Church Gym Sound Problem

We are looking for some help in recommending and pricing some panels that will help cut down on the echo in our Family Life Center.
This room is used for contemporary worship on Sunday morning with live bands. The echo or “slap back” is challenging for the bands.
The panels will also need to be able to withstand the occasional basketball hit.

We actually set-up bands on the main floor in front of the stage and/or to the right of the stage.
The room is approx. 65′ wide by 100′ deep.
See attached photos.

My thoughts are to put up 8 panels across the rear wall.
Approx. dimensions for estimating;
2 panels 4′ wide x 17′ high
2 panels 4′ x 11′
2 panels 4′ x 9′
2 panels 4′ x 7′

We would want something that is neutral in color and appearance to blend in with the wall.
While we are at it, perhaps panels that would allow us to hang seasonal banners over them for decoration.

I’ve volunteered to come up with a plan that will then be presented to the property management team for approval.
Your help and consideration is greatly appreciated.
Feel free to call me with any questions.



Thank you for the description and pictures! Seeing a space like this is a great help for me as I tend to be a right brained person. I have a few things that I want to briefly explain, but if you have time, please feel free to contact me.

The first thing that I noticed was the physical volume and size of this room. The place is massive! I really like your idea of putting panels on the back wall (and it kind of reminds me of a cell phone commercial), we have the most bars in the most places? But, the thing that throws up a bit of a red flag for me is that although this is a good start and a great design, it may not be enough overall square footage to really make a noticeable dent in the acoustics and reverberation of the room. It’s a good starting place, and will help, but I wanted to share that before I got too far into it.

As far as treatment goes, three products came to mind, each having their own respective advantages and disadvantages. I will do my best to briefly explain each and if you would like, I would also be happy to get some physical product samples to you so that you could see them in person which is often a great help.

The three products that came to mind are our Echo Eliminator recycled cotton panels, the WallMate Stretch-wall fabric system and the Fabric-Wrapped-Fiberglass panels. These three all have extremely good absorption numbers and the biggest difference is going to be the cost, the aesthetic and the panel sizes of each.

The Echo Eliminator panels are made from recycled cotton and are, by far, the most cost effective. They can be shipped in boxes via UPS and are in stock in nine different colors. The panels are 2′ x4′ and very easy to install. The disadvantage of this option is the aesthetic as some times people do not feel that it is “finished” looking enough. We are limited to 2′ x 4′ panels and the standard colors. Roughly, the 1″ panels are $4.00 per square foot and the 2″ panels are $5.50 per square foot (not including shipping or adhesives).

The Wall Mate system is basically a way to cover up the Echo Eliminator panels offering a more finished aesthetic. I like to use the analogy of a canvas painting here, where the wooden stretcher pulls the tension on the canvas. The advantages here are the use of the low-cost Echo Eliminator, the ability to make panels in sizes that are limited to the width of the fabric bolt, and the freedom to use one of hundreds of different color fabrics. The disadvantage is that this product requires the most site labor to install as these are all put together by the end user. There is a bit of a learning curve to get over, but once that is done it usually goes quite quickly. This is a more difficult product to ballpark because the cost will depend on the sizes of the panels that you are building, but you would have the square foot cost of the cotton plus $2.95 per linear foot for the track, and usually $14.95 – $16.95 per linear yard for the fabric (usually in 66″ wide bolts). Again, this does not include adhesive or shipping.

The Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panels offer the same, finished aesthetic of the WallMate system but they arrive on site as prefabricated, ready-to-install panels. These start as 4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 10′ boards of fiberglass and one of four edges is cut onto the side (square, radius, beveled and half-beveled) before each is wrapped with a decorative fabric. The advantage of this product is the freedom of panel size (up to 4′ x 10′) and the freedom of color of fabric used. They are shipped ready to install, so the shipping is relatively easy. The disadvantage of this option is usually the cost. Because they are custom made panels, we have a good amount of labor and parts that go into their manufacturing. Additionally, because of the weight and fragile nature of the board, they are crated in plywood and shipped on pallets, so the shipping can be costly. Again, the price for this option will depend on the sizes and quantities of the panels along with the fabric chosen, but ballpark numbers are $7.50 per square foot for the 1″ panels and $13.00 per square foot for the 2″ panels.

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