The term karaoke originated from Japan where "kara" means "empty" and "oke" is short for okesutora, which means "orchestra". Karaoke is a type of interactive entertainment where amateur singers sing along with the music to a popular song. However, the music would not include the lead vocals, which the karaoke singer fills in. The karaoke singer sings along using a microphone, and the aim is to sing the song like the original singer did and harmonise with the music coming from the karaoke machine. Most popular songs can be found in karaoke systems because fans are always trying to sing like their favourite band or pop star.
Karaoke machines generally integrate a video screen, which displays the lyrics of the song that corresponds with the music being played. The lyrics are generally displayed line by line in the order that they should be sung. Some professional artists engage in a karaoke style performance when they conduct a show. The empty track is played while the singer sings their songs live but without a live band. All the instruments and backup music is included in the track, and the singer simply provides the lead vocals for their performance.
The concept of a karaoke system is pretty straightforward, but before buyers engage in shopping for a home karaoke system, they should fully understand what a karaoke system is and its revolutionized purpose. They should also learn the various components that make up a superb home karaoke system.
The Story Behind Karaoke Machines
The invention of karaoke is still a debatable subject. A Japanese drummer by the name of Daisuke Inoue is said to have invented a karaoke machine back in 1971. The machine took over Japan and then spread throughout the rest of Asia before subsequently spreading to the rest of the world.
The initial design for the machine came about when fans kept asking Inoue to provide them with recordings from his live performances so that they could sing to it. It occurred to the drummer that there was a market for this type of entertainment, so he made a machine that would play recordings that people could sing along to. The machines were leased to various stores instead of being sold, and new songs could be added to the machines without people having to constantly buy them.
After a while, the karaoke machines increased in popularity and were considered the entertainment highlight in many restaurants and hotels. In 2004, the tongue-in-cheek IG Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Inoue for his invention and contribution to getting people to come together through entertainment.
Karaoke eventually became very profitable as a form of entertainment in many lounges and nightclubs, and karaoke bars were being opened all over the world. The bars generally feature very high-end equipment with wide screens for displaying the lyrics, bright lights, and dance floors.
Karaoke Evolution to In-Home Systems
After the widespread popularity of karaoke, the creation of smaller in-home systems was well underway. However, it was not so successful on its own, so manufacturers started creating combination karaoke machines, which also had other features.
In essence, instead of a simple karaoke machine, the karaoke feature was added and sold as a full home theatre system, which also included speakers and amplifiers to provide cinematic quality at home. The home theatre systems became very popular, and while karaoke was still a part of the systems, it was not the main function of the system but rather a side feature.
Home Karaoke Systems
Home karaoke systems are popular on nights when families get together for games and fun. Some are even used as the entertainment highlight for house parties or as vocal practice for aspiring singers. There are different types of home karaoke systems, but the one that buyers choose should depend on what they plan to use it for. In essence, is it only for the family, or does it need to be loud enough to be heard by a large number of guests or over the noise at a party? If it is going to be used for song practice, buyers may even want a portable version. These questions should be asked before venturing out. Not all karaoke systems are the same, but they all have a similar list of components.
Karaoke Disc Player
Multi-format disc players for karaoke generally support the standard CD+G format as well as other karaoke DVDs and VCDs. The players are equipped with their own mic input ports and have separate controls for them. They generally include "vocal cancel" and "digital key control" features and can connect to an amplifier in the same way that a CD player does. The video output from the disc player can then be connected to a television or to an S-video input.
Mixer and Amplifiers
Home karaoke systems are generally equipped with amplifiers that provide control over the treble, balance, and the overall sound of the music. Some systems may have a mixer built into the amplifier, which is referred to as a power mixer. The mixer quality allows the user to mix two or more sources and then output them to one stereo pair. This could be the mic and the player, which allows the music to be emitted at the same time with the voices from the microphone.
High Powered Stereo Speakers
Many persons opt for surround sound satellite speakers, but they are not the best options for karaoke. The truth is that surround sound speakers work great for movies, but they do not stand up well to live vocals. It is best to get a pair of high powered PA speakers to get a better performance from your karaoke system.
Any wired or wireless microphone can suffice. However, some persons argue that wired microphones elevate the sounds better, while others argue that they are better able to simulate a live performance with a wireless mic. This simply means that the microphone is not directly plugged into the system but rather connects via a wireless signal.
CD+G discs are the most popular karaoke format, so many popular songs can be found on these discs. There are many sellers that provide discs with hundreds and even thousands of songs, which allows for a lifetime of karaoke fun. However, some of these discs do not really contain the original background vocals and instrumentals. They instead have synthetic MIDI music that most karaoke disc players may not be able to play.
Some people utilise a computer monitor, depending on the type of system that they have, but a good quality colour TV is fine. In recent times, many users have opted to connect their karaoke system to a wide screen TV, which is best for a karaoke party or family viewing. If the karaoke system needs to be added to an older model TV that does not have RCA or S-video outputs, an RF modulator needs to be connected in order to convert the video signal.
Complete Karaoke Systems
Complete karaoke systems can be all-in-one systems that vary in size and components. Some can be small portable radio-like units, while others are big and powerful enough to warrant a stationary post. The features on these systems also vary, so it is always best to go through the list of features to ensure that the system has all that is needed.
Computer Karaoke System
Computer karaoke systems are slowly becoming more popular than component systems because the world is moving into a technologically inclined direction. There would be no need for a disc player because the computer can play the discs as well as store the songs. Computers are also already equipped with a monitor and a mic input, so not many additional components would be needed. The karaoke aspect is just a matter of installing the right software and getting the desired karaoke music files.
How to Buy a Home Karaoke System on eBay
You may wonder if it is safe or even wise to buy a home karaoke system online, but if you choose eBay as your online store, then you can ease yourself of the worrisome burden. The fact is that eBay has numerous karaoke system sellers with various system types, so every buyer can find the right karaoke machine with very little effort.
All you have to do is simply perform a search for "home karaoke" from the eBay home page. It is best not to add the words "system", "machine", or "player" to the search term so that a relevant product is not excluded in the results listing. Some sellers may post their item as a system, machine, or just a player, but the item may still include all of what you need, so it is best to not filter out any of the options just yet.
From that initial search, you can browse through the listings to find a system that fulfils your karaoke needs or apply specific filters to narrow the options. If you are just starting out, it is best to select a karaoke system that has everything, including the player, speakers, mic, and maybe even a few karaoke tracks to get you started. Many sellers offer everything as a bundle, but be sure to read each selected listing thoroughly and not assume that it includes everything seen in the listing picture. If you are still unsure or if some terms appear a bit too technical, contact the seller to get precise details before making any payments.
Karaoke is a great past time, whether at a club, an event, or at home. More homeowners are becoming interested in home karaoke machines, but they should ensure that they buy a system that suit their needs and budget. Some karaoke systems come as one unit, while others are made up of different components. Buyers should educate themselves on the various components that make up a system and the purpose of each one.
Some buyers may choose to get a dedicated karaoke system, while others go for an overall home entertainment system with a karaoke feature or a computer based option. Whichever option is chosen, buyers should ensure that the systems are complete and that all components are compatible.
Additionally, buyers should be careful when purchasing karaoke discs and ensure that they contain original, high quality instrumentals and background vocals. They should confirm these details with the seller and ask as many questions as necessary until they are satisfied enough to make a purchase. First-time buyers should feel comfortable purchasing a karaoke system on eBay because they can search and browse through various system types and filter their searches to view more specific options.