Martin Audio Blackline powers Riyadh gym
Tuesday, 11 May 2021
rebel-gym1Rebel Riyadh is the first of a planned roll out in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia - When Middlesex Sound & Light (MSL) undertook a contract in Riyadh 16 months ago - to invest a new gym concept with a high octane ‘club-spec’ technical infrastructure - they little knew what was waiting around the corner.
“We shipped the gear out to Riyadh in February last year, and the following month COVID struck,” recalls project manager Toby Jones. “Rather than suspend the work, they decided to press ahead.” Engaging with local crews - communicating via video calls and different programming platforms - hey finally managed to fly out to commission the system during the brief pre-Christmas break from lockdown.
While this represented a joint venture between 1Rebel in the UK (represented by James Balfour and Giles Dean) and Pulse Fitness Group’s Fahad Alhagbani and Nathan Clute, there have subsequently been a number of venues open in London, all bearing the familiar imprint of Martin Audio BlacklineX loudspeakers.
“We had already spec’d Martin Audio in other 1Rebel venues as they represent great value for money, and display tremendous sonic quality,” said Toby. Large quantities of Martin Audio Blackline X12, X10, X8 and X115 and SX212 subwoofers were supplied locally by Martin Audio partner’s Dubai-based distributor, Pro Lab, along with 16 Adorn A55 for the waiting, changing and reception areas.
1Rebel Riyadh boasts separate male and female studios (with female being the larger). Each has its own clearly delineated fitness zones. Knowing that the spec needed to match the high intensity of these studios, with trainers curating their own playlists, Jones set to work on the original concept design with celebrated lighting designer Durham Marenghi.
Ride is the high workout Spin room where 12 x 4m trusses are flown down the length of the room. Two Blackline X115 subs are ground stacked, one on top of the other to the left-hand side of the stage. Two Blackline X12 boxes, forming the FOH audio, are located on the truss above the instructor, with a single X12 in the middle of the truss pointing down as a reference monitor. Here, a number of video panels in an exploded format are located behind the instructor position and equally down both sides of the room. Meanwhile 10 matched pairs of X10s and three SX212 subs are flown down the length of the room, offering the time-aligned delay boxes.
Rumble is the boxing studio, where eight wall-mounted Blackline X10 are evenly distributed around the perimeter, with a pair of SX112 at either end of the room again providing high level club sound.
Reshape, used largely for treadmill running, cardio and box work, sees 15 Blackline X8 around the perimeter, with a pair of SX112 subwoofers on a central truss.
Finally, the Functional Studio, a facility to be used by personal trainers, contains a further eight Blackline X8 speakers and two single floor-mounted SX112 subs.
Control is handled in a BSS Soundweb London environment, and each room is fitted with an audio interface and equipped with Trantec radio mics. Because of the high humidity, MSL fabricated their own rotary analogue control panels, using custom made fascia panels and military grade rotary pots.
Describing the many logistical challenges of remote implementation when stuck more than 3,000 miles away, Toby Jones said, “I was constantly sending wiring diagrams and liaising with representatives in Saudi, while a local crew undertook the installation under our direction. We built all the racks, loaded them in the UK and air freighted them - around six tons of kit in all. We did all the audio testing remotely. It was insane!
“The fact that we managed to pull it off was due to great team work. Ten years ago we couldn’t have achieved what we have, as the technology simply wasn’t around.”

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