Now Playing: Let's Get it Started in Here!
Entertaining at Home this Holiday Season:
Let's Get it Started in Here!
Many people are sticking closer to home during the holidays this year. We also see more people investing in pool tables, home movie theatres and stereo sound systems for good reason. Creeping gas prices and air fares are making it more desirable to stay home and invite others over. Most people have no problem with providing cocktails and sumptuous meals for their guests but what about entertainment? Well, sitting everyone in front of a big, flat screened, high definition television will only work for some of your guests. You could hire a D.J. but that will cost at least $400 for the evening and he may not always have the genres of music you want to hear.
One solution for musical entertainment many savvy hosts are turning to is Karaoke. Now we’re not talking about the kind found in the kid’s toy section of Target. No, these are professional and semi-pro models which offer fantastic sound quality coupled with ease of use. The semi-professional Karaoke System we tested after checking out a ton of others is the Singing Machine. Their latest SM -1010 Digital model is a pedestal type with a full color 7 inch monitor. You don’t have to set it up on a table and then squint at black and white graphics. The TFT LCD liquid crystal screen shows full color lyrics and is packed with features to get the party started!
The Singing Machine SM 1010
Semi-Pro Karaoke Machine
Karaoke is a Japanese abbreviated compound word: "kara" comes from "karrappo" meaning empty (as in karate - empty hand), and "oke" is the abbreviation of "okesutura" or orchestra. Rather than having both vocals and music, karaoke tracks only have the music. A live person who holds a microphone and sings while following the words displayed on a screen provides the vocals.
Everyone can have the chance to be the “star” at your party! Karaoke began in Japan but has quickly spread all over the world as a way to get people to participate in music, not just simply listen to it. We especially liked the fact that you can even plug in a guitar or other instrument which uses a ¼ inch jack into this machine. This gives extra versatility and encourages anyone with a desire to play an instrument while they sing. This Karaoke system includes:
iPod Docking Station (iPod not included)
7"TFT LCD Color Monitor with on Screen Lyrics
Built-in Video Camera
Digital Key Control
Microphone Echo Control
Microphone Volume Control
A.V. C (Auto Voice Control)
Balance Music/Vocal Control
Two Microphone Inputs
Two Tower Speakers
Built-in Speaker System
What impressed us most with this karaoke system was the sound quality. Twin tower speakers has a top mounted horn tweeter and four drivers. A 50 watt system that offers a lot of great sound and clear volume. I’ve used professional Karaoke systems in the clubs and really, this system has far more features to help tweak your vocals. We found that the microphones included with the system were unfortunately closer to what comes with the toy karaoke machines. Based on this, many people have complained that the Singing Machine’s vocal volumes are very poor. I contend that the problem is not with the machine but with the cheap microphones that came with it. Made of inexpensive plastic, they are not nearly sensitive enough to carry your voice over the professionally recorded music and background vocals of the CD-G’s. I’ve seen this before with other low quality microphones. You need to nearly shout into them just to get the volume to register on the PA System!
No need to toss out the baby with the bath water. Simply exchange the microphones that come with the SM 1010 with a pair of serious Audio-Technica PRO 31QTR Cardioid Dynamic microphones. There’s your upgrade! You will find your vocals to be far more pronounced and clear over the system without having to turn up the microphone volume so high.
Audio-Technica’s PRO 31QTR
Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
The recommended upgrade for
This affordable cardioid dynamic microphone is designed for close-up vocal performance. We recommend this microphone for the Singing Machine Karaoke SM1010 as it nails the clarity and audibility often lacking in standard “Karaoke” mics.
The PRO 31QTR has a broad frequency response while keeping handling noise at a minimum. We especially appreciated the all metal, tough, durable design that delivers consistent performance. Like all Audio-Technica microphones, the PRO 31QTR is extremely well made, (bomb proof in fact), and can stand up to life on the hard road. The mic sets price/performance standards for intelligibility, transparent sound quality and noise suppression. Available in two models for easy use with consumer and pro electronics: PRO 31 (XLRF-XLRM cable) and PRO 31QTR (XLRF- ¼” cable).
When we switched out the microphones which came with the Singing Machine with the PRO 31QTR’s, the improvement was immediately evident. Vocals we much cleaner with little or no popping. One feature we were quite impressed with was the MagnaLock silent on-off switch. Not only does it eliminate the clicking sound associated with turning the mic on, but it can be locked into the on position to prevent accidental shut off during performance. Vocals had far more punch and volume with the PRO 31QTR’s.
Visit Audio-Technica Online at : www.audio-technica.com
One of the things you want to do when hosting your holiday parties is to make sure everyone is included in the fun. Now it is going to invariably be the case that only some of your guests are going to want to sing Karaoke. Depending on how good these guests are, even less may be willing to listen to them! You can set up a few tables with old favorites such as Monopoly or Scrabble in a nearby room. The idea is to have as many options for entertainment open for your guests as possible.The New Harvard Convertible
3 in 1 Multi Game Table
Want to add some gameroom fun but have limited space? We can recommend the New Harvard Convertible 3 -in-1 Multi-Game Table. This is a high quality, American made Pool, Air Hockey and Ping Pong table. You can set the schedule to have games of Pool from let’s say after dinner, then Air Hockey can begin a few hours after that with Ping Pong finishing off the night’s tournaments. Your guests can get a schedule and look forward to when their favorite game will start or they can simply be spectators while cheering the other players on. The table easily converts from one type of game to another for non stop action. You can give gift basket prizes of cookies or other homemade goodies to the winning players to take home. All accessories are included with this superior quality multi-game table, so you needn’t worry about getting any extra equipment.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and your guests during the holiday entertaining season. Don a stunning outfit, pour yourself a glass of wine, set out some hot and cold appetizers and join your guests at the party!