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User: Hai Lúa
#1 Posted : Sunday, June 27, 2010 3:17:03 AM(UTC)
I'm going to put down what I know about Karaoke System setup in this topic. The goal is to get your system operate at optimal level. I got lot of help from people in this forum and also spent many hours researching. Hopefully this FAQ will be helpful to beginners. Note that I will not be responsible for any damage to your equipments as the result of following this guide - as always, use it at your own risk.

Rule of thumb:
If your equipment has LEDs to tell you what's going on, make sure those LEDs light up in normal operation. If you see the LEDs light up in the "Red Zone" or "Overload Zone" often, something is wrong - probably your input level is too loud. Also, if your LEDs barely light up or the VU meter barely move, your input signal is too low.

Question 1:
When there are multiple components in your system capable of changing the audio volume (example: PC-->Mixer-->Amplifier - all 3 has the volume control knobs on them), which volume level should I set?
All components except the last one in the audio path (usually is the amplifier) should have their volume set to 80% (3 o'clock if using the knob). Then the only variable left is the volume on your amplifier. Set it to fit your need.


Question 2:
My mixer or mic-preamp has a mic input GAIN knob and also the mic input VOLUME knob, which level should I set?
First, set the mic input volume to 3 o'clock (80%). Then find the optimal gain volume for your particular microphone. The best GAIN value is when you sing as loud as you can, the signal barely hits the peak value. Mixers usually have some LED to tell you when this happens (labeled O/L for overload or just Peak).


Edited by user Sunday, June 27, 2010 4:02:16 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Lập loè lửa lựu đơm bông
Sau vài ba tháng đỏ hồng cả cây
Nỗi buồn vương vấn đâu đây
Đưa ta vào chốn lưu đày thế giang
Nghiệp này kiếp trước đã mang
Ngóng trông phép lạ bắt thang ta về
User: Hai Lúa
#2 Posted : Sunday, June 27, 2010 3:18:55 AM(UTC)
A Beginner's guide to Compression*

Compressors are probably the most widely used signal processors in the audio industry.
A compressor can be thought of as an automatic volume control. Once the volume of
the signal exceeds a certain level (called the 'threshold'), the compressor reduces the
gain (in other words, 'turns the volume down'), causing the signal to be less loud than
it would otherwise have been.


The amount by which the compressor reduces the gain is determined by the 'ratio'.
The ratio is conventionally expressed as a numerical value, e.g. '4:1', which represents
the amount by which the gain is reduced when the volume of the signal rises above
the threshold.


Let's take an example with some real numbers. If the threshold is set to -10 dB and the
ratio is set to 4:1, any signal whose level exceeds -10 dB needs to rise in level by 4 dB
for the output of the compressor to rise by 1 dB. Therefore an input signal with a peak
at -6 dB (which is 4 dB above the threshold) would emerge from the compressor with
a peak at -9 dB (1 dB above the threshold). Signal levels below the threshold are
unaffected, so if the signal in the above example varied between -20 dB and -6 dB
before entering the compressor, it will vary between -20 and -9 dB after being
compressed. Its dynamic range (the difference between the quietest and loudest parts of
the signal in dB) is reduced from 14 dB to 11 dB.

Compression results in any variations in the volume of the signal (in other words, the
signal's dynamic range) being reduced - the amount of this reduction is determined by
the threshold (the level above which the gain is reduced) and the ratio (the amount by
which the gain is reduced.) Higher ratios are referred to as hard ratios; lower ratios are
called soft ratios.

Because compression causes a reduction in volume level of loud signals, gain must be
applied after the compressor to bring the overall volume level back up, so that the
maximum volume before the compressor is the same as that after the compressor. This
is called 'make-up gain', and is necessary so that the maximum level of the signal is
always the same, for correct level matching with any further processing or other

Once 'make-up gain' has been applied, the part of the signal that was lower than the
threshold volume (and hence not compressed) will now be louder than it was before
the compressor. This will cause any compressed instrument to sound louder. One use
for this phenomenon is to give guitars more sustain.

In most pop music, the backing instruments (such as drums, bass guitars, rhythm
guitars etc) tend to be compressed heavily (using a fairly hard ratio and low threshold),
so that they remain at a consistent volume level throughout the track. This will
provide a solid backing, without occasional drum hits or bass notes poking through (or
disappearing from) the mix untidily.

A soft ratio tends to be used on instruments such as lead guitars or vocals that 'sit' on
top of the mix. In this situation it is often desirable to preserve more of the dynamics
of the original performance, to retain more expression. A reduction in variation of
volume level is still required (for the reasons mentioned above), but not to the same

The other controls included on most compressors are attack and release.
Attack determines the speed at which the compressor starts to reduce the gain once the
threshold has been exceeded. Think of it as the time taken to turn the volume down.
Very short attack times mean the compressor ‘kicks in’ very quickly – short attack
times are typically used for vocals in order to keep the levels under strict control.
Longer attack times mean more of the original signal’s attack dynamics are preserved –
this is a good way of keeping percussive and guitar sounds exciting and punchy.
Release determines the speed at which the compressor stops acting once the signal
drops below the threshold. Think of it as the time taken to turn the volume back up.


Short release times mean the compressor very quickly returns the signal to its normal
level. This can produce a ‘pumping’ sound, where the changes in volume are very
audible. Depending on the style of music, this can be undesirable, or a useful creative

Longer release times may mean that parts of the signal below the threshold end up
being compressed, or that the gain doesn’t have a chance to return to normal before
the next ‘above threshold’ sound – remember that the compressor works on the whole
signal. See the diagram below:


*Quoted from the Focusrite manual

Edited by user Wednesday, July 14, 2010 8:07:22 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Hai Lúa attached the following image(s):
Lập loè lửa lựu đơm bông
Sau vài ba tháng đỏ hồng cả cây
Nỗi buồn vương vấn đâu đây
Đưa ta vào chốn lưu đày thế giang
Nghiệp này kiếp trước đã mang
Ngóng trông phép lạ bắt thang ta về
User: Hai Lúa
#3 Posted : Sunday, June 27, 2010 3:29:51 AM(UTC)
A Beginner's guide to Equalization*
Equalisers are also widely used in the audio industry, and are effectively just tone
controllers, though a bit more involved than those found on most hi-fi systems. They
allow you to cut or boost certain frequencies or frequency bands within the audio

There are two main applications for using equalisation, or EQ (as it’s more commonly
known). The first is ‘creative’ use. This involves enhancing a sound that is already
present in some desirable way. Typical examples might involve boosting lower
frequencies to give more depth, or boosting the high frequencies to give more of a
‘sparkle’ to a sound. Because the precise frequencies that give these qualities will vary
from instrument to instrument, it is sometimes necessary to be able to adjust the point
at which frequencies will be cut or boosted by the EQ, as well as the amount of cut or

The other main application of EQ is ‘corrective’ use. This involves using EQ to
remove or reduce the level of unwanted frequencies. Here are a few examples of
‘corrective’ use of EQ:
Cutting low frequencies to reduce ‘proximity effect’, where low frequencies have been
over-emphasised as a result of close miking with certain types of microphone.
Cutting the frequencies that may cause a vocal to sound boxy, nasal or harsh.
Cutting the frequencies that may cause a drum to ring undesirably.

Parametric EQ (such as the WARMTH control) allows the user to focus in on a
specific band of frequencies in order to cut or boost them. This is particularly useful for
‘corrective’ applications of EQ as the offending frequency may be honed in on, and its
gain reduced. It is also useful for ‘creative’ applications, for example giving warmth or
presence to a vocal.

*Quoted from the Focusrite manual
Lập loè lửa lựu đơm bông
Sau vài ba tháng đỏ hồng cả cây
Nỗi buồn vương vấn đâu đây
Đưa ta vào chốn lưu đày thế giang
Nghiệp này kiếp trước đã mang
Ngóng trông phép lạ bắt thang ta về
User: josatruong
#4 Posted : Monday, December 30, 2013 10:36:27 PM(UTC)
Very helpful
User: champ
#5 Posted : Friday, March 21, 2014 4:16:25 AM(UTC)
Thank you for info.
User: mongvi188
#6 Posted : Friday, April 25, 2014 1:57:42 AM(UTC)
Có bản tiếng Việt đi kèm không bác Hai Lúa. Vốn tiếng Anh em kém lắm.
User: nhacthemvui
#7 Posted : Wednesday, May 21, 2014 3:09:00 PM(UTC)
Minh moi tim duoc cai website nay cung muon chia se voi nhung anh em nao muon biet them ve co dang may va can nhung gi.

Choosing a Mixer for your Home or Project Studio
Which Mixer? Everything you need to know

User: petabb
#8 Posted : Monday, November 10, 2014 8:34:50 AM(UTC)
Thanks so much for the post
User: DTT
#9 Posted : Wednesday, December 02, 2015 2:53:31 PM(UTC)
Great information. Good for a newbie like myself
User: Learning
#10 Posted : Friday, January 01, 2016 8:02:12 PM(UTC)
Thank you, it is really helpful and will play with my mixer soon
AR 3600HD
QX1002USB mixer
Eurolive B112D speaker
Wireless mic
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