Help Us Build a Sound Meter for Fitness Studios

We’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign to solve a problem most ALL of us face every week in our classes.

View our campaign here

http://igg.me/at/studio-sound-meter/x/4195981

I’m trying to help you solve this problem…

Do you really know when your class music is at exactly the right sound level?

That it’s not too loud so it’s unsafe… but not too quiet that you miss out on the energy?

How about the level of your microphone… is it adjusted so your voice and cues are easily understood by your class?

I only know one Instructors on the planet who can answer this with, YES John, I do know when my mic and music volume are adjusted correctly – our very own Jennifer Lintz. That’s because Jennifer teaches at a studio where they’ve spent $766.00 to purchase one of these soundear noise meters. In this article she discusses teaching class with it hanging in the back of her studio. She only needs to take a quick peek and watch the color changes to know when everything is adjusted properly.

Fitness Studio Sound Meter

Image from http://www.soundsafety.com.au/

$766.00, for something you could live without, is what my buddy Randy would call “Stupid Money”.  To be fair, the SoundEar appears to have been designed for use in hospitals, where the intent is keeping noise levels very low.

Continuous understanding vs. checking once or twice a year :(

Do you still do this in your class?

Do you still do this in your class?

Over the years I’ve seen infrequent requests from GF Dept Heads saying something similar to:

We’re getting complaints about music levels in some classes!! Please check the sound levels in your classes!!  I have a sound meter in my top drawer you can use. I’m also going to make spot checks of classes to check and see that you’re under 100 decibels – which is our company policy.

How does checking my sound level today help me a month, week, day or even 20 minutes from now?

I can’t help comparing an annual sound check to the good old days when we checked our pulse with fingers and a watch. This gave the illusion of doing something important, but it’s a worthless exercise when you compare it with the understanding you get from a Heart Rate monitor that display BPM continuously. If my HR is too low, I can increase my level of effort, and then wait, check again and adjust as necessary.

The typical fitness studio sound system includes a bunch of knobs that will change the sound levels. Where I teach there are 5 ways I can adjust what my class hears:

  • Master Volume Knob
  • iPod Volume Knob
  • Mic Volume Knob
  • CD Volume Knob
  • And the volume level slider on my iPhone

+ don’t forget how many tracks play at a different volume

All those knobs effect how loud the music will be in class. Making a mark on the Master Volume Knob (as often suggested) ignores all the other settings that will over ride the Master Volume Knob. I need a meter that tells me the correct settings to make for the best class experience.

You don’t hear… what they hear

In most studios there’s what I call a cone of silencer, that looks like this:

What sounds perfect to you on the instructor bike can be deafening to riders in the front row. The only way you can truly understand what your class is hearing, is to get off and walk around the room.

So I propose building a Fitness Studio Sound Meter that looks like this prototype

Why in the clock?

Every fitness studio (if it doesn’t already) should have a clock hanging on the back or side wall, so the Instructor can easily know the time. I feel it makes perfect sense to incorporate the sound meter where it’s plainly visible while teaching.

Visible to you… but discrete

I’ve already test marketed this idea to a few dozen Instructors and Studio owners. The one negative concern expressed was not wanting participants focusing or judging you based on their watching the sound meter. So our design features small LEDs that are very easy to see in any level light.

I have a saying; “my ideas always sound good… to me“. The purpose of this campaign is to find out if my idea sounds good to you :)

I’ll be posting more details and a link to Indiegogo campaign tomorrow (Sunday 3/30/14)

Love your questions & suggestions below.

John

Host of the Indoor Cycle Instructor Podcast - the #1 Internet radio show for and about Spinning / Indoor Cycling Instructors and Fitness Professionals. John holds certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness. When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.
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Comments

  1. John says

    I should have explained that Indiegogo is very similar to KickStarter – our goal will be to pre-sell a minimum of 50 units.

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