Karaoke comes from the Japanese word "kara" or empty, combined with "oke," the Japanese abbreviation for orchestra, meaning it's up to you to fill in the vocals. Not so long ago, the only way you could play karaoke music was by renting or buying an expensive machine. Without a karaoke machine, you couldn't get access to songs with the vocals removed. Today, you can host your own karaoke party on any laptop. All you need is a decent pair of speakers, a microphone and access to the music you love the most.
Items you will need
- Webcam (optional)
Buy an external microphone if you don't already have one. Although your laptop has a built-in mike, leaning over a table to sing doesn't add to the karaoke ambience like holding a microphone in your hand while swaying and dancing with the music does.
Connect your laptop to an external speaker or to your stereo system. Your laptop has built-in 2-watt speakers, but the output can't compare to the sound you will hear from even the cheapest 10-watt speakers. Whether you are taking your laptop to a party or carrying it outdoors, a small 20-watt Bluetooth speaker is quite portable and can give you 12 hours of playback on a single charge.
Select an application that is compatible with your operating system and computer specs. For Windows® 8 laptops there are plenty of Karaoke apps available for download. Red Karaoke, for example, is one of the most popular, with a library of more than 45,000 songs. It runs on just about every laptop, including those with ARM processors. You can download the app free or run it from your Web browser.
Sign up for a Red Karaoke account. If you already have a Facebook account, you can use it to sign in with Red Karaoke. Select any of the free songs or subscribe for access to the full library. Monthly and annual subscriptions are available.
Select any song you want from the oldest oldie to the latest pop songs. The app requests access to your microphone and webcam. Click "Allow" for both if you want to see your performances and have the option to upload your videos to the Red Karaoke website; otherwise, click "Allow" for the microphone and "Deny" for the webcam.
Watch for the cue when the music starts playing. When the first word is highlighted in red, start singing. Karaoke apps are also available on Internet-connected devices such as your tablet, smart TV or smart Blu-ray player.
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