In the world of Karaoke anyone can be a rock star and age is no bar. Load up your favorite track and start giving it the lead vocals. But to experience karaoke at its best, you need dependable hardware and in some cases software. And that is not all; you also need a set of microphone and speakers or music pre-recordings to get started. In this buying guide, we will differentiate different types of karaoke machines based on their usage and price range before moving on to more concentrated buying guides for specific types of karaoke hardware.
Hardware Vs Software
Like mentioned before, karaoke players come in two formats namely software and hardware. Software players allow music to be streamed from a personal computer, Xbox, Playstation and so on. Instead, hardware players are a fully capable system altogether that doesn’t need a secondary platform to play karaoke. It is the hardware type of karaoke players that we are interested in here and we have classified them into four groups.
Buyer’s Guide Table of Contents:
Kid's Karaoke Machine
These karaoke players are self sufficient, often having their own screens with a few preloaded tracks and the ability to expand the song collection with a USB drive or special karaoke DVDs. They are also inexpensive and usually the plug and play types with flimsy construction or average build.
Such karaoke machines are usually on the low end of the price bracket costing much below $200 per piece and colorful in appearance too. They are best for light use or travel purpose and can come in lunchbox sized containers with catchy graphics, cartoon animations and more blazoned on the exterior.
Home Karaoke Machine
Such machines usually aren’t the self-compliant types. They are more of a plug and play type that requires at least a television or screen to display the lyrics. Some do come with a tiny screen and usually home systems have two or more mics for duets and group performances. They provide component connections for full set of Dolby speakers, a large flat screen Plasma TV, professional mics and more although, they aren’t as expensive as the professional karaoke machines retailing over $500. At best a home karaoke machine will cost anywhere from $250 to $500.
Because of their component nature, home karaoke machines usually play Blu-ray, DVD, movies, music and may even record vocal performances. It is this aspect of home karaoke players that makes them a valuable addition especially if you already don’t have a dedicated DVD or Blu-ray player but have a set of speakers and a decent television.
Portable Karaoke Machine
Do not confuse kid’s karaoke players with true portable units. While kid’s karaoke machines are portable they are also limited in technology and performance. On the other hand, portable units are in the true sense complete plug and play units that are mostly self contained with excellent amplifiers, speakers, video screens and set of mics. The best considerations for such players are sound quality and power. Most portable players can integrate with home theatre systems but aren’t as good as home or professional karaoke machines in this regards. Unfortunately, such players suffer from an inherent problem of reliability. It needs replacement the moment any one of its component dies out.
Usually, decent portable units start from $300 and go anywhere from $500 to $700 depending on the quality, brand name and reliability. Usually, mid-range players costing inside $500 provide 90 watt with the ability to fill large rooms or small halls abundantly. Furthermore, high end portable units can resonate with 150 to 300 watts and are excellent for the outdoors or larger spaces.
Professional Karaoke Machine
Professional Karaoke Machines usually are component based systems but they can also be plug and play full integrated units. Those designed for pubs and karaoke bars are usually component systems with high end amplifiers, excellent recorders and plenty of commercial features. On the other hand, professional units for home use are generally plug and play types with superior screens, better speakers and mics that eliminate the need for using the home theater system. Audiophiles and karaoke lovers will appreciate the quality maintained in professional players with many redesigning a separate room just for such karaoke units.
Professional Karaoke players can start from $400 and go beyond $1000 but usually, they cost around $600 for component and plug and play variants. Some additional features that professional players comes with include onboard hard drives, extra DVD players, automatic changing or tracks, ability to embed lyrics into an actual video and much more.