After 68 hours of extensive testing, we are extremely confident in recommending the Singtrix Karaoke System as the all-around best professional karaoke machine.
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Professional karaoke machines are the be-all end-all of karaoke units. These machines are intended for commercial setups at bars, pubs, dedicated karaoke bars, and other similar venues. If you're an extreme karaoke enthusiast, audiophile, or simply someone who must have top of the line equipment, these professional karaoke machines are for you, too.
Professional machines usually look like big stereo receivers, and you almost always need an existing audio/visual setup with screens, speakers, and microphones to get the most out of these units. Lots of professional karaoke machines come with massively extensive song catalogs pre-loaded, along with storage that you can easily manipulate and expand as necessary.
The 5 Best Professional Karaoke Machines
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Buying A Professional Karaoke Machine
If you've read through my karaoke machine reviews and you're thinking about buying a professional karaoke machine, you might as well make sure it suits your needs perfectly. These units are the most expensive of the bunch, and that increased price affords you the luxury of being specific and picky when it comes to selecting a machine.
Inputs and Outputs
You can purchase a professional karaoke machine to fit any existing setup imaginable. Some machines even let you plug your iPod, phone, or mp3 player directly into the receiver for a nearly unlimited selection of songs and videos. Otherwise, you can pick from the standard HDMI, stereo, RCA, and digital audio inputs you might find on other audio equipment. Some units come with multiple outputs built in, so you don't even have to pick – you can just use whichever connection you have a spare cable for!
Audio Manipulation & Modulation
Most professional karaoke machines lean towards professional-grade recording studio equipment more than anything else. This means you'll have all of the audio manipulation bells and whistles at your fingertips. Things like pitch control, echo, tempo control, equalizers, cutting, and so on are all features that you'll find baked into a typical professional karaoke setup. You don't want to skimp on these features, as they really mark the difference between a professional setup and a normal home setup.
Power & Compatibility
While you don't have to worry about the quality of a professional karaoke machine, you do have to consider the power and compatibility of both the karaoke machine and your peripheral equipment. Powering up a dedicated karaoke setup that involves a receiver, multiple microphones, multiple speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers, and multiple LCD/Plasma screens is a huge power suck. You want to make sure all of your equipment is compatible with your karaoke machine, and that you have a power source up to the task of keeping everything running. There's no faster way of clearing out a bar or shutting down a party than blowing a fuse thanks to your beastly karaoke setup!
Our Testing Process
Coming up with a stringent testing process for professional karaoke setups was rather difficult, just because different venues and home users require very different, specific features at this level, dependent on their end goals.
At the outset of our foray into the world of professional karaoke, we had 14 professional units that we were testing. Based on the following criteria, we narrowed those 14 down to the 5 best units that you see in our comparison table up top, along with one additional option below (in the case that you absolutely need a built-in screen).
Audio Output Quality
Audio quality should always be your number one concern when shopping around for professional setups. You want something that can fill you house or venue with strong, clear sound for years to come, whenever you need it to.
A surprising number of setups that we tested failed to meet our minimum audio quality standards, rather horribly. I'm not sure if professional karaoke equipment just hasn't caught up to the 21st century yet, or if we just got some bum units - either way, far too many professional setups out there suffer from horrible feedback issues, audio crackling or popping issues, or just outright muddled, bad-quality audio.
We can guarantee you that none of our recommended units display any of those annoying audio issues, although you will always get some level of "hissing" or feedback when you operate audio equipment at extremely high volume levels.
To quantify this, even more, we structured our testing like an eye-chart test for the ears. One at a time, we positioned each karaoke unit at the same spot in the front of a large venue hall, and I stood at the opposite end. We then recorded someone speaking a series of letters and numbers and played it back at various volume levels while I attempted to copy down the correct sequence from the back of the room.
We found this to be an excellent way of weeding out any machine that struggled with audio clarity issues.
Compatibility is another huge deal for professional setups. If you're a home user springing for a pro setup, or a venue owner looking to deck out your place with an awesome karaoke setup, you want to make absolutely sure it plays nicely with any existing audio or visual equipment you might have.
At a bare minimum, any pro karaoke setup worth its salt will have standard RGB/RCA connectivity, as well as more modern aux hookups, USB hookups, or even Bluetooth hookups.
All of our recommended models offer fantastic connectivity options, and are much more "modern" in nature than many of the other units we tested - they accommodate streaming from smartphones, tablets, and so on, for example.
We also preferred units that doubled as PA systems or AMPs in a pinch, because that's another necessity for most any venue owner out there.
Microphone quality is definitely an important factor to consider, but there is a bit more leeway here than you should allow when it comes to audio quality or compatibility. That's just because you can always buy new microphones, and they'll often be rather affordable as well.
Even so, we did discount any unit that had a downright terrible microphone out of the box. Professional setups especially need more robust microphones, as they're exposed to much more wear and tear than a casual home setup mic may be.
The Best Professional Karaoke Machine
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The Singtrix Karaoke System is unbeatable from a features perspective, and that's exactly what you want to see in a professional karaoke setup. You get a state of the art controller that comes pre-loaded with over 300 unique voice effects, along with a professional grade microphone and 2.1 Stereo Speaker that has a built-in subwoofer. The microphone features a handy button that lets you switch on vocal effects at will - you really feel like a rockstar when you're up singing on this phenomenal karaoke system. If the peripherals don't provide quite enough "oomph" for you (if you're operating in a bigger venue), fear not - the entire unit integrates easily into any existing audio or visual setup you may have. As a "centerpiece" to karaoke, though, there's nothing better than the Singtrix.
The thing that really makes this shine as a professional karaoke system is how versatile it is. You can play karaoke tunes from pretty much any source out there, from iPods, iPhones, and tablets to computers. You can even hook a keyboard or guitar up directly to the system and play along while you or someone else continues to sing.
The range of vocal effects included with the Singtrix bears repeating - you get over 300 individual vocal effects to choose from. This is some truly professional grade software, as well. I know some pretty bad singers, and the Singtrix was able to coax an A+ performance out of every single one of them. From the automatic pitch correction to the HardTune technology, you literally cannot sound bad while singing into this awesome karaoke machine. If you're looking for the best of the best, the Singtrix karaoke system will not disappoint.
Read my full Singtrix Review
The Best Professional Karaoke Machine With A Screen
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Most professional setups don't come with a screen - manufacturers assume that you just want a karaoke receiver that'll be integrated into an existing audio/visual setup. That's all fine and good, but there is still a huge market out there for professional-grade karaoke setups that do come with a lyric screen built-in. If you need a screen, you should definitely check out the Singing Machine iSM1030BT (or the slightly newer 1060BT model). It's the definition of an all-in-one solution - you get a receiver, a screen, two microphones, and two speaker towers.
You may want to look elsewhere if you're outfitting a huge venue, but for smaller venues, karaoke bars, and home enthusiasts, the iSM1030BT is absolutely perfect. The quality is great all around - I was quite pleasantly surprised by the power of the speakers, the quality of the microphones, and the functionality of the crystal-clear 7" lyric screen. There's not too much more to say about this one - if you need a model with a built-in screen, look no further than the Singing Machine iSM1030BT.
Read my full Singing Machine iSM1030BT Review
The Best PA System Solution
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If you want a professional karaoke setup that doubles as an all-in-one PA system, an instrument amplifier, and more, then you should be looking at the ION Audio Block Party Live. ION Audio really did make this gorgeous machine with venues in mind - it's functional, portable, durable, and fulfills just about any audio need out there. You can easily go from karaoke, to live music, to speaking, and even just to streaming music directly through the unit. It really did remind me of a Swiss Army Knife with how useful it is in any situation.
As for the hardware itself, you won't be disappointed. The Block Party Live boasts a powerful 50 Watt speaker system that fills all but the largest venue halls with ease. Input-wise, you can hook any smartphone, tablet, computer, music player, or an instrument up to the speaker cabinet directly, via a standard aux input or a more heavy duty 1/4” jack for digital keyboards, electric guitars, and so on. The controls are comprehensive and easy to access, with separate volume knobs for overall volume and microphone-specific volume levels. To top it all off, the entire thing can operate on an industrial-strength battery for hours should you find yourself lacking a wall outlet.
Read my full ION Block Party Live Review
The Bottom Line
Buying a professional karaoke machine is no simple endeavor, as we're now in the territory of highly specialized systems and large price tags. You want to make sure you know exactly what you need, and exactly what you'll get out of each setup you research.
That being said, we're positive that you can't go wrong with the Singtrix Karaoke System if you're looking for a comprehensive karaoke solution that operates at a professional level through and through. If you're looking for a complete audio setup to outfit a large, multi-purpose guest center, you may want to look elsewhere - but for everyone else, do yourself a favor and check out the Singtrix.