The Ultimate Guide to Acoustic Treatment for Churches | Primacoustic Install and Review

I want to shed some light on a crucial but often overlooked aspect of church audio and visual solutions – acoustic design. It’s a topic close to my heart because, let’s face it, many churches out there are grappling with spaces that just weren’t designed with modern amplified worship bands in mind. You toss in a PA system and some instruments, and it’s like a sonic disaster zone.

Too many churches attempt to fix this problem by splurging on a fancy new mixing console or an upgraded PA system. But here’s the kicker – the real culprit often lies in the very architecture and materials that make up the room itself.

That’s why I’m super pumped to partner up with Primeacoustic, the folks behind some seriously incredible acoustic design solutions tailor-made for churches like yours. In this video, I’m going to show you just how straightforward it is to measure your space and determine the number of panels you need for effective sound absorption. We’re going to leverage the Prime Acoustic calculator app, so you’ll witness firsthand how to transform a room that desperately needed help, like the one we tackled at Rock Harbor Church.

I’ll walk you through the entire process, making it clear that you can even get your church volunteers involved in installing these panels. If you’re grappling with sound issues at your place of worship, you’ve landed in the right spot.

In the past year, we’ve implemented Primeacoustic panels at Rock Harbor Church in Florida and South Fellowship Church in Colorado. Stick around, and I’ll share our experiences and how these installations have significantly impacted the quality of our sound mixes.

Getting Started with the Primacoustic Calculator

Alright, let’s get into it! I’m currently standing in the sanctuary of a church that serves as a prime example of why you might desperately need some serious acoustic treatment. This place is as traditional as they come – initially designed for a choir and a majestic pipe organ. Picture a choir loft and a legit pipe organ – that’s the kind of place we’re dealing with here.

Now, here’s the kicker – this space is incredibly reverberant. When I clap my hands, the sound echoes for what seems like an eternity. I can practically hear it fading away in the background even after three seconds. And here’s the fun part – this is a church where I serve, so I know the ins and outs of the sound system and the upgrades we’re exploring.

Before we even think about dropping a ton of cash on a shiny new PA system or a top-notch mixing console – both of which would be nice – we need to prioritize fixing the acoustic issues in a room with this much natural reverb and sound energy bouncing around. You see, investing heavily in premium audio gear won’t necessarily get us closer to achieving a better sound mix.

The first step is to head over to primeacoustic.com and fire up their calculator. For this process, all you’ll need is a measuring tape. I’m using a laser measuring tape because it makes life so much easier – no need to walk back and forth across the room.

We’ll input some essential information about the room’s size, type, and your goals, and boom, Primeacoustic will quickly give you a ballpark estimate of what it’ll cost to make this acoustic investment.

Here’s the deal – I’m doing this live, right here in front of you. It’s a simple process, and I’ll give you a sneak peek of how we tackled it for Rock Harbor Church. Once a representative takes a closer look, these numbers may shift, but it’s a fantastic starting point.

Now, I’ll be straight with you – acoustic treatment isn’t pocket change, but here’s the beauty of it – once you’ve got those panels squared away, you can install them yourself.

The Prime Acoustic team and dealers can guide you through the process, or in some cases, you might work with an integrator who’s a Prime Acoustic dealer and have them handle the installation – that’s what we did at South Fellowship Church.

So here’s the key takeaway – before you jump the gun on pricey audio gear upgrades, consider the impact of acoustic treatment on your worship space. It can be a game-changer, and Primeacoustic is your go-to ally in this journey.

South Fellowship Church Case Study

Hey everyone, Jake Gosselin here, and I’ve got an exciting story to share with you. I’m currently at South Fellowship Church in Colorado, which happens to be my home church. What makes this story fascinating is that about a year ago, we embarked on a journey with an integrator to completely revamp our PA system and address our acoustic issues.

In this room, we were dealing with some pretty significant challenges. Our pastor’s voice wasn’t as intelligible as we’d like it to be, which posed a hurdle for the congregation to hear him clearly. Additionally, the mixing was a real headache for our worship band – achieving the desired mix seemed like a distant dream. Moreover, if you stood in the middle of the room and clapped your hands, you’d hear the sound reverberate for several seconds, a clear sign of acoustic trouble.

Let me emphasize this – if you find yourself in a worship center where clapping results in a prolonged echo, you’ve got acoustic issues on your hands. Trust me; I knew the acoustics of this room inside out before the overhaul, so I can provide you with a genuine before-and-after experience.

Fast forward to today, and I can’t stress enough how night and day the transformation has been. When I clap my hands now, there’s less than half a second of natural reverberation in the room. That’s a game-changer as it vastly improves our audio control.

You’re probably wondering how we achieved this remarkable change. Well, one word: Prime Acoustic panels. These are two-foot by four-foot panels, two inches thick, and they not only work wonders but also seamlessly blend with the room’s aesthetics. We’ve stacked them closely together in various configurations throughout the room, and it’s made all the difference.

But our acoustic journey didn’t stop there. We tackled the often underestimated acoustical challenges posed by the stage – lots of hard, reflective surfaces. To combat this, we installed a ton of Prime Acoustic panels backstage. These panels, in the same dimensions as before, are inconspicuously black, practically invisible from the congregation’s perspective.

This backstage treatment is crucial, especially when dealing with acoustic drum sets. These drums can generate a ton of energy on stage, and without adequate absorption, it leads to mix issues. However, with these panels in place, we’re even considering introducing acoustic drums, albeit with some additional precautions.

The acoustic journey continued to our tech booth, where we mounted panels on walls and even in awkward nooks and crannies. The result? Improved communication within the tech team and cleaner audio for recording YouTube videos.

Now, let’s talk about the impact of Prime Acoustic treatment on our audio setup. We’ve got a Meyer PA system with a Galileo Galaxy processor, and we’re rocking a Behringer Wing mixing console. The combination of this top-tier gear with Prime Acoustic panels has been nothing short of astounding.

Our pastor’s mic – who, by the way, has a British accent and a voice that lives in the low mid-range – is now crystal clear. His voice used to struggle to cut through the room’s sound, but now it’s like listening to a podcast on a top-notch microphone. It’s a game-changer for our preaching.
When I took my iPad with the co-pilot app for the mixing console and ventured to the center of the room during worship, I was blown away. Even with the band in full swing, I could have a conversation in a normal speaking voice, thanks to the improved acoustics.

What’s more, we achieved a fuller mix without increasing volume. Our sound levels are around 85 to 90 decibels at a C-weighting, down from 93 to 95 decibels previously. And the best part? No more complaints about harshness in the sound. Those who once criticized our audio now commend it.

Rock Harbor Church Case Study

As the Technical Director of Rock Harbor Church, I embarked on a mission to enhance our worship experience by addressing a long-standing acoustic challenge in our sanctuary. It was a daunting task, but with the help of Primeacoustic’s expertise and products, we successfully transformed our worship space from a sonic nightmare to an auditory haven. In this article, I will take you through the entire process, sharing insights from Mitch Garrett, a Primeacoustic representative who guided us through the installation.

The Initial Challenge:

Rock Harbor Church’s sanctuary was originally designed for a choir and orchestra, featuring high ceilings, hardwood surfaces, and stained glass windows. This classic design created a reverberant environment that worked well for traditional performances but posed significant challenges as we transitioned to modern worship with contemporary bands and sound systems. Excessive reverb made live mixing a headache, negatively impacting the quality of our live streams.

Understanding the Acoustic Solution:

To address these issues, we partnered with Prime Acoustic, a company renowned for its expertise in acoustic treatments. Mitch Garrett, from Primeacoustic, explained that the primary goal was to control the room’s acoustics while maintaining its aesthetic appeal. The room’s design, with its wood ceilings and stained glass, presented unique challenges that needed a tailored solution.

Determining the Right Approach:

Prime Acoustic worked closely with us to determine the optimal number of panels, their sizes, and their placements within the room. They took our room dimensions and photos, or building plans if available, to calculate the number of panels required and devise a plan that would enhance the sanctuary’s sound quality and visual appeal.

Choosing the Right Panels:

For our project, we opted for Prime Acoustic’s Broadway series panels. These panels offered a wide frequency response, making them perfect for our sanctuary, where we use speakers, subs, and various musical instruments. We chose two-inch thick panels for effective low-frequency absorption, and their acoustically transparent material ensured they looked great while delivering outstanding acoustic performance.

Customization Options:

Prime Acoustic also provided customization options, allowing us to create unique designs and patterns for our panels. This flexibility was particularly useful for addressing specific problem areas in our sanctuary and maintaining the room’s visual aesthetics.

Understanding Acoustic Principles:

During our collaboration, Mitch Garrett emphasized the importance of achieving a balance between absorption and diffusion. Acoustic treatment should not transform the room into a sterile recording studio but should provide control over sound while preserving some room reverb. This balance ensures that the worship space remains dynamic and lively while enhancing audio quality.

Prime Acoustic’s Installation Simplicity:

One aspect that pleasantly surprised us was the ease of installation. Prime Acoustic’s surface impalers, featuring four spikes on a metal bracket, simplified the process significantly. Attaching these to the wall or studs and securing the panels onto them was as straightforward as hanging a picture. The lightweight design of the panels made installation a breeze.

The Installation Process:

Our installation process began with meticulous planning, including using masking tape to mark panel placements and ensuring everything was level. Then, we attached the impalers to the wall, following the layout, and finally, we pushed the panels onto the impalers. This three-step process made installation manageable, even for a DIY project like ours.

Ongoing Support:

Primeacoustic’s commitment to customer support was evident throughout the project. They provided remote support, installation manuals, and videos, making the process as straightforward as possible. Additionally, their extensive network of trusted dealers and installation professionals offered assistance for those who preferred professional installation.

The Transformation:

Once all the panels were in place, the transformation was remarkable. The excessive reverb that had plagued our worship space was significantly reduced. Our worship mix became clearer, making it easier to blend contemporary music and traditional aesthetics. While we have further plans to address our large ceiling area, the progress so far has been remarkable.

Conclusion:

Our journey with Primeacoustic has been a testament to the transformative power of acoustic treatments. The collaboration allowed us to maintain the beauty of our sanctuary while significantly improving the audio quality. With their support, we’ve taken our worship experience from a challenging soundscape to one that enhances both music and spoken word. For churches looking to enhance their acoustic environment, Primeacoustic is a trusted partner that offers effective solutions and unwavering support.

2 Responses

  1. 2 primary responses:
    1. YES! Hurray! It is (long past) time for churches to recognize that money spent on Sound Systems is limited by the acoustical environment, and likely places as a distant second in importance for effective acoustics. Great to finally see this getting the much deserved and needed attention.

    2. NO! Deep Concern for misunderstandings perpetrated here. This quote is factually wrong: “We chose two-inch thick panels for effective low-frequency absorption”. 2″ thick panels are for MID-RANGE Absorption n up! Maybe reaching down to 250Hz. (though it will certainly also dull the piercing highs — as appreciated). Low End is the biggest problem with large facilities. To actually touch low-end, 4″ is minimal (gets you down toward affecting 125 Hz). But if you want to affect low end rumble, kick drum, and bass fundamentals, you need MASSIVE bass trapping (12″ minimum). But before you do this, you need to test for Room Modes.

    Here’s the bigger issue, however: The GOAL of Acoustics for a Worship Center shouldn’t be determined by the Tech guys, but rather by the Worship philosophy. IF the goal of worship music is for the congregation TO PARTICIPATE and hear themselves sing, you want more than “.5 second” reverberation. You want to keep reflective surfaces either under them (on the floor), behind/in front of them (the seats), and/or above them (the ceiling). By all means, kill the walls and aisles. But you NEED to retain (or add) reflective and diffusive surfaces to carry the congregational voice. Worship is necessarily bi-directional! Approaches described here only concern the sound from the platform to the people (to benefit the FOH mix and what people HEAR). This creates a consumer environment. What consideration is given EQUALLY to the participation of the PEOPLE, toward one another, and toward the stage? What consideration is given to the actual acoustics assisting the worshipers?

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