessive noises. For older people, these muscles are not as effective, and distortion becomes intolerable, assaulting the ears at lower volume levels as people age. On the other hand, when the sound quality is high and free of distortion, people of all ages enjoy the louder amplified music, considering that an unamplified congregation can sing over 100dB in a good room without complaints.

The quality of the acoustics, combined with a professionally designed sound system, does impact a church in many ways other than just attendance, tithes and offerings. That impact of sound quality can affect church attendance as little as 8% and some churches up to 18%, and that is just by attending to the physical needs of people. Unfortunately, we have no way of measuring how sound affects people emotionally and spiritually and whether that influences attendance. On the other hand, many movie theatres have upgraded their seating, installed higher-quality speaker systems, add substantial amounts of sound-deadening materials, and other details to enhance the movie viewing experience. Judging from the higher ticket prices people are willing to pay, there is little doubt of an emotional experience tied directly to sound quality.

The secular community has tested how sound affects people numerous times. By simply changing the quality of the sound, it affected how people judge the quality of the picture they saw on the screen. In one well-known test, two identical theaters were made to look the same in every detail. The projectors were the same as well as the popcorn and other items people do when watching a movie. While both theaters had carpeted floors and padded seating, one theatre had very visible acoustical panels and hardware on the walls and ceiling, the other theatre had fake panels that had no acoustical properties but looked identical. After having two groups of people listened to the same three movies over three days in both theatres, the majority of the listeners judged the theatre with the proper acoustical treatment to have a better picture and they remember much more details of the movies. Additionally, some thought the seating was more comfortable, the popcorn and drinks tasted better. Some also asked to see some of the movies again in the theatre where they found the seating more comfortable. As a caveat, the sound in the theatre without the acoustical treatment could not perform as loud, even though both sound systems were properly equalized, so the sound levels were set to a lower volume. The acoustically treated room with bass traps was able to perform to lower frequencies without any distortion which augmented the sound quality. This is a clear example of how sound quality affects people emotionally in a big way.

Finally, can the number of people responding to altar calls, faith healings, being slain in the spirit, speaking in tongues, and experiencing holy laughter be attributed to sound quality? For churches seating less than 400 people, that depends. Churches this size or smaller should have good enough acoustics without a sound system if the worship space meets the Bible’s acoustical standard. When the room cannot support quality sound acoustically, the church will resort to using sound systems to make up for the room’s failure to perform. At best, a typical professionally designed and installed sound system can raise the performance by a mere 10 to 15% of the room’s potential performance. When the room is acoustically upgraded, the room performance often improves 50 to 60%. In a bad room, at best, 1 or 2% of the people will respond to a worship service event. In a good room, you can add another 2 to 3% response to such church activities. Sound quality, along with uniformed sound coverage, will impact more people. Whether this translates into adding more people to the church, that is up to the church leadership and how supportive they are in helping people in understanding what just happened.

For larger churches, the sound system is very much part of the worship service all the time, and without the sound system, large churches cannot have worship, let alone get the responses that they may have. The larger the room, the more critical the acoustical management of the space becomes. In larger churches, sound quality has a larger impact on people responding to church events. The responses double between good and bad rooms.

When people like Billy Graham evangelized in outdoor stadiums, the sound was often fairly good everywhere because there were no surrounding room surfaces creating interfering reflections. Nothing was getting in the way of the spoken words. Even the echoes heard were not a problem because those effects were often 15 to 20dB lower in volume than the direct sounds from the sound system speakers. Seeing thousands of people responding at outdoor events is rarely duplicated percentagewise indoors, where the acoustics do not meet Bible standards. That also explains the higher response levels to outdoor events when no tent is used versus using a tent. When Jesus spoke to the multitudes, it was always outdoors. Except for when Jesus confronted the Pharisees, Sadducees, priests, and scribes in the Temple and Synagogues, almost all of the teachings to the crowds were done outside. Teaching the disciples and close followers was whenever Jesus knew they were ready to listen and save that knowledge for later when the Holy Spirit gave them understanding.

Church sound does have a huge, long-term impact on churches affecting their growth, health, unity, and support by members and the local community. What a church does after they have upgraded their sanctuary, is up to the leadership whether to promote the improvements or fall back and take sound for granted. From our experience, there has been no downside to making existing, and new worship spaces meet the Bible’s standard. True, no acoustics or sound system can save a person’s soul, but the quality of church sound can make a difference in reaching that soul.

In the end, upgrading the acoustics that will automatically get the best performance possible from the sound equipment of a church to help people with hearing issues alone. This should be enough reason for making such improvements. Upgrading to solve the congregational singing issue is another good reason. That solution is in the Bible too. The number one reason to upgrade is to have a church where no matter who walks through the doors in your worship space, when the person hears the Gospel message, there will be no doubts in what they have heard and no excuses in saying I didn’t understand the message. That said, no sound system or acoustics can remove the veil over someone’s eyes. That is the work of the Holy Spirit and whether the person’s heart has been opened to understanding and receiving the truth.
When Jesus taught, people either fled away or were changed by His teaching. Those who were being changed stayed and kept following Him to learn more. Those who fled, Jesus knew that they would never change because they loved or believed in something they thought was better, believed in other false gods or a lie. When that Gospel message competes with unmanaged reflections of sound in a worship space, those bad reflections will interfere with the person’s ability to understand the Gospel message. That is something that no one can measure. The idea here is to remove any possibility of bad acoustics and sound from keeping someone from understanding the message as no one knows the battle that is going through a person’s heart and mind when they are hearing a sermon at church.

Many times, ministers had shared with me how their ministry changed before and after the acoustics were upgraded. Some ministers have said, knowing a certain person who was at a point in their lives that they needed a push to understand salvation, the minister would prepare a sermon to reach that person. Before the upgrade, such efforts often lead to some people going to other churches, where they became born again. Perhaps the sound was better over there, or the minister was better at preaching. Who knows? After the acoustics were upgraded, most of those efforts in tailoring the sermons not only reached the person the minister was praying and preaching for, but sometimes other people responded to the same message. Sound quality can impact the confidence in efforts of the minister and everything else that happens at the front of any church. Who would have ever thought that sound quality in a church could affect the confidence of a minister’s ability to teach?

Sound quality does impact every part of church worship more than what people realize. It affects people physically, emotionally and it impacts how they respond to the Gospel. It is time for churches to get their houses in order and follow what the Bible teaches in something that we should not take for granted. If your church is dedicated as houses of worship to God, shouldn’t it SOUND like it is dedicated to God?

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Bible Flow Chart from Solomon’s Temple to Modern Church Design

Posted by jdbsound on June 4, 2021

Here is an updated flow chart from Old Testament to New Testament, to help lift churches out of limiting themselves to entertainment styles of worship.

I think many people would agree that there is no experience better than singing in a church, with a congregation, and where everyone wants to sing.  Can you imagine singing in a church where 70% or more of the congregation sings all the time!  What a concept to be singing in a room where you know that your voice is contributing along with everyone else’s. Singing in unison or in harmony sounds just as heavenly and exciting—singing in a church where it sounds just as good with or without musical instruments contributing or leading the worship.  Many people dream of such a church sanctuary that performs like this.  Do such worship spaces exist?  Can a church be transformed into having such qualities?  

When only 20 to 30% of a congregation is singing, and the rest are passively swaying to the music, some with hands in the air and others almost dancing on the spot, is that the kind of worship the Bible describes?  Why don’t more people sing?  Is it because of the music, the hymns, the sound system, or could it be because the room is not able to support the kind of congregational singing described in the Bible?  If the room can’t support good congregational singing, that becomes an acoustics issue, and when most churches try to fix their worship spaces, they often kill the room to make the sound system perform better which makes the congregational singing worse – never better.

Evidence shows that it is easier for a church to resort to an entertainment style of worship because the secular community has not demonstrated any method of fixing the congregational singing issue in existing churches, and new churches opening these days are void of such performance qualities.  That then begs the question, is the entertainment style of worship honoring God?

In the Bible, there are no examples of musical instruments leading the singing, rather, the instruments followed the singing of the people.  When there is a worship team performing in most churches, the worship leader prompts the congregation to sing, and the performers who play instruments, follow the lead singers, not the congregation.  Often it is because they can’t hear the congregation singing at all, and they use floor or IEM monitors to follow the lead singers.  The reason the musicians and singings can’t hear the congregation is because of a room problem.  This creates a room full of people passively worshiping rather than actively worship.  That is not much different from going to a music concert.  Is worship in music as long or longer than the sermon? 

What does the Bible say about any of this?  God designed a house of worship in the Old Testament.  Why?  Why didn’t God leave it up to David or Solomon to design something that they wanted?  Why was God so heavy-handed and specific to its design.  Was this house of worship to be a relic of the past, something for the future – and something for the present? 

If the temple was to be a relic, then why are there so many specific details?  Why were those details preserved for over 3500 years?  What if in those details are solutions to many of the problems many churches have today – not just with sound problems, but other issues churches struggle with today? 

Study the flow chart. See what happens when 3500 years of history collide with science.  If there are any errors, let me know.  This work is a result of 27 years of fixing and documenting over 300 churches with another 100 plus churches that copied from the 50 church examples posted who informed me of their successes and from studying over1400 churches since 1983.  Visit my blog if you want to know more about the results in following God’s way to design churches and manage sound.

Printable version of the flow chart with a bonus acoustical recipe

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Half Round Diffusers vs. Phase Gradient Diffusers

Posted by jdbsound on May 20, 2021

Many people ask how the panels will look before looking at how they perform when it comes to acoustic solutions.  Here is a short video compare two acoustic treatments that can get similar results and the cost differences without looking at the aesthetics issue. Our experience shows that most church members change their opinions on aesthetics when the acoustical fix does a great job at fixing the room. Congregation members of most churches do agree with one idea. It seems that if the acoustic system fails at improving congregational singing, the panels on the wall have to look good as wall furniture. If the acoustic treatment improves congregational singing, how the panels look doesn’t matter. The aesthetic issues disappear. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below, and we will respond to them right away.

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How to EQ your Church Sound System

Posted by jdbsound on April 26, 2021

Here is a safe way to Equalize a church sound system when the system becomes unstable.

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The great church carpet debate!

Posted by jdbsound on April 23, 2021

Should churches have carpet in the sanctuary and should there be padded seating?

Here is our latest video on this important issue.

Here are the details of how those values came to be.

The standard for a worship space to have a signal to noise ratio of 20 to 25dB and a flat response from 80 to 8000 Hertz comes from studying worship styles and working on hundreds of Churches.  First, you have to look at all of the various elements of worship.  They include:

  • Main Elements (Based on Scriptures and by Jesus Example)
    1. Reading of Scripture
    2. Preaching and Sermons
    3. Questions and Answers
    4. Prayer
    5. Celebration of communion
    6. Congregational singing
    7. Offerings
  • Secondary Elements (items that churches have added to worship after the reformation period.)
    1. Choir or choral music
    2. Music to support congregational singing
    3. Music lead by a worship team
    4. Announcements
    5. Sharing of testimonies
    6. Sharing of prayer requests
    7. Singing performances
    8. Music performances
    9. Music Rehearsals
    10. Child participation
    11. Congregational meetings
  • Event Elements (non-worship uses of a sanctuary.)
    1. Weddings
    2. Funerals
    3. Teaching Events
    4. Conferences
    5. Concerts
    6. Fundraising events
    7. Music Lessons

These are all of the main elements of how the church sanctuary is used over its lifetime.  Not all churches will practice these elements, but the first seven elements in the main portion are universal.  Now here is an aspect that is least understood.  If you have the ideal acoustic conditions for the first seven elements, the worship space can support all of the other elements that all churches will practice at one time or another.

For the rest of the article, here is a link to the PDF file on Carpeting in Churches.

Article by Joseph De Buglio

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There is only one way to solve sound problems in a church, God’s way or the other guys’ way.

Posted by jdbsound on April 16, 2021

If you don’t want to see the video, you can read the story below.

God has a plan to manage and solve every sound problem apart from technical issues such as bad wiring, blown up speakers or damaged microphones. However, God’s plan for church sound does solve all of those performance issues most churches run into.

The other guys’ plan for church sound is to make church sound good enough for entertaining people and good enough to make people think that your sound problems cannot be fixed or you can’t afford to fix them.  The other guy wants churches to be great entertainment facilities to attract people who like the idea of being a Christian but never knowing what a real relationship with Christ is.

The other guy likes to make church sound good enough for people to hear a false message and yet be bad enough to confuse people if the full Gospel message of Jesus Christ is spoken.

The other guy wants you to hear a substituted sermon that includes an indirect feel-good message.  The other guy wants to make the pastor fearful about telling people that they were born sinners in need of repentance, and before becoming born again, you need to acknowledge that speaking such words will make people flee the church.  That is a lie.  The truth is, those who don’t come back are the people who will never let go of their sinful nature.  Those who stay understand their sinfulness and have come to love God more than sin – more than the other guy.

God’s way of managing sound begins with worship spaces that will give you a better building at no extra cost. There is no better way to manage church acoustics at any cost doing it God’s way, and the results are guarantee by Him. God’s way to manage sound works every time. You can trust God. The evidence speaks for itself. Do you really want to trust the other guy? God’s way of doing sound solves all of the problems any existing church may have apart from really bad building design. Yet even in a bad building, applying God’s method of managing sound will give the worship space 100% of the performance the room design can offer, which is better than putting up with such an inadequate space.

The other guy convinces churches to build expensive buildings that don’t support speech or congregational singing. The other guy doesn’t want you to fix the room because a room that doesn’t support real congregational singing discourages those who want to hear the truth from going to such places.  Instead, it makes the room appealing to those who are left behind who have itchy ears.  A room that makes you feel all alone during congregational singing is the ideal room for entertaining people as they do in rock concerts where people sway to the music, raise their hands, mouth the words and become caught up in the moment – that is what you do in a secular concert.

Real congregational singing is when you can hear yourself and your neighbours around you.  Real congregational singing is where you can sing and hear four-part harmonies in every seat in the worship space.  Real congregational singing is when the congregation can sing louder than the sound system or drown out the piano and organ, whenever the audience decides to do so.   Real congregational singing is when you don’t need a worship team and song leader to encourage the people to sing.  Real congregational singing is hearing every word and message clearly when sung.

Real congregational singing doesn’t need a song leader to whip up the audience into a trance-like state to subdue the audience to become receptive to any kind of message.  Real congregational singing doesn’t need repetitive words and phrases to get a subversive message across.  Real congregational singing does not make people feel alone, as if they are the only ones singing praises to the Lord.

God’s method of managing sound is a tool that helps in the preaching of the Gospel message.  The other guys’ method of managing sound causes sound system instability, hotspots and deadspots and subpar intelligibility where words are misunderstood.  The other guy wants words that are misunderstood to create chaos and confusion that can eventually cause division within the church.  The other guy works hard in making everyone from the pastor, the church leaders, the church board, and members feel insecure.  The other guy wants churches to have confidence in relying on programs to try to fill the pews.  The other guy wants the church to water down the gospel message to make the sermon confusing to the unbeliever. The other guy wants to fill the church with unbelievers who think they are Christians to displace the true believers. 

The other guy likes to divide the church by driving the believers into small groups, cell groups, and home bible study groups so that their words will fall onto deaf ears.  Smaller cells are dividing the true believers until they are no longer the influencers of the congregation and where their words are never heard by the others. 

The other guy likes his church pastors to be elevated above others, to be protected because of their imaginary supernatural gifts and the phony hyper connection to God and the Holy Spirit.  The other guy likes his pastors to proclaim the subtle messages of new age teachings of which the other guy, Satan, began in the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3:4-5 “The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.”” The other guy is a seller of the kind of fruit that promotes the message of elevating self.  Promoting self includes wealth and prosperity and a fake feel-good born-again experience. The other guy is the father of people being “holy” on Sundays and living like sinners Monday to Saturday. 

God’s way of managing sound in a church does a better job at separating His sheep from the G.O.A.T.s. God’s way of managing sound helps to build HIS church, not the other guys’ churches. God’s way of managing sound helps people to be confident in the Word and to let their light shine every day of the week. God’s way of managing church sound prevents bad sound from getting in the way of the message.

Church sound affects everyone, whether you realize it or not. You just read how God’s way of managing sound and the other guy’s way of managing sound works.  Do you know whose method you are following when it comes to church sound?  Did you get your information on church sound from the Bible?  If not, what are you going to do about it?

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There is a saying that makes its rounds from time to time and it goes like this.

“Never be afraid to try something new. The “Ark” was built by Amateurs but the Titanic was built by professionals.”

Seriously? Who designed the Ark? God designed the “Ark”, not man. Who designed the Titanic? Man designed the Titanic. When it comes to church acoustics, shouldn’t we be using the acoustical system as shown in the Bible – a design guided by God over all other acoustical systems?

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When to Equalize the sound system of a new church

Posted by jdbsound on April 6, 2021

Whether a new church, after a church renovation or when converting a commercial building into a new church, the sound system is susceptible to humidity changes. The speed of sound changes as humidity changes. Learn about how humidity affects the performance of a church sound system and what you can do to keep your system in peak performance.

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How to Test the Performance of your Church Speaker System

Posted by jdbsound on March 27, 2021

Is there a way to know how much performance you really are getting out of your church sound system? After testing a number of churches, would it surprise you that many churches are getting only 10 to 20% out of their sound systems performance during worship? We show you how to test your church speakers.

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Church Sound Video’s

Posted by jdbsound on March 24, 2021

Starting to create teaching video’s on church sound and acoustics. It is our hope that these video’s will help churches in making better decisions and choices in their future plans. We are not going to do trouble shooting video’s, there are plenty of those. These video’s are going to be about how sound interact with a room and to help people to know when technology can help solve a problem or when managing the acoustics is the better solution.

Here is the link to the first two video’s.

Please let us know what you think in the comment section.

Joseph De Buglio

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Do Churches that build what they want, get what they need?

Posted by jdbsound on January 19, 2021

When it comes to houses of worship, there is one fundamental question that Christians need to be honest with themselves.  Do we design houses of worship based on what we need or what we want?  The evidence that we can see and hear as a person visits houses of worship is that Churches are designed and built around what they want, and after they move in, they expect the building to give them what they need.  Many Churches seem to spend unlimited amounts of money after they move in to make the room give them what they need, and the results almost always come up short. 

Since the edict of tolerance by Emperor Constantine, there has been a search for the perfect house of worship.  It is supposed to be an ideal place for Christians to gather, hear the scriptures, study the Gospel and sing praises to God.  After building millions of churches around the world since then, that perfect worship space has been elusive.  When it comes to worship space design, it looks like the church is following a world view of thinking, which is similar to those who believe in evolutionism, materialism and atheism.  The evolutionist believes that if we keep building enough churches with random designs, we will eventually get it right over an endless period of time.  The materialist believes that there is a yet to be discovered equation that can explain to us how to create the perfect sound for worship.  The atheist believes that we can design churches without needing God.  Not one of these world view designs has created a building that meets all of the needs of Christian Worship as detailed in the Bible. Yet, every church, church board, and building committee prays to God for help in designing new worship spaces, but they don’t turn to God’s Word for answers as part of the process.  No one is answering the question of whether we are to design for what we need or what we want!

Why are Christians looking for answers to this problem outside of the Bible, the book that changed their lives?  The Bible, a timeless book, has a design for a house of worship that does give the Christian church everything that they need –  yes, even in these modern times.  The Bible teaches that the scriptures are sufficient to give us what we need and not what we want.  God is our loving heavenly Father, who wants to take care of His children.  GOD gave us a blueprint pattern to follow, which was designed by HIM through David in the Old Testament.  It is a perfect space for Christian Worship today. Shouldn’t the Christian community follow the Bible in what we need as a house of worship and leave the idea of what we want to our personal lives?

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Acoustical Proof of Worship Space Failures

Posted by jdbsound on December 30, 2020

Almost every church has a sound system. It is supposed to be a tool to preach the Gospel message with. When that goal is achieved, it turns out that such a sound system is also excellent for the singing portion of the worship. In a survey done a few years ago, most church sound systems failed at meeting all of the requirements for worship. During the survey, approximately 90% of the worship spaces were limiting the performance of the sound system. In some cases, where churches had expensive “State of the Art” sound systems with the latest digital technology, the acoustical condition of the room limited the performance of the sound systems to 70% or less.

These sound systems were limited in many ways, including even when the congregation can sing over 85dB, but if the sound system was even louder than 83dB, people vigorously complained that the sound system was too loud. Other issues included the need for expensive drum shields, which can cost thousands. Many churches are turning to In-Ear Monitors, and all of the hardware needed to go with the system that cost thousands. In many churches, they were limited in the number of open microphones that could be used, or everyone had to have headset microphones and so on. What is also distressing is that most churches are investing more money into technology and replacing the technology in cycles of 15 years or less- long before the equipment is worn out or obsolete.

What would happen if you could fix the acoustics of the worship space permanently with an acoustical system that can be repainted in future renovations to last the lifetime of the church building? What if that permanent fix could get 90 to 100% performance out of your existing sound system or any future system expansion? What would happen if you only needed to replace sound equipment whenever it failed because of age, rather than trying out the latest technology? What does the latest technology get you in a room that is underperforming acoustically? Does investing into the newest hyped up devices, making promises that can only be reached if the room is fixed in the first place, do anything to help people understand the Gospel better, or is it better to just pacify people through a better entertainment quality sound system? What happens if we turn to the Bible to look for answers? The only example of a worship space is in the details of Solomon’s Temple. That was an edifice that was built over 3500 years ago, and if it was truly The House of God, then why did God allow it to be destroyed?

Is there any proof or evidence that if a church is designed like Solomon’s Temple as it is detailed in the Bible, it would not be suitable for modern worship today?  Are there any existing churches that have the same details of Solomon’s Temple, less the gold? If there is, how does it sound? If no place exists, then why isn’t there at least one?  Does Solomon’s Temple have anything to offer modern churches today? How can a building that some say is just a myth, a building that is said to have never existed, be relevant today? What could ancient technology possibly be usable in an ultra-modern church? Was there something that was in Solomon’s Temple that is usable in churches today, even if the modern church doesn’t resemble anything close to Solomon’s Temple? If the technology of Solomon’s Temple is transferable into existing churches, what does it say about the existence of Solomon’s Temple? Can a myth fix modern churches?  Has any of this technology been applied to existing churches? 

Jesus gave us the last supper, the communion that all Christians celebrate.  By that example, shouldn’t we follow the example of how to design a house of worship that Jesus designed – if we believe John 1:3 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”?  Why do churches go against what Jesus did for us in this issue? After all, Jesus is alive today. Why do we treat Jesus as someone who is exclusively from the past?  When did Jesus and God stop being in the present?

In the Gospel of John, it begins with “in the beginning was the WORD and the Word was with God.”  This is about the past and how all things came to be.  At the end of the Gospel, after Jesus rose from the dead, John said, (John 20:31)  “but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”  Here, John clearly makes a transition where Jesus in not just the Son of God in the past, but is the Son of God in the present.

As a Christian, the teaching is that the whole Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is the word of God for the past – lessons from which to learn from; for the present – how we are to live day to day with God today; and for the future – to know where we go when we die and how the future of the world will be. Every part of the Bible has something to teach us today, and that includes what we should know about Solomon’s Temple. Was the destruction of Solomon’s Temple of God’s failure to protect His House, or was it to tell us that the details of Solomon’s Temple has valuable technology that is meant to be used in all churches after Jesus rose from the dead?  Here is a link that teaches about how Solomon’s Temple is relevant to churches today.

Here is a link to photo albums of over 40, of the 400 plus churches that have already applied this ancient technology of Solomon’s Temple with amazing results. Any church can benefit from this technology today.  The cost of such a system that can help save lives is priceless, but it is possible to add it to all churches, especially when it costs less than a typical sound system upgrade or replacement.

Please leave any comments you might have in the comment section below.

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What Would Jesus Build?

Posted by jdbsound on December 2, 2020

Jesus would build exactly what he has already designed for us. Christian don’t follow what Jesus designed because most view anything from the Old Testament as something that is irrelevant today. That is from the old covenant. Oh!

In the New Testament, Jesus did not hint or suggest how houses of worship or churches should be designed, or did he? In Matthew 5:17 Jesus said “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Next we have to look at John 1:3  “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” When you read the first 5 verses of the Gospel of John, he is talking about Jesus. Jesus was there for creation, and all things were created through Jesus. Then when you skip to 1 Chronicles 28:19, King David told his son, Solomon, that it was the hand of God that guided him in the design of the temple. God also made him to understand what was being designed. When you put the other parts together, beginning with all things were created through Jesus, and nothing was created without Him, then that means it was Jesus who guided the hand of King David.

As a relic from the past, I can understand why people are so fascinated about Solomon’s Temple. The Ark of the Covenant, the gold on all of the walls and floor, and the gold covering the two giant sized Cherubs over the Ark of the Covenant. It all seems too good to be true, or is it? Since the temple was built and destroyed, many scholars, scientists and historians have been either, trying to validate its existence, seeking something spiritual, or think that there is something supernatural about the building. There are also people waiting in the sidelines for the chance to rebuild another temple. They all have their reasons, but most of them believe that there will be some kind of restoration, and building a third temple will move revelations forward. When man decides to build the third temple in Jerusalem, will not change God’s timing for future events. God will decide that and the unsaved people of the world will have one more chance to change where they will spend eternity.

When you think about it, the second temple, which was built with the best of intentions, was turned into an atrocity and few hundred years later. The temple was symbolizing all of the corruption and enslavement of the Israelites who were beaten into submission by the heavy burden of legalism enforced by the Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes, long before the Roman Empire ruled Israel. When the Romans arrived, the religious leaders simply added some more rules to keep the peace with their new roman masters.

When you put it all together, Jesus designed the temple Solomon built. When you look at the temple from the perspective that Jesus designed it, then you should be asking the questions Why, and does it have relevancy today?

The knowledge of Solomon’s Temple that I am exposing has nothing to do with anything mysterious, supernatural or any mysticism. When Jesus cast the money changers out of the temple, he said “My House” in Matthew and Mark and said My Father’s House in John. Jesus said that the temple was His and His Father’s house. This was a copy, and a poor quality version compared to the first temple. Did Jesus claim this house because it was dedicated as God’s house or did He claim ownership because of where it was located?

For those who have come to realize this truth, Jesus didn’t have to give us a new church design in the New Testament. He already gave us that in the Old Testament, and when Jesus said he came to fulfill the law, I think he was also saying that anything that was designed in the past is a gift for us today. This may seem like a stretch, until you start applying modern science to Solomon’s Temple. You know – the temple Jesus designed.

Wait a second, are you saying that modern churches should be designed like Solomon’s Temple? Are you out of your mind? Who can afford such a building – consider this. When you remove the gold, you have the most compatible worship space to modern Christian Worship. They building method of the temple in modern times is a very affordable building that includes all the space a typical church these days needs. Ok then, are all churches going to look the same? The Holy Place or sanctuary portion of the temple is a roadmap that should not be compromised. How you design the rest of the building is up to you. Why would we want to design such a space? Perhaps it is because it is the ideal space to have the best worship experience possible on earth before going to heaven. It could be the closest thing to heaven we can experience here on earth, but we don’t know for sure because there is no building around that is completely designed that way.

Consider this, most church buildings cannot physically support all of the worship, detailed in the Bible in both the Old and New Testament, however, Solomon’s Temple, without the gold can. (There are already hundreds of churches that are using sound management from the Bible that suggests that Solomon’s design would perform even better.) Jesus had to have designed Solomon’s Temple. Why? So it can lay in a pile of dirt under a Mosque? Why else would Jesus guide the hand of David? What was so important in the design of the temple for the only man in History, David, to be touched by God? Many in the Bible have seen or been touched by Angels, but is was different for King David. The reason why it was Jesus that touched David, is because Jesus had touched people later on in the New Testament. Not even Moses or anyone else had such an experience until Jesus came to us in the flesh years later. Jesus said He came to fulfill the law. He had to, because He wrote them. It is possible that Solomon’s Temple was meant to be a gift for us to use today? Isn’t it time that we study God’s Word from a different perspective and embrace that gift and start experiencing church worship as God wants for us, or have we been too prideful and sinful to recognize His teachings, even when it comes from the Old Testament?

For those of you who think that Solomon’s Temple was a myth, how does a myth fix the performance of sound systems and acoustics in over 400 modern churches today? How many churches have to be fixed before using the methods from the Bible are considered standard practice in the Christian Church Community?

To learn of these secrets, have a look at this PDF file and let me know what you think.

Joseph De Buglio – in HIS service

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Did you know that there are Secrets in the Bible still being Discovered?

Posted by jdbsound on July 17, 2020

Does God say anything about modern church design?

What does the best sounding church for worship sound like?

Is it possible to have the best balance for speech, music and congregational singing?

Does the quality of the acoustics and sound system at your church honor God or Man?

The battle for a person’s soul is a constant war on many levels. The people involved are ministers, preachers, scholars, experts, archeologists, historians, prayer warriors, educators, and ordinary Christian people who provide different ways of bringing the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The tools we have are Bibles, books, reading materials, colleges, universities, missions, donations, churches, multimedia, sound systems, and more.

Christians are taught in the sufficiency of scriptures. Many believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and never question it. Some of the knowledge in the Bible is still teaching us today. It is only now that we are learning how relevant it is for all Christians and Jews.

Since the beginning of when Jews, and later Christians, started to build larger spaces for teaching and worship, most projects would run into common problems. These problems have been like a plague for Synagogues and Churches alike. The solutions to those issues seem elusive or beyond reach and yet the remedies to most of those issues have always been in the Bible.

For the rest of this article,   Bible secrets in the open

By Joseph De Buglio

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What costs more? Drum Booth or Fixing a Sanctuary?

Posted by jdbsound on June 10, 2020

What costs more?  Or, what will give you the most bang for the buck?  Did you know that for less than the cost of a fully enclosed drum booth, you can fix all of the acoustical issues of a typical sanctuary?

Here is a typical drum booth churches are buying.  This booth retails for $4,300.00 and is often on sale for $3,000.00 plus shipping.

Here are all of the sound problems the drum booth solved. Keeps the drums out of the mix and the people in the front of the church have less noise from the drum kit. The downside to all of this is that often, the drummer plays louder which leads to many getting tennis elbow, and hearing damage often occurs.  There is one extra cost to include.  Often drummers need headsets or floor monitors to hear everyone else on stage.  What is often overlooked is that churches should have the drummer sign a liability waiver that the drummer will not sue the church for premature hearing loss and permanent damage to their arms due to tennis elbow.  Drummers often have to play louder in order to hear themselves inside a drum booth or shield.

 

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Here is an example of a modest church that decided to fix the worship space instead of getting a drum shield or booth.  The material costs including the paint were $1,000.00.  Three people over 3 Saturdays completed the installation.  If you look carefully at the photo below, six months later, and there is no drum booth around the drummer.  They don’t need one anymore.

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The following is a list of the planned sound issues solved:

  1. No more standing waves
  2. No more deadspots or hotspots
  3. Eliminate flutter echoes often heard off the back walls on stage.
  4. No more excessive bass

Bonus fixes included and no extra cost:

  1. Better speech intelligibility
  2.  Increases the signal to noise ratio to 21dB throughout the room
  3. Most of the floor monitor spill was gone
  4. Less sound system distortion
  5. No more bass distortion
  6. Equalized the room to remove excess energy at 400 Hertz -20dB
  7. Went from 18 inches to 38 inches of before feedback,
  8. The room is +/- 1.5dB throughout the room
  9. Makes the room easier for the musicians to perform
  10. Improved sound for people with hearing aids
  11. Before about 15% of the congregation was singing, now its around 60% after 4 months
  12. The sound team is having an easier time mixing.
  13. No drum shield of any kind
  14. Drummers are playing quieter without being asked to.
  15. The drummer can hear everyone on stage with minimum floor monitor support
  16. The pastor is less fatigued after preaching
  17. No more sound complaints if the sound is too loud
  18. The sound system sounds so much better
  19. The bass from the sound system is much more dynamic
  20. The bass from the bass guitar is cleaner and not overpowering any of the other instruments

These are all of the comments various church members, musicians, and the sound team shared after the first 4 months of the acoustical changes.  All they were hoping for was less bass drowning out everyone on stage, to eliminate hotspots and deadspots in the audience area and on stage, and to stop the loud reflections off the back wall affecting the musicians and the pastor when preaching.  The diffusers gave them 23 improvements instead of just three of them.  There is no other custom or “off the shelf” acoustical system that can do all of that in one step unless you have unlimited cash at 30 times the cost.

Drum Shield or Fixing a worship space.  For the cost of a drum booth, you can fix a church up to 800 seating with some sweat equity.

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Half Round Tubes -Performance vs Aesthetics

Posted by jdbsound on June 9, 2020

Diffusers are amazing tools when used properly in a church. They solve a variety of problems in one step. Nothing performs better.

One question that is often asked, can you turn the diffusers sideways?  This is a great question, and the answer is based on our anatomy.  As humans, our ears are on the side of our heads.  This means we get our sound information for direction and clarity of speech on the horizontal plane or side to side. The time difference between our ears give us directional info to identify where a sound is coming from, and for speech, it helps us to focus on someone talking to us.

For diffusers to work correctly and to solve multiple problems in one step, their orientation is critical.  When applied vertically, the diffusers can solve between 10 – 29 acoustical issues in one step. No other acoustical system can do this.undefined

The problems solved or reduced are:

  1. standing waves
  2. deadspots
  3. hotspots
  4. eliminate echoes
  5. eliminate flutter echoes
  6. bass build-up,
  7. speech intelligibility,
  8. increases the signal to noise ratio up to 25dB throughout the room
  9. eliminate or less floor monitor spill,
  10. less sound system distortion
  11. less bass distortion
  12. helps to equalize the bass and mid frequencies
  13. gain before feedback,
  14. even distribution of sound,
  15. elimination of delayed speakers in most cases,
  16. better stereo imaging for stereo sounds (when the right equipment is used)
  17. higher attention span,
  18. makes the room easier for the musicians to perform
  19. improved sound for people with hearing aids
  20. better congregational singing
  21. easier for the sound-person to get an excellent mix
  22. it can reduce or eliminate the need for drum shields or both
  23. makes the room less fatiguing for the minister to preach
  24. fewer to no complaints if the sound system is louder
  25. improves the sonic quality of the sound system
  26. can add up to an octave of clear bass from the sound system
  27. better bass from musical instruments both acoustic and amplified
  28. it helps to make the room more relaxing to hear speech and music.
  29. lowers the sound levels from HVAC systems

If your church has a pipe organ, you will want to know this. One of the most interesting characteristics we have learned with using this method is that for some churches that want to maintain a longer reverberation time, plus have all of the benefits of better speech quality, the half-round tubes can increase speech intelligibility without changing the reverberation time. No other acoustical system can do that. For churches that have a pipe or electronic organ and want better speech quality, this method allows a church to balance the need for music and speech.

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When diffusers are installed horizontally, the list of benefits is much shorter.

  1. standing waves,
  2. bass build-up,
  3. Helps to equalize the bass and mid frequencies
  4. It can add up to an octave of clear bass from the sound system and musical instruments.
  5. Can only reduce echoes, not eliminate them

There is more to these differences.  Because we have ears on the sides of our heads, the rate of control is exponential when the diffusers are mounted vertically.  One of the principals of how these diffusers work is by phase cancellation, which is the same technique as in noise-canceling headsets.  The more random the sounds are scattered, the more the overall energy is canceled from the physics principle of phase cancellation.  As a result, when mounted vertically, the diffusers can get up to 40dB of energy reductions or absorption by air friction.  When you mount the diffusers horizontally, you will only get about 10dB of the overall reduction.

The reason horizontally mounted tubes are less effective is because you are creating large reflective surfaces on the horizontal plane that reflects enough energy back into the room, which it is adding noise back to the listener that in turn, reduces the signal to noise ratio. This cancels almost all of the benefits of using half round diffusers horizontally.

Here is a simple experiment you can do yourself. Find a round container that is at least 7 to 8 inches round.  You can every use a large cooking pot, planter, or roll up some cardboard.  Now say a bunch of words into the side of the container vertically.  After talking for about 15 seconds, turn the container sideways, and talk for another 15 seconds.

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What just happened? Like most people, they notice that when the container was horizontal or sideways, there is a distinct reflection. When you turn the container vertically, the reflection goes away.

This simple experiment demonstrates how powerful the half-round shape is.  In the vertical position, when the half rounds are placed on a wall in groups, you can adjust the spacing between the tubes to determine how much reflection you want, plus shape and equalize the sound at the same time.  This is a compelling way to manage church sound once you understand how effective and simple this system works.

Just as a reminder, for all churches, you have to have a balance between absorption and reflection. The half-round tubes are not always a one and done solution. It has to be part of an integrated system. Typically, for most churches, if you have carpeted floors and padded seating, that is often all the absorption needed. If your church doesn’t have carpet and padded seating, then you will have to add enough absorption to the walls to match what would be on the floor. That is a narrow window to get it just right.

For churches that play their music loud, some people wait in the foyer until the sermon starts or they wear hearing protection during the music portion of the worship service. With the half round system, it allows the sound system to perform 10 to 20dB louder with fewer people needing hearing protection. People turn to hearing protection when there is too much distortion in the sound. A distorted sound is irritating and painful to many. People turn to hearing protection, even when the sound levels are well below 85dBa. When a room is diffused properly with half rounds, it reduces or eliminates bass and mid-range distortion. With distortion out of the way, the sound at 85dBa becomes pleasant and easy to listen to. That pleasantness remains constant over 100dBc. Consider this – in a church with this kind of acoustical system with the right room shape and height, it is common for un-amplified congregational singing to be around 100dBc. When that happens almost no one complains. Why? Because there is no distortion. Half-round diffusers prevent distortion. This transforms any worship space into a music-friendly space at any sound level.

Church acoustics and amplified sound play a significant roll in the health of a church. When sound is good, it helps to grow the congregation. When sound is bad, it gets in the way of providing a clear message, that leads to less attendance which means fewer people tithing. In the end, there is nothing more important than preaching the Gospel in the best clarity possible.

To ultimately answer the question of Aesthetics vs performance, the smart answer is this. When an acoustical system works, people don’t mind how it looks.  If anything, they grow to like it.  When other acoustical systems are used, they often fall short on the expected and promised performance.  As a result, those systems become more like wall furniture and in some cases, artwork.  This drives up the cost of those systems.  Here is the truth most experts and salespeople will never share or admit.  To get the equivalent performance of the half-round tubes as a Do It Yourself project compared to ready-made products, the cost difference is 35 to 1.  A church that fixes their acoustics with cardboard tubes as a DIY including paint and hardware for a 400 seat church may spend $2,000.00 installed.  A ready-made system of equal performance will cost a minimum of 75,000.00 installed.  That is equal to fixing 35 churches of the same size.  Even if the same church buys custom made half-round diffusers, they may spend $20,000.  When compared to other acoustical system costs, that is enough money to fix 3 churches.

There is something to be said about how people react to anything put on the walls.  When people see cloth-covered panels, there is an expectation of good sound.  When that doesn’t happen, people often resign to the notion that the problem is too complicated and too expensive to be properly fixed or that the problem is impossible to fix.  Most people just put up with the problem and accept it as normal and don’t bother with complaining.  That is a lie created by bad information and myths that keep churches from getting the sound they deserve.  Sound excellence is a necessity, not an option.

When an acoustical system works, people don’t mind how it looks.  When it doesn’t work as promised, it has to look amazing.  Do you want a church that looks good and has fewer people attending or a church that is full all the time regardless of how it looks?

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Hot Spots in Worship Spaces

Posted by jdbsound on May 25, 2020

Hotspots and Deadspots are sound effects most often created by unmanaged room reflections that are out of synchronization with direct sounds from a pulpit or preaching position, and made worse when the wrong sound system design is used.

To learn more of what you can do about it, read this article.

In case you don’t know this, sound systems cannot eliminate deadspots if it is created by the room in the first place. Adding more speakers will degrade the overall performance of the sound system, including making other areas of the worship space harder to hear clear sound.

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Church Sound. It’s all about cause and effect.

Posted by jdbsound on May 20, 2020

Sound system design has nothing to do with the equipment you use. It is about the location of speakers used to broadcast into a room and the interaction of the room onto the speaker system design.  It doesn’t matter if you are using line arrays or point and shoot speakers, if speakers are placed in the wrong position, both systems will have the same limitations.  It is all about cause and effect.  A sound engineer needs detailed knowledge, experience, and wisdom in understanding room acoustics or when to know enough to ask help from an acoustician to understand when to use which system.  Did you know that the room will tell you where the best places are to put speakers? 

The room will tell you when to use one of the following techniques:

  • Distributed Sound System
  • Central Cluster or single speaker system
  • Left Center Right system or cluster
  • Left Right System
  • Live Stereo Hybrid System
  • Hybrid Distributed Sound System

The geometry, reverberation, surface materials, acoustical management system, and room volume all have to be accounted for before creating a sound system design profile.  After all of this is done, you can start to determine the size of the sound system needed. 

If you think you need to do some acoustic treatment or the church has already been treated, it should not be using the spot treatment method, which means placing a few panels on a wall or two.  Whenever you add something to one wall or any part of a wall, it affects the whole room.  This also includes the placement of screens, lighting, and other items related to multimedia.  Even room renovations change how a room sounds. It is all about cause and effect. The acoustics of a church must use a planned system that treats the whole room.

A spot fix is when enough panels are added to solve one problem.  In acoustics, when there is a problem, there are always other glitches than masked other difficulties that you can’t hear and often are not shown in acoustical measurements.  Here is an example: Placing sound absorbers on the front face of a balcony will get rid of an echo.  However, the added absorption often makes the mids and bass stronger, which usually makes speech and music sound muddier.   This then requires adding bass traps, which are expensive.  While you can use aggressive equalization to make the sound system better for speech, you will need a different equalization for music.  While these efforts can somewhat help with amplified sound as long as someone remembers to switch the EQ settings, the congregational singing is degraded until bass traps are added.  Add the bass traps.  It is all about cause and effect.

However, you may have noticed at after treating the front face of the balcony and adding the bass traps, there is now a softer echo off the back wall or the reflections off the side walls are much worse depending on the shape of the room.  Reflections off the side walls are detected when clapping from the front of the center stage.  Those reflections from the sides or back interfere with speech and music intelligibility.  It is all about cause and effect.  Change the EQ of the sound system.  Helps for speech, doesn’t help for music at all.  In spite of changes to the sound system, speech is worse in the back half of the room.  Add speakers to the back half of the room.  It helps people with good hearing and doesn’t help people with hearing aids.  Add a delay to the speakers.  People with hearing aids do better, but they are still no happy because someone is sitting in their spot where they know the sound is better. 

Should you apply something to the sidewalls, then the echo off the back wall becomes much more pronounced and interfering with hearing on stage.  Switch to in-ear monitors.  It’s all about cause and effect.

Now the drums are too loud. Add panels to the stage or get a drum shield that costs more than fixing all of the acoustical problems in one step.  With the drum shield in place, the drummer plays louder because they can’t hear themselves properly.  The insides of the drum enclosures are easily overloaded, making it harder for the drummer to hear all the different drums and cymbals.  After additional dampening to the drums, the drummer playing even louder, getting elbow and wrist injuries.  Sound is still bleeding through the shield, even after adding a roof to it.  Some churches have turned the drum shield into a self-contained room with air-conditioning as a permanent fixture on the stage.  It is all about cause and effect.

For the time being, congregational singing has become a chore for most, resulting in less than 20% of the audience singing.  To get people singing again, you pay singers and musician to lead the worship, and to keep the talent to stick with the music entertainment program.  This helps for a while, and before long, you are back to less than 20% of the audience singing.  Bring in larger screens, add lighting effects, and use lighting to help create a mode to encourage people to sing.  Again, this helps for a while, but participation drops back to 20% again.  These objects change the acoustics of the room, and everyone just puts up with the sound degradation.  It’s all about cause and effect.

In the meantime, the sound system has been replaced, church attendance is up, but fewer people come to prayer meetings or Bible studies.  Turn to home groups.  At first, home groups bring in more people, but as the church continues to grow, more people are slipping through the system and are not included in the home groups or any spiritual support.  Fewer people are growing as there is no alternative for mid-week meetings at the church.   The preaching is dynamic; the entertainment is awesome, fewer people are actively involved in the church, and more people become adherents with no real motivation to join, and become members, and learn more about their faith.  The church is full of Sunday worshipers unable to defend the Gospel, but they know and singing the choruses sung by the church all the time.  It is about being part of something that is free of guilt, responsibility, and not knowing what salvation really is about.  It’s all about cause and effect.

Wait a minute, what does any of this have to do with acoustics and sound system?  The sound system is just equipment and technology.  The room is just a set of walls, floor, and ceiling.  When empty, they do nothing.  When energized with sound, there is an immediate cause and effect that impacts on every part of the worship service.  Sound affects how people react to events in a church.  Consider how people respond to movies at a theatre.  When the sound is excellent, the audience will tell you how good the picture looks.  When the sound is poor, people don’t come back.  How much more does that impact a church?  Again, it’s all about cause and effect.

Next, check the acoustical condition of your church.  Have your church properly tested for all aspects of worship, not just the performance of the sound system and hardware.  Test for congregational singing.  Test for audience participation for prayer and testimonies from the seating area of your church.  Check for the signal to noise ratio on the stage and in the audience.  Check the frequency response of the room and ignore the reverberation time of there is more than a 20dB difference in the response of the worship space.  If your worship space passed, then you don’t need any help.  Your sound system is already working perfectly.  If you have any concerns or want better performance from your sound system, fix the room.  It’s all about cause and effect.

After the sound system and worship space has been upgraded, start mid-week Bible Studies at the church.  If people come to the church mid-week, the congregation will become stronger and healthier.  Congratulation, you have just successfully upgraded the sound of your church to meet all what a congregation needs.

The story you have just read happens in many churches.  It is based on the testimonies of hundreds of churches around the world.  If this doesn’t sound like your church, have your worship space tested anyway if it hasn’t ever been properly tested. The results can be a surprise or a blessing. 

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What happens when Church Architecture, Technology, Science, and meets up with the Bible.

Posted by jdbsound on April 24, 2020

The Bible has a lot to say about how a modern church should be designed.  Solomon’s Temple was not just a house for God to dwell in, it was also meant to be a tool to help preach and spread the Gospel in the present.

After reading this article, please pass it on and make comments below.

***  Article: Gods Authority in Church Design ***

This article is the most comprehensive study of King Solomon’s Temple I have ever written.  If you believe John 1:3, then you know who really designed Solomon’s Temple.  King David only penned the details of the new temple.  King David told his son Solomon that it was the hand of God that guided his hand.  What was so important for God to design the temple rather than letting a man design in with whatever came into his thought?

This article gives a stronger case for what the “Inspired Word of God” means.

Winning people to Christ is not a game or something given to chance.  We need all the tools possible to have an impact on this world.  Jesus is Lord, and if your church is dedicated to God, Jesus is Lord over your church building too.

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Increasing the quality of Streaming Churches Messages from Home or office

Posted by jdbsound on April 22, 2020

With all of our churches closed, many have turned to YouTube or live-streaming of church messages. After listening to many of them, there is a sound quality issue I want to bring up. Many of the videos I have seen and heard, sound like there were recorded in a cave – a bad room. If you are limited in the quality of the room, perhaps you can use cardboard tubes to get the best sound quality out of your message. Adding carpet on the floor will quiet the room down, but often it makes the room bassy sounding. To balance that out, add the tubes on all the walls, as shown in the photo below.

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You don’t have to be as fancy as this, but getting the best clarity in your voice is important in communicating such an important message online.

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This is the most effective to make the space you are working in to have a sound quality that most people are accustomed to hearing every day.  If you are like me, when the sound on my favorite shows is of poor quality, I switch to something else in the first 30 seconds.  Good sound is more important than a good picture.

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Acoustical Quiz

Posted by jdbsound on April 9, 2020

  1.  What is the difference between sound absorption and phase cancellation?
  2. How many decibels is equal to a coefficient value of 1 in decibels?
  3. How much does sound decay when you double the distance outdoors in decibels?
  4. How much does sound decay over distance when indoors in decibels?
  5. When you double the number of loudspeakers of the same power, how much does the sound increase in decibels?
  6. When you have two loudspeaker side by side and wire one speaker out of phase from the other, how much is the sound reduction in decibels?

When you know the answers, write them in the comment box below.

In the meantime – – – enjoy.

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Article Published in Church Sound Magazine

Posted by jdbsound on March 30, 2020

Late last year, Kevin Young, freelance music and tech writer, professional musician, and composer ask to write up a profile article on JdB Sound Acoustics.  After several interviews, he submitting the article to Church Sound Magazine which is part of Pro Sound Web.  Pro Sound Web has published a number of my projects over the years and they are a great resource for churches for all things about church sound, lighting, and AV.

Removing Barriers: The Motivations Of Long-Time Worship Acoustics & Systems Designer Joseph De Buglio

Post below any comments, questions about the article or about church sound in general.

Link to a PDF version of the article. Removing Barriers

Thank you.

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Stop Sharing your Toothbrush/Microphone

Posted by jdbsound on March 17, 2020

Back in 2006, I wrote this original article about how sharing microphones can pass on colds, flues and other illnesses. In 2009, the manufacturer, Point Source Audio asked to update the article to promote good microphone etiquette after the SARS in 2008. Now with Covid-19, this is another opportunity to educate people about how to better protect themselves from communicable infections.  Since Jan 12, 2020, thousands of people have read or downloaded the article.  I thought it was time to dust off the original post from 2006.

Here is a link to the original article. Personal Microphones as toothbrushes 2006
The footnotes are interesting. Here is an example. I can’t authenticate this clip, but it is a great story.

There was a story about Elvis when recording – all morning they did take after take, none sounded right. During lunch, someone pulled the windscreen off his special mic, rinsed it in the sink – to find a bunch of black junk coming out of it. Did that a few times, put it on a low-heat hair dryer, put it back on the mic. After lunch, Elvis “hit it” with just one take.
From Blake Engel, All Church Sound

*** UPDATE ***

I’ve mentioned on other posts about using plastic food wrap or balloons over microphone capsules and windscreens.  This idea only works great if the plastic is removed between the uses of a microphone.   Passing microphones around is not a good idea either.  If you can get a second mic, the better.

 

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Protecting your worship team, pastor and congregation from Covid-19. Update on sharing Microphones

Posted by jdbsound on March 8, 2020

Covid 19 is a new version of the Coronavirus that has gone from animals to humans.  It is so new that scientists are still scrambling to figure out how it spreads.  The speed of how fast it is spreading and the fatality rate is still changing. How do you protect yourself from such an awful series of events?

When people who were isolated on a cruise ship were getting the virus, did they already have it, or was it being spread around by the ships’ ventilation system?  It makes you wonder.  The reason for raising the alarm is because, in churches, we share microphones, and microphones are a way to spread around harmful bacteria, common cold, and the flu.  Since Covid-19 can remain active for hours or days, depending on the type of surface it lands on, sharing a microphone can be as bad as sharing a toothbrush.

I’ve written in the past that worship leaders and pastors if they can afford it, they should own their own microphones and take personal responsibility for the cleaning and care of their microphones.  The reality, most churches can’t afford to buy microphones for every person who uses one.  With a virus that is spreading around so fast, it would be easy for a person to spray moisture onto a microphone, pass it on to another person and if that person inhales without moving the mic away, could they get the virus?  While the possibility seems remote, until we know everything about Covid-19, until there is a vaccine for it, we can still take precautions to prevent or slow down the spread.

Here is what we do know.  If you have gotten the annual flu shot, it may not protect you from Covid-19, but if you don’t have the flu or cold, if you get Covid-19, your chances of living through it is 100% unless you have other illnesses at the time you get it.  Getting the flu shot, even now, will most like you allow you to live through getting Covid-19 if you were to get it.  Cleaning hands often and not touching your face is always good advice.  Sprays or hand sanitizers with 70% alcohol will kill the virus.  Wearing a mask without goggles won’t help because the virus can enter through your eyes.

Cleaning a microphone can be an issue. How do you clean them?  One option is to do what hospitals do.  Hospitals use high levels of UV light to disinfect germs, bacteria, and viruses.  The UV light is used to kill everything contagious, including superbugs—specifically, ultraviolet light called UV-C.  There are several products available to use.  Ultraviolet can be harmful to humans if you are exposed to it too long.

The suggestion here is to make a wooden box large enough for all of the microphones and cables used during a worship service.  Line the inside of the box with tin foil, mirrors or reflective metal.  Install a UV-C light inside the box.  Generally, a 25 to 35watt lamp should do. You should also have a timer for the light.   At the end of the service, have the performers and pastor place all of their microphones and cables in the box.  Add the wireless microphones after removing the batteries as well.  If you have to handle them, wear gloves. If the pile is more than 3 cables deep, have more boxes, make a larger box or clean in batches.  Put the cables on the bottom and microphones on top. You can also put in any hearing-impaired headsets and earbuds in the box too. Anything that people share should be cleaned this way.

According to what hospitals do, they sterilize this way for 30 minutes.  The cost of making a clean box with the right type of UV lamp (UV-C) and a timer should be less than $150.00.  That is a small price to pay to keep people safe. Even if Covid-19 doesn’t come to your church, this is still a good practice to prevent colds, flues, and bacteria from giving other church members an unwanted present.

Here is a link to my original article about sharing toothbrushes in worship service in 2012. https://churchacousticsandsoundsystems.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/microphones-are-hazardous-to-your-health.pdf

*** UPDATE ***
I’ve mentioned on other posts about using plastic food wrap or balloons over microphone capsules and windscreens. This idea only works great if the plastic is removed between the uses of a microphone. Passing microphones around is not a good idea either. If you can get a second mic, the better.

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