At our January 2018 Council meeting, we approved the replacement of our sanctuary sound system. The goal of a replacement sound system is to solve some technical problems we’ve been having and to enable our congregation to more clearly hear each element of communication in our worship services.
One of the biggest factors is the age of our current sound system. The industry standard for sound equipment is that it is expected to last about 10 years. For several years we have noticed signs of failure in our 14-year-old system.
Some of our amplifiers have stopped working, making it difficult for musicians to hear themselves and those they are leading with. When musicians can’t hear well, the only solution is to turn up their monitors (the speakers facing the band) – making the stage volume louder than it needs to be. This muddles the sound that you hear in the seats, because you are hearing as much “blurry sound” from the band speakers (not pointed at you) as you are from the main speakers.
Another major factor is that our main speakers do not effectively deliver accurate sound to the congregation. Sound is directional – think flashlight beam vs. lantern glow. If a speaker is not properly aimed at you, you only hear a muddled version of what should be a clear sound. If you have ever looked up at our speaker configuration, you will notice that they are not aiming at very many of the seats. In addition, there are no speakers aimed at the sound booth, so our sound techs are essentially mixing 'blind.'
Here are a few examples of clarity challenges you may be experiencing as a result:
You cannot distinguish vocals from the rest of the music
The intelligibility of the sermon varies depending on where you sit
You have difficulty hearing a specific instrument (or you hear too much of one)
It is hard to make out what the worship leader says between songs
It is hard to understand spoken parts of a video clip
Benefits of a new sound system:
1. You will probably notice a dramatic increase in sound clarity and you will find it easier to distinguish each element of communication in our worship services.
2. Our musicians will be able to hear themselves and lead more confidently. Stage volume will be lower because we will be able to send a more accurate ‘mix’ to each musician.
3. Another benefit of a new system is that it will give us more control over sound levels in each of our auxiliary spaces (Fellowship Hall, Cry Room, and Nursery). In each space, we will be able to toggle sound on-and-off and adjust the volume levels.
The install date is set for April 30 – May 4. If you have more questions about this, please feel free to contact Roger Kiers or Tom Dykstra.
Olympia CRC Council
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