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What is Multiplex (MPX) Audio in Karaoke?

There are many different references to Multiplex. For example, Multiplex may refer to television, theatre or other forms of communication. However, this article will explain Multiplex or MPX and its association with karaoke.

To explain further, let’s use an analogy. Go back to when vinyl records were in mono. That was when the same sound came from every speaker you attached to an audio source.

When stereo became widely used, you could have different instruments or noises from each speaker. Of course, the singer would appear to be central.

Karaoke tracks have instrumental music with no singer. Indeed, you can become the vocalist for that particular track. However, what if you liked the song but didn’t know it well enough? Perhaps you wanted a karaoke track to sing along to with more backing vocals to help with your rendition.

In Multiplex (MPX) karaoke songs, you can have the instrumental and lead vocalists to guide you. However, the vocalist (guide vocals) is usually on the right channel, not central. Because of that, you can cancel the right track so you can’t hear the vocalist. Both channels will play the karaoke track from the left channel, but the music will be mono.

If your karaoke disc has Multiplex (MPX) tracks, the chances are that they will have a ‘traditional’ stereo instrumental track. Therefore, once you learn the desired song, it is best to play that instead.

In nearly all cases, choruses and backing singers are always centralised. In other words, you will always hear them.

Multiplex (MPX) vs Guide Vocals (Wvocal)

Multiplex has its uses, but mostly, you will find karaoke tracks with centralised guide vocals (Wvocal). Karaoke tracks with guide vocalists in the centre also have their uses. For example, usually, you can sing along to the song in full stereo.

While you can usually turn off the vocals on an MPX karaoke song, you can’t do this with a centralised guide vocal track.

Playing MPX Karaoke

Not all karaoke machines can turn off the guide vocals on Multiplex tracks. For example, cheap home karaoke machines can be primitive by nature, and you may not have the option. However, more complex karaoke machines will have a dedicated button to switch off the MPX vocals.

We use a program called Karma to play our karaoke on computerised systems, and we highly recommend it. However, many other programs exist. Indeed, most will have a dedicated MPX function.

The image below shows how Karma can switch between stereo, mono and left or right channels.

Karma has a dedicated MPX function.

Buying Guide Vocal Karaoke Songs

Now that you understand the different guide vocals in karaoke, should you buy them? In many cases, CDGs already have them. For example, Chartbuster Karaoke has many CDGs with MPX tracks. Then there is Top Tunes Karaoke, which has numerous guide-vocal songs. So, the option is there already.

Due to digital downloads becoming increasingly popular, you can buy individual karaoke tracks with guide vocals. For example, SBI Karaoke sells MPX karaoke tracks. On the other hand, you can purchase numerous guide vocal karaoke songs at KVD (Karaoke Version Download).

Multiplex (MPX) vs Guide Vocals: In Summary

While at a karaoke venue, if the KJ has a vocal track, this might help shy singers. Indeed, it may give them the confidence to know they can sing along with the vocalists. Again, once you learn the song, it’s best to use the traditional instrumental karaoke track.

Both MPX and guide-vocal karaoke tracks are good when learning a song. However, neither option is preferred once you know the song. After all, you want to be the star!

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