How to Throw a Karaoke Party at Home

All you need is a decent stereo system, a karaoke machine, and a mic

Hosting karaoke right in your home makes for an enjoyable evening. Not only are your guests actively involved in the entertainment, but the vibe ends up more private compared to doing karaoke at a bar or nightclub. Learn how to use your home theater system for karaoke night.

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Karaoke Machine/Player

Singing Machine SML-385 Top Loading CDG Karaoke System

Amazon

You can find karaoke machines with factory-installed song libraries, several microphone inputs, Bluetooth connectivity, built-in speakers, dedicated displays for lyrics, separate volume/equalizer controls, song expansion options, auxiliary inputs, AV outputs, internal batteries, colorful light show projections, compatibility with multiple digital audio formats, included microphones, and more.

What's great about many of these karaoke machines is that they're plug-and-play. Ones that don't have a built-in display for lyrics connect to a television or through a home stereo receiver.

Most karaoke machines support the CD+G format, which is essentially a music CD that displays graphics (song lyrics) along with the audio. You can find plenty of these kinds of CDs online (for example, at Amazon), covering the top song hits by decade, artist, or music genre. It's the easiest way to expand your karaoke song collection.

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Karaoke App or Subscription

A smartphone and tablet showcasing karaoke software from Redkaraoke

Karaoke subscription services can offer great value in lieu of a hardware investment. Sites like Karafun, Redkaraoke, and KaraokeCloudPlayer let people use computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones in place of a machine. The cost of a basic (two-day, one-week, or monthly) subscription is often less than one single CD+G purchase and can be canceled at any time.

What's great about karaoke subscription services is the instantaneous cloud access to thousands of songs with an easy-to-use interface, saving you from having to shuffle through music CD+Gs or external media storage.

Many of these services wirelessly stream music and lyrics to TVs using Apple AirPlay, Google Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV. Some also support features like offline sync, audio controls, Bluetooth wireless, and second-display support in addition to standard AV input/output, microphone, and speaker connections.

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Microphones for Singing

A closeup of a woman singing into a microphone with friends in the background

XiXinXing / Getty Images

While it's possible to sing acoustic karaoke, most will prefer to use a microphone. It isn't necessary to own a studio-grade microphone for karaoke unless you plan to make this kind of party a regular thing.

Wired microphones are the easiest to set up, so long as the cord doesn't get in the way (for example, dancing, during performances, foot traffic). Otherwise, there are microphones that offer wireless freedom, but they can be expensive as well as take a bit more effort to set up properly.

But no matter what, always have at least two microphones available. Duets are more fun (and less terrifying) than solo performances, even if the song choice wasn't originally meant for two people.

And in the cases where you only feature one singer at a time, the second microphone becomes a handy backup in case anything happens to the first one or if the event requires an emcee.

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Speakers & Receiver/Amplifier

A home stereo receiver and amplifier next to a single bookshelf speaker

IvanWuPI / Getty Images

It's not going to be much of a karaoke party without a decent sound system. Use almost any speakers you have, including the portable wireless kind or a quality stereo pair—the latter is recommended for the best karaoke experience.

While some speakers connect to a karaoke player or device running a karaoke subscription service, leverage the power of your home stereo receiver to avoid substantial tweaking of the sound output and to enhance the audio through adjustment of its equalizer controls.

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Karaoke Sound Mixer

A black karaoke sound mixer with two microphone inputs and volume control dials

Amazon

A sound mixer combines several input sources. Some models offer independent volume levels, while others allow tuning for tone, echo, balance, and frequency bands. These devices—especially the ones meant for karaoke—offer AV output so that both music and video (for displaying lyrics) information passes to the proper equipment.

These mixers work with computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets as well as with karaoke machines and receivers.

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Tips for Successful Karaoke at Home

Two couples singing while wearing party props and sitting on a couch.

Betsie Van Der Meer / Getty Images

Want your guests to have the best time at your party? Here are a few ideas:

  • Do a trial run a day or two before the party. Double-check all audio, video, and internet connections (particularly if you're holding the party further away from your wireless networks such as in the garage or back yard).
  • Sound test your system with the microphones and singing. You may need to make some adjustments to the levels to get it right.
  • Notify your neighbors as a courtesy.
  • Set up a general playlist to keep the party vibe going without interruption. You can always change to a different track at any time.
  • Invite your friends to send special song requests before the party so that you don't spend time searching for them.
  • Consider setting up teams for competitions, complete with judging and point-scoring.
  • Have a bunch of costumes, wigs, props, and accessories available for everyone to use.
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