Remember those nights out in your local pub? You know the ones where the landlord has put on what they call a 'karaoke night', which usually ends in many people drinking a lot of alcohol and singing, or more shouting, until either their throats become hoarse or someone calls the police.
Anyway, these days we don't have to go off to the local pub in order to enjoy those karaoke nights as the karaoke machine is now available as a smaller machine and can easily be used in anyone's home, including mine, as I well know due to the fact that my in-laws decided to buy my eldest daughter a lovely little Karaoke machine for Christmas, which has led to a lot of singing, nay shouting, even more fun and laughter and a few strange looks from the neighbours.
This particular Karaoke machine that has graced my house for several 'drunken' nights of sing-a-longs is from a well known company called Goodmans, who specialise in small electrical equipment, and, due to the way it is designed, is defiantly aimed more towards the younger people in the music world, but it can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what age.
Firstly, let me tell you about the specs of this rather tidy little karaoke machine...
* It has a single speaker which boosts a cracking 4.5Watt output
* It offers 8 different style echo levels,
* Volume control
* Automatic vocal cut off
* 2 digit red LED display
* 1 scart lead socket
* Audio and video output
* 2 microphone ports
When you unpack it from the box you should get...
* 1 microphone
* 1 scart lead
* Instruction manual
* Quick start guide
* A CDG for getting you started
The CDG that came with this karaoke machine is called 'the ultimate Karaoke movie hits collection', which consists of tracks from such movies as Mamma Mia, Grease, Dirty Dancing and High School Musical.
The cover of the CD does state that the tracks are re-recordings and not the original musician or singers.
Anyway, when the CD begins, and as long as you have the Scart connected to your television, the words appear on the screen so that you know what you're singing, with the speed of the song travelling along as the words slowly change colour.
** What does it look like then..?
It is mainly a white plastic unit and, for decoration purposes, it has a few little purple patches on it, such as a flower design around the speaker, purple handles and a purple frame around the little LED display.
It's not massive, being about 350mm high by 210mm wide and 270mm deep, but it can certainly make your voice heard with the brilliant 4.5kw speaker, and, even at higher volumes, my voice doesn't sound distorted, (bad but not distorted)
It's made of a sturdy white moulded plastic with a few dots of pink/purple to give it a very 'pretty' look indeed. The speaker is surrounded by a pink flower and the little display that shows you the track number or the echo number is encased in a purple colour.
There are handles on either side, again, having the pink/purple colour, and a couple of microphone storage 'hooks' are glued to the rear of the system.
The two microphone sockets are on the front, below and to the left of the single speaker, then above the speaker are the main controls, such as...
** The dials...
* Microphone volume
* Auto voice
* Control balance
* Master volume
** Then the buttons...
* Echo options + and -
There's a sliding control which turns the machine on and off, switching from CD to Auxiliary.
Then there is the CD control cursor key which is a lovely shiny silver circular button having the usual play, pause, stop, rewind, fast forward options on it
Turn the machine around and you'll see the scart socket plus an audio input ports and couple of microphone holders.
** How do you use it..?
This is so simple to do, just plug it in, pop in a CD, or a CDG and plug the scart lead into your television if you want to get the words to appear on the screen.
To actually put in a CD you just lift up the top of the unit, put in it, close the top, let the machine locate the disc and away you go, selecting which ever track you want to sing along to.
You then select the tracks using the cursor keys on the front of the machine, either fast forwarding or rewinding, then play.
It's as simple as that, you're now ready to sing your heart out, annoy the neighbours or just scare the dog and you never now you may even be the next X-Factor winner... maybe.
It plays CD's and what they call CDG disc, which are CD's that, when plugged into a television via a scart lead, the words of the songs appear on the screen.
** Anything else..?
Yes, of course there is.
This comes with one microphone which, as it is part of this machine, comes in the same colour scheme.
The main handle of the microphone is white, whilst the head of it is a pink colour, being a mesh type design. The actual cable that connects to the karaoke machine is about 300mm long, which gives plenty of scope so that you don't have be too close to the machine, which could cause what they call 'feed back', making the singing experience more of a happy, 'screech free' experience.
** My opinion...
It is in fact a rather lovely little machine and is so much fun to use, (although my neighbours may not think so after hearing me singing Tina Turners Private dancer... I thought I sounded pretty good actually), and I've had many happy hours singing along with it, trying to keep up with the speed of the music's lyrics as the words colourfully appear on the television screen.
The little display isn't top of the range, it doesn't give you the names of the tracks and artist who are playing on the machine, it just simply gives you numbers in a two digit format, those digits being either the track number or the echo number. But this is all you need really as the tracks and other information are displayed, sort of, when you plug this into a television
The echo voice changer is brilliant and I, well, we, as in the kids, the wife, my friends and anyone else that comes around to our house, have lots of laughs as our voices get changed into some strange sounds. Although sometimes the sounds do come out like something you actually hear in the charts, so maybe it's this little machine that the pro's use... maybe. There are eight levels to select from, and I particularly like the ghostly echo one, which comes out quite spooky indeed.
The microphone that comes with this machine isn't the best on the market but it is certainly good enough to get a nice song heard from it so I can't really complain about it as it does what it is supposed to do. But if you do get a chance then get a second microphone as the double microphone socket offers the chance for a duet or two, which has led to some rather funny scenarios in my house.
So what about the price of this fun filled little box? Well, it sells for around the £65.00 mark from places like Argos and even amazon, and it can even be found on offers in some places.
But even for £65.00 it is still great value for money as it is one of those things that you can use over and over again without getting bored and people of any age can use it too.
And the fact that there are lots of CDGs out there to buy so that you can get a fine collection together and never have to sing the same songs all the time
But do be warned that excessive use of this machine can annoy the neighbours and can lead to some disputes, or even a visit from the police, so see if you can get the boys in blue to blast out a tune or two before they arrest you for disturbing the peace.
Karaoke, in Japanese, roughly means Empty Orchestra... Kara meaning 'empty' and Oke, as in Okesutora, meaning Orchestra...
Well I'll be...