We all want to ensure that our awesome playlist can be properly appreciated through great sound in our classrooms whether it’s a yoga class or a high-octane dance cardio class, but making this a reality involves a LOT more than hanging some expensive speakers around the room.
In fact, if you don’t properly budget for your sound design, you may find yourself in a position where you can’t offer classes too early in the morning or too late in the evening because sound bleeds out of your room into your neighbors. Your room may sound too much like an empty warehouse, and even if your classes are awesome, the sonic experience might be too frustrating for clients to want to put up with. Or, your instructors will find themselves unable to provide the best quality experience possible because they’re putting so much effort into shouting, constantly adjusting volume knobs, or making sure the clients can properly hear them and stay safe.
In this episode and the previous, listen to 4-time Grammy award winning sound designer and sound engineer, and acoustic consultant Marcelo Añez teach us 3 aspects you must consider when designing sound for any space.
• Why you need to consider sound design before you begin construction
• Things you need to be aware of that could be negatively affecting sound quality
• The profound effects that sound quality has on the class experience
(1:20) It’s not all about the equipment
Half-decent sound equipment will sound amazing in a room that’s been treated well for isolation and internal conditioning. It’s not all about the equipment. This means that you can’t make sound an afterthought when it comes to budgeting for your studio or space.
(4:00) Teaching a class is not unlike a performance
Being a fitness instructor is not unlike being an artist or performer on stage who is sending energy out into the room, captivating their attention, and having an impact on their internal state. There is a performance element. We have to get participants excited and motivated, but at the right moment, the same way an artist takes their audience through an emotional arc.
Therefore, lighting and where the sound comes from is very important. Where the instructor primarily teaches from is a form of a stage. Based on that, it can be determined where equipment is placed so sound is evenly distributed throughout the room.
(14:40) Some thoughts on how you design your studio experience through sound.
Marcelo talks about how he considers what he wants people to hear and when. Do you want people to hear ambient music in the bathrooms as they’re changing and in the hallways? But what about once they enter the classroom? Think about the experience you have when you go to a theater, or to the movies. Before the big show begins, everything goes to black. There’s a transition. There is so much we can do to make people excited about coming to class. These subtle things have a profound effect on the mental state of your clients.
(21:20) Consider having separate speakers for the instructor mic
What happens is when you have music and voice going through the same speakers, the speakers are maxed out with the loud volume of the music. When you have the voice going through them as well, it will distort the sound coming through the speakers. When you have the voice going through a separate set of speakers, the sound quality is MUCH clearer and can be better managed.
(23:20) Where’s the best place to put a subwoofer?
The human brain can’t localize where low frequency sounds are coming from, but you just want to be sure that the sound is evenly distributed throughout the room. The most important thing to do is isolate your subwoofer- meaning place it on foam, etc. because otherwise your building can easily become an extension of the subwoofer. Low frequencies travel very easily through concrete.
(29:20) Leave money aside for a sound engineer and Isolation, Internal Conditioning, and Equipment.
If you pick the wrong location, you could be spending tons of money in isolation, or in lawsuits with your neighbors over sound.
Photos from the story of meeting Marcelo. Notice how we’re testing sound while still in the construction phase of this cycling room!