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Church Sound Advice?

DThompson55

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We just rewired our church to take advantage of the delay line function available in our x32 mixing board. So far so good, everyone thinks it sounds better now. But I want to take it to the next level.

The room is 52 feet long by 36 feet wide with two speakers hung at the front wall above the proscenium arch about 12 feet up, and then pairs of speakers on opposite walls at 18, 30, and 42 feet from the front, all 8 feet off the floor, pointing directly perpendicular out from the wall. The speakers are made by Yorkville, but I don't know the model numbers, nor anything about their dispersion or response curves.

Someone suggested using MAPP 3D to help get the best audio throughout the room, but looking at that I don't recognize any of the speakers they calibrated with. So I'm wondering if it even makes sense, given our current setup?

What do we really need to measure anyway? That are that the sides are doing their job filling in missing highs and lows, and that the volume drop off from front to back is appropriate? I'm no expert but that seems like the bare minimum I should be trying to understand about the room. Maybe I can do that with the mixer's built-in RTA and spectrograph view?
 

Matthias McCready

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A picture is worth a thousand words. :)

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MAPP 3D is Meyer Sounds sound system design software, so no it will not help you with your specific speakers, that being said it might be quite educational for you, understanding how speakers behave and interact.

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For measuring, yes an RTA will give you some rudimentary information about frequency, however that doesn't necessarily tell you what the system is doing.

Ideally, you want a transfer function; simply put this is when you are directly comparing your measurement signal against a reference signal; this gives you frequency with timing information (phase), and is quite useful. It can help to answer lots of questions.

If you want to learn more, and this is absolutely a rabbit hole, I would recommend reading the manual for the Smaart software by Rational Acoustics. Yes, it is a product manual, but it is extremely educational, and free! :)
 

alex-z

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With churches and other large spaces, the biggest problem is usually your decay times. If they get too long, you get audible echo, which can reduce dialogue intelligibility.

You can run pretty much all the measurement sweeps you need with free software. I would recommend doing 2 measurements per row of seating, one on each side.



I assume you already have an XLR interface with phantom power, so grab an XLR measurement mic.


In most cases, what you will want to do is add absorption panels throughout the space. 3.5" thickness is a good choice for being discrete, while still being thick enough to absorb down into the 200-300Hz region. Ideally you want the absorption placed evenly throughout the room, but ceiling mounted is usually more practical, and will still perform well.

After applying treatment, repeat the measurements, averaging together all the left side results and applying EQ there, and repeating the process on the right side. You are aiming for a result that is roughly flat in the 300-3000Hz region for maximum dialogue intelligibility. Apply psycho-acoustic smoothing before the EQ, you are aiming to fix broad trends, not small deviations.

Disclaimer: I mostly do small room acoustics, my large room opinions come from helping tune a couple high school gymnasiums.
 

Inner Space

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I'm not a believer myself, but I have read the bible, and Genesis 45:9 springs to mind: "Come down to me without delay." And 1 Samuel 20:38: "Do not delay!" Even Jeremiah 51:50: "You who have escaped the sword, go, do not delay." Just sayin'.
 

fpitas

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I'm not a believer myself, but I have read the bible, and Genesis 45:9 springs to mind: "Come down to me without delay." And 1 Samuel 20:38: "Do not delay!" Even Jeremiah 51:50: "You who have escaped the sword, go, do not delay." Just sayin'.
That was before they had digital delay. Their DSPs were very primitive back then.
 
OP
DThompson55

DThompson55

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A picture is worth a thousand words. :)

---

MAPP 3D is Meyer Sounds sound system design software, so no it will not help you with your specific speakers, that being said it might be quite educational for you, understanding how speakers behave and interact.

---

For measuring, yes an RTA will give you some rudimentary information about frequency, however that doesn't necessarily tell you what the system is doing.

Ideally, you want a transfer function; simply put this is when you are directly comparing your measurement signal against a reference signal; this gives you frequency with timing information (phase), and is quite useful. It can help to answer lots of questions.

If you want to learn more, and this is absolutely a rabbit hole, I would recommend reading the manual for the Smaart software by Rational Acoustics. Yes, it is a product manual, but it is extremely educational, and free! :)
I am all about going down the rabbit hole and reading manuals. (It was kind of my job before I retired) Great advice. Thank you. And now I know I can stop trying to learn with MAPP 3D for now, as it won't help me with this situation.
 
OP
DThompson55

DThompson55

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I'm not a believer myself, but I have read the bible, and Genesis 45:9 springs to mind: "Come down to me without delay." And 1 Samuel 20:38: "Do not delay!" Even Jeremiah 51:50: "You who have escaped the sword, go, do not delay." Just sayin'.
I've never read that manual, so I'll have to take your word for it?
 
OP
DThompson55

DThompson55

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Manchester, CT
With churches and other large spaces, the biggest problem is usually your decay times. If they get too long, you get audible echo, which can reduce dialogue intelligibility.

You can run pretty much all the measurement sweeps you need with free software. I would recommend doing 2 measurements per row of seating, one on each side.



I assume you already have an XLR interface with phantom power, so grab an XLR measurement mic.


In most cases, what you will want to do is add absorption panels throughout the space. 3.5" thickness is a good choice for being discrete, while still being thick enough to absorb down into the 200-300Hz region. Ideally you want the absorption placed evenly throughout the room, but ceiling mounted is usually more practical, and will still perform well.

After applying treatment, repeat the measurements, averaging together all the left side results and applying EQ there, and repeating the process on the right side. You are aiming for a result that is roughly flat in the 300-3000Hz region for maximum dialogue intelligibility. Apply psycho-acoustic smoothing before the EQ, you are aiming to fix broad trends, not small deviations.

Disclaimer: I mostly do small room acoustics, my large room opinions come from helping tune a couple high school gymnasiums.
Much love re that measurement mic. I could have spent hundreds more. You're full of good ideas! Also, in many ways there's little to distinguish an HS gym from this room. Fewer scuff marks. So I think we're on the right page.
 

Matthias McCready

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don't even think fills make sense at this rather short distance. makes probably more sense to use all speakers at the front. that would even out dispersion also.
but this is easily found out with EASE software

This greatly depends.

When a space is not acoustically friendly (lots of hard reflective surfaces) and when the looks/budget committee has zero interest in investing in acoustic treatment, utilizing fills close to people can help to minimize level variance and to increase intelligibility.
 

dasdoing

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This greatly depends.

When a space is not acoustically friendly (lots of hard reflective surfaces) and when the looks/budget committee has zero interest in investing in acoustic treatment, utilizing fills close to people can help to minimize level variance and to increase intelligibility.

ok, low-budget solution to increase intelligibility. kind of works.
but it's anoying sitting close to them in a small space like this. there is not enough distance between the walls and seats.
 

Matthias McCready

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ok, low-budget solution to increase intelligibility. kind of works.
but it's anoying sitting close to them in a small space like this. there is not enough distance between the walls and seats.

Perhaps, but not necessarily.

For example in a multi-million dollar granite cathedral, the best approach is often a highly localized and distributed system, nothing low-budget about it! :)
 
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