For Sound Systems, Don’t Design Solely On Popular Trends

Doing the math, though, does not guarantee that the system will be great. The models and math are only as good as the information provided.

For Sound Systems, Don’t Design Solely On Popular Trends
This may sound simple, but an engineer needs to look at the system with some common sense. For instance, you would not place a line array system in a board room, just as you wouldn't use ceiling speakers for a full band application. This is obviously a crazy scenario, but in most situations, it is not so clear cut.
For Sound Systems, Don’t Design Solely On Popular Trends
This may sound simple, but an engineer needs to look at the system with some common sense. For instance, you would not place a line array system in a board room, just as you wouldn't use ceiling speakers for a full band application. This is obviously a crazy scenario, but in most situations, it is not so clear cut.

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For Sound Systems, Don’t Design Solely On Popular Trends

Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
The November-December 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a review of the 49 New Product Award entries this year, as well as those entries up for Solomon Awards in 2017.
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Sound reinforcement systems come in all different shapes and sizes.  There are not two systems that are identical. 

The engineer needs to look at the system with some common sense.  For instance, you would not place a line array system in a board room…

Each space requires a slightly different configuration.  For example, in some room configurations, a line array system might be the best solution, but other rooms may require a point source style design.  It is critical that the designer of your system be mindful of this fact and not design solely on popular trends.

Not only does each system require individual attention, but to add another layer of complexity, there are a couple different types of sound reinforcement systems.

One type is a public address system, or PA.  These systems are commonly found in concert venues, churches, or auditoriums.  The goal of these systems is to noticeably amplify signal inserted into the system.
The second large sound reinforcement system type is simply for voice lift.  Voice lift systems are commonly found in boardrooms, and venues such as reading rooms for the fine arts.  Voice lift is simply there to provide each listener with a level as if the person was standing within a few feet of them.  This means that anywhere in the space, you should be able to hear the speaker at normal conversation levels. 

Even though there are multiple types of sound reinforcement systems, there are still three main things that an engineer must think about while designing a system for a church or another type of client.

The first thing an engineer does is the “Think It.”  This may sound simple, but what it means is that the engineer needs to look at the system with some common sense.  For instance, you would not place a line array system in a board room, just as you wouldn’t use ceiling speakers for a full band application.  This is obviously a crazy scenario, but in most situations, it is not so clear cut. 

The thinking requires the engineer to look at speaker specifications, CAD layouts of the space, and requirements from the client.  Sometimes the differences in these requirements are subtle, but by completing this step, you will get a good bit of the way to completion.  The next steps should simply be validation with possible slight modifications.


More About Tom Noble
Tom Noble received his Bachelor of Science in Acoustics from Columbia College in Chicago. During college, he served as a researcher for the Army Corps of Engineers with a specific focus on Low-Frequency Propagation. After college, he owned his own company working with churches and other AV clients. One of his favorite jobs during that time was being able to design and build a recording studio in downtown Nashville. Shortly after, he worked for an integrator, doing work all over the country, specializing in DSP programming and tuning of rooms for many churches and large corporate clients. He is now the head AV design engineer for Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville. He is married to his beautiful wife with an amazing son and beautiful little daughter.
Get in Touch: tom.noble@lifeway.com    More by Tom Noble

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
The November-December 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a review of the 49 New Product Award entries this year, as well as those entries up for Solomon Awards in 2017.


Article Topics

Technology · Audio · Team Management · Leadership · CAD Layouts · Coverage Patterns · Design · Engineer · Installation Team · Line Array · All Topics

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