Case Study: Zionsville United Methodist Chruch

2021-zumc-4.jpgIn this Auralex Case Study, we will be showing a real-life immersive example of a large-room analysis for a house of worship. This specific analysis is led by Andy Symons of Zionsville United Methodist Church, located in Zionsville, Indiana.

This will start with the presentation of the complete room analysis, provided by Auralex's own Director of Sales, Kevin Booth. Then we'll show the full room diagram, before and after pictures, and some final feedback from Andy Symons. This is a very similar example and experience to what your large-room analysis would look like, personalized from Auralex Acoustics!


Part 1: ZUMC-Chapel-Analysis_V2 - PDF From Auralex

To: Andy Symons - ZUMC

Project: Sanctuary

Date: 5/21/2020

Thank you for your interest in Auralex® Acoustics, Inc., and for choosing us to assist with your acoustical concerns. Please keep in mind that these suggestions are prepared off-site with the information supplied and the combined experience of Auralex® Acoustics.

Project Overview

Traditionally, the criterion for the design of large enclosed spaces has been the reverberation time (referred to as “RT” from this point forward), or the time required for sound to decay 60dB once the source has stopped. What the listener ultimately experiences in terms of acoustic quality is derived from the relationship between the RT, the room’s function, and the cubic volume of the room. When the RT and the function of a room “disagree”, the listener typically regards the room as an unpleasant acoustical environment. (ex: “boomy”, “harsh”, “unintelligible”). The RT at 500Hz is the current accepted qualifier for optimum RT of a given space, due to the fact that it lies within a very active frequency range for speech and music applications.

Using the data, you provided, we created a model of your space to determine your current RT. We then introduced treatment into the model to help bring the predicted RT and the ideal RT (again, based on the volume and function of the room) into better “agreement”.


The ideal RT for a 56,048 ft.3 facility is 1.20 seconds at 500Hz for optimum for speech intelligibility in this space. The untreated predicted RT at 500Hz is currently about 1.17 seconds. Reducing the RT will require the strategic placement of absorptive materials across wall surfaces. The graphs to follow represent the ideal RT of the room, the untreated RT, and the predicted RT for the treatment suggestion outlined below.


The table and graph below demonstrate the difference between the current untreated response in the room, and the implementation of the suggested treatment.

 Eyring  125Hz  250Hz  500Hz  1kHz  2kHz  4kHz
 Ideal    1.68 sec  1.44 sec  1.20 sec  1.14 sec  1.14 sec  1.14 sec
 Untreated    1.24 sec  2.53 sec  3.19 sec  2.19 sec  1.23 sec  0.90 sec
 Predicted    1.03 sec  1.41 sec  1.29 sec  1.10 sec  0.77 sec  0.61 sec


*The graph above depicts our projected results for your room, based on the information supplied.



Incorporating this treatment plan as indicated should help bring the RT at 500Hz to an acceptable and pleasing level. This will translate to the listener as a more controlled and articulate, less “boomy” or “muddy” listening environment. 

*Be sure to measure prior to ordering to ensure products will fit.


Best Regards,

Kevin Booth

Director of Sales

Office: (317) 842-2600

Direct: (317) 715-6884

Toll-Free: (800) 959-3343

Indianapolis, Indiana USA | Book A Call



Part 2: ZUMC-CHAPEL-DIAGRAM_V2 - PDF From Auralex



Part 3: Before VS. After

Before After



Part 4: A Message From Andy Symons on the Auralex Creative Spaces Podcast

Episode #16 - Click here to listen!
Note: Following are excerpts from the full interview. The interview was conducted by Kevin Booth, Auralex director of sales. Robb Wenner, Auralex director of artist relations, produces the podcast and jumps in with questions. To hear the full interview, subscribe to Auralex Creative Spaces on your podcast platform of choice.

KB: Transitioning over your current role as technical director at a House of Worship, what are your responsibilities? 

AS: I'm responsible for producing two weekly worship services. I'm on a headset, and I call to the audio guy, the video Switcher, the slide operator and, the lighting guy from a take sheet. We produce two services every week, and there's a lot of preparation throughout the week doing audio files and video files prepared for each week's worship service. Over the past year and a half, I've done a lot of video shooting and editing as well. That's a skill set I didn't have before diving in a couple of years ago, and now that I've been doing this for a couple of years—more trial by fire learning about how to edit video. We've been trying to create a more robust worship experience for our parishioners during the pandemic. We need to have some things that capture their interest since they're sitting in front of a phone or an iPad, or a laptop every Sunday morning.

KB: You've been a proponent of working on the acoustics in the building. You recently worked with Auralex on a smaller worship room. Can you tell us about that project?

AS: It's our Chapel, which is a small worship space that gets used for various applications from meetings to Bible studies to youth worship and sometimes, even back when we used to have people in the building, as overflow, I've been working in there for 19 years, and the entire time I've been there, it's just been a big box of untreated space. It just was an acoustic nightmare, and we were blessed to have somebody come in and want to help us with upgrading the entire facility, and that room was the first thing. I said, "OK, first thing we do is treat the room." We're installing video, a new PA system, and lighting, and I said those are lovely shiny new objects, but this is the time to fix this room finally, and I got my way rather than correcting it with the system. It's a big room with a vaulted ceiling and just a big live box. I've worked in that for years the way it was, and we used to do Saturday worship services in there, and it was not a pleasant experience. The room is carpet and drywall, not very reflective surfaces but still, it's a large room. The room is 56,000 cubic feet, so it's pretty big, and the RT (Reverb Time) in the room at 500 Hertz was about 3 seconds. 
KB: 3.19 and, at one kilohertz, 2.19. So that's the area of speech, 500 Hertz to one kilohertz. When you look at the graph of the room, that's where it rises really high, in that mid-range frequency, so our goal was to get that down to a conservative estimate of 1 second or 1.2 seconds.
AS: I would say it's probably cut in half, and you know, with all the projects that I've done at church, I've always wanted to reduce the overall Reverb time and improve the intelligibility of the spoken word. You can have your big rock band cranking away, but if people can't sit there and hear the spoken word during the sermon, you're missing the priorities. When we were making decisions about the Chapel, some people on the committee's first reaction was to do something fun with colored panels, but in that room, if you did color panels, they would just jump out at you. I want them to be invisible, and I want to hear the work and not see the work. Everyone that has walked into that room, their first reaction is, "wow, this room sounds great!" That's mission accomplished! It can be a long approval cycle with everyone involved, but well worth the wait. The Chapel will be a useful space for shooting videos, shooting seminars, and guest speakers and can become a sound stage instead of an echo chamber! 
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