Check the Mic
Karaoke just isn’t karaoke without a microphone. But you’re not Rosalía, and your living room isn’t a recording studio—all you need is something simple. There are dozens of inexpensive options; just be sure it’s a “high-output” microphone that can plug directly into a speaker without any additional (expensive) hardware. Try the $23 Pyle PDMIC59, which comes with a cable.
Choose a speaker that can make your voice as loud as the tune you’re singing along to. A powerful Bluetooth model like the $399 UE Hyperboom would work perfectly. You’ll likely need an adapter to plug in your microphone, so check the speaker’s available inputs. (The Hyperboom has a 3.5-mm auxiliary jack.) Don’t want to buy a speaker right now? Plugging into a guitar amp is the best solution, but the RCA inputs on a home stereo system will work in a pinch too.
One unheralded feature of the Apple TV streamer box ($179): It can display the lyrics of many songs as you play them—if you’re an Apple Music subscriber. Start a song, then hit Menu on your remote and tap on the Lyrics option. You’ll see the deep, soulful poetry of Smash Mouth scrolling up the screen. Don’t have the hardware? Download the KaraFun app to your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and pay $6 for two days of access to 35,000 songs. (Yes, we’re sure that includes Smash Mouth.) Or just follow the cheapskates to YouTube, where tens of thousands of free karaoke vids are a search away. If YouTube doesn’t have your favorite King Crimson B-side, download the free app Youka; it transmogrifies almost any music video into a karaoke sing-along version.
If you want a genuine karaoke experience, use a projector to embiggen those lyrics. Blowing them up as large as possible will let everyone sing along more easily. You can even project the words onto the side of your house and let your neighbors join your rousing backyard rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (Maybe don’t let them handle the mic.) Epson’s Home Cinema 660 ($360) will manage the task well, but any reasonably bright projector will do. No projector? Don’t worry about it. Just commandeer the biggest TV in your house.
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