Home Stereo Karaoke System
You might be thinking that you can simply connect a karaoke player to your home entertainment system, plug a couple of microphones into it and you are ready for a karaoke party. Possibly this is because of what some electronics salesperson told you. The truth is that it is not that simple. Your amp or amp/receiver may have plenty of power, and connecting to a TV is no problem, but the speakers are another thing altogether. Your surround sound speakers, cabinet stereo speakers, or soundbar, are all designed to reproduce recorded audio. They do not have the capability to produce audio like the vocals from a live microphone. PA speakers are designed to handle both scenarios. If you only want to practice karaoke at a low volume you can get by using the hifi speakers if you're careful. Listen for any distortion in the vocals as that is the beginning of the end for the speakers. Also do your best to avoid any feedback caused by the microphones coming too close to any of the speakers. What I highly recommend is that you incorporate a pair of PA (Public Address) speakers into the system and switch to only them when performing karaoke. PA speakers are designed for reproducing recorded audio and also for producing live audio. Not only will they allow you to perform karaoke at a much higher volume they will also dramatically improve the sound of your vocals. When you think about PA speakers you may picture those big black vinyl covered cabinets that you see at the karaoke bar. Those are not the only type available. There are units that will fit nicely into the decor of your family or recreation room. Like the ones below for example.
Acesonic SP-450 300W
Professional Vocal Speaker System
BMB CSN-300 300W 8"
The SetupWith a Karaoke Disc Player
If you're using a karaoke disc player then the setup is pretty straight forward. The video out connects to the tv, the audio outs connect to the audio inputs (typically CD or Tape) of the amp/receiver, the PA speakers connect to the (Front) Left and Right outputs of the amp/receiver, and the microphones plug into the karaoke disc player. Laptop as the Player
If you will be using a laptop as the player you will need a mixer. I recommend a USB capable mixer as it makes for an easier and better connection to the laptop. The connections will be a USB cable from the laptop to the mixer. Video out from the laptop to the tv using the necessary cable or converter depending on the options available. Microphones will plug into the mixer. Main L and R outputs from the mixer will connect to the audio inputs (typically CD or Tape) of the amp/receiver. The PA speakers connect to the (Front) Left and Right outputs of the amp/receiver. If you only care about displaying the karaoke lyrics on the laptop's monitor then any karaoke file playing software will do. If you want to display the lyrics on a separate tv or monitor you will need karaoke software that will support the extended desktop feature of your laptop. I recommend Siglos Karaoke Player/Recorder for the home user. TV as the Karaoke Source
If you are using your tv as the player, as in accessing the karaoke music from a cable channel, online source, or possibly a USB device, you are going to require an audio mixer. The Main L and R outputs from the mixer will connect to the audio inputs (typically CD or Tape) of the amp/receiver. The stereo audio outputs (typically RCA) from the tv would connect to stereo audio (typically RCA CD/TAPE) inputs of the mixer. Microphones would plug into the mono inputs of the mixer. The PA speakers connect to the (Front) Left and Right outputs of the amp/receiver. You will need to change the audio output settings of the tv to route the audio to the RCA outputs. Be sure to turn down or mute the tv's speakers while performing karaoke.
Article by Richard Wise. Follow me on