Glenn Stok likes to explore significant and noteworthy activities of exceptional value, and he writes about it so you can experience it too.
You don’t need expensive equipment to host your own karaoke party. I’ll tell you what you need, the type of CDs to use, how to record everyone singing if you want to keep memories of the event, and how you can use your computer as a karaoke machine.
Singing with friends can be a rewarding experience, and you can make it even more fulfilling with these recommendations.
What Equipment Do You Need?
Years ago, I used to go with friends to restaurants that hosted karaoke events. However, many of these places blasted the music, which can damage our hearing and cause tinnitus.
Besides, it was not comfortable trying to talk with one another at our table and not hear each other. We felt more comfortable singing in small groups at private parties in our homes.
I decided to purchase a karaoke player and a bunch of CDs. These CDs are specially recorded with the lead singer removed and include the lyrics that display on your television.
You can find low-cost players for under $50. Professional units run much higher, depending on quality and features, but they are not necessary for home use.
I suggest you go to a local electronics store, such as Best Buy, where you can see the options available and ask questions.
The one I use costs less than $200 and includes some professional features. But you can skip the need for a karaoke machine by using CDs that play on a standard DVD player. I'll describe the different types of CDs below.
I wanted the extra features, so I bought the VocoPro DVX890K Karaoke Player. However, I suggest you review various machines at a local electronics store to get to know the latest pricing and features available.
How to Create a Karaoke CD Library
Karaoke CDs include the lyrics for an on-screen display that is in sync with the music. The audio of the lead singer is removed so that you take their place.
There are two types of recording methods:
- CD+G (Compact Disc plus Graphics) is used in professional karaoke establishments. And you can use it too if you have the appropriate player. These CDs only work with CD+G players, such as the one I mentioned above that I use.
- VCD (Video CD) can be played on any DVD player attached to a TV. You can also play a VCD on your computer with Quick Time Player or similar player apps.
You can find almost any popular song recorded for karaoke on Amazon. Multi-CD sets with hundreds of songs in various categories are also available. I've accumulated a vast library of songs by buying sets like that.
CD+G format gives you more control that's not possible with VCD. For example, the lead singer is on one track and the music on the other, so you can hear both or just the music by playing the appropriate track.
Beginners sometimes like to use the singer's voice as a guide, but I find it may make it more difficult. Singing your own unique way is just as much fun.
You Don't Need a Trained Voice
Professional singers know how to control their voice, have perfect pitch, harmonize, and stay on key. That's not important when you're doing it just for fun. When you sing for your satisfaction, you don't need to be concerned about perfection. All karaoke enthusiasts know that, so you can feel right at home.
What if you’re not good at remembering the melody? That problem is solved because you have the background music to help you stay in sync and on key while you're singing.
The background music can make you sound like a professional singer. It's almost as if you were singing in a band with background accompaniment. What an ego booster!
Mimic Your Favorite Famous Singer
I found that there were particular singers I can imitate well. Some people have their own way of singing popular songs, and that's okay too.
We sing better by imitating one type of person over another based on our specific voice. It may also have something to do with how our brain is wired.
In any case, it's fun to imitate your favorite singers. Even if you're not a great singer yourself, copying the style of famous singers is an enjoyable experience.
I Can't Remember the Words to This Song
Karaoke solves that problem if you can't remembering the words to a song. The lyrics flow along on the screen in sync with the music and background singers.
I never had a problem remembering the melody of songs, but for some reason, I don't always recall the lyrics that well. Having the words on the screen gives me the ability to sing my heart out.
How to Record Yourself Singing
Saving recordings of yourself singing that you can listen to later in life is an excellent way to enjoy the memories.
If singing is your hidden secret, that’s no problem. No one has to know. You can make recordings on your own, so you don’t need to worry about what people think.
You can also benefit by listening to your recording and noticing where you need improvement. Some people are tone-deaf. However, that is true only while singing. I think some tone-deaf people can notice the error when they hear a recording of their singing. I can tell when I'm off-key when I listen to a recording of myself singing.
If you want to have a decent quality recording, go to a local electronics store and ask to see various microphones that give you a studio-quality sound.
I use a stand-alone microphone that records directly into a flash memory card. You can find it on Amazon or Best Buy. It's called the Zoom H2n. It has four built-in mics for stereo and 360° recording and can create WAV or MP3 files. You can also transfer the files to your computer via a USB port.
Alternative Method: Use Karaoke Software on Your Computer
Instead of buying CDs, you can download and play karaoke on your computer with karaoke software. You see the lyrics on your computer's screen while the music plays.
These programs use MIDI formatted files that contain the text of the lyrics in sync with the music.
While playing a song and watching the words on the screen, you can also run a recorder application to capture your singing into a WAV file. The background music will be included in the recording with your voice if you have the speakers positioned near your microphone.
You can purchase karaoke software online, and some are free to download. Just be careful not to download malware. Do your research before you download.
The two that I use are "VanBasco’s Karaoke Player" and "KaraFun." You can find these, and the MIDI files to go with them, with a Google search. They are both free and have versions for Windows and Mac.
Don’t Forget the Snacks
Everyone will want something to munch on while listening to others. If you're going to make it a dinner event, you can avoid cooking by ordering meals from places like Panera Bread, Subway, or Taco Bell.
Remember to have many drinks available, so your guests avoid getting dehydrated from all that singing.
When I sing with friends, I find the musical energy makes us feel good about ourselves. It's a great way to have a social get-together.
So, start collecting some karaoke CDs, look for a karaoke player of your own, hook it up to your TV, and get a few friends together who like to sing. Enjoy the event, and have fun.
© 2009 Glenn Stok