What to Look for When Buying a Karaoke Machine for Kids or Adults
Whether you are buying a karaoke machine for kids or adults, this article provides you with some very useful tips to help you make a buying decision.
You may sing like Beyonce or not, but you can’t deny the lure of having a karaoke machine at home especially if you are into music. A karaoke machine allows you to sing along to your favorite tunes. The karaoke has evolved through the years from being a novel attraction in clubs and bars to becoming a fixture at home.
The karaoke goes a long way back. It was invented by a Japanese musician named Daisuke Inoue in the ‘70s. Inoue was often requested by his guests in a club to provide them with recordings of his performances, with the intent of singing along to these tunes. The Japanese realized the potential for the market and ingeniously produced a tape recorder-like machine which could play songs.
The Japanese drummer leased out the machines instead of giving them away. Eventually, these machines became fixtures in hotels and restaurants. By the onset of the ‘90s, karaoke had become a huge hit in Asia.
But Inoue never patented his invention. As such, other people and companies cashed in on his invention. In fact the audio firm Clarion is considered the first producer of commercially available karaoke.
In what follows, I will provide you with probably one of the most comprehensive karaoke machine reviews you may be able to find online. I know that buying a karaoke machine may not be an easy task. The big question is what feature to look for when buying one? What is the best performance I can find within my particular budget? What does this or that term in the specifications even mean? Manufacturers are not helping the situation either and more often that not, the product descriptions are more confusing than helpful.
Just grab a cup of coffee, relax and read through this review and there is a high likelihood that you will find answers to most of your questions after you finished reading. Enjoy!
Karaoke Machine Types
Karaoke machines can be classified into four types—home karaoke, professional karaoke, portable karaoke, and karaoke machine for kids.
As its name suggests, the home karaoke machine is designed for families who love to sing along to their favorite tunes. Home machines are directly connected to a TV. This machine is fairly inexpensive, lightweight, and offers multiple song selection to its users. The karaoke machine for home is best used as entertainment for parties, family gatherings, and holidays.
The professional karaoke machine is particularly designed for commercial establishments like clubs and bars. These enterprises need to attract people who love singing, and having a pro karaoke machine with a huge selection of songs does that for them. Pro karaoke machines also enable multiple singers to sing at the same time.
The downside of a professional karaoke machine is that it can be very expensive as there are license fees that would have to be paid for the songs used in the said machine. Adding up to the cost is the integration of home theater systems, and multiple expansion slots like CD, DVD, and even direct internet connection.
The portable karaoke machine is self-contained, having its own speaker and amplifiers. Some models also have monitors where the lyrics are displayed. This type of karaoke is user-friendly and convenient.
Other features that are commonly found on this type of karaoke are echo and balance controller which lets users to put some audio effects to enhance the quality of the vocals and microphone jacks. Most portable karaoke also come with audio and video output and input making it possible to connect the unit to a TV.
Kids karaoke machines are like portable karaoke. It has its own display, amplifier, and speaker. However, this type of machine is designed particularly for the little ones. As such, a typical kids karaoke machine is easy to use so that even children can manipulate it correctly.
Lately, apps for karaoke have become very popular. These karaoke apps can turn Internet-capable devices like smart phones, iPods, iPads, tablets and other portable devices into a karaoke machine. The iPod compatible karaoke machines have become very popular recently for obvious reasons.
One example is the Soulo karaoke app for the iPad. With this app, you can sing along to songs in your iTunes collection, or you could purchase songs from its music store. However, you would have to purchase a Bluetooth-capable microphone and external speaker to be able to fully maximize this app.
Things to Consider in Buying a Karaoke Machine
Now that you know the various types of karaoke machines, what are the things that you need to look for when shopping for one? Most karaoke machine reviews would tell you that there are factors to consider in shopping for a karaoke machine like sound quality, monitor, power output, format compatibility, song database, amongst others.
Power output is indicated by wattage, which also give you an idea on the quality, clarity, and volume of the sound produced by the karaoke machine. Wattage may range from as low as 5 watts to as high as 300 watts, or even more. The sound quality would also be affected by the speaker system of the karaoke system.
Another thing that you’ll have to look for is the monitor or screen of the karaoke machine. If you are opting for a home karaoke system, the most convenient option would have to be either a TV or computer monitor. Portable karaoke machines have integrated screens, although the size is smaller compared to a TV or computer monitor.
It is quite common for people to get tired of singing the same songs over and over again, so the song database is very important. If possible, get a machine that can support CD+Gs. To the uninitiated, CD+Gs are simply CDs which have audio integrated with lyrics displayed on the screen. You would also want to have a machine with expandable databases, so you could add more songs later on.
The song source should not only be limited to CD+Gs. You would also want a karaoke player with built-in memory enabling it to store your favorite songs, so you don’t have to insert the CD or CD+G every now and then. Karaoke players that can connect to a device like mp3 player or iPod are also ideal as it give you the option to sing to songs stored on these mobile devices.
Standard features of karaoke machines include microphones, pitch control, and voice echo. The standard in karaoke machines is dual microphones, meaning you could sing with another person simultaneously. Pitch control, meanwhile, adjusts the pace of the song so you could sing at a speed or level that you are most comfortable with. Voice echo, on the other hand, hides the imperfections of the singer’s voice by making his sound fuller or richer.
Of course, you would have to consider the price of the karaoke system in determining the unit that best suits your needs. Among the types of karaoke machines, the kids karaoke machine is usually the cheapest while the professional karaoke machine is the most expensive. A home karaoke machine is often mid-priced.
Example of Karaoke Machines we recommend:
The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa
This could be considered the best karaoke machine for both children and adults with its very impressive features. This is a karaoke machine with iPod dock that allows users to sing along to their favorite tunes straight from their Apple devices. It has two wireless microphones with volume controls and a seven-inch monitor that displays the lyrics.
Sold at around $200 to $300 online, this may very well be considered as a karaoke system for children but is not the cheapest model for the little ones. But it makes up for its features. It can play CDs and CD-Gs and can also work with virtually all karaoke apps. Its iPod compatibility feature makes it possible for children to sing along to their favorite song stored in their iPod device.
Your child can also sing along to music straight from the radio as this karaoke comes with an fm radio. This karaoke has an automatic voice control as well as balance and echo controls. Also included in the package are two microphone jacks with volume control, demo disc, RCA cables, and two good-looking tower speakers. It has a 90-day warranty.
Although it has mostly positive reviews, the Singing Machine iSM1028Xa is said by few consumers to have inferior microphones that could stop working a few months after first use.
Karaoke USA GF829
This singing machine karaoke system has a seven-inch color screen and comes with 300 songs on a disc. But it is also capable of playing songs from a DVD and CD. Its auxiliary input allows it to connect to other devices like personal mp3 players and even gaming consoles. In fact, it has a handy cradle where you can put your mp3 player.
Measuring 13.5 x 17.5 x 9.8 inches (height, width, and depth) this karaoke machine is lightweight at 8 pounds. Because of its compact frame, you should have no problems moving it around.
This model is affordable with its price ranging from $100 to $150 online. Aside from its affordable price tag, another advantage of this karaoke system is having internal speakers. With integrated speakers, there is no need for you to connect it to another speaker system meaning you can sing along to your favorite tunes anywhere you wish.
However, the microphones are wired which can restrict your movement. The sound quality is also not the best, but this is a relatively cheap unit which could explain why the sound quality is not at par with other models.
Memorex MKS-SS2 Sing Stand 2
This Memorex karaoke machine has a universal in-line that allows it to connect to various devices like smartphones, mp3 players, and tablets. Its integrated cradle is where you can put your device while you hold the microphone and sing to your heart’s delight.
This Memorex machine has an automatic voice control which you could adjust to amplify your vocals and deliver the right ratio of music and voice volume. This is the control that you need to adjust in case you can’t hear your voice because it is being ‘drowned’ by the original vocals of the song.
This karaoke machine has two 5-watt speakers that deliver good quality audio. You could also use the speaker when you listen to your favorite tunes straight from your tablet or mp3 player. This machine weighs 9.3 pounds and stands 59 inches tall. It has a 90-day limited warranty.
Although this Memorex karaoke machine has good features, there are some complaints regarding its durability. There are reviews that the speaker won’t work after a month or two of use. Likewise, the sound quality is not the best. Another common beef that few users have with this karaoke machine is its tendency to emit piercing feedback.
VoCoPro DVX890K Karaoke Player
This is a karaoke player that not only dabbles as a karaoke machine but also a multimedia player. Its multi-format DVD player can read different types of media ranging from DVDs, VCDs, mp3s, CD/DVD+R and even photo-CDs. It can also play songs from other devices like USB, SD and MMC card. Its HDMI output allows it to connect with HD-ready devices.
With dimensions of 20.5 inches in length, 13.25 inches in width, and six inches in height, this karaoke player won’t take up a lot of space in any room. Included in the package are mounting brackets for ease in installation. Like most karaoke systems, it has dual microphones, vocal controls like key controller and echo effect.
Because of its multi-format program, this VoCoPro karaoke player is ideal if you have tons of songs that are in different formats like mp3, DiVx, or mpeg. You also get your money’s worth because this karaoke player can serve as a DVD player.
The problem with this karaoke player is that its durability is questionable. Many reviews online indicate that this is not the most durable machine around, and its HDMI output only works when playing DVDs, and not for the karaoke function.
Hello Kitty Karaoke Machine
The Hello kitty karaoke machine is obviously designed for kids. As such, the functionalities are very much straightforward and easy to use. It is portable with an integrated monitor where kids can view the lyrics as they sing. It has echo and balance controls to enhance the vocals of kids using it, and has a 20-track memory which makes it possible for children to queue the songs they’d like to sing along to.
This karaoke system measures 11 inches in length, 13 inches in width and 16.5 inches in height. It weighs around 9 pounds. The compact size makes this machine easy to move around, so kids can bring this anywhere they go.
While this product is recommended for kids aged 7 to 15 years old there are a lot of reviewers who say that their children as young as two years old are able to use it. Many reviewers were also pleasantly surprised that this has a built-in radio, which means kids can sing along to the latest hits played on that medium.
But the most glaring drawback of this karaoke is it does not have a volume control. Other reviewers also complain that durability is not the best trait of this karaoke.
Monster High Karaoke Machine
At 12 inches in length, 10 inches in width, and 18 inches in height, the Monster High Karaoke machine is one of the most compact karaoke machines you’ll find for kids. Its design and frame makes it an ideal karaoke machine for girls. It also weighs just six pounds, thus kids won’t have problems carrying it.
Aside from its compact frame, this karaoke machine has the features you want from a kids’ karaoke machine. It has a hand-held microphone and LCD screen. It can also connect to devices like iPod, iPhone, or iPad. The machine has an integrated CD player as well.
There are lots of things children would love about this karaoke machine. Of course, they’ll appreciate that they can bring this anywhere as the karaoke weighs just six pounds. It can be hooked up to a TV, which is a welcome feature for children who cannot tolerate small-sized screens. Parents will also love that this is very cheap, with its price under $100.
The problem though is that it only comes with just one microphone, so if your kid wants to have a duet with a playmate, you’ll have to buy another microphone. The sound quality is also not the best, but that is the case for most kids karaoke machines.
Disney Karaoke Machine
There’s a good chance that best karaoke machine reviews won’t include this boombox, but if you are on the hunt for a cheap karaoke machine then the Disney Karaoke Machine should be on top of your list.
Priced under $50, this boombox works with any mp3 player with its line-in connection. It has one wired microphone and a carrying handle for portability. Speaking of portability, this toy weighs just 1.9 pounds. It measures 10 inches in length, 2.8 inches in width, and 9 inches in height. It’s easy to conclude that this boombox is designed for children aged 7 years old and under.
Since it is more of a toy, you should not expect the Disney karaoke machine to produce superior audio. The song database is also very limited, as it only plays Disney songs. In fact there are only three songs included in the product package. However you can help your child expand the song database by downloading mp3s and connecting the boombox to the mp3 player.
The Singing Machine SML-283P
Like the Disney karaoke machine, this model is geared at children aged six years old and younger. This is a very portable player weighing only 4.2 pounds. It measures 9.9 inches long, 4.1 inches wide, and 9.1 inches tall. Its compact frame means it would be very easy for children to tug this toy around.
This karaoke has a two-digit LED display that shows the ‘score’ of the singer, a couple of microphones with volume control and a portable vertical load with disco light effects making it fun for children. It also has integrated speakers as well as auto voice controls and balance and echo controls. It can connect to a TV where the lyrics will be displayed.
The size of the karaoke makes it very mobile, allowing it to be carried by children just about anywhere. It plays CDs as well as CD+Gs. Kids will also love its attractive, pink design.
The downside is that it only has comes with one microphone, so you would need to buy a separate mic should your kid insist on the need to have a duet with a playmate.
The Singing Machine SML-385W
This is another karaoke player that is geared towards the little ones. It has a top loading CD+G player with flashing disco lights for added effects. It has two microphone jacks, and each microphone comes with separate volume controls. It has an integrated speaker, a two digit LED display as well as voice, balance, and echo controls.
This product appeals to parents who are budget-conscious as it only sells for less than $100. Kids can bring it anywhere as it only weighs a pound. Its listed dimensions are 11.1 inches in length, 10.9 inches in width, and 16 inches in height.
Children will love this karaoke because they can sing along to virtually any song as it can be connected to an mp3 player or iPhone. The major issue that parents have with this karaoke is its durability, as there are lots of reports that this product breaks down rather easily.
The Electrohome EAKAR300
Another karaoke machine that is designed for kids, the Electrohome EAKAR300 sells for less than $100. It has a more professional-looking design compared to the other kids karaoke machines previously discussed, and also boasts of very respectable features.
This karaoke machine has an automatic voice control singing voice which helps users learn a tune quickly. Its echo control can make any singing voice sound better. It can connect easily to a TV where the lyrics are displayed. It has an auxiliary input that connects it to other devices like mp3 players, iPods and iPhone.
The sound quality of this karaoke is good enough thanks to its integrated high performance speaker. Singers won’t have any problems as far as song data base is concerned because it not only loads CDs and CD+Gs, but also CDRs and CDRWs. It is also very easy to set-up with its 4 channel audio and video cord set-up.
There is only one microphone included in the package, however. Like the other karaoke machines for kids, it also has issues regarding durability. Some reviewers even said theirs did not work right after taking it out of the box.