More Myths – CHURCH Soundproofing: Wires in Ceiling?

Here’s an interesting exchange retrieved from the USEgroup: alt.sci.physics.acoustics (A rather snobbish UK group).

hoodlaw@compuserve.com wrote:

> My church has built a new parish hall that has a vaulted ceiling (a v-shape,

> just like the roof, open, with the trusses visible) and no carpet. The room

> is fairly large. Sounds echo, vibrate, and bounce all over the place. It is

> difficult to hear someone sitting near you because of the problems.

> I have heard that stretching a wire length wise across the ceiling may have

> sound absorption characteristics which would improve the noise in the room. Is

> this correct and how do you set it up? Any other suggestions?

> Thank you for any input.

> Chip

> Hoodlaw@compuserve.com

It is a commonly held superstition that wires of random length strung in a church ceiling will reduce reverberation. The overly reverberant condition that you report will be cured only by adding sound absorptive material. An acoustical

consultant can advise you on which absorbers to use, how many to use, and where to place them for maximum effectiveness.

Having briefly answered the question, I report to fellow acousticians that this superstition is evidently much older than I supposed!

If I correctly understood what Leo Beranek said at the San Diego meeting in December ’97, this superstition goes back at least as far as Roman times! Dr. David Lubman dlubman@ix.netcom.com

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BJ’s Note: It worked because all the people coming to church to observe caused a greater absorption of sound in the church from the great number of bodies of the church goers…. Cushions on hard pews may work almost as well, too.

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