There is a good chance your church sanctuary was not built with sound in mind. Or, maybe you rent a gym, warehouse or some other type of building that is not sound-friendly. Either way, sound absorbing panels will definitely improve the sound at your church.
My church once met in a former grocery store. Every surface in the room is hard and flat: drywall, concrete floors and plastic chairs. On top of this, the sanctuary is about twice as long as it is wide, giving it a hall-like effect.
As you can imagine, this made for a sound nightmare.
If you clapped your hands, the sound would continue for about 2-3 seconds. There is also a frequency range in the room that reverberates 6-9dB louder than the rest of the frequency spectrum – feedback breeding grounds if the EQ isn’t just right.
Shortly after we moved into this building, I began the journey of making our room sound better. After hours of working to get the EQ just right and days building and hanging sound absorbing panels, the room actually sounded pretty good.
To get your EQ just right, be sure to check out this post: How to Set EQ with iPhone Sound Frequency Analyzer. To learn how to make sound absorbing panels, keep reading.
Disclaimer: Always check your local building and fire codes to make sure these materials meet their standards. If you are using a rented facility, always obtain permission before hanging sound panels.
- Roxul Acoustical Fire Batts, Mineral Wool, 2-inch (at ATS Acoustics)
- Fire-Rated Acoustical Fabric (at ATS Acoustics)
- 1″ x 2″ x 8′ Wood Furring Strips (at Lowe’s)
- 4′ x 8′ x .196″ Hardwood Sanded Plywood (at Lowe’s)
- Picture Hangers (self-leveling or d-ring)
- 5/16″ Staples (at Lowe’s)
- #8 x 1.625″ Screws (at Lowe’s)
- Steel Wire Nails (at Lowe’s)
- Wood Glue
- Electric Staple Gun
- Utility Knife
- Have Lowe’s cut the plywood to the size you want. They charge a small fee, but it is worth it. For example, we made 2′ x 2′ panels, so each 4′ x 8′ plywood was cut into 8 squares. Note – the plywood is used as the backing to help the frame keep its shape.
- Make a frame for each panel using furring strips, wood screws, and wood glue. Attach the plywood backing with nails.
- Cut the mineral wool insulation with utility knife so that it fits inside the wood frame.
- Cut the burlap fabric so that you have enough to cover the insulation and pull it around to staple to the back of the frame.
- When stapling the fabric to the frame, start by putting one staple in the middle of each side. Then, continue stapling while pulling the fabric so that it is snug, but not too tight.
- Attach the picture hanger to the back of the frame and mount on the wall.
How Many Do You Need?
The amount of sound absorption needed is different for every room. ATS Acoustics offers a Free Online Room Acoustics Analysis to help you determine how much acoustic treatment is needed in your room. It analyzes the aspects of the acoustics in your room using the readily available dimensions and surface information you provide.
I estimate the cost of a 2′ x 2′ panel to be around $13 (compared to $32 +shipping when you buy them already made). A 2′ x 4′ panel would be about $26 (compared to $55 + shipping when you buy them already made).