How to Reduce Echoing in a Dome Type Church

Written by timothy burns
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How to Reduce Echoing in a Dome Type Church
Old stone churches with vaulted ceilings were designed without consideration for their acoustsic characteristics. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Beautiful old churches are constructed from stone and marble with large arching columns and vaulted ceilings. These cavernous rooms acoustically suited the large pipe organs that filled the buildings with music. The pastor's voice also carried well, assisted by the vaulting architecture rather than microphones and amplifiers. However, the advent of amplified sound systems created acoustic problems for these old-style churches

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 1-inch thick acoustic mesh panels
  • Hanging fabric banners

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  1. 1

    Identify wall areas in the church on which could be mounted 1-inch thick acoustic panels. These loosely woven and visually pleasing acoustic panels absorb sound rather than reflect the sound back toward the source. These panels will help diminish bouncing sound waves that create an echo in a large domed church.

  2. 2

    Design liturgically themes banners that can be hung along the walls in the church. The fabric banners will absorb sound waves and reduce the amount of wall space, which is an acoustically reflective surface.

  3. 3

    Design and install liturgically themed banners above the pews and in the free space below the church dome. Positioning any acoustically absorbent surface such as a decorative banner into the airspace below the vaulted ceilings and domed area will absorb sound waves and prevent or diminish acoustic echoes.

  4. 4

    Hire an acoustic engineer to evaluate the acoustic properties of the church. Modern, amplified sound equipment creates unique demands on church acoustics that were not foreseen when the vaulted marble and brick churches were built. A professional acoustic engineer can make suggestions regarding sound system placement that will complement the building's architecture rather than fight it.

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