Facts about Acoustical Treatments
Update 2022

Most acoustics treatments applied to churches fail to improve congregational singing.  Yes, adding enough of any acoustical product to a worship space will change how the room sounds, but in most cases, the change is exchanging one set of acoustics problems for another set of problems.  As a result, there is no real improvement in the overall quality of worship. 

When using the Biblical method of treating the acoustics of a worship space, not only is there an improvement, congregational singing is significantly enhanced.  In most churches that upgraded their sound the Biblical way, the audience participation often goes from less than 30% of the congregation signing to over 70% of the congregation singing within a few weeks after the worship space is upgraded.  This realizes a church attendance from 5 to 25% within the first year and higher attendance for years to come.  This improvement in attendance comes from making the room friendlier to anyone with hearing issues, which affects from 8 to 25% of any population group.

Having any worship space enhanced with Biblical acoustics makes the room more accessible for everyone rather than just for younger people.  Here is an example of a brand new church, where during their first worship service, the song leader asked everyone to sing acapella.  Few churches begin with good sound on the first day and every following worship service.  Whether a new or existing church bringing the sound performance levels up to Biblical standards makes the worship space a room where people will want to worship in, rather than a place where people wonder if they can understand the whole message without playing it back later electronically. 

If you want to experience a great-sounding worship space, visit Shantz Mennonite Church in Baden, Ontario, Canada.  This is just the latest of the hundreds of churches that have had their sound managed according to what the Bible teaches.  Sound in a worship space managed any other way comes up short in meeting the needs of any congregation. 


Mono and Stereo Sound at the same time. A Hybrid Church Sound System made possible because of
the room acoustics and thanks to budget digital mixers. All of the vocals and speaking is in the
center speakers and all of the music is in the stereo speakers to the left and right of the stage.
You don't have stereo imaging but you hear the full range of stereo sound everywhere in the seating areas.
Click on the photo for more details. Oct 1, 2014

The JdB Sound Acoustics Testing Room is now complete and ready to introduce the next generation of
acoustical management in houses of worship.

Acoustics vs Sound System

The following is a list of common sound problems found in all worship spaces and churches. If your church has already replaced it's sound system three of four times already and tried different designs, perhaps the problem is acoustical. You should get your church tested before you buy another sound system.

Problem Cause and Repair
Dead Spots Sound System
Congregational Singing Acoustics
Bass Player can't hear himself Acoustics
Gain before feedback Sound System Design & Acoustics
Intelligibility Sound System Design & Acoustics
Bass Player plays too loud Acoustics
Drummer is being picked up by all the open mics Drum Placement & Acoustics
Drummers can't hear themselves in the monitors or other musicians Acoustics
Monitor spills into the audience area Acoustics
Reinforcing the choir Acoustics
Choir can't hear themselves Acoustics
The Preach or minister or Priest hear themselves so loud they keep lowering their voices Acoustics
The Pipe Organ or Electronic Organ is too loud Acoustics
Sub Woofer are playing 3 to 9dB lower in level and often distort or clip Acoustics
Too much distortion from the sound system Under powered system and acoustics
Everyone has to stand within 10 inches of a mic or else feedback System design and Acoustics
Church attendance seems to be declining all the time and we have a great sound system demographic and/or Acoustics

As you can see, it is not enough to just install and operate a great sound system. You have to have a way to manage the air in the room. Before any sound system can sound great, before you can move forward in improving the worship experience, you have to manage the reflections in the room. Manage the sequencing of sound and manage the frequency response of the room and the results will be immediately apparent. Taking care of these three vital issues will change the worship experience of the church members almost instantly.

When your church is ready to take the next step in it's worship experience, look for a single step solution that addresses all of these problem. These problems are often fixed for less than the cost of upgrading or replacing the speaker system of most churches in existing church and is often free when planning new churches.

Affordable Stereo in Church!
Completed the commissioning of my first Hybrid Church Stereo System.
The full range sound from stereo mixes are heard in 100% of the seating. All of the instruments are panned to the left set of speakers or the right set of speaker. The Left/Right speaker system is combined with a central cluster for optimum speech and vocal clarity. To see the setup, follow this link.
Church Stereo Hybrid Sound System
Updated Feb 2014
Quotes of the Day
Quotes of the day are comment made by church members at random churches
over the years of people who were not my clients.
Updated November 2013
The rectangle room shape for a church is the best when it is in the right ratio. All other room shapes are rooms that people spend millions on with sound equipment and acoustical panels to make them sound like a rectangle room.

The truth is, the most you can do with other room shapes is make them as usable as possible. You can make any room shape perform almost as good as a rectangle but these rooms will never “sound” like a rectangle. Every room has its own unique sound but few people get to hear it.

A rectangle room used sideways will never sound as good as a room used lengthwise.
Some churches are in such denial about their acoustical problems that they would rather teach the
church members Sign Language.
Some churches are in such denial about their acoustical problems that they would rather keep buying
new sound systems for minor gains at 3 times the cost of making acoustical changes to fix the sound.
Some churches are in such denial about their acoustical problems that they rather build another
new church without acoustical help and hope the results will be different.
(which is how their existing church was built!)
Some churches are in such denial about their acoustical problems that they would let the church split.
Nothing gets in the way of hearing the gospel more than the invisible and hidden dangers
between the pulpit and the audience.
Nothing gets in the way of hearing the gospel more than the invisible and hidden dangers
between the sound system speakers and the audience.
Nothing gets in the way of understanding the worship and music more than the invisible and hidden dangers
between the sound system speakers and the audience.
If you build a car without an engine, it will look nice but it won’t be able to go anywhere. 
If you build a church without acoustics, it can’t contribute to the community it is supposed to serve.


Did you know that if you use hard shell half round shapes in a sequential pattern, you will not need bass traps in the corners of your church!

Did you know this if you use hard shell half round shapes in a sequential pattern you can reduce excess bass in some frequencies over 40dB?

Did you know that in larger churches, the half round shapes can increase the bandwidth of a sound system, increase the gain before feedback and increase the bass output of sub woofer up to 6dB!

Did you know that if you use hard shell half round shapes in a sequential pattern around your whole worship space, you can double or triple the number of people singing during worship without having to tell them to participate more or to sing louder!

It’s All True.

Free Hearing Test App

Get your hearing tested for free. If you have an iPad, iPod or iPhone, you can test your hearing with a free App. It is good enough to confirm whether if you have a hearing problem and whether you should be getting professional help.

The software is from Unitron and they make hearing aids. So while some people think that this is just a sales marketing tool, and it very well may be, but it matches a hearing test of mine done in a proper lab hours apart. That is good enough to decide who should be behind a mixer and making adjustments during worship.

What I have also done is use this test for people who persistently ask me to turn things up – even when they have sat in different places. When everything is working properly and I know the sound system is passing the STI speech intelligibility test, I will ask the person to take the test. Be gentle and kind when asking people to take the test. When people discover that they need help, setting them off in getting their hearing back often gives them back their life too. The App is called “U-Hear”
If experiencing poor sound in church could be measured as pain and people are not complaining about it, it could be because they don't consider taking 10 extra strength pain killers per worship service as overdosing.
Joseph De Buglio Jan 2013

- The Bible gives us the best plan for church acoustics that also allows for
the best sound system performance possible. (Dec, 2012)

- It is easy to fix the acoustics good enough to make a sound system work better but for the same cost you can make all of the worship service sound better. (Dec, 2012)

- All Sound Systems are like magnifying glasses for the room acoustics. (Nov 2012)

- If your Worship space performs properly, so will the sound system give a great performance.
- If the worship space doesn't perform well, no sound system can make a bad room sound good. (Oct 2012)

- If you have replaced your sound system two or more times in the last 15 years, you will most likely have to fix the room first before you will be able to get any significant sound system performance improvements.
From St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park Florida August 27 2012
A member told Fr. Walsh, “Either the sound is getting better, or my hearing has miraculously improved.” 
Another member gave one of the ushers his hearing assistance device and said, “Take this, someone else might be able to use it now.” 

I have only heard folks saying they could hear more clearly than ever and that the treatment aesthetically makes the place feel comfortably smaller, not so big and antiseptic. 

JdB Sound Acoustics

For Current Updated
JdB Sound Acoustics Blog

JdB Sound Acoustics
722 Peel St,
Southwestern Ontario, Canada N4B 2H1
Phone 519-582-4443

New and Archived Article

Introduction Video Presentation on

Have been serving the
church community
since 1981 in the
United States, Canada, England,
Brazil, Belize, Alaska,
Australia, New Zealand,
Sudan, South Africa, Argentina,
Mexico, Columbia and Nigeria,
South Korea, Philippines,

We have had the privilege of working with over 50 different denomination and Missionary groups.

Did you know that JdB Sound Acoustics teaches audio and acoustical at private seminars?

Have you considered hosting a seminar at your church?

Example pages 10 and 11 - 2006 to 2008 PDF
St James Anglican Church 1984 -2007 New
click1 Example page 1 and 2
Photo Example Page 3 and 4
Photo Link Example Page 5, 6, and 7
click2 Example page 8 and 9
click3 Projects in Progress

Recent Church projects and repairs

Have been serving the
church community
since 1981 in the
United States, Canada, England,
Brazil, Belize, Alaska,
Australia, New Zealand,
Sudan, South Africa, Argentina,
Mexico, Columbia and Nigeria.

We have had the privilege of working with over 50 different denomination and Missionary groups.

Did you know that JdB Sound Acoustics teaches audio and acoustical at private seminars?

Have you considered hosting a seminar at your church?

c4 Projects Past and Present
b1 Church Tips Updated 2006
b2 New Church Buildings
c5Seven Days PDF 3 month Update
c6 CAPS A church acoustical standard
Telephone Star (*) Codes
PPD Panels Pressure Phase Diffusers
Kingston Road United Church PDF
For consulting assistance, please send an email asking for our PDF information file package that will be emailed to you.

Please include the following:
  • Your Name - -
  • Church Name - -
  • Church seating capacity - -
  • City - -
  • Country - -
  • Phone Number. _
For questions about church sound systems and church acoustics or if you need immediate assistance, please call. 519-582-4443
Free Telephone Assistance from - 10:am to 6pm EST

To see current photos of projects
I have worked on

** Introduction Presentation on YouTube

Were the carvings of the palms trees in the Holy of Holy's added for symbolism or where they added to solve a problem related to hearing inside the two main rooms of the temple? (1 Kings 6:29)
If it is for hearing, does it apply to modern day churches?

The performance of a sound system is limited by the acoustics of your worship space, not by the sound system budget.

Which will perform better in a 950 seat church?
A: A sound system with a $150,000 budget for the main speakers to the mixer and no acoustical budget or
B: A $50,000 sound system budget for the main speakers to the mixer and a $25,000 for acoustics?
Answer "B" Imagine spending 50% less and getting a better room for worship and a superior sound system.

If your floor monitors are too loud and competes with your front of house speakers, switching to an In Ear Monitor system doesn't solve the acoustical problem that is also limiting congregational singing and overall speech intelligibility.

There are 4 ways to absorb sound.

3dB is double or half of where you started from.
To reduced noise 3dB you have to reduce the power of the noise by half.
To reduce a reflection 3dB you have to absorb half the energy or 50% of it.

The most common acoustical problem a church has is excess energy between 150 to 800 hertz.
Often the amount of energy needed to manage is around 20 to 25dB of reduction.
To reduce the energy up to 25dB you have to reduce the power in the energy 256 times the power

By just managing the sound between 150 to 800 hertz you can improve speech intelligibility up to 20%.
This allows you to keep a higher level of musical quality in your congregational singing and worship while improving the performance of your sound system at the same time. You can often improve the dynamic range of your sound system up to 10dB..

The ear can hear distortion before it shows up on the meters of most mixers including studio mixer.
When the room acoustics are good, you can hear the distortion up to 6dB sooner.
May 21, 2012

A Church with poor acoustics is an incomplete building.
A Church with good acoustics is a complete Church.
Even a 450 year old church can be incomplete until it gets acoustical treatment
that allows full and free flowing worship.
Joseph De Buglio May 1 2012

Walls are amplifiers of sound.
Outdoors - when you double the energy with amplifiers or speakers the sound levels increases 3dB.
Indoors - when you double the energy with amplifiers or speakers the sound level of certain frequencies can increase up to 9dB or cancel the sound 100%.
April, 24, 20112

The ocean of air between the pulpit and the listener has many invisible perils.  The biggest danger is when sound is on it's journey, destructive reflections amplified by the sound system often changes the sounds of the words.  This always changes the meaning of the message.  Joseph De Buglio April 16 2012

First Baptist Church, Lloydminister, Sask. Canada was host to the Freedom Singer that sold out the concert
and their book. First Baptist church was featured in CBC Dragons Den Season 6 Episode 17.
The acoustical treatment using the Solomon Acoustical System was shown on TV.
The concert was held in November 2011.

Acoustics doesn't win people to Christ but it does prevent people from
understanding the message no matter how good your sound system is.
Joseph De Buglio Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nothing ruins a good movie more than bad sound.
Nothing ruins the worship experience more for the first time visitors than bad acoustics
when the minister is preaching.
Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nothing sounds better than a worship space with a flat frequency response.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Getting speaker distortion under control.
Why do older people ask you to turn down the sound system when it is not loud to younger people (PDF File)
December 3, 2011

"The average church will replace and or relocate their speaker system 2 to 6 times before they will fix the acoustics."
Joseph De Buglio 2011
November 12, 2011

When standing at the pulpit at your church and the sound system is off, do you speaker louder or quieter? 
When you turn the sound system on, do you speak just as loud or quieter? 
If you answer quieter to either of these two questions, you most likely have a major acoustical problem.
October 22, 2011

Church Acoustics is not optional when it comes to spreading the Gospel.
October 10, 2011

All Church Acoustics begins with Solomon's Temple.
October 1, 2011

"Speakers make sound, Acoustics cleans it up." (Art Noxon from ASC Tube Traps.)
September 24, 2011

"All churches are unique.  Even when two churches are built alike, they will both be different and they will sound different because no two congregations are alike and they will always want to personalize a new building design.  All churches have the same special requirements.  All churches have the same basic requirements and some have advanced requirements.  These requirements are not optional as they are the foundation of what is needed to hear and participate in a large space.  Management of sound in the church is to always achieve the same goals regardless of the room shape, size and materials built from. All churches want the same results whether the sound is amplified or not. All churches are unique. All churches want to be unique yet they all want the same results - to hear speech and music clearly."
Is this possible!!! 
It is possible and it has been done.

(c) Joseph De Buglio 2011

August 3, 2011

So you dial in a great mix when the praise team or choir rehearsed before worship service. Everything sounds great. Everything sounds grand for the first song. Then about half way through the 2nd or 3rd song, the music starts to sound horrible. The balance of the vocals and instruments are way off. It seems like the vocals and any instruments using open mics are being turn down or the electronic instruments were turned up. Seconds later, you hear the onset of feedback or ringing in the sound system. But how! Everything was sounding so good just a few seconds ago. HELP!!!!

Is this sort of scenario happening almost every week? Are you finding that after a few songs the performance of the sound system has changes? Are you struggling with getting decent gain before feedback, even with the pastor's headset mic? Is this a sound system problem and do we have to upgrade again? If the sound at your church changes during worship or from week to week, it's not you (the sound operator); it's not your sound system; it's not the performers, the choir or the people speaking through the sound system. 99% of the time the problem is a result of the room.

The sequence of reflections, the storage of energy in a confined space and the large flat surfaces in a worship space are all susceptible to climate changes. When people sing, they change the humidity and temperature of the worship space. Sound travels faster through water than through the air. When you rehearsed before worship the room had a lower level of humidity. As people started coming into the worship space, already the temperature started going up and churches with air conditioning, most systems are not able to keep the room stable during worship. When the people start to sing, the humidity of the room changes and the threshold of feedback shift from being stable to unstable. When this happens all you can do is lower the level of the sound system. Micro-managing each and every microphone changes the mix balance and things go downhill from there. Just turn the master fader down and leave the mix alone. It will keep the glaring eyes down to a dull roar.

The fix is - as you can guess - is fix the acoustics. A room with the acoustics as was in Solomon's temple will give your worship experience a stable sound system and an improvement in the congregational singing too.

In my books, a church without acoustical treatment or has built in features is a church that has not been completed. Another way of saying it, a church is not finished its construction until the acoustics are done. What kind of acoustics? Any system that can give you at least 12 of the 14 item listed below.

June 2011

Question: When is there too much bass in a church?
Answer: When everyone else can hear it and the performers can't.

May 2011

There are two main approaches to acoustics in churches.
One approach is call "sound system acoustics." That is when the acoustical fix is designed to get more performance from a sound system. This often means going overboard with a single action treatment which often "kills the room" or they provide just enough treatment to get enough additional performance to justify a sound system upgrade. While the sound system does perform better, it is most likely not working as well as it could and often the worship experience is reduced somewhat. In many instances the worship experience, especially the congregational singing is reduced a lot.
The second approach is called "Complete church acoustics." That is when the acoustical fix brings the room up to peak performance for almost all aspects of worship. In one step the fix is designed to make the room perform well for;

  1. congregational singing
  2. the praise and worship team
  3. cutting the stage noise down
  4. improving the sound of the choir and for the choir to hear themselves
  5. improves the ability for the praise team to hear each other whether using IEM or floor monitors
  6. assisting the ministers to hear themselves better
  7. hearing speech without a sound system to a larger area of the room without the sound system (up to 80 ft in most rooms)
  8. people with hearing aids to hear further without assistance. If you can hearing well at 10 ft normal conversation in a quiet room, the church acoustics should be just as good. (depending on the type of hearing loss you may have.)
  9. any acoustical performances such as the piano, the pipe organ or digital organ, guitars and orchestra instruments.
  10. improving the bass response for all musical instruments and amplified bass
  11. sub woofers will see a 3 to 6dB boost
  12. drum kits (reducing or eliminating the need for drum shields.)
  13. tremendous gain before feedback
  14. Less distortion from the sound system
  15. Able to mix from any seat in the church

A room that can do all of this would be an excellent worship space that can double as a multi-purpose worship space able to perform well for all styles of preaching, worship and music. The big question is, which acoustical fix will cost less?
The two approaches to church acoustics often cost the same. If your sound system company is recommending an acoustical fix for your church to improve the sound system performance and they are not offering to fix any or most these problems at the same time, then you could be compromising your church further and doing more harm to the spiritual growth of your church. Gaining a better sound system at the expense of congregational singing can undo everything your minister and elders are trying to do. All of your acoustical and sound system problems should be fixed in one step and we have the most experience in keeping that promise.

A Classic Church and Cathedral - Kingston Rd United Church, Completed 2009. You can have conversations with people at 130 ft in this room and the RT60 is over 1.6 seconds.

In 1987, this project included real projection, high powered subwoofers, over 25 performers on stage and 56 channel Soundcraft mixer.

JdB Sound Acoustics uses the "EASE" acoustic modeling program for sound systems and acoustical simulations
Since May 2006-2012

Section 2
We work on projects that have a wide range of budgets. Ready made solutions are often high cost. If your church wants to offer some volunteer help, the cost of fixing a worship space becomes much more affordable.

Here are some examples of projects with very limited budgets. For each church the worship space was changed from a hostile non musical, low intelligibility space to a high quality space that has an almost ideal balance of musical performance with great speech intelligibility whether the sound system is on or off.

2011 New Hope Mennonite Church, Surrey BC Seating 250 - cost under $800.00
2011- First Armenian Church of God - Montreal Quebec Canada - 850 seating - cost under $4,000.00
2009 -St Marks Coptic Church, Montreal, Que, Canada - Glass walls - 600 Seating - cost under $5,000
2008 - Kingston Rd United Church, Toronto, Ont. Canada (Cathedral) 500 seating - cost $3,500

1997- 2009 - Parkdale United Church Ottawa, Ontario Canada- 450 seating - Cost Under $2,500.00
Often rented as rehearsal space for members of the Ottawa Symphony at the NAC
2007 - Shawinigan Baptist Church, Que, Canada - 400 seating - Cost under $4,000
2002 - Emmanuel Pentecostal Christian Church, Montreal, Quebec - 600 seating  - Cost Under $4,000
2004 - East Pasco Seventh Day Adventist, Zephyrhills, Florida - Octagon Sanctuary, 500 seating - Cost Under $15,000
1999 - Indonesian Community Church, Toronto, Ontario Canada - Seating 500 - Cost under $8,000
2002 - First Baptist Church, Norman, Oklahoma  - Seating 1000 - Under $7,000
1996 - St Paul's Anglican Church, Stroud, Ont. Canada - Seating 200 - Costing under $400.00
1999 - Waupaca Community Church, Appleton/Waupaca Wi, USA - Seating 350 - New Church - Under $15,000
2003 - Vineyard Church - Mundelein/Libertyville, IL USA - Seating 450 - Under $6,000
assistance and supervision by All Church Sound
1998 - Good Shepherd Church, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada - Seating 600 - Under $5000
1997 - First Independent Presbyterian Church, Sao Paulo - Brazil  - Seating 1200 - Cost under $1,000
1999 - First Presbyterian Church, Meaford Ontario Canada - seating 200 Cost under $1,200.00
2001 - Heritage Alliance Church, Windsor, Ontario Canada - Seating 700 - Cost under $8,500.00
1999 - Orleans Community Church, Orleans, Ontario Canada - seating 900 - Cost under $11,000
2003- St Bernard's Church, Keene, NH. USA  Seating 650 - Cost under $4,000.00
2005 Metropolitan Church of God, Toronto, Ontario Canada150 seating - Cost of repair $600.00
2006 Gateway Community CRC Church, Abbostford BC Canada seating 350 Gym - $700.00
2007 - St Andrews United Church, Fitzroy Harbor, Ontario Canada Seating 250 - $440.00

Fixing the acoustics shouldn't be expensive whether it's just to control the room
for a sound system or to make it like a concert hall. Both cost about the same.
It just needs to be done.

JdB Sound Acoustics does not sell audio equipment, acoustical panels or do installations. E-mail address is - jdb@jdbsound.com
PH. 519-582-4443

A congregation isn't passive like the audience in a theatre or concert hall. Worshipers play a vital, active role. Churches should be an environment that connects the people to each other and supports their participation in the worship and the message.

Good church acoustics should be part of your outreach and growth plans by making the worship experience exciting and spiritual.

The days of the “Wait and See results” when a new church is built or debating fixing an existing church are over. Doing the proper Math, Science, and Physics that is specifically geared to church is what gets results.

Church Sound Systems and Church Acoustics is a recipe of Science, Physics, Mathematics, a detailed knowledge of Resources, Materials and Technology and knowledge of how the different denominations and worship styles use speech and music to communicate.

Copyright (c) 1995-2014 JdB Sound, Acoustics

Recent Church projects and repairs