Hearing Enhancement with Kustom Speaker

October 11, 2014 presentation by Ralph Lambert from Salem, Oregon

There are only two outputs on the Kustom Speaker/amplifier.

One is a 1/4" phone plug, which is an output to a bass woofer speaker. This is not what we want for hearing enhancement.

The other output is an XLR low impedance (electrical resistance) that is commonly used to chain several Kustom speaker/amps together. (Low impedance (XLR connectors) is about 500 ohms, vs high impedance (1/4-inch phone plugs) which is about 10,000 ohms.) I use the XLR output, and connect it directly to a Williams hearing enhancement transmitter. The Williams hearing enhancement equipment I have used will accept either a 1/4 inch phone plug or an XLR input, all in the same input connection. If a person has one without the XLR capability, then use an XLR cable with a low impedance to high impedance transformer adaptor into the Williams hearing enhancement. The XLR to 1/4-inch transformer/adaptor is available at stores such as Radio Shack and Guitar Center.

Unfortunately the output from the Kustom speaker/amplifier has both music and voice, and it cannot be separated. For some people who use hearing enhancement, this is acceptable. I have dancers in my club that do not want the music through the hearing enhancement, they want voice only. This can be done easily with most Hilton sound sets, but cannot be done out of a Kustom speaker/amplifier.

This problem can be solved by using a small external mixer between the music /voice sources and the Kustom speaker amplifier. This means plugging the music and the microphone into the external mixer. Then do the main output of the external mixer to the Kustom speaker/amplifier; and use the auxiliary output of the external mixer to send only the voice channel to the hearing enhancement equipment. We have a Guitar Center store in the Salem area (Keizer Station) when had a whole room of commercial sound equipment. (I know there are several Guitar Center stores in the Portland metro area, including one in the Delta Park area.) The mixer I bought was an ALTO Professional ZMX 862, 6 channel mixer, which has this capability, and costs about $79.00. There are other mixers available that would also have this capability. I have found the staff at Guitar Center to be very helpful in educating me on the various makes and models of commercial professional sound equipment.