Churches typically have a long reverberation time, which affects the speech intelligibility negatively. Public address systems need to be designed carefully for good speech intelligibility, well adapted to the acoustics of the space. At the same time the room acoustic quality has to meet the requirements for organ and choir music or even amplified music. Acoustic quality for music generally entails a longer reverberation time than required for speech. The challenge regarding churches is to find the optimum between these two requirements in the room acoustical design of the church.
Two examples of churches from projects carried out by Level Acoutics & Vibration are shown below.
After refurbishment the reverberation time of Clemenskerk Nuenen increased dramatically up to 8 seconds. Acoustic materials have been proposed as well as improvements of the sound installation system to shorten the reverberation time, to make it more suitable for speech and music.
Sint Antonius Abt Acht
The sound installation in combination with the room acoustics could not provide sufficient speech intelligibility during mass in the Sint Antonius Abt in Acht. At the same time, the choir appreciated the room acoustics of the church very much. With a room acoustical prediction model the necessary acoustical adjustments could be investigated to accommodate various occupancies of the church.