Mobile music, serious sound
Portable sound systems have been a mainstay of aqua classes for years, but as group exercise, conferencing and leisure offerings have diversified and evolved, so has portable sound. Today’s systems come with extended battery life, Bluetooth, wireless enabling, waterproofing, indoor/outdoor capability, two-way discussion and instructor functionality, improved speech intelligibility, and better audio quality across the board.
Aqua and GroupX
Portable sound systems give instructors local access to volume and controls, a direct microphone link, and a way to keep loud up-tempo music localized in the direction of the class with minimal disruption to others (think of echoey poolside acoustics and the fact that nearby amenities such as jacuzzies are usually still in use during classes - this is one of the reasons portable systems are strongly advised for aqua even in facilities with installed poolside sound).
Likewise, many portable sound systems come ready-equipped for wet and outdoor conditions. But this is technically old news, so why have portable systems suddenly taken off in other GroupX applications? In part, it’s to do with the outdoor GroupX boom. The appearance of bootcamp-style classes has been crucial, with the latest and most progressive iterations of the army-inspired alfresco workout and its various spinoffs leveraging the best in portable technology advances.
Tour guide tech
Aside from increasingly light and more compact stereo models with much improved battery life and chargeability (up to 20 hours from one overnight charge with the Fohhn EasyPort), tour guide functionality has had the biggest impact on instructors, outdoor GroupX-ers, and the general public as well. Think of the individual headset and receiver systems you see in museums - the ones that let visitors listen to a tour in their native language. That’s all a tour guide system is, though their potential for vastly more flexible application had gone largely unnoticed until Hutchison-t applied it to leisure and GroupX.
Our tour guide systems use wireless microphones with wireless receivers and headsets to let instructors speak to the class, but it also means outdoor classes can easily be set to motivational music. Just connect the tour guide transmitter to your portable stereo and you have the power of music and speech with none of the public noise risk. So, if you happen to catch a strangely quiet bootcamp or silent boutique dance fitness class on London’s South Bank anytime soon, you’ll know what’s going on.
The same tour guide technology taking the indoor audio experience out is playing a key role in the rise of extreme leisure. The sort of hangar-style centres that house climbing walls, skate parks, and trampoline parks are acoustically difficult spaces with lots of shouting and background noise, but tour guide systems let instructors communicate with visitors directly in a clear and reliable way. Two-way discussion can also be enabled for a truly interactive learning experience, even if you’re perched on top of a 30ft climbing wall with the instructor far below.
Portable stereos are a fantastic investment if you hold standalone functions or outdoor events, and a good system makes an excellent safety net should your installed sound system ever be compromised. For kids’ activities that don’t need the serious sound that discerning adults expect, portable boombox systems are available that really look the part, but pack enough of an audio punch to get the kids up and moving as well.
We’ve been delivering reliable portable sound systems for the best part of 20 years, with every product we specify rigorously tried and tested by our in-house engineers. It’s our business to stay at the forefront of mobile tech advances to ensure we always provide the most progressive products and advice to clients looking for agile sound solutions to match their increasingly diverse needs.
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