Karaoke Mixers: What you Need to Know


The world of karaoke setups can be quite confusing. There’s a range of different pieces of equipment, hundreds of brands and loads of choice. If you’re looking to setup a karaoke system either at home or professionally, you’ve probably come across the term mixer. But what actually is a mixer? Where does it fit into a karaoke setup? Do you really need a mixer? 

 
Don’t panic! We’ll explain exactly what a mixer is, help you decide if you need one, explain how to connect a mixer with the rest of your karaoke setup. We will also give you some things to think about to help you narrow down your options to choose the best mixer. 
 
Set let’s get started! 
 

The Quick Answer

 
A karaoke mixer combines the the audio from the backing track instrumental, and vocals produced from the microphone. Mixers allow you to adjust the volume, bass, tone and other dynamics of the sound and are connected to the speaker in the karaoke setup. 

What is a Karaoke Mixer?

So you’ve had a look into what you need for karaoke and come across the usual, microphones, speakers etc., but you’ve never heard of a mixer before.
 
Firstly, a mixer can also be called an amplifier, so don’t get confused if you here it referred to as this. 
 
The basic function of a mixer is to combine the audio from several different sources. This is important with karaoke because you’ll have at least two sources of audio, the backing track instrumental and the singers using the microphone. For the karaoke experience to work properly, you’ll need to amplify both these different sources of sound. 
 
Karaoke mixers are similar to professional DJ systems as they have the ability not only to combine audio sources, but also to change their dynamics. By this, we mean a mixer can include various functions to adjust the volume, bass, tone and other dynamics of the sound. This allows you to have a better karaoke experience and can help the singer to sound better.

Where does a Mixer Fit into the Setup?

So once the mixer has been connected to the instrumental audio source, and the microphone, it needs connecting to a speaker so you can hear both together. This is why most karaoke mixers have two inputs (one for the instrumental and another for the microphones) and outputs (for connection to a speaker). 
 
It can get a little more complicated if your karaoke setup requires an additional screen. This will be the case if your song instrumental source does not have a screen, for example if you’re using a CD. But if you’re setting up karaoke on your tablet, laptop, smart TV or other device which has both a screen and audio source. 
 
Mixers can connect to the various output and inputs either using wires or wirelessly. We’ll go into how to rig up your mixer to the rest of your equipment later on. 

Do You Need a Karaoke Mixer?

So now you know what a mixer is and what its function in a karaoke setup is, let’s figure out if you need one. 

Whether you need a mixer or not depends on the aim of your karaoke setup. Would you like a custom DIY karaoke setup so you can choose every piece of equipment specially for your requirements? Or would you prefer an all-in-one simple system? 
 
There are two main ways of setting karaoke up.
 
1. Using a Karaoke Machine
2. DIY setup 
 
Usually only the DIY setup requires a mixer. This is because if you choose to get a karaoke machine instead, then it will function as your mixer. 
 
Let’s take a look at a diagram to show the difference between the two karaoke setup.
 
karaoke setup at home
DIY karaoke without a machine
Make sense? So if you don’t want to get a karaoke machine and want a DIY setup, then you’ll need a mixer. 
 
If you’ve got this far and decided getting a karaoke mixer isn’t for you, then head over to our guide on everything you need for karaoke to see what you actually need. And take a look at the 12 best karaoke machines
 
Getting a karaoke machine is definitely the easiest option, but it limits your customisation and freedom to use different pieces of equipment to create the perfect setup. But if you do decide to go with the mixer option, bear in mind that you’ll also need a separate speaker, microphone, audio source and screen. 
 
Take a look at our guide on everything you need for karaoke and scroll down to the DIY set up for some more help. 

How to Connect a Karaoke Mixer

So if you’re still here and have decided you want to go ahead and get a karaoke mixer your setup, how do you connect everything together. So there are usually three things you mixer needs to connect to if you’re using an instrumental music source that also has a screen. For example if you’re using a tablet, smart TV or laptop that uses YouTube or a karaoke app.
 
1. Speaker
2. Microphone
3. Instrumental audio
 
Whether these connections are wired or wireless will depend on your mixer. If they’re wireless, they’ll usually pair using bluetooth or WiFi which is super easy to setup.
 
If you’re using a wired setup, hopefully your equipment is supplied with compatible wires so you can rig everything up.

What Connections You Need

So the first thing you need to do, is connect your microphone to the mixer. Most wired microphones use XLR cables and most  modern mixers have 1/4″ TS and XLR channel inputs. If your microphones are wireless, then set them up as specified, usually either by WiFi or bluetooth. Now you need to connect your speaker to the mixer. This again is usually wireless or requires XLR cables.

Next you’ll need to connect the mixer to your audio and video device. This can be using a bluetooth or other wireless connection. If it’s wired, then it’s likely to be either an RCA or USB connection.

After that, you’ll need to connect your audio/ video device to the TV screen using a HDMI cable or it can be done wirelessly with a smart TV.

How to Choose a Karaoke Mixer

Trying to find the perfect mixer can be a bit confusing. There are so many different brands and models with various features that it’s easy to end up with a mixer that’s not right for you. That’s why we’ve outlined the main things you need to think about when choosing a karaoke mixer. 
 
  • Compatibility 
  • Audio Dynamics 
  • The Package
  • Sound Quality
  • Warranty 
  • Weight 

Compatibility 

Compatibility is by far the most important thing to consider when purchasing a mixer. Since your mixer is connected to your speaker, microphone and music audio, you need to make sure it’ll work with them all, whether it’s using a wired or wireless connection. You’ll also need to check how many microphones you need and if your mixer can handle the amount.

Audio Dynamics 

At the very least, your mixer should have the ability to control the volume of the different audio sources. More sophisticated karaoke mixers will have more audio dynamic features that you can control such as tone and bass. Think about your budget carefully and what features you need for your karaoke setup. 

The Package

If your mixer comes as a package with connection cables included, it’ll make your life a lot easier. Make sure you consider the cost of the mixer and any extras to make the most cost effective decision. 

Sound Quality

Of course, the more you pay, usually the audio quality will be better. However, there are several other factors involved like the quality of your microphone and speakers that will affect the overall sound produced. 

Warranty

Mixers aren’t the cheapest piece of equipment to get. So along with carefully thinking about what mixer is right for you, check if there’s a warranty included. This way you’ll have piece of mind in case anything goes wrong with your mixer.

Weight

If you’re just going to be keeping your mixer in one place, weight isn’t a huge factor to consider. But if you plan on travelling with your mixer, or even moving it between rooms frequently at home, consider the weight of your machine. Getting a lightweight karaoke mixer can make life a lot easier! 
So there you go! That’s everything you need to know about karaoke mixers to decide if you need one and how to choose the right option.
 
Have a look at our ultimate karaoke party guide for tips and ideas on equipment, entertainment, supplies, snacks, drinks, games and more! 
 
Don’t forget to check out our guide on everything you need for karaoke to make sure you have the perfect setup and don’t forget anything! 
 

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