A karaoke amplifier generally increases the audio output of both the musical tracks and the vocalizations of the performer. Individuals operating karaoke equipment may use a conventional musical amplifier, but a device designed especially for karaoke offers portability, may have multiple functions, and comes equipped with extra operating features. The number of functions and features within an individual unit usually depends on the price of the device. A multi-component karaoke amplifier with an extensive array of control options typically costs the consumer more money.
Besides an amplifier, the sound system usually includes the karaoke machine, microphones, and speakers. Some public address (PA) systems also have equalizers and mixers, which provide greater control over sound quality. All of these components must be transported and carried to and from the performance site. Setting up the equipment requires connecting components to each other with cables and to the amplifier, which receives the sound, enhances the signal, and transmits the sound signal to the speakers.
A mixing amplifier, or a karaoke amplifier, eliminates the need for a mixer, and, in some cases, an equalizer. The microphones connect directly to the amplifier along with the karaoke machine and the speakers. The karaoke amplifier allows the user to control the bass, treble, and volume produced by the vocalist and the music source. The unit also controls the balance of sound among the speakers.
The advanced technology of more expensive karaoke amplifiers includes the ability to receive sound signals from more than one source. Audiovisual, S-video, and universal serial bus (USB) ports allow input from a compact disc (CD) player, an iPod®, or a laptop computer. The number of ports also varies depending on the amplifier, with expensive models offering a greater number of input ports than basic models.
Features can include the option of playing music from conventional CDs while eliminating the existing vocals. This function broadens the range of music selections used for karaoke. Some musical amplifiers also allow the user to record and play back performances. Different models of karaoke amplifier vary in the extent of control allowed by the equalizer, with more expensive models allowing a greater degree of tone control.
Built-in automatic level controls balance the difference in volume from one source to another. This ensures that the volume of one CD, or other music source, equals that of another. Other amplification tools include the ability to eliminate distortion, feedback, and interference. When not in use, some amplifiers automatically turn off the power to the microphone or other system components.