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Author Topic: Sound Upgrade for Church setting  (Read 3026 times)

michaeldalton7

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Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« on: September 25, 2012, 11:50:56 pm »

All,

I recently got assigned to Sanctuary Coordinator at my church. One of my roles is making sure that the sound is conducive to the audience by providing feedback to our sounds tech (volunteers) on what my ears hear. Our current setup consists of cheaper passive JBL 18"subwoofters and 3-way enclosers (2 15inch, horns, and tweeter) per side. Amplifiers are QSC amplifiers. The whole setup is about 6-10 years old (with the analog Mackie Mixer being the oldest).

In a church setting, it's often difficult to create a great experience for the audience when there is not an actual sound professional behind the mixer. Even when receiving consulations and reinstallations we run into the issue of people messing around with stuff and for noobs it's like finding a needle in a haystack when trying to troubleshoot audio.

In addition, our church staff feels that it is time to upgrade our sound setup. I'm really pushing into some nice QSC KW stuff but we will have to upgrade in segments. Our music director, who knows nothing about sound reinforcement, believes that it should be priority to purchase speakers first and that the speakers should be hung from the ceiling. However, I think upgrading our mixer (preamps) will make much more of an improvement vs buying speakers. And I think with low 15 foot ceiling it's ridiculous to hang 3-way enclosures.

Can someone (especially those who have mixed worship audio) please weigh in their thoughts? I need to make sure that if we upgrade in segments we based these purchases on most important to least important.

Thank you,

Mike

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Brad Weber

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Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 06:04:02 am »

Mike, the "messing around with stuff" and improvements to the audio system could be linked.  Are people "messing around with stuff" to try to overcome problems they encounter or to try to make certain improvements?  If so then that might be directly related to the system itself.  Are they struggling to get things to work as they want?  That could then indicate a need for training.  Or is it that they just can't leave things alone or think they can do better than the last person?  That might be a personal or leadership issue.
 
On the system itself, it seems like maybe you are discussing potential solutions without first establishing a good understanding of and agreement on what it is you are trying to accomplish.  The system components being 6 to 10 years old is not by itself necessarily a problem, so what are the actual problems or deficiencies are you experiencing and hoping to address?  What are the goals and expectations for the new system?  What are the priorities in terms of functionality and/or problems to be addressed?
 
The space and its use are also going to be critical factors in developing an effective audio solution.  What is the room like?  What infrastructure (power, conduit, cable paths, etc.) exists or is feasible to add?  Where can or can't speakers be located?  How are the room acoustics and might that be part of the problem and solution?  What are your services like?  Is contemporary music a major consideration, is speech intelligibility critical or is it some combination of those?  What sources would be run through the system?  How experienced are the operators?
 
Another factor may be the procurement plan.  Do you plan to have professionals design, install, tune, train on, etc. the system?  Or do you envision purchasing products online or at local dealers and then installing everything yourself?  If the latter, what related expertise and experience do you have available?
 
It is common to not be able to purchase everything at once but I find it much more effective to develop an overall 'master plan' and then try to divide it into phases than to look at an individual phase and then potentially have to work around the decisions made previously that may not have considered the 'big picture'.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 07:09:28 am »

All,

I recently got assigned to Sanctuary Coordinator at my church. One of my roles is making sure that the sound is conducive to the audience by providing feedback to our sounds tech (volunteers) on what my ears hear. Our current setup consists of cheaper passive JBL 18"subwoofters and 3-way enclosers (2 15inch, horns, and tweeter) per side. Amplifiers are QSC amplifiers. The whole setup is about 6-10 years old (with the analog Mackie Mixer being the oldest).

In a church setting, it's often difficult to create a great experience for the audience when there is not an actual sound professional behind the mixer. Even when receiving consulations and reinstallations we run into the issue of people messing around with stuff and for noobs it's like finding a needle in a haystack when trying to troubleshoot audio.

In addition, our church staff feels that it is time to upgrade our sound setup. I'm really pushing into some nice QSC KW stuff but we will have to upgrade in segments. Our music director, who knows nothing about sound reinforcement, believes that it should be priority to purchase speakers first and that the speakers should be hung from the ceiling. However, I think upgrading our mixer (preamps) will make much more of an improvement vs buying speakers. And I think with low 15 foot ceiling it's ridiculous to hang 3-way enclosures.

Can someone (especially those who have mixed worship audio) please weigh in their thoughts? I need to make sure that if we upgrade in segments we based these purchases on most important to least important.

Thank you,

Mike
CHANGE YOUR NAME TO YOUR REAL NAME or the post will be locked.

There are different factors at play.  The sound system and how it is operated.

Regarding the sound system itself-FIRST you have to determine what coverage is needed for YOUR space-based on the layout-ceiling height etc.  THEN and ONLY THEN-do you start to look at what speakers you "like" for the space.

It does nto matter how much you like a particular product-or how it sounds-if it cannot cover the space evenly-then you are wasting your churches money.

Getting a system that provides the proper coverage is essential-THEN you can look at how the system is operated.  And "operated" DOES NOT mean the "sound guys" mess with the system alignment.  ONLY the console-effects etc.

If they start "messing with" the alignment-then it will not cover properly.

As one church called me once "You HAVE to come down here-we have turned every knob and pressed every button on the console and can't get a good sound in any position".  YEAH-Maybe THAT is your problem.  Thinking that somehow turning knobs will find a "magical" setting that will work-NOT.

Good sound is NOT about guessing!
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Frederik RosenkjŠr

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Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 07:25:55 am »

However, I think upgrading our mixer (preamps) will make much more of an improvement vs buying speakers.

Generally, for this statement to be correct you need REALLY good speakers and exceptionally poor preamps.


And I think with low 15 foot ceiling it's ridiculous to hang 3-way enclosures.

I don't see what the number of individual pass bands has to do with ceiling height?
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 09:21:18 am »

All,

I recently got assigned to Sanctuary Coordinator at my church. One of my roles is making sure that the sound is conducive to the audience by providing feedback to our sounds tech (volunteers) on what my ears hear. Our current setup consists of cheaper passive JBL 18"subwoofters and 3-way enclosers (2 15inch, horns, and tweeter) per side. Amplifiers are QSC amplifiers. The whole setup is about 6-10 years old (with the analog Mackie Mixer being the oldest).

In a church setting, it's often difficult to create a great experience for the audience when there is not an actual sound professional behind the mixer. Even when receiving consulations and reinstallations we run into the issue of people messing around with stuff and for noobs it's like finding a needle in a haystack when trying to troubleshoot audio.

In addition, our church staff feels that it is time to upgrade our sound setup. I'm really pushing into some nice QSC KW stuff but we will have to upgrade in segments. Our music director, who knows nothing about sound reinforcement, believes that it should be priority to purchase speakers first and that the speakers should be hung from the ceiling. However, I think upgrading our mixer (preamps) will make much more of an improvement vs buying speakers. And I think with low 15 foot ceiling it's ridiculous to hang 3-way enclosures.

Can someone (especially those who have mixed worship audio) please weigh in their thoughts? I need to make sure that if we upgrade in segments we based these purchases on most important to least important.

Thank you,

Mike

A competent tech behind the mixer can make almost any system function well.  An incompetent tech can make any system sound bad.  You can spend money until the cows come home, but without a talented and properly trained staff it's all money down the toilet.

What I'm trying to say is that there are two sides to the "problem":

1.  Technical
2.  Institutional

The first is just physics.  The second involves human nature.  Guess which will be the most difficult to address.......
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 10:53:23 am by dick rees »
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 06:51:33 pm »

Generally, for this statement to be correct you need REALLY good speakers and exceptionally poor preamps.


Agreed-I missed that part.

If I were to rank the things that make a difference in the overall sound quality in a full system (from 1-10 with 1 being the thing that makes the biggest AUDIBLE difference in sound) I would put Speakers #1.  Mics #2.  Mic pres #9.  And wire #10.

If somebody really thinks they can hear enough of a difference in mic preamps to warrant the investment-I would love to do a double blind test with them and see if they really can pick out the difference.

Agreed that unless you have an exceptional loudspeaker system-you will not be able to hear any differences is other pieces of gear.
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Frederik RosenkjŠr

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Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2012, 06:55:35 pm »

If I were to rank the things that make a difference in the overall sound quality in a full system (from 1-10 with 1 being the thing that makes the biggest AUDIBLE difference in sound) I would put Speakers #1.  Mics #2.  Mic pres #9.  And wire #10.

...with room acoustics possibly at #0...overlooked in 98% of all hifi enthusiast systems...
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Brad Weber

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Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2012, 08:53:02 pm »

Perhaps the responses reflect the general issue.  New speakers will often make more difference in the sound quality than a new mixer, however if your existing speakers sound decent in the room and you are woefully short on mixer inputs then the mixer may have a greater impact on the functionality of the system.  The room acoustics may affect how much of an impact the speakers being flown or not might have, which in turn may get into who you plan on having install the system.  You can get all new gear, but will that stop your people from constantly messing with it?  There is no single solution to fit every situation, but there may be more than one good solution for any particular situation.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 07:35:37 am »

...with room acoustics possibly at #0...overlooked in 98% of all hifi enthusiast systems...
Agreed 100%.  That would be the single biggest factor-but I was think in terms of gear-that they would go out and purchase.

It is a real shame how many time basic acoustics are overlooked-when "designing" a room for LISTENING.  It is called an AUDITORIUM after all!  For AUDIO.

It is quite interesting how the "hifi guys" often totally ignore that fact.  Or they say that their room is "live" for a particular reason.  Yeah-so i can CHANGE the sound of the recording as they hear it-YET they make all these claims as to how accurate their system is-and then change it radically???????????????????????????  Well we are talking about hi fi guys-----------------------
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Sound Upgrade for Church setting
┬ź Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 07:35:37 am ┬╗


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