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  • Speaker Position

    Hello Forum Members!

    I hope I'm posting in the best forum to answer my question about speaker cabinet placement.

    The main speakers for the Allen ADC4000 organ in my church are located on wall shelving (about 5' off the floor) in the choir loft at the rear of the church. But they are laying on their back, speaker-side facing upward. This doesn't seem to be the optimal position. I would suspect they should be facing forward into the sanctuary for the best, most direct sound possible. As it is now, I'm getting reflections only.

    The depth of the shelf is maybe 18" and the speakers in their current position overhang the shelf. If they were sitting facing forward, the depth would be appropriate. Just another reason I suspect they were probably installed facing forward, but were laid down at one point, probably in an effort to lower the volume. I know there is sensitivity to loudness, because the piano on the altar used to have a blanket covering the strings!

    Is it normal for speaker cabinets to placed in this configuration?

    Thanks for your help!
    Tom
    Attached Files

  • #2
    We had a Rodgers T938 installed with speakers at various locations. In addition to standard cabinets pointed toward the congregation from either side of the chancel (inside as-built chambers), they also installed two narrow cabinets on an existing shelf on the back wall, about 12 feet up. These cabinets have six or seven 8" speakers, cabinet size maybe 12" x 12" x 70". These two cabinets were installed facing straight up. We've always been happy with the installation, the Great organ sound comes from 'everywhere'. Swell is only on left and Choir is only on right, Solo is from back of the church and Pedal is supported by sub-woofers on the floor in the corners of the chancel. TL;dr Our church has speakers facing up.
    Allen, circa 2006

    Comment


    • #3
      Tom,

      No, that is not normal speaker placement for those speakers. You are correct about wanting to face them out into the room. The organ Volume is not usually adjusted by speaker placement either. Some misguided ( I'm being nice ) soul put them that way, if that was the intent. The organ volume is controlled by the Organist first, and then by the amplifier gain settings.

      There are reasons to sometimes place speakers so they speak indirectly into a room, but those are special circumstances. HC speakers, like you have there, are usually best speaking from high up, facing the long dimension of the room in a church setting.
      Regards, Larry

      At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), US-1, EL-25 ( Chopped ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the feedback Larry, much appreciated. I'll work on getting it corrected and report back here.

        - - - Updated - - -

        Thanks for the reply. That sounds like a very nice installation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tom Roussell View Post
          I hope I'm posting in the best forum to answer my question about speaker cabinet placement.
          [snip]
          Is it normal for speaker cabinets to placed in this configuration?
          Tom, before answering your question, I would prefer to see a photo of the space around the speakers (i.e. do they point at a slanted ceiling,--which way?, height of the shelf, etc.). It would also be nice to see a photo of both ends of the Sanctuary with approximate dimensions, as it could be the appropriate placement given your specific circumstances.

          Originally posted by Larrytow View Post
          There are reasons to sometimes place speakers so they speak indirectly into a room, but those are special circumstances. HC speakers, like you have there, are usually best speaking from high up, facing the long dimension of the room in a church setting.
          Larry,

          I agree with your assessment, but I'd like to see how far above the choir's heads (while standing) the speakers would be. It could be they were placed that way so the choir could hear themselves think. More photos would be greatly helpful.

          Hope this helps, Tom. Meanwhile, you could search the Forum for other threads about "speaker placement". All considerations have been discussed at length in other threads as well, but some of those threads have been closed.

          Welcome to the Forum!

          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)
          • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Michael,

            I'll be at the church tomorrow and will take additional pictures then and post.

            The main speakers are on two shelves along the back wall of the choir loft about 5' off the ground. The picture I posted is of the left side. There is an identical set on the right.

            The ceiling slants in from the side walls, not from the back, so the reflections are going right and left, not forward into the sanctuary.

            That's an interesting point about the choir. At one time they did sing in the loft, and perhaps the organ was deemed to loud for them. But they no longer sing from the loft. They are at the front of the sanctuary, probably 80' - 100' from the main speakers.

            There are antiphonal speakers about 25' directly above the choir attached to the rafters, facing the altar. Again, not facing directly into the sanctuary, but I suspect those are fine where they are and would be too difficult to move even if we wanted to.

            The organ console itself is also at the front of the church, to the left of the altar. The delay between playing and hearing is significant, even with antiphonal speakers nearby. It can be a challenge to maintain the tempo when the cantor and choir are significantly behind. I raised the volume of the antiphonal speakers to compensate, but it only helps so much.

            Pictures to come soon!

            Thanks,
            Tom

            Comment


            • #7
              A lot of organ companies preferred reflection sound over direct sound from the speakers. It kind of was to emulate the all around sound of an actual pipe. Not uncommon as one would think.
              I would have placed them at a 45 degree angle rather then flat on their backs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tom Roussell View Post
                The main speakers are on two shelves along the back wall of the choir loft about 5' off the ground. The picture I posted is of the left side. There is an identical set on the right.

                The ceiling slants in from the side walls, not from the back, so the reflections are going right and left, not forward into the sanctuary.

                That's an interesting point about the choir. At one time they did sing in the loft, and perhaps the organ was deemed to loud for them. But they no longer sing from the loft. They are at the front of the sanctuary, probably 80' - 100' from the main speakers.
                Tom,

                I would recommend either standing them up and either reflecting off the walls OR crossing their output before they reach the congregation. If you were also to rotate them so they speak toward the ceiling, but the sound crosses either just before or after the speakers reflect as they go down the long axis of the church, I think you'll be pleased with the result.

                Hope that helps.

                Originally posted by Hamman View Post
                A lot of organ companies preferred reflection sound over direct sound from the speakers. It kind of was to emulate the all around sound of an actual pipe. Not uncommon as one would think.
                I would have placed them at a 45 degree angle rather then flat on their backs.
                Amen! Great advice.

                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)
                • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here are the promised photos. I hope they help you understand the speaker placement.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Tom,
                    That is a nice looking church there. My thought about the speaker placement might not be the best for the looks of the place, but it would be best for the organs sound.

                    My first thought was that you could simply raise the shelf that the speakers are on by about 3 - 4', so that the tops of the speakers are in line with the start of the arc of the rear window. This is figuring that the speakers will be standing upright, and facing out into the room. That would give the best projection of the sound into the room, and possibly help you with the delay ( not a lot, but still some ).

                    My second thought is that you could dispense with the shelf altogether, and hang the speakers from the wall in the same location. This can be done with wood cleats on the back of the speakers, with mating ones screwed to the wall where the studs are. More details on this method are available if you decide to go that route.

                    Of course, speakers in that position look pretty much like speakers. Not everyone thinks that speakers are aesthetically pleasing however. So that could be a problem for you. There are various ways of covering them up to screen / hide them that will not harm the sound. Either with a fabric screen in front of them, or even a pipe facade if you want to get elaborate. Some people think that a pipe facade in front of speakers is cheating / misleading / dishonest though. Others really like the looks of them, even knowing you have a digital organ.

                    It is really unfortunate to have the console in the front and the main speakers way in the back like that. Ideally the main speakers should be near the organist, and the antiphonals at the distance. Don't know if it is feasible to change that in your situation or not. It would involve either moving the main speakers up front, or moving the console to the balcony. I always prefer to play from the balcony, but not all denominations like their churches set up that way. If you direct the choir as well as play the organ, that is another consideration when contemplating rearranging things.
                    Regards, Larry

                    At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), US-1, EL-25 ( Chopped ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom Roussell View Post
                      Here are the promised photos. I hope they help you understand the speaker placement.
                      Tom,

                      Apologies for not responding earlier, but I was gone for a week with little or no secure connectivity.

                      In addition to the suggestions Larry has made, I would recommend standing the speakers on their feet (it looks like you may have already), facing toward the front of the church. Personally, I would not raise them any higher, because the choir loft ceiling is so much higher than the church ceiling, so the lower ceiling, as well as the beams over the sanctuary will serve as baffles to reduce the sound. The same effect often happens on stages with a small curtain along the top of the stage to hide the curtain rails--it just holds the sound on stage instead of allowing it to go outward.

                      As far as æsthetics, I see the rectangular front to the balcony. Could you simply make new speaker grilles to match those at the front of the balcony. Just be sure the cloth you use for the white part is acoustically transparent.

                      Hope this helps.

                      Michael

                      P.S. As I see the space, there is a high probability the speakers were laid on their backs because they were speaking directly into the ears of the choir. It was not a good situation!
                      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)
                      • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                      Comment

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