With these programs you can sing karaoke on your PC – also for free! We give tips on software downloads and show online alternatives.
You have invited friends and don’t feel like playing a board game? Try it with Karaoke. Singing to instrumental playbacks was invented in Japan in the early 1970s and has become popular in this country at least since Sony’s PlayStation game Singstar. You don’t need a game console or special equipment, your PC and our tips and tools are all you need.
Karaoke on the computer: what you need
Before we get to the karaoke software, however, a quick look at the hardware: to sing karaoke at home, you need a computer or notebook with a sound card and speakers. If you want it to sound better, connect the computer to an amplifier and good speakers.
You will also need a microphone. With the notebook you can use the built-in one, but it sounds anything but good. You connect the microphone either via the jack plug or via USB. There are different models; prices start at around ten euros.
Tip: A good mic for karaoke on the computer is for example the Capo Desk& Hand Microphone from Speedlink, price about 12 Euro.
If several players are to sing at the same time, you need an adapter to connect several mics. These are available for a few dollars.
Once everything is connected and ready to work, you only need a karaoke program. We present these tools and the online alternatives below:
1. KaraFun Player: Music by subscription
The KaraFun Player is intuitive to use after the download, you can start singing right away. Over 20.000 songs are integrated, from Helene Fischer and Robbie Williams to Frank Sinatra, the Doctors, Karel Gott and Depeche Mode.
To be able to warble these in full length, you must register and take out a subscription. For 4,99 Euro you get two days access – enough for a party. There’s also a subscription for 7.99 euros a month with unlimited access. You can also access the songs via Android and iPhone apps or access them via the browser. KaraFun handles the most common audio and video formats: typical for karaoke songs are KAR or MIDI files.
You create playlists and search by specific criteria, such as songs in a language, ballads or duets, and genres and artists. You get to adjust the pitch and tempo of each song, and you can record your singing. You also control lead voice and background vocals individually.
The special split window function is practical for a party: you can use it to transmit the video with the karaoke hit to a TV or beamer. KaraFun looks more modern than other tools, it doesn’t overwhelm the user with too many setting options. Further advantage: It is German-language.
2. Karaoke 5: Sing-along player with a few free songs
The free Karaoke 5 looks quite antiquated, but offers a lot of possibilities. At the beginning the English tool seems quite confusing, which is also due to some not self-explanatory control icons.
After downloading, you will find a handful of songs in full length. You can start singing right away. If these are not enough for you, you can use the search function to find royalty-free tracks on the Internet that you can play with the tool. You play them individually or create playlists.
The program supports various audio formats, such as KAR, but also MP3 and WMA. In terms of video formats, Karaoke 5 can handle MP4, AVI or FLV, for example. There are also two free versions of the tool for 33 resp. 155 Euro per year with additional functions. Integrated is then, for example, a metronome, and you call the karaoke window also on the TV.
3. KaraokeMedia Home: easy-to-use karaoke machine
KaraokeMedia Home differs from other karaoke tools by its appealing visual design: It reminds of iTunes, is very clear and easy to use.
Disadvantage: The tool is English-speaking, but actually comes from Spain. Sometimes the developers seem to have forgotten the translation, for example in confirmation windows.
Adjust the sound via equalizer, get cheered or booed by an imaginary audience depending on your vocal performance and create playlists. There are no songs to test at the beginning, but you can access your own karaoke songs. If you register for free, you have access to 40 songs.
KaraokeMedia Home offers songs for download on its website, price: one Euro per song. Alternative: you sign up for a subscription with the provider. For ten euros per month you have access to the database with 12.000 songs. By clicking on the record button you can record your singing – if desired also as a video. You can share this on Facebook if you dare?
4. KaraokeKanta: with songs from Abba and more
The tool KaraokeKanta is confusing at first sight. It is difficult to find the button to insert songs (a small folder icon in the lower third). However, it is practical that you can download a song package at the same time as downloading the tool, consisting of 15 songs, from Abba to Cranberries. The sound takes some getting used to, because – as is often the case with karaoke – it is a matter of replayed versions.
But don’t worry: you will still recognize the melodies. They sing directly, record your singing and change tone and tempo on request. You do not have many more options. In the test version you can only sing to songs. If you want to have the songs in full length, you have to buy the program for about 90 euros.
5. Karaoke Sing-n-Burn: record vocal performances
With Karaoke Sing-n-Burn you not only warble the songs to instrumental playback, but you also record and burn your results. You adjust the tempo and volume in the individual tracks or add an echo. If you want, you can convert the final result and get a WAV file instead of a MIDI file. You can then save them to a CD using the integrated burn function.
Handy: A wizard guides you through the setup of the English-language program after installation. Then open a track, record your vocals – done. The tool looks a bit old-fashioned. To test it for 14 days, you have to register for free. To continue, you buy it for 38 US dollars.
6. Siglos Karaoke Player/Recorder: Re-record CD tracks yourself
You can test the Siglos Karaoke Player/Recorder without any restrictions, but it only plays the first two minutes of a song. If you want more, you must buy the English-language program for 50 US dollars. Practical: You can search for new songs online using the search function; this works best here. To do this, go to Tools in the menu bar and select Search for karaoke on the Internet.
You load the songs on the hard disk and open them via file and open. You create your own playlists with the player and record your singing.
Visually, Siglos looks rather antiquated, but the tool brings another special feature: You can open karaoke songs from YouTube in the program – and sing along directly. In addition, the English-language tool opens songs directly from CDs and plays them, but then without text preset. You can still sing along and record the result.
Annoying: In the unregistered version, constant pop-up windows with a purchase request are irritating.
7. Ultrastar Deluxe: Open Source
The special feature of Ultrastar Deluxe: The karaoke game is an open-source tool. This means that it is further developed by a community. That’s why the program is also free, but you have to search for the songs to sing yourself. Visually, Ultrastar Deluxe is very reminiscent of the role model Singstar. The same goes for the features: Ultrastar is one of the very few karaoke programs where you can warble with several players at the same time. The more accurately you hit the note, the more points you get.
Another plus: you create your own karaoke songs with the German-language program. Disadvantage: The installation of the tool does not always work smoothly, especially under Windows 10 there are sometimes problems. But the community is here to help.
8. Karaoke without downloads
You don’t necessarily have to install a program for karaoke – the warbling of songs is also possible via online portals. These are communities where you can publish your singing directly and have others rate and comment on it. The portals are now all English-language, the German karaoke platform Mikestar is offline since the end of 2011.
With SingSnap.com you have to register for free and configure the microphone and camera: Then you have access to some free songs. But you have to fish them out first. To do this, click on Sing& Record and either search for an artist or browse through the genres. With Bob Dylan, for example, there are some freely available songs. If you want, record yourself singing directly with the webcam. On the left side of the browser window runs the text, on the right you see yourself. You then share the results on the site – and also see there how the other members sang.
If you want to have access to all the songs, you have to sign up for a Gold membership, the price of which depends on how long you have it for. For one week you pay five US dollars, for one year 96 US dollars. However, you will search in vain for German songs in the portal.