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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (Click on the Question # to see the answer)
Q1: Is there a MAC version of EmceePro?

Q2: I'm using the Versapoint Communicator remote with EmceePro.  Sometimes I'm singing where several artists also use EmceePro with a remote.  Is there a way to change the frequency of the remote so we don't cross signals with each other?
Q3: Click tracks - How to handle them with Emcee Pro?

Q4:  I have questions about setting up a projector and playing video files with EmceePro...

Q5:  Should I save my files as .wav or .mp3?

Q6:  I seem to be getting a humming noise coming through my PA speakers.

Q7:  I'm trying to rip a track from a CD using EmceePro's 'Track Extractor' but it doesn't show my CD drive.

Q8:  How do I back-up or transfer my files and settings

Q9:  My tracks sound like they're skipping

Q10:  We seem to be getting some feedback through our sound system when we use EmceePro

Q11:  Sometimes I'll be using EmceePro then all of a sudden it stops responding.  Nothing on the keyboard seems to work.

Q12:  What sort of connections do I need to hook my laptop into my sound system?

Q13:  Why is the sound leveling feature manual instead of automatic?

Q14:  I have been using EmceePro for about a year and a half now. I'm very pleased with it, but I've been thinking about getting a 360 instant replay. What is your opinion? I need the pro's and con's! <note: This was a question asked in an SG forum. The answer is from another EmceePro user - not Testify Software>



EmceePro is Windows software. No Mac version is planned. Coming up with a Mac version would involve rewriting the entire program - using a different computer language. Too much effort for too little return. The only option Mac folks have it to run in dual boot mode then open EmceePro using XP, or go out and by an inexpensive PC laptop for the program. Actually, quite a few hardcore Mac users have chosen the second option.

Another option for folks that only have a Mac is to keep an eye out for econo-laptops. I just bought one yesterday as a backup for $299. Brand new - Vista Basic, AMD processor, 512 RAM, 40 gig HD. I've been running it through it's paces this morning and, for something like EmceePro, I'm very satisfied. You don't see prices like that every day - it was a one day only, managers special, at Frys Electronics - but it's a viable option. Right now, the back-to-school specials are coming up. I saw a PC laptop advertised at Office Depot (I think) for $299. We also have users that have installed EmceePro on the new ‘net book’ mini-pc’s successfully.
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The Remote transmits an ID number to the reciever. Should you wish to use two or more remotes in close proximity, you can change the ID number. There are 64 unique IDs, allowing the use of up to 64 remotes within RF transmission range of each other (up to 30').  With the receiver installed and your computer powered up, perform the following steps:

  1. While holding the ESC button, press and hold the Blank Screen (bottom) button down until the LEDs begin to blink. After releasing the buttons, wait until the LEDs go out.
  2. Using an unfolded paper clip, poke the ID change button on the top of the receiver.
  3. Within 20 seconds, press any button on the remote.
  4. Test the installation as described above.

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When you put a stereo cord in your laptop's headphone jack, join it with a left/right splitter - either RCA or 1/4" plugs. Feed each of these leads into a different channel on your mixer and that will let you send the tracks to your speakers and the click out to the monitors your drummer and bass player are using.

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With the release of version 5.0, EmceePro is now fully functional for audio AND video files.  Video files, however, requires a little more than just software.  Here’s what you’ll need: 

  1. Make sure your operating system (Windows) supports the Extended Desktop function (operating more than one monitor at once).  You’ll need to be familiar with this. 
  2. Each video ‘file type’ requires a separate ‘codex’.  Think of these as ‘drivers’ for your software.  Just like you need a driver for your printer, you’ll need a ‘driver’ (codex) for each type of video file you want to use. There are free libraries of these DirectX files available online as well as retail versions.  A quick Google search will locate what you need. 
  3. You’ll also need hardware to display your videos.  This could be anything from a second monitor to a video projector.  Whatever you use, you’ll need to be familiar with its setup and requirements.  If you’re going to use the video system at a church, there may be other logistical concerns such as distance, availability, etc.
Aside from these general guidelines, the requirments for each system will be different.  If this is something you'd like to persue, we'd encourage you to locate resources on-line that are specific to your needs.  Although Testify Software is dilegent in answering user questions, in this case, hardware and setup questions are beyond the scope of our support.
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I really don’t think you’re going to be able to tell much difference between .wav and .mp3 files – assuming you do your mp3 save at a high quality setting. Mp3’s trim audio information that’s outside the range that humans hear, so I always say your dog can tell the difference, but you probably can’t. For those folks that say they CAN hear the difference, it’s with headphones or in a studio setting, not in an ‘accoustically challenged’ auditorium, sanctuary, or hall.  You should ALWAYS have an archive copy of your music saved as .wav, but for EmceePro's purposes mp3's are much easier to work with.
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The first thing to try when you’re having problems like this is whether the problem is coming from the AC power or if it’s related to the laptop. To do that, just try unplugging the power supply so it will run from the battery. When you unplug it, if it’s a power problem then you’ll hear the noise go away immediately. My guess would be that this is the problem you’re having.

If that’s the case there are two things you can do to fix it. The first is to plug the laptop into the board using a direct box. This can solve several issues that can create ‘noise’ in the line. Here’s an article from Musician’s Friend that talks about that sort of stuff. The next thing to try would be to use a filter to clean up the noise that can come from AC power interference. Here’s an inexpensive device from Radio Shack that will catch that. (They call it a ground loop isolator, but it’s actually a filter).
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If your computer has a DVD/CD read/write combo drive, in some cases manufacturers (through their drivers) no longer identify these drives to Windows as CD drives - even though they function that way.  Since Windows isn't identifying these as CD drives, Emcee Pro doesn't know they're there. That's the bad news... here's the good news.

We've included a program on your Emcee Pro installation disk called "EZRip" that will do what you need.  Here's how to install it...

  • Insert your Emcee Pro CD in the drive. 
  • Click “Install EZRip”

Once you have this program installed, you may use it to 'rip' tracks for Emcee Pro.

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If you're using version 5 or above, backing up your files can be done automatically by clicking Tools/Backup on the menu bar.  For earlier versions, you'll need to do this manually.

  • Copy Settings:  All of your EmceePro settings and selections are stored in a single folder called EmceeFiles located in the root directory of your C drive (C:\EmceeFiles).  Copy this entire folder. 

  • Copy Tracks:  If you've used the EmceePro default settings for your audio tracks, they'll be located here:  "C:\Program Files\Emcee Pro".  If you've placed these tracks in sub-directories or other folders, you'll need to locate them and copy these as well.

It's always a good idea to keep an archived copy of both your tracks and your settings on hand.  A USB drive works well for this sort of emergency back-up media.

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Here are several things to check...

  1. Make sure you’re not allowing your laptop to overheat. Set your machine up on a hard surface – not on a pad, a pew, a cushion, etc - . Air circulation is critical. Allowing your computer to overheat can potentially destroy critical components. Many times, the first indication of this is jumpy processor performance (i.e. skipping).
  2. If your machine has wireless internet capability, make sure it’s turned off. If not, your computer may be searching for an available network to connect to. This could cause a skip, pause, or stutter as the processor is tasked with this function. A sign of this occurring is that it will commonly repeat in a cycle – every 30 or 60 or 90 seconds or so.
  3. Other programs running in the background can also cause the processor to ‘skip’ as your processor cycles through it’s tasks. Make sure that anti-virus and system maintenance tasks are turned off. When using EmceePro in concert, it’s best to have all other programs inactive or closed. Actually, this is the most common reason for the ‘skipping’ behavior. (Also, the less RAM memory a machine has, the more likely it is to produce a symptom like this.)
  4. Check Control Panel/Display/Settings/Advanced/Troubleshoot and see if you're using 'hardware accelerators' in your display settings.  If you are, back that setting off step by step until your problem resolves.

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Make sure the microphone on your laptop is muted.  It's easy to miss that setting, but an open mike will do that every time!
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It sounds like EmceePro ‘lost focus’. That’s a programming term. Here’s what it means.
A computer is frequently running several programs or processes at once. That’s what they’re meant to do. When you press a key on the keyboard, though, the computer needs to figure out which program you’re trying to work with. While you may have several programs running on your machine, only one program at a time can have ‘focus’. If EmceePro didn’t have ‘focus’, then it wouldn’t receive the keystrokes or commands you were sending.

Sometimes this can happen without you even knowing it has occurred. Windows might display some sort of pop-up or advisory that you have to click to get it to go away. Clicking on it may take the focus away from EmceePro. Your wireless network may loose then regain it’s signal. It could even be possible evidence of a virus/malware program operating in the background. If you ever think that you may have spotted it happening, just click on the Title Bar of the program (the big blue bar on top where it says “EmceePro”) and focus will return. You can tell if you’ve regained focus because the title bar will go from a light shade of blue to a darker shade.
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You'll need a patch cord that will go from the 1/8" stereo headphone jack on your laptop to your mixer board.  At the mixer end, you can have either RCA or 1/4" jacks - depending on your board.  You can get these at a music store - or even Walmart or Radio Shack. If you get an 1/8" stereo to RCA, you can also get a couple RCA to 1/4" adapters.  That way you can use either the RCA or 1/4".  (That's the way I have mine set up).
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Setting the sound level is a manual process. Some programs have features that will ‘normalize’ the level automatically, but that sort of thing really doesn’t work with background tracks. With regular music tracks, the computer can read a track, analyze the dynamics, and set them all to a consistent level. With background tracks, the computer wouldn’t be working with all the audio information that a particular song may contain. The reason for this is that YOU (the singer) are a part of the audio – in fact YOU are the biggest part.

To set your sound levels in EmceePro, just play the track, and using the “Sound Level” slider on the INFORMATION TAB, adjust the volume by ear. When you get the level where you want it, click on the SET button. From that point on, EmceePro will play the track at the level you’ve selected. If at some point you want change your setting, just repeat this process – remembering to click SET once you’re done.
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The 360 Systems is a computer guys...running a stripped down version of DOS. If you think you're getting by the concept of running a computer with 360 Instant Replay, you a sadly mistaken. Besides, the EmceePro has far more features, is easier to use, and a whole lot easier to load songs into. Instant Replay was designed to do radio spots.....Emcee Pro was designed for gospel artists playing tracks. Purpose built unit or one that was built for some other purpose in mind? Gee this is so easy I cannot imagine why Instant Replay is still being used by some groups. If EmceePro had been first...which would be the dominate force today?

EmceePro and laptop noise can be fixed. First off, it is not a problem with the software of EmceePro, but has to do with one of two things:

1. Ground loops between the laptop and the sound system
2. Digital clocking noise of the laptop itself.

In any sound system there should only be one path for ground. For example, a microphone connected to a mixer input has only the one ground and the balanced plus and minus signals of the audio itself, running between microphone and the sound system. In this example no ground loop can exist. However, if you were to run a wire from the case of the microphone to the ground lug of a wall AC outlet, you would then have two independent ground paths back to the mixer. The short path between down the mic cable. from the microphone and onto the mixer input, and the long path from microphone to wall socket, to breaker box, to the wall outlet the mixer is connected to, and eventually back to the mixer. The voltage potential between these two ground paths (and there will always be a voltage potential between various ground paths) becomes amplified by the mic-pre amplifier gain. The result is the 60 cycle line frequency is now quite audible in the sound system, and multiplies of that line frequency as well, such as 120 cycles, 180 cycles, 240 cycles. You might say, "I would never connect a ground from the mic case to a wall outlet". True enough. But when you connect a laptop computer, a mini-disc or whatever to a different wall outlet than that which is used for the mixer and amplifiers in your system, you have essentially done the exact same thing. For you now have two ground paths of unequal length and resistance. Thus a voltage potential between the two paths.

The proper method for connecting AC power is to use only one AC outlet for EVERYTHING you intend to connect to the Mixer. Everything connected to your sound system should derive its power from ONE source only. This includes laptops, mini-discs, guitar amplifiers, in-ear monitors, etc. Even then, you may have a ground loop condition on laptops, for virtually all laptops use a switching power supply in order to conserve battery drain. This type power supply turns off and on many hundreds of times per second. This switching power supply scheme can, and many times does produce a phantom ground that rides (in impedance) somewhat above true ground. In other words, it has an inherent manufactured ground that is at some voltage potential above true ground. This is why a transformered direct box tends to help this situation considerably. The secondary of the direct box transformer is automatically made an extension of the mixer ground. The audio portion of the signal from the laptop is tied to the ground of the laptop, but is not necessarily connected through the direct box and on to the mixer. Instead it is fed to the mixer via the transformer windings so that any AC or DC potential is lost in the windings of the first stage of the direct box. (This also blocks phantom power from reaching the laptop as transformers will not pass DC voltage.)

Now, it is best not to use a true direct box but instead a line to line isolation box. A true direct box is intended for a source impedance of 100k ohm or so, such as found on the output of a guitar pickup. The direct box transformer has a loss of about 50:1 or greater, so that the mixer "sees" the guitar as having a very low impedance of about 150 ohms or so......about the same as a typical microphone.

The output impedance of a laptop sound card is far lower than a guitar, many times less than 40 ohms. When this is ran through a typical direct box, the source impedance the mixer sees maybe almost a dead short, or less than 1 ohm. A better method is to buy a stereo line to line isolation box. These look and feel just like a normal direct box, but they have a winding that is typically 1:1. In other words, the impedance of the output of the laptop is mirrored across the transformer and onto the mixer. It still has all the wonderful attributes of isolating the grounds one from another, but it does so without shunting the impedance down to nearly nothing. The result is a cleaner sounding signal with far more detail.

The ground lift switch on these devices should almost always be turned off, or in lift mode. This keeps the switching power supply ground noise from being transferred to the house sound system.

The other source of noise might just be the switching noise of the laptop getting into the audio and sent out as an audible signal. This is called crosstalk. If this is the case, it will not matter if you use a direct box or not as the noise will still be there. If this is your problem an external sound card, like the Turtle Beach USB device, will go a long way in cleaning up the audio.

Have fun,
Ben Harris
Southern Sound Quartet
6340 Spera Pointe Crossing
Nashville, TN 37076

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