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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:27 pm 
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I don't know if this category is the best place for this discussion, but I wanted to address what seems to be some confusion with respect to stereo, mono and dual mono sound reinforcement and playback systems. I also want to offer a suggestion as to how to get better sound quality out of the karaoke tracks that you play through your system.

First a brief explanation as to the differences between stereo, mono and dual mono. A system configured for STEREO is configured so that the left and right channels of the system are independent of each other and are capable of reproducing different sounds in their respective channels, the content of which may and usually is different from each other. A stereo system requires two of everything except the mixer which is almost always a stereo device by default. Therefore you need two separate amplifiers, two separate crossovers (if you're using an active system), two separate equalizers, two separate effects devices, etc. This can be accomplished by purchasing separate mono devices or stereo devices in a single piece of hardware. For example one of the last sound reinforcement systems that I designed for my own use was a stereo quad amped system. The amplifier that I used for the sub was a Crown stereo amp bridged to mono, a QSC stereo amp for the low/low mids, two separate mono Crowns for the mids and upper mids, and two separate mono Neptune Electronics for the high end horns. The logic behind this was such that seeing that the very low frequencies such as those coming from the sub-woofer are omnidirectional and therefore have virtually no stereo information contained within them, a stereo amp bridged to mono is sufficient. The low/low mids has some omnidirectional frequencies and frequencies that are slightly more directional, therefore there is some stereo content present so I used a single stereo amp as in this case. The stereo crosstalk was not an issue at those frequencies. When we got to the midrange and high frequencies however, there is little if any omnidirectional frequency content therefore I wanted the least amount of crosstalk possible and used separate crossovers, equalizers and amplifies to limit the possibility of crosstalk to only the mixing console.

A system configured to pure MONO sums all left channel/right channel source information whether it be from a pre-recorded stereo playback source or a live source such as microphones and musical instruments. Into a pure mono system. All signal processing and effects gear are either mono devices or stereo devices bridged to mono mode. In this configuration the pan pots on the mixing console have little if any effect on the overall volume of any given channel

A system configured to DUAL MONO is a hybrid between stereo and mono in that the hardware devices are configured the same as in a stereo configuration, but the sources that are fed to it are all in mono. The only advantage of this system over the pure mono system is that overall volume of each main speaker (left and/or right) can raised or lowered.

So the question that often arises is ... "Should I set up my system as mono, dual mono or stereo?" Some of the things I've seen mentioned are things like the fact that many if not most large venues and concert type venues mix everything in mono so therefore using a mono setup in a karaoke venue is appropriate. Wrong, that is not the best way to configure your system, and in fact it's not even a good way to configure your system, and here's why. In a live concert or venue, in addition to the house system, the sound is coming from the stage as well and not from a pre-recorded source limited to two channels. Even though the mains are configured to mono, the stage sound is spread across a wider stereo field, and in fact a much wider stereo field than what can be achieved with a pre-recorded stereo source. Secondly, the house engineer is mixing ALL of the sound in mono and not in a stereo environment, therefore he/she is not risking phase cancellations and volume/EQ discrepancies (not only can a track be louder in one channel than the other, it can also be EQ'd differently) that occur when mixing stereo program material into a mono mix. Anytime you mix a stereo program into a mono mix, the end result is NOT what the mixdown engineer intended. The mix you're hearing is not the mix you're supposed to be hearing.

So the next question might be ... "So what if my system is only capable of a mono configuration?" Well in that case all is not lost but you'll just have to work with what you got. Depending on how the source content was mixed, certain tracks might just not be able to be played back as intended, but if you're already configured in mono, then it won't be any worse than what you've got at present. In cases where the spread of the stereo field is very narrow, the loss might not be significant. In cases where the content that you've selected was either mixed in mono or has a MPX track then you're in luck. For example on all PHM releases the left channel contains the entire MONO mix sans the lead vocal on the MPX track. Therefore playing just the left track ONLY of the MPX track will provide the proper mix as intended. So in either of these cases you only need to mute the right track and play the left track panned to both the left and right channels (center on the pan pot) of your mixer in a dual mono set up or just simply mute the right track in a pure mono system.

This is where it helps for a KJ to know how his source material and how it is mixed. I can't speak for other brands so I don't know if any of these brands were mixed in mono or with very narrow stereo fields or whether they have a MPX version, but hopefully their content is consistent throughout so that you know what to expect from one track to another within a particular brand .... hope this helps.


Last edited by Bastiat on Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:33 pm 
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I would bet that the vast majority of us KS members play mono. In a noisy bar and the speakers spaced too far apart for anyone to actually hear a stereo effect, mono is the way to go. That way everyone hears the same sound no matter where in the room you are.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:51 pm 
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mrmarog wrote:
I would bet that the vast majority of us KS members play mono. In a noisy bar and the speakers spaced too far apart for anyone to actually hear a stereo effect, mono is the way to go. That way everyone hears the same sound no matter where in the room you are.

I'm not sure if you understand the issue. It's not the "stereo effect" that is the problem, it's the corruption and distortion of the mix that occurs when you jam a stereo program into a mono mix. For example, a guitar that is at one apparent level in a stereo mix can all of a sudden be blaring in a mono mix. That aside, I played in clubs for years and maybe the last 10 or so years of them would always use a stereo system and I totally disagree that you can't hear the "stereo effect" in a noisy room. There are certain effects (such as stereo chorusing) than simply can't be reproduced on a mono system.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:16 pm 
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here is what we are saying as far as karaoke goes.
this is my main bar,
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if I used stereo, a vast majority of the bar would only hear one source, and miss important information by missing that other side.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:27 pm 
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There's an old saying ... GIGO meaning garbage in, garbage out. If you corrupt the audio going into the system, there's no way of uncorrupting it on the way out. I don't know what "important" information you would be missing as first of all you are not placing these speakers in a vacuum. Which begs the question as to what about the information that you lose through phase cancellations or is that not "important"? Secondly nothing is ever panned hard left/right these days. Maybe 45/315 degrees but never hard right/left. Sure they did stuff like this back in the 60s when stereo was first invented but that was nearly 50 years ago and nobody mixes like that anymore except for maybe an occasional effect.

Lastly, the biggest factor of all lies with the room acoustics. What your audience ends up hearing is largely reinforced by early room reflections, and RT60 (room reverb). If you have any doubt, run a little experiment the next time you're in a room and place yourself as far away as possible from one of your speakers, then run some audio through the speaker furthest away from you and shut off the speaker closest to you, and then talk to me about missing "important" information. Better yet, if you're using a laptop, you can make some fairly accurate measurements by running a signal sweep through your system and recording the results in Audacity or any other recording program. You don't need any special mics to do this you can use whatever you are using for your singers, and the sine wave audio file and Audacity is free. If you already have a laptop, this will cost you nothing, and you'll be able to make an informed decision based on data and not on conjecture.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:09 pm 
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Paradigm Karaoke wrote:
here is what we are saying as far as karaoke goes.
this is my main bar,
Attachment:
Untitled.jpg

if I used stereo, a vast majority of the bar would only hear one source, and miss important information by missing that other side.

Consider this in stereo, Paradigm's bar on the one side would miss out on the beginning guitar riffs on Stone in love by Journey which are panned hard towards the other side. So Paradigm is right for wanting to run in mono in my opinion.

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Last edited by DannyG2006 on Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:14 pm 
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What Paradigm and Danny both said is exactly what I said in my prior post, Bastiat, I don't think you understand it correctly. :idea:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:22 am 
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This is all wonderful, informative and highly technical information that gives plenty of cause to stop and consider what is the best method for running your system. Sadly, only a very few karaoke hosts/companies understand even a minuscule amount of this much less care.

For the last 19 years, I've run a mackie stereo mixer with each channel going to a separate powered JBL 15" Eon speaker. (effect is 2 amps, each receiving their own distinct signal).

Less equipment to haul around and set up/hook up and a superior sound.

Remember the saying:
"If you give a lazy man a tough job, he'll come up with an easier way to do it."


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:06 am 
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Thank you for your details. You've been very helpful.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:53 am 
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Paradigm Karaoke wrote:
here is what we are saying as far as karaoke goes.
this is my main bar,
Attachment:
Untitled.jpg

if I used stereo, a vast majority of the bar would only hear one source, and miss important information by missing that other side.


Dude! Running stereo is BAD BAD BAD.... esecially in a small place especially with your speaker placement.

Set to mono, and bring your speakers to the corners... raise the speakers as high as you can get them... almost to the ceiling...

Thank me later.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:00 am 
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In the first place I wasn't courting anyone's opinion. I was sharing my knowledge as a legitimate bonafide engineer and I was trying to do so in layman's terms. No formulae, no technical jargon, just plain language and just plain ol' common sense. Do with it as you see fit. If you can't grasp the concept of what happens to a stereo mix whey you sum it into a mono channel, but you're worried whether or not someone on one side of the room can hear a panned guitar, then I say knock yourself out. Just as an aside, the engineer who panned that guitar did so INTENTIONALLY. If his/her intention was for both sides to hear it equally as loud, he/she would have panned it straight up and down. Nevertheless if you want to run mono, or turn your speakers to face behind you, that's your prerogative. As they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink it. I am stating facts and truisms whether or not you care to acknowledge that is again your prerogative.

As far as Paradigm's layout, that drawing doesn't mean anything to me at all. There are far too many variables when it comes to room acoustics to arrive at any conclusions, especially when there's no room dimensions and description of surface materials. I don't know as to whether or not Paradigm follows best practices when setting up his PA. Is Paradigm familiar with the DLA (designated listening area) concept? Is he trying to cover too large of an area with too few speakers? Does he even know how to make those calculations? In other words, in terms of coverage, room acoustics plays an enormous role in all of this, and mono vs. stereo has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's all about SPL (sound pressure levels) that determines what a listener can hear in any given room not whether or not he's being fed a mono or stereo program. My very first PA back in the 60s was a 6 channel mono Shure "Vocal Master" then I graduated to an Altec Lansing "Voice of the Theater", then throughout the years I progressively purchased systems that were more sophisticated and then actually designed and built my own systems, as well as systems for some of my peers. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I have many years of experience and education in these areas so I actually DO understand. To say that "as far as karaoke goes", well I'm saying it's ESPECIALLY because it's karaoke. If you were a band setting up a PA, and there was no pre-recorded material, I would tell you that there's little advantage to a stereo configuration (unless of course stereo content is crucial to the band's content), but that's not what you guys are doing.

I would like to make you aware of a couple of things however before I turn this conversation over to the "experts" on this forum and that is, for the most part when things get panned in a mix they're done so not so much for "stereo effects", but rather to position them in the mix. A simple example is when two acoustic guitars which occupy the same frequency range are in the mix. they compete with each other. If the engineer were to mix these songs in mono he would have to EQ each guitar differently so keep them separate. Unfortunately the trade off here is that each guitar gives up tonal range to the other in order to accomplish this feat. However when the engineer places these guitars in the stereo field, he can now give them separation in the mix without having to EQ the hell out of them. The pans are by no means extreme and the listener more than likely wouldn't even notice it, but sum these two guitars together into a mono mix and they are now competing with each other and depending on various other factors, are indistinguishable from each other. Definitely NOT what the producer/engineer had in mind, and does not sound like it should. Same thing with the hard right panned guitar, what you've managed to do in this case is ruin the mix and override the intentions of the producer/engineer. Judging by previous responses I'm sure this will fall on deaf ears, but I did try to share some insight. How you choose to receive it is entirely up to you of course.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:09 pm 
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Bastiat is right in everything he has said. Since I run a Bose L1 Model 2 and B2 sub with a Bose Tonematch Engine and own 2 of those setups with 2 more B2s and Bose Packlite Amps, the acoustics/sonics, in stereo, I can get in a large room like a ballroom or on a 3-4ft high stage, with high ceilings, is telling. For regular karaoke at smaller venues it's way too much for a crowd that is there to drink the night away. The separation I have to get with people sloshing drinks around is worrisome to me being that my stuff are line arrays.

Other than that I agree with him.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:02 pm 
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Being that I have decided on a certain configuration since most of the bars that I work in basically are pretty much the same, I will be leaving my system in stereo because it really wouldn't matter much for me to go mono.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:35 pm 
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so i understand what you are trying to say Bastiat...
customer "A" is going to hear speaker 2 just fine and customer "B" and the pool players are going to hear speaker 1 just fine and get all the information from both speakers?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:24 am 
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8) Years ago I thought all hosts went with two speakers, and some used a monitor as well. Then I saw a lady/host using one speaker in a smaller size venue. She was getting great sound from her one quality speaker, and I asked her how she got by with only one? She told me she ran it mono. Since that day I had run mono with two speakers, and now that I have only the one Bose tower speaker, I of course run that mono as well. All I get is positive feedback about the sound, so if it ain't broke why fix it?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:22 am 
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There is not a single DJ (not KJ) that I know of that runs stereo. Dj's have been doing sound a lot longer than KJ's and I bet they run mono for a very good reason..... and that is ....everyone hears the same sound no matter where they stand.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:35 am 
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Bastiat ---

What would be your advice for a user who goes from using stereo and 2 mains, one receives left channel, one the right channel to a single line/column array? If you combine or sum the stereo signal, what audio information is lost? Specifically what is lost if your stereo track is eq'd with separation that prevents the phase cancellation?

Also, would something like this (https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CleanBoxPro--art-cleanboxpro-2-channel-balanced-unbalanced-converter address the issue with summing a stereo signal from left/right output to the single output?

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:37 pm 
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MtnKaraoke wrote:

Also, would something like this (https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CleanBoxPro--art-cleanboxpro-2-channel-balanced-unbalanced-converter address the issue with summing a stereo signal from left/right output to the single output?
That is not a summing box, that is simply an unbalanced to balanced converter - does nothing to convert stereo to mono.
Here is a stereo to mono converter.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... gKB6PD_BwE

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:31 pm 
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Stand in your club -- equidistant from both speakers -- and play the song "I only have eyes for you" by Art Garfunkel in both stereo and in mono..... Listen carefully to the guitars at the very beginning.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:36 pm 
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How bout Van Halen Ain't Talking Bout Love, guitars are on one channel only until solo. Mono definitely helps here when trying to get the same sound to both sides of a room

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