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Author Topic: Second Opinion - L/R or Center Mains depend on service format?  (Read 652 times)

Les Funk

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Looking for second (or multiple) opinion(s) on which design is best for the mains of our small sanctuary: L/R upgrade to existing, or change to center (cluster?) speaker.

Service Format
100 minutes with 80% spoken word and preaching from center stage. The other 20% congregational singing which is led by one of 5 teams playing hybrid wired/acoustic instruments. Guitar is wired. Drums, Piano, and Bass (amp) do not run through system except we've recently added piano mic to add a bit of volume. The team usually occupies small area of stage.

Sanctuary Design
Main seating area is 45ft wide by 39ft deep and level. Balcony is 21ft deep and rises to the back. Sanctuary peak is 20 ft. Front and back walls feature multiple angles making this room one of the best for preserving acoustical energy without slap. When empty, a person in balcony can have a regular conversation with someone on the stage.

Issues
When full, the elevated noise floor and audience absorption is causing complaints about hearing the mc speaking and pastor delivering the message from center stage. The mc uses a podium condenser and the pastor is using a wireless headset. I'd love to tell everyone just to shut up and sit still and then turn off the AC and vent fans, but that won't go over well. There are no complaints about the sound during our congregational singing.

Personal philosophy re music
Congregational singing should be just that. The leaders and team should be just barely loud enough to be heard over the congregation to lead them into worship. I am not interested in filling the sanctuary with sound from the stage during singing, but rather, fill the sanctuary with 150+ voices of all ages in worship. No worship band on earth can compete with that. If we strive to drown out those voices, we've failed in our mission as sound engineers. Don't get me wrong, we are very blessed with talent, with former touring musicians, classically trained musicians/vocalists, Hillsong alumnus and even one member chosen to lead Urbana worship. (Fun fact: the Urbana worship team assembled from all over the world to our humble community to rehearse in our sanctuary. Some of them saw snow for the first time. That was a treat.) Consequently, we are one of few churches who still call our mc the "worship leader" who doesn't sing and then have a "song leader" as a separate role during a service.

Ultimate Goal
A personal goal is to design a sanctuary sound system that is invisible. I'd love for our audience to not even realize that we have a sound system except for seeing people with microphones. I don't want them to hear the sound coming from a PA speaker cabinet. I want it to feel natural, not synthetically produced sound. (Needless to say, I have a great appreciation for psychoacoustics.)

So what do you suggest we do to achieve this goal?

Photos of sanctuary attached and here's a link to a similar thread: https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=172072.0

Also should mention we are planning to put a center cabinet in front of balcony at peak of sanctuary. Balcony is our biggest pain point right now. Recommendation was a CDD8. We use a Touchmix 30 Pro and plan to do the tuning and delay from the board.
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Jonathan Kok

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Re: Second Opinion - L/R or Center Mains depend on service format?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2024, 01:38:56 PM »

Proximity is a huge thing with loudspeakers (especially point source). Your current layout has the closest listener at 10' from the speaker, and your furthest at 39'. Basic loudspeaker math gives a loss of 6db per doubling of distance. So at 20', you're down 6db relative to the closest person. at 40', you're down 12db. At 60', the back of the balcony, you're down ~15db.

No wonder you have complaints.

A high centre cluster will even out the sound throughout the space by providing a more 'average' distance to your listeners. The down side is you end up with a 'voice of God' effect for the closer audience members, whereby they're looking at someone in front of them, but their voice is coming from above. Front-fill speakers helps resolve that issue.

Based on your description of the type of service you have, a stereo system offers you nothing you need. Centre cluster 110%. Probably 3x 90deg horizontal boxes @ 60deg between boxes for full 180deg coverage, you'll want probably 60deg vertical coverage to hit front to back from that height.

Balcony, I'd go 2x speakers, mounted 1/4 of the way in from the side (so each speaker covers half the balcony).
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Second Opinion - L/R or Center Mains depend on service format?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2024, 10:44:55 PM »

I would strongly suggest that if you get a chance listen to a demo of Fulcrum Acoustic speakers.  I am a big fan of their Coax speakers. To me they sound very natural. I worked on a system where we put them in and the person in charge of the sound system said that this is the first time that the preacher (his father-in-law) sounds thru a sound system the same way he does when he is taking to him face to face.

For speech (if possible) I like a center speaker. But for music I like a left/right speaker. So a combination of both is what I would like. But I would like the left and right speakers a little bit in more towards the center and a little bit higher and aimed down to only cover the first floor.  In your room I am not sure you have an ideal place for a center speaker because I would NOT want it up high near the peak. If the left and right are done properly you should be able to get the coverage to the first floor without the need for the center speaker. I would then suggest that you put a left and right (delayed) speaker from the ceiling high up in front of where the balcony starts, to cover the balcony. You might want all of these speakers in white so they are less noticeable. It would be great if there was a way to make the balcony delay speakers as subtle (almost hidden) if you can. Because if done right people will think that they arent on. It will get a little bit annoying having to convince them that they are working by turning off the front speakers and just having the delay on so they can hear what is actually happening. They will just blend so well with the front speakers that they will seem as though they are not on.   
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John Schalk

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Re: Second Opinion - L/R or Center Mains depend on service format?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2024, 09:36:12 AM »

Sanctuary Design
Main seating area is 45ft wide by 39ft deep and level. Balcony is 21ft deep and rises to the back. Sanctuary peak is 20 ft. Front and back walls feature multiple angles making this room one of the best for preserving acoustical energy without slap. When empty, a person in balcony can have a regular conversation with someone on the stage.

What is the height of the ceiling at the wall(s)?
On the main floor, what is the width and depth of the actual seating area?  Unless that is 45' x 39', in which case what are the dimensions of the main room?
In the balcony, how wide is the seating area?  It doesn't look like the seating extends all the way to the side walls.
It looks like there is a small overhang of the balcony.  What is the distance from the first row of balcony seating to the front of the stage?
How wide is the stage?  Or, how wide are the side walls where the current speakers are hung?
What speakers are you currently using? 
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Martin Morris

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Re: Second Opinion - L/R or Center Mains depend on service format?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2024, 01:46:45 AM »

Looking for second (or multiple) opinion(s) on which design is best for the mains of our small sanctuary: L/R upgrade to existing, or change to center (cluster?) speaker.

Service Format
100 minutes with 80% spoken word and preaching from center stage. The other 20% congregational singing which is led by one of 5 teams playing hybrid wired/acoustic instruments. Guitar is wired. Drums, Piano, and Bass (amp) do not run through system except we've recently added piano mic to add a bit of volume. The team usually occupies small area of stage.

Sanctuary Design
Main seating area is 45ft wide by 39ft deep and level. Balcony is 21ft deep and rises to the back. Sanctuary peak is 20 ft. Front and back walls feature multiple angles making this room one of the best for preserving acoustical energy without slap. When empty, a person in balcony can have a regular conversation with someone on the stage.

Issues
When full, the elevated noise floor and audience absorption is causing complaints about hearing the mc speaking and pastor delivering the message from center stage. The mc uses a podium condenser and the pastor is using a wireless headset. I'd love to tell everyone just to shut up and sit still and then turn off the AC and vent fans, but that won't go over well. There are no complaints about the sound during our congregational singing.

Personal philosophy re music
Congregational singing should be just that. The leaders and team should be just barely loud enough to be heard over the congregation to lead them into worship. I am not interested in filling the sanctuary with sound from the stage during singing, but rather, fill the sanctuary with 150+ voices of all ages in worship. No worship band on earth can compete with that. If we strive to drown out those voices, we've failed in our mission as sound engineers. Don't get me wrong, we are very blessed with talent, with former touring musicians, classically trained musicians/vocalists, Hillsong alumnus and even one member chosen to lead Urbana worship. (Fun fact: the Urbana worship team assembled from all over the world to our humble community to rehearse in our sanctuary. Some of them saw snow for the first time. That was a treat.) Consequently, we are one of few churches who still call our mc the "worship leader" who doesn't sing and then have a "song leader" as a separate role during a service.

Ultimate Goal
A personal goal is to design a sanctuary sound system that is invisible. I'd love for our audience to not even realize that we have a sound system except for seeing people with microphones. I don't want them to hear the sound coming from a PA speaker cabinet. I want it to feel natural, not synthetically produced sound. (Needless to say, I have a great appreciation for psychoacoustics.)

So what do you suggest we do to achieve this goal?

Photos of sanctuary attached and here's a link to a similar thread: https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=172072.0

Also should mention we are planning to put a center cabinet in front of balcony at peak of sanctuary. Balcony is our biggest pain point right now. Recommendation was a CDD8. We use a Touchmix 30 Pro and plan to do the tuning and delay from the board.

Engage with a Pro integrator with the appropriate experience.... Period!

While there'll be some very good advice here you should be pitching to your church that they get professional assistance.

Cheers
Martin
« Last Edit: April 30, 2024, 02:15:25 AM by Martin Morris »
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Second Opinion - L/R or Center Mains depend on service format?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2024, 01:46:45 AM »


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