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Broken Hill SDA church sound

Implementing improved sound at the Broken Hill SDA church

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The overall system as present shows a tendency for rather unnatural sound. To show ....
-What makes sound easily heard
Sound is spread across a spectrum of frequencies. Cheaper and low standard equipment can reproduce a smaller section of the spectrum than higher quality equipment. A poor installation may emplasise some frequenices and avoid others, creating unnatural tonal qualities as well a higher tendancy for feedback.
Underpowered equipment may overload, creating distortion which can damage equipment as well as sounding quite unnatural.
-Where Broken Hill lacks
BH currently reproduces a small section of the audio spectrum with an emphasis on the higher frequencies. This makes a tinny, 'cheap' sound. A large amount of this can be attributed to the equipment, however the building acoustics would also contribute. Smooth, solid walled buildings have a tendancy for a 'trebley' sounds and will often give high-frequency feedback if given the opportunity.
-How action is required
Upgrading the system can provide significant help. Applications of a few acoustic guidelines and some trial and error should be able to help overcome any remaining problems (through speaker placement, equalisation etc)

Note: noise is defined as unwanted sound, such as hum, buzz and distortion. Low noise is an aim of improved sound.

Componential analysis:

Speakers - output
The current speakers seem far from ideal. They are not directional, which attributes to feeback problems, and may also attribute significantly to the unnatural sound. (power rating?)

I doubt that the current amplifier would be able to sufficiently power a new system without producing damaging distortion. The amplifier also has limited inputs and extremely limited acoustic adjustments with only one tone control. The optimum components are as follows:
-Amplifier: provides high quality sound with sufficient power without distortion
-Mixing desk (mixer): combines the signals at various levels, allows tonal adjustment of each signal.
-graphic equalizer: configures the system for the room acoustics. Allows more natural sound and higher gain before feedback.
-effects: reverb effects can improve singing and some music. Although not needed, it is often bundled with equipment.
-anti feedback filter: a sophisticated equalizer designed to reduce feedback (on one signal).

Some bundles are offered combining some of the above in one box. Examples: amplifier, mixer, basic graphic equalizer, reverb effect are often bundled to create a powered mixer.

The main microphone seems to be suitable. I would, however, like to conduct further research into this.

Although the current cable might work, I recomend replacement.
Considering that the current speaker cabling has an extra join in it (can lead to problems) and the relatively inexpensive price of new speaker cabling, the benifits of greater reliability and better sound quality deserve new cable. Some of the old cable would be retained for the 'cry room' and possibly for the hearing aid induction loop.
~Unsure about microphone cabling, however I suggest upgrading to the standard for microphone cabling for reliability, ease of use, superior performance (low noise) and to "idiot proof" the installation (so things are not plugged into places they shouldn't)

Additional functionality
-hearing aid loop
-wireless microphone can easily be connected, however (price, difficulty, quality trade off)

Ben - Reminder: Put reasons for problems, what can be done. Break file here. Then explain how this can be implimented, summarising with options.

Other considerations

The acoustics of a building have a tendancy to change with the number of 'inhabitants'. The presence of people increase adsorbency of sound, which can change frequency responce (tonal qualities) and reduce the percieved volume. This means that more amplification is required for a 'full house' than a handfull. (there are ways around this, as expensive theatres and greek/roman amphitheatres demonstrate. These are designed to sound the same for half filled audiences as well as for full houses.)


Next page: Options for implementing improved sound.

Back to Broken Hill sound.
Page and contents by Ben Reuter, Updated Thursday September 21, 2000