I have inherited the sound responsibilities for my church’s contemporary service. We typically have our worship leader with lead vocals on a stand-alone amped acoustic guitar, a stand-alone amped bass, a second acoustic guitar run through the sound system, a drum kit played by a drummer who knows the importance of controlling his volume and between 2 and 4 backup singers on any given Sunday. No complaints from any of the church-goers about the quality of the sound: everything both musically and spoken-word is intelligible.
While digging through a closet I came across 4 – 48” x 48” x 2” Purdue Acoustics Sound Baffles. When we purchased our current sound rig 4 years ago – about $8,000 – these were recommended to be installed by our sound consultant/equipment reseller. For whatever reason they were never installed and now I can’t convince the “powers-that-be” that they are necessary. I’m not sure that they are necessary or what their effectiveness could be, myself. The gentleman who spec’d out the system is no longer available, due to age and health, so I can’t discuss this with him. I am pretty sure that he based us needing them on his experience as opposed to a technical study.
I have attached 2 photos of our sanctuary. In the photo from the altar looking towards the congregation I have drawn yellow squares where they sound baffles would go; on the front-facing wall of the balcony. From Purdue’s website I understand that the primary purpose of these types of treatments is to minimize echo and to provide sound absorption. I don’t feel that we have any echo issues, except when our bass levels get a little high. Then the bass seems to take on a life of its own. We have a bassist who understands this and plays with her volume under control 99% of the time.
We spent almost $900 for these 4 panels. I can’t really “temporarily” install them to try them out (can I? ideas?) so do I fight to install them or put them on Craigslist? Could 64 square feet of baffling really make that noticeable difference in a 250 seat church? If they were to be installed could they have a negative effect on the sound of our organ, which is only used for our non-contemporary service?
Some info on the photos: The only speaker being used is the one flown unit. All the other speakers visible are from the 2 retired systems the church has used over the last 45 years. The peak of the roof is @30 feet. The distance from the speaker to the recommended mounting point of the baffles is @60 feet. The width of the sanctuary is @40 feet.