Best Karaoke Machines 2017 - Ultimate Buyer's Guide
A lot of people want to be rock stars, but very few people are actually cut out for the job. Luckily, with karaoke, we can all pretend for a night. If you just can’t get enough at your weekly nights at the bar, you can buy a karaoke machine for your house.
A karaoke machine is a great asset. You can play YouTube karaoke songs on any Wifi device. But most people don’t have a microphone and a speaker to plug it into lying around the house. A karaoke machine takes all the complex parts of karaoke and streamlines it into one easy to use machine. It can also double as a PA system for a party. You can make announcements, play music, and have sing alongs with the kids.
A karaoke machine is a great addition to any home. It provides wholesome musical entertainment for the whole family. Continue reading for some karaoke machine reviews.
If you have a particular use case in mind, jump straight to the right list:
Best General Use Karaoke Machines 2017
1. Singing Machine SML385BTW - Best Karaoke Machine 2017
The SML-385W was recently replaced by the 385BTW and is one of Singing Machine’s best-selling models. It has everything you could need from your karaoke machine, plus a few extras. It easily connects to any television to display lyrics on the screen. It takes CD+G discs. It also has an audio plug-in. This is helpful because it gives you the ability to play other songs you don’t have on CD+Gs. You can plug in any device with a headphone jack and play any song on the karaoke machine. The downside of this is it cannot stream lyrics through the audio cable. The lyrics will have to be read off of the external device. If it’s a phone, that can be annoying.
One microphone is included, but there are two mic jacks for duets. The controls are simple. It has two vocal effects. Echo adds dimension and volume. Balance keeps the microphones and background music proportional to each other. It also has colorful lights in the front that you can turn on to keep a party vibe. Kids will love the disco lights! It is powered by an electrical plug that runs off of any standard outlet. It is durable and is sure to entertain your entire family for years.
The Memorex Sing Stand is a unique take on the classic karaoke machine. It is shaped like a microphone stand, with all the controls at the bottom. This makes for more compact storage and a more lightweight portability.
The Sing Stand embraces the future of karaoke by skipping CD+G capabilities altogether. The only line in is through a universal audio in jack. It can attach to any device with a headphone jack. Memorex acknowledges how hard it is to sing and read off your phone by building a cradle for small devices. It will securely hold phones or tablets. A laptop will not fit.
The Sing Stand is meant to operate alone, without needing a TV or separate sound system. This can be nice for younger people or small gatherings. But if you want to use it for a large party, you’ll have to purchase a cable to connect external speakers. You’ll also need to buy a cable to run the lyrics through your phone to the TV if you want a sing along.
The Memorex has an extra microphone jack and an instrument jack for self-accompaniment.
At first glance, you’ll notice the Electrohome’s sleek, modern design. It is a shiny jet black with a simple blue stripe down the middle. It takes CD+Gs and has an audio cable for hooking up external devices. It has the same unfortunate setback as the Singing Machine SML-385W. If you plug in an external device, it cannot put the words on the TV. You will have to read the lyrics from the device’s small screen.
This little player packs quite a punch with its sound quality. The sound is crisp and clean, but it doesn’t get very loud. For large gatherings, you may want to outsource your audio. The system is easy to set up and includes all necessary cords and wires. It comes with a microphone and there is a spare jack for a second mic. It’s powered electrically through the wall, so it cannot be used outside. But it is lightweight enough to be brought along to a friend’s house.
The Electrohome has numerous voice enhancement options, including echo and auto voice control. Auto voice control fills in the vocals when you stop singing for whatever reason. It can cover up when you don’t know the words or can’t catch your breath.
ION Audio’s Block Party Live isn’t so much a karaoke machine as a PA system. This does create a few logistical issues when using it for karaoke. The biggest problem is that it has no way to hook up to a TV, and doesn’t take CD+Gs. If you want to use it for karaoke, you’ll have to plug in a device with a screen.
There are numerous bonuses that make up for these obstacles, though. The Block Party Live is a powerful battery-powered portable speaker. It can offer sound quality and volume far beyond anything a karaoke machine could ever hope to achieve. Being battery powered, it is wireless and can go anywhere. You can play music at the beach, on a camping trip, in the front yard, or a parking lot. This is easy, as you won’t have to run tons of extension cords. The battery can play music for 75 hours on a single charge.
It has a handle and wheels for ease of transport. It has Bluetooth capability, so you can hook up modern devices completely wirelessly. It also means you can connect it with Bluetooth-capable TVs and have the lyrics on the screen for karaoke. You can also hook up devices through an audio cable. It is built sturdily to withstand bump from traveling.
The Block Party Live also has a light display built in. It projects lights around the room for a party vibe. This greatly reduces the battery life to six hours, so be careful! The lights can be controlled by an app you can download to your phone or tablet. There is only one microphone jack, but if you need two microphones, you can buy a splitter at any electronics store. There is a microphone included.
The Tailgater is another PA system from ION Audio. It, too, is not made specifically for karaoke, so you will have the same issues as the Block Party Live. If you want to use it for karaoke, you’ll have to plug in a device with a screen, then run the audio through the speaker.
The Tailgater has similar specs to the Block Party Live. It is powerful and battery powered. The rechargeable battery lasts for 50 hours. It also can be controlled by an app on your phone. You can DJ from anywhere in the party! It has Bluetooth, for wireless control.
The Tailgater is lightweight, but it has no handle or wheels, so it can be a little cumbersome to get around. It does, however, have an AM/FM radio receiver. It also has a power bank to charge your devices through a USB cable. As with the other products, you can plug in non-Bluetooth devices through the audio jack.
Best Professional Karaoke Machines 2017
A karaoke machine adds instant fun in the home or in public places, like karaoke bars. Everyone enjoys listening to a great singer perform, and everyone loves being amused by the expected performance of someone completely butchering a song. Either way, karaoke is loads of fun.
Regular karaoke machines are fine if you just use them occasionally at home, but if you want a better quality machine, you should look into purchasing a professional unit. Professional karaoke machines are great if you own an establishment, like a karaoke bar, and you need a good quality machine for customers to enjoy.
They are superior in quality to basic karaoke machines. They also work great for karaoke DJs since they keep a library of all your songs for you and can locate the one you want in seconds.
However, professional karaoke machines aren’t just for professionals. If you enjoy singing a lot at home, you will love the enhanced sound quality and overall increased performance of a professional karaoke machine.
You should be able to find the best one for you in our list of the top 10 karaoke machines for professional use on the market based on user reviews. We will discuss each product thoroughly so that you know exactly what it has to offer.
Since a karaoke machine can be an investment for your bar or for use at home, you want to know what features to pay attention to so that you can make the best purchase.
1. Singtrix Party Bundle SGTX1 - Best Professional Karaoke Machine 2017
Although most of us love to sing, we are not all so good at it. That is why the Singtrix Party Bundle is number 1 when it comes to karaoke machines since it can make even bad singers sound like professionals and it makes good singers sound amazing.
With over 300 voice effects, pitch correct, and a harmonizing feature, the Singtrix makes you feel like a total rock star. Even solo singers can apply a harmonizing effect on their voice so they can sound like a whole choir. Gender-bending effects can also be applied on voices to make for a hilarious performance.
The pitch control is great to help you train your voice to sing more in tune. If you are already a great singer, this feature will help you sound even better! The pitch control has 3 different skill levels, acting as your own personal voice coach.
All of the effects are controlled on the Singtrix studio controller that can be attached to the microphone stand. When you find an effect that makes you sound great, just press the “Hit” button on the microphone to add back up singers to your voice.
The controller comes with different color faceplates to add some customization.Once you find your favorite effects, you can save them to your favorites by holding the MIC VOLUME button for a few seconds.
You can connect your tablet, smartphone, MP3 player, or computer to play music. Songs can also be downloaded using the Singtrix app.
The 3.5mm input allows you to connect virtually any device. Connect a guitar or keyboard to play your own music instead of karaoke tracks. Singtrix works great with YouTube karaoke and Lyrics tracks.
The 40-watt speaker that comes with the Singtrix can handle lows, mids, and highs. It gets loud and is suitable to use in a large area. Alternatively, you can hook it up to your own speaker system. The built-in sub woofer adds a great bass.
The volume, treble, and bass controls are located on the speaker. You can adjust the controls to go with any genre of music.
The high quality microphone creates a great crystal, clear sound. The mic stand is sturdy and has a telescoping design with a boom arm. A phone/tablet holder is locate don the mic stand so that you have a convenient place to set your device. When not in use, you can adjust the mic stand to a more manageable size to take up less space.
Only one mic is included with the Singtrix but there is an additional microphone jack to add another microphone.
Singtrix has many uses including: karaoke parties, bars, song composition, studio recordings, live band performances, or even at church.
Although it has no screen to read the lyrics, you can read the lyrics from your phone or tablet. You can also display the lyrics on a TV.
Setup is simple and only takes about 15-minutes.
2. Akai KS808 - Best Professional Karaoke Machine under $200
The Akai KS808 features a top loading CD+G player to play all of your favorite karaoke CDs. Included is a free karaoke CD to help you get singing right away. The USB port can be used with a MP3+G for playback and recording. The line-in input allows you to connect additional devices like a smartphone or tablet.
The tablet iPod/tablet cradle is a convenient place to hold your device securely.
The KS808 comes with two microphones, which is an advantage since many karaoke machines just come with one. You can sing along with another person instead of doing a solo performance. The holders on the sides of the unit hold the mics when they are not in use.
You can either read the lyrics on the built-in 7-inch screen, or use the included AV cord to hook it to a TV monitor so that everyone can see the lyrics.
This unit stands 43.4-inches tall, which is convenient for reading the lyrics on the screen. The height, however, does not make it the most portable option.
Use the echo effect on your voice to enhance your performance. There are also balance, volume, and digital key controls. The digital key control allows you to sing in a register that is best for you.
This 30-watt unit has no battery and it comes with a plug-in power cord. The sound quality is very good, providing a clear and crisp sound.
The KS808 is designed to be easy to set up and simple to use, but it is definitely a step up from a standard quality karaoke machine.
For setup, you just connect the base, speakers, and the body with 4 small screws, and that is it! You will spend less time setting up and more time having fun.
The built-in speaker system is powerful, producing a rich sound that amplifies nicely. This unit is a great option if you want a good quality machine without a lot of bells and whistles.
One thing that stands out in the area of connectivity for the Akai KS800-BT is that is Bluetooth compatible, making it very easy to play music from a tablet, smartphone, or any other device with Bluetooth capability.
It also has a CD+G player to play karaoke CDs, as well as a USB port. You can use the USB port for MP3/MP3G playback and record. The line-in allows you to connect other devices as well, such as an MP3 player.
The tablet cradle is the perfect place to put your device when you are using it to play your favorite tunes.
To display lyrics, it has its own 7-inch screen but there is also a video output to connect it to a TV monitor to display the lyrics. This large screen displays the lyrics clearly, and the font size is big enough so that yo do not have to squint to read the lyrics if you are close enough to the machine.
Included is 1 RCA cord for TV connection. When using the built-in screen, it highlights lines that have a high pitch to help you prepare to reach those high notes.
The KS800-BT has 1 microphone included with the purchase, but there is a second jack to connect an additional microphone. This makes it ideal for performing duets. There is a dedicated microphone volume control as well as a master volume control. This allows you to control the vocals separately from the music.
Most of us can use a little help when it comes to singing, and this machine is there to do just that. Featuring auto voice control, echo control, balance control, and digital key control, you will sound like a pro when you are singing.
This may be a professional karaoke machine, but you do not have to be a professional to use it. It is designed to be easy-to-use. Loading songs is straight forward and simple.
The built-in speaker produces an excellent sound. One of the great things about this system is that it has an all-in-one design so that you don’t have to purchase any extra equipment to use it. Everything you need comes with the unit.
It does not have a battery and it includes 1 AC power adapter to plug it in.
The Akai KS800-BT is much more affordable than some of the other karaoke machines for professional use. Included in the purchase is a free karaoke music disk to help get you started.
The system is lightweight and not very bulky, making it easily portable.
If you are looking for a top rated professional karaoke machine with a fantastic speaker system that is portable, the wireless Pyle PWMA860i may be the one for you.
The powerful PA sound system produces a high quality sound. It can handle an impressive 500-watts of power to supply 8-inch subwoofer and 3-inch compression tweeter speaker to project your voice and play the audio with a big sound. The ported enclosure design gives an extra punch to the bass.
The design of this powerful speaker makes it ideal for use in large areas like bars. In a large crowd, it will quickly get everyone’s attention with its powerful sound. It is also a great option to use in the home for parties if you want a high-quality karaoke machine.
Use the built-in iPod dock to connect your iPod or iPhone and play your favorite songs, while at the same time keeping your device charged. The system has four ¼-inch jack inputs where you can connect a CD or MP3 player. When you want to play your own music, you can connect a guitar or keyboard.Included is a wireless mic that can operate at a distance of 100-feet from the system. This gives the singer freedom to move around while performing. You can plug in an additional mic using the extra mic jack.
Each mic input has its own volume control to make the best duets. The other 2 inputs to connect a guitar, or iPod/MP3 player each have their own dedicated volume controls. This puts you in complete control of every sound.
For easy portability, there is a telescoping handle and castor wheels so that you can easily take it wherever you want to go. The system runs on a rechargeable battery, so you just have charge it using the included AC adapter. When fully charged, the battery will last for around 5-hours.
Four multi-color LEDs light up when the system is on, when it is charging, when the battery is low, and when the wireless mic is in use.
The treble and bass controls allow you to fine-tune the sound to your personal preferences. To make your voice really sound amazing, you can use the echo adjustment knob when using a connected mic.
Use the 35mm speaker mount insert to place the unit on a speaker stand to project the sound even better in a large area.
The Pyle PWMA860i is easy-to-use with nice rotary knobs and push button controls. Even when you aren’t using the system as a karaoke machine, it is great to use in noisy areas when conducting meetings since it amplifies sound very well. You can also use it as a sound system to play music when you want to take a break from singing karaoke.
The PWMA860i is a great option for a good quality karaoke machine that is portable and produces an excellent sound.
The VocoPro DVD Duet Karaoke System is one of the best karaoke machines for professional use. It is the ideal choice if you use a lot of disks since it can play almost any disk format including: CD+G, DVD, PHOTO-G, HDCD, CD-R/CD-RW, and MP3. This allows you to play karaoke CDs, output DVDs to a TV monitor, or even play a slideshow of JPEG photos.
The top-loading DVD/CD/CDG player is shock resistant so it can play music without skipping in moving cars, RVs, planes or boats (110 or 240V AC adapter required). This allows you to play music anywhere!
To help you sound even better when you sing, the 12-step Digital Key Controller changes the key of the background music from any disk to match the range of your voice without changing the tempo of the song. This makes your voice sound like it has perfect pitch, making you sound like a real professional singer.
Use the 5-band graphic equalizer to fine tune the tone of any genre of music to fit your personal taste. It also has an AM/FM stereo tuner.
The four 2-way speakers provide 80-watts of output to pump out a sound big enough for use in bars, schools, churches, clubs, or even in the home. The pre-out jacks allow you to connect your own speaker system.
The dual cassette decks allow you to listen to playback. You can also record live performances to listen to later. This lets you track your singing progress or play your performance for family and friends.
Included with the VocoPro are 2 professional mics and 2 mic inputs. Each has its own volume controls so that you can sing a duet with the perfect blend of voices. Each mic has good quality digital echo to help customize your sound by applying various sound effects. Both mics can be used at the same time with no interference.
Use the included remote to easily control the system. Even when you are not using the machine for karaoke, you can use it like a regular sound system.
The controls on the VocoPro control balance, echo, music volume, and microphone volume.
The VocoPro is one of the top rated professional karaoke machines especially for its sound quality. It delivers a loud, crystal clear sound.
The straight-forward design makes it easy to use. The instruction manual will answer in questions you may have about the product. The construction, including the buttons and knobs, is good quality making it durable.
One great thing about this VocoPro karaoke machine is that everything that you need to do karaoke is included in the purchase. This saves money since you won’t have to purchase extra accessories to use it.
Professional Karaoke Machines Wrap Up
Purchasing a professional karaoke machine is great addition to the home if you and your family love singing day in and day out. They are also great if you have an establishment like a bar. Wherever they are used, high-quality karaoke machines add lots of laughter and fun and keep the party going.
The best professional karaoke machines often don’t come so cheap so you want to make sure you are making a good investment. The first thing you need to decide is which tyoe you should buy. This can depend on if you already have some euipment you want to use. For example, if you already have some great speakers that you love, you don’t necessarily need to buy a unit with built-in speakers.
Sound quality is of course a top priority. The speakers should produce a crystal clear sound that is loud enough to fill a decent sized area.
Be sure to pay attention to the connectivity it offers. Think about which method you will be using the most to get music and purchase a machine that is compatible with that method. Keep in mind our list of the top rated professional karaoke machines.
Once you finally make your choice, you will not doubt be adding tons of fun to your home, parties, or establishment.
Best Karaoke Machines for Adults 2017
In this section, we will discuss the different types of karaoke machines for adults. Our buyer’s guide will help you know what features to look out for before making your purchase. Lastly, we have put together a list of the top rated karaoke machine for adults based on user reviews.
1. Memorex MKS-SS3 SingStand 3 - Best Karaoke Machine For Adults 2017
Featuring a universal line-in and Bluetooth, SingStand 3 offers more options for connectivity. You can connect any device with a headphone jack like an electric guitar or keyboard to have even more fun. If you are singing, your friends can be playing the musical accompaniment. Even when you are by yourself, you can practice your favorite songs on your electric guitar or keyboard.
Place your smartphone, tablet, or MP3 player in the cradle and it will be held securely with a protective strap. This allows you to read the lyrics off your device hands-free.
The cord management clip allows you to contain all the wires so they don’t get in the way.
With 2 microphone inputs, you can turn your solo performance into a duet with a friend.
To help you sound even better, the SingStand 3 has built-in auto voice controls which amplify your vocals so that your voice is heard over the original vocals. This ensures that your vocals are heard loud and clear. The auto voice controls also maintain the right ratio of music to your voice.
You can adjust the volume yourself and even add an echo effect on your voice.
Equipped with two 5-watt speakers, the SingStand 3 delivers crystal clear sound which projects into every corner of the room.
When you want to take a break from singing, you can simply use the stand as a speaker system to play music from your tablet or MP3 player.
The SingStand 3 is very affordable and will add instant fun to parties or when you are just hanging out casually with friends and family. It is easy to set up and use. The sturdy construction ensures that you will be able to have karaoke fun for many years to come.
Detailed information can be found here.
Detailed information can be found here.
Featuring USB and SD card slots, you can easily download your favorite songs from your computer to sing along to. The Karaoke USA GF829 will accept auxiliary input from most players and gaming consoles.
You can also record your performances onto a SD card in MP3 format so that you can listen to them again and again.
Once you have made a recording, you can instantly play it back to see if you want to keep it or make a better recording.
The color screen makes it easy to read the lyrics, even from far away. A built-in amplifier boosts the sound.
The MP3 cradle allows you to have a place to set your device when charging. The GF829 comes with 300 MP3G songs on a disc.
When you want to take a break from singing, you can use the machine to watch a movie from a DVD or one that you have saved on an SD card or USB.
Detailed information can be found here.
Best Karaoke Machine for Kids 2017
Many children love to sing. They sing anywhere, anytime, and are completely uninhibited. Karaoke is a great way to foster their love of music. A karaoke machine allows children to sing into a microphone and put on performances. Educationally, they learn words, rhythms, and expression. Overall, a karaoke machine can keep your kids occupied for hours, and teach them a bit along the way.
Karaoke machines for kids have different requirements than those for adults. Kids will be rough on the machine, so it needs to be durable. Kids also won’t want to stay in one place very long. A machine that runs on batteries that they can drag around is perfect. It should also be easy to use.
Older kids might appreciate something a bit more complex. They’ll be able to sing more songs, and want to have parties with their friends. Lights, disco balls, and song selections are important for older kids.
Here are the top rated kids karaoke machines. There is sure to be something for kids of all ages in this list.
1. Singing Machine SML-283P - Best Kids Karaoke Machine 2017
This machine is a standard CD+G disc reader with microphone connectors. CD+G discs are music CDs that also hold graphics. They will display the lyrics of the songs on a screen, unlike typical CDs.
This Singing Machine is compact enough for your little ones to drag around the house. They can’t read the lyrics fast enough anyway. But for your older children, they can hook it up to the TV to display the lyrics on the screen. They can also plug it into the wall, to save the battery life. Kids of all ages will appreciate the colorful lights that the machine has.
This machine is pretty standard. It's only playback options are through CD+G or an audio cable. However, this is enough. You can find songs through your tablet or smart phone then run the audio through the machine.
There is one microphone included, and an input plug for a second one. The hook-up to your television is simple.
Detailed information can be found here.
Detailed information can be found here.
This machine is the best for fun for the whole family. It looks like a kiddie toy. It can be easily operated by the smallest children. But it can also stream from any device with Bluetooth. It can also stream the lyrics wirelessly through Bluetooth straight to your television. Two microphones come attached to the device.
This machine is the first on this list to not take CD+Gs. You can, however, use a USB stick. It is easy enough for the kids to use. You just load up the USB stick with all the kids’ favorites and let them thumb through with the buttons.
This machine practically sells itself. No kid can resist the picture of Frozen sisters Anna and Elsa on the front. The device offers no other ties to the movie, however. It only comes with two songs from the movie on an accompanying CD+G disc. Your kids can sing along to Do You Want to Build a Snowman? and Let It Go.
The Frozen karaoke machine offers all the trappings of other machines. It takes CD+G discs. It can display the lyrics on your TV screen if plugged in properly. But it’s also light and portable enough if your kids want to carry it around while singing. Only one microphone is included. But another microphone can be plugged into an extra microphone jack.
Karaoke Machine Buying Guide
Shopping for a karaoke machine can be a difficult venture. Here are a few things to consider.
First, know where you want to use the machine. If you’ll be at home, you should consider a traditional machine. They can hook up to the TV easily and display words on the screen. They plug into the wall and typically have medium sound quality. They can reroute their audio through your home sound system for big events.
If you want to do karaoke elsewhere, you’ll need something more progressive. A battery-powered PA can travel with you and operate outside away from a power source.
You should also be aware of how you want to source your music. If you want to use CD+G discs, then you need a traditional karaoke machine. But with the availability of karaoke online, you may not want to collect a bunch of CD+Gs.
All machines allow you to plug in your devices through an audio cable for streaming from the internet. But today, Bluetooth can be a way better option. With Bluetooth, you can wirelessly send your audio to the karaoke machine. Then you can read the lyrics from the screen. This frees you to move around, project the lyrics elsewhere, and not be tethered to the audio cable.
You should lastly know what sort of sound quality you need. Traditional karaoke machines are kind of designed to redirect the audio elsewhere. So your karaoke machine doesn’t need to have the best audio. But if you need the machine to play music alone at a crowded party, a PA system will be more suited to your needs. Basically, just know that it’s a trade-off. Great sound quality will make accessing lyrics a bit harder. If the lyric set-up is easy, the sound quality will be a little lower.
What is a Karaoke Machine?
History Of Karaoke
Karaoke first came into being in the early 1970s. It immediately took off in the Asian market. North America was much slower to embrace karaoke. People could sing along with their favorite songs and bond over a love of music. Now, karaoke is a multi-billion-dollar worldwide industry popular in all corners of the globe.
What Is Karaoke?
In karaoke, someone can choose a song they like and an instrumental version of the song plays. There is a nearby screen displaying the words so the singer can sing along. It comes in many forms, from home machines to Youtube videos. Karaoke nights are popular at bars. There’s usually several screens that allow the audience to sing along with the performer. In parts of Asia, people rent out a karaoke room with their friends. They pay hourly and get to sing as much as they want. They control the screen with a remote.
So.. what exactly is the machine?
A karaoke machine is a home system designed to streamline your karaoke process. It allows you to stream your lyrics, background music, and vocals through one machine. Many stand alone, with screens to display the lyrics and a speaker for the audios. They also hook up to your home entertainment system. You can display the graphics on your big screen and pump the music through your home surround sound.
Karaoke machines make karaoke more accessible to everyone in their home circle. It can be more inviting to sing along with your friends at home, rather than a large group of strangers at a bar. Many karaoke machines also offer voice modulators. Echo and pitch correction can make karaoke more fun and less stressful.
A karaoke machine is also a great way to get a party started at home. Music is universal. It connects everyone. There are many songs that have stood through the ages and become great in every corner of the world. You would be hard pressed to find someone who can’t sing along with I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. Karaoke is a fun way for guests who don’t know each other well to connect over a love of the same music. It’s also a great conversation starter.
How Does A Karaoke Machine Work?
A karaoke machine used to work in only one way. A user would insert a CD+G disc with the song they wanted and sing along. Lyrics would be displayed on the TV screen or karaoke machine.
CD+G discs are just like normal audio CDs, but they also have the ability to store and playback graphics. In the case of karaoke, those graphics are the lyrics. They used to be the only way for people to enjoy karaoke.
CD+G are limiting in the sense that people are left singing the same songs over and over again. The only way around that is to amass a gigantic CD+G library, which is expensive and cumbersome. The people who bothered to have huge stores of karaoke songs typically ran the karaoke nights at bars. If a person wanted to choose from a giant collection of hits, they had to go to their local karaoke night.
Today, with our modern technology, we are much less limited in our selections. There are multiple ways to get songs playing through your karaoke machine. A popular form being employed is using a USB flash stick. You can download any song you want off of a massive digital library. The song gets placed on your USB stick and plugged into the machine. One stick can hold hundreds of songs, and you can scroll through them easily on your machine.
Another popular way to access karaoke songs is through YouTube. Unfortunately, many machines do not have the capability to access YouTube directly through Bluetooth. However, if you have an HDTV with the YouTube app, you can access the song on your TV. You can then stream your microphone sound through the karaoke machine. You can also get YouTube on your phone and read the lyrics on your phone. Meanwhile, you can stream all the audio through the karaoke machine with an audio cable. There are many options depending on what you have available in your home. It also depends on where you will be using your karaoke machine.
What to Look for in a Karaoke Machine
Music is something that brings people together. Regardless of race, class, gender or sexuality, everyone sings along with Piano Man. A karaoke machine is a great way to ensure that your parties will always be fun. They cut through the awkwardness when your guests don’t know each other well. If you bust out a karaoke machine, everyone will be best friends in a matter of minutes.
There are many great home karaoke machines available. They take all the complex audio equipment from the bar and condense it into one simple machine. There are lots of different features and options available. What you want depends on how you’ll be using the machine. Here are some things you should look out for:
One of the biggest benefits of a karaoke machine is that is can go where your television cannot. Most any machine will hook up to the television. But if you want to set up the karaoke elsewhere, a screen is essential. This will display the lyrics without being tethered to the TV. It can also help the singers face the crowd. If the singer is facing the TV screen, then they’re not looking at the audience. With the lyrics on the machine and the TV, the singer can face the audience and read from the screen on the machine. Meanwhile, the audience sings along from the lyrics on the TV behind the performer.
You may not need speakers. You may have an awesome set already. But if you don’t, you need to be careful to buy a karaoke machine with great speakers. Karaoke gets rowdy and loud. Everyone will sing along, so you need a sound system that can provide an ample backing track.
I don’t mean age of the system; I mean age of the user. Your children will have very different needs than a grown-up party. For young children, a lightweight machine they can roam around the house with is best. They will also appreciate more noises and effects.
Kids need a machine with more simple usability. They’ll want to be able to operate the machine free of excessive cords, wires and USB inputs.
Adults will want more song choices and better sound quality. Adults will have no problem with hooking up the TV, Bluetooth, or a USB flash stick. The best karaoke machine for adults can stream videos from Youtube through Bluetooth. It will also be loud enough to be heard over all the drunk people singing along.
Gone are the days when you had to buy CD+G discs with the karaoke tracks you wanted. CD+G is a traditional CD that holds an audio track and graphics. In the case of karaoke songs, the graphics are the lyrics. Today, you can get plenty of karaoke songs on Youtube for free. In fact, these days, a machine that only takes CD+G discs is outdated and highly impractical. Most will have an audio input. This will allow you to play the Youtube video on your phone and run the audio through your machine’s audio. But then you'll have to read the lyrics off of your tiny phone screen. A machine that can connect through Bluetooth is the best because it will pick up the graphics as well as the audio.
An option on newer machines is plugging in a USB flash stick. You can download an endless number of karaoke videos onto your hard drive or flash stick. You plug in the external storage, and you are ready to go! This frees you from the constrains of Wi-Fi. It also saves you collecting dozens of CD+G discs and carting them around.
Karaoke can be scary for many people. Voice effects can make it a little easier. They can mask many mistakes and make your voice sound much better than it actually is. The most common voice effect is echo, but some have extra, silly ones like robot or alien voices. Make sure you have the option to turn it off, in case you have the next Whitney Houston at your party.
To help your voice sound even better, many professional units come with an optional echo effect, pitch control, equalizers, and more. These are important features since everyone will have more fun when they sound better singing. The Auto Voice Control (AVC) feature can sense when you have stopped singing ,maybe to take a breath, and fills in the gaps with the recorded vocals. When you start singing again, the recorded vocals are muted and you just hear your voice.
You definitely want to have the option to hook up at least two microphones. How else can people sing the ever-popular Picture by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock? Two people can share a mic, sure. But if you start attempting Lady Marmalade, it will be nearly impossible to fit four people on one mic. Many machines come with one microphone included, with an outlet for a second.
During parties, the machine could get knocked around a bit, so a good one should be able to withstand some light abuse. A sturdy construction will ensure that you get many years of use out of it.
Even professional units can offer limited options when it comes to connectivity, so you will want to pay close attention to this feature to make sure the connectivity it offers will work for you. Will you use just karaoke CDs to play music? Or will you want to download the newest songs online and play them with an SD card, MP3 player, or smartphone/tablet? These are things you must consider before making your purchase. You also have to pay attention to the output options. Some have HDMI, RCA, or stereo connections. Having those output connections will be very useful if you will be using the machine at a commercial venue. An added bonus is if you can also connect a keyboard or guitar when you want to play your own music.
This is usually a given when it comes to professional karaoke machines and is precisely why you are looking into purchasing a professional unit. The sound should be crystal clear. In a commercial setting, the speakers must be powerful enough to fill a large area. If you plan on connecting the machine to professional speakers, make sure it has the right kind of amplifiers to power the speakers. If you will purchase your own set of speakers, PA speakers are better than stereo speakers. Three-way PA speakers provide great highs, mids, and bass sounds with fantastic clarity.
This is a component that is very useful since it allows you to adjust different audio signals to create a great balance. The power of the signal is then amplified before it is sent to the speakers, creating a polished sound.
The Different Types of Karaoke Machines
There are 4 main types of karaoke machines. Knowing these types will help you to decide which one will work best for you.
Technology is evolving so quickly these days. Karaoke machines are no exception. As our technology has changed, so has the functioning of karaoke machines. There are now two distinct types of karaoke machines on the market today.
As the name suggests, this type of machine comes with everything built-in that you will need to do karaoke. They come with an integrated CD player to play karaoke CDs. All-in-one systems do not usually come with a collection of karaoke songs so you will need to have your own karaoke CDs. If you already have your own library of karaoke CDs, an all-in-one system will work great for you. They conveniently have a built-in monitor so that you can read the lyrics as you sing along to your favorite songs.
However, the screens are quite small, usually not more than 14 or 15-inches. Because of this, they might not work well if you will use the machine in a large area and you want everyone to see the lyrics, not just the singer. All-in-one systems are still a great option if you don’t want to have to purchase extra equipment. They also work well if you want a more portable option.
TV Monitor System
This type of karaoke machine is great for use with a crowd of people. Instead of the lyrics being displayed on a small built-in screen, you hook the machine up to a TV using an RCA cable to display the lyrics on the TV screen. Unlike all-in-one systems, some TV monitor systems come with some karaoke songs. Some have quite a large library of songs to choose from. Other ones you may have to purchase all of the songs separately. The TV that you will hook it up to needs to be quite large in order for the lyrics to be easily read. These types of systems can be hooked up to your existing speaker system.
If you already have a great speaker system, this is a good option for you. The ability to hook up your own speakers is a convenient feature because even if the system’s built-in speakers aren’t powerful enough for your liking, you have the option of using external ones. TV monitor systems have a karaoke CD player. Some designs are as small as a DVD player, making them easily portable.Built-in Microphone. This is the least bulky option when it comes to karaoke machines. It is simply a microphone with a built-in song selection. It comes with an RCA cable so that you can hook it up to a TV monitor and read the lyrics.
You have to use a TV monitor along with it since there is no other way to see the lyrics. This type comes with a cartridge which has some pre-loaded songs on it. Some have as many of 300 songs already on them. If you want more songs, you can purchase separate cartridges. Built-in microphones come with a stereo system connection so that you hook it up to speakers to hear the music. Some have their own built-in speakers. This type of karaoke machine is by far the most portable option. Some have sound effects that you can apply to your voice.
What is becoming more and more popular today is to buy a PA system and use it as a karaoke machine. They are very similar to karaoke machines, except that they cannot process graphics. They also tend to have a better sound quality. They are much more versatile. They can be used for dance parties, tailgating, making announcements, or band practice.
The down-side to a high-quality audio system is you’ll have to read the lyrics elsewhere. If you have one person singing, they can plug the phone into the speaker. Then they read the lyrics off of the phone. But half the fun of karaoke is audience participation.
This is why it can be a little bit trickier to use a PA system for karaoke. First of all, an external audio source must be hooked up. You can’t just pop in a CD+G disc. Also, if you want to display the lyrics for the whole room, you’ll have to figure out your own way to get them on the screen. You can stream the video to your TV through your phone’s Bluetooth connection. But this requires a bit more finesse with technology.
Basically, a PA will get you better sound quality and more versatility. But it will require a bit more work on your part, and definitely an intermediary device.
If you want to have all the latest songs, an MP3 system is the one for you. Instead of using karaoke CDs, you can download your favorite songs even before the album is released. Make sure you download the special karaoke versions of songs so that the lead vocal track can be removed. MP3 systems can conveniently be used along with a USB or smart phone to play your favorite tunes.
With this feature, you will have access to an unlimited number of songs. MP3 systems come with microphones and a remote to control the system. Some MP3 systems have small built-in screens but other require a TV hook up to read the lyrics. They are becoming widely popular for their flexibility in connectivity to play songs. They come in a wide range of prices so it should not be difficult to find one that fits in with your budget.
Best Karaoke Machine Brands
There are a few companies that make really great karaoke products. Buying from them is great because you’ll know you’re getting a great product.
Singing Machine is a company that has been manufacturing traditional karaoke machines for decades. They have a wide range of products. Some are run on more traditional media, such as CD+G discs. CD+G is a type of CD that also can display graphics, like lyrics. Others have evolved with the times. They have machines that run on Bluetooth, ones that are compact, and ones with built-in screens.
As technology has grown, many people have settled for cheap, makeshift karaoke setups. They’ll hook up their laptops to the surround sound with no speaker. There are also apps for karaoke in small groups. Many companies have been unable to compete. But the Singing Machine has managed to grow in spite of the change in the electronics market. Their products are affordable and do a better job than the apps and substitutes out there.
ION Audio doesn’t make karaoke machines, but portable PA systems. If you buy from ION Audio, you’ll have to work out the visuals yourself externally. However, their speakers are so cool, it’s a fine price to pay. They can be used for far more than just karaoke. Their speakers are wireless and lightweight. You can bring them camping, to the beach, or tailgating. They have booming noise and lots of cool features.
Getting a speaker from ION Audio for karaoke does require a bit more work on your part. You’ll have to hook up an external audio source. You won’t be able to play straight from the machine. You’ll also have to read the lyrics off of your tiny external device. The other option it to hook up an external source, like a laptop, then hook that up to a screen. Whatever you do, it requires a bit more work than a traditional machine, that you can just plug it in and go.
DOK is a small electronics company based in Florida. They make primarily karaoke machines. They have a wide range of dozens of high-quality machines. Whatever you need, they have it. Some are very small and highly portable. Others are bulkier. Their machines all have docking stations for your devices, including iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries. They have great features, such as recording, playback, and remote controls. They even provide units in different colors, black and silver. Their units include a disc with 300 songs to get you started. Many can be powered by your car, for karaoke anywhere!
Electrohome came into being in 1907 in Canada. They have manufactured all sorts of electronics. They have earned themselves a reputation for high quality.
Electrohome isn’t known for their karaoke machines. They don’t have as extensive of a collection as Singing Machine and DOK. However, the units they have are outstanding. Their karaoke machines are lightweight and portable. They look sleek, with a simple black finish. They have simple usability and loud sound output. They are also super modern, with hookups for your smartphone.
Akai is one of the foremost audio suppliers in the world. They make premium audio recording and mixing equipment. Their products are being used in the best recording studios around. Karaoke machines almost seem below their caliber of design.
But luckily for us, they do create karaoke machines, and great ones at that. They pull out all the stops with design and audio. Their most popular units create a party feel with flashing lights. Karaoke speakers will never be able to match your surround sound. But if you want a unit to stand its own on in terms of audio, Akai is the brand for you.
Akai’s selection is a bit limited, but they have enough that you should be able to find one to suit your needs. They have ones that take CD+G, as well as ones with docking stations for your smartphones.
Karaoke USA is (as the name suggests) completely dedicated to karaoke products. They offer multiple high-end systems for a variety of different situations. Karaoke USA is a partner of DOK. They sell and distribute the same products. While some are branded DOK and others are branded as Karaoke USA, they are interchangeable.
How to Karaoke
Avid karaoke fans often drag their reluctant friends to karaoke night. These karaoke newcomers are typically terrified to sing in front of a group of people. Luckily, it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of! Karaoke is about having a good time and appreciating good music. It has very little to do with your singing skills.
Having a karaoke party at home feels a lot safer, as most people will know each other. It’s also an instant ticket to fun, especially if your guests don’t know each other well. People will bond over their favorite songs and become friends quickly.
Hooking Up Your Karaoke Machine
Every machine is slightly different, but hooking them up is all relatively the same. Every karaoke machine should be able to hook up to your television. You should them be able to run audio and visuals through your TV. There are several different types of cables that will connect your devices. It's up to the brand which one your machine will use. Most choose to use standard A/V cables. There will be two or three ends protruding from a wire. They will have different colors. You simply connect the ends into the plugs with corresponding colors. There will be a set of plugs on the back of your karaoke machine and a set on your TV. Just make sure you plug into the “output” on your karaoke machine and the “input” on your television. Then you have to choose to stream from the A/V hookups on your television. You’ll have to go into your television’s menu to find the spot. Each television is different.
The great thing about old school A/V cables is that they work in any device. That includes DVD players and old televisions. HDMI cables are popular today, but they won’t connect to an old TV. And you don’t need HD graphics to read karaoke lyrics.
You will also have to connect your microphones. The holes should be clearly labelled. They are usually located on the front or the top of the machine.
Picking A Song
Many machines still use standard CD+G discs. They’re basic CDs that also have the capability to hold and playback graphics. These are great. They’re reliable, easy to use, and free from Wi-Fi. You choose the song you want, put in the cd, choose the track, and you’re good to go. But relying solely on CD+Gs are so limiting. There are endless karaoke versions of all your favorite songs online for free.
Song choice is the most important part of karaoke. No one cares how good of a singer you are. They just want to rock out and sing along to their favorite songs. Therefore, the best songs to do are songs that the most number of people love and will be able to sing along with. Choosing the classics are best. Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Destiny’s Child, Journey, and Queen always go over well in a crowded room. Who doesn’t sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody every time it’s on the radio?
Once you choose a song, if you’re nervous, ask a friend up to sing with you. Don’t worry about sounding like the recording. And if you get to the bridge and have no idea how it’s sung, don’t stress. Most likely, the audience is too preoccupied singing along to judge you. In fact, most of the time, there is someone else who knows that part and will lead the charge. Just listen for someone singing something that sounds right, and follow their lead. There’s no way to mess up karaoke. As long as you’re having a good time, everyone else will too. Actually, the only way to screw up karaoke is to sit in the corner sulking. No one likes a wet blanket.