Music brings us together. No matter where you are in the world, you can’t help yourself from tapping your toes or clapping your hands when a good tune with a good beat comes on. It’s no wonder then that karaoke has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular pastime in North America, Europe, Asia and around the world. There’s something magical that happens when you get on stage and get to pretend you are a rockstar, if for only a few minutes. It’s scary and thrilling, and some people are actually pretty good at it. But even if you aren’t the next big thing, you can have a few laughs and enjoy some time with friends in a no-holds-bar kind of way.
Karaoke is great at home and on the go, and many modern karaoke machines are super portable so you can take the fun anywhere. If you are looking for a more professional machine, one that has more options and more flexibility when it comes to downloading new music, as I did, you’ll want to check out my review of these great karaoke machines. I’m English, so I obviously wanted an English karaoke machine, but my interest in how this world-wide phenomenon got me thinking about what other cultures look for in their karaoke machines, so I also looked into Korean and Chinese language karaoke machines.
I started my search online, like many of us do, and then I spent some time using karaoke machines — I’m one of those people who probably shouldn’t be allowed to sing on stage — but it’s fun nonetheless. These machines are affordable enough to be for home use, but they are robust enough and have enough options that I think they would be great options for DJs or event organizers to tote around.
I looked at a number of features to determine the best karaoke machines including size, weight, portability, whether or not I could plug a mobile device in or use Bluetooth technology to connect the device to the karaoke machine, and how many songs it had pre-installed if any. Most karaoke machines come with a microphone so you shouldn’t have to worry about buying an extra one, but if you are a professional, you might want to invest in several microphones for those larger groups. Here are the five best karaoke machines based on my experience.
Best Professional Karaoke Machine
Runner-Up Professional Karaoke Machine
Good Professional Karaoke Machine
Best Korean Language Karaoke Machine
Best Chinese Language Karaoke Machine
Table of Contents
The VocoPro Karaoke System struck me as fantastic, not because of all the bells and whistles that are included, but because of the old bells and whistles that come with this machine: a dual-cassette player. If you a millennial, you might not even know what a cassette tape is, but if you were born in the 80s, you definitely grew up with cassettes playing in the car and on the boombox at home. What I liked about this feature is that if you are a diehard karaoke fan, it’s likely you might have some of those old karaoke cassettes lying around, and you can bring them back to life with this machine. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but I really appreciated it this feature.
Looking at some of the more modern features of this overall winner, the VocoPro Karaoke System offers a number of ways to listen to and sing along with your favorite hits: DVD and CD players make it easy to watch the words on the screen or listen alone. The AM/FM tuner makes this a practical radio device for everyday listening, and you can even plug in the microphone and sing along if your favorite song comes on. I liked that it had more modern features as well, such as the ability to listen to MP3s and JPEG formatted songs. It is also compatible with CDG, VCD, HDCD, CD-R, and CD-RW. So I can create my own collection of karaoke music and take it with me wherever my karaoke adventures may find me.
With digital controls, I was able to alter the background music so that I wouldn’t be drowned out while singing. Has that ever happened to you? You get on stage, and you are all set to sing your head off, and then noone can hear you because the music’s too loud: it’s a real problem in karaoke bars, so this feature is nice to have.
The karaoke machine is a duet machine which means that two microphones can be plugged in allowing more than one person to sing along to the selection of songs. Of course, it’s not too rare that I get up on stage by myself, so having the ability to bring a friend, or a crew of friends is nice and comforting. There’s also an option to display the lyrics to a DVD output monitor, so you can read the words, or you can create your own background display using JPEG files, and a slideshow can play while you serenade your audience. Pretty fancy.
This is a great system for taking along to carnivals, church functions, fund-raisers, community events, and because it is powered by 80 watts, it’s powerful enough for a professional setting such as a wedding or in a bar. What’s great about this karaoke machine is that it is shock resistant, so while I am cutting a rug singing my favorite tunes, the CD won’t skip a beat.
The only thing I didn’t like about this karaoke machine was the size and weight of it. It is almost 30 pounds and quite bulky, so if I was going to do a lot of traveling with this machine, I might invest in a small dolly to get it from point A to point B. But if you don’t mind lugging it around from place to place, or if you only need to drop it somewhere and leave it there, this is an overall great machine for karaoke. Also, this machine doesn’t have pre-installed songs, which would have made it even better, but it’s great just the same.
Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of the VocoPro Karaoke System:
Heavier than I would like
Speed and pitch control
Doesn’t have pre-installed songs
Ability to play background slideshows
One year limited warranty
On my search for the best karaoke machines around, I came across this little gem that while it looks like something from a space alien movie, it really delivered on options and portability. The Singing Machine iSM1030BT first and foremost offers Bluetooth technology so I could use my iPad and iPhone to connect to the machine and play karaoke songs through it, which really opened up the amount of entertainment value because there are endless karaoke songs online that you can download and sing along with. I don’t have an Android device, but this karaoke machine is also compatible with Android smartphones and tablets.
In addition to the Bluetooth capabilities, the Singing Machine iSM1030BT offers numerous other ways to enjoy and sing along with your favorite karaoke songs: CDs and MP3s tend to be the most popular form of karaoke music around. This unit also allows you to stream graphics and it has a universal cradle for all of smartphones and tablets. That’s a nice feature, I thought.
I think I had the most fun recording my own songs using the voice recorder and then playing them back and having a good laugh at myself. This unit stands on a sturdy base, and the 7” color LCD display unit makes it easy to switch between songs and change the way you sing along. The LCD display also streams the song lyrics, so you never miss a beat…although, I did. Several times. Options include being able to adjust the balance and echo controls, and it has auto voice control, so you don’t overpower the machine, and the machine doesn’t overpower you.
The other thing I really liked about this karaoke machine was the tower-style speakers. They made the unit seem more legit, and it added some flair to the system when I was using it, making me feel like I could be a rock star.
Some of the accessories that come with this karaoke machine include two wired microphones, which I thought I wouldn’t like at first because I sort of expected the microphones to be Bluetooth, but in the end, it didn’t really matter. It also features a USB port that you can connect your devices to, and the package comes with all of the wires and cables you need. It also has a demo disc so you can try your hand at karaoke right out of the box, and another bonus feature I really appreciated was that it gave me the opportunity to download 10 bonus songs right away using a coupon code in the box.
Some things I didn’t like about the Singing Machine was that I was worried I was going to knock over the speakers and the display stand when I was using it. It’s very modern looking, but if you get a little rowdy — which I’ve been known to do a time or two while singing karaoke — you might knock it over. So keep your cool, and you should be fine.
Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of the Singing Machine iSM1030BT:
Free bonus songs
Speakers aren’t Bluetooth
Long wires on microphones
Felt not sturdy at times
Doesn’t have cassette player (if you are into that kind of thing)
Spot for your tablet or smartphone
Compatible with iOS and Android devices
Connects to your television for extra-large viewing capability
Record using USB technology
In my search for a middle of the road karaoke machine, I came across the Pyle-Pro Wireless Portable PA System. I thought it looked a little boring and boxy at first, but it turns out that it’s a pretty good machine for what you will pay for it. It has a lot of features and what I appreciate the most about it was that it was super portable with a telescopic handle and a set of rear-wheels, like a suitcase, so it was easy to move around. Right away, I noticed that I had a dock for an iPod, but if you have a newer phone, your phone might not fit the dock. Still, though, it was convenient to be able to place my iPhone in the dock and then connect my newer iPhone to the karaoke machine using the cables.
This karaoke machine also features something that the other two machines featured in this review do not: an internal, rechargeable battery pack, which means I could pack this guy up and take it to the park, rodeo, or wherever I find myself wanting to break out into song at a moment’s notice. It comes with an AC adaptor to plug it in when you aren’t using it to recharge it quickly and easily. It has inputs for 2 mics so I can sing alone or with a friend, and another nice feature of this machine was that it had a guitar input for even more sing-along fun. What’s more, it comes with a wireless mic so you can stand up to 100 feet away from the machine and still get great reception. There’s a lot of options with this one.
The amp is pretty powerful on this little machine, and it makes a great sound that can be heard near and far. I think it would be great for outdoor use because of how portable it is, and because of the great sound system. It’s easy to know what’s going on with your karaoke machine because it features four LED lights that let you know when the power is on, so you don’t waste battery power when it’s not in use, when the unit is charging so you can see when it is ready to travel again, when the battery is low so you know you have to get to a plug soon, and when the wireless mic needs is on or off.
I liked that I could adjust the bass and treble controls easily while using the machine, and I had a lot of fun playing with the echo knob that made really cool sound effects. There are a lot of external plugs on this machine so you can do practically anything with it, and it can hook up to another machine, CD player, or microphones from other machines as well.
A downfall of this machine is that it isn’t compatible with new models of smartphones, but if you happen to have an iPod Nano, it will charge the device while you are using the karaoke machine, so that’s a nice feature if it applies to you. Finally, this machine is a little on the heavy side, but the rolling caster wheels make up for that, so it’s forgivable.
Although this didn’t apply to me while I was testing out this machine, it is compatible in several countries around the world because it features a switch to change between 110v-60hz and 220v-50hz.
Lots of options
Older style iPod compatibility
Compatible in multiple countries
Heavier than needs to be
Rechargeable battery pack
Doesn’t have a great warranty
The battery doesn’t last as long as I would have liked
While I am not Korean or speak Korean, I thought it would be interesting to see what other kinds of Karaoke machines are out there. After all, karaoke is loved the world over, and it’s cool to look at what others are using to enjoy their karaoke events. When it comes to picking a Korean language karaoke machine, I decided to research one that offered multiple languages so that it would be relevant to the most amount of people. The Kumyoung KHM-600 offers over 30,000 songs in Korean, English, and Japanese. That seems like a good range of options to me.
This unit comes with 2 wireless microphones because the only thing better than one Korean karaoke rock star is two! It offers easy plug-and-play technology, and no additional hardware is required to start using this karaoke machine right away. I liked that it had a user-friendly graphic interface and offered a variety of functions to adjust the settings for a more customized experience.
Like many karaoke machines on the market, this one also offers an option to record your own MP3 files so you can increase your song selection even more. You can plug this unit into your television for a large screen and more options for using your karaoke machine. It is a small sized unit and looks more like a set of telephone receivers than a karaoke machine, but it’s got a lot of power in that little box.
When you buy this karaoke machine, you get 30,000 pre-installed songs in several languages, 2 wireless mics, the receiver, remote control, carrier bag, AV cables, batteries for the mics and more. It should be noted that because this is a advertised as a Korean karaoke machine, all of the information available on this device is in Korean, including the user’s manual and instruction guide. As well, the remote control also features Korean language on it.
Still though, even if you are an English speaking or Japanese speaking karaoke lover, you could get along easily enough with this unit. Choosing a song and singing along is not rocket science, it’s just fun science! So even if you don’t recognize the names of the songs because they are displayed in Korean, you can still have a lot of fun with this little device. It also has a switch for 110v – 200v making it easy to use in a number of countries around the world.
One downfall of this karaoke machine is obviously the language barrier, but if you are Korean or like singing karaoke in Japanese, this might be the machine for you.
Lots of options
Manual and instructions are only in Korean (which is only a con if you aren’t Korean)
Compatible in multiple countries
Small portable unit
Multiple language options
Works with different outputs
After looking for a decent Korean karaoke machine, I decided check out what Chinese language karaoke machines had to offer. The Acesonic KOD-2800 is a well-reviewed karaoke model and has a lot of features that you won’t find on other devices. For example, when I was looking into this unit, I discovered that it comes with over 117,000 pre-loaded songs! That’s like having a never-ending stream of music that you can sing along to! I was pretty excited about that.
What’s more, this unit is fully compatible with all Android and Apple devices on the market today, and it features a an easy plug-and-play modality. The machine itself is pretty straightforward: low-rise box that looks more like a DVD player than a karaoke machine. It has dual hard drives that offer up to 13TB of storage. That’s massive, in case you were wondering.
What’s great about this karaoke machine is that it comes in both Chinese and English interfaces so it can be used by a number of people in multiple locations, and it supports a number of unique features including the ability to support handwriting, Pinyin, numerical and alphabetical entries. This unit works through your smart device and allows you to scroll through options quickly and easily on your iPad or Android tablet. It can also connect to your television through the use of an HDMI cable, sold separately.
This is one of the lighter machines I tested, and it comes in at only 7 pounds. So despite the fact that you would need to pack up all the wires and hook-ups to move it around, it would be quite portable because of its size.
I should note that the microphones that come with it is only 110v so it won’t work in all countries. And if you plan to purchase your own mic for this device, make sure it is compatible with the system itself.
Overall, it’s a decent system, and the dual language component means more people can enjoy karaoke together.
Lots of options
Compatible in multiple countries
Small portable unit
Multiple language options
Works with different outputs
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