Sound ideas for a fitness facility

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by joallen001, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. joallen001

    joallen001 Member

    Nov 28, 2011
    I have been researching speaker and receiver ideas for a fitness facility. I wanted to see if I could get some suggestions. The gym is 50'x80' and the ceilings is a 10' high drop ceiling. I am basically looking for something as background music most of the time, every now and then the volume will be increased for classes. I plan to play the music through an ipod. Any advice you have is greatly appreciated. I have looked at anywhere from home theater systems to pa systems. I was also recommended to use in ceiling Bose Freespace Loudspeakers. But I am not sure if that is what I really need for a fitness facility/gym. The total gym square footage after taking away bathrooms and offices is around 3500. Right now from what I have researched I am leaning towards a couple of powered Behringer B212d's or a Mackie TH-15a with a mixer. If at at possible I want to stay below $500. I figure that should at least get me something better than the basic system from Walmart which is what most gyms use around here. I am open for any suggestions. I am gonna try and post a pic of the layout. There is a cardio area so I wont need the music much there as it will drown out the tv's sound which can be listened to with headphones.

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  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Hi and welcome to . I hope you'll understand that moving your post was necessary simply because this has nothing to do with recording techniques. This is the only forum that I thought sort of matched your question.......

    If you read the headers located at the front of each forum theres a description of the basic subject matter involved in each one.

    As far as your question, thats a lot of square footage and I'm sure a very open area subject to lots of standing waves and flutter echoes. So any basic power and speaker set-up will work as long as you're not expecting high fidelity from a budget of $500. A Bose in-ceiling system as well as several other manufacturers' offerings will be a lot more than that, not counting the proper installation to code by qualified and licensed persons.

    And then theres the aspect of the proper wiring of something like this. If you spread your speakers too far apart and then use a gauge of wire too small to carry the output of your amp section over an extended length you'll be asking for burnt out equipment well before its time.
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Rule #1: Any time you see as fast as you can the other way. They make unreliable junk.

    And, Davedog is right on everything. Just a couple of speakers hung on a wall, or pole-mounted, will probably not sound very good. It'll just won't distribute sound very evenly, and for basic background music (most of the time) for the people farthest away to hear it at a distinguishable volume (above the clatter and grunts and groans), the people in the front will be blasted. And, that "distinguishable volume" is likely to sound like mud, anyway, after bouncing off hard equipment and all the people lined up in front of the wall full of mirrors admiring themselves!

    If you plan on doing instructions over the system, or paging, etc., you really should consider distributing the sound more evenly throughout. That means more speakers, spread around. They can be ceiling-mount, or wall-mount. Unfortunately, that's more expense..and more wiring. Certainly, a whole lot more than $500. Even a decent brand 300-500W powered PA, plus a couple of decent speakers in front, will likely cost you over twice that.

    Anyway, wire gauges and distances have to be considered, in total. Those ceiling and wall-mount speakers you see in businesses...and their paging systems, etc.? They are most likely specialized distribution systems that run on 70 volts to the speakers, where the speakers each have a transformer. As an example, I'll post a link to one of the more well-known manufacturers of those kinds of systems, Bogen: Bogen Communications: Speakers, Amplifiers, Audio Applications

    Because power dissipates over long distances of wire, it makes a normal "speaker out" amplifier work much harder the more length of wire it has to deal with. (In an odd curiousity of physics that we won't get into here, larger DIAMETER wire between an amp and speaker is actually a good a point.)

    Anyway, if you ask a regular ol' power amp to power up several spaced speakers, it's dealing with a LOT more wire, AND different amounts of resistances in different lengths of those wires. You also just can't just twist, say, the wires of four or six speakers together to connect to the amp. Individual speaker load impedances must be considered.

    The 70V distribution systems remove concerns of impedance-matching and cable line-loss. The signal goes over a steady 70 volts throughout, through smaller wires, and impedance is handled through a transformer mounted with the speaker.

    The use of more, smaller speakers, strategically spread out, means that the volume, overall, will be distributed more evenly through the venue. You won't have one end blasting, and the other end a muddled mess of reverb.It means LESS reverberation, because more speakers, playing at lower volumes, won't tend to bounce off opposite walls and other objects, as much. Even though each is playing at a relatively lower volume, the overall evenly -distributed volume will compensate. Music clarity, and voice intelligibility, will be MUCH better. When designing something like that, dispersion characteristics of the speakers are considered. Each speaker has a pattern of dispersion where it can be heard clearly, and then drops off. The wider the dispersion characteristics, the fewer needed for coverage. You'd want the next speaker to start taking over where the last one is dropping off.

    The reason I listed Bogen is that they have a free "Design Service" right on that website. You can send them dimensions of the building, your intended applications, preferences for ceiling-mount/wall-mount, background music/voice w/ occasional chest-thumping clarity so the ladies in their leg-warmers and sweatbands can properly get into "Let's Get Physical" for the dance classes...whatever you specify...and they'll draw up something, with a bid even, to show you what's involved.

    There is info on that site that explains why the 70V distribution system. They are not the only manufacturer, but they are one of the best-known for that application.

    Anyway, I was trying to provide a little more info for what you are asking. There are reasons for various applications of systems, and since you mentioned the Bose ceiling speakers, I was just trying to let you see that there is actually a lot involved to a proper installation for the intended use.

    I'm sure that being quoted even the least-expensive Bogen option would give the average person a heart-attack, but I assume you're fairly healthy! Might be worth checking out, anyway. Even for a possible future upgrade, so you'll know what to expect.

    Maybe go with something a lot less complicated, for now. You could probably get by with 4 PA speakers (a couple more toward the middle of the room), but don't expect miracles. Make sure you have the proper cabling, and the proper impedance speakers to connect to whatever the PA amp calls for.

    If you get a powered mixer/amp, maybe make sure it can be used as a mains/monitor setup, with EQ for each section. That way you may run some beefier front speakers off the mains with their own EQ settings, and possibly smaller, wide-dispersion wall-mount speakers placed 1/3 to 1/2 way back on the sides. Assuming you'd want the cables for the sides going up into the dropped ceiling, and running back to drop down to the speakers, you're adding,likely, 12-15 feet of cable to get it up 7 or 8 feet into the ceiling, and then back down. The good thing about the dropped ceiling, though, is you can save many feet by running a straight line from the amp to the speakers...instead of running it along the walls. So, it may even out.

    Just some thoughts. And, as always, all subject to debate. This is just relatively basic information and ideas (during my first two cups of coffee), so you can get a better grasp of what's involved in something like that. I'm sure if I got something wrong, we'll find out soon!

    The ONE sure thing I think everyone can agree on?

    Stay away from Behringer, else you'll soon be singing "Heartaches By The Number, Troubles By The Score"...and it won't be through that thing.

    Good luck,


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