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Karaoke USA
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Shopping Guide for Best Karaoke Machines

Karaoke isn't just for embarrassing yourself on a wild night out with friends. This favorite Japanese pastime can be great fun for the whole family.

If you’re on a mission to buy a new karaoke machine, you probably just want to get to the fun part. But first, you have to decide which karaoke machine to purchase.

This can be a challenge, especially if you're a first-time buyer and aren't completely sure what you want from a karaoke machine.

The good news is, we’re on your side here at BestReviews. Our goal is to help you, the consumer, find the perfect products to fit your needs. We test items in our labs, consult experts, gather data from existing customers, and spend hours researching. The result? Thorough, honest product reviews you can trust.

The first step to finding the best karaoke machine for you is to read our full guide below.

Once you know all you need to know about karaoke machines, head to the product matrix above, where you'll find more information about our five favorite karaoke machines on today’s market.

"Karaoke" is a Japanese word meaning "empty orchestra."

Types of Karaoke Machines

You'll find three main types of karaoke machines for sale today: home karaoke machines, professional karaoke machines, and kids’ karaoke machines.

Types

Professional Karaoke Machines

Professional karaoke machines are often component-based, meaning they have separate amps/speakers, mixers, CD+G players, and so on. This means they're a bit too complex for the average home user. Professional karaoke machines also tend to cost a lot more than basic home karaoke machines. On the plus side, they have excellent audio quality and speakers loud enough to cut through a crowd.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Karaoke USA Portable

How It Works

The Karaoke USA's balance control knob is one of this machine's most useful controls. If you turn the knob all the way to the left, you will hear the instrumental part only. If you turn the knob all the way to the right, you'll hear only the accompaniment vocals (no instrumental music). If you want to hear the perfect blend of both, simply turn the knob halfway between these two extremes. You can also adjust the speed of playback, which can distort the original key of a song slightly. Using the product's digital key control feature, you can even change the key of a song to better suit your vocal range.

Types

Home Karaoke Machines

Home karaoke machines are intended for – you guessed it – use at home. They tend to be complete plug-and-play systems with built-in speakers, though they may or may not have screens.

While decent home karaoke machines should have good audio quality, they don't rival professional machines in that department. The market’s newest home karaoke machines usually accept audio from a range of sources, including TVs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

EXPERT TIP

If you choose a karaoke machine that can link to your computer or other smart devices, you should be able to play karaoke tracks from those devices. This can save you money, since you won’t be spending hundreds of dollars on karaoke disks in CD+G format.


Staff  | BestReviews
Types

Kids' Karaoke Machines

Like home karaoke machines, kids’ karaoke machines are usually all-in-one models that are ready to go as soon as they're plugged in. The main difference is that they're more durable (we all know kids aren't always careful with their belongings) and tend to be furnished with bright colors or other fun designs.

Kids’ karaoke machines are generally cheaper than other karaoke machines, but they don't always have the best audio quality.

Many karaoke machines only come with one microphone. If you want to sing duets, you can buy a second mic, but make sure your chosen machine has two (or more) microphone inputs.

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BestReviews

Considerations for Selecting a Karaoke Machine

Considerations

Sound Quality

The audio quality of a karaoke machine usually depends on a combination of speaker quality and microphone quality.

This varies between machines, so be sure to check manufacturer specifications carefully.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Singing Machine Disco Light System

Ease of Use

With the Singing Machine Disco Light Karaoke System, you can use CDs and CD+Gs as well as Bluetooth audio streaming. There are inputs that allow you to connect to other audio sources, and you can stream lyrics to your TV using the RCA jack that comes with the package. Via Bluetooth pairing, you can also stream lyrics to an iPod, iPhone, or iPad.

Considerations

Music Sources

Karaoke machines initially worked only with special CD+G discs that display lyrics as well as play audio.

While most machines still come with CD+G players built in, the majority can play music from a range of sources. This includes DVD players, televisions, laptops, and smartphones.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can find a range of karaoke tracks for free online, so a karaoke machine that connects to a computer or smart device is a godsend.

Considerations

Ease of Use

If you have a bit of gear and are tech savvy, it's not too difficult to rig your own karaoke setup by running a microphone through a set of speakers via a mixer or preamp, then using a smart TV, laptop, or tablet to play karaoke tracks via YouTube or from a CD+G disc.

However, the beauty of a home karaoke machine is that it’s a plug-and-play device. If it's not easy to use, there's no point buying a dedicated karaoke machine.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Karaoke USA Portable

Features

You could stream your lyrics onto your TV when you use the Karaoke USA, or you could make use of the seven-inch TFT color screen that comes with it. Owners rave about the screen because it is so clear and easy to read, even from far away. This machine comes with 300 pre-programmed mp3G songs on two discs, but you're certainly not limited to these songs. You can also make music on the Karaoke USA with any normal karaoke CD+G or karaoke DVD. If you're using an mp3 player, cell phone, or other personal device to stream your music, this machine even offers a convenient cradle to rest it in.

Considerations

Display Screen

Some karaoke machines have no screen, so they must be connected to a TV or tablet to display lyrics.

However, others come with a small (usually seven-inch) display screen built in. These units are truly self-contained, as you don't need anything other than your karaoke machine and a power supply to sing your heart out.

That said, some people find these display screens too small and would rather connect to a TV or similar device.

EXPERT TIP

For the best of both worlds, look for a karaoke machine with a built-in screen that can also be connected to a TV if you prefer a larger display.


Staff  | BestReviews
Considerations

Vocal Leveling and Enhancement

It should be easy to adjust the vocal levels and the volume of the background music on your karaoke machine. That way, the singer's voice won't get drowned out by the background track if they're quiet – or vice versa if they're loud.

Some high-end karaoke machines also offer vocal enhancement that can make you sound better than you really are!

DID YOU KNOW?

Some karaoke machines allow you equalize and/or enhance your vocals, as well as control the volume.

Average Price of a Karaoke Machine

Karaoke machines range in price from well under $100 to over $1,000, but you shouldn't have to pay more than a couple of hundred dollars for a high-quality home karaoke machine – and even less if you're fine with a basic machine.

  • Many kids' karaoke machines cost between $30 and $60.

  • A basic to mid-range home karaoke machine should cost roughly $60 to $120, with costlier models generally having better audio quality and/or coming with a built-in screen.

  • A high-end home karaoke machine can cost between $130 and $300, with the most expensive verging on professional quality.

  • A professional karaoke machine can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000, depending on the quality of the gear. As mentioned earlier, this is way too much karaoke machine for most home users.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Singing Machine Disco Light System

Performance

The Singing Machine has the features you would expect from a child-centered karaoke system, including really cool flashing disco lights. With this package, you get one mic, a top-loading CD+G player that is user-friendly for small hands, two mic jacks (you'd have to purchase a second mic separately, but this is useful for singing duets), and an easy-to-read LED display. Lyrics may be streamed to your TV, but for those who are interested in other modes of connectivity, you can also stream via Bluetooth to an iPad or other personal device.

Tips

  • If the microphone that comes with your karaoke machine is of poor quality, you can buy a decent one for a surprisingly low cost. In some cases, this works out to be more cost-effective than buying a karaoke machine with a high-quality mic.

  • A karaoke machine's sound depends heavily on the quality of its microphone. It pays to be choosy when selecting a karaoke machine, as mic quality runs the gamut – especially with this type of product.

  • Some karaoke machines come with one mic; others have two. Some machines allow you to record yourself. Others let you change the key of a song to help you sound better.

  • Some people don't mind a budget-priced karaoke machine, even if they have to suffer a little feedback or an imperfect microphone. Others want more sophisticated features, such as the ability to transpose the key of a song or make a recording.

  • If you want to practice singing without disturbing the whole house, look for a karaoke machine with a headphone input.

While professional karaoke machine have their place, they're overkill for the average home user.

FAQ

Q. Do karaoke machines have headphone inputs?

A. Surprisingly, not very many karaoke machines have headphone inputs, so if this is a feature you want, be sure to check whether the model you're considering has them before making your purchase.

Q. What does CD+G mean?

A. CD+G stands for "compact disc plus graphics." This is the format in which karaoke tracks come, at least when they're on a disc. A CD+G disc can display basic graphics alongside music when played on a compatible device. It’s the perfect format for karaoke, as it can display the lyrics in time with the song.

Q. How are karaoke machines powered?

A. Most karaoke machines run on electricity and must be plugged into a power outlet. However, some kids’ machines and bare-bones home machines are entirely battery-powered or have the option to run off either batteries or electricity.

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