A Question of Balance
What do people expect when they come to worship: comfortable pews? A nice, brightly-lit space? Comfortable temperatures? How well have these expectations been met? These and a host of other elements play into what we call the “worship experience.”
But what about sound? The simple fact is that, above all, worshipers expect to hear the Word clearly, whether spoken, sung, or interpreted through musical instrument. The degree to which this critical expectation is met will be a major determining factor in whether or not the worshiper returns.
Three very important “ingredients” determine how clearly worshipers will hear speech and music at worship:
- Sound system performance
- The room’s acoustical character
- The room’s structure/architecture
Many worshipers have very little understanding of how this “electro-acoustic system” works. And they don’t really care. They just expect to hear clearly. They rely on their congregation leaders to enlist the aid of people who do know how these things work and can get it right.
DSH Audio Visions is a company made of these “people.” We work very closely with the congregation, with architects, and with acoustical experts to ensure that every worshiper can hear clearly in a space that looks great and comes alive acoustically.
A “great” system may use some “cool” new devices like digital mixers and remotes where they make sense. But the foundation of a “great” system is time-tested tools such as the right type of microphones, loudspeakers and electronic devices laid out with the unique operational needs of the particular client in mind.
The “great” system design is based on the Laws of Physics that indicate things like which loudspeaker type will work best in the worship space, and which projector, screen or flat panel display will deliver the clearest image.
How much reverberation is too much? The pastor and the music minister may have vastly differing opinions on this subject. But did you know that reverberation in itself is not always the “enemy”?
The way sound reflects in the room – causing echoes and such – is deadly to both speech and music. Both the spoken word and traditional music can get along very well in a classic reverberant space. How we handle room acoustics and work with the sound system make all the difference.
That pillar or wall, or even the basic room shape, will directly affect what types of loudspeakers will be successful and where they can be located, and what types of video projectors, screens or displays will allow clear viewing and where they can be located. Will that structural element block the sound and/or light path? Will that curved ceiling or wall structure create echoes that can’t be fixed without treatment? What will happen if we try to conceal the loudspeakers or projectors?
It is critical for a good sound and video designer to be in constant communication with the congregation, the architect and the acoustical designer. At DSH Audio Visions we do just that. We communicate because we understand how critical that balance is. And we want everyone involved in the project to understand how one element of design will affect other elements. It’s the only way to ensure the success of the project. We will be there at every step to ensure that the congregation’s needs for its worship setting are well taken care of.