Karaoke on a Laptop Computer

Karaoke Laptop
Just as audio CDs and CD players have given way mp3 files and digital players so goes the karaoke disc and their players. Computer based karaoke systems are the future of karaoke and for many good reasons. CDG karaoke discs have always been a nuisance to transport, store, handle, and maintain. A karaoke host will seldom get through an entire performance without at least one instance of broken graphics or skipping because of a scratched, dirty, or defective disc. Home users will equally benefit from a computer based system.

Basically you are going to turn your laptop into a karaoke player and your CDG discs into karaoke song files. The major difference between a karaoke laptop for professional use and one for home use is the software used. The home user who will primarily use the laptop for small parties, practicing songs, and making recordings of themselves, would typically go with a program like Siglos Karaoke Player/Recorder. Professionals will need "hosting" software that has features like song database creation, song search, singer history, singer rotation, remote monitor support, etc..

Computer Requirements

The minimum system requirements for the laptop will depend on the software that will be used. Most modern laptops with a decent video card will suffice. No special sound card is required. For hosting software it must have an extended desktop feature in order to display your workstation on the laptop while displaying the karaoke screen on another monitor or TV. This is a common feature on virtually all modern laptop computers. A large capacity hard drive will be required if you have a large music library although most prefer to store the music on an external USB hard drive.

Music Files

The standard karaoke file format which is supported by virtually all software karaoke players is MP3+G. These are basically the compressed version of CDG disc song tracks. If you have a CDG disc collection you will need to rip the songs from them to the MP3+G format. This is not a difficult procedure but it can be time consuming if you have a lot of discs. For detailed instructions on ripping CD+G discs see the Transfer CDG Song Tracks to a Hard Drive tutorial.

Audio and Video Connections

You will connect the laptop to your mixer and monitor in much the same way as you would connect a standard karaoke disc player. The audio will connect from the line out or headphone jack of the laptop to your mixer with a 1/8" stereo to dual RCA adapter cable. The laptop will have a VGA video connection and possibly HDMI also. You will need to find a way to adapt these to the type of connection supported by the TV(s) or monitor you will be using. VGA to a computer monitor is as easy as running a VGA cable. The same goes for HDMI laptop to HDMI TV.

Connecting to some TVs may be a bit more of a challenge. My favorite work-around is to convert the video signal to VHF and use coaxial cable which is supported by virtually all TVs. If the laptop has s-video out you would simply use an RF modulator to convert the signal. If there is no s-video output you will need to convert the VGA to s-video and then the s-video to VHF with the RF modulator.

Touchscreen Karaoke Ultrabooks

Popular Hosting Software

PCDJ Karaoki
A full featured hosting program that has the distinction of being the only one that offers the Karaoke Cloud subscription service integration. This allows you to have a large library of karaoke songs without a huge initial investment.

Siglos Karaoke Professional
Another full featured hosting application that has the added ability to play CDG discs from a computers CD/DVD drive.

Video Hoster with Song Book Creator
The only fully integrated hosting application which means it includes a disc ripping feature, a song book creation and printing feature, and every show hosting feature you could ever want.

Related Articles

Karaoke Hosting Software Basics
Build a Karaoke Music Library

Article by Richard Wise. Follow me on Google+

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