A fitness sound 101 axiom is “you can never go wrong with backup.” This good advice applies to everything involved in Group X sound. Instructors know it’s always a smart idea to have a backup headset microphone, wireless transmitter, fresh batteries and a couple different ways to play their program music.
What about backing up an entire Group X sound system? Without music and a microphone, the class usually stops.
It’s often not practical to keep a backup for every component in the sound system on hand — items such as an extra mixer, power amplifier, speakers and cabling. Even if you did — unlike quickly plugging in a backup headset mic — it can take time to identify and swap out whatever piece of equipment has failed.
You may already have a complete sound system backup solution if your club has an all-in-one portable sound system. If you don’t, consider getting one. Let’s look at what this unit actually is and why it can be a save-the-class backup solution.
“All-in-one” means the portable unit has all the primary components of a Group X sound system built-into it: a wireless microphone system, at least a two-channel audio mixer to mix voice over music, a power amplifier and a speaker. Many all-in-one portables run off a built-in rechargeable battery, and have a handle and wheels for easy transport.
If there’s a serious issue with the main Group X sound system, an all-in-one portable backup system can be set up in under a minute and the class can continue. Portable units can’t produce the same volume and type of sound a full-on Group X sound system can. But they can usually fill the backup spot, providing music and a voice-saving wireless microphone to get an instructor through a small to medium sized class if the main sound system fails.
Sound Advice: Raising an all-in-one portable system up by placing it on a table, chair or other elevated surface will help with sound projection, and allow the unit to more effectively cover a larger class.
911 Emergency System: All-in-one portables are also your solution for 911 emergency use. If there’s a power outage, a rechargeable, battery-powered all-in-one portable system will let you make emergency announcements.