What Are the Different Types of Karaoke Computer Software?

Erik J.J. Goserud

There are a great variety of options when choosing karaoke computer software. It generally includes the user interface, microphone, and a song library but does not include legitimate speakers suited for live performance. The price range on karaoke computer software is extremely wide and offers budget options for kids, which provide basic services, to high-end versions for professional karaoke DJs, which not only give access to playlists but also help in creating special effects and file management.

Karaoke computer software may be downloaded online.
Karaoke computer software may be downloaded online.

Users install the PC software as a plug-in, and it appears as an interface on the computer. Some of the packages come with CD-ROMs, and others come with codes to download the plug-in online. The days of karaoke DJs carrying CDs are becoming obsolete as laptops equipped with PC software are the primary device for storing, organizing, and playing songs.

Karaoke -- meaning "empty orchestra" in Japanese -- began in Japan in the 1970s, and has stayed popular internationally since.
Karaoke -- meaning "empty orchestra" in Japanese -- began in Japan in the 1970s, and has stayed popular internationally since.

Many of the budget options fall into the $30 to $50 US Dollar (USD) price range. These are basic units that come with limited song libraries and cheap microphones. Sound quality is generally poor as the vocals come through muddy. No matter the quality of the hardware, almost all karaoke computer software includes displays of elapsed song time, remaining time, and track name along with a guided lyrics monitor.

Karaoke software for kids is the cheapest model and can sometimes be purchased for as low as $20 USD. These types often have themes branded with them emulating popular TV shows or rock stars and featuring remixes of their songs built in to the catalog. The mainstays in computer karaoke software generally run around $75 to $100 USD and can be purchased at all major toy retailers. These will support MP3+G, MP3+G zipped, MP4, and M4A. A 1.5Ghz or faster multicore processor is usually recommended.

For higher-grade karaoke computer software, buyers spend closer to $200 to $300 USD. These software options usually allow the DJ to mix, beat, scratch, juggle, and sample audio and visuals. They have high-quality, on-cue video screens and even allow on-the-fly remixes by the user. Beat match is an option on more expensive karaoke computer software, which allows users to add beats to the songs. Professional karaoke DJs also fade songs together for smooth transitions, avoiding dead air and room noise that would normally appear in between songs.

With professional karaoke computer software, the user may have access to database management. Smart database management automatically checks and repairs misnamed files and duplicate track names in the song library. The software fully manages playback and track history for easier organization. These types of software almost always handle audio and playlists from CDs, DVDs, MP3s, WAVs, and iTunes.

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