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Power output guidelines for church amplification

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Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby maestropotvin » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:17 am

Hello all,

Is there a guide somewhere to help figure out what wattage should be used in varying size change churches? In other words, how much audio power do I need in a small 150 people church versus how much I would need in a larger 500 people church?

I know ther are many variables, but some general idea would be great.

Thanks,

Stephane
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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby jkinkennon » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:20 am

Too many variables as you say, but here is a stab at the subject to start things off. For the smaller church I would start with a dozen studio monitors and a sub or two and come in around 12 x 250 + 1000 for a sub and get 4000 watts. For the 500 seat sanctuary I'd think to double that for 8000 watts. In either case carpeted floors and padded pews would likely increase the power needed. Just a starting point -- with the larger space I'd consider a speaker more efficient that a studio monitor which would help lower the power requirement, though in reality the question comes down to how many speakers of a given type as the first choice.
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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby maestropotvin » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:05 pm

Thank you very much John.

This is very helpful.

Best,

Stephane
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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby organtechnology » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:31 pm

Hi,

Here is another webpage that discusses this subject without getting too technical.

http://www.audiomasterclass.com/how-muc ... with-sound

Best regards,

Thomas
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info (at) organtechnology.com http://www.organtechnology.com

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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby maestropotvin » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:39 pm

Thank you Thomas for this information.

Best,

Stephane
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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby ArnoldOrgans » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:52 am

Stephane,
I would say this is a near impossible question. Especially with church architecture/acoustics being so different in spaces sharing the same capacity. I have been in many church setups with only 2 speakers and 200-500 watts total that have enough sound to fill the space adequately. My church has seating for 175 and uses 1200 watts of amplification on 10 channels and 16 speakers. The 6 main channels have 2 speakers each to help evenly distribute the sound. The power is more than we need with amps at about 50% but if space allowed, more speakers and channels would be nice.

Since we rent organs with or without speakers I have seen some large spaces use limited amplification with decent results.
Image
The above picture is in a Iowa convention center. The picture only shows half of the room. They were originally planning 1 channel with 500 watts for the organ. It took a lot of convincing to get 2 with 1000 watts total. I wasn't there when the organ was used but everyone said it worked great.
Image
The DECC Symphony Hall rented one of our organs and only used 10 2031A's with 2 subs. It had adequate sound for me to hear in the balcony where the picture was taken from.

I think the best answer is to test before committing. If funds are tight its surprising how little one may need to sound better than the old digital organ you may be replacing. Of course the general rule of more is better applies to this situation nicely. On top of Budget we find speaker placement options to be a large factor.
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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby Tweedle_Dee » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:46 pm

Just to add my personal experience. The church is approximately 2500 sqft with high vaulted ceilings. The organ is in the loft at the rear and everything is wood and carpet to deaden the sound :(. John and I worked together on the Hauptwerk installation at my church. We installed 12 Behringer 2031A monitors and an enormous subwoofer.

On normal Sundays, with many empty pews, it is more than adequate. But on Easter and other big services with lots of bodies to soak up the sound, I feel like it gets pushed pretty hard to really fill the sanctuary with the big organ sound. I would not have wanted anything less than the 12 monitors we have.

As a side note, I have really struggled with finding sample sets that sound convincing in our space, especially at full plenum with reeds. I think it may be a combination of the sample set and too few audio channels, but many sets sound fake at full tilt in my experience. I'm guessing more natural reverberation would help with this.

This is my one and only experience with this, so take it with a grain of salt.
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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:13 pm

Our church is quite small, seats about 125 crammed in. The Allen we have has amps totaling around 200 watts. There are two Walker speakers about the size of a studio monitor, and a sub. It plays with plenty of volume and acoustics are as dead as can be.

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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby jkinkennon » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:00 pm

Eric Sagmuller wrote:Our church is quite small, seats about 125 crammed in. The Allen we have has amps totaling around 200 watts. There are two Walker speakers about the size of a studio monitor, and a sub. It plays with plenty of volume and acoustics are as dead as can be.

Eric


This is a good point and is why I ended my earlier post with the need to select the speakers first as a two channel system isn't keeping the same power in reserve that would be needed by 24 or more. I have a small church install using six Allen speakers modified with midrange drivers. With subs the total power is somewhere in the 1500 to 2000 watt range.
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Re: Power output guidelines for church amplification

Postby MPiercey » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:00 pm

I play at a church that seats around 1200 comfortably, has carpeting on all the floor and fully padded pews, along with popcorn acoustic, high vaulted ceilings. The 3 manual electronic organ has 14 chapels of audio, each channel having 65 watts. Each channel has 2 speakers connected.

Even when the church is full to standing room only, the organ has more than enough power/sound to fill the space.
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