How Does A Karaoke Machine Work?

Young lady sitting on a couch singing Karaoke

What is a Karaoke Machine

You may be familiar with the term Karaoke or even visited a local Karaoke bar or pub filled with patrons enthusiastically singing along to their favourite songs. Typically, these venues provide an expensive PA system and mixing desk with a microphone and scrolling lyrics on a monitor. An at home Karaoke machine now consists of a speaker, in most cases portable, and one or two wired or wireless microphones. Thankfully, achieving a high quality at home Karaoke experience is much more affordable and user-friendly than in years past.

Basic setup

Karaoke speakers can range from small hand held speakers to large tower speakers standing at over 1.5m. In most cases, speakers measuring around 100mm x 40mm x 40mm provide the ideal mix of portability and power. A wireless microphone(s) is always a better option over wired if budget allows for it.

Young lady singing Karaoke in a living room surrounded by friends

Playback options

A modern Karaoke speaker will generally not have any music built-in. With today's internet availability music is typically streamed via a smart phone or TV.


To get the most out of your Karaoke speaker, Bluetooth connectivity is a must. Connecting a smart phone is the easiest and most popular way of providing a backing track with the almost endless possibilities provided online. Popular streaming sources include:

  • Spotify
  • YouTube
  • KaraFun (subscription fees may apply)

USB or SD Card

Most modern Karaoke speakers will have a USB and/or SD card input. Simply download and save your favourite songs onto the device for effortless playback. This can be a great way to play tracks if you live remotely or don't have internet access.

Close up of a Karaoke Speaker showing the control panel

How to connect a microphone to a Karaoke speaker

There are two options for connecting a microphone to a Karaoke speaker, either wireless or wired. Wireless systems can come with either a VHF (very high frequency) microphone or a UHF (ultra high frequency) microphone. UHF microphones are less prone to interference and perform better at longer distances.

Wireless microphones provide the best experience, especially for larger rooms, allowing for easy movement away from the speaker. 

Wired microphones offer the same quality* with some added restrictions. Depending on cable length a user could risk falling / tripping on a microphone lead if not aware.
*The quality of the included wired microphone can vary between models. Purchasing a high quality wired microphone can significantly increase clarity and overall sound.

A wireless system will generally have room for additional AUX inputs. While you can't add additional wireless microphones, a second or third wired microphone can be plugged in to the AUX input. This is a great feature for expanding your system when family or friends come over.

Karaoke speaker accessories including microphone, remote control and cable


A main feature of a Karaoke speaker is its power source. Most Karaoke speakers now include a built-in rechargeable battery. If you intend on using your Karaoke machine as a Bluetooth speaker without the microphone, it's definitely worth considering. Larger, more powerful Karaoke machines will typically need to be plugged in to a power outlet.

LED light display

Part of the Karaoke experience is the light display. Most modern Karaoke speakers will have built-in LED flashing lights. These can be set to mimic the music or flash on and off. If your Karaoke machine doesn't include built-in lights, a separate LED or laser light can enhance your experience.

Karaoke Machine with bright LED lights

How to connect a Karaoke Speaker to TV

Scrolling song lyrics are a necessity for most singers and makes for an authentic, seamless experience. Since most modern Karaoke speakers don't have built-in music or lyrics so streaming via a TV is the best way to achieve this.
Simply connect your Karaoke speaker in to the back of your TV with standard audio RCA cables (red & white plugs). You can then open YouTube, Spotify or if you have a late model Samsung TV, select the free Karaoke channel. This will play the audio through your speaker and scroll the lyrics on your TV.


True Wireless Stereo is a feature built-in to some Karaoke speakers. It allows two speakers to be connected wirelessly in stereo for increased sound and clarity.

Two large Karaoke speakers with LED lights 

What to consider when buying a Karaoke Machine

Karaoke speakers come in many different shapes and sizes. When shopping for a Karaoke speaker the main points to consider are;

  • Intended use
  • Size of the room
  • Budget

Our recommended features are:


Home Use
Low Budget

Home Use
Mid-High Budget

Large Room / Functions
Bluetooth ✔︎ ✔︎ ✔︎
Built-in Battery ✔︎ ✔︎
Mains powered ✔︎
Wireless Microphones ✔︎ ✔︎
Wired Microphones ✔︎
RCA / Audio Out ✔︎ ✔︎ ✔︎
LED Lights ✔︎ ✔︎


If budget is a concern or you are just starting out, changing to a wired microphone system will lower the cost without losing essential features. Purchasing a high quality wired microphone can significantly increase clarity and overall sound.

Man standing next to a variety of Karaoke speakers