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Recently I have been singing in 15/20 karaoke bars in London and I only found one where the sound system was acceptable.

Some of the most commons problems are:

  • The speakers are only directed toward the public and you cannot hear the music or yourself very clearly.
  • The quality of the sound in not good and the sound not clear.
  • The voice volume is often too low and you are forced to shout.
  • Some of the frequencies are not very clear.

I have been singing in many rehearsal studios instead and I never found this kind of issues. The sound is always clean and clear and the experience ten times better.

I wonder why nobody can set up a karaoke system that works well? Why can't I find a karaoke bar with a good sound system? Why it's so difficult? Is there anything I can ask or check to know in advance if a karaoke bar is good or not?

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    They're set up by DJs, not sound engineers. The only qualification necessary to be a DJ is "can play records" – Tetsujin Aug 14 '17 at 11:19
  • @Tetsujin What's a record? I think the real qualifications are, "can sing well enough to make people think they can sing also but not so well that people think they suck so they order more drinks to screw up their courage and thereby justify the bar paying for the KJ and equipment." Desired but not required qualifications include being attractive, knowing how to prevent feedback, and knowing how to not make it obvious that half the available songs are not correctly licensed. – Todd Wilcox Aug 14 '17 at 15:38
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Considering the mess dedicated 'sound operators' routinely make of a gig, yes, it's not surprising a DJ knows little beyond pumping sound in the general direction of the audience. But all but the most basic karaoke systems have a monitor speaker for the performer, through which he can hear both the track and his voice. However, a drunken karaoke performer cannot be trusted not to point his mic into this speaker, causing annoying (and possibly destructive) feedback. So a sensible karaoke operator will not put much vocals in the monitor. Also, a karaoke microphone will be mistreated, so it starts off cheap-and-nasty and rapidly gets worse.

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    Depending on their own musical sensibilities, they may also duck the mic for poor performers & lift it for the good ones ;-) – Tetsujin Aug 14 '17 at 11:32
  • But the poor ones are MUCH more entertaining! – Laurence Payne Aug 14 '17 at 11:35

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