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Yamaha Fuels The Fitness Fight At Blaze

The fitness industry is a big and (appropriately) competitive business, with major gym brands always looking for new and innovative ways to keep their members in shape. UK industry leader David Lloyd Clubs has devised Blaze, a cardio, strength and combat fitness class that uses purpose-built studios with bespoke sound and lighting to inspire a high octane workout. Yamaha MTX3 matrix processors fuel the soundtrack.

With 99 UK fitness clubs, 15 more across mainland Europe and over half a million members, David Lloyd Clubs is a major player in the fitness market. Blaze is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout which has proved a major success with members.

Providing UK and Europe-wide solutions, Audio/Visual specialist Hutchison Technologies is David Lloyd Clubs’ preferred technology integrator and has chosen the Yamaha MTX3 matrix processor to provide flexible control of audio levels (both locally and remotely) and to precisely tune the voice of live instructors to the environment of each Blaze studio.

“After the initial Blaze installations, we looked at how we could improve the concept as it was rolled out further,” says Hutchison Technologies technical development manager Bas van Tuijl. “They were a great success, but we felt there were some areas of the audio that could be improved.”

Many of the Blaze installations are in former squash courts, with up to 6m of open space above the ceiling tiles, so the sound has to be tightly controlled. With experience of specifying the MTX3 for other projects, the Hutchison Technologies team realised that it could deliver the required level of control, but also offer other advantages, including its remote control capability.

“The MTX3 allows for very straightforward user control, locking out features to prevent unauthorised changes and user error,” he says. “With clubs throughout the UK and in Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Italy, its remote TCP/IP control capability also means that we can remotely manage and provide system diagnostics in any of the installations, direct from our office.

Over 50 David Lloyd Clubs now have Blaze studios, with three class durations - 45 or 55 minute, plus an 18 minute taster. Instructors can choose from a selection of pre-mixed music tracks and are given the choice of three new ones every month. There are also themed weeks, which are co-ordinated across all of the clubs.

Each Blaze studio features 21-36 stations, with the sound and lighting choreographed to deliver maximum impact... and inspiration. Audio inputs comprise a server which hosts the music, a headset microphone for the instructor, an aux input and fire alarm relay.

The system is controlled by a bespoke iPad application, designed by Hutchison Technologies, which features a customised user interface to select each of the three classes, faders for the music and headset mic, plus buttons for class start, emergency finish and system demonstration. Locking the iPad automatically shuts the system down, while a Yamaha DCP1V4S surface-mount controller is also provided for manual control of the audio system, if needed.

“The MTX3 restricts the system to an agreed SPL, with EQ on a site-by-site basis,” says Bas. “Because of the spaces that the Blaze installations are in, there has been the occasional issue with feedback, but the MTX3’s feedback suppressor has solved it.”

With a tough delivery schedule of three systems to be handed over each week, the logistics of the project have been considerable. Racks are built at Hutchison Technologies’ premises, with skilled company staff installing and commissioning every system throughout the UK and Europe.

“Our approach has paid off with how efficiently we are able to build and install the systems, and we are now moving smoothly from the second generation of Blaze installations to the third,” says Bas. “David Lloyd Clubs members feed off the atmosphere in the sessions and the concept has proved very popular. They tend to be active on social media and the reaction there has been extremely positive.”

“The MTX3 allows customers to add flexible DSP to system designs with negligible changes to budget,” says Alex Warren, sales manager UK and RoI for Yamaha Commercial Audio. “We are very happy that Hutchison Technologies’ has specified it for such a high profile series of installations, highlighting how its features, scalability and renowned reliability ensure the return on investment for customers is maximised.”

www.yamahaproaudio.com