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Loudspeaker System Design for Worship, Part 1

Apr 10, 2012 10:06 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Yeah, you were talking about a central cluster being originally installed in there and you’ve got something like a three second reverb time in that place?

Yeah, 2.56—something like that. It’s pretty long and there was an old, probably put in, in the 60’s, Altec horns and woofers up there that they did a good job of putting sound out there but like I say by the time it reached the listener it was not coming from the speaker itself. [Timestamp: 4:28]

Yeah, coming from just about everywhere. So how did you go about deciding where you were going to put the speakers?

Like I said, this was my first experience with the steerable array and I got a lot of help from Tannoy. I have a good relationship Tannoy North America and also the rep on my marketing in Wadsworth, Ohio were very helpful. Marc Warling actually a guy I worked with from online and he has a lot of experience in live sound and rigging and speaker design and he helped me decide where to put them and which speaker model to use, which we used the 48’s—two of them, one on each side and then he also came up and helped me with the software since he’s experienced with it and I had—this has been my first time using it but Tannoy because of my relationship with the company and they’re such a great company to work with. And we put one on each side which was kind of nice because then the null point falls right in the aisles between—the pews are separated by a center aisle so the null point between the two speakers falls right in the center of the church. On either side there’s virtually no phasing problems with the array the way it is. [Timestamp: 5:39]

Now how was your timeframe on this? Was it kind of a hurry up in between services or did you have a little time to get it done?

Well, we had a bit of time because the center array that they were using central cluster was still active but we went in there on a Wednesday I think and finished up on Thursday morning so we were there a day and a half. We did a lot of prep work before, the director of maintenance at the church and I did all the—pre-wired everything so that when Marc got up here all we had to do, we had the cabinets already up and all we had to do was fire them up and program them. Marc was here for a day and then we came back the next morning and tweaked a little on it and made sure everything was right and so it went pretty quickly. [Timestamp: 6:24]

So when you talked to the church people about this and the kind of a system you were going to put in, sometimes there’s a little tech to non-tech translation to do, what were their concerns? I would think how it was going to look as well as how it would sound.

Yeah, they were concerned about that and basically they said make sure it’s white, first of all and then they were concerned about where it was going to be but I worked closely with the church maintenance fellow and we got an idea of how they were going to look and set them up there and they were pretty open to the idea of putting them in. They were pretty well convinced that it was going to be a great improvement over what they had and they understood—they had a lot of complaints about people who couldn’t understand the priest and poor coverage in the back of the room too. [Timestamp: 7:10]

And in most situations where they have intelligibility problems and they can’t understand the pastor, they just keep turning it up.

Yeah and that usually doesn’t help because it makes it bounce off the walls harder. [Timestamp: 7:22]

And do they have any volunteers to do any of the sound work there?

Well this system’s pretty set. They don’t really change anything on it they just turn their mic packs on and away they go. It’s pretty simple. They didn’t have a hearing assistance system either which we added as well, Williams Sound system, to give the hard of hearing—helping them out so they didn’t have that before either. [Timestamp: 7:44]

Well, that’s a whole can of worms in itself when you set up an assisted listening system. That’s not the kind of thing that most of your churches would come up with until they have to deal with complaints from those with hearing difficulty and they realize that they’ve got to come up with something besides just acoustic throw.

Yeah there was a particular parishioner in this church who I know and he said that he would always sat in the second row and he never heard hardly every third word the priest said, he knew what he was saying and then he went back after this system was installed and he said that the first time in 20 years he heard the whole message and had no problem hearing it now. [Timestamp: 8:21]

All right, well it sounds like it was certainly an interesting job because even in the smaller churches you can get into some real acoustic situations and working in assisted listening with that. In Part 2 we’re going to be getting into the microphones, mixer, amplifiers, choir reinforcement so there’s a good bit still to come but Jack Conners from Perfect World Studios thanks for being here for Part 1 and we’ll be seeing you again.

Thank you.

Thanks for joining us for the SVC Podcast with Jack Conners of Perfect World Studios. Show notes can be found on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at Be back for Part 2 with Jack as he takes us into mics, the mixer and choir reinforcement at the Immaculate Conception Church, next time on the SVC Podcast.

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