How Do Karaoke Machines Work? – Practical Guide

Karaoke is an exciting and popular pastime, not only for the people performing their favorite tracks but also an enjoyable experience for friends & family.

Karaoke has been around since the 70's and believe it or not there are still many people who don't have a clue as to how it works! 

So How Do Karaoke Machines Work?

It is not as complicated as you may think. All you need is a karaoke machine, a screen to display lyrics and a mic or two.

Many karaoke machines come complete with everything you need to get your party up and running in less than 10 minutes.

This is a good option if you are a complete beginner or not very tech savvy.

If however you would prefer to have a more enhanced system with separate components to create your own karaoke set-up, then it is worth noting that this can be a bit more complicated.

It does give you the advantage of choosing exactly the equipment and features that you prefer.

If you are still wondering how do karaoke machines work, we suggest that you...

Keep it Simple

  • Microphone
  • Karaoke Machine
  • Tv Screen

Firstly you need to connect your karaoke machine to a screen. An RCA cable usually has 3 wires which you connect from your machine to the corresponding colors on your TV.

You can usually find these at the side or back of your TV screen. Next you have to connect the mic to the karaoke machine, switch on the TV and use the source button to select the correct settings for your lyric display.

It is always important to check your user manual as karaoke machines vary in cable types, connections & colors.

If you find that you do not have the correct connection cable you can always find a cheap RCA cable online that can do the job perfectly.

Music Software

This is totally dependent on the karaoke model you purchase. Some systems have CD/CDG input allowing you to use your own CD's that are compatible with your set-up to hear audio and see lyrics displayed on the screen. Other machines have a USB port to play songs and display the lyrics.

More modern karaoke systems generally allow you to connect to devices such as laptop, mobile or tablet to play your favorite tracks. 

These type of systems have an Aux in port which allows you to connect an Aux cable from your chosen device to the machine.

How do karaoke machines work with software?

You then have the option of using different types of software e.g. Youtube or Apps on your own device to project onto the screen through the machine.

When choosing a karaoke machine you need to check how it installs the song software.

  • Tablet
  • Smartphone
  • CD's etc.

For beginner Karaoke Kooks keeping things simple may be the best way to go until you decide you need to upgrade for a better karaoke experience.

DIY Set-Up

Although a little more confusing and slightly more difficult to set-up you won't be disappointed with the end result.

How do karaoke machines work using the following equipment:

  • Speakers
  • Mics
  • Mixer
  • Screen & Cables
  • Song Software


Wired speakers are usually the most economical option if you are on a tight budget, whereas wireless speakers give you better choices for positioning & placement.

Another popular option is a speaker-mixer combination as this can be a cheaper method than purchasing the equipment separately.

However with these combos you may find the quality of the speaker audio is not as good.


Connect 1 & have fun, Connect 2 & duet the night away, Connect 3 & everyone can join in the karaoke fun.

Once again it all depends on the set-up you opt for but generally 2 mics would be sufficient for a great karaoke party night.

Most mixers today are only compatible with 2 mics so if you need more than that then upgrades will definitely be more expensive.

Wired or Wireless Microphones?

If you are on a limited budget then wired would be your best choice. 

Wireless mics are generally the preferred option for budding karaoke stars as they have the freedom to move around singing and dancing without the worry of tripping up in a confined space. 

Always remember to check the compatibility of the mic/s with the mixer as some wireless mics connect via Bluetooth & others use WiFi. 


There is plenty of choice in mixers available online, either wired or wireless that are compatible with speakers, music software & different microphones.

It is always important to check which mixer is best suited to the equipment you have for the best audio.

Screen & Cables 

Connecting to your TV screen or monitor is easy by simply using the cables provided with your karaoke machine. If cables are not included with your purchase you can easily find Aux & RCA cables online. 

Song Software

Compatibility is ultra important. You need to ensure your software that is connected to the mixer and screen works with both.

If the mixer has wireless connection you can use Bluetooth or WiFi or alternatively does it need a wired connection?

In some cases the sound software can double as a screen e.g. when using Youtube for music audio, you can also display on laptop, smartphone or tablet. This gives you sound & the video with lyrics.

Song Software Options

How do karaoke machines work with these popular apps? We suggest you take time to check them out.

Connecting Your DIY System

Connect Wired Mic to Mixer - Use XLR cable - XLR channel input mixer.

Connect Wireless Mix - Via Bluetooth or WiFi.

Connect Speaker to Mixer - Usually wireless or use XLR cables.

Connect Mixer to Audio & Video Device (Wired) - Use RCA or USB connection. 

Connect Mixer to Audio & Video Device (Wireless) - Use Bluetooth or other connection. 

Connect Audio/Video Device to Tv - Use HDMI cable or Wireless connection if available. 

Hopefully you will have gained a little more knowledge in answer to the question how do karaoke machines work?

Rather than overwhelm you with technical jargon we have chosen easier methods for you to consider when purchasing a karaoke system.

Once you have mastered the less expensive karaoke set-ups and you are wanting a better karaoke experience, you can then upgrade to more sophisticated machines that offer more exciting features for more karaoke fun.

There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.