Loudspeakers are the pillars of every church sound system. The right speaker in the right location can offer years of quality sound. On the other hand, a poorly designed speaker in that same location can cause audio issues for every event. Fortunately, modern designs make it easy to select a quality solution with excellent loudspeaker technologies for churches of all sizes.
Gone are the days of choosing between this black box and that black box. Today’s speaker technologies, however, are increasingly sophisticated and effective at delivering high-quality sound for large and small audiences alike.
Good sound system design strives to address many variables related to loudspeaker type and placement. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when selecting a loudspeaker.
One of the big challenges in loudspeaker design and placement is to provide even coverage of the room with good frequency response throughout.
The more speakers are added, the more complex the acoustic interactions become. That’s why it is so important to use the lowest number of speakers required for the room and sound system.
Traditional speaker cabinets (like this 2-way powered speaker) can work well for filling a room with sound, but there are often issues with overlapping patterns and frequency interference when using multiple speakers. Today’s manufacturers are paying closer attention to how these problems affect the average user.
Martin Audio designed the Coaxial Differential Dispersion (CDD) series loudspeakers to help address frequency and coverage issues in a familiar point-and-shoot box design. The CDD concept helps eliminate loudness hotspots and frequency interference found in traditional 2-way speaker designs.
JBL Constant Beamwidth Technology (CTB) series column arrays offer very precise and variable coverage control in a small package. This type of loudspeaker technology allows them to be very effective in reverberant spaces.
The use of subwoofers can be a valuable enhancement for any sound system. However, the challenge with subsonic frequencies is that they are difficult to control.
Designers have come up with a variety of ways to deal with low-frequency control. Cardioid subwoofers focus low frequencies to the front and cancel them out behind the speakers. There are also innovative designs that allow for greater focus and control using smaller boxes and multiple woofers.
Danley Sound Labs makes several subwoofer options that include innovative Tapped Horn and Boundary Horn subwoofer technologies.
Adaptive Design & Configuration
Every room is unique. Audio engineers use a variety of methods to deal with the challenge of customizing loudspeaker coverage and performance to a specific room.
Steerable line arrays and advanced software solutions can be the perfect tools to dial in the sound for large churches, or churches that need a flexible portable solution.
PK Sound designed the Trinity Advanced Robotic Line Array system to provide maximum control and performance. This includes sophisticated software control as well as remote mechanical control of the array installation.
The ICONYX-series from Renkus-Heinz delivers highly articulate sound in a steerable column array format. These systems have been installed in cathedrals and churches with challenging acoustic environments.
Redefining the Loudspeaker
While most loudspeakers still fall into the “big black box” design category, there are new innovations that defy the typical form factor.
Tectonic Audio Labs entered the professional audio world with their Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) technology. The DML-series speakers look more like flat-panel TVs than loudspeakers. This type of speaker design offers a smooth and articulate frequency response while covering a large area with consistent volume levels.
Loudspeaker Technologies for Churches: Design & Selection
Regardless of the loudspeaker technology used, it is important to design a church sound system for space and technical requirements.
Performance, technology, and price of a speaker are not the only factors to consider. Acoustic and architectural limitations are high on the list of reasons one speaker may be chosen over another.
Like most things in church sound, it’s a balancing act between getting the best deal for church tech and maximizing sound quality. Working with the right contractor or tech ministry partner can make the difference between a successful project and an expensive mistake.
With all of the great audio technology options out there, your next church sound upgrade plan should include a thorough look at the latest loudspeaker designs.