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Bad Acoustics, Bad Lighting.... looking for advice

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  • Bad Acoustics, Bad Lighting.... looking for advice

    Hi all! This is my first post here, Wisdom Moon referred me here to post my question as I couldn't find any forums for ministry and worship production.

    We have 2 problems at our church that we are trying to solve right now.

    1) The acoustics in our room are great, but we have too much noise bouncing around and no budget for sound panels. The auditorium is and old Catholic sanctuary that we renovated and modernized. It is about 45 feet wide, 50 feet tall at the crest, and 90ft long. The ground and stage are carpeted, the balcony is a small choir loft that is made of all wood, and the walls/windows are bare(no curtains or sound panels.)

    We built out own drum cage, we took 4ft by 8ft foam pieces that are 4 inches thick from Lowes and we put thick black material on them, it vastly improved the sound issues we were having with the drum cymbals high end bouncing around the auditorium.

    What my pastor would like to do is make similar panels for the wall on our own with a different color material, does anyone think this would work well? I know sound panels are made specifically to absorb sound where this is a cheap alternative that merely soaks in sound rather than absorbing alot...?

    That leads to my next problem

    2) Our windows are curtain-less, would adding curtains help and if so what type of cloth should we use? If covering the windows won't do much for sound, we need to cover them anyway because we are having way too much light bleeding into the service disrupting our lighting systems effectiveness. What would be a good solution to covering the windows for light reasons and if it helps with sound what would be a good solution to covering the windows for sound reasons.

    I know this is a lot I'm sorry! I'm glad I have been pointed to this forum so I can start to contribute here and continue to grow!

    565983_153732091446202_2069507726_n.jpg

    565798_154344284718316_1529470683_n.jpg

    auditorium new.jpg

    Thanks,
    Cody Patterson
    Faith Alive Church

  • #2
    First, the organ is a HUGE problem. It is 90% of all of your sound issues. But never fear! I will take it off of your hands free of charge.

    Kidding of course.

    Watch this video on building your own acoustic panels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8C4mcleE5U

    There are tons of others out there if you just do a google search on it.

    As for the windows, you have to get pretty thick for fabric to begin to do technically do any good for sound absorption but anything you do at all will be a significant step in the right direction so just go for some heavier rug like fabric. You might could even design some inserts that fit the window exactly using something similar to what's in the video above, that is if any of your ppl are very handy with construction and such. That way, you could even remove them when desired. Be sure and leave space behind the insert if you do - pockets of air go along way to trap sound waves.

    Next, do everything you can to eliminate all stage noise. You didn't mention how your band was monitoring so I don't know what your set up is. There are many Sunday's that I don't use a monitor at all but not everybody can be comfortable with that and you have to have some foldback from the house. In other words, my mains/house sound is my monitor.

    Box in your amps or run direct (insert anal guitarist "tone-loss" debate here) if you have quality gear such as a Pod HD500 or something with good outs.

    Next: turn down everything. Yeah, I know. But desperate times call for desperate measures so bring it all down 5db or whatever you can get away with until you can get some control on the acoustics of the room. You've gotta work with what you've got, not dream and act on what you wish you had. If you led worship in the same room with just your voice and an acoustic with maybe a shaker and an acoustic bass, what would it be like? Pretty awesome in my experience. Now split the difference between that and a "Lincoln Brewster Live" high octane set (or whatever is typical for you currently in worship) and you'll probably achieve some great worship atmosphere results that are still very relevant, don't detract from the congregation engaging in worship and again, will help until you can better wrestle with the room.

    Hope this helps!

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh yeah, and hang some decorative fabrics/banners and such from the ceiling. That will help too. But I don't mean TBN channel type banners or anything overly froo-froo. That will add noise.

      Comment


      • #4
        Something to keep in mind (you probably have already) that whatever you use should not be against the fire code in your area. Where I live, the fire marshall will fine us if we have curtains over the windows because they pose a fire hazard. So, we had to fill in the widows and leave the curtains off [at least I think that is what we're told].

        Something creative you can do in the "waiting" period of getting everything set up is to have a "persecuted church remembrance" kind of service. Much of the persecuted church are forced to worship in caves or underground. Their noise can't be too loud or they would be reported to the authorities. The only light they have is the amount produced by candles or the little bit from the sun through the cracks of their walls. It's a powerful reminder how much freedom we have in this country to worship as we please while our brothers and sisters abroad don't have that luxury. So, you could have special services to remind the body as a whole that we need to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters.

        Just a thought. Glad Wisdom sent you here. Blessings to you!!!
        Melanie Siewert, Christ's Servant
        BLOG: http://www.worshipvanguard.blogspot.com

        Comment


        • #5
          I've been a bass player for 10 years, play guitar and drums as well, along with setting up sound for my 'work' band.

          Here's a couple things I see-

          It looks like your PA is at the back of the stage with 2 2-way speakers atop 2 subs- not a bad setup, but a little overkill for what you are playing in. Outdoors, it would be a good setup. Inside a wooden hallway, not so much. So what people so often find themselves doing is using a big sound system and then spending a bunch of time, effort, and money trying to absorb all the sound to make it sound bearable. So maybe first try a different approach of 'less is more'. I know it goes against conventional wisdom, but you'll get a lot for your efforts by scaling back your sound system

          Scale it back to one sub. One sub will be more than enough.

          Run the kick drum through the sub at a low level. Keep the bass out of it. The 2 other speakers will support bass just fine in that environment- at least to start. Trying to run bass through two subs in that environment will sound like mud and echo til the next week...

          If you are running guitars, keep the effects simple- don't use reverb because the hall is providing the reverb.

          Remember, sounding loud and sounding good are NOT the same thing. If you scale back, you can get a better sound without the mud.

          What's it going to hurt to try it?

          We can give more pointers if you let us know what you normally run- keys, acoustic, electric, bass, etc. and several people here can give you some good pointers.

          Mike
          If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow thank you so much everyone!

            First, the organ is a HUGE problem. It is 90% of all of your sound issues. But never fear! I will take it off of your hands free of charge.
            We would LOVE someone to take it off our hands, but we are trying to make a tid bit of cash selling it to help towards our chair buying goal.(:

            Next, do everything you can to eliminate all stage noise. You didn't mention how your band was monitoring so I don't know what your set up is.
            We use in-ear monitors so stage noise is not a big issue.
            Our amps are mic'ed if we play electric, but they are put in a separate room as to eliminate stage noise, I have never tried running straight out of my pedal board but I've heard it is not a good idea?

            Scale it back to one sub. One sub will be more than enough.
            The low end in the room is great, the kick drum isn't too loud but it is feel-able. We don't run the system extremely loud because it is a mixed congregation but it is Contemporary music feel, Ie. Jesus Culture, Hillsong, Chris Tomlin, Gateway Worship. I understand toning back the sound level but we keep it at a decent level already, when I joined the staff they had 4 15" mains, 4 18" subs and I decided that was overkill too haha.

            Something to keep in mind (you probably have already) that whatever you use should not be against the fire code in your area.
            I have kept this in mind thanks There is no fire-code issue with this in our community.

            *
            We typically run with just Vocals, Djembe, and Acoustic on Sunday's, but when we do full band it is drums, acoustic, electric, bass, keys, and vocals.

            Comment


            • #7
              Lots of good advice in here already.

              I'd also suggest getting some sort of RTA in the room and identifying what is reverberating the most. Different acoustic treatments work better with different frequencies. Do you have a dealer or anyone you are working with to buy gear, many times you can get them to help you figure out room acoustics. We have a company here that we rent from when we do outside events, I've paid them for 30 minutes of their time to look at rooms before to just tell me how they'd set it up if they had to.

              I'd move the speakers also, you have them on the back of your stage which is, at least, going to add to noise in any open microphones. Find out what the throw angle is on the horns on those boxes and then set them against the wall at the front of the stage. Try turning then inward towards the middle of the room so that the majority of their direct throw is pointing away from the wall right next to them. For example, if the speakers throw 60 degrees wide, try setting them at the outside walls and angling them in 30 degrees. This would channel the majority of the sound at your people/seats instead of ping ponging down the hallway. Chances are the majority of your issues are with the side wall reflections. Yes, it will then send more energy across the room and at the opposite wall, but it will be lower power and have to go through bodies to get there. If it is the back wall, you'd have a slap back effect that is more noticeable. Your speakers are not mounted up in the air, so by the time the room gets people in it there probably is not a lot of energy hitting the back wall.
              Travis Paulding,
              Production & Technology Director, St. Simons Community Church
              www.sscommunitychurch.com
              twitter.com/tpaulding

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dtpuga View Post
                I'd move the speakers also, you have them on the back of your stage which is, at least, going to add to noise in any open microphones.
                The speakers were put there for the purpose of better sound. They were against the wall angled in and the problems in the room were worse then. The sound has vastly improved since they moved to where they are now. It's hard to tell but the mics are all behind the speakers, they are set up for their throw angle to disperse evenly across the room with on pair of speakers being centered on each set of rows. That is the front of the stage in terms of vocals because the vocals stand behind the speakers in the middle. The only thing in-front of the speakers are the drum set which is barely in-front, and the keyboard when in use(it would be on the left side of the stage opposite of the drum set).

                Using and RTA would be a great idea if we had a budget for it.(:

                We are just looking for small simple solutions to use where possible, one would be adding home made panels like in that video, so thank you for that!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cody Patterson View Post
                  I have never tried running straight out of my pedal board but I've heard it is not a good idea?
                  Yeah, I'm primarily speaking of modeling pedals. I've got the HD500 and run direct from there. It has a switch to change the signal between amp and direct even. There are others too, I just don't know them well. The difference is negligible if there is even one. I've got a Egnater Renegade half stack that I run through and when I've A/B'd the two between running direct and running through the amp, the only difference I get is the noise the amp makes. There isn't any tonal difference. Now I'm sure an Eric Johnson type, who can hear the difference between Energizer and Duracell batteries, can probably hear the difference. I'm sure right at 100% of my congregants (including the musicians) can't.

                  Again, I'm not talking about running through just a distortion pedal or whatever, into a DI, and then into the board. That would thin the sound out.
                  Last edited by Moosicman; 02-05-2013, 01:14 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Our amps are mic'ed if we play electric, but they are put in a separate room as to eliminate stage noise, I have never tried running straight out of my pedal board but I've heard it is not a good idea?
                    Here's an article from Peavey as to why running direct won't work that good

                    http://peavey.com/support/technotes/...hingdirect.cfm

                    The main reason (according to Peavey) is that guitar amps and speakers are 'tuned' by design to bring out the right harmonics and frequencies by the time it gets out of the speaker. It's not that much of an issue on clean settings, but the overdrive/tube/saturation channels, the speaker dynamics play a crucial role. Running effects direct takes the amp and speaker part of the circuitry out of the chain, so the sound is thin and harsh.

                    Modeling pedals/ boards are different because they are designed to be run through the PA or recording devices, so those are 'tuned' to replicate the speaker and amp dynamics on the line outs, so what you hear out of the PA/console is what it would sound like if the mic was in front of the amp.
                    If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Travis has some good advice above. It sounds like you're already doing right things from a band perspective - IEMs, isolating your amps for electrics, etc.

                      I realize it's hard to justify the money, but I would strongly recommend getting a professional into your space before you spend any money on acoustic treatment (even homemade solutions are going to involve some cost). You need someone who can highlight the problem areas and frequencies of the room. It could be that some small tweaks to the system EQ would go a long way. I guess my point is that there is going to be some cost involved with this project no matter what (acoustic panels, curtains, etc.) - to me, it would be smart money to get your room checked out first, before you find yourself out of money with a solution that isn't really helping your problem.

                      Glad Wisdom pointed you our way! Welcome!
                      Eric Frisch
                      www.ericfrisch.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Moosicman View Post
                        Again, I'm not talking about running through just a distortion pedal or whatever, into a DI, and then into the board. That would thin the sound out.
                        Oh okay I understand, I've been looked into getting the HD 500 as well as using GuitarRig5.

                        Originally posted by Mike on Bass View Post
                        Modeling pedals/ boards are different because they are designed to be run through the PA or recording devices, so those are 'tuned' to replicate the speaker and amp dynamics on the line outs, so what you hear out of the PA/console is what it would sound like if the mic was in front of the amp.
                        That makes a lot more sense thank you!

                        Originally posted by efrisch View Post
                        I realize it's hard to justify the money, but I would strongly recommend getting a professional into your space before you spend any money on acoustic treatment (even homemade solutions are going to involve some cost). You need someone who can highlight the problem areas and frequencies of the room. It could be that some small tweaks to the system EQ would go a long way. I guess my point is that there is going to be some cost involved with this project no matter what (acoustic panels, curtains, etc.) - to me, it would be smart money to get your room checked out first, before you find yourself out of money with a solution that isn't really helping your problem.
                        Thank you for the welcome! I'm excited to be here! And I will definitely be recommending things that have been posted here to my pastor especially about having someone come in to help, thanks!

                        Comment

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