Reverberation describes the sound reflected off harder surfaces, where soft surfaces such as upholstery and curtains are sound absorbers. Church buildings with many hard surfaces typically have an acoustic that suits choral and organ music, unfortunately this is to the detriment of speech intelligibility.
Reverberation time is a metric that is used to describe the amount of reverberation in a building. Longer reverberation times (>1.5s) suit acoustic and choral (non rhythmical) music, where speech and amplified music with percussion require a reverberation time of 1.2s or less. Too much reflected sound at the listeners position compared to the direct sound from the person speaking or loudspeaker amplifying their voice, makes it hard for the listeners ear-brain combination to decode the message.
If this is a problem for you, our in house expert Andy Pidsley who is a member of the Institute of Acoustics can carry out an acoustic survey comprising tests and reveberation time measurements plus physical measurements of the dimensions of your space. He uses these to calculate the amount of absorption necessary to reduce the reverberation time to around one second. This is a good balance for speech and musical activities and will create a sense of ‘acoustic comfort’.
We then design a layout to fit acoustic panels to the walls and sometimes the ceiling. These panels are available in many colours, sizes and shapes to either blend in or make a statement with the decor of your church.
Andy says, "the great thing about acoustic treatment is that unlike electronics, it uses no power, it works all of the time for meetings with and without sound reinforcement and doesnt become obsolete. It can transform the experience of activities in church and village halls for example, turning a room used for childrens groups from a headache inducing cacophony into a much more pleasant space."
Dave Goodson from Wootton New Life Church remarked after the fitting of acoustic panels: “It took us a few weeks to get used to, as we were so used to the sound bouncing back to us but it has made a significant impact. The service throughout from APi was efficient and positive, the product is just right for what we needed. The team that carried out the installation were clean, tidy and efficient and actually completed the job ahead of schedule.”
You can see and hear the difference in our (ideally use headphones so that your own environment wont affect the results from the video) video case study on our Youtube channel: