Posts Tagged ‘Karaoke’

Recently, I was invited to a Karaoke party by my friend Sharif. It was a new experience for me as I had never been to a Karaoke party. I don’t know how to sing but I loved the energy levels and the way it helped people connect. So, I decided to set up a Karaoke option at home.

With quick research I figured that there are two options:

1. Buy a consumer friendly Karaoke system. Most electronics shops have some models available for ready-to-use karaoke systems. They come with their own microphones and connect to your amplifier and TV via composite connectors. They have an inbuilt collection of songs along with the lyrics. These costs between Rs. 15k – Rs. 22k. These are best for those who do not like to get their hands dirty with setting up gadgets.

2. Build a karaoke system using components from different manufacturers. This offers the option to choose the best-in-class (on the basis of features/ technology/ value for money) components.

I chose the second option and decided to build.

A. COMPONENTS REQUIRED

1) Mixer : this device takes input from the microphones and mixes it with the music of the songs. The mixed audio is then sent to the audio amplifier.
2) Microphones: obvious use – to sing.
3) Media Player: to play the songs. These give video output which has the lyrics displayed on the screen and audio output which goes into the mixer.
4) Songs with lyrics: The content is very important. You need the songs without the vocals but with lyrics available in a format that can be displayed on the video.
5) Amplifier and Speakers: Yes, you can use your existing home theatre or stereo amplifier if they have a free audio-in source option available.
6) Lots of Cables. Different connectors as per use.

B. MY SETUP

1) Mixer
I bought the Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer  from Bajaao.com. It offers 2 XLR inputs, and 6 other inputs. I am very happy with it. It was delivered fairly quickly. If I were to buy one again, I would go for the USB version of the same Xenyx 802USB. Mine cost me Rs. 5,600.

2) Microphones
A friend of mine (Vivek) runs a restaurant (White Waters) in CP, Delhi. He has a Karaoke setup at his restaurant. He suggested that I buy UHF wireless microphones and not wired microphones. I borrowed his microphones and tested them. They were good but not as good as the wired ones that I tried. I bought one Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 and one Audio Technica ATR2100. While XM8500 only has an xlr connector, the ATR2100 has an xlr as well as usb connector. I am able to connect the ATR2100 directly to a computer for voiceovers or even skype conversations. Love it. (Price: XM8500S – Rs. 2,000 and ATR2100- Rs. 4,500)

3) Media Player
I learnt that youtube has karaoke version of almost all songs. So I decided to use Sony’s SMP-N200 Media streamer which I already had. One very nice things about this player is that it has an iOS remote app. So, I can operated it from my iPhone. Searching for songs on youtube is made easier thanks to this iOS app. (Price: USD50 from USA)

4) Songs with Lyrics
I donot have any content with me. I play all songs from Youtube. Yes, there are times when I am unable to find some songs, but mostly all songs are available. Just search for the song name + karaoke and you get some options. (PRICE: free, only bandwidth is used)

5) Amplifier and Speakers
I used my existing Home Theatre system.

6) Cables
It was easy to get the cables from any music shop nearby.

And with the above, I have a nice Karaoke setup. When some of my friends came over with their kids, we had a great time. We were amazed to see how kids were able to sing very well.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.