How to Turn a PC Into a Karaoke Player
By David Weedmark
To turn PC into the centerpiece for your own karaoke parties, or even to practice on your own, all you need is a source for songs, a mike and a good pair of speakers. Karaoke videos differ from other tracks in that the lyrics are removed from the audio and displayed on the video. Most of the karaoke apps available for your PC come with a selection of songs already, but you can always get more from YouTube, iTunes or any of the many websites devoted to this widely popular pastime.
Selecting a Player
A search for karaoke apps on your computer's app store will show you just how popular karaoke is today. Hundreds of websites and apps offer Karaoke online or as a free download. Some of the most popular include RedKaraoke, the Karaoke Channel and Karafun. Most apps give you a modest selection of songs for free, with thousands of karaoke songs available for purchase or for a monthly -- or even weekly -- subscription.
Finding Karaoke Songs
If the app you choose doesn't give you the selection of songs you want for free, you can usually buy or rent songs directly from the app. There are lots of other places online to get karaoke songs. Apple iTunes has thousands of karaoke songs organized by artist. Other websites (see Resources) offer songs free for download, for purchase or access to thousands of songs for a monthly or annual subscription. YouTube also has a wide selection of karaoke songs that you can play for free, with the lyrics displayed in the videos.
Adding a Mike and Webcam
Having an external microphone you can hold in your hand is practically a must for karaoke. Chances are your karaoke parties won't last very long if each singer has to lean over computer to access the built-in mike. Consider getting an external microphone with a professional-looking grill. You can get a wireless mike for around $20, or even a pair of USB mikes for the same price. Of course, professional-quality microphones cost much more. If you want to record your karaoke performances, you will also need a webcam. Apps like RedKaraoke include a recording option built into the software so you can upload your performances to share with other music enthusiasts on the app's website.
While the built-in speakers that come on most laptops, monitors and all-in-one PCs are good enough for watching videos, when it comes to your own performances, they are severely underpowered. A decent pair of good external computer speakers are very inexpensive and connect to your computer's USB port or headphone jack. For even better sound with a resonating bass, get yourself a 2.1 speaker system, which gives you two tweeters and a subwoofer to ensure everyone can hear finest singing voice.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.