Karaoke – A new phenomenon
Karaoke is a relatively new phenomenon. There is some confusion about where it started and by whom. It seems to have been in 1971 that a Japanese singer and inventor created the Juke-8 for people to sing-along to. Some push it back before that to the late 60s.
We concur with the 60s as we remember our uncles standing on tables in the Ruskin Arms Pub in East London giving it a large one with an out of tune piano and after about ten pints.
Does that count as Karaoke?
It is a Filipino, Roberto Del Rosario who developed the Karaoke sing-along system in 1975, the original of the Best Karaoke Machines. Karaoke is popular the world over, but it is in the Far East and especially Japan and the Philippines where it is almost a national sport. It is managed differently, socially, in those countries to the way it is in the West.
To the people of Asia, it is now part of their culture.
- What is a Karaoke Machine?
- What are the benefits of owning a Karaoke Machine?
- Best Karaoke Machines For Adults
- Best Portable Karaoke Machines
- Best Karaoke Machine for Home
- Best Compact Karaoke Machines
- Best Karaoke Machine for TV
- Best Bluetooth Karaoke Machines
- Best Wireless Karaoke Machines
- Best Professional Karaoke Machines
- Best Cheap Karaoke Machines On The Market
- Best Karaoke Machine For Kids
- How Does A Karaoke Machine Work?
- Types Of Karaoke Machines
- What are the best Karaoke Machine Brands?
- What Karaoke Machine Accessories are available?
- How To Karaoke. Are there any rules?
- So what’s the Best Karaoke Machines?
What is a Karaoke Machine?
A very basic Karaoke machine is not a particularly complicated affair at all. It is simply a music player and some microphone inputs and a microphone or two, with an inbuilt amplifier and some speakers for the audio output. The system plays the music, the user uses the microphone to sing, and the audio is output through the same speaker system as the principal sound.
That really was all there was to the original systems, but of course today it has become big business, very big business in some countries, and there are some interesting developments in the machines.
Change the key…
One of the first major developments and perhaps the most critical improvement was understanding that not everyone sings in the same key. What is a comfortable range for one may be too high or to low for another. Men and women also tend to sing in different keys, so what happens when a woman wants to sing a song originally recorded by a man? That had to be addressed.
Machines were made that altered the pitch of the played music, thus allowing the key of the song played to be altered to suit the singer rather than the singer straining themselves to sing to the song. Now everyone could participate.
Another major development was the display of the lyrics of the songs on a screen. We don’t all know the words so a little help wouldn’t go amiss. A system developed that as each song played, the lyrics were scrolled through on a small, or in some cases a large screen for the singer to see and be able to read.
This has now become very sophisticated, as has the singer’s personal sound. Many machines today have effects for the voice, delay, reverb. EQ, etc. that is easily adjusted by each user and very easily on the machine itself.
Modern technology has developed systems, and now they run on CD+G, Laserdisc, VCD or DVD players and as the delivery systems have improved, so have the microphones that go with them.
Karaoke has come along way since the mid-70s. Our uncles would never recognize it.
What are the benefits of owning a Karaoke Machine?
If you grew up in the West, you probably didn’t have a Karaoke machine in the house. In many parts of SE Asia, they have them. Singing is an important part of their culture, and it is quite normal to have them at home, with parents encouraging their children to use them from an early age. As they get older and have their own families, this culture is passed on.
In the west, the only real exposure most people get to karaoke is in a bar or special karaoke venue. This can be a terrifying prospect for many and to be avoided at all costs. In Asia, there are of course the large bars and venues, but there are also smaller, more comfortable rooms which can be rented by a small party.
Fun for parties…
Having a karaoke machine at home actually has many benefits. It is fun at parties and celebrations at home with just a few friends where people do not feel so self-conscious and are more likely to be comfortable.
It is a good way to make sure there is always singing and music in the home, something the Asians have seen the benefits of and it can actually develop a skill set that maybe you never knew existed. The real benefit though is times like Christmas and other holidays when karaoke machines bring an extra level of fun and family closeness.
You might also find that you become quite a popular individual when others are organizing their parties and get-togethers and want something a little different. Let’s get the guy or girl over with the karaoke machine. You can decide whether that is good or bad.
And of course, some even rent themselves and their machine out for parties. There are people that make a very healthy living doing that.
The best reason to own one though is purely the fun aspect. They don’t need to be expensive to buy and are a bit of a change and something new.
Best Karaoke Machines For Adults
Karaoke USA GF840 DVD/CDG/MP3G Karaoke Machine
As we said earlier, karaoke machines have come a long way since their inception, and this is a good example of how far. It has a dramatic design with a large color screen centrally mounted and is easy to read. And will play any normal CDG or Karaoke DVD but also comes with three hundred MP3G songs on two discs.
It will also accept input from most personal devices such as smartphones, tablets, and iPads, mp3 players, etc. You can connect the audio/video outputs to your home entertainment system for a great sound or even connect it to your TV.
This best Karaoke Machines For Adults has a sing and record facility. Where if you are really impressed with your performance, you can record your vocal with the backing track to an SD card in mp3 format then play it back.
The Colour screen is 7 inches located on the front of the machine, and it has a power rating of 35 watts peak (25w RMS), so there is plenty of volume for when you need it. It has Bluetooth connectivity and remote control.
Sing a duet?
It comes with two microphones, and there are two inputs. Each has an analog echo control and individual volume controls. In an attempt to include everything you may need, there are video inputs and outputs and even a USB charger built-in for your devices.
If you’re wondering how many people it takes to carry all this tech around it only weighs just ten pounds and there is one plug to get it fired up.
It is a great little machine for just about anything. Plenty of power and facility stacked into it and at the price, it is a lot of entertainment for a small outlay.
- Packed with features and a great sound, which could make it one of the best Karaoke machines to buy?
- Good price.
- Built-in screen is a little small.
Best Portable Karaoke Machines
1 ION Audio Block Rocker Plus
Now here is a Karaoke machine that is going to wake up the neighbors. This machine carries a powerful 100w dynamic power amplifier, with a bass boost. That allows it to raise the temperature at any gathering. It has a two-way speaker system with an eight-inch woofer and tweeter to handle that power.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and will connect any of your Bluetooth enabled devices, giving you total access to your personal playlists. Built-on controls handle play and pause and track selections, and it even has an AM/FM with twenty presets. For non-Bluetooth devices like CD players, there is a separate ⅛” input.
There is a microphone input, and it comes with an XLR microphone and connecting cable.
Take it anywhere…
It weighs twenty pounds and so is very portable and to enable transportation it has a telescopic handle, two carrying handles and wheels. Constructed from rugged plastic, it is built to take a few knocks.
This best Portable Karaoke machine comes with a built-in battery that will give you approximately fifty hours of battery life, and it has a condition indicator, so you know when to recharge. It also comes with a power cord for times when the battery does give up. There is also a USB port for charging all your devices.
A Big sound!
This is a portable machine with a big output and features an iPod dock, and the rechargeable battery pack is a big asset. We wouldn’t call it the most visually attractive of machines. And it is a bit light on some of the facilities you often find on karaoke machines. The sound is big but lacks any real depth quality wise.
If you are looking for a loud machine, this will probably do the trick.
- A lot of power.
- Rechargeable battery.
- Easy to move about.
- iPod Dock.
- Not the prettiest of units.
- Sound quality is a little lacking.
2 Memorex MKS-SS2 SingStand 2 Karaoke System
If you are looking for a portable Karaoke machine, then they won’t come much more portable than this Memorex. It has the ability to connect up with most external music sources through the universal line in or through Bluetooth. And has extra inputs for either a second microphone or an instrument that will allow you to not only sing along but play along at the same time.
It doesn’t, however, contain a facility for reading lyrics while singing. To do that you will need to place your device on the cradle provided and you are therefore limited to reading from your phone or tablet. It does, however, sit at a good height at eye level but obviously is not as easy to read if there had been a screen.
Get in balance…
At the base of the stand, there is an audio control panel with volume control and a basic echo effect for the voice. Auto voice controls allow you to set the balance right to the music so you are heard. It has a clever facility, reducing the volume of the preloaded vocals of the track when you are singing and fading them back in when you stop.
It will also act as purely a speaker system if you want to sing with your own instrument.
A fun Karaoke machine…
At nine pounds, this best Portable Karaoke machine is very lightweight, and the telescopic stand will rise to about five feet. The 5-watt stereo speakers are built into the base of the unit.
This is a fun Karaoke machine that has been created with the minimum of fuss to make it easy to operate. It will struggle at louder venues because the output is quite small and the speakers are in the base, but as a portable unit, it works well.
- Easy to manage and very portable.
- Lowers the volume of the songs original vocals when you sing.
- Speakers in the base will make it hard to hear at times.
Best Karaoke Machine for Home
Singing Machine SML385UW Bluetooth Karaoke System
If you are looking for an inexpensive karaoke machine for home use for parties and special occasions, then this machine might be worth a look. This machine creates a party atmosphere with its 54 LED disco lights with dimmer switches. More flashing party lights surround the volume dial for added effect.
It has Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to connect to compatible devices and cables to connect to your TV to scroll down the lyrics. There is a line in to connect to any compatible audio devices.
Time to sing…
It comes with a microphone, but there is an extra jack socket for a further mic for those that might want to duet. This extra microphone would need to purchased seperately.
It has Auto Voice control that will quieten the songs vocal line while you sing and the facility to record your own performance via a USB port. There is some echo with a dial to control the amount applied to your voice and of course a microphone volume control.
It has a built-in speaker, and a two-digit LED display, and as a top loading option, it will play all your CD’s.
Light up the party!
As a quality sound machine, it is unlikely to win too many awards, but as a good home karaoke system, it is a good value for money. It is especially effective for house parties where the volume hasn’t got to be too high and the lights installed can create a good atmosphere.
It is a budget system, so it will not take endless use, but it isn’t built for that. It’s made to be used at home for parties or if a member of the family wants to sing. For that, it does very well at a very realistic price, easily making it the best Karaoke Machine for Home.
- Some fun lighting adds to the atmosphere.
- May not be built to take endless use
Best Compact Karaoke Machines
1 Electrohome Karaoke Machine Speaker System
What’s the difference between compact and portable. Well if it’s portable, the idea is that it will be carried around if it’s compact it’s more likely to stay in one place and not take up too much room. That’s what makes this Electrohome, the best Compact Karaoke Machine.
Being so easy to operate this little machine is ideal for smaller gatherings inside, such as birthday parties or other celebrations. It has an attractive, interesting design and at less than 5 pounds in weight isn’t going to take up too much storage space.
Get everyone involved…
It comes with a microphone, and there is a second input socket for a second mic that is not supplied if two want to sing together. It should be noted that the quality of the microphone with budget karaoke machines is not great, but then maybe you are only expecting an average sound.
If so, it is fine. It does not come with a display screen supplied, and you will need to connect it to your TV via the RCA cable supplied.
This unit will operate with CD, CD plus graphics, CDR and CDRW as its input. It will also hook up to your devices, mp3 player, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. If you want to use this option, you will have to purchase the 3.5mm cable, as it is not supplied.
Echo, echo, echo…
It comes with built-in speakers of a modest output and has an echo effect for applying to the vocal. There is a blue light attached to the controls to enhance the party effect. The balance control sets up the backing track and your vocal, so that one does not drown out the other.
All the operating controls are on the top of the unit, making use easy and practical.
Hours of fun…
It is a neat and useful machine that will bring hours of fun, especially for children. One of the assets it has is that it is so easy to use that a child will be able to use it easily.
All of this easily adds up to it being one of the best Compact Karaoke Machines.
- Easy to use.
- Very inexpensive.
- No built-in screen.
2 Behringer Minimix Mix800 Ultra-Compact Karaoke Machine
Behringer is a German company who make great products for the music industry at a relatively cost-effective price. They are especially known for their effects pedals. We are, therefore, expecting this unit to be a good quality machine.
It is not a large machine at 10 x 5 x 2 inches and weighing under two pounds. Compact it is, but it also has a sturdy construction and is made from typically Behringer high-quality components.
Enhance your voice…
This best Compact Karaoke Machine has been given a good range of voice effects including a dedicated two-band EQ to allow the user’s voice to be enhanced. This comes with control dials for the bottom and top end of the frequencies and a built-in echo and reverb processor to really give the vocals a lift.
There is a six digit LED output meter for precise level control. As we said, Behringer makes great effects pedals, and this knowledge is being used in this machine to set it above some of the others at this level. On the control panel are two jack socket inputs for microphones each with their own level control.
Lower the original vocals…
The Voice Canceller is a useful tool. It will lower the level of the recorded vocal to allow your vocal to sit on top of the music, and will remove this from any stereo source. It may though also have an effect on the sound of the retained backing track in a small way, and it may not remove all of the vocal. This is not a criticism just an observation.
To connect your CD or mp3 player, there are stereo line inputs and outputs.
This really is a very good machine, compact, lightweight, and easy to use and at the price represents great value for money. Being such a compact unit, along with all the other great features, makes this easily the best Compact Karaoke Machine.
- Good vocal effects from Behringer.
- Well designed and sturdy unit.
- Ability to lower the original vocals in volume.
- Built-in effects to enhance your voice.
- No microphones supplied.
Best Karaoke Machine for TV
Akai KS213 Portable CD&G Karaoke System
Akai is a well-known Japanese company that has built a reputation for quality and reliability. Since the 1980s it has become a household name for home electronics and especially musical products.
This karaoke machine is a good example of the quality they produce. It is well-built and has been deliberately made to be easy to use. The top loader will take CD, CD+G, CDR, and CDRW, and the auxiliary input will allow you to connect your devices and a cradle to secure them is provided.
There is an easy connection to your TV, which makes this machine ideal for using one to display the lyrics.
A disco in your home…
To add to the fun, there are multi-color lighting effects. The unit is supplied with a microphone though there is an extra mic input jack socket for another if you want to do duets.
Simple controls for the enhancement of the vocals include an echo effect to add a little to the voice and also a balance control to adjust the volume of the performer’s voice against the backing track when using a multiplex system. An Auto voice control is also built in which will reduce the level of the voice on a pre-recorded work and allow the performer to be heard.
What do you want to sing?
With its flashing lights and all-around build quality, this machine will be a winner for kids and their parties. If it has any negatives, it is that it has no Bluetooth connection and also that the output is not very loud. Connected to a TV, though, the volume will be fine and the words clearly visible. These add up to it being the best Karaoke Machine for TV.
It’s a good machine by a quality manufacturer at a very good price.
- Well made with some nice features.
- Good price.
- Echo effect.
- Auto voice control feature.
- No Bluetooth.
- Not the loudest of systems.
Best Bluetooth Karaoke Machines
1 ION Audio Tailgater Plus
The ION Tailgater Plus is a powerful Karaoke machine that is ideal for outdoor venues as well as parties and gatherings at home. Its 50-watt speaker system produces a big sound, and this can be added to through a bass boost that is switchable.
An important feature of this machine is it’s Bluetooth compatibility. You can send music to the machine from any Bluetooth enabled device. This means, of course, that your playlists stored on your smartphone or tablet are available to use.
Up to 100 feet…
The playback controls are also very good. There are dedicated Bluetooth track controls that work in a similar way to your CD player, that is play or pause, rewind or next. Bluetooth range is approximately 100 feet from your device, which is more than adequate in most situations.
Non-Bluetooth devices are also taken care of with an aux input, and they have also included an AF/FM radio.
The unit comes with a microphone and cable, but on the machine, there is only one mic input. If you want to use two microphones, you will have to buy a splitter or a mini mixer.
It is well-built and quite sturdy and built from composite materials, and to allow portability a carry handle. There is a rechargeable battery and a USB port for charging smartphones and other devices.
Won’t get effected…
There is little in the way of assisting the performer in terms of effects, just a volume control. Echo or any other effects have been excluded.
We think that if they had added just one effect, it would have made a big difference to the sound. The volume is quite loud and punchy but is rather lacking even with the bass boost. It will make a good public address system where effects on the voice are not required.
- Tough, rugged build.
- Excellent Bluetooth connectivity.
- Has plenty of volume.
- Quite expensive, given the lack of features.
- No echo, reverb, or other effects.
- Lacks bass.
2 Singing Machine iSM1060BT All-Digital HD Karaoke System with Bluetooth
The Singing Machine arrived looking like it had got lost from an episode of Dr. Who or Star Wars. Interesting design and one that will certainly cause some comment. It has a lot of things going on, but we must say it all looks a little bit complicated. More on that in a minute.
Let’s have a look at the features on board…
It comes with two wired microphones that both have an echo effect. There is an 8 Gb flash drive and a built-in App. The App is to download any music you want to a USB drive. This has Bluetooth connectivity, but this only works for the sound and won’t operate with the lyrics.
It comes with an HDMI output jack for connection to a TV and has a high definition video line in. It has the pedestal and the cradle to lay your device.
This machine will not connect to a laptop, and neither has it got a song key change facility.
May have lost its way…
Returning to the complexity of use, it does seem to have lost its way a little. What you need from a Karaoke machine is ease of use. It is for fun purposes and the need for Apps and downloads and Bluetooth only working with sound not lyrics will not enthuse people.
There are some sound facilities onboard and two microphones and some good connections, but these we feel are outweighed by having to use Apps to get songs that may not have lyrics.
It is not cheap either, so when you consider this, be prepared for a little preparation before it can be used.
- Has two microphones.
- Built-in echo.
- Good Bluetooth connectivity.
- Rather too complex to use easily.
Best Wireless Karaoke Machines
Wireless Portable PA Speaker System
To all intents and purposes when you first look at this karaoke machine, it reminds you of one speaker of a PA system.
Manufactured by Pyle, a US audio company, they have produced a sound system that is compatible with Bluetooth for wireless streaming of audio. It operates with your devices, smartphones, tablets, iPhone and IPad and Android devices and is suitable for use at home or outdoors.
It is a powerful piece of kit with potentially many uses. The 400w of power is handled by a sub-woofer and piezo horn speakers which give a full sound experience. It comes with a handheld microphone.
Every connection known to man…
The onboard facilities are impressive with mic and guitar inputs, a USB port for mixing or audio blending, stereo line input/output and an SD card slot for mp3. Included is an FM radio and it has an LCD display for monitoring performance.
It enjoys some control over the performers sound with treble and bass controls and an echo unit along with volume for mic and guitar. The use of guitar is optional, and you could plug in another instrument, such as a keyboard, or another microphone.
Record your performance…
The active speaker can record audio as streamed or through the microphone, and it has a talk-over facility which is ideal for Karaoke. It has a battery that can be recharged and is made from a tough, rugged composite material.
Its features are good and are ideally suited for outdoor functions due to the power rating. The wireless option makes this a very good machine for easy use with devices and makes it the best Wireless Karaoke Machine.
Stay in one place…
It is 26 inches tall and weighs 23 pounds, so it takes a little bit of moving around — nevertheless a good basic sound machine with good connectivity.
- Tough build.
- Powerful rating.
- Quite heavy to carry too far.
Best Professional Karaoke Machines
1 Singtrix Party Bundle Premium Edition Home Karaoke System
If you are serious about Karaoke and want to give friends and family a big party Karaoke experience, then the Singtrix party bundle is certainly worth having a look at.
Having been included on several US TV shows, it has a marketing factor that may have affected the price, but it is still a quality machine. It is packed with so many features it is impossible to mention them all, so we will itemize the most popular.
Get those harmonies…
It has over three hundred effects that cover a wide range of vocals. The natural pitch correction is quite an advantage for most people, and it will even create up to four-part harmonies from your vocal line.
It will transpose gender and make girls sound like boys and vice versa or even make the vocal sound like Popeye or Olive Oil or a variety of announcer style sounds. All the fun stuff, of course.
All at the touch of a button…
The Company made and supplied microphone activates the harmonies if you want them at the touch of a button and it has a standard vocal reducing option when you want to sing over a song that has a vocal already.
It’s quite a powerful machine into the bargain having a 40-watt speaker with sub-woofer. It connects to any device that has a headphone port, so it is advisable to check your devices as some newer models have this facility omitted.
It comes with a mic stand with an extended boom arm and a holder for devices.
A lot of fun…
It is a Karaoke machine for all occasions inside and out. The features are really good, and the whole bundle will be a lot of fun. It is very expensive when compared with most of its competitors, but then they do not include the endless features it provides. It is easily one of the best Professional Karaoke Machines currently available.
- Great features.
- Add harmonies to your vocals.
- Sing like a girl or a boy?
- Relatively easy to use once it is set up.
- If you want a second mic, you have to buy it from the company.
- Lyrics are read from devices rather than a screen.
2 Wireless Portable PA Speaker System by Pyle
Pyle does like to make their Karaoke systems loud and proud, and this one comes with 600 watts of power. It is built tough, and yet it is also quite compact and weighs in at 26 lbs. More about the weight in a minute.
It has Bluetooth connectivity, and you can connect and stream from your devices, and it also has a useful iPod dock connector. There is a wireless microphone included with the unit, but you can actually connect up two microphones at the same time — plenty of scope than for the Supremes to turn back the clock. The third input can also be used as an instrument input if desired. There is also a ¼” audio output.
Easy to operate…
The sound system is powerful and uses an 8” stereo speaker, and its bass response is increased by the use of ported enclosures.
The controls are placed on the front of the unit where they are easy to operate and include volume controls for each channel and bass and treble controls, and there is also an echo facility. And it comes with a well-built, and secure 35mm mounted stand to lift the unit up to eye level for better sound projection.
Take it with you…
Returning to the weight of the machine, some may find it a little heavy, but it has been fitted with caster wheels and a telescopic handle for easy transportation. It has a rechargeable battery and also a 12-volt power DC input converter. LED lights show the battery condition.
This is a big powerful machine that puts out a lot of sound. It has some good features but no lyric reading options other than your own devices. It is though realistically priced and is an ideal unit for outdoor functions and parties. Again, it is one of the best Professional Karaoke Machines available today.
- Very powerful.
- Has some good onboard features and facility.
- Re-chargeable battery.
- Ported enclosures for improved bass response.
- Battery power tends to run out quickly.
Best Cheap Karaoke Machines On The Market
Singing Machine STVG785W Karaoke Machine with Disco Lights
If you want an all singing all dancing Karaoke machine that is at a reasonable price, then this could be the machine for you.
This has a lot going for it and includes a lot of the features and the facility you would expect to find on a more expensive machine. It will play CD and CD+G Karaoke discs and also MP3+G music that is routed through a USB. And will record the performer and the music to USB for play or download later. It also has an Aux in to connect to other devices.
Add some echo…
It comes with a microphone, albeit not a high-quality mic, and has two microphone jack sockets if you want to add an extra singer. On the vocal inputs, there is an echo facility to enhance the performers voice a little and an Auto Voice control which will reduce the vocal on a pre-recorded song so that the performer can sing over it.
A big advantage this little machine has over some of its more expensive competitors is that it comes with a 7” full-color screen for displaying the lyrics. The unit also comes with RCA output jacks to connect to your TV if you want to display lyrics on a big screen.
Comes with a light show…
This is a great little machine for parties, and kids are going to love it. Their enjoyment is completed by some flashing disco lights on the front from where you fully expect to see Barry Gibb emerge at any second.
It has a built-in speaker and handles for carrying, and the unit includes a demo disc and some songs.
It is a great little package with just about everything you need to get your karaoke party started and keep it going.
- Some good features built-in.
- 7″ color screen.
- Flashing lights.
- Little bit lightweight and needs careful handling.
Best Karaoke Machine For Kids
1 Singing Machine SML-283P CDG Karaoke Player
This might be a very sexist thing to say, and we certainly don’t mean to offend anyone. But, if you want to dress something up to catch your young daughter’s eye, then this is how you do it.
This child’s Karaoke system is made by Singing Machine and is just brilliant for a young child’s party or any other occasion. A great color scheme designed for the maximum effect. This lightweight, portable Karaoke system is great fun and at a great price.
Plug and play…
It has a front loading player that will take music CD’s and CD+G and is ready to just plug in and play. It comes with a microphone, and on the front panel, it has two jack inputs to take an extra microphone. Each of the inputs has its own separate volume controls. Both inputs also feature a voice echo effect to enhance voice and balance control.
It has a built-in speaker that isn’t the loudest you will hear, but it is for indoor use. The big winner with this little machine is the flashing disco light arrangement on the front that is going to light up any party. (pun intended).
Connect it all up…
You can connect your external devices via the Line in, and it has RCA cables to connect to your TV for the lyrics.
This is a brilliant little machine that the kids are going to love and at a price that is just great. We suspect though that there might be some ‘big kids’ also wanting a go. Us? Whatever gave you that idea?
Good fun, but be careful…
Let us just make one point about this machine. It is made for a child, so it is not the most rugged thing you will see. It needs careful handling at all times, and if it is knocked about a bit, it will break. It’s not built for that. It’s good fun, but be careful. It could be one of the best karaoke machines for kids.
- Great fun for big and little kids with some good features.
- Flashing lights.
- Needs to be handled with care.
2 Singing Machine SML385BTBK Karaoke System
Another great little Karaoke machine from the Singing Machine company. A US company they have certainly looked at the market in Asia and said ok that’s how you do it and then produced some good product.
Designed for the younger party, it has a top loading CD player. You can play music CDs or CD+G’s. And has Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream audio from any Bluetooth compatible device, e.g. smartphone, tablet, iPad or mp3 player.
Thousands of Karaoke favorites…
It has RCA output jacks to connect to your TV to allow you to display the lyrics. There is also access to the Singing Machine App where you can download thousands of Karaoke favorites that will make the party go with a swing.
It comes with a microphone, and there are two mic input sockets on the front so two people can sing together. Balance and Volume controls handle the levels, and there is an echo effect to give the voices a boost. The automatic voice control will take out most of the vocal from a recorded track to allow the performer to sing over just the backing.
Saturday Night Fever…
The front of the machine is not just for controls there is a 54 LED light barrage of disco lights so turn the lights in the room off and let Travolta take over. And a dimmer switch allows you to control how bright you may want them.
It isn’t the loudest you will hear. It has a built-in speaker, and as it is enclosed in a wood cabinet it manages to push out enough volume, but it is designed for indoor use, not a rock concert.
As usual with Singing Machine, they have produced a cost-effective little machine that is going to appeal to children. It needs to be handled with care, though. But regardless, it is still one of the best karaoke machines for kids.
- Good features.
- A great light show.
- Care needed when handling.
3 5th Generation Singstand MKS-SS5 Home Karaoke System
This is a Karaoke system from 5th Generation that has been designed for use at home for parties and small gatherings. It is Bluetooth compatible and will connect to any device with Bluetooth tech and has a universal line in from which external devices can be attached.
Connecting cords are provided to hook up smartphones, tablets, and mp3 players giving you Karaoke access to your own personal playlists.
Holds your device perfectly…
It has a cradle where you can place your device to read lyrics, and there is a strap that will hold it securely in place while you hold the microphone.
This machine offers you the chance to plug in any instrument, a guitar or keyboard maybe? So that you can play along whilst also singing.
Wired and wireless…
It is supplied with one wireless microphone and one wired microphone. Both are made of metal and are therefore quite sturdy. There are volume controls for both microphones and an echo effect.
However, the controls for the unit are not particularly well placed for ease of use in our opinion. Being located in the base of the unit makes them a little awkward to use. Likewise, the input sockets are also located in the base, which means they could be a little unstable if care is not taken.
Connect it to your TV…
It has two ten watt speakers which provide an adequate sound that is quite good, and there are connections for external speakers if required. You will need to connect your TV if you want access to lyrics.
The stand is adjustable in height and so can be made to accommodate most users.
We were really quite surprised at the cost of this machine, which does seem a little excessive when compared to similar.
- Two microphones of metal construction.
- Connection for external speakers.
- Rather expensive.
4 Sakar Frozen K02-11027 Flashing Lights with Water Karaoke Model
We’ve looked at Karaoke machines with lots of power, some with color screens, some with good music features and disco lights but we haven’t seen one before with a water feature. Yes, that is what this is about. A Karaoke machine with flashing lights and a water feature.
Time to get Frozen…
Based on the Disney films Frozen and Frozen 2, the machine features two characters from the movies Queen Elsa and her sister Princess Anna.
It has been designed for children aged from 5 to about 14, and it plays heavily on the Disney films theme interest to make it attractive. And is small and lightweight and can be carried just about anywhere.
Designed for children…
It should, however, be appreciated that this is really a children’s toy rather than a serious Karaoke machine and is therefore designed for a child’s use.
The Disney characters are featured on the front of this machine. It is decorated in pastel colors and has a top loader for CD input. There are some very basic song selection controls.
A water feature…
The flashing lights are courtesy of a few small LED type fittings on the front and in a darkened room will be more visible than in a room fully lit, and the water feature is a modest affair with water that circulates around the machine.
It is just 12 inches high and weighs six pounds and has a carrying handle. And is made of plastic and so care must be taken with its use as we doubt it will take any serious knocks.
It comes with a very basic microphone and has audio outputs. There is also an instruction manual.
As we said earlier, this is basically a child’s toy rather than a serious Karaoke machine for children, but it must be said it is rather an expensive item for what it is. However, because children love it so much, it is still one of the best karaoke machines for kids.
- Attractively designed for Disney fans.
- An interesting water feature.
- Rather expensive.
- Build quality might be vulnerable.
- Lights are not really more than some colors in the background.
5 LP Kids Karaoke Machine with 2 Microphones and Adjustable Stand
This is the Little Pretender (LP) karaoke machine designed for the child market, preferably from age four to ten. It is made from plastic but is well made and quite sturdy. And is easy to use and is ideal for home use or small parties.
It has a simple design but does have some interesting features which we shall talk about in a minute. The unit comes with two amplifying microphones and a stand that is adjustable, and that can be taken down easily and quickly.
Get the party started…
The sound quality is acceptable for what it is, and there is a volume control for the microphones. It has flashing lights and an AUX output. It runs on four AA batteries.
As we said, it has an interesting feature. The unit is controlled by children tapping the unit as it stands on the floor and one of the controls when tapped will reward the performer with applause. A clever idea for a child’s unit. It also has some basic disco flashing lights that will add to the atmosphere if it is being used at a party.
The stand will extend up to a height of about 40 inches from the base, but it will need careful handling so as not to fall over. An Aux output will connect the unit to most devices to stream music, including phones, tablets, and mp3 players.
It is a toy essentially and good fun for children’s parties, but that also means it is quite cheaply made. But with care, we see no reason why it should not be fine in gatherings. At the price, it is very inexpensive and is certain to be well-received by the kids.
- Some nice features
- Attractive design for a child.
- Will need careful handling.
How Does A Karaoke Machine Work?
The first thing to consider is what kind of karaoke machine it is, as there are quite a few variants these days. There are those that provide lyrics on a screen and those you must connect to an external source like a TV. There are even some that connect to phones and tablets.
Some come with lighting in various stages of use. And others that are very plain and just provide some backing music. And finally, there are those machines that will change the key of the song to suit the singer and others that will remove the vocals from a set song to allow you to sing to it.
Essentially though it works by the user holding a microphone and singing over a backing track that is provided by the machine, a connectable source like Bluetooth or an external device like a phone or tablet.
CD plus graphics…
The better machines and also usually the most expensive will use CD +G, which is a CD plus graphics. For this, they usually have their own screen, although some have an external source. These systems will scroll the lyrics across the screen while the music is playing. As well as give you a ‘bouncing ball’ to indicate the timing of the words.
It is not a complicated system at all, and once it is installed takes very little attention other than the changing of a track of music or adjustments to the vocal sound if the machine has that capability.
Keeps the interest high…
Because it is so easy to operate, the turnover in users is usually quite fast, which keeps participation active and interest high.
But whether you have a high-end system with all the bells and whistles, or a machine at home for private use, the basic principles are the same.
Take a backing track and add your voice over it.
So you’d like to teach the world to sing…
Music and singing, two of the great natural therapies we have and now it’s time to go out and join the millions who like a bit of a sing-song. And why not? It’s fun, it needn’t cost very much, and it can be very entertaining.
If you have kids they’re going to love it, but so will the bigger kids. Grandad can show how Crosby used to do it, Grandma will remind us of how we miss the likes of Doris Day, and your eldest daughter will prove Madonna may not be all she’s cracked up to be after all.
Swing that mic…
And if you can stand the volume and you are lucky your eldest son will not wreck the living room as he demonstrates how Roger Daltrey swings the mic like a rodeo star in Won’t Get Fooled Again. All in the confines of your own home, of course.
We have tried to delve into the world of Karaoke from a few different angles to try and give you the feel of it. Explain how it can be done, what equipment is available, what is good, what is not so good, and maybe even tear down a few misconceptions about it.
…that’s all that needs to be said. That is what it’s for. Nothing more, nothing less.
But what to buy that is the question and to answer that we need to take a step back for a minute and ask ourselves a question.
Who is it for?
Is it for the kids, or maybe as a family Christmas gift for everyone to use? Is it for parties for friends and family, or are you planning on using it at outdoor functions you may be involved with?
Whilst there may be a little overlap between potential uses, the main user group needs to be identified before you start looking. Kids may love the machine the adults use and even join in. But the adults won’t be able to get much from the machine that you bought just for the kids. That won’t work.
If it is for the kids…
The age of the children is relevant. Is it for very small children? If so what you actually might be buying is really a toy machine. That is fine. It will be easy to use, they will love it, it’s probably got flashing disco lights, and in one case we reviewed here a water feature.
But it may also be fairly cheaply made and rather vulnerable to break. Be prepared for that. Also, that the sound quality is not going to be up there with the family stereo system, it just won’t. The sound is likely to be not so good, as will be the performance of the machine but that’s ok. It’s not trying to win any sound quality competitions. It’s for small kids to have fun.
A little older…
Older children are less of a problem in many ways. They may be a bit more demanding in terms of the sound quality of the machine and “does this mic make my voice sound bad”? They may even want a few extra effects like an echo on the voice and an extra mic to sing with someone else?
But, generally speaking, they will get the fun aspect. Buying for older children, the unit is liable to be better made and be a bit more rugged. More expensive possibly, but it will have a lot of the features that these older ones will love. It may also be a little more complex to use, but then Mum and Dad are there to set it up and then listen from the next room. (Oh… you won’t be invited in to listen.)
The design of what you buy is important for this group. Some are very stable machines, and others rather resemble microphone stands with a control box at the base. Stability may be an issue. You don’t want it knocked over and broken.
One final issue with the older kids, will they want to take it to their friends to use? Good chance of that we think. So it needs to be compact and portable and easily transported. And, of course, also easy to set up unless you consider yourself the sound man or woman.
What about the next group?
The machine for the adults and family functions? What sort of facilities do you want? Do you want it to have a screen or will the TV do? Are you using your devices to play the music or will you acquire a Karaoke library? Will you want to leave it out or store it away after use? Will it be used outside the home?
All questions to be considered, but really all with fairly easy answers. The main question is likely to be whether you ever plan on using it elsewhere. If you are involved with an outside group or a club that will enjoy the experience will you want to take it with you? If so, it will need to be easily carried and set up and also be loud enough depending on where it will be used.
And so to the final user group…
Those that are planning to use the machine almost exclusively outdoors, or at least away from the home environment. A few things to consider here. You have to transport it. They can get quite heavy if you have to carry it a few hundred meters so maybe it might need wheels.
Will you need access to a screen for lyric reading? Where is that coming from? And volume. It will need to have a bit of power, especially if it is outside where sound quickly dissipates. The microphone quality will need to be of a higher standard and if you will be using it as a PA address system, then raising it up on a stand will be necessary.
It’s also got to be tough and rugged and ready to be moved about so anything plastic probably will not suffice.
You ought to set yourself a budget, and that again will depend on the user group. Some will be very cheap, but as you progress and the features and the quality increase, so will the price.
None of them though, go through the roof. It is a fairly cheap entertainment system.
And entertainment is the name of the game. Enjoy.
Types Of Karaoke Machines
Of all the types of Karaoke machines available, and there are hundreds, you can take the basic format and roughly group them into three headings.
They have slightly different features in terms of how they operate and in some cases if they are aimed at a specific market, but they all perform the same basic function.
We have already mentioned earlier that Karaoke is huge in parts of Asia both in the entertainment business but also in the home and in some countries people will look at you strangely if you say you haven’t got a machine at home. They are a valuable commodity and one that forms part of everyday life.
Keep yourself entertained…
The attraction of them is the excitement of singing in public either at parties or perhaps even in Karaoke bars, but they are also fun for entertaining yourself at home, and kids love them.
As we said, they fall into what can be described as three areas, but they all have the same basic function. That function is to provide backing music that has no lead vocal and providing lyrics to the song to enable you to sing along with it. The difference between the types of machine is in how they deliver that.
These three areas might be described as firstly the all-in-one machine with all the features and systems needed. Secondly, the karaoke system that works in conjunction with a secondary visual device, maybe a TV for displaying lyrics. And finally, the system that uses your devices via Bluetooth or other wireless operations to provide the music.
Let’s take a brief look at each…
The all-in-one system
This includes all you need, except for one thing. You can play music, read the lyrics, and hear the song you are singing. It will include built-in speakers, visual monitor, and CD or CD+G player. You will notice we said it didn’t include one thing. The actual music.
Really in the truest sense, it is not all in one because if you haven’t got a Karaoke library, you will have to get one, but if you have or when you acquire it then everything is there for a great party.
Working in conjunction with a TV
Usually, these Karaoke systems provide the CD player and speakers and not much else. To have it function, it will require a TV or another compatible visual device to read the lyrics. This means that the unit itself is very portable, but you still do need a TV to connect to. Again in many cases, the CD player does not come with a compatible Karaoke library, so this needs to be purchased.
Finally using your devices via Bluetooth etc. Instead of utilizing Karaoke CD’s you can buy MP3’s with music and lyrics, or you can just hook up your own device. This facility is also included on occasion in the first two options we discussed, but these machines use only this system. You will need a TV to read the lyrics if they are available, but sometimes they may not be.
If you are using your own playlists from a phone or tablet or iPad, there are onboard systems to reduce the volume of the pre-recorded vocal. These allow the performers vocal to sit on top and be heard.
These then are the basic systems. As we said, they do overlap sometimes, but it gives you a place to start when considering what the available options are.
What are the best Karaoke Machine Brands?
It’s quite difficult to give a blanket answer to what are the best Karaoke machine brands. It will depend almost entirely on what you are going to use it for. The best brands for children’s parties will certainly not be the best brands for a professional Karaoke bar.
In Asia, the big names are Akai and Sony. And you can pay a lot of money for the real pro machines with all the bells and whistles attached. For the purpose of this review, we will assume you are not setting up a one thousand seater karaoke bar and have somewhat more modest applications in mind.
You can, therefore, roughly divide the manufacturers into three groups.
Let’s talk about children’s Karaoke machine brands first.
These really fall into two categories those that are actually Karaoke machines and some that are really just toys. Sakar and Little Pretender Toys both make toy-like Karaoke machines, and they have a place in the market. They are simple to use and designed for small children, but they are toys and therefore prone to damage if not taken care of.
There are other manufacturers for Karaoke machines for young people that are a bit more serious. Singing Machine make very good systems that include a lot of features and are designed to be fun, but in a serious way for the older child. They are well made and well thought of.
Memzuoix is another manufacturer who makes 5th generation karaoke machines for younger people. Karaoke USA makes a good system with a color screen. These machines are suitable for play and children’s parties but really not designed for much else.
Getting more serious…
The second group is where the machine is a bit more serious. Aimed at young adults and up and may include a built-in screen and good external connections. These are the kind of machine you will see in homes, but also at small gatherings externally. Memorex, Electrohome and German manufacturer Behringer produce these types of machines.
Singtrix would fall into this category as well as Singing Machine who produce a good model even though they are better known for kids Karaoke. It is here you will also find brands like Akai, who must be considered one of the world leaders in this market. This is the group of manufacturers who tend to make dedicated Karaoke machines, and that is the main purpose of the unit.
Let’s go outside…
Finally, you have the outdoor versions — the big powerful 500 plus watt Karaoke machines that often double up as PA address systems. Companies like Pyle and Ion produce this type of machine, but they are probably best considered as multi-purpose. They don’t have screens and need external connections for the music.
They do have a lot of power, though and are quite at home at larger outdoor events. Of course, the big Asian companies will produce machines that fit into this category, but at a price that is only going to benefit a commercial organization.
The best brands for a Karaoke machine will depend almost entirely on what you will use it for.
What Karaoke Machine Accessories are available?
When buying a Karaoke machine for the first time, it is possible you may want some extra accessories. These may be to enhance the sound or might be as simple as an extra microphone. Let’s have a look at some of the things on offer.
Duets are always fun…
We have already mentioned an extra microphone. It may be you have a spare mic at home somewhere, but you will need to check to see if it will operate with your machine. Sometimes the manufacturers set their systems up so that only their microphones will operate in which case you have to buy from them.
There are a number of different styles of handheld and attached microphones available. This also applies to cable, so make sure what you are trying to use is compatible with the machine.
You need some tunes…
Music, of course, is quite important and you may want to download a karaoke library. These are available online and come in CD or CD+G formats. The CD+G format is a version with the lyrics incorporated as a graphic which will scroll through as the song is played.
You may want extra speakers or more powerful speakers than those that have been provided with the unit. Once again please check that what you propose to use are compatible, and of course that the unit will actually take external speakers. Some will not.
Nice and secure…
If your machine requires you to use your phone or tablet, then you will need somewhere secure to place it so you can read the lyrics or even if it is just playing the music. Some machines provide a cradle others don’t so you might need something like a music stand.
Cabling and cords are usually provided with the unit, but in the event, they may not be, then these items are not expensive. RCA leads for connecting to a TV are available at most electrical outlets, and of course, there are adapters if you need them.
Get rid of those pops…
Whoever is performing on the machine, to enhance the experience, you may need to what in music circles is known as a ‘pop filter.’ This is a small, sometimes highly colored piece of foam that goes over the head of the microphone. Its purpose is to cut out the natural plosions of letters like T and P etc. These are often said quite forcibly and create a ‘pop’ over the mic.
Pop filters are very cheap items and will to a child make the mic look more like the real thing. They do of course serve a function and especially if you are planning to record your performers you may find you need them to get the best sound you can.
Put it in the bag…
We have tried to give you a little insight into some accessories you may need, not a comprehensive list by any means but the final item we’d like to mention is a carry bag. If you are packing it away after use or taking it to friends houses, then you will need a bag of some kind of transportation.
There are plenty available, and they are not expensive. This only really applies to the smaller machines. The larger, more powerful machines usually have wheels and carrying handles and have a rugged build.
How To Karaoke. Are there any rules?
Well, not so many rules as just common sense issues. If it’s a kids party, then that’s another thing. Songs they know, a few flashing disco lights and they are away, but what about an individual who just fancies having a go.
The first thing to consider is the location. Where? Do you want to sing to a few friends? Is there a party coming up where you just know you will be dragged up to sing? Or maybe you might want to go to a bona fide Karaoke bar?
Pick the right song…
Now we all have our favorites and songs that we’d love to sing but a karaoke crowd, whether they are friends or not, are going to get a bit bored and fed up while Dave Gilmour finishes his solo to Comfortably Numb as you stand there rather awkwardly, singing finished.
Pick a song you know, but also one the people will know and enjoy. Make it about 3 to 3 and a half minutes in length with very little solo instrumental. It will help if you know the words in advance, and if you are familiar with it yourself, it will be a less nerve-wracking experience.
If you are stuck and you are going to an event where there is a Karaoke DJ, they will have a library you can browse and choose from. And take a look at your audience. Pick a song that won’t offend them either with the language used or the implication of the lyrics. This is a fun evening, not a political rally.
Sing with confidence…
Ok, it’s your turn to get up there. Be positive, sing with confidence, respect the DJ if there is one he may be trying to deliver a message as you arrive, and when you’ve finished just leave the stage. Do not stay to do another one! There may be others waiting there turn.
These are simple things to consider if the event is not at your home. If it is, then there are a different set of considerations for your guests and friends to get maximum enjoyment.
It will be a less fraught experience, though and if it is a kids party. Then all you will have to worry about is getting the kids organized and helping them with their music and selections.
On reflection, there is one rule to karaoke. Enjoy it and have fun.
So what’s the Best Karaoke Machines?
So many styles, so many potential uses, and so many different features make the choice of one machine very difficult.
We have decided that we want people to have a real Karaoke experience and give them as much of that Asian style and operation that we can. Therefore, we want good connections to external devices, the ability to use a karaoke library, for the unit to have its own screen, color preferably, for lyrics and a decent sound system that can be extended if necessary.
We have therefore chosen the…
Karaoke USA GF840 DVD/CDG/MP3G Karaoke Machine with 7″ TFT Color Screen with Record and Bluetooth
A very good machine with everything needed to make a great Karaoke experience.