Since you're reading this tutorial I'm assuming that you are just starting or are thinking of starting a karaoke business. The karaoke system  discussed here will be adequate for most venues, such as small to medium sized bars and clubs as well as small outdoor events, without costing you a fortune. This will be a component system of various manufacturers.

First you must decide what type of media you will be using.  More and more professionals are switching to the compressed file or "digital" format that is stored on a laptop computer hard drive and played with a software "hosting" program.

What are some of the digital karaoke advantages?

  No discs to store or haul around.

  No discs to load into the player.

  No more dirty or damaged discs that skip during your show.

  Easily find songs with the hosting software's search function.

  New songs can be purchased individually giving you more control over selection.

  Purchased songs may be downloaded from BuyKaraokeDownloads.com saving time and shipping costs.

  Many Karaoke DJ's purchase downloads on the fly from customer requests if they do not have the song. They typically would buy COUPONS ($20) from us and then use the coupon code (available under "Subscriptions" once you LOGIN) to purchase the songs.

Memberships or subscriptions are only applicable to New Releases for a six or twelve month period. This would include any songs added to our database starting from the current month forward. We do not backdate any subscriptions. We add approx. 20 or more New Releases which are current Pop, Country, etc and then a host of others from our request pool submitted by our customers. A "Download" button appears beside each song during your subscription period.

All songs in our database can be purchased individually between .99 and $1.99 w/o a subscription with 20% off for 5 or more songs. All you have to do is register and purchase.


One leading provider of digital karaoke software is Powerkaraoke.com and there Professional DJ/KJ software. They have been producing high quality products for many years. Their karaoke hosting software is a widely used and user friendly program. This software includes all importing tools, CD+G Disc playback and ripping tools, video playback, songbook creator, and many more features. See link below:

http://www.powerkaraoke.com/src/prod_siglos-karaoke-professional.php



The basic karaoke system components.



Mixer / Amp
Forget about the huge mixing boards with forty sliders, twenty knobs, and half a dozen VU meters. These are totally unnecessary for a karaoke system. What you need is a good quality mixer amp that has separate channel controls, a seven or nine band graphic equalizer, and enough power to drive your speakers. There are countless numbers of these amps around produced by companies like Behringer, Fender, Mackie, Peavey, Samson, and others.


Speakers
Your speakers are the number one factor in creating a good sounding system. You can have the best amp, the best player, the highest quality disc, and sound terrible with the wrong speakers. You should not even consider any speaker that has less than a 15 inch woofer. You may think they sound great when you listen to them in the store but when you crank them up in a large crowded room you will wonder "what happened to the bass?". Not all speakers, even some very high quality ones, sound good with karaoke. Speakers that might sound great when cranking out DJ music may not sound so great once someone sings through them. We recommend speakers from JBL, Peavey, and SoundTech.


Speakers Stands
Speaker stands have come a long way. They were constructed of tubular steel and cast iron. Heavy and a nuisance to set up. Today they are constructed of aluminum, fiberglass, or a combination of the two. Much lighter and very easy to set up. Look for a good brand name or one that is recommended by your speaker's manufacturer.

Cordless Microphones
These are a must for any professional karaoke system. Not because they have a better sound quality than quality wired mics (they normally don't), but you just can't have the wires strung around. There are many quality brands of wireless mics to choose from. Many KJ's concluded that the Shure mic with the SM58 head was the overwhelming choice.

19" Color TV
A 19 inch tv seems to be the standard for a mobile karaoke system. It must be a color set in order to view the highlighting of the lyrics. A smaller screen makes it difficult to read the lyrics at any distance and a larger one is just to much trouble to haul around set up. Any 19" color tv will do. You should be able to pick up a cheap one in the classified ads of a newspaper.

Component Rack
Building your system from various components means that you will need a custom component rack. You can purchase a custom rack setup from your local music supply store or you can build one yourself. The standard setup, as I'm sure you've seen many times, is the mixer amp setting on a table covered by a rack system which is basically a shelf for the player and the tv setting on the top of the rack. Normally the cordless mic receivers are placed on top of the tv. This makes for a compact setup that does not require a lot of space. You can easily construct this rack yourself out of 12 inch wide shelving boards for much less than the price of a commercial one.
 

Computer Requirements
You should purchase a computer of sturdy design that has "shock mounted" components and a "spill proof" keyboard. A computer used for performing karaoke shows receives a lot more punishment than one that you use at home, school, or in the office.

  • At least a 1 GHz Celeron, Pentium, or AMD processor and 512 MB ram. A faster processor and more ram will make for better performance.  
  • Stereo sound card with stereo audio output.  
  • Dual display graphic card with TV out, at least 32 MB RAM, and latest DirectX version support. Dual display is necessary in order to display your workstation on the laptop while displaying the karaoke screen to the singers. You will find that most "off the shelf" laptop computers do not meet this requirement and cannot be upgraded because of their integrated graphics configuration.  
  • Windows XP or Vista operating system, as most hosting software requires this.  
  • Large capacity internal and/or external hard drive for storing the song tracks. 80 GB or larger recommended.  
  • External or internal CD or DVD drive that supports the CD+G format. Necessary for extracting the contents of karaoke CD+G discs to the hard drive.

        You will connect the computer to your amplifier and monitor in much the same way as you would connect a standard karaoke disc player. You may need adapter cables that connect from your audio and video cards to your amp and monitor. This will depend on the types of connections your laptop provides.