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How Tony Describes a 4-Component Karaoke System

How To Choose a Karaoke Machine #4 - How Tony Describes a 4-Component Karaoke System.

Copyright 10/2011 by asked technical expert, Tony K., how best to make a karaoke system out of components.

He said: Take down notes in the next 5-10 minutes, study and think about it. When it comes to karaoke, it is basically singing with music. Therefore, just imagine what components you need. There are basically four components.

Component #1: The Music Source (Player Source, Singer Source, Instrument Source)

You first need a device that gives you music. This is a (hardware) music source - a player. It could play a DVD, CD, or MP3. The player could be your laptop, ipod, iphone, MP3 player: anything that can produce music by reading software, or a digital signal.

In this music source category, in karaoke you also have a music source that is a singer, for which the acoustic signal is changed into a signal by a microphone. The different types of signals from microphones is a subject in itself. A microphone is not one of the essential components of an audio system; however it is an essential component of a karaoke system. To keep within the parameters of 4 components, it is simplest to consider it a music source, on the level of a player. adds that there could be a music source that is an instrument.

The common element between the player, the microphone, and the instrument music sources is the transducer, or pickup, which is only seen on a metal-stringed guitar instrument source, but is invisible in the player and microphone, and on an instrument source that is a keyboard.

Component #2: The Mixer (Containing Preamplifiers)

Secondly, Tony explains, you need a device that mixes signals from your sound sources. A mixer converts a signal power at one frequency into signal power at another frequency to make signal processing easier and also inexpensive.

By boosting different signals to a compatible level, the mixer will mix music coming from the software source (the player), and the singer source (the microphone), and the instrument source (the instrument pickup).

It's helpful to remember that the mixer stands in the place which a preamplifier would occupy the second spot in an ordinary component audio system. The mixer actually contains a string of pre-amplifiers, and each of the preamplifiers accepts a connection from a music source.

In a karaoke system, the mixer is the device which contains controls for pitch changing, vocal cancel, effects processing, equalizing of individual instruments (whereas an equalizer operates system-wide), and echo.

Component #3: The Amplifier

Tony says an amplifier's job is to increase the power of a signal to match the requirements of a speaker. Using electrical power, it receives a signal from the mixer, and then creates wattage (i.e., voltage, current, power measured in watts) which boosts that signal power which was received from the music source through the mixer.

Component #4: The Music Producer (The Speaker)

Tony describes that an amplifier will send sound to a speaker and sound comes out. The speaker is making sound, but the sound comes from the amplifier. If the amplifier produces 100 watts, the speaker needs to have capability to produce 100 watts.

The speaker connects to amplifier, amplifier to mixer, mixer to player. That is a basic component system for karaoke.

A player, mixer, amplifier, and speaker can be 4 separate components of an audio system, or these components can be combined in to one big machine known as an or all-in-one machine.

The four-component system may not be visible, but it is always there.

Tony says that these four basic components will never change.

Technology changes. Back in old days, people used cassette tapes and a cassette player. Now we use a CD or DVD player to play music. Or we use a laptop, iPod, or other MP3 player to play music. But these are all music sources, or players, the first required component in an audio system.

Sometimes we don't see that the player is connected to a mixer, because the mixer and amplifier could be combined into a single machine. Sometimes we don't see the amplifier, because the amplifier and mixer may be combined into a mixing amplifier, or an amplifier speaker. A preamplifier is frequently combined with an amplifier.

In essence, Tony says, that is all karaoke is: four basic components which receive signal, process, amplify, and produce sound.

For three 5-minute videos summarizing Tony's system with Powerpoint presentations, continue to the bottom of this page.

Thanks, Tony.