Church sound reality indicates that many church members and pastors are not aware of the spiritual attack on the church through the area of sound. The Bible clearly states that Satan was created with pipes and cymbals built right in him (Ezekiel 28-13) KJV. He is a manipulator of music and sound. Why would he not attack the church in this area? As Pastor Rick Warren clearly states in his book, The Purpose Driven Church, pg. 255 “It doesn’t mater how persuasive the message is if people can’t hear it in a pleasing manner. A tinny, fuzzy sound system can undermine the most gifted musician and incapacitate the most profound preacher. And nothing can destroy a holy moment faster than a loud blast of feed-back.” In Romans (10-17) the Bible teaches us that “our faith is based on hearing God’s word”. Most of us today hear, or try to hear the message every Sunday through a sound system. Are you starting to see the truth? The church is under attack from within.
What are the Problems?
Ignorance is a major problem. Comments such as “I don’t know what the problem is, I can hear just fine” are very common. Meanwhile people are leaving because they will no longer tolerate not hearing. This comment unfortunately comes from the volunteer(s) who faithfully, with little or no training/budget, have installed the church’s sound system, and struggle to keep it running, often at their own expense. The very foundation of a church is hearing the Word (intelligibility) through song and speech. The church has to stop pointing fingers, and start seriously looking for solutions.
This is the very foundation of how sound moves and flows in a space IE: the sanctuary. Acoustics determine the final outcome (performance) of a sound system, not just the equipment. It’s unfortunate, but churches hire sound companies who install church systems, yet do not have the very basic knowledge of acoustics, let alone the equipment to measure intelligibility. Church acoustics is clearly recognized in the secular world as one of the most disciplined of acoustic sciences. Many of the acoustic problems today stem solely from the church building, especially those constructed in the last 60 years. Most of these churches are not designed for speech or music, which is the very essence of what a church is. Comments like “I loved to sing in our old building, now I rarely sing at our new church. ” are more common than you would think. Do you see the spiritual attack?
Sound System Design.
This is another area of weakness in the area of church sound reality. Many sound systems are installed solely on price, and often are just a bunch of parts with no design. The church has no sound standards, and therefore is totally missing the point. There are many sound systems that offer many different levels of hearing. The church needs the highest level of intelligibility it can obtain in its environment. People go to church to listen, plain and simple! The acoustics and sound system design are two of the most important elements to consider. If the cheapest sound system doesn’t work, it automatically becomes the most costly (money, growth, music, etc.).
What is a Church Sound System?
It is a system that you will not find in a school, an office, a theatre or a music store. Although all of these systems are designed using amplifiers, equalizers, and speakers, the installation, key parts, and design are miles apart. A good church sound system will only have a maximum intelligibility loss of 12 % Alcons (% of articulation loss of consonants of speech) in the seating area. Note: speakers mounted on the walls generally perform with a higher percentage of loss of intelligibility. The purpose of a Church Sound Reinforcement System is to reinforce music or a person’s voice with extreme accuracy. A properly designed church system can do this without coloration, as though no system is being used. Speech appears to be coming from the person’s mouth. The sound system is able to bring the sound level high enough, for everyone to hear without straining, including people with moderate hearing loss. Sound is reinforced with the lowest articulation loss and without dead spots over the entire seating area. Is this a fantasy? No! There are a growing number of churches today that have a fatigue free system that operates like this. Is it easy to operate? You bet! Does it ever have to be re-designed? If the system was correctly designed for your sanctuary, and you don’t change the sanctuary, then the answer is no! If the laws of physic don’t change, why should your sound system? This is the only type of sound system that can truly be called an investment, – an investment in people.
I have noticed over the years that churches with good sound systems are often very caring, community-oriented, healthy and financially stable.
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