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Speaker Arrangement

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  • Speaker Arrangement

    We installed our Rodgers organ about 12 years ago. I was not
    playing for many services at the time, so I did not look at the way the
    speakers were arranged. So one day, the minister of music and I
    decided to do some investigating on the situation and we discovered
    that all of the speakers are facing toward the back of the area they
    are in. We were told that they were placed this way so the
    sound would reflect off of the wall out towards the sanctuary!
    Now, we are looking into purchasing a few more speakers to give our
    organ some more volume and life during the worship service and we were
    wondering how to position them. Our sanctuary does not have great
    acoustic qualities, and we just need some suggestions on giving the
    organ a "fuller" sound. Also, need some suggestions on how many
    speakers to purchase. Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Speaker Arrangement


    This business about speakers and the direction they fire in, is an area of constant debate. Just briefly, here are my views. It is suggested as you say that speakers turned around and facing a wall so the people hear reflected sound. I assume that otherwise the speakers deafen or annoy peoples hearing. In other words, what is being said is that the speakers are bad and/or the organ generating system is not great.</p>

    The problem with this approach, is that walls of whatever design or materials they are made of, do not reflect all frequencies the same, and are not 100% efficient in reflecting sound. Last I checked, no preacher turns around and speaks to a wall, and choirs do not turn around and face walls either when they sing. </p>

    With digital organs, in general they are designed to replicate recorded samples. In other words, once you turn speakers around, you basically alter the sonic accuracy of the tone. For the most part, sample playback systems are still lacking, especially in the high frequency domain. Other areas are the speakers lack of dispersion, again in the high frequency area. So in general while digital organs may sound alright on a per note basis, they don't sound much like pipe organs when you play many stops and big chords. Just plain volume quite often is not the problem, definition of tone is. Also, the vast majority of electronic installs are poorly voiced besides being poorly installed. Changing speaker position, or adding more, will probably necessitate re-voicing the instrument.

    I don't know your particular situation, but I can say this, just adding more speakers may not cure anything. In fact it may just compound the problem. Unless a sanctuary is huge (seating at least 1,000) and with really bad acoustics, the situation should be do-able. </p>

    Stating what model organ it is, how many speaker channels are utilized etc. would help in giving advice. Also some info. on your sanctuary would be helpful.</p>




    • #3
      Re: Speaker Arrangement

      When you speak of adding more speakers I assume that you mean adding more channels to the organ...a real problem after the organ has already been installed. Rodgers and Allen notoriously do not have enough channels hince their problem in full ensemble....quite frankly, it's just too much stuff through too few channels. There is a 56 stop Allen at a local catholic church here in Corpus Christi that the organist was complaining that they just couldn't get enough volume from. He said that the amps were turned up all the way....upon checking I found that this fairly large 3 manual Allen only had 5 channels, not nearly enough for the space...should have been at least 8 channels. When he told me what the church paid for the organ I could see why there were only 5 channels. They'll give you whatever you want...for the right price. Adding more speakers to this situation would only compound the problem. I believe this is another example of the salesman just wanting to make a sale. The church seats at least a 1,000 ppl. Buyer beware and buy the company and not the salesman...this goes for pipe organs also. Just MHO. Roy to the list.


      • #4
        Re: Speaker Arrangement

        Okay, some info on the organ itself. I have not been playing this
        organ long enough to know everything about it, but i will give you all
        the information that I have. It is a 3 manual Rodgers organ, very
        similiar if not identical to the Trillium Masterpiece 968. It is
        12 years old, so I am not 100% sure if that is the exact one. It
        currently has 8 speaker channels that are being used. Our
        sanctuary seats about 1100 people comfortably and, as I stated before,
        has very poor acoustics. After posting this question, I had
        another chat with the minister of music and we think, now, it is more
        of an arrangement issue. We are cautious on changing the
        arrangement of the speakers because we dont want to lose the wonderful
        sound that it already produces, maybe just enhance it a little
        more. The speakers are obviously placed in the front of the
        church on two sides. One side above the piano and the other above
        the organ, both areas open to the choir loft as well. We went
        back to investigate Sunday morning before church and some of the
        speakers are also turned towards the choir. This makes things
        very loud for the choir because it is not as open as the other parts of
        the sanctuary. Also, on both sides there is a large case that is
        faced downward. We were told this is for the vibration of the
        pedals, and just want to confirm that as well. I realize this is
        limited information, but it is all I have at this time. Thanks
        again for everyones help.


        • #5
          Re: Speaker Arrangement

          no suggestions?


          • #6
            Re: Speaker Arrangement

            Hi Maggie,</p>

            Oh, it is suggestions you want. Without knowing exactly what model it is, and what speaker complement it has, it is difficult to give advice that will improve the situation.</p>

            If it is a Rodgers digital from the mid-90s, it is likely a 940 or a 955. Minimum audio/speaker complement was 8 channels. The reason for this, is that Rodgers has a stereo pair coming from each division (keyboard). Rodgers makes much of their stereo imaging, so you have to keep that in mind when you setup speakers. A stereo image only works when you have speakers that are no more than say 10' apart. The stereo image works best with only few notes or few stops being used at any one time. Once you start adding stops and busy it up with lots of big chords, the sound inevitably gets compressed and focused sounding. It may give the impression of being loud, rather than full.</p>

            Also, what kind of speakers are used? Rodgers generally used two different speaker systems for their organs, the FR-1.7 and the FR-5.0. For a large room, the FR-5.0 is needed. In a large room the FR-1.7 speakers just sound loud up close, and don't fill the room with sound.</p>

            The bass speakers you mentioned, are big boxes, with down firing woofers.</p>

            If you move the speakers in any way, you will need to re-voice/adjust the instrument.</p>

            You can also get an extra audio system (basically doubling what you already have), and put the speakers in a different location. This may alleviate the problems you mention. Again re-voicing will be in order.</p>

            Beyond that - I don't know. Maybe a new organ..............</p>

            Arie V