The Karaoke Party Box is an inexpensive way to sing your heart out, but you'll need a laptop or living-room PC to make the most of it.
Karaoke is great fun, but not everyone is brave enough to sing in public, and even if you have a proper karaoke bar nearby, an evening out at one can be very expensive.
Thankfully, you can indulge your love of karaoke at home instead with the Karaoke Party Box from karaoke specialists Lucky Voice.
The kit consists of a pink microphone and a mixer, to which you connect a pair of speakers and your computer. It includes all the necessary cables, and there’s a socket for a second microphone, which costs an extra £20. Knobs allow you to control the volume of your music, the volume of each microphone and the amount of echo, although getting the right balance between these takes a little experimentation.
Rather than storing music on your computer, you stream the tracks from the Lucky Voice website, so you’ll need a reasonably fast internet connection (see our Labs on page 66 if you’re thinking of upgrading your broadband). Once you’ve created an account, you can use the website’s interface to search for songs by keyword, organise them into playlists and control music playback. The stylish and minimal interface can be slightly baffling at first, but you soon get used to it. A key way of discovering new music is to share playlists with other Lucky Voice users.
There are 6,000 tracks available, including all the familiar karaoke classics, such as the Bee Gees and Gloria Gaynor. You have unlimited access to this for 30 days, after which you’re restricted to a smaller 1,000-song selection. Further access to the full selection costs £4 for 24 hours or £8 a month. These ongoing costs may seem a little steep, but it’s still far cheaper than renting a room in a karaoke bar.
If you own a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, you might be better off buying a karaoke game such as SingStar or Lips, respectively. Both have a far more limited selection of songs, and you have to buy extra tracks individually, but they are recorded by the original artists, and the games rate your performance and provide competitive multiplayer games. A games console may also be preferable if you don’t have a laptop, or a media centre PC in your living room. Still, the Party Box provides a far more authentic karaoke experience, with its huge number of songs and karaoke-style cover tracks.
We had great fun singing along to our favourite cheesy tunes with the Karaoke Party Box. It may be expensive in the long run, but for occasional crooners it provides an incredible variety of tracks for you to accompany.