Posted in education
on May 25, 2016 9:21 am EDT
Software Solutions for Sonic Results
Every church is different architecturally and acoustically. Does the use of predictive modeling software need to be the first step in any sound system design?
Free Chapel, Gainesville, Ga. Image courtesy of Moyers Group.
Skylark AV based in Oklahoma City, Okla., has a number of modern churches in its portfolio. But what each church has in common, ironically, is how different each one can be, architecturally and acoustically. Therefore, says Steele Beaty, Skylark’s head of operations, the use of predictive modeling software has to be the first step in any sound system design.
Beaty says Skylark usually uses a combination of the Soundvision software from L-Acoustics, whose PA system components they often specify for modern church designs, and the classic Enhanced Acoustic Simulator for Engineers (EASE) software package.
"That’s the advantage [of] using a combination of software systems ahead of time: it saves money in the long run.”
—Steele Beaty, Operations Manager, Skylark AV, Oklahoma City, OK
Using the AutoCAD architectural files, when available (and manually entering dimensional data when they’re not), along with values such as desired SPL levels, the two systems address very different operations but are complementary. “Soundvision looks at coverage and helps choose which speakers to use and where to put them,” Beaty explains. “EASE models the room’s acoustics and tells us how the space will react to various levels of SPL and other things. I can export EASE into Soundvision, so they can work together.”Sound objectives
The ultimate goal is to not only achieve even and consistent coverage, but to do so as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, spending only the amount of money necessary. “What we want to do is know exactly what the performance of the PA system will be before we hang anything, and to know exactly what components we’ll need and how many of them to achieve that,” he says. “You want to have enough PA system elements to get the performance you want but not buy more than you need. That’s the advantage using a combination of software systems ahead of time: it saves money in the long run.”
Aaron Newberry, Sklylark’s director of marketing, says that more than a few AV systems integrators continue to rely on their ears and their experience when it comes to designing a system and specifying its components, often in the mistaken belief that two churches with very similar architectural dimensions will have similar sonic characteristics.
“They might look the same but the walls and floor and ceiling might be made of very different materials, which will affect the way a speaker sounds in the room,” he explains. “Not every integrator is fully comfortable using software, but to not use it before you hang a speaker is doing the customer a real disservice.”