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Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

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Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby choony » Tue May 26, 2020 1:12 am

Hey all,

I'm looking to create a great sounding home karaoke/recording setup and would love your help in determining what gear to buy, given my performance space (35'x20' living room) and budget ($2,000 or less). I do not intend to perform live outside my home. I just want to have people over for ragin' karaoke parties that I can record and listen to later, ideally with the option to record both mixed and isolated vocal tracks. My background in this stuff is limited to what I've read on this forum and the rest of the internet for the past day and a half, but I like to think that I learn pretty quickly, so don't hold back on technical information.

So far, I'm considering the following pieces of equipment:

Mics - Shure SM58 - I've read here that Sennheisers are also good, but I mostly belt rock, so stick with the SM58s? Maybe one of each, since my wife has a more operatic/ballady voice?

PA system/Speakers - I started out looking at the Yamaha STAGEPAS 600i and 400 BT PA all-in-ones, but discovered on here that those might not be best if I'm looking to record. Should I go with a good mixer and speaker setup, instead? Are Yamaha DBR 10 (not sure on the best size) overkill for a space so small? The Alto TS speakers seem to get mixed reviews and I don't want something that's going to sound mediocre and/or blow out in a few years. How much would a subwoofer improve the sound quality?

Mixer - I haven't looked into this too much yet, but I would like something that has good karaoke effects and makes recording a breeze.

Any other components I'm forgetting?

Thanks a lot!
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby zenguitar » Tue May 26, 2020 1:57 am

Welcome to the SOS forums.

You will find that there is a great deal of experience here with Iive PA. There is a great deal of experience here with live recording. However, karaoke is, at best, a side interest of a small minority of the members and visitors to these forums.

You will find that you will get excellent information on PA and recording, but don't be surprised if you face a couple of steep learning curves. The karaoke world is very different from the pro/semi-pro live sound world that our members inhabit. Their minimum standards far exceed all but a tiny minority of karaoke businesses. And that's before you factor in the live recording aspect.

And to give you some context, I'm looking at putting together a live sound rig for small to medium sized spaces. Your entire budget would buy one half of the powered speakers I'm looking at, and that's before you consider a mixer, mics, mic stands, cables an all the other ancillaries you need to make a a half decent PA. And recording isn't as simple as just recording the stereo output from the desk or all the individual channels on the desk. The devil is in the detail, and there are an awful lot of details that can't even begin to imagine at this point. The more you learn, the more you realise that there is to learn.

As I say, you are very welcome here. But don't be surprised when all the suggestions you are offered far exceed your budget.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby innerchord » Tue May 26, 2020 4:11 am

Andy's (zenguitar) advice should not be ignored, but I think you'll be perfectly happy or even surprised at how much technology $2000 can buy these days. You can probably see that already from your research.

I don't know much about cheaper systems, however, but will mention a couple of things. I've had a lot of fun with the Behringer X-Air mixers, but they only record a single stereo output unless you connect the XR18 to a computer, when it becomes 18-channel, I believe. I'm sure there is a recording mixer out there that would be perfect if you need it all in one box, and hopefully someone will be along soon to tell you which one! (Zoom, Tascam?)

Yes, DO get a single sub, and say 10" powered tops. Look at QSC or Electro-Voice if you can.

Don't skimp on the mics and buy a spare. SM58 or similar absolute minimum quality.
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby ef37a » Tue May 26, 2020 7:39 am

The speakers are going to be your main problem and for at least two reasons I think.

Firstly, acoustic feedback. Conventional 'hi fi' speakers (and for the purposes of this thread, that includes 'proper' monitors) have an omnidirectional radiating pattern and in a smallish room, i.e. not a hall, this makes the control of feedback very difficult. The 'line source' speaker has a much 'flatter' pattern and will improve things a bit but TBH in a domestic situation you WILL struggle.

The other problem is power handling or to be more basic, 'survivability' . Hi fi speakers and the lower cost monitors are not really up to the sort of levels you will be producing. "But we will be careful and not go nuts with the volume" No, you won't...Well, maybe you will, for some weeks, maybe months but believe me, the birthday/4th July/b'mitz/FUNERAL! Will happen and the wine will go down and the SPL go up and then POP!

Speakers designed for 'disco' and public address are made for such abuse. Hi fi and monitor speakers are not. Oh, I am sure a pair of $5000 Neumanns would make almost all the noise you want and if pushed to hard, shut down grazefully. Lesser gear, not so likely.

The same reasoning applies to hi fi amplifiers. The technical term is "they are not continuously rated" not at least for operation above their specification and usually in a pretty fetid atmosphere.

Dave.
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby blinddrew » Tue May 26, 2020 8:48 am

Mixer-wise, i'd investigate something like a Zoom L8.
Speaker-wise i suspect a pair of Yamaha DXR8s would do the job more than comfortably but, picking up on Dave's point, what's the furnishing like in that room? The biggest issue is not going to be volume, it's going to be overcoming the mush created by loud music in an acoustically untreated room.
So it might be worth looking at some column speakers instead (also called mini line array speakers). They won't give the same level of output for your buck but it might be a much more useable output.
Microphone-wise, SM58s still cut the mustard, especially where you want to get the vocal clear of the mix, but there are plenty of other options from all the usual reputable companies. Ideally you'd go into a shop and find one that suits your voice, but hey ho...
The key thing is to be really careful about buying SM58s second-hand; there are a lot of fakes out there. Personally I'd stick to a known retailer for them.
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue May 26, 2020 10:51 am

I'd be prepared to stretch the budget a little but not too much. A Zoom L8 will cover mixing and recording duties and a couple of Yamaha DXR10s or 12's will do the rest for £1600 in the UK, I don't know how that translates into US pricing but by the time you've bought a couple of mics plus stands and cables you shouldn't be too much over budget. The only extra you might/will need is a monitor speaker (ideally a third powered cab identical to your main speakers) which would push things a little.

That would add up to a killer system for a large living room IMHO.
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby choony » Wed May 27, 2020 2:05 am

Hey guys, thanks a lot to each of you for the great feedback!

I have embedded a picture of my living room. Does the image give you any better sense of whether I should opt for mini line array speakers, something like the DXRs, or give up on this idea completely? The room is pretty long and the ceilings are ten feet high, but there are a lot of objects for sound to bounce off of.

https:*?*?*/XWg33ZS

So far, based on what you've said, I'm looking at:

-Line array speakers (need two, or only one with these?) or Yamaha DXRs 8, 10, or 12 (are DBRs okay, or is the extra cost of the DXRs worth it?)
-Zoom L8 mixer
-Monitor speaker so I can more easily hear myself sing
-SM58 mics
-Speaker stands
-Cables
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby zenguitar » Wed May 27, 2020 2:46 am

Sorry, you can't upload images here. The forums don't host images. What you have to do is to use one of the online image hosts like Flikr, Imgr, or similar.

Those sites will host your image and offer you a range of tools to share them. This site uses pretty standard Img tags to place images, phpBB which is a standard online tool. The site you use to host should have the option to provide a link to place within those phpBB tags, but some also offer a link that include the phpBB Img tags so you can cut and paste without thinking about it.

There is a key piece of info you haven't provided that could well prove to be really important. You are interested in Karaoke, but few members here have any involvement in Karaoke. That means we aren't familiar with the hardware/software you might be using for your Karaoke. You may be very familiar with that hardware/software, but don't assume that anyone here knows anything about it.

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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby resistorman » Wed May 27, 2020 3:18 am

I just ordered up a Tascam Model 12 which would be a great mixer/ recorder for this.


https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... controller
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby choony » Wed May 27, 2020 3:19 am

Let's try that again:

Original post:
Hey guys, thanks a lot to each of you for the great feedback!

I have embedded a picture of my living room. Does the image give you any better sense of whether I should opt for mini line array speakers, something like the DXRs, or give up on this idea completely? The room is pretty long and the ceilings are ten feet high, but there are a lot of objects for sound to bounce off of.

https://imgur.com/qYpwXI1

So far, based on what you've said, I'm looking at:

-Line array speakers (need two, or only one with these?) or Yamaha DXRs 8, 10, or 12 (are DBRs okay, or is the extra cost of the DXRs worth it?)
-Zoom L8 mixer (and now Tascam Model 12, too!)
-Monitor speaker so I can more easily hear myself sing
-SM58 mics
-Speaker stands
-Cables

Response to Andy re: karaoke-specific stuff:
My background is in software development, so I think I can figure the karaoke-specific things out. The sound stuff is what I'm most worried about. You were right about the learning curve!
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby zenguitar » Wed May 27, 2020 3:37 am

You didn't use a hosting site. You linked to an image, but that link is still in your earlier post and failed. It would appear that you attempted to link to an image directly on your computer rather than using a 3rd party host.

Choose an online image host site. Upload to that site, and then use the tools on that site to create a link you can post here.

Ask yourself.. if you need your hand held to do something as simple as posting an image on a web forum can you handle karaoke software/harware?

Especially as you have conspicuously failed to let us know what karaoke hardware/software you are planning to use.

Seriously. Audio is demanding, video is really demanding, but synchronising audio and video to do karaoke requires some real effort and understanding. If you can't get it working, you need to go to the suppliers of your karaoke hardware/software for support.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby choony » Wed May 27, 2020 3:53 am

That's strange. When I click on the https link in my post, available in the public domain, I am taken to the image hosting site and see a picture of my living room.

In any event, while I would love more feedback, especially with regard to the possible quality of sound (or lack thereof) in my living room, my sense is that Andy is not wild about the presence of this topic on these forums. Fair enough. I do appreciate the help y'all have already provided, though!
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby ef37a » Wed May 27, 2020 8:20 am

Picture works for me Choony,

Now, IIRC Karaoke works by putting a 'hole' in the middle of the backing track? So your voice will be inserted into said hole? In theory then you only need one line source speaker but it will need to be mounted well above you, almost touching the ceiling and angled down to 'hit' the opposite floor wall junction. Probably best not to fire square on into the room but slightly into a corner and aim for the densest population of sofas and people.

If you cannot go for an over the head speaker, use two on stands either side but they will need to be a reasonable distance from the side walls and fed with mono signals of identical amplitude. All this is to combat feed back.

Dave.
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby blinddrew » Wed May 27, 2020 11:25 am

The other thing to bear in mind is that you've got very little in the way of soft furnishings in that room so it is going to get very boomy, very quickly. People will provide a bit of absoption but you'll probably have to look at rolling the bass off with the EQ on the mixer otherwise you could easily find yourself drowning in a sea of low-mid-range mud.
I'd definitely be thinking about a mini line-array personally and accept the trade off of clarity over volume.
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Re: Ideal gear for home karaoke/recording setup

Postby choony » Wed May 27, 2020 4:44 pm

Thanks guys.

It sounds like a line array would be a good choice from a sound/visual aesthetic standpoint. I'm slightly concerned about the relative lack of power, but am hoping it won't be too bad in a small space with little background noise. This site has a good review of the JBL Eon One, and I've read good things about the Bose L1, too. The JBL is heavier on the bass end, which I like since I would be focused on singing rock/metal. It sounds like that could be a "muddy" problem in my room, though.

My plan is to mix audio from a karaoke track app like Karafun (only backing track) in with my vocals for recording/sending to speakers.
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