Setting up for a Karaoke party

Singing Machine 1028-N

A Karaoke party is a great idea to get guests involved and entertained. And it is great for kids too. But what do you need a for such a party? You can get a simple karaoke system that has a microphone and play CD+G disks – those play music and have the ability to display lyrics. To display the lyrics you need to be able to connect the system to a TV or to a monitor. Some systems come with a built in monitor. I have a Singing machine 1028N which is a pretty good system. It has two external speakers that sound great for an in-room party. It also has a display to show the lyrics and can not only play CD+G cds but also take input from an iPod/iPhone or an auxiliary input. An Auxiliary input (called as an Aux input) is where you can feed sound/music from an external device such as your laptop or tablet. This gives you a lot more added flexibility as there are many websites that offer karaoke tracks ( is a good one for Indian songs). A good microphone is a must. Those that come with the systems are fairly okay but I have heard people complain that one has to be very close to the microphone itself. The reason is these microphone have a zone from which they pick up sound very well and that is the area surrounding the mic itself. The reason for this is that ambient noise shouldn’t be picked up. Many microphones do an okay job as far as reproducing the vocals and some are more suited for instruments. This is due to the sound frequencies they are designed to handle. I have found some of the built in microphones are good are reproducing female sounds (higher pitch) than male voice. I did a bit of research on this and found ‘Large diaphragm condenser microphones’ are best suited for vocals. These sort of microphones have a diaphragm within that are extremely sensitive to sound vibrations i.e., they move with the sound. Thus they can reproduce the nuances in vocals very well. There are a few such microphones that are reasonably priced – a) Audio Technica AT2035 and b) MXL V67g are two good ones for around $100 or less. Users swear by these. The Shure is a great brand and the SM57 and SM58 are two that are extremely popular but these are not condenser diaphragm microphones and they do a great job in sound reproduction of instruments better than vocals and certainly not as good as the AT2035 or the MXL.

Audio Technica AT2035

When you sing by yourself at home, you hear the music well for there is not much noise. But in a party it is totally different. With a large group of people just the talk alone can muffle the music. This comes in the way of the singer’s ability to hear the music for his/her singing. Add to this when the microphone isn’t as good, the singer will have to strain himself/herself to find out how his singing sounds like. I have had this problem in every party except when I have performed at an auditorium where the sound system, acoustics and the microphones are capable of so much more. So two things you want to do to combat this, what I term as, singer’s discomfort. a) Buy a good microphone b) have a system that is capable of attaching a headset. With (b), the singer can isolate the noise and clearly hear how the final output is. In the end, when you prepare for the entertainment, you will have a much better result. Also, make sure that the singer can use his own sound as input such as a smart phone or play from a website. This is because the singer can sing with familiar lyrics and the end result is a much better experience.

The Singing machine was available for $129 a few months back at BJs but is now around $169. With this you have almost everything I talked about above. The microphones that come with it are pretty decent and I have used that at home for some parties with good results. When you buy a Karaoke machine, make sure the following are available depending on what is optional for you
a) Decent speakers – which should be a given. The 1028 has two with 7Watts each
b) Aux input
c) Ability to play CD+G discs
d) Ability to see lyrics from the CD+G discs
e) Ability to record your singing. The system should have audio out ports

Here is a great article that explains the
– different types of microphones and their technologies
– which type is good for what kind of sound
– and the capture pattern i.e., cardoid, omni-directional, etc – what part of the mic is sensitive to sound

Also, read about a previous post on the subject –


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  2. Pingback: Audio Technica AT2035 | Payana – A Journey - Payana in Kannada is a journey. My experiments with life!

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