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Low Ceilings

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  • Low Ceilings

    Up to this point our small church has been worshiping in a temporary space but now we are in the process or trying to purchase our own building. The problem is that they're wanting to convert an old office building and the room that they intend to use as the sanctuary only has 10ft high ceilings. I'm trying to anticipate what kind of sound challenges that would create and if I would need to upgrade our current system to cope with it. Here's a few details:
    The room - I don't have exact dimensions but it's a square room with a 150 seat capacity. 10ft high drywall ceiling, drywall and windows on the walls, floors are carpet laid on top of concrete.
    Our current band - On a typical Sunday we have lead guitar (electric w/ mic'ed amp on stage), acoustic guitar (DI into the PA), bass (not in the PA, just going through his own amp which is on stage), acoustic drums (behind a shield, not mic'ed), and 2-3 singers.
    Our current PA - Presonus Studiolive board feeding two Mackie SRM 450's. No Subs. Mics are SM58's for vocals, SM57 on the guitar amp. Most of the band uses in-ear monitors except our drummer who uses a wedge monitor.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

  • #2
    Short answer- it's going to be loud. Short ceilings, drywall, and windows will really contribute to an echo. You shouldn't have to 'upgrade' anything. IEMs will be a big help.The Mackies should be a good starting point (without seeing the room itself) .Do you plan on hanging them or having them on poles?

    The biggest challenges will be the bass & guitar amp.I'm not anti stage amp but it depends on your player. and the amp. If your guitar player wants to bring in his 40W Fender 2x12 and get that good tube sound he's going to blow people away. If your bass player wants to bring in a 4x10 half stack, same thing. If your players are disciplined enough to dial it back and point the amps away from the congregation it could work.

    I would also consider some decorative sound deadening material. We use simple heavy thread count sheets in our kids' classroom (similar setup as you describe but a 20 foot metal ceiling) and it's pretty effective. I would start with the wall behind the band and the opposite wall (to reduce slapback). We run a curtain/sheet behind the drummer also. It helps deaden the echo off the wall behind him.Having a room full of people will help as well.

    Hopefully that gives you a starting point.
    If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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