May 10, 2016
The Audio team has been hard at work to resolve issues with hearing spoken word in the Sanctuary. After much testing, modeling and listening to the congregation and various audio experts, we arrived at a unanimous decision about the next step - how often does that happen?
We discovered that a large factor in the issues with the current speaker is likely due to its location in the Sanctuary rather than the speaker itself. We plan to demount the speaker from its current location, high up on the ceiling above the organ/chancel, and temporarily install it about 15' above the floor in the Sanctuary’s front left corner. According to the computer model, it is possible this will satisfactorily resolve our issues. If not, there are subsequent steps we can take like adding acoustic padding on the back wall or adding smaller ‘booster’ speakers at strategic locations. Before we permanently mounti it or decide on additional steps, we will first listen to the speaker in its new location.
For those interested in specific issues with speaker location, it has to do with the digital directional aiming of the speaker. With the speaker we have, the Qflex, we are able to directionally aim sound waves to maximize the amount of sound hitting the seating area and minimize the amount of sound hitting the walls. Sound waves hitting the walls and bouncing around muddy the sound and make it hard to understand what you are hearing. Part (most?) of our problem is that the steepness of the angle causes sound to bounce all the way up to the ceiling and back down again. This causes the same problem hitting the walls would have caused. If we lower the speaker, we can project the sound at a shallow angle that minimizes bounce off both walls and ceiling.
We rented the large black speakers placed around the Sanctuary perimeter while we investigated how to improve our sound. Speakers will be returned shortly; their rental period is over and the fee significantly increases if we continue to use them. We hope to have our speaker relocated soon, but there may be a gap between removal of rental speakers and relocation of our column speaker. We appreciate your patience and hope to have this work completed very soon! –Elizabeth Maher