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Acoustical Design of Worship Spaces

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In addition to reverberation, the importance of early reflections in large rooms to speech intelligibility and sound quality is becoming clearer. Since we judge the sound source by a combination of the direct sound and indirect reflections, reflection control is of utmost importance. In many instances, such as worship spaces, auditoriums, concert halls, etc., absorption is not a viable acoustic treatment of early reflections, hence we must rely on diffusion and specularity to manipulate indirect reflections. The RPG is a new acoustic surface treatment which can control problematic reflections that interfere with sound quality and intelligibility, without sacrificing reverberation which is necessary for the music program. In worship spaces the geometry of the sanctuary's reflective boundaries is used to create reverberation times appropriate for the type of service, diffusion is the preferred choice for reflection control and absorption is used to control excessive reverberation, if necessary, and to treat surfaces very close to the sound reinforcement system. We will examine specific applications of RPG diffusion in worship spaces.

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