The Karaoke Machine first got its start when it was designed and built by a Japanese musician and inventor, Daisuke Inoue, back in 1971. He named it the Juke-8. However, it was the Philippino inventor Roberto de Rosario, who first patented it as the worlds first sing a long system in 1975.
The audio company Clarion got in on being the first commercial producer of karaoke machines. The name “Karaoke” comes from two different Japanese words put together. The first word, “Kara” stems from the Japanese word “karappo” which means “empty”. The second half stems from the Japanese word “okesatura” which means “orchestra”. Altogether karaoke means “empty orchestra”.
The Rise Of The Karaoke Machine
The Japanese inventor Daisuke Inoue’s friends always wanted to hear his music and sing along. This is why he decided to create the first Karaoke prototype. When you put money into his machine his music would play. Although it was fun, the karaoke machine did not gain popularity right away.
It was considered more of a fun novelty gadget or toy. People played with it in bars for something fun to do. Technology in the 1970s was not as good as the karaoke we have today. Back then, a karaoke machine was similar to a cassette player.
You put in the cassette of the song you wish to sing along too. By the 1980s, technology was catching up and the karaoke machine started to become a worldwide thing to do. Laser disks and CD’s helped to enlarge the karaoke market and it began to grow into what it is today.
The Basic Mechanics of Karaoke
Most home karaoke machine models are very easy to operate. They usually take CD’s, DVD’s and Blue Rays. Top of the line models even have digital music libraries, which can link to other music providers for downloading and buying new music.
Some of the older models still take cassette tapes. Usually, all karaoke machines have some kind of a screen on them. This could be a touch screen, a small CRT screen, or a large screen for all to see and join in the sing along.
Some larger restaurants and bars will set up several large screens so everyone can follow the sing along without crowding around a single screen. Sometimes a projector can be used for a more extravagant experience.
A projector is used to help everyone sing along and stay with the song using a dot above the words or color changing the words as they are to be sung. The very oldest karaoke machines had no screens in fact, singers had to rely on sheet lyrics.
Microphones and Speakers
The microphone is a very important aspect in karaoke. It can control the pitch enabling the singer to sing in a pitch they normally don’t have a range in. This is very cool and gives the singer the freedom to choose more types of music to sing.
The microphone is the instrument with which karaoke singers share their favorite songs with friends and audiences. Every great Karaoke machine singer and microphone needs a pair of awesome speakers to help them belt out their tunes.
These can be the most pricey items in the whole set up but they make all the difference especially if you’re singing karaoke professionally. You can choose surround sound for full effects in a larger area or one mono speaker for smaller settings.
Most karaoke machines these days have stereo features. Karaoke machines have become professional tools for singers as well as just for fun at the bar or at home parties. There are different price levels for microphones, speakers and karaoke machines depending one what they will be used for.
Beloved Karaoke Through The Years
Karaoke has always had its roots in Japan and Southeast Asia. Not only has it since traveled the globe it has found a loving heart in the Philippines. Even villagers living in grass huts have karaoke machines! A bit of scary mystery surrounding the philippino love of karaoke is the recent “My Way” murders.
Six people who sang Karaoke to Frank Sinatra’s famous song “My Way” were killed later the same night. No one knows who or why, but a word of caution in selecting your music when traveling never hurts! Karaoke is so popular in the Philippines, China, and Cambodia, it is commonly called a KTV.
The whole global Karaoke market is worth about $10 billion dollars. Sing a longs have always been popular, beginning as far back as the 1960’s. Musical TV shows with words across the bottom of the screen were well loved and accepted by TV audiences.
Nowadays, you can buy the video game Karaoke Revolution for Xbox Live and have a Karaoke party right through your Xbox. More music is also available for downloading through the Xbox. The Karaoke machine has come a long way but the concept of sing a long is still the same – it never gets old.
The newest Karaoke invention is called the “Wankara” or “solo karaoke”. It’s a small box where one person can practice singing alone for their own purposes. It can be used to practice singing alone or just for relaxation purposes and de-stressing. The Wankara is not currently in use in the United States, but hopefully will be one day soon.