Would you like to set up karaoke in your venue, but you don’t know what karaoke equipment you need or even where to start? Fear not, this guide will go over all the steps and karaoke equipment you need on your journey towards happily singing customers.
We did the research for you and had a chat with the AV-specialist Peter Eriksson. He’s the foremost expert on karaoke, having worked at Events4U/Karaokefabriken for many years. Here he shares his best advice for getting started with your karaoke setup. So please enjoy, below are the do’s and don’ts of putting together your professional karaoke setup. This guide covers:
- Karaoke room or live stage karaoke?
- Equipment needed for a professional karaoke setup
- Professional karaoke content
- How much does everything cost?
First things first: Karaoke room or live stage karaoke?
The first thing you have to decide is whether you would like to go for karaoke rooms or live stage karaoke. A karaoke room usually fits 4-10 guests, and they can be set up in any venue from big nightclubs to traditional pubs. A karaoke room is also a great way to boost your revenue. For example, let's say that you have three karaoke rooms size 130 ft² and they are booked 17 hours in a week with a $40 hour booking fee. If four people have two drinks per person in an hour, your turnover will be $887 per square foot annually. If your booking fee is $80, your turnover will be $1 242 in a year.
One or several karaoke rooms is a great option especially for a restaurant where you don’t want to bother your dinner guests with background noise. Karaoke rooms are also trendy right now, which is one of the ways to stand out in the post-pandemic, ready-to-rebound nightlife scene.
– Everyone wants karaoke rooms now, but it is an excellent idea to combine karaoke rooms with open stage karaoke, says Peter Eriksson.
According to Eriksson, there are two main target groups for karaoke. There are those who sing karaoke because they love performing, and there are the ones who mainly want to have a good time with their friends. You won’t attract “the performers” to your karaoke room and a combination of karaoke rooms and a live stage karaoke keeps all of your options open, he advises.
What to think about if you want to go for a karaoke room:
- Do you already have a space in mind for the karaoke room? Turning an unused storage room into a karaoke box is a (already used) great idea. You probably need to invest some money in soundproofing the room, but there is no need to make it completely soundproof. A bit of background noise is normal in most venues.
- If you build the karaoke room from scratch, ask your construction company to soundproof it. It is always easier to soundproof a room during the construction phase.
- What are you gonna put in the room? Depending on the size of the room, you can install a small stage and add some seating places and tables for serving food and drinks.
- It can be a good idea to go for one bigger and more glamorous karaoke room for bigger groups over 20 people and a couple of smaller ones, Peter Eriksson advises.
- If you’re building several karaoke rooms, make sure that the power supply in every room has its own fuse. This is a smart way of making sure that the other karaoke rooms will continue functioning even if one loses power.
Equipment needed for a professional karaoke setup
Here is a list of the basics you will need to get your karaoke started:
Depending on the size of your venue, you might need one or several loudspeakers. These LD loudspeakers are feedback-free, distribute the sound in 120 degrees and carry the sound far into the room. The most important is to get array speakers that are suitable for singing. In a smaller karaoke room you don’t need as powerful speakers as in a bigger space, and these are an alternative for a smaller room.
Most bars and venues already have a sound system with loudspeakers, and that is a great start. You can probably use some of the existing equipment, but be aware that your loudspeakers might not be powerful enough for live stage karaoke in a big space.
You need at least one but preferably several screens for showing the lyrics on the wall, for example a TV.
4. A mixer
The easiest way to connect your microphones to the speaker system is through the Madboy Remix 35. It offers the same possibilities as a traditional mixer, but it is way easier to use. Even if you’re not a tech geek yourself, it’s easy to tweak bass, treble, echo and volume.
– As a karaoke host, you have to be able to make some sound adjustments by yourself. For example, a performing headbanger doesn’t appreciate a lot of echo and you need to tweak it a bit so that it sounds good, Eriksson says.
Read more about what makes a great KJ.
5. An iPad
If you’re using karaoke software, you probably need an iPad for running your karaoke program.
Get some cables to connect everything together, usually HDMI.
In a karaoke room you can either choose to hide the equipment or let the guests make adjustments according to their own taste. Returning guests usually appreciate the ability to tweak the sound.
Professional karaoke content
Your space is prepped and you have all the equipment you need for karaoke, except for the karaoke content. There are different options here, and you can choose between these alternatives:
By law, you cannot play karaoke tracks from Youtube or from your normal karaoke discs for your karaoke nights at a bar or business establishment. Those mentioned media are for your private usage only.
Remember that you need legal karaoke content.
In other words, you need fully-licensed karaoke songs for commercial use. You also need a license to have karaoke, play background music or host dance nights, live music or DJs at your establishment. Read more about the karaoke licensing in the USA here.
1. Karaoke CDs or DvDs
- You only pay once for the content.
- Easy to use.
- Don’t require an internet connection.
- You will only get access to a limited amount of songs and you therefore need to update your song library every once in a while.
- CD:s and DVD:s might get scratched and stop working over time.
2. Karaoke software
- You get access to a large song library.
- You don’t need to keep track of extra equipment.
- Usually requires an internet connection.
- You need to pay a monthly fee.
3. Karaoke as a streaming service
One of the easiest ways of getting started with karaoke is with Singa, a streaming service for professional karaoke. Singa is a modern and completely digital karaoke solution for commercial use at restaurants, nightclubs, libraries, schools and other venues.
- Singa can run karaoke on its own. When using the autoplay mode, your guests can add songs to the queue with their own smartphones and the program will take care of the rest. You don’t need a karaoke host every day in the week in order to offer karaoke as entertainment for your guests.
- You can use Singa offline.
- The song library consisting of 80 000 songs is updated with the latest hits every week.
- Singa works on an easy-to-use iPad that you can plug into your audio system and screen.
- You need to pay a monthly fee.
Peter Eriksson, a Singa-user for many years, recommends Singa for everyone that wants to set up professional karaoke without fuzz.
Singa is very easy to use. You can also add your own commercials and pictures to show in between songs and new and popular songs are added to the library continually.
Read more about different Singa’s solutions for commercial karaoke here.
How much does everything cost?
Open stage karaoke setup costs
If you want to go for premium equipment you can expect to pay around $1500 for loudspeakers. A pair of microphones costs around $300.
In total, you can expect to pay around $2100-2700 for a high-end karaoke setup on an open stage.
– In my opinion, you don’t need to go for the most pricey alternative but it is important to have a good sound in your venue, Peter Eriksson says.
Karaoke room setup costs
If you need equipment for a couple of smaller karaoke rooms or one big and more luxurious room, you can expect costs around $1600-2100 for loudspeakers, microphones, screens and mixers. In addition to this, you'll have the recurring (monthly or yearly) cost of the karaoke software.
Now you hopefully have all the information you need in order to set up karaoke in your venue. If you have questions regarding the karaoke setup, we recommend you to contact your local AV integrator for a customised setup or advice.
We are happy to get you started with karaoke straight away, and if you have any questions regarding Singa, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.