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Church acoustics

The characteristic acoustics of churches can be very beautiful and desirable, on the other hand, it may have a disadvantage with speech (speech intelligibility). The origin of the churches has led to great musical compositions for organ and singing, among other things, in recent centuries.

Church and music are, as it were, ‘fertilized’. Over time, there are many churches that no longer have the desired acoustics. Often this has to do with building history (such as repair of war damage / alterations by changing use) and the acoustics of these (sometimes ancient churches) have unfortunately been lost in part. For speech, this may be beneficial for music that needs spaciousness it won’t work..

In the absence of a beautiful acoustics, the organ and choir, instrumentalists and singers of the present are not threated optimally (acoustically). They will sound too “dry” due to lack of reverberation.

SIAP has developed an integral solution specifically for churches that are too dry to get the speech (intelligibility) and acoustics (including reverberation time extension) as desired. This solution offers both acoustics and speech intelligibility enhancement at the same time (dynamic variable acoustics). As a result, all the musicians, the speakers and the community get the nice (acoustic) experience that makes the visit to the church extra valuable. The church visit becomes a common, integral experience.

The SIAP system for churches provides high-quality speech enhancement, music playback and variable acoustics. Thus, speech amplification is an integral part of the installation. The uniqueness of this isthat speech amplification and SIAP acoustics go hand in hand. Simply put, this works like this:

When an acoustic preset is active (eg 3.0 seconds), organ, choir and vocals sound full and the acoustics “carries” the sound . But such reverberant acoustic is unfavorable to the intelligibility of speech (it’s too loud, intelligibility drops). For a good speech intelligibility, a short reverberation time is optimal, about 1 second. These are quite different – in fact contradictory – acoustic requirements. At times when a sacristan (preacher) talks into the microphone, the SIAP “voice function” is activated and simultaneous SIAP “acoustic function” (reverb extension) is automatically attenuated to optimize the speaker’s intelligibility. This is very nice because acoustics will be present at the moment of speaking, but it will automatically decrease to the right level. The advantage of this is that the acoustics don’t need to be turned off to create good intellibility. Turning off the acoustics is very undesirable, as this can be very confusing for attendees, so the space must continue to sound as it sounds.

Congregational enhancement

With some extra microphones, the visitor’s vocals are collected and included in acoustic treatment. Organ, choir and visitors are all part of the acoustics, as it should also be in a church (which is sufficiently desirable). The mutual natural balance of organ, choir and attending church members remains.

Of course, this integral solution also includes the SIAP system being linked with facilities such as the hearing aid for hearing impaired, church radio / internet and high quality (CD and / or MP3) recording. In churches where, for example, a music group (band) is performing, this automatic function can also be integrated into the SIAP system. For example, in combination with a mixer operated by a separate technician and (optionally his own speakers).
The SIAP variable acoustics works together with the acoustics of the church itself.


The microphones and speakers are as invisible as possible and (flush) mounted with a lot of respect for the interior aesthetics. In churches with a (national) monumental character, discreet integration is extra important. So no boxes against the vaults or on the walls (as far as possible). Our knowledge of church buildings and experience in this area guarantees for subtle installation.

Too much reverberation time / poor comprehensibility

Churches that have “too much” reverberation time may still be able to achieve an improvement with a well-functioning speech enhancement system. In addition, we have experience with churches in which, for example, 5.0 seconds of reverberation time, one would like to go back to 1.1 second reverberation time (eg rebuilding the building). This allows voice and music enhancement to be possible again. Subsequently, an SIAP system was then installed to provide the organ with the original 5.0 second reverberation time.

We can compile a design and advisory report based on the wishes and demands. Of course, the possibilities are also (partly) determined by any monumental restrictions, and we can advise you in this area as well.

Contact us for your specific situation.