After a long week at work and Saturday night just around the corner, you feel it’s the perfect time for a night with friends—And what could be better than a karaoke party at your place?
You think about whom you’ll invite. Your closest friends, of course, and probably a few of your colleagues from work.
Saturday night comes, and it turns out just the way you imagined. Everyone turns up and lets loose. People let themselves go to the beats of the songs playing on your TV and sing their hearts out; your living room is their stage. Everyone has a blast.
Next Monday, they dub you “The Karaoke King” at work. Everyone knows your name at the office now… and man! It feels good. But suddenly, you wake up from your daydream and realize there’s a little problem: You don’t have a karaoke machine.
If this is you—in any way—fret not, my friend! I’m here to tell you there’s no need for a karaoke machine (especially if you’re not thrilled to buy one). You can arrange a karaoke setup at home with only a few things—and I’ll tell you how.
Equipment you Need for a Killer Karaoke Setup
‘Equipment’ sounds like a bunch of stuff, doesn’t it? And just in case this thought popped in your mind, yes, you can do karaoke with just YouTube playing on your TV and sing with no microphone. And you could also have an a capella karaoke party, but that wouldn’t be much fun, right? You need equipment.
Here are the things you need for a great home karaoke setup that’ll make your party a total success:
- A screen (e.g., TV or tablet)
- A music player (e.g., YouTube on any device)
- A mixer
I’ll explain why each is necessary in a bit. Also, if you’re missing any of these at home, I’ll give you a few recommendations that will guide you in the right direction so you can go and get them. After that, I’ll teach you how to set them all up. Let’s get started.
Perhaps the most essential piece of the whole setup, having a set of great-sounding speakers will keep your guests pleased–and you unworried of any distorted sound, EQ inconsistencies, or annoying feedback.
When getting a speaker, you’ll need to choose: Active or passive? Many feel puzzled as to which are better. And though I’m no speaker savvy myself, here’s the difference in a nutshell.
Passive speakers need an amplifier to work, whereas active speakers come with all the required equipment to just plug and play.
For the sake of convenience, if you’re thinking of getting a speaker, go for an active one. And if you have no idea which speaker you should get, here are a few recommendations you might want to consider:
Bose S1 Pro: You know you can’t go wrong with Bose. This bad boy packs 150W of power—more than enough for a medium-size living room. The S1 Pro is lightweight (15 pounds), rugged and durable. And it’s 330 mm x 241 mm dimensions make it discreet—if you’re looking for something that doesn’t take up too much space in your living room—and portable—perfect if you want to take the party outside without too much hassle. The S1 is a great choice.
Sony MHC-V90W: If you’re looking for a speaker loud enough to vibrate your family photos off the wall, you’ve found your winner. With 10 speakers, 2000 watts, club-style lights, and a ton of party features, the MHC-V90W is perfect for large gatherings and outdoor parties. Despite its size—and weight (22kg) —the MHC-V90W has wheels and a handlebar that make it easy to carry around. This speaker has all the bells and whistles (more than you’ll need, probably), and it’s sure to turn some heads at your party.
Anker Souncore: You’ll have a tough time finding a better speaker for under $100. With 50W of power, the Soundcore might be just enough for a small party, but for this price, you could even get 2 for a more surround sound. It’s lightweight, portable (around 5 inches), and it packs an 18-hour battery life, making it ideal for an outdoor party. It’s definitely the best bang for your buck.
Yes, the ‘s’ there was intentional. If you want your guests to have the most fun possible, you need more than one mic. Duets are tons of fun, and depriving your guests of that would be a crime. Also, two or more mics give more people the chance to join in the singing.
When it comes to mics, there are two ways to go, wireless or wired. Wired mics are easy to connect, don’t require extra equipment (such as a receiver), and don’t need any batteries.
On the other hand, wireless mics give you a lot of freedom to move around when singing without the risk of tripping on the cord—go with wireless for a better experience.
Here are some great wireless microphones for your karaoke night:
GTD Audio G-380H VHF Wireless Microphone System: Including four wireless mics, this is all you need to satisfy your karaoke party needs. The best part is, it doesn’t break your budget. At a price point of $139, this system is a great choice. However, don’t expect too much from it durability-wise, as it might disappoint you.
BONAOK Karaoke Wireless Microphone Bluetooth: This microphone is simply amazing. For 30 bucks, you not only get a microphone but a Bluetooth speaker and a voice recorder, too! Also, it’s nice-looking, you’ll have your friends asking you about it for sure. No way to go wrong with this one. Oh, and it also comes with rechargeable batteries!
Sennheiser Pro Audio Sennheiser EW 100-845S: Perfect for die-hard karaoke fans and public speakers, this is the mic you need if you want extreme durability and superb audio quality. Beware, though, it’s nothing close to cheap. The $600+ you’ll have to pay for it might divert you to other choices if you’re a casual karaoke singer.
Also known as amplifier, a mixer is essential when you’re not using a karaoke machine. The reason is simple: For your karaoke setup, you’ll be using two audio sources, your backing track and the audio from the microphones, so you need an interface to input them to.
Additionally, a mixer allows you to control the dynamics of your audio sources, such as volume, bass, tone, and even add some cool effects—making it easy to get the best sound experience possible.
Because of their complexity, I’ll keep things simple this time and stick to just listing my recommendations. You need to know that these mixers have enough features to do the job while not breaking your budget.
Here are 3 of the best budget mixers:
- Alesis MultiMix 4 USB FX
- Audio2000’S AMX7303
- YAMAHA MG06X
Screen and Music Player:
In the old days, people used CD-Gs for karaoke, which came in a format that most karaoke machines could read.
Nowadays, the internet has blessed us with YouTube allowing us to enjoy virtually any song in its karaoke version—just add the word ‘karaoke’ next to the song’s name in the search bar and bam! The best thing is it’s free!
Unfortunately, video advertisements are everywhere on YouTube. So if you’re looking to have a seamless singing session—without the hassle of skipping ads—you’ll need a YouTube Premium membership.
If you don’t have one—and don’t want to pay for it—you could borrow one from one of your friends for the party.
You’ll need one to display the songs’ lyrics on, and it should be big enough for everyone to see. Here are your options:
TV or Smart TV: Most Smart TVs come with the built-in YouTube app, meaning you won’t have to download it. This, together with its larger size than most devices, will give you the most convenience.
On the other hand, if you have an old TV, you’ll have to use another device, such as a phone or a tablet, to play YouTube on and connect it to your TV via HDMI, Bluetooth, or WIFI.
Another great feature of Smart TVs is voice recognition. Typing on the TV’s keyboard by using the arrow buttons can take ages! With voice recognition, you just say the name of the song, and it will instantly search for it on YouTube. Extremely convenient.
Laptop: Using a laptop is a good choice for Karaoke. They’re faster than most TVs, and it’s easy to type on and search for your songs.
You might consider the screen to be too small, though, in which case you’ll have to connect it to your TV via HDMI or VGA cable.
Another method is to mirror the screen of your laptop on your Smart TV. However, your laptop needs to run Windows 10, and your TV needs to support Wi-Fi Direct or an app called Miracast.
If you have an Apple Macbook, you could also do this through ‘Airplay’—your TV needs to support it, though.
Tablet: If your tablet is big enough, you could use it as your screen and YouTube player, but you might need a stand to place it on—so it’s at the right height and stays steady during your party.
This is not ideal to most, though, so you could connect it to your Smart TV with an HDMI cable, but you’ll need an HDMI phone adapter or a micro USB-HDMI cable.
Smartphone: No smartphone has a big-enough screen to be used for karaoke, but it’s a great way to control your TV and play YouTube remotely. There are different ways you could mirror the screen of your smartphone on your TV.
You could share the screen of your smartphone through a common Wi-Fi connection, cast YouTube from your smartphone to your TV (only if the app is already installed on your smart TV), use Miracast on your TV, or use Chromecast or Apple TV as an interface between your TV to your Android or Apple devices respectively.
All the methods previously mentioned work for tablets and laptops as well.
Ways of Playing YouTube Wirelessly on Your TV:
In short, here’s a list of methods and devices you can use to play and control YouTube on your TV from a device or computer:
- Apple TV
- YouTube App on smart TVs
- Playstation, Xbox, and Wii U.
- YouTube supporting Blue-Ray players
- YouTube supporting cable boxes
How to Setup Your Karaoke System
Nowadays, most smart TVs don’t come with an RCA output (the white and red one), but a digital audio one. That means you’ll need a digital-analog audio converter. They’re pretty cheap and easy to find, so don’t worry.
First, use a Toslink cable to output your TV to your digital-analog audio converter. Next, use an RCA cable to connect the converter to your mixer using an RCA-double-6.35mm-jack audio cable.
If your TV does have an RCA output, you can just use an RCA-double-6.35mm-jack audio cable (which the mixer probably comes with) to connect your TV directly to your mixer.
In case you’re using an Ipad or laptop as a screen, you can use a 3.5 mm to RCA audio cable to output your device to the mixer.
Next, output the receiver of your microphone to your mixer through an XLR cable. Or plug your 6.35 mm jack audio cable into the mixer if you’re using a wired microphone.
Then you want to output your mixer to your speakers using RCA or XLR cables and make sure all your equipment is connected to a power source.
Now you need to test all your equipment. Put on a few songs, test your mics, and adjust the volume of both your mic and your speakers until you reach your sweet spot, and voilà! You’re all set, buddy.
Nah! Don’t even mention it. Well… if you insist. You’re welcome!