5 Tips for Optimal Sound Control Room Position in Churches
Because bad sound won't help attendance.
The sound booth position is critical in the house of worship setting, but all too often it’s overlooked.
I have seen many houses of worship system installations and am shocked to see where some of these churches have decided to put their mix position.
Technology is not welcomed in many churches. Some congregations feel the need to keep technology completely out of sight, even if that means it’s in a side closet, behind a glass wall, in the basement, or even down the hall.
My Church in Lagos Nigeria, due to the construction limitations, opted to have its mix position on the gallery right beside the male choir and the band, but on top of the altar. Nothing was provided for the Sound Techs to view what was going on during the service.
Microphones were constantly turned on too late and sound levels were all over the place. Being off on the side of the stage posed several other problems that could not be remedied without moving the position.
There are a couple of things churches and integrators need to keep in mind for optimal audio:
1. Sound Engineers Must Have Clear Stage Views:
It’s important to place the mix position in a location where the sound engineer will best hear the mix. A good position is 2/3s of the way back. It’s important the sound engineer has an unobstructed view of the stage/altar area at all times. Anything in front of the mix location could distract the sound engineer and result in a missed cue.
2. Corners, Back Rooms Present Challenges:
Placing around booth position in the back can help keep it out of sight, but this can cause headaches for the sound engineer. The scenario is especially true when the mix position is directly in front of a rear wall.
Integrators must always keep in mind how the acoustics of a room can affect the mix position. Bass will sound louder in the back of a room and standing waves may accord in corners.
Due to the acoustical problems with this location, I wouldn’t suggest this as a good mix position. It’s important to share these things with the pastor, church board and any others who may be making the placement decision.
3. Refrain From Booth-type Rooms:
Running sound within a room is a real no-no. The audio will be completely different, and it will be extremely hard to get the correct sound levels and equalization. Even with a sliding window, there are a number of acoustical problems that will occur and defeat having the mix position.
4. Don’t Rely on Headphones:
Using headphones will not help the sound engineer hear as a majority of the congregation does. The actual room acoustics, speakers, people sitting in the pews, etc., will all affect how the audio system sounds within the room.
5. Control room Position Doesn’t Have to be a Distraction:
If the mix position is dressed up well, it can be aesthetically pleasing and provide minimal distractions. With a variety of racks and equipment furniture, there are endless options to create a seamless integration of new equipment into an existing space.
In many traditional churches, you may need to consider hiring a good carpenter who is known for matching existing wood. With a good design, it’s possible to have a good-looking booth/mix position area that will fit the existing aesthetics and ensure the sound engineer is put in a position where the job can be performed correctly.
Results of a Poor Mix Position
Bottom line, poor sound can result in your client losing congregants. Many people find it either distracting or hard to hear and decide it’s not worth their time anymore. With elderly people, bad sound can make it especially hard for them to have a good worship experience.
Less people attending means less people tithing. While integrators might not want to focus on the financial ramifications of poor sound, it’s important we fully make churches aware of these facts.
Church Sound Control Room Construction article coming soon!
Thanks Guys and always keep the creativity perfected.