Faith Community Church Waupaca

Written by Joseph De Buglio

Few new churches take chances on recommendations from consultants. This church did and the results are something to boast about. Not only did they get a building that is exactly what they wanted acoustical, they also have a church that should be cheaper to operate per square foot than the older church that is less that 10 years old. Getting this church to make the changes needed was not easy. In the end, everyone was happy with the result and the cost of the improvements were much lower in cost as predicted by me - the consultant with the ideas, designing skills and experience to guide a church in the tough decisions that sometime seemed to good to be true.

Below is one of the many earlier floor plan before getting involved with the project. Here are just some of the highlights of the changes to the church.

  • Move the bathroom away from the worship space walls.
  • Un-square the room.
  • Add diffuser
  • Increase the roof height from 18 feet to over 30 feet.
  • Move the Crying room and the office away from the worship space walls
  • Remove the second floor sound booth balcony. (This move just about paid for my consulting fee)
  • Changed the lighting System
  • Changed the air and heating system

These are just some of the many changes that included changing the Architect's and Church Board's mind. About the only restrictions I had was that the blueprints and pricing of the job was far enough along that I had to remain within the footprint of the job site.

Below are most of the changes after many meeting with the Architect and Church Board. Many opposed the changes

This new church seats 290 people plus 200 seating into a cafe/overflow. If they change the seating, they can pack in 330 people. The crying room was removed. It created an extra exit for fire evacuation and a mixing location was put in its place. The new mixer desk was not completed at the time of this article.

This is a photo of the front of the church the day before it opened. Everything in this picture was designed by JdB Sound Acoustics and Engineered by Keller Structures who were also the builders of this church. That includes:
  • the shape of the room,
  • the lighting system,
  • the cloud,
  • the sound system,
  • the platform,
  • the wall diffusers
  • the video project screen setup
  • the wall sconses
  • the roof height
  • the carpet
  • the chairs
These are all the items your acoustics/audio consultant should be involved in.

In the above photo, you have a pan shot from the mixer desk where you can see all across the room. On the back wall above the yet to be installed back doors are outround diffusers. These are tuned to 245 hertz. The diffusers at the front on the platform are tuned to 680 hertz.

For those interested in the sound system, it is a 3 way system. All of the speakers are grouped together and there is also enough capacity to add 2 more sub woofers if the church wants to. The system is limited to 105dB. During testing the system played as loud as 112dB. When the room was test with my MLSSA, the worst intelligibility level was at the mixer desk. The %Alcons dropped from 4.5 to 5.2. Otherwise, the average in the rest of the room was 4.6%. When I test a room, I test the room, the sound system and then both combined. These numbers are of both combined. The room's performance was an average of 5.1%.

The sound system is powered with Crest V series amps. The cluster has over 3,000 watts driving it. The highest actual draw of power never went over 1700 watts when testing. In the above photo, we see the speakers chosen and the xover setup. As the room cures over time, the balance of levels and even the xover points may change - slightly.

In the above photo, we see where the mixer desk area is located. Behind the soundman's position, the wall is diffused. Adding diffusion to the side wall is optional. In this project, in all fairness, I did not get everything I asked for. I asked for a method of closing off the windows and for the cloud to be in smaller chunks and adjustable.

The above photo shows the first use of the system. Please notice how far the singers are away from the mics. These are church members singing and there were a few people who thought the ladies sang too loud. Others said they never heard a 6 person choir sound so great. The acoustic piano was not amplified.

This is a pan shot of the room. Three pictures were glued together.

Community Pentecostal Church, Orleans, Ontario

This is a typical method of acoustical treatment many churches have learned to put up with.
There is a right time to use sound absorption. This was not one of them. These panels have to go.
This church had bass problems, excess standing waves and too much noise on the stage area.
This churches seats over 800 people.

Below is the permanent fix. These panels can be painted, dressed or decorated. These panels will never have to be
replaced or change for the life of the church - even if the church lasts for the next 100 years. The panels were built
by church members. These panels are tunable diffusers. Each panel can be tuned with a vacuum cleaner - well, there is more to it
than that. The church built these panels in about 2 months. They built 100 panels. The first thing the soundman noticed was that
there was more bass - about 6dB more. The choir was louder and the musicians were able to hear themselves better.
This kind of fix can be done on any size church from 200 seating to 15,000 seating

Parkdale United Church

Before and After

Closeup of a Sono Tube all dressed up

Willmington First Baptist Church NC.

Parry Sound Pentecostal Church, Ontario Canada

Thank you.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2001

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