Karaoke is a fun and interactive form of entertainment. Pull out a karaoke machine at your next party, or even when you just have a few friends gathered together, and everyone will be sure to have a blast.
If you are on the market for a karaoke machine, you may find that choosing the best one for your needs can be a bit challenging. There are so many options to choose from, which can make it difficult to determine which one will best suit your specific needs. In order to help you on your quest for finding the best karaoke machine, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. In this guide, you will find a wealth of valuable information that you can use to find the best karaoke machine for your needs. This guide highlights the different types of karaoke machines, the different factors that you should consider when shopping for a karaoke machine, the features that they can offer, and the best karaoke machine brands.
Types of Karaoke Machines
Karaoke machines are available in two basic formats: Software and hardware. A software solution allows karaoke music to be played and sung along with via a personal computer. A hardware solution, on the other hand, does not require a computer. This type of karaoke machine is available in two styles: Component and plug and play. It’s important to understand the difference between the types of karaoke machines so that you can determine which one will best suit your specific needs.
The Software Based Karaoke Machine
A software based karaoke machine allows a computer to act like a karaoke machine. There are karaoke applications available for a wide range of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux and OS Z. There are also software based karaoke machines that are available for use with video gaming systems, including the Xbox 360, the Sony Play Station 3 and the Nintendo Wii U. Because of the nature of personal computers, software based karaoke machines are very versatile and high customizable. On the downside, a software based karaoke machine isn’t always user friendly, which means that it isn’t always the most convenient option.
The Component Karaoke Machine
A component karaoke machine is very similar to a stereo receiver. It is designed to integrate into either a home stereo or a home theater system, including directly into the TV. Though portable karaoke unites are called plug and play, it should be noted the components of this type of karaoke machine can also plug and play in the most standard sense of the term. A useful aspect of a karaoke component is that it can also serve as the system’s DVD or Blu-Ray player, which can help offset its cost, at least how it concerns the home theater budget. Karaoke components are not considered portable because they require integration into an existing audio system and their quality and power output are completely dependent on that system.
Plug and Play Karaoke Machines
Also known as portable karaoke machines, the plug and play karaoke machine is mostly self contained. They come with their own amplifiers and speakers, and some even come with their very own video screens. Portable karaoke machines are very convenient to use, and they are very user friendly.
Karaoke machines can also be differentiated based on their quality. There are three qualities, which include the low end, the mid range and the high end karaoke machine.
The Low End Karaoke Machine
These units cost less than $200 and they come equipped with all of the standard features; however, they lack special features. They also usually require a remote control to make fine adjustments. These karaoke machines are best used in small to medium sized rooms. They are ideal for children, those who are just starting out using a karaoke machine and those who only plan to use them on occasion.
The Mid Range Karaoke Machine
Mid range karaoke machines usually cost between $200 and $400. They come equipped with all of the standard features, and they also include some special features. The mid range karaoke machine can be adjusted either directly or with a remote. They are bested used in midsize rooms and with a quality home theater or a stereo system. The mid range karaoke machine is ideal for someone who is more of a karaoke enthusiast.
The High End Karaoke Machine
High end karaoke units are the most expensive. They usually cost $400 or more. They offer a wide array of special features, which can include multi disc changers, hard drives, and advanced file systems. The high end karaoke machine is best used in a large room. They are ideal for professionals and for those who intend to use them in a commercial setting.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Karaoke Machine
There are a number of factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a karaoke machine. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to find the best karaoke machine for your needs. Some of the key factors that should be considered include the power output and the sound quality, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important when choosing a karaoke machine, please keep on reading.
The Power Output
The power output, or the wattage, of the karaoke machine will indicate the quality of sound that it makes. Karaoke machines can offer as little as 5 watts of power, and they can offer as much as 300 watts of power, or even more. The difference of sound quality between 5 and 10 watts is significant. The average karaoke machine provides around 30 watts of power. The majority of users won’t need more than 90 watts of power.
The Speaker System
The speaker system also has a direct impact on the quality of sound the karaoke machine will produce. Generally, the built in speakers that are offered on low end portable karaoke machines provide poor sound quality. If you are shopping for a component system, opt for speakers that are capable of handling the power output of the system.
A karaoke machine will come with a song database, or a song library. The song database will impact your overall enjoyment with the karaoke machine, because the more songs you have available, the more songs you will be able to sing. Machines can support CDs, and they also have access to their own expandable song database, which will make the karaoke machine more versatile.
The connectivity determines which devices the karaoke machine can connect to, and what electronic devices can be connected to it. A basic portable unit will not have any connectivity at all. The following are the different types of connectivity available for karaoke machines:
- Stereo – the audio output is provided via a basic audio connection
- RCA – An RCA connector supports the stereo audio and composite video
- HDMI – HDMI connectivity allows for HD video and digital audio to be played
- TOSLINK – Also referred to as an optical audio connection, a TOSLINK supports digital audio
- USB – A USB is an industry standard connection, which allows support for a wide range of electronic devices on your karaoke machine
- iPod – With an iPod connection, you can connect your iPod directly to the karaoke machine and play music directly from the device.
The cost of the karaoke machine is another important factor to consider when choosing a karaoke machine that will best meet your needs. As mentioned above, these machines can vary widely in price, from less than $100 to more than $400. Generally, the more features the karaoke machine offers, the more expensive it will be.
Features Karaoke Machines Offer
Karaoke machines can come equipped with a wide range of features. These features are intended to enhance your experience with the karaoke machine and make it more versatile. As mentioned above, the more features a karaoke machine offers, the more expensive it will be. It is important to understand the different features that these machines can offer so that you can determine if you want or need them.
Here is a look at some of the most common features that a karaoke machine can offer.
All karaoke machines will come with a microphone, as this is a primary component of the machine; however, if you don’t want to be limited by the amount of space you can move, look for a karaoke machine that comes equipped with a wireless microphone. Without a wire, you will have more freedom to move.
With pitch control, you can sing at the level you are the most comfortable with. This feature allows the machine to adjust the pitch, based on the pitch setting, prior to the sound it outputs.
Voice echo is a feature that helps the audio sound, making it sound as if it were being created in a professional setting.
A Video Screen
A karaoke machine that comes equipped with its own video screen does not need a TV or a monitor to operate. This feature makes the karaoke machine truly portable and able to be used anywhere.
A Video Camera
A video camera allows you to take video of those who are singing and put those videos up on the screen. A video camera often comes equipped with special features that can be merged into the video.
A Hard Drive
A karaoke machine that features a hard drive removes the need for CDs and allows the music library to be stored directly onto the drive, so you can play your music anywhere you want to.
A DVD or Blu Ray Player
With this feature, you will be able to play DVDs or Blu Rays on your karaoke machine. This feature also allows the karaoke machine to be used as a DVD player or a Blu Ray player.
An AM / FM Radio
An AM / FM radio allows you to use your karaoke machine as a radio, too, which makes the machine even more versatile.
To protect your investment, look for a karaoke machine that comes with a warranty. With a warranty, should anything happen to the karaoke machine, you could have it repaired or replaced, or you could have your money reimbursed. Do make sure that you read the details of your warranty to ensure you understand exactly what it covers.
The Best Karaoke Machine Brands
There are several manufacturers that produce karaoke machines, which can make it difficult to determine which manufacturer produces the best brands. To help you find the best brands, we have weeded through them all, tested them out, and we have extensively read online reviews. Our findings have concluded that the following karaoke machines are the best of the best.
Memorex is a highly regarded company in the audio visual industry. Their karaoke machines are very high quality, offer a range of features and provide the most cutting edge technologies.
Another producer of high quality karaoke machines is Karaoke USA. This company produces a wide range of karaoke machines, which boast the most cutting edge technologies and offer a wide range of features.
We also really liked the karaoke machines that are produced by Singing Machine. This company produces high quality karaoke machines that boast a range of options and that provide several different features.