Three best karaoke machines
With all the physical, emotional, and social benefits you get from singing, purchasing a karaoke machine is like buying a few extra years of life. And those bonus years will be accompanied by good health and strong friendships. On top of that, it's great fun.
So, what's stopping you from reaping all of these wonderful benefits? If you're like most people, you may not be exactly sure what to look for in a karaoke machine. But after this quick read, you'll have a solid foundation of the basics, and you'll understand the essential karaoke machine features needed to live your best vocal life.
Considerations when choosing karaoke machines
Here's what you need to know about karaoke machines.
If you're purchasing a karaoke machine for an aspiring young vocalist, you don't need to break the bank. A decent kids' karaoke machine will cost about $50. You can purchase toy products, which are more dependent on imagination than actual features, for far less.
If you're an adult looking to purchase a karaoke machine for household parties, figure on spending between $100 and $200. The lower end is adequate for fun, but if you're looking for a little more quality, stay closer to the $200 mark (or higher) to avoid disappointment.
Of course, if you want to go pro, there is that option, too. But you'll be looking at $1,500 to $2,000 at minimum for a setup that comes with everything you need to host a night at your local restaurant or tavern.
Inputs and outputs
Even low-end karaoke machines can feature audio input and output ports. An input may allow you to upgrade your system with something like a higher-quality microphone. It may also enable you to connect to a device, like your smartphone, so you can access a larger library of music. An output may let you send the video feed to a larger screen. In some instances, it allows the music to be played on more powerful speakers.
Effects and controls
The more control you have over your sound and balance, the more fun you'll have. Look for a karaoke machine that allows you to adjust the balance between your voice and the recorded music. It can be hard to sing if you can't hear your voice or the music. Additionally, a karaoke machine that has effects like echo or reverb will make you sound much more professional with just a slight twist of a knob.
If you have a smartphone, you probably have the ability to record videos. However, if your karaoke machine has a record function, chances are the quality of the audio will be better than what you can capture on your phone.
Q. I've heard of CDs, but what is a CD+G?
A. CDs have music, but that's not enough for karaoke. You need to hear the music and see the lyrics. A CD+G disc contains both the music and the graphics needed for you to have an authentic karaoke experience.
Q. Where are the lyrics?
A. That depends. Some karaoke machines feature a built-in screen so you can see the lyrics directly on the unit. Others only have a "video out" port, which means you will need to procure your own screen. Often, for home systems, you can just use your television.
Karaoke machines we recommend
Best of the best: Karaoke USA Portable System
Our take: A versatile unit that is adaptable to many situations and can provide great fun for the whole family.
What we like: The Bluetooth system means no wires are needed to connect your smart device. It features an easy-to-read, full-color screen, along with two microphones and a remote control. You can even record your performances.
What we dislike: Be sure to fully read the instructions before using so you don't inadvertently damage the unit.
Best bang for your buck: The Singing Machine Disco Light System
Our take: A fun, affordably priced karaoke system that's designed for kids and beginners.
What we like: This machine has a vibrant LED light show, which can help the performers and the audience get into the mood. It plays CDs, CD+Gs, and it has an auxiliary input for other devices. The variable echo and auto voice control are two welcome features.
What we dislike: The speakers may not be loud enough for some situations.
Our take: A reasonably priced karaoke unit that, when hooked up to your television, can create a fun and engaging party atmosphere.
What we like: Electrohome's karaoke machine features an echo effect as well as backup singers (if needed), and it will play CDs, CD+Gs, and MP3s. It also has an auxiliary input so you can sing to your favorite playlists.
What we dislike: When plugged into the TV, there can be a delay between picture and sound.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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