Everything You Want To Know About Karaoke Machines 

 October 5, 2020

By  Julius Hagenes

Do you know how to spell karaoke? Everyone knows and loves this exciting activity but very few people know how to spell this strange word.

If you love to sing and are in the market for a good karaoke system then it is best to do a bit of research on these machines before you buy. Modern karaoke systems are available in a huge variety of sizes to choose from and you can use them with all sorts of additional tools to get the most out of your singing experience.

What Is A Karaoke Machine?

A simple karaoke machine is a music player with a microphone input and a device that can alter the pitch of the music as well as music output. With these machines, music is usually played via the player and some even have visual screens where you can see the lyrics. The microphone is then used to amplify and even record your voice while the music output (speakers) delivers quality music using your voice and music backtracks.

Where Did Karaoke Systems Start?

Karaoke devices date back to the 1960s. The first audio-visual-recording devices were available from 1961 – 1966. These early versions created by the American TV network NBC was more of a sing-along system than a karaoke system since the music videos featured lyrics that home viewers or audiences could read to participate.

The first real karaoke-style machines were developed in Japan in 1967 by Japanese engineer Shigeichi Negishi. Daisuke Inoue devised the first karaoke equipment in 1971 but the first commercial producer for this device was the audio company Clarion.

The first karaoke machines were only available in public areas such as restaurants and hotels and by the 1990s, these machines were spread and sold around the rest of Asia and other countries who all assisted in the further development of this exciting technology.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Karaoke Devices?

Businesses across the globe have attempted to manufacture karaoke machines. Many different types were eventually designed as a result.

Essentially, there are four main types of machines that are very common in the market today. Here is a quick look at the four main types of karaoke systems that are popular on the market.

The All-In-One System

These systems are sold as a full set that includes everything you need for playing music, reading lyrics, hearing the music, and singing. Most all-in-one systems include a CD or USB music player, a monitor where the lyrics are displayed, speakers, and a microphone. Some of these systems even come with a karaoke CD library but others do not come with the CD which means you will need to invest in an additional library. These systems are usually very compact with small monitors that are just about 15 inches in size.

TV Monitor Systems

These systems are also sold as a set but they usually exclude a lyric display since your TV monitor can be used instead. The set usually includes a karaoke CD player, one or more speakers, and a microphone. Some of these systems can be hooked up to your stereo system. Compact TV monitor systems are just about the same size as your DVD player but you will still need a TV set to use these systems. TV monitor systems may or may not include a CD library with karaoke songs but these CDs are sold separately quite frequently.

Built-In Microphone Karaoke Systems

These karaoke systems have a microphone with built-in song selection. They are very easy to hook up to the TV and some can connect via the stereo system. The microphone acts as the player and the lyrics are usually displayed on your home TV set. Some microphones are a bit limited when it comes to karaoke library songs but others can have as many as 300 songs built into the microphone already.

MP3 Karaoke Systems

MP3 karaoke systems are the modernized or digitized version of these players. With these systems, you need to use a digital download of karaoke songs on your MP3 karaoke system. With these systems, you will still need to use a microphone and TV monitor but it still is a lot more compact compared to other systems. The best part about these systems is that you do not have to wait for a new karaoke download since leading vocal tracks of modern music can easily be removed so you can sing directly from the latest music releases.

How to Use the Karaoke Machine

The setup for each of these main types of karaoke systems differs based on the setup you use. Most karaoke systems do function in the same way.

You first need to set up your karaoke machine. After setting it up, you will need to select the song you would like to sing. When the music starts to play you will see lyrics appear on the screen or monitor. You can then read these lyrics and sing along into the microphone. Your voice will then be played through the speakers and can even be amplified if you have good quality speakers or an amplifier.

How to Set Up Karaoke At Home

Setting up a karaoke system at home depends on the type of system you have. Karaoke can be enjoyed via a karaoke system, a laptop with microphone, with an amplifier, with speakers and many different ways. Some people even manage to build their very own karaoke systems.

With a Laptop

Setting up a karaoke system with a laptop is quite easy. There are two main ways to set up a karaoke system via your laptop.

With A Karaoke Machine

If you have a karaoke machine and want to connect it with your laptop then you can use an AUX cable, USB or Bluetooth to connect the machine to the laptop. The song list will then appear on the laptop screen and you can also plug your microphone and speakers directly into the laptop so you can sing along with the lyrics.

Without A Karaoke Machine

If you do not have a karaoke machine then you will first need to download and install an audio source or lyric video source. Karaoke apps are a good example of a music library that you can install and use but you can also find Karaoke channels on YouTube or CDGs.

Once you have your app or karaoke song list set up, you can connect your microphone and speaker to the laptop. You will now be able to sing along with the music and everything you sing will be amplified via the speaker.

If you install an additional app on your laptop, you may even be able to make recordings off your karaoke sessions that you can play back at a later stage.

How to Do Karaoke without a Machine

If you cannot find a karaoke machine or do not have the funds to buy one then do not worry. You can still have a lot of fun by creating your own DIY setup. Here is a quick look at the easiest way to do karaoke if you don’t have a machine.

First, you will need something where you can see the lyrics and hear the soundtrack. For some, a smart TV set or a TV set with a TV box is sufficient because you can download and install a karaoke app and work from there. A laptop can also be a good tool since you can download the karaoke app and use it the same way a TV box or smart TV set works. If you are using a tablet then it is best to use an HDMI cable or Bluetooth so the lyrics on your karaoke app can be displayed on your TV set.

Next, you will need a microphone, a speaker, and a mixer.

The mixer is important for combining your instrumental audio with the microphone output so everything will be played through the speaker.

You can also connect your microphone directly to the TV set or audio system so your voice can be played via the app through the speaker. With a laptop, you can easily connect the microphone and speaker to the laptop and start to sing via these three devices.

These setups are not the easiest to get implemented but it is a good start if you are in a rush to get your home system set up without spending too much money.

How to Build a Karaoke System

If you cannot find a karaoke system or do not want to buy one, then you can also build your own system. To build a fully functional karaoke system, you will need the following items:

One or two microphones

A microphone is a must because it is the only way to get your voice into the machine so it will play through the speakers along with the rest of the music. There are quite a few different types of karaoke microphones on the market. Wired microphones are cheaper and sometimes can work better since there are never any connectivity issues but wireless microphones allow you to move freely so you can dance.


For some beginners, the speakers of your TV set are enough to get started. But if you are serious about having fun or if you have a public karaoke system then you might want to consider bigger speakers with better sound quality and more sound output. Today you can buy speakers in all sizes and you can even get them wired or wireless.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that PA or active speakers are preferable and not home theater speakers. This is because these active or PA speakers function better with live music compared to home theater speakers that can sound dull. Karaoke systems can also be damaging to your home theater system speakers.


A mixer or amplifier is a great item to add to your system if you want excellent sound quality. The mixer is the device that connects all of your other devices so everything will function in harmony.

With karaoke systems, two sounds need to be combined before it can be played through the speaker, your voice and the music track.

The mixer combines all elements such as a speaker, microphone, and audio source so everything will work together smoothly.

With the laptop karaoke system setup we mentioned previously, your laptop acts as the mixer because it syncs the microphone, audio app, and speakers so everything can function as a unit.

Karaoke software such as a CD

There are quite a few different ways to go about finding karaoke software. Here is a quick look at your three leading options when it comes to processing music tracks in your library.

CDs/ CD-Gs

This is considered the old-fashioned way of accessing karaoke songs. You can find CD’s for sale but many karaoke systems include free CD’s that you can try. With these systems, you usually have access to a huge variety of songs and the audio tracks are usually of the highest quality.

You will also need to use a screen in addition to this software and the mixer.

Karaoke Apps

Karaoke apps can be downloaded from online stores such as Google Play Store, the Apple store, or other sources. For most apps, you will need to pay a monthly subscription but these devices are very easy to use since you don’t need a screen and you have access to a large variety of popular songs.

There are some karaoke apps that can be used free of charge but these tend to be more of a nuisance than a pleasure due to many advertisements.


When you play lyric songs via YouTube on a laptop, smart TV, or your phone, you can access a large variety of popular songs for free. This is one of the best concepts if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. The only downside is that YouTube does feature quite a lot of annoying ads between songs.

A computer or TV monitor

To sing karaoke, the lyrics need to be visible so you can read them. Your karaoke system will need to include some sort of monitor or screen.

If you are using a tab or laptop then you should be all sorted with a monitor. If you are using a CD and mixer, you will need to use your TV set or some other screen to display the words.

Connection cables

AUX and USB cables are important if you are connecting your phone to a TV, a microphone to a karaoke machine, a karaoke machine to a TV set, and for many other purposes.

Set up Your Home Built Karaoke System

The setup instructions depend on the type of system you want to create. Here is a quick look at the basic steps for setting up your home built system:

  • First, you need to connect the microphone to the mixer. Most microphones have XLR cables or channel inputs but there are some that are wireless that need to be connected via WiFi or Bluetooth.
  • Next, you need to connect your speaker to the mixer using a wireless connection or XLR cables.
  • The mixer will now need to be connected to the audio or video device via wireless, Bluetooth, RCA, or USB connection.
  • Finally, you will need to attach your audio/video software and device to the TV screen by using an HDMI cable.

When all of this is done, you should be all set to start singing your heart out.

How to Connect Phone to Karaoke Machine

Some people prefer to use a tablet or phone for karaoke because it is so easy to download and install karaoke apps onto your phone.

  • If you are using your phone then you first need to find and install a good karaoke app. You might need to subscribe to the app if you want to enjoy fantastic songs or the latest music releases but the entire internet can be used as a library to find songs you would like to sing.
  • To connect your phone to a karaoke system, you usually only need to attach the USB cable from your phone to the karaoke machine.
  • If you want, you can now use the phone or tablet screen to display music lyrics.
  • If your screen is too small, you can connect your phone to your TV set so the content will be displayed on the screen.

Once set up, you can start using your karaoke system to sing and enjoy songs.

How to Connect Karaoke to Amplifier

An amplifier is an electronic device that is used to increase the magnitude of the signal or sound applied. When you use an amplifier in your karaoke system, you can produce much clearer and higher quality sounds and your voice will become much more realistic.

To connect an amplifier to your karaoke system, you usually need to use your cables to connect the amplifier to your karaoke system. Once this connection has been set up, you will need to connect the speakers to your amplifier. In most amplifiers, you should be able to connect the microphone directly to the amplifier.

Once everything is hooked up, you should be able to adjust the sound quality by fine-tuning the settings on your amp.

How to Setup Karaoke At Home Using YouTube

This is one of the easiest ways to set up a karaoke system at home if you are on a tight budget. Here is a quick look at the easiest way to use YouTube for karaoke.

Step 1 

The first thing you will need is a good microphone that can be connected to the mixer.

Step 2 

Next, you will need a good speaker that can be connected to the speaker. It is important to note that karaoke systems may damage your home speaker system which means it is probably best to connect an active or wireless speaker instead of your home audio system.

Step 3 

You will need to use a mixer so you can combine the sound from the microphone with the sound that is played via YouTube.

Good quality mixers will have lots of controls that you can use to adjust the microphone and music output.

Step 4 

Next, you need to use a device such as a phone, tablet, computer, Smart TV or other device to access YouTube so you can seek out music that you can play.


You now need to connect the device you are using to Your TV set so you can display the lyrics on your TV set and so the content will flow via your TV through your mixer to your speakers.

Once this setup is complete, you will be able to sing along with all of your favorite free songs you find on YouTube.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, most DIY karaoke setups can be quite complex to get in good functioning order. For most people, it is much easier – and sometimes more affordable – to simply buy a karaoke system online. Good quality karaoke systems that already include everything you need such as a microphone, mixer, display, speaker, and audio library are much easier to use compared to trying to get all of these loose items and components to sync and function in harmony.

But if you have your heart set on making your own DIY system then there is always a way to execute this setup successfully as long as you invest in the right type of gear.

We do hope that this guide taught you more about karaoke and the best ways to get your own systems set up at home. And if you are also looking for terrific advice on the best karaoke equipment such as speakers, microphones, CD’s, mixers, and screens to buy then we welcome you to have a look at some of our buying guides featured right here on our site.

Julius Hagenes

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