Sound Reinforcement Systems: ‘The Best Sound Comes From One Source’

Are we looking for a loud system that has measurably similar low-end coverage in every seat? Or are we looking for the utmost intelligibility and the tightest low-end?

Sound Reinforcement Systems: ‘The Best Sound Comes From One Source’
Even with two line arrays, creating a stereo system, we will have some areas that are not time aligned. As the distance between each source and the listener varies throughout the room, so will the timing. The yellow area in the center of the room shows the listening area, where we will have a true stereo image. The blue areas show the portions covered by a single source, and the red areas show where the two sources are overlapping and have the potential to create a bit of a mess.

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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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To the tech director, dream big. What sound system would you put in your room, if budget wasn’t a factor?

Sometimes simplicity is the key to great sound.

When technicians dream up a sound system, a lot of us gravitate toward the idea of having it include a lot of speakers – most likely line arrays - and many subs. Maybe some fills, here and there.

Depending on your room, you may think you need to spread out your subwoofers and create an arc of low-end energy across your room or worship space.

That sounds nice, and maybe that’s the dream. It could probably get loud and every seat in the space may have a comparable experience, with low-end energy.

Is that the goal, though?

Are we looking for a loud system that has measurably similar low-end coverage in every seat? Or are we looking for the utmost intelligibility and the tightest low-end, even if it may fluctuate a few decibels here and there across the room?

A great speaker manufacturer said it best, “The best sound comes from one source.” At first glance, you may think they are referring to their speakers as the “source,” but there’s actually more to it.

Think about it.

The more sources we introduce, the more time alignment that will have to be done, and even still you have some phasing across different frequencies as they overlap in different areas of the room. If you take this into account, then you may start dreaming of simple systems that can cover your worship space without significant amounts of overlap with other sources.

When you consider timing and overlap of sources, the dream becomes one full-range coaxial speaker in the middle of the room, that’s somehow able to cover the entire area.

Again, it’s the dream.

It’s generally not reality, unless you’re in a smaller space. I encourage you with this, though, to keep it simple.

Sometimes simplicity is the key to great sound. Approach every project with the goal of keeping it simple and work from there as the project necessitates.

Consider the examples shown in the main image with this article. Even with two line arrays, creating a stereo system, we will have some areas that are not time aligned. As the distance between each source and the listener varies throughout the room, so will the timing.


More About Brian Poole
Brian Poole lives in Charlotte, N.C., with his wife and three kids and serves as Director of Live Production Technologies at Elevation Church. Brian spends most of his working hours designing AVL systems for Elevation’s permanent and non-permanent campuses, as well as for all of Elevation’s external events. Over the past eight years on staff at Elevation, Brian has learned how to manage timelines, budgets, and people to effectively build and deploy systems to further the reach of the Gospel in the city of Charlotte, and around the world. Brian also serves as the front of house audio engineer at Elevation’s main campus and oversees the development of the Elevation sound engineer team.
Get in Touch: bpoole@elevationchurch.org    More by Brian Poole

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 · Budgeting · Leadership · Team Development · Budget · Decibels · Intelligibility · Line Arrays · Low-End Energy · Sound Reinforcement Systems · All Topics

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