Fellowship Hall Acoustics – Echo control
I got your name off your Blog on the net. I need help at our church. We have a fellowship building that is 30ft wide x 50ft long and a wood A-frame vault ceiling that is 14.5ft from top to floor (ceramic tile). The noise level is unbearable. What do you recommend we do to help control the noise. Mainly concerned with the voice level than music quality.
If you could provide a few options and pricing that would be great.
Controlling that echo and improving the sound quality is actually not that daunting of a task, thankfully. Basically, we just have to “soften” up enough of the surface area of the room with a wall or ceiling treatment. I can’t even count how many people have had similar inquiries and I have helped quite a few of them and there are three products that always rise to the top.
Each of these products is going to have it’s respective advantage and/or disadvantage and choosing the right one is something I would be happy to help with. I will do my best to explain those here, but PLEASE feel free to contact me if you have questions. Also, I know that everything that happens in a church needs to be reviewed and discussed by committees and samples are an EXTREME help with that discussion, so if you want me to send you physical product samples, just E-mail me the name and address that you want me to use for shipping and I will get them on the way ASAP.
Echo Eliminator recycled cotton panels:
These are the most cost effective panels on the market. They are in stock and can be shipped in boxes via UPS ground or a semi-truck if the quantity is right. They are available in 2′ x4′ panels and install onto the wall or ceiling very easily with construction adhesive. We have nine colors to choose from, all of which are made from recycled cotton. These panels have a surface that looks kind of like felt. The 1″ panel is $2.50 per square foot and the 2″ panel is $4.50 per square foot. These are a VERY cost effective way to “get the job done” while spending the least amount of money. The most common complaint or issue that people have is the aesthetic. They are not usually “finished enough” looking for people. They are going to look a bit different when they are installed onto the wall or ceiling and you are 20′ away than if you are holding a sample.
Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panels:
These are some of the most decorative panels that we offer. These panels start as 4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 10′ pieces of fiberglass. They are cut to size on a per-job basis and the edge is cut for aesthetics and the whole panel is wrapped with fabric. They are put onto pallets and shipped on the back of a semi-truck. The advantage here is the decorative, finished aesthetic and the fact that all you will have to do is open the crate and install the panels onto the wall. The disadvantage is that because of the custom nature of the panels and the labor involved with manufacturing, they are fairly expensive. I prefer to quote these on a per-job basis, but the ballpark cost for the 1″ panels is around $7.00 per square foot and the 2″ panels tend to be in the $12.00 per square foot range.
WallMate Stretch-wall system:
This product is becoming one of the most popular solutions for organizations in similar situations. This is a system where we supply the cotton for the acoustics, the fabric for the decorative look and the track to pull the tension on the fabric across the cotton. I usually use the “canvas painting” analogy here. The cotton isn’t a rigid enough substrate to stretch cotton directly across, so usually the track is installed around the perimeter of the panel, the cotton is glued to the wall, and the fabric is installed over the track. The track is a two-part system that snaps shut, and as it’s closed it pulls the tension on the fabric. Most churches have a handful of congregation members who are contractors or generally “handy” people who love stuff like this and are happy to volunteer their time to do the installation. The nice thing here is that I just ship you the pieces and the parts, and you site-fabricate whatever size panels you want. The only limitation on the panel size is the width of the fabric bolt which is 66″ on most of the fabrics that we use.