The Acoustician’s Dilemma: Finding the Right Balance of Sight and Sound
An acoustical exploration of worship spaces: size, shape, layout, materials, and how various designs affect the sound of a space, often producing radically different visual vs. audible results. Practical application of acoustics fundamentals are presented for buildings with pipe organs, choirs, and participatory congregations (and the spoken word, of course). Audio-visual material include photos, drawings, computer models, and audio clips showing how acoustical science informs consulting technology as applied to virtual and real-world examples. Perhaps some light will be shed on the conundrum: “Why doesn’t it sound like it looks like it should sound?”
Dan Clayton is the principal consultant for Clayton Acoustics Group, which he established in 1992, having worked in the field since 1980. His background in acoustics, music, sound systems, technical theatre, computer technology, and pipe organ building provides a solid foundation for his work on worship and performance space projects. His firm has undertaken more than 275 projects, the majority for churches and synagogues, and many including pipe organs. Prior to founding Clayton Acoustics Group, he worked for Artec Consultants, one of the world’s premier acoustics and theatre consulting firms. He is a member of the AGO (New York City chapter), OHS (vice president 2013–2015), AIO, and several acoustics and audio professional societies. In a previous life, he spent a year working for Charlie Fisk as an apprentice organ builder. He has chaired several technical sessions on pipe organ acoustics for meetings of the Acoustical
Society of America.