Let’s face it, instructing a cycling class could be the sweatiest job on the planet! I remember attending the Nike Show in Copenhagen some 10+ years ago. The organisers had covered the polished gym floor with 60 sheets of plywood, one for each bike. At the end of each session they were all soaking wet. That is the environment that we have to work with as Audio System designers and installers!
Sweat is not just “body water”, sweat is toxic. You can see what sweat does to low cost bikes. Rust spots happen and paint peels off after at around 6 months in a busy studio. So please consider that sweat can affect the headmic and wireless transmitter. The question you need to answer is – Is it “fit for purpose”? This is where big name general purpose mic systems fail.
Cyclemic versus sweat
It is the reason why we decided to tackle sweat head on when creating the Cyclemic. It’s also the reason why we also added a sweat protection coating to the Fitness Audio bodypack and mini transmitters.
Protection is everything
The Cyclemic uses a capsule made with marine grade stainless steel. We protect it with a double mesh arrangement that causes sweat and spit to form droplets big enough to fall off. Further protected by a blast proof carbon fibre collar, moisture does not penetrate the mesh. We also paint the circuit board inside the Fitness Audio transmitters with a special anti-corrosion lacquer. This gives protection from irreversible sweat corrosion for all the components inside. These processes are unique in the microphone world.
The Show must go on
So, these are the “tools of trade” that we can supply to all fitness club studios anywhere. They mean the show goes on for longer with less chance of downtime. You can expect over 2 years of daily use without sweat damage problems occurring.
LOUD or Silent system
The current thinking for Cycling Studio Sound Systems is one or the other – LOUD! or “silent” and we can help with both (LOUD is sound through speakers, whereas the silent system is through earbuds, but more on that further down). On the LOUD side we recommend using, depending on the size of the studio, powered or active loudspeakers. The manufacturer matches powerful amplifiers to the speakers inside the box. This process will give you the best sound and longevity because they have built-in protection circuits.
“Happy instructors make members happy too – it’s contagious!!”
Audio all over the place
In Sydney, Australia we are supplying a new chain of cycling clubs with 4 x 10” (25cm) 2-way, 400w powered speakers from Italian brand db Technologies. There’s also a 15” (37cm) 600w powered subwoofer to complete this impressive system for a 30-bike studio. There is enough power available that the sound is what I would call “comfortably loud”. The system delivers an exciting, motivating sound for the classes. We supplied a control unit after our Aeromix 2+2 Mixer, they are known as a DSP unit, (Digital Sound Processor).
This, when set up by our trained technician, will ensure the sound is as good as it is ever going to be. Mic feedback, if it ever was an issue, gets eliminated. We equalise the speakers to the room, we can control the loudness levels too. It’s a great investment in getting everything working together for the greater good.
We recommend using a 2 speaker set up for a room with up to 20 bikes (sub-woofer optional). We use 4 speakers in a horseshoe arrangement facing the back wall when there are 20-40 bikes (again a sub-woofer is available if the budget allows).
Sound of Silence
Now let me tell you about our silent class systems. We have an electronics package comprising of a Fitness Audio Mini Mixer, a wireless receiver with our Cyclemic and transmitter, our Bluetooth® receiver and an AppAudio® Solo unit that we combine with an Access Point (ie a WiFi Transmitter). No speakers!
The instructors use their smartphone with earbuds to check their voice and music levels. The class music comes from a tablet or iPod® via the Bluetooth® receiver. The mixer connects to the AppAudio Solo and then its cabled to the AP mounted on the ceiling. The instructor and class members have downloaded and installed the free AppAudio App on their smartphones.
They now tune in wearing their earbuds. This system is becoming popular in open layout gyms where a dozen cycles are set out inside a shared area. We also offer this solution to those Muslim countries or clubs where playing loud RPM class music is culturally unacceptable. In audio there is always a way to reach people who want to work out to music in the ears!
I knew a wise club owner from Perth, Western Australia (now a retired millionaire!) who always said his club success formula included getting the sound system and mics right in the studios. Everyone is happy if the sound is good. The instructor is happy because they enjoy giving their classes. The members are happy because the instructor gives great classes with that sound system and mic.
Members keep coming back and will stay members – all because the owner did it right first time. It’s hard to argue against that. Happy instructors make members happy too – it’s contagious!! Yet there will always be club owners that just won’t spend the money to do it right. One thing is certain – clubs with unhappy instructors will lose members. Those who don’t stay hooked on your cycling classes will start looking around for a better experience.