Forget singing into a hairbrush. Plug in a real mic and unleash your inner idol.
Fire up the sound system, gather the family and transform your home into a karaoke venue! In its simplest form, all you need for karaoke is a backing track, a microphone for vocals, and a way to amplify them both. Depending on your budget and ambition level, there are several ways you can do this, but the basic process is the same no matter how you mix things up.
How to do karaoke at home
1. Find a backing track
There are plenty of karaoke versions of popular songs on YouTube, or you can download mp3s of backing tracks from sites such as karaoke-version.com.
2. Prepare your accompaniment
Stream the backing track directly from your phone via Bluetooth® or 3.5mm cable to your mixer or amplifier of choice, or copy music files to an SD card or USB drive for playback.
3. Connect your microphone
If you're using a wired microphone, you'll need to plug it into a suitable 6.5mm socket on your boom box or mixer. If you're using a PA with a wireless UHF microphone, just select its input on the PA itself and switch it on.
4. Do a sound check
Play part of your backing track and sing along to check the volume levels. Adjust the volume of your backing, and the volume of your mic input, until the mix gives you a suitable balance of vocals and music.
5. Sing your heart out
Now you're ready to go! Choose the song you want to sing from your collection of backings and go for your life.
What you need for karaoke at home
Option 1: self-contained PA system
Whether you choose a compact unit or a beefy system with a 8in speaker, this is the ultimate in karaoke indulgence. Some units even feature onboard recording to USB or MicroSD, so you can immortalise your performance!
Option 2: Mixer sound system with Bluetooth®
Get in touch with your inner DJ by plugging your microphone into a mixer with Bluetooth®, and stream your backing tracks to it from your phone, or line in via 3.5mm audio socket. Then line out the mix into a boom box, sound bar or your sound system using a 3.5mm stereo cable.
Option 3: lyrics on screen
Plug a microphone straight into a boom box that has 6.5mm input, and use a casting dongle or media player to smarten up your TV. You can then use your TV speakers to play the music, and read the lyrics on the screen from a YouTube backing track.
Pro tip: how serious are you about your singing?
If you just want to have a bit of fun, then a basic, inexpensive dynamic mic will be plenty to catch your crooning. However, if your ambition is to be the star of the show, you might want a high-end unit such as a mic with a balanced XLR output.
Click here to discover how to set up a recording studio at home.