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Author Topic: Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!  (Read 3821 times)

Allan Stevenson

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Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!
« on: October 03, 2005, 12:09:33 pm »

So here's the deal.  Just 6 years ago, our church was running with an organ, piano and drums (although there was a guy who played his violin once in a while).  
Now we are running 3 guitars, Piano, Keys, drums, bass, Percussion, lots of vocals....  We have been fortunate that our church leadership has allowed us to keep ahead of technology.  Some of our church members are audio / video pros and have helped in that area.  We are well set-up with gear, and have been tweaking stuff over the years to get the best sound available in this room.  It seat approx 600 people.

The sanctuary (structurally) has been a source of a lot of frustration. It is Octagon shaped with painted cinder-blocks exposed.  The ceiling (30 feet) and balcony surfaces are hard wood.  So we have a reflection problem.  We have a few sound baffles placed here, there and everywhere providing a slight help.  Low frequencies are a problem as well.  They reverberate for almost 3 sec.

We are now looking at various renovations around the building and the sanctuary is one of them.  Any ideas?
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Allan Stevenson
Peoples Church Hamilton
Ontario, Canada

Tom Young

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Re: Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2005, 08:57:02 pm »

You need to employ a qualified consultant (in acoustics and electroacoustics) who has the technical chops and experience with contemporary worship music.

This type of space is a beast to tame.
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Tom Young, Church Sound section moderator
Electroacoustic Design Services
Oxford CT
Tel: 203.888.6217
Email: dbspl@earthlink.net
www.dbspl.com

Ivan Beaver

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Re: Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2005, 09:23:42 pm »

We recently put a system in an existing room-very contemporary.  I saw a model in the lobby and asked the sound tech if that was going to be their new room.  He bowed his head and shook it.  I told him it was all wrong.  He said he had been to a basic acoustics class at a trade show and he told them power that be that this was toatlly wrong.  Even he-with little knowledge-kew this was bad and I confirmed it with him.  As he said "they told us in class that the 2 worst designs were round rooms and rooms with a domed ceiling.  Now we are getting both!" But the church people think it is cool looking.  I told him to give us a call if he cannot get them to change it, so we can sell him LOTS of absorbution and diffusion.  They are going to need it.

People forget that when building a church they should be building an AUDITORIUM (a room used for audio/Listening), but instead build a VISIONTORIUM (a room for visual).

After all-Isn't the main reason you go are supposed to go to church is to "Hear the Word".  It makes that kinda hard when you can't understand anything easily.  I guess the sound system will fix all those acoustic problems.  Please don't confuse me with the facts.  

It is amazing how many church people want the laws of physics repelled in their house.  Just who do you think MADE those laws?  Maybe they have an inside track?

Sorry to ramble, I just get tired of architechs continuing to build BAD rooms.  We just finished a room in which the designer took all his inspiration from various books int he Bible and told the church you don't need a sound system in large rooms- just small ones.  You can barely understand anything in that room without some directivity of the system we put in.  He is so proud of that room, he is even building another one across town (it is a small town) just like it-except the congregation is Gospel.  We have already told him to put in a LARGE absorbtion package or they won't be happy.  This is a Black congregation and he is so good that he wanted replace their old B-3/147 combo with a brand new Rogers organ.  

Can you say NOT A CLUE!!
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Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.

Tom Bennett

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Re: Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2005, 07:59:38 pm »

Hi Allan,

We have a church in town here with the same problem.  They saved their pennies and are building a new sanctuary.  The old dome will be remodeled into a couple of levels of classrooms, no longer a sanctuary.

They initially built a round room with a dome because they had a handbell group!  Another example of very poor decision making.

Take Care,
Tom Bennett
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micguy

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Re: Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2005, 10:11:25 am »

Painted cinder block - so close, but yet so far. One of the strange things about cinder block is it's actually pretty absorptive - if you don't paint it! Once you paint it, the holes are blocked, making it an entirely different animal. Of course, it's ugly then, but if you'd used something porous (cloth is one option) to cover it, instead of paint, those walls would be much tamer reflection-wise than they are now.

You really need a good acoustician to fix this sort of thing - you'll save money by employing someone who's experienced at how to do these things right the first time over doing amatuer experiments. You'll also need the flexibility to follow what he/she says. If noone is willing to change anything, what you got is what you got.
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Mike Sveda

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Re: Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2005, 12:03:11 pm »

Find a company/person who can alalyze the room and determine what acoustical treatment will help.  Before our building was treated (about $40k) you had to yell at someone 10 feet away with all the echoes.  Now it is pretty well controlled except in the LF,they skimped a bit on that part.
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Ron Riedel

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Re: Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2005, 01:56:31 pm »

Sometimes it's not the architect's fault. We built a gym 15 years ago that had cinder-block walls. The architect very intentionally specified a thin, watery paint that would not clog the holes, so the blocks would retain their absorption. However, the painter, a volunteer from the congregation, didn't like the looks after a single coat - said it didn't "cover well" - so proceeded to triple-coat the walls! There went the absorption!

Three years later, after $7000 of fiberglass/cloth panels mounted to the walls and ceiling, you could understand somebody in there again...

Ron
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Re: Cinder-block Octagon shaped Sanctuary Yiiiikes!
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2005, 01:56:31 pm »


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