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  • New organ speaker location

    Hi all,

    My parish is preparing to purchase a new digital pipe organ - it is likely to be a Johannus Ecclesia T-270. I would like to seek your thoughts on potential speaker placement locations with the help of some photos of the church. As you may be aware, the Ecclesia T-270 comes with 8 main channel speakers and 1 subwoofer.

    I'm toying with 2 placement locations. One is with the speakers up front. You'll realise that the church is of an average size, it seats maybe 600? Notice that the roofline slopes in a strange way - it slopes downwards to the middle and upwards to the front. The highest point of the ceiling is at the front, just before the sanctuary. I was considering placing 2 clusters of 4 speakers each on either side of the PA speakers, which would create a separation of the great and pedal and swell divisions. However, I am afraid that with this location, the organ speakers will be too far from the console itself, which might cause playability issues. Apart from this, the speakers will also be quite separate from the choir, which stands at the rear left of the church. The possible advantage to this placement is a very uniform distribution of organ sound throughout the church, I think.

    Second possible location is having the speakers just above the organ console, on the walls adjacent to the console. Advantages - speakers are close to console, organist should have no issues hearing himself/herself. Speakers are close to the choir, so no delay issues should be encountered. Possible downside is a hot spot of sound in the rear left corner of the church and possibly(?) not enough volume in the other diagonal part of the church?

    I'd be keen to hear your thoughts, as I want to ensure a good installation.

    Pictures of the church:
    Front view towards the altar
    Click image for larger version

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    Looking to the rear left. Organ console location circled. Choir is next to the organ in the pews you can see are empty.







































    Diagonal shot towards the rear left:
    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Possible speaker location 1:

    Click image for larger version

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    Location 2:

    Click image for larger version

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    • #3
      Some of the photos aren’t loading for me. But my thought is that you need to pick the best spot for sound in the room as a whole. My feeling is that you don’t want to position speakers for one person (the organist) or a few people in specialised occasions (choir) at the expense of the congregation. Assuming any limitations aren’t extreme, you can easily learn to adapt.

      At my church the console is on the opposite side of the Swell and right underneath the Great, Choir, Pedal. It can make it a little harder to play some things that require precise timing, and when choosing registrations I have to temporarily adjust the expression shoes to balance the divisions at the console, but overall it’s fine and sounds great in the pews.

      One thing to consider is that it’s unlikely the organ will sound it’s best if the speakers are pointing directly at the congregation. Having them produce indirect and reflected sound will likely sound more natural.
      Viscount C400 3-manual
      8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
      Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

      Comment


      • #4
        I find it odd, when purchasing a new organ, that the organ manufacturer or dealer doesn't isn't being involved as they may have suggestions. Surely the manufacturer has encountered many situations like this and would have the best suggestions (?). In my days of yore doing Allen Organ installations the factory/dealer worked together to adapt the best sound opportunities for their installations. If it sounds poor it will reflect on the manufacturer and possibly future sales.

        If the organ is used regularly with the choir, then the choir needs to have its support, too. Indirect speaker placement is best - try not to aim speakers directly at parishioners in the front row!

        Comment


        • #5
          These "low and close" rooms are challenging for organ speaker placement, which really benefits from distance from the first rows of the congregation to develop evenly. There are some basic acoustical physics principles at work (inverse square law in particular) which make distance beneficial so as to avoid blasting the seats closest to the speakers, or being inadequate too far away.

          My first thought was to consider the two angled walls left and right of the front curved chancel wall. It's still close, but probably less aesthetically obtrusive, and less in the face of the front rows of seats. You could also do a reduced "antiphonal" choir monitor speaker set in the rear closer to the console that could be used separately for choir use or together with the mains for full congregational singing and balance for the organist.

          Comment


          • #6
            The second photo does not show up for me either. That is a challenging room for organ speaker placement. My first thought was putting speakers in all four corners, on that shelf that goes along the outside walls on both sides. And then face the speakers up towards the ceiling at a 45 degree angle. That may avoid anyone getting the sound right in their faces.

            The speakers could be switched on / off in pairs, but I would figure using them all at the same time in most all instances.

            That idea would require more speakers and amps though, so it may not be in the budget.
            Regards, Larry

            At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

            Comment


            • #7
              Any chance of dynamiting the place and starting over?

              If not, speakers should be placed at the front, outboard of the PA speakers rather than inboard as your graphics suggest. As MH says, monitors can and should be added near the console/choir to provide adequate sound for the musicians.

              Comment


              • #8
                Julianjsoh,

                Ditto on the 2nd photo also. That said, think of a megaphone in the shape of a cone. There are acoustical properties involved with one. Three auditoriums I play/played for have the greatest height at the front, and the height and distance of the walls apart gradually decrease. The net effect is that as the sound attenuates, it is (in effect) compressed by the decreasing area. It allows the sound to reach all the audience at approximately the same amplitude.

                If you look at the ceiling of the church, I wonder if the speakers could be placed on either wall in the front, facing toward the front so people receive the blended sound that is non-directional (reflected from the front wall). With the organ in the back, you'd certainly have an idea how you were being heard.

                If the speakers are placed above either side of the altar (next to the existing PA speakers), my concern is that the wall there slopes away from the center, and there would be no mixing of sound–unless you have two complete sets of speakers–a set on either side.

                Another location that may be possible would be under the present speakers up front, where the altar walls meet the ceiling. That way, the sound would be mixed before it reaches the people, and presumably give more distance before reaching the people.

                As already stated, in any of these situations, there should definitely be monitor speakers for the organ and choir because of the distances involved. Franted, they're not that far away, but the slight delay may throw someone off if they're not used to that setup.

                Let us know what you decide/find out.

                Michael
                Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you to everyone who has given your thoughts. I realise photo 2 isn't showing. Let's see if it appears now below. I have the same thoughts, that this is a difficult room for placing organ speakers. I initially thought option 2 might be a better choice, as it might mimic a pipe organ in the rear left corner of the room speaking outwards. It also mitigates the issue of any delay in sound from the speakers to the organist and choir at the rear. However, I'm not sure it's the best idea in terms of mixing of the organ sound in the room and as you can see, the ceiling in the rear is low - the speakers would be close to ear level for those people sitting near the back. Those who are at the other corner of the room may find the organ very soft? In this setup, it is important for the organ to be heard well by the choir as it always accompanies them. Projection into the room is the other concern. But it seems like there isn't a possibility of the best of both worlds.

                  Extra monitor speakers and amps are not really within the budget for now, so I am working with the standard 8.1 setup by Johannus. Also keep in mind the console has no internal speakers.


                  (The organ is the thing covered by the blue cloth in the back. The choir stands near the organ where you see the hanging mics are.)
                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #10
                    What do the speakers and sub look like?

                    Comment


                  • #11
                    So if the organ console is next to the choir, what is the concern between the organist playing and the choir and a delay? I can understand if they were a reasonable distance apart, but if they’re together and mostly equidistant from the speakers there shouldn’t be an issue.
                    Viscount C400 3-manual
                    8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                    Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      I tried to post a solution to this but it says "unapproved" and it does not display. I don't know if others can see it.
                      Perhaps too many characters over limit.

                      @julianjsoh I just PM'd you the post but shortened version.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Now the photos in the PM don't look like they can be seen. So will post them here again sans the long explanation.


                        Rough rendering of possible speaker positions:

                        6 speakers to be soffit mounted flush in ceiling.

                        One speaker is at the altar on adjustable brackets firing downwards towards congregation.
                        Uses archway as horn. Center aisle is "power alley" nothing blocking the sound waves.

                        One speaker and the sub in the corner by the organ for monitoring organ.

                        Sub is on floor to couple with floor.

                        Organist's speaker can be hung facing organ at ear level or set on top of the sub.


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                        Church floor plan layout for speakers.

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                        Dispersion diagram for ceiling soffit mounted speakers


                        Below sample rendering of soffit ceiling flush mounted speaker.
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                        Last edited by Goff; 11-18-2019, 03:27 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          My opinion is that setup is not good at all. Pointing speakers directly at people will likely result in a highly artificial sound. Not to mention that the people below the speakers in the ceiling will hear a lot of what’s coming out of just that one speaker.

                          A few important principles:

                          1) You don’t have 8 channels just to have 8 speakers. You have 8 channels to separate stops and produce a better ‘ensemble’.

                          2) The organ’s speakers should not be thought of as a PA system.

                          3) Organ pipes don’t generally point right at listeners (except for pipes specifically designed for that effect). The bulk or entirety of an organ’s sound is reflected.

                          You really to get the room acoustics better involved in the setup. Think of how a pipe organ could be installed rather than how an engineer might solve audio problems.
                          Viscount C400 3-manual
                          8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                          Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by rjsilva View Post
                            My opinion is that setup is not good at all. Pointing speakers directly at people will likely result in a highly artificial sound. Not to mention that the people below the speakers in the ceiling will hear a lot of what’s coming out of just that one speaker.

                            A few important principles:

                            1) You don’t have 8 channels just to have 8 speakers. You have 8 channels to separate stops and produce a better ‘ensemble’.

                            2) The organ’s speakers should not be thought of as a PA system.

                            3) Organ pipes don’t generally point right at listeners (except for pipes specifically designed for that effect). The bulk or entirety of an organ’s sound is reflected.

                            You really to get the room acoustics better involved in the setup. Think of how a pipe organ could be installed rather than how an engineer might solve audio problems.
                            Well you don't have a situation of a chest of pipes. You have an artificial simulation of a pipe organ. Speakers never sound as good as pipes and you need an array for simulating pipe organs. I had thought that someone would have a problem with 8 channels so that instrument parts would come out of 8 different channels and make that an issue but no one person can be in front of ALL 8 speakers and the whole experience would be useless specially in a venue that was not designed to amplify a pipe organ.

                            No matter what you do, the 8 channels effect will not fare well in a dead room, low ceiling specially one that is as wide as the venue in question.

                            Just as in any concert, some may try to generate a stereo field out of two stacks of arrays, but those on one side of the arrays will not be standing in direct center of to even hear a stereo field.

                            So what is your prime objective? So that everyone can hear the organ or so the organist can show off 8 channels?

                            You've already discussed the issue of speakers being too far away from the organist or too far away from the choir.

                            There will never be a sweet spot to satisfy all constraints. The organ has no speakers inside itself and you're worried about speakers being at the altar will affect the ability to hear nuances of certain instruments and time delays. Of course this is an important issue. I would not want to play an instrument if the speakers were on the other side of the room, and the room was not reverberant enough to emulate a pipe organ in a cathedral to where I could hear it well enough.

                            The beaming issue would happen more so if you park one speaker peppered throughout the room if any lower than the ceiling.

                            Sound equipment companies make ceiling mounted arrays specifically for churches. Granted they have "angled the speakers" for dispersion but to use your "beaming" issue even that would happen in a room where the ceiling is low.

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                            Pure Resonance Audio VCA8 Vector Lay-In 2x2 Drop Ceiling Speaker Array made by Pro Acoustics






                            You can tell from the OP's photos that even the way the PA speakers had to be installed ended up being hodgepodge of "here-there-everywhere" to try and get sound all across the room.

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                            The design of the ceiling, the archway in the center was designed to kill sound frequencies so that echos would be controlled.

                            And there appears to be another open area/room where the organ is so more sound leakage there as the church is more like a mall multi-purpose facility with doors and rooms to other parts of the building. Not a cohesive self contained church as is usual specially for getting an 8 channel organ to function properly.

                            Now how are you going to get around that with music from an organ?

                            Basically what is happening here is making the best of a not so good situation.

                            It appears the purchase of an 8 channel pipe organ was an after thought as had the organ been part of the plan when the church room was constructed, the design would/should be different. Not a sound sucking low splayed ceiling, wide room, with no designated place for a pipe/digital organ and all its speakers.

                            You have the altar in the middle at one end of the room and then entrance doors in the middle of the back of the room. Where can you put a cluster stack of organ speakers to fan out evenly into the entire room? And the choir is on the other side of room? This was not planned properly to be candid.

                            You want to have your cake and eat it too? Buy another 8.1 set of speakers and place a stack at each side at the back of the room. Then you will get better coverage and your channel panning tricks without having to break up the clusters. Or park them on either side of the altar, move the organist and the choir off to the side of the altar.
                            Click image for larger version

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                            But do you have room to put speakers at the back with those 3 sets of doors at the back?



                            This (below) is how you cluster a pipe rig with a bowl or clam shell horn to project all the instruments:
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                            An 8 channel digital organ wants a very live room with tall ceilings to use the reverb of the room to be able to accentuate the nuances of different quieter instruments and then when full swell is played the whole cathedral sized room creates what is called "CABIN GAIN" a term used in the car audio industry an effect that when you listen to a sound system in an automobile, when the doors/windows are closed you get the full effect of the speaker system. If you open a window or door, you lose all that contained sound and then the full sound disappears.


                            You really to get the room acoustics better involved in the setup. Think of how a pipe organ could be installed rather than how an engineer might solve audio problems.
                            Exactly, which is why one post suggested:
                            Any chance of dynamiting the place and starting over?
                            But realistically, is the church to move on reconstruction or venue because the organ cannot be installed at optimum?

                            Best that can be done is get the sound up over head which is why the ARRAY SYSTEM is used at concerts, FLYING SPEAKERS.
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                            And same for churches.

                            Forget about relying on using the 8 channel panning tricks. Set all stops to MONO and have all the instruments, flutes, whatever come out of all speakers at the same time. People will enjoy that more than having the sounds jump around the room.

                            I don't think the "beaming" issue will be that big of a problem and if the speaker volumes can be controlled to minimize hot spots, so much the better. Lower the channel volume over areas if that's the case so that when full swell is used it may sound more even across the room with more of the power coming from the speakers placed by the organ which is the more realistic option IMO.

                            I grew up listening to a Hammond console played in a church and the only speakers there were were inside the Hammond. And wherever the organist was, mostly to the side of the church, that's what you got. There wasn't even a Leslie.

                            I deal with pro concert arrays feeding 9,000 people of major artists in major arenas we've all heard of and with all the gadgetry it's always how to balance the FOH (front of house speakers) with the SIDE FILLS for people in the cheaper seats off to the sides of the stage, and then make the bleachers get their money's worth too.

                            That's why I keep mentioning that soon PA systems will consist of mixers sending WIFI signals to each person in the arena to their smartphones. There's a company called MIXhalo that is working on that now. Soon speakers will be a thing of the past. It will be earbuds. We'll see...
                            Last edited by Goff; 11-18-2019, 12:58 PM.

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                            • cham-ed
                              cham-ed commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I hope not earbuds (even tho you are probably correct). Even expensive headphones don't handle low end sounds. And forget it with $10 earbuds. Plus the 32 ft is really felt rather than heard. It might be a great way to deliver a sermon but music would suffer tremendously.
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