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Tools For Worship Audio: Evaluating & Selecting Loudspeakers
Matching a plethora of choices with the unique needs of your church
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In the world of sound system design and installation, there’s an old adage that states, “Your system is only as good as the weakest component in the signal chain.”

This is especially true of a sound system’s loudspeakers. They are the last link in the chain and are directly responsible for communicating everything that’s been done to the signal along the way.

One thing’s for sure: if your church audio system sounds lousy, the listening audience will automatically shift their gaze first upon the loudspeakers, viewing them as the primary culprit whether they are at fault or not.

And indeed, loudspeakers are one of the most important aspects of a system. Going beyond simply delivering sound into a room, they actually become a living physical element, dynamically interacting with their surroundings.

In other words, what you’re usually hearing from a loudspeaker is more than its output, you’re also hearing what’s happening to that output as it travels through the space.

As Jon Baumgartner, a veteran system designer for Sound Solutions in Coralville, IA, points out, “the loudspeaker(s) are selected to provide pattern coverage over the entire seating area without putting acoustic energy on the walls, floor or ceiling.”

Five Electro-Voice Phoenix PX2152 full-range loudspeakers, including a central cluster of three, at Crossword Christian Church, Riverside, CA. (click to enlarge)

“When we put sound on people, it is largely absorbed and only minimal reflections continue elsewhere in their journey about the room,” he adds. “But when the pattern coverage is poorly designed, putting acoustic energy on highly reflective surfaces such as walls, floors and ceilings, the reflected sound can pass the listener’s ears several times, creating a lack of enunciation and speech intelligibility.

More Than One Answer
A wide range of quality professional loudspeakers, produced by an equally wide range of manufacturers, are available for house of worship sound systems.

Selecting the “right” loudspeakers for a given system and room is no simple matter, and there can be more than one “right” answer.

The type of programming featured in worship services is one issue; the acoustical nature of the space is another.

Budgetary issues are almost always an important factor influencing loudspeaker selection. Aesthetics are yet another concern.


Source: Live Sound International

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