What is Karaoke?
Karaoke is a universally popular activity where people can sing their favourite songs over a backing track. It’s become a popular form of entertainment in bars and clubs, and recently with technological advancements in the equipment, it’s become possible to do karaoke in your home as well, for parties and social gatherings.
In this article, we’ll review four of the best-rated karaoke system this year. Before we look at the variety and assortment of devices, let’s learn a little bit about this musical and engaging pastime.
Karaoke around the World
What started in Japan as a cultural phenomenon has become popular in every part of the world. In the United Kingdom, there are even taxicabs that offer karaoke as part of the transit experience. In some Asian countries, there are specific karaoke clubs and lounges where patrons can rent out a room for their karaoke party.
Regardless of where you live, Karaoke is an exciting activity that appeals to many different types of people. Everyone loves music, and many people have dreams of stardom and fame that they can live out in fun way amid the security of friends and family. Alternatively, if you have too much stage fright to take the mike, you can always sit back and listen to people’s favourites, and see them in a new and endearing light as they belt out their favourite hits.
Advancements in Karaoke Technology
Originally, Karaoke machines were cumbersome and required an extensive library of specialized disks that could play the backing track while simultaneously displaying lyrics on a screen. Remember the days when a DJ would show up with boxes and boxes of records and CDs, and if he didn’t have something you liked, you were out luck? In a similar way, in order to be able to fulfil any potential song requests from the audience, the Karaoke DJ would need a wide variety of CDs (specifically something called CD+G, which contain the ability to visually display the words of the song).
These days, everyone has an mp3 player, tablet, or smartphone, so it’s easy to carry a nearly endless musical library right in your pocket. This has made karaoke more accessible to the average person, who no longer has to go to a bar, club, or hire the specialized services of a DJ to enjoy singing along: with some of the machines we’ll see listed below, you can even host a karaoke night right in your home or for the office holiday party (loosen those ties and send someone to the convenience store for some cold, bottled beverages!).
Packing the Most Punch for the Price
The Singing Machine SML385 is a great all-around Karaoke machine for the average consumer because it also has a light display that can be adjusted to match the song, so whether you want the party to ramp up or cool down, this machine can help set the tone.
The machine includes two microphone jacks with separate volume dials, so you and your friends can sing duets, and tone down the volume on that chick or dude who’s had a few too many beers (just make sure they don’t see your hand on the knob). The equalizer allows you to adjust, balance, and reverberate the sound.
While the instruction manual is reported to be straightforward, some reviews say that there are issues with customer service.
The machine comes with a CD+G top loader for those old-school hoarders of classic karaoke discs, but it also features has an auxiliary input and output for your mobile devices if you want to stream songs in a more modern way.
Best for Parties on the Go
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop that you can throw in the car on your way to the party without having to think twice about the need for other hardware than The Singing Machine STVG785W is probably for you. It comes with its own display screen, so you won’t have to face the pesky task of hooking it up to a TV or having people hold their phones while singing.
It has a light display, supports CD+G tacks, and also MP3 players, so having that extra screen does not detract from its versatility. If you do want to hook it u to a larger screen, it has an RCA output. It also has two microphone jacks for duet singing.
This one gets my vote, personally, because even though it may be on a lower pricing-point than the SML385, the built-in screen is an incredibly handy feature if you’re going somewhere without a television screen available.
Best for Kids
The Little Pretender Kids Karaoke Machine is designed specifically for kids who want to be a star. The adjustable stand is great for accommodating a variety of ages and heights, and two microphones allow for some friendly musical interaction.
Music can be streamed through an included auxiliary cable, but there are also some pre-installed sounds such as lullaby tunes and applause. The system has colourful LED lights that flash and create a fun ambience.
Positive reviews praise the adjustable height of the stand and the extra microphone, while some reviewers wish the system had a lower price tag and a stabilizing weight at the bottom.
Best Higher End Karaoke System
If you don’t like to cut corners when purchasing electronic equipment, or you’re a professional (or weekend) DJ looking for something easy to carry to the bar or party, consider The Singtrix Party Bundle Premium Edition Home Karaoke System. While it may not have the permanence and professionalism of a built-in PA system, it does come with a portable 40-watt stereo speaker and a built-in subwoofer to add some bass to the music.
The model has been endorsed by celebrities and featured on shows like Shark Tank. It’s a little more expensive than the other options we’ve listed, but it really does come with everything you need to host an awesome and professional looking Karaoke Night.
It also has great effects such as natural pitch-correction, which is great for those more limited vocalists who want to belt out the greatest hits of Van Halen or Led Zeppelin. It also works with your smartphone, tablet, computer or even keyboard, so there’s great versatility as far as the musical component goes.
Whether you’re shopping for something easy to carry to a party, a birthday gift for a child, or a more professional looking setup, there are a wide variety of karaoke machine options for you. Stop reading, start browsing, and begin enjoying the freedom to belt out your favourite songs!