How to Buy a Used Karaoke Machine

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How to Buy a Used Karaoke Machine

A karaoke machine is a device that allows amateur singers to sing along to recorded music sans the voice track. Karaoke players are a great deal of fun and more accessible for home use than ever before. Top models can still be expensive, however, which is why many enthusiasts maximize their budgets by buying used.

Choosing a Used Karaoke Machine Type

The first step in purchasing a used karaoke machine is deciding on the style. There are two main types of karaoke machines: portable and component.

Used Portable Karaoke Machines

A portable, or plug and play, karaoke machine is self-contained. Everything needed to enjoy karaoke entertainment is contained in the portable karaoke machine. Most portable units do not have a monitor, but most do have at least a small LCD screen for displaying song lyrics. In addition, most have a video out connection that allows graphics and even video to display on an external television or monitor.

Used Component Karaoke Machines

A used component karaoke machine, on the other hand, is just one piece of a puzzle. Like a receiver, these devices require other components to form a complete home audio or theater system. Although portable units are more convenient, component units are more versatile. That versatility is evident in their durability as well. The parts most likely to break on a portable unit are distinct from the component unit. Furthermore, if some part of the component system does fail, the user can simply replace the failed piece rather than the entire unit.

Choosing Karaoke Music Format Support

Once the user has chosen a machine type, the next step is to decide which music formats it will support. There are different types of karaoke media, and most karaoke machines will only support one or a few options.


The first karaoke machines used 8-track tapes and other tape-based media. Today, 8-track players are rare. However, karaoke 8-track tapes and karaoke machines that play 8-tracks are still available on sites like eBay due to the nostalgia market.


After 8-track technology, karaoke machines evolved to use cassette players. Like karaoke 8-track, karaoke cassettes are no longer made and are largely sold on sites like eBay due to the nostalgia market. A key difference between cassettes and 8-tracks is that karaoke was much more accessible during the age of cassettes, so there are many more of them available to collectors and enthusiasts.


LaserDisc was the first optical disc format available for home use. Although relatively obscure in North America and Europe, the LD format was popular in Asia, and LD karaoke machines quickly replaced cassette-based ones in that part of the world. LaserDisc karaoke is sold on sites like eBay for the nostalgia market, but it is worth noting that almost all karaoke LDs ever made feature Asian music.


CD players are the media-reading mechanisms most often associated with karaoke. CDGs are still the most popular way to purchase karaoke music, and that format has only recently begun to be challenged by digital music and other optical formats.


The video CD format allows video to be stored on a standard compact disc. VCDs were popular prior to the advent of DVDs and were particularly popular in Asia. The benefit of a karaoke VCD is that it could include video, such as music videos. In addition, VCDs would often include both the standard version and the karaoke version of each song on the disc.


Karaoke DVDs are popular wherever karaoke is popular, and they're available online in a wide range of languages and styles. The main advantage to DVD over the outdated VCD format is that karaoke DVDs can store a lot more video and many more songs. In addition, many karaoke DVDs have features that allow them to be played on a standard DVD player.


Karaoke Blu-ray discs are similar to DVDs but are able to store higher-quality video, such as 3D and 1080p. BDs also have a much larger capacity and can store five times as much data. Karaoke Blu-Ray players can also play DVDs, but the opposite is not true. Both types can play CDs.


Music in digital format has become increasingly popular, and the karaoke industry is embracing it too. Many modern karaoke players include support for MP3+G and WMA+G, and it is becoming more common for a karaoke player not to have any sort of disc player at all. It is likely that digital karaoke music will completely supplant karaoke CDs in the near future.


After choosing which music formats the used unit will support, the next step is to select the features. Karaoke machine features can be broken down into two categories: standard and advanced.

Standard Features

Standard features are the features that consumers expect to find even on the most basic karaoke machine. In addition to a CD or digital player, a basic karaoke machine will have a microphone, support for at least two, pitch control, and voice echo.

Dual microphones

Having two microphones is convenient and allows for duets, battles, and team play.

Voice key control

Pitch control decreases the burden on the amateur by automatically adjusting pitch to the current song.

Voice echo

A microphone effect that lets the singer emulate certain special song characteristics.

Power Output

Wattage is an important consideration because it determines the clarity, robustness, and potential loudness of the music. Basic karaoke machines have five to 30 watts. The five to 15 range is suitable for children, and closer to 30 is preferable for adults. Mid-range karaoke units are about 60 to 90 watts, which is suitable for audiophiles, and high-end units are 160 watts and above, which is suitable for commercial karaoke.


Speakers are also a crucial factor in determining sound quality. It is very important that the speakers be able to handle the power output of the karaoke machine. Speakers are also a significant concern when buying used portable units because this is one of the features most likely to fail on older machines.


Basic connectivity is stereo and RCA. Newer models have HDMI as well as composite instead of RCA. USB ports are a helpful feature because they allow the user to connect the karaoke machine to a wide range of devices, including computers and external hard drives. Some karaoke machines even have proprietary connectivity, such as iPod connections.


The basic microphone connection is 0.25 inches, which is similar to a stereo connection. High-grade karaoke microphones use an XLR connection, also called a Cannon plug. Having XLR connections provides the user with more microphone and feature options. Another option is wireless microphones, which are very convenient and connect to the karaoke machine through a technology like Bluetooth.

Advanced Features

Advanced karaoke features can greatly enhance the experience. Popular options include DVD/BD disc players, HDDs and SDDs, cameras, and recording capabilities.

Disc Player

A CD, DVD, or BD, player allows playback of karaoke and standard discs.


A hard disk drive allows the karaoke player to store music locally.


A solid-state drive is similar to an HDD but faster and non-mechanical.

AM/FM Radio

This feature allows the karaoke player to dual-serve as a traditional radio.


A built-in monitor is typically used to display the lyrics and user interface.


Records video of the singers, usually for immediate display alongside graphics.


Records karaoke performances to file or cassette or burns them to disc.

Final Considerations

Once the user has decided on their perfect used karaoke machine, shopping for it will be much easier.

Online vs. Local

The advantage of buying locally is that the consumer gets to see and touch the used unit up close. The advantage of buying online is that prices are lower and the selection of used karaoke machines is much greater. Keep in mind that sites like eBay have buyer protection policies that offset the disadvantage of not being able to see and touch the product prior to purchase.

Laser Eye Quality

On cheap machines, laser eye quality is an area where manufacturers cut corners. The issue with low-quality laser eyes is that they're finicky and unable to read all commercial discs. They're even more problematic when playing user-created discs. This is an aspect of buying a used or new karaoke machine were it is most certainly worth paying the premium for quality.

Voice Cancellation Technology

Voice cancellation technology is an alluring feature that, in theory, allows a karaoke player to turn any music into karaoke music on the fly. This technology, however, is not yet reliable and thus not worth paying the premium for.

Find a Used Karaoke Machine on eBay

eBay offers a huge, diverse selection of karaoke equipment and music, and many of those items are pre-owned. eBay also offers super low prices, free shipping, and authorized dealers. Furthermore, eBay has a buyer protection policy, which means that the consumer can buy pre-owned with the confidence that eBay will ensure their satisfaction.


Karaoke is a fantastic hobby and a wonderful form of entertainment, and everyone should have one in the living room. Karaoke doesn't have to be expensive. High-grade karaoke machines possess excellent durability, which makes them a superb option for buying used. Get an idea of what's available by perusing the excellent selection hosted on eBay.

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