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5 Things That Make a Fitness Sound System Different from a Standard PA System or Home Stereo

5 Things That Make a Fitness Sound System Different from a Standard PA System or Home Stereo

It’s no surprise that many fitness centers and exercise classes start with a less-than-ideal sound system. After all, it’s supposed to be about fitness—not listening to music—right? In reality, the group exercise fitness experience benefits from great-sounding, motivational music.

Group Ex instructors should be able to focus on their class, not dealing with an overly-complicated sound system or a system simply not designed to do what’s needed in the grueling fitness environment.

So a ‘fitness sound system’ has a special set of standards to meet in a group exercise class... more than just playing some background tunes. Let’s look at 5 things that make a fitness sound system different from an ordinary PA system or a home stereo /home theater system.

Fitness Center Sound System

1 Simplicity
While they might appear complicated or at least unfamiliar at first glance, well designed fitness sound systems provide exactly what an exercise class instructor needs. The brain of the system is an easy to understand fitness mixer with 2 wireless microphone inputs and about 3 music channels to handle inputs from a media player, portable music player/phone and Bluetooth receiver.

The mixer has simple, separate treble and bass controls for the voice and music channels. By comparison, a PA mixer will often have 8 to 24 of mostly unneeded ‘’channel strips” and literally dozens of adjustment knobs. A PA mixer might also include digital effects to make a singer sound better, the last things a Group Ex instructor needs.

Home stereo or home theater receivers have very different controls to allow them to do the job they were designed for. They lack fitness mixer features like a microphone input and the capability to ‘mix’ two audio sources to achieve voice over music. They’re also often underpowered for a group exercise class. They’re designed to provide audio to relatively few people in a small area.

After the fitness mixer, it’s all about having the correct amplifier (whether built-in or external) and professional audio grade speakers that are perfectly sized for the room/area.

2. Group Ex Sound Clarity
A home theater system provides the ideal in-home movie-watching experience; a dance club sound system is designed and tuned to provide club-shaking bass and volume.

The demands placed on a fitness sound system are unique—with group ex sound, it’s vital to have excellent performance both when it comes to playing great-sounding music and having crystal-clear wireless mic clarity so the instructor’s voice can be heard by all. Quality fitness sound systems are custom designed to provide balance...the best of both worlds.

3. Ease Of Use
A fitness instructor is usually more interested in doing what they do best—instructing and motivating their class—not running a 96-channel sound system capable of handling audio in a world-class concert hall.

Professionally designed fitness sound systems will feature a single master on/off switch, simple-yet-powerful controls (without hundreds of knobs and sliders that only prosound engineers understand), and an intuitive method of running the system.

In other words, it should make sense to the person operating the sound system—no more, no less. A comment sometimes heard in a Group Ex studio: “Someone turned the knob –or pushed the switch -that had the sticky note on it saying ‘Do not touch!’” A well-designed fitness sound system doesn’t need sticky notes. It has simple controls that are ok to touch.

4. Durability
Home stereo systems and most entry-level PA systems simply aren’t up for the demands that daily use in a professional fitness environment present. The high-intensity fitness sound application has its own unique set of challenges—things like extreme sweat and the potential for high impact that wireless microphones and other equipment must be able to handle.

It’s also important to note that delicate home theater or stereo speakers are easily damaged when used with wireless microphones that produce unpredictably high volume levels during regular use, especially with accidental feedback. Durability is an essential component in a quality fitness sound system.

5. Support
It’s important to have a sound system that comes with complete technical support and advice, both before and after the purchase. Because there is more to a professional-grade fitness sound system than an off-the-shelf boombox or other consumer audio product, it’s valuable to have a resource to call and for quick, expert advice-people who knows and understands your unique circumstances.

This is something only fitness sound specialists can provide. So, while many fitness centers and group exercise instructors begin by using a home stereo system or an ordinary PA system, for many it doesn’t take long to realize the importance of moving to a professional fitness sound system that’s been designed for the unique circumstances found in a group exercise class.

A genuine fitness sound system really does make all of the difference in the world—why not take your fitness center or group exercise class to the next level soon? Call an AV Now Fitness Sound Expert for a no-charge Group Ex Sound System consultation and estimate or fill out the Sound System Discovery Format


More information on sound system design:

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