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Author Topic: Acapella friendly acoustics  (Read 2230 times)

Aiden Humphrey

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Acapella friendly acoustics
« on: December 03, 2015, 06:50:42 pm »

Hi There!
I appreciate your help - I'm new here.
I worship at a church that uses acapella music, but the room we are in is acoustically dead.
It is full of sound absorbing materials such that even with a lot of people in the room,
we can hardly hear each other sing.

The main absorbing elements are:
1. Suspended ceiling with sound deadening panels (full of little holes)
2. The chairs - all fabric 
3. low pile carpeted floor

The walls are regular drywall, and there aren't any hangings to speak of.
The ceiling is a simple vaulted shape, possibly a 6:12?  Maybe 25' tall at the peak and 10' tall at the shoulder??
The dimensions of the room are roughly 45' wide and 55' long.  I'm guessing a little here, but I'm probably close.

I'd like to make a proposal to possibly replace some of the acoustic dampening ceiling 2x4 panels with
something that has a sheer face - would this help?

Any advice would be very welcomed! :)
I have a master of Architecture, but my training in acoustics is minimal compared to you pros.

Thank You for your help in advance!
Aiden Humphrey
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Robert Healey

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2015, 11:44:29 am »

Hi There!
I appreciate your help - I'm new here.
I worship at a church that uses acapella music, but the room we are in is acoustically dead.
It is full of sound absorbing materials such that even with a lot of people in the room,
we can hardly hear each other sing.

The main absorbing elements are:
1. Suspended ceiling with sound deadening panels (full of little holes)
2. The chairs - all fabric 
3. low pile carpeted floor

The walls are regular drywall, and there aren't any hangings to speak of.
The ceiling is a simple vaulted shape, possibly a 6:12?  Maybe 25' tall at the peak and 10' tall at the shoulder??
The dimensions of the room are roughly 45' wide and 55' long.  I'm guessing a little here, but I'm probably close.

I'd like to make a proposal to possibly replace some of the acoustic dampening ceiling 2x4 panels with
something that has a sheer face - would this help?

Any advice would be very welcomed! :)
I have a master of Architecture, but my training in acoustics is minimal compared to you pros.

Thank You for your help in advance!
Aiden Humphrey

Do you have a picture? I am picturing a typical ACT grid over the entire room with mineral fiber tile.

If your suspended ceiling grid can support it, you could try replacing the mineral fiber 2x4 tiles over the stage/platform with GWB tiles cut to fit. That would at least give you one good ceiling reflection.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2015, 11:50:13 am »

Hi There!
I appreciate your help - I'm new here.
I worship at a church that uses acapella music, but the room we are in is acoustically dead.
It is full of sound absorbing materials such that even with a lot of people in the room,
we can hardly hear each other sing.

The main absorbing elements are:
1. Suspended ceiling with sound deadening panels (full of little holes)
2. The chairs - all fabric 
3. low pile carpeted floor

The walls are regular drywall, and there aren't any hangings to speak of.
The ceiling is a simple vaulted shape, possibly a 6:12?  Maybe 25' tall at the peak and 10' tall at the shoulder??
The dimensions of the room are roughly 45' wide and 55' long.  I'm guessing a little here, but I'm probably close.

I'd like to make a proposal to possibly replace some of the acoustic dampening ceiling 2x4 panels with
something that has a sheer face - would this help?

Any advice would be very welcomed! :)
I have a master of Architecture, but my training in acoustics is minimal compared to you pros.

Thank You for your help in advance!
Aiden Humphrey
Only half-kidding: trade buildings with someone who wants a more dead space.  Those of us trying to do amplified music in buildings designed for a pipe organ and choir would trade you some hard surfaces for your soft surfaces. :)

Is a Capella music the only music you do?  If not, you may make one element better and another worse.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2015, 06:18:48 pm »

Only half-kidding: trade buildings with someone who wants a more dead space.  Those of us trying to do amplified music in buildings designed for a pipe organ and choir would trade you some hard surfaces for your soft surfaces. :)

Is a Capella music the only music you do?  If not, you may make one element better and another worse.

Wow that brings back memories.  In the 80's I dated a young teacher that was a member of a very conservative Church of Christ church.  They had about a 2+ hour worship, all seated with acappella singing. 

Coming from FB Jax,  with a 200+ choir and full orchestra it was a cultural shocker.

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
Cleveland OH
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2015, 09:13:06 am »

That's a tough one! Usually people need more absorption.
Replacing some, probably a lot, of ceiling tiles with hard surfaces would create a first reflection but what you really need is reverberation.
Looking at what you say is in the room, that's going to be very difficult as reverb depends on a variety of reflective surfaces and room volume.

This is a bit of an extreme idea but you could create some kind of distributed speaker system (ceiling tile transducers?) with a send from reverb and(loose)mic the singers.
This would create some semblance of "spacial" sound.
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Aiden Humphrey

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2015, 01:05:32 pm »

Do you have a picture? I am picturing a typical ACT grid over the entire room with mineral fiber tile.

If your suspended ceiling grid can support it, you could try replacing the mineral fiber 2x4 tiles over the stage/platform with GWB tiles cut to fit. That would at least give you one good ceiling reflection.

I don't have a picture - but you are correct about the ACT grid.
Would it help at all if we painted the existing panels with a glossy paint?
Maybe we could spackle the holes prior to painting?
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Aiden Humphrey

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2015, 01:07:29 pm »

Only half-kidding: trade buildings with someone who wants a more dead space.  Those of us trying to do amplified music in buildings designed for a pipe organ and choir would trade you some hard surfaces for your soft surfaces. :)

Is a Capella music the only music you do?  If not, you may make one element better and another worse.

Yes, we sing acapella only. I notice that when we meet in a little gwb ceilinged side room, we sound so much better, even though it can only hold half the people.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2015, 02:28:15 pm »

I don't have a picture - but you are correct about the ACT grid.
Would it help at all if we painted the existing panels with a glossy paint?
Maybe we could spackle the holes prior to painting?

That seems rather drastic. You might try inserting something between the tile and the grid (butcher paper?) to defeat some of the absorbency. At the least it will be easy to remove if it doesn't achieve the desired effect. Once you've figured out what works, you can do something more permanent.
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Robert Healey

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2015, 05:20:24 pm »

I don't have a picture - but you are correct about the ACT grid.
Would it help at all if we painted the existing panels with a glossy paint?
Maybe we could spackle the holes prior to painting?

Maybe, but a sheet of drywall is like $10 (if the grid can hold the weight). You would spend more on spackle and paint...
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Tim Padrick

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Re: Acapella friendly acoustics
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2015, 04:13:56 pm »

Painted 1/8" masonite, or the thinnest melamine board you can find (no paint required if white is OK).  Either should slip under the existing tiles (so you keep the little bit of R factor that they have).  (Make sure there's no code problems with the panels.)
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