Simply stated, a karaoke laptop is one that you use as your karaoke player in place of a disc player or hard drive player. It allows you to eliminate the need for karaoke discs like a hard drive player and modern hosting software offers more features than you will find on any karaoke machine. Your laptop can easily be the ultimate karaoke player for your home system. When you hear or read the words "karaoke laptop" you may start thinking about needing a special sound card, powerful video card, etc.. The fact is that some of the best karaoke "hosting" applications require very little system resources and will run perfectly on most laptops produced in the past five or six years. One thing though... it needs to be a Windows laptop. There is very little karaoke software available for Mac computers. If you must use a Mac you could always use Boot Camp and run Windows on your Mac. The reason I recommend hosting software instead of just any karaoke file playing program is because of the numerous features it offers. If you're going to build a nice karaoke system for your home why not be able to run it like a pro KJ? Don't be scared off by thinking the software will be difficult to learn. These programs are very user friendly with a very small learning curve. Take a look at my Karaoke Hosting Software Basics article that uses JustKaraoke as the demonstrator for a little more insight.
Laptop RequirementsThe precise system requirements will of course depend on the hosting software you choose. One of my favorite hosting programs JustKaraoke, which also happens to be the least expensive one, requires very little system resources. Virtually any Pentium 4 or later Windows XP or better laptop, with at least 64MB video ram, and the extended desktop feature, will do. This would include most laptops sold in the past five or six years and some from even earlier. I once picked up an HP laptop at a yard sale for $50 and turned it into a karaoke laptop. The laptop need not have a large hard drive as typically you would store your karaoke music on an external USB hard drive. The compact hard drives that are powered by the USB port are perfect for this although virtually any will suffice. You can store tens of thousands of karaoke MP3+G or Zipped MP3+G song files on a single 350GB hard drive. A 24 bit sound card is nice to have and also absolutely unnecessary for getting a great sound signal from a laptop. The sound card that is integrated into your laptop will do just fine. The audio from your laptop will connect to your mixer via the earphone jack. Details on this will be in the "Put Your Karaoke System Together" section. Virtually all modern laptops have an "extended desktop" feature. Hosting software takes advantage of this to allow you to display the program's work area on the laptop while displaying only the karaoke on a separate monitor or TV. There are various configurations that exist between the video output options of a laptop and video input options of a TV. These will also be covered in detail later.
About the MusicThe music you will use with a karaoke laptop setup will be in the industry standard computer karaoke format known as MP3+G. These are compressed versions of the songs found on CD+G discs. They average about 1/8th the size of the original but retain full sound quality. These files can be obtained in several ways which will be covered in the Karaoke Music section. Be sure to visit the Put Your Karaoke System Together page.
Article by Richard Wise. Follow me on