External Speaker Cabinets?
Why would we need external speakers for our organ?
Many smaller Allen organs come equipped with speakers right in the console. When installing these types of organs in churches we usually recommend including external speaker cabinets in the configuration. That often leads to a question about why the church would need external speakers when there are already self-contained speakers?
What happens with a pipe organ?
For a moment, picture yourself walking into a church with a pipe organ. You see the large set of pipes, usually along the front of the sanctuary; and be aware that, as many pipes as you can actually see, there are many, many more pipes behind that façade. Meanwhile, the console is generally detached from the pipe case in a different location. When you play the instrument, the organ is designed to project sound throughout the room, and fill the space with the majestic sound of wind-blown pipes.
We’re recreating that sound
Our objective is to reproduce, as faithfully as possible, the sounds of traditional wind-blown pipe organs. To that end, it is preferable to move the sound away from the organist’s feet, and allow it to project through the room in a manner similar to a pipe organ. On top of that, while those Allen organs with console speakers have surprisingly high-fidelity systems—far surpassing systems found most other digital organs—internal speakers are no match for the superb sounds created by our Herald speaker cabinets.
We don’t always suggest external speakers
In cases where budgets are particularly tight and the location of the organ console within the room accommodates, we will suggest that external speakers may not be essential to creating a reasonable sound for supporting congregational singing. Typically, those situations will occur in small churches (seating around 100 people or so) where the console is front and centre in the chancel area—ideally raised by a few feet—and the organist’s back is facing the congregation. In those cases, a reasonable sound can often be achieved using only console speakers.
It all depends on the specific situation
In certain, special circumstances noted above a church can get by without external speakers; however, a general rule is that external speakers are always better, and typically a greater number is better than fewer.
Keep an eye open for my next post, which will discuss how much audio is enough (or too much, or too little).