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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The second thing that an engineer will do is “Math It.”  This is where a lot of folks start to fall away.  It is a much more tedious process, but we need to take the time and calculate the actual math of the design.  This requires trigonometry, a good calculator, some scratch paper, and some online tools provided by industry leaders.  .

Engineers need to calculate power requirements of the system, heat loads for HVAC requirements, weight for structural requirements, conduit fills, jam ratios, coverage patterns, and more.  A lot of these can be easily calculated with a pencil and paper, but others such as coverage patterns can be a little more time consuming. This is why a lot of engineers will turn to tools such as ease for coverage and uniformity modeling. These models can provide a very detailed survey of coverage in your space. 

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.  Even though the possibility for error is available, the math does give you some extra information into the system, making sure that the system will work as designed.

The third thing is to “Draw It.”  Every detail is important.  It is best to assume at every instance that no one has any clue what they are doing and your drawings are going to be the instruction guide to the installation team.  It is very easy to draw a system and require field verification for installation, but it adds time to the end of the project.  Just like every step above, the better the information and the more time spent, the better the end result will be. 

Many will note that all of this can take a lot of time to complete, before the project is underway and you might be on a tight deadline.  It is well documented by industry leaders that one hour in “the shop,” will save three hours in the field. 

The drawing stage really is the culmination of all the information that the engineer has gained over the course of the design process.  Others may not have been privileged to that information, or it may be taken for granted that something should be general knowledge when it may not be.  These holdups or assumptions could cause a lot of time loss at the end of the project. 


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 · Design · Engineer · Installation Team · Line Array · Sound Reinforcement Systems · Speaker Specifications · All Topics

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