I like a sing-ah, in my living room-ah...
June 5, 2007 9:51 AM   Subscribe

I need help making my living room into a karaoke bar.

I love karaoke, my wife...not so much. It's mainly the crowds at karaoke bars she hates. I jokingly suggested we could get the equipment and just invite our karaoke friends over to the house so she wouldn't have to sit through yet another painful sorority girl/bachelorette party chorus version of "My Heart Will Go On", etc. She looked at me, and asked "You could do that?"

I have a friend who makes us custom karaoke CDs, and a home theatre system. For some reason, our fancy DVD player (a component of the home theatre, and not a great DVD player to begin with) does not play VCDs/CD+Gs...maybe because it's a five-disc thingy.

I figure we need a DVD player capable of playing VCDs/CG+Gs, two cordless microphones/stands, a small monitor and stand for the singer(s), a mixer to put the mics and DVD player through...maybe a strobe light.

Has anyone out there ever decided to make a tiny karaoke lounge in their house? Any tips? Tricks? Bargains? Help! Thanks.
posted by weirdoactor to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your one-stop shop.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:57 AM on June 5, 2007

Buy an XBOX (not 360) or a PS2. Karaoke Revolution is available for both and, as it is older now, probably cheap. The XBOX or PS2 will cost about as much as a DVD player and still play DVDs.

Karaoke Revolution will come with one mic, but you can get another for ~$7 at Gamestop (used but in good condition).

On the XBOX (and probably the PS2) you can buy additional song packs if you connect online.

Not only does it have a good selection of straight-up karaoke, it also judges and shows you your pitch, so you can improve or curl up into a fetal ball of self-doubt.

My wife loves it. (Wife Approved).
posted by JeremiahBritt at 9:59 AM on June 5, 2007

Personally, I think installing dimmer switches and a spotlight would be awesome...but that's just me.
posted by radioamy at 11:03 AM on June 5, 2007

You might consider doing the sound through a computer so you can put a little bit of reverb on it. I think a little bit of reverb is often used in karaoke setups to mask things just a bit.

(Alternatively, you could buy a reverb/effects box, but they're not terribly cheap if I recall.)
posted by JMOZ at 11:09 AM on June 5, 2007

Alternatively, some cities have Japanese-style Karaoke places, where each group rents a private room... Perhaps look into that if you don't want to spend the time/money/effort to put together your own?
posted by JMOZ at 11:10 AM on June 5, 2007

The Leadsinger is awesome. You can get chips with 300 (or more?) songs on 'em. Easy easy to use, feels great, sounds great. I think you can add reverb through the mic, too. They make duet mics (add-ons), too. Tthere is a wireless version (here's the wireless duet mic, but it looks like Amazon doesn't carry the wireless master), too. I've had plenty of good times with this thing.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:16 AM on June 5, 2007

You could go for a computer-based setup.

alt.binaries.sounds.karaoke has thousands of karaoke songs in zipped cdg files. A song is about 5MB so any reasonably modern hard-drive will be able to store however many you felt like downloading.

A program like PyKaraoke to search through all your files and play them.

Hook up a microphone or two and you're set.

Some downsides of this approach are legality, the fact that cdg files display low-res lyrics on a solid background instead of some nice video, no funky interactive elements like scoring your performance, no pitch-shifting and that you need a computer and monitor to do this. I'm sure there are more full-featured programs that will at the very least let you pitch-shift.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:17 AM on June 5, 2007

My late father was a karaoke nut, so much so that he transformed the family gazebo into his personal karaoke lair. At first it was a somewhat hostile takeover as my mother was a little less than thrilled. He managed to squeak back into my mother's good graces with money saavy purchases and persuasive (though possibly misleading) campaigning.

First off, he convinced my mother to upgrade from his $80 karaoke toy purchased at Target to a significantly more expensive system by making everything home movie theater friendly. Secondly, he made good use of space. He created a very sturdy flip top for the underground Jacuzzi, thereby making a small raised "stage" that the performers could strut and pose on. Instead of the black heavy duty spotlights, they reached a compromise on recess ceiling lights with a wide range of light settings. He also made built-in wall shelves to house the television sets/monitors and speakers. Thirdly, he designed and made a transportation device (boxes lined with foam, wheels, sort of resembled a dolly with boxes stacked on it) for easy removal of the karaoke equipment if my mother wanted to reclaim the gazebo space.

How much do you want to spend? I just called my mother and she said they purchased a 5-disc DVD player with VCD/CG+G capabilities for around $500. The cordless mics, mic stands, speakers, mixer, and three television sets (varying in size and age) were about $800 total. They purchased this equipment at a karaoke superstore, which is unfortunately not available in the Chicago area. My father used spreadsheets to make huge catalogues for easy artist/song/CD referencing (i.e. You can find Roy Orbison's "Blue Angel" in Book II, page 34D, track 12).

From memory, I know he had different "mood" lighting options, a mini-fridge, and a headset. I remember walking into the gazebo after its reincarnation and looking around in awe. It's unfortunate that I absolutely despise sober or intoxicated public singing. The gazebo became a definite hot spot for their middle aged friends, young neices and nephews, relatives, and co-workers to congregate on Friday or Saturday nights.

The best thing is that my father and friends were all non-drinkers.
posted by fiasco at 4:59 PM on June 6, 2007

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