Karaoke Machine Buying Guide

From its emergence in Japan in the 1970’s, karaoke has become an extremely popular pastime.  Children especially have fallen in love with it.  Karaoke machines encourage imaginative play as kids can pretend to be their favorite singers.  They also encourage a healthy passion for music.  They have become so popular that they can often be found at the top of many lists for Santa Claus!  If your child is dreaming of owning one, or if you want something fun to do at parties, then there are some things you need to know. 

A karaoke machine is a multimedia entertainment product that allows users to sing along to popular songs while reading the lyrics on a screen.  Some are stand-alone units, but a new generation of machines can be connected to an entertainment center for a much improved audio/video experience. 

Features To Look For

The basic karaoke machine has a microphone, a music source like a CD player or an MP3 player connection, a speaker to hear both the music and the vocals, and a screen to display the lyrics.  Here is a list of features that may or may not be included in your next karaoke machine:

  • Color video monitor to display lyrics and background video
  • One or two microphones
  • A karaoke CD player, a connection for an iPod or MP3 player, or both
  • Speakers that are either separate or built into the machine
  • Audio/Video jacks for connecting to a television or entertainment center

Where To Buy A Karaoke Machine

We have found the best place to buy a karaoke machine online is Amazon.  With Amazon, you have access to thousands of consumer karaoke machine reviews that can tell you much about what is good and bad about any particular machine.  These karaoke machine ratings give an excellent indication of which models are considered the best.  Additionally, you are protected by Amazon’s return policy, which is often better than the policy of the manufacturer.

Karaoke Machine Reviews

To determine which are the best karaoke machines, we scoured the karaoke machine reviews posted by customers all over the web.  We took into account both positive and negative reviews, looking for common themes in both.  We also dug deeper into the comments on the reviews, trying to determine which opinions were the most authoritative.  Our karaoke machine review revealed these 5 karaoke machines as the being the most worth your consideration, starting with the best rated karaoke machine.

#1 Overall Best Karaoke Machine - EnterTech Magic Sing ET-19K

We found the relatively new EnterTech ET-19K to be rated as the best karaoke machine currently availble.  It includes two microphones for duet singing, has 2045 preloaded popular songs, and can handle 6 additional SD chip cards.  This “magic mike’ karaoke system uses sound cards instead of CD’s.  Matching everyone’s musical tastes can mean buying and storing dozens or karaoke CD’s.  And once they get scratched, the CD’s are ruined.  Sound cards can hold hundreds of cards, saving you both space and money, and don’t get scratched.  This superior functionality does come with a substantial price tag, but is well worth it if you are serious about karaoke (Our #2 rated machine is a great alternative if you are looking to spend a little less). This karaoke machine can be connected to a television or entertainment system, and has a movie mode for watching movies on DVD.  The “vocal assist” feature allows the original singer to help you along.  You can even record yourself singing to the music and play it back or save it on an SD card. 

This karaoke machine has other amazing features that are sure to please. The sound quality is rated among the best.  Some user reviews claim that the preloaded songs can be a little cheesy, and none are more recent than the 1990’s.  However, you can easily purchase additional song cards for more choices.

EnterTech Magic Sing ET-19K Full Review

#2 Best - Singing Machine iSM-1028 N CDG Karaoke Player

Next in line is a much more affordable option, the Singing Machine iSM-1028 N CDG Karaoke Player.  This machine features two speaker towers, and is compatible with most iPods and even the iPhone 4.  The iPhone 4 compatibility means the user can use the iPhone YouTube app and sing along to a larger collection of karaoke videos. 

The key feature for the Singing Machine iSM-1028 N CDG Karaoke Player is the iPod and iPhone 4 compatibility.  The iPod Shuffle, however, does not have the necessary connections.  This player can also be integrated with a home entertainment system.  There are some complaints online about the quality of the microphones, the durability of the unit, and the manufacturer’s customer service department.  Overall, however, this is a really good choice for iPhone owners.

Singing Machine iSM-1028 Full Review

#3 Best - Emerson GF827 DVD Karaoke Player

This karaoke player has a very unique design.  It comes with 2 CD’s of 300 songs.  However, all of the songs are either traditional kids’ songs or holiday and religious classics.  Its most unique, feature is the 7” color monitor.  While it is very good for displaying song lyrics, the monitor turns this karaoke player into something special.  Replace the karaoke CD with a DVD of one of your favorite movies, and the Emerson GF827 DVD Karaoke Player becomes a portable DVD player.  Add the optional car adapter and this machine is an excellent companion for the kids during long road trips.

Emerson GF827 DVD Karaoke Player Full Review

#4 Best - Magic Sing ET15K

Another EnterTech product, the Magic Sing ET15K is not as good as its newer sibling.  This Machine has 1945 pre-loaded songs, a game mode for singing contests, adjustable audio controls on the microphone, and it holds 180 minutes of audio recordings.  This player as well can be connected to an entertainment system. 

This player has the same song choice problem as the ET-19K – there is really nothing contemporary on the list.  It uses sound cards instead of CD’s, and the cards can be ordered for about $20 each.  Customers report a decent sound quality, although there are a number of complaints about an annoying sound delay.  While this is a decent machine, the ET-19k model was a much needed upgrade.

Magic Sing ET15K Full Review

#5 Best - Memorex MKS-SS1 SingStand Home Karaoke System

The Memorex MKS-SS1 is an odd karaoke system.  It does not have a screen for displaying lyrics, does not use CD’s, and cannot be connected to a television or entertainment center.  The sound comes strictly from speakers in the base of the microphone stand.  In fact, the entire unit is basically a microphone stand that has a cradle that can barely hold an iPod or MP3 player without it falling out.  Unless you know how to paste lyrics into iTunes, you better be very familiar with the songs you sing, or have them written on a piece of paper.  It does have a unique vocal reduction feature that eliminates the original vocals on any song you are singing along to, and you can connect a keyboard player or guitar to play and sing along as well.  The sound quality is not very good.  With a large number of complaints about receiving defective machines (some karaoke system reviews mentioned receiving 4 in a row!), it is very hard to recommend the Memorex MKS-SS1 SingStand.

Memorex MKS-SS1 Full Review


The BottomLine

Our recommendation is definitely the EnterTech Magic Sing ET-19K for being the best karaoke machine.  The Singing Machine iSM-1028 N CDG Karaoke Player might be particularly interesting to iPhone and iPod owners and is a great choice for anyone on a budget.  Finally, the Emerson GF827 DVD Karaoke Player’s ability to double as a portable DVD player is also a recommended option if this extra functionality is important to you.