The solution to this dilemma is a computerized karaoke system. Do away with discs while storing your karaoke songs on the hard drive which could fit into your back pocket. Just imagine having no more discs to load, store, and gaze after. But that is where it starts. Karaoke hosting software offers features not possible using a disc player that could really enhance the quality of the shows.
The means of switching to a computerized method is simple enough or complicated but it’s time consuming at first. How frustrating depends on the amount of discs you have as you must “rip” the song tracks from every one. Fortunately, professional disc ripping software can hook up to online for free karaoke song databases and automatically name the song files.
The laptop requirements in most cases depends on the hosting software requirements. One of my favorite hosting applications, JustKaraoke, will run all right on many laptops produced over the past six or seven years. One feature a laptop must have may be the extended desktop feature. This allows to the workstation to be displayed on the laptop even though the karaoke is displayed on a separate monitor or TV via the S-video or VGA connection. No special sound card is required.
The Karaoke Hosting Software
This is the thing that really separates the computer users in the disc users. Imagine the scenario every time a singer approaches you together with asks if you remember what the song was they sang 2-3 weeks earlier at one of one’s other gigs. Now imagine that with just a couple keys to press or keystrokes you may say to them what exactly they sang that night or other night. This is just one of many perks of a computerized system.
Some karaoke hosting software features:
Singer rotation and playlist.
Singer history like the venue and key control settings.
Song search by artist, title, or disc ID.
Quick sound clips.
Next singer ticker
Ambient music (automatically plays standard sound files between karaoke songs).
Ability to get songs within a show (if connected to the internet).
The Song Files
The standard karaoke file format backed up by all hosting software is MP3+G. This is really a compressed version of a karaoke CD+G song track. Each MP3+G song consists of two files, one cdg then one mp3. These two files are generally zipped together to make a single file for each song. Virtually all karaoke hosting software supports karaoke zip files.
You will need to rip the song tracks coming from all of your CD+G discs on the zipped MP3+G format. This can be a frustrating venture there is however absolutely no way around it. It will probably be well worth the while in the long run. There are several applications intended for this however the one used by many professionals, and the one I strongly suggest, is Power CD+G Burner. This program produces good quality rips, automatically names the song files from online for free databases (having an connection to the internet present), and in concert with most advanced CD/DVD drives.
Putting It All Together
Now let’s assume that you’ve the hosting software installed on a laptop, the CD+G discs are actually ripped to MP3+G files while on an external hard disk drive, and you’ve imported the songs to the hosting software’s database. All that’s left would be to connect internet connected computers on the PA system and external monitor(s).
Connecting the audio is simple. You will make use of a 1/8″ stereo to dual RCA adapter cable to connect from the earphone jack of a laptop towards the audio inputs in the mixer. The audio output from internet connected computers will likely be handled the same as the audio output coming from a karaoke disc player.
The video output from a laptop could be handled in many ways with regards to the available connections. Ideally you’ll want to be prepared for that situations you are going to encounter at your various gigs. To this end I recommend that you convert the signal in the S-video or VGA out connections to your VHF (coaxial) signal that could be used by any television. This also allows you to use a coaxial splitter to hook up with multiple TV’s or in a main coaxial junction.
The video to VHF converters can be purchased at virtually any electronics store or Radio Shack. Of course you can also connect the laptop directly to some computer monitor through VGA or any TV containing an
bluetooth karaoke microphone
bluetooth karaoke microphone S-video input.
So there you’ve got it. Now instead of hauling around, storing, and all of the discs, you are going to walk into a gig carrying your player and finished music library a single hand.