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Audio

Best Karaoke Machine

Singing can be one of the best -- not to mention the most fun -- ways for children to develop language and of course music skills. In addition, it can be a great group activity that can bring families together. As manufacturing costs have gone down with respect to karaoke machines in general, a new product category has developed in recent years aimed squarely at kids. The best of these machines integrate both fun, kid-oriented design and color, and quality hardware that won't break after the third time your kid drops the mic on the floor. Most machines take CD-G discs, which contain music as well as lyrics on a separate track. The microphones that ship with these systems vary in quality, but for many the overall experience using the machine is more important. Some picks on this list are for older kids, and some are better suited to younger kids all the way down to toddlers. All in all, they represent a snapshot of the best karaoke machines currently available for kids.

The Singing Machine SML-390 Disco Lights CDG Karaoke System

Packed with features, including a video camera and TV output that allows kids to become video stars instantly, the SML-390 is the unit to beat when it comes to karaoke systems for kids. In addition to the two sparkly disco balls attached to the top of the unit, a 5.5" monitor is built into the unit itself, so kids don't need their parents' help setting up the system if they want to have some impromptu fun. It plays the industry-standard CD-G discs, and includes one built-in mic and two mic inputs. Also, for those parents and kids who may not be the most sophisticated crooners, a useful Auto Voice Control feature is integrated for optimal vocal results.

The Singing Machine SML-383 Portable Vertical Load CDG Karaoke Player

Another stellar unit from the folks at Singing Machine, the SML-383 might not have all the bells-and-whistles of its bigger brother, but for slick design and great value, it may be the number one choice for many. Featuring disco lights and an intuitive vertical loading CD compartment, the SML-383 is a karaoke machine aimed at kids but is able to come off less like a toy and more like a cool space-age gizmo. The same Auto Voice Control feature as the STVG-535 is included here, as is a single mic and two microphone inputs for duets, each with its own volume control. The SML-383 only plays CD-G discs, but then again, these days that's the only practical format for these machines.

Memorex MKS-SS1 SingStand Home Karaoke System

Instead of relying on CD-G discs that play the musical accompaniment while displaying the lyrics on your TV, the MKS-SS1 instead connects to any mp3 player via a 3.5 mm line input, and will eliminate the vocal track in the actual song with their proprietary Auto Voice Control software. Unfortunately, the music itself becomes distorted as a result, and also there's no lyrics displayed to fall back on if you can't remember the words to a song. On the other hand, you'll save money by not having to buy CD-G discs, and users report that their kids love this product since it simulates a real mic stand. This design philosophy allows kids to get lost in the fantasy of being a star, as the music comes out of the two 4-watt speakers built into the base. In addition, interesting vocal effects like echo are a nice value-add, and it's also possible to connect a keyboard to jam out even more!

Disney DKS7000-P Frog Princess Handheld Karaoke Player

Aimed more at the younger girl market, the DKS7000-P doesn't have the capacity to play CD-G discs, but does include 20 pre-loaded songs in the mic device itself. The songs are all -- surprise, surprise - from popular Disney movie musicals! For many younger aspiring starlets, the 20 songs are more than enough to keep them crooning for at least a year, well worth the investment. Disney has built-in a "Perfect Pitch" algorithm, although its capability is less impressive than many competitors. More fun are the character voice presets that allow your kid to more convincingly take on the persona of some of Disney's most famous characters. It uses 4 AA batteries, and requires you to connect it to your TV or speaker system using the included A/V cable.

Fisher Price ABC 1-2-3 Sing Along

The ABC 1-2-3 is a toy, no doubt about it, but for toddlers it's hands-down the best "karaoke"-like machine available. The corded mic is small enough for toddlers to be able to get a grip, and the speakers may be tinny, but using the volume control one can make sure that the sound doesn't get so loud that it distorts. Three different "character" buttons allow the child to choose between numbers, shapes, or ABC's, and downloadable content is available from the Fisher-Price website. The USB connection then allows you to upload these extra songs, featuring Dora or Diego, to the unit. It may have a limited appeal and qualifies more as a novelty than a karaoke machine, but it's a winner for the parent who wants to help their toddler develop language and music skills.

Memorex MKS-SS1 SingStand Home Karaoke System

Instead of relying on CD-G discs that play the musical accompaniment while displaying the lyrics on your TV, the MKS-SS1 instead connects to any mp3 player via a 3.5 mm line input, and will eliminate the vocal track in the actual song with their proprietary Auto Voice Control software. Unfortunately, the music itself becomes distorted as a result, and also there's no lyrics displayed to fall back on if you can't remember the words to a song. On the other hand, you'll save money by not having to buy CD-G discs, and users report that their kids love this product since it simulates a real mic stand. This design philosophy allows kids to get lost in the fantasy of being a star, as the music comes out of the two 4-watt speakers built into the base. In addition, interesting vocal effects like echo are a nice value-add, and it's also possible to connect a keyboard to jam out even more!

EnterTech ED-9000 MagicSing Karaoke Microphone

Good things can come in small packages. This sturdy little microphone is a karaoke system in itself, holding a whopping 2064 songs in its memory. The songs are in MIDI format, but surprisingly solid renditions of some of your favorites. Other chips are available in different languages and with more songs, but this is a great system for a Christmas party or family gathering.

Singing Machine SMD-570

This stylish unit is a great combo system at a reasonable price. It includes a small monitor, allowing you to read the lyrics from your CD + G discs without hooking it up to a TV. A USB and flash drive offer you more format options. You can even record your performance to share with friends or upload to the Singing Machine website.

RSQ Portable Karaoke System 100 Watts

This little monster is truly a party in a box. The RSQ accepts a multitude of different formats, including mp3, dvd, vcd, NEO + G, CD + G has an ipod input, and even an input for an electric guitar! And at 100 watts, it offers blaring sound for those wild-and-crazy office parties. Hooks up to any tv for the lytics, and away you go.

Megabox Pro DCM-808PK

Megabox Pro DCM-808PK

This karaoke system is a great compliment to your home theater setup or as a portable system on the go. It plays all the popular karaoke formats, and comes with a disc of over 30,000 songs in 6 languages! Plus its extremely friendly user interface means you can find a song by title or artist handy if you can’t find the karaoke book. When you’re done singing, it plays all region DVD movies in 5.1 sound.

Steve Moramarco
Hi, I'm Steve. I like to cook and I like to rock. For twenty years, I fronted bands, recorded CDs, and toured the country. I had a song featured on the Showtime series "Weeds." I also co-wrote with my father Federico two books. One of them is called "Deliciously Italian" and contains family recipes as well as recipes from families and restaurants around the US. I also run the website ItalianPride.com, the best of everything Italian. I will help guide you to what's best for your band and what's essential for your kitchen.
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