Exploring Home KTV Solutions

Family prefers karaoke, and there is no need to consider noise issues in the old house. There are also several discarded speaker sound systems. Overall, it seems more cost-effective to set up a karaoke system directly in the old house.

After doing some research for a few days, I found that there is still a lot of complex content.

Minimalist Solution - Karaoke Microphone
Worry-free Solution - All-in-one Karaoke Machine
Tinkering Solution - Power Amplifier, Speaker, (Preamp) Effects Processor, Microphone, Karaoke Machine

Keywords related to audio:
Cables and interfaces, types of speakers, types of microphones, standalone sound cards, HiFi, home theater, echo wall, mixing console

Karaoke Microphone#

This is a very simple solution, which is a microphone with built-in speakers and effects support. It allows you to sing whenever you want.

I found that the most famous devices in this category are produced by Changba, JBL, and Xiaomi, with prices ranging from 250 to 500. The advertised features include built-in microphone, Bluetooth connectivity, headphone monitoring, mobile recording, vocal suppression, and various reverb effects.

This solution is suitable for occasional singing in a small space to avoid disturbing others. It is easy to operate, and I plan to get one to try it out in the future. Initially, I chose Changba, but now I will probably go for JBL.

  • Changba Xiaojudan
    According to the analysis on Zhihu, the G2 upgraded version is the most cost-effective choice. Changba has the most advertisements, but the price is also the highest. In my opinion, there is a significant premium. If you really want to buy it, you can try looking for it on second-hand platforms like Xianhuangyu, where it should be cheaper. Some netizens speculate that Changba also uses OEM factories for these Xianhuangyu versions, so the after-sales service and quality control may not be as good as the official channels.
  • Xiaomi Karaoke Microphone
    There is not much to say about this. It is cheap and the performance is decent. The features are basically the same as other brands.
  • JBL
    The reason I ultimately chose JBL is because it is their main business, so they must have some advantages. Currently, the most affordable option is the KMC600.

One thing that bothers me about karaoke microphones is that they do not support external speakers. I don't know if the headphone monitoring can be used for some tricks. I will try it out when I buy the device.

Another concern is that a microphone with so many integrated features may not have a good feel and the sound may not be immersive. It is more suitable for simple and casual use.

All-in-one Karaoke Machine Solution#

This is also a worry-free solution, similar to the setup in KTV. The effects processor, power amplifier, and karaoke machine may be combined into one unit, providing a more immersive experience. The independent speakers also have higher power output. The main drawback is the higher cost, at least over a thousand. For people who only sing occasionally, the cost-effectiveness is relatively low.

Another issue with all-in-one karaoke machines is the song library. Do you need to subscribe to a separate VIP service? Is the song library up to date? There are many options available on JD, Taobao, PDD, but I haven't seen any outstanding brands so far.

Tinkering Solution#

This solution is similar to assembling the necessary equipment in a KTV. I will try to simplify it, but there are a few essential components:

  • Power Amplifier
    Responsible for driving passive speakers, preferably with Bluetooth, and can also be used for light HiFi purposes.
  • (Preamp) Effects Processor
    Essential for microphone reverb effects, preferably with Bluetooth for connecting to a smartphone.
  • Microphone
    Any wireless microphone around 100 or a wired dynamic microphone around 100 yuan will do.
  • Speaker
    Repurposed speakers from cars or other sources.

There are some all-in-one options available on the market, such as power amplifier and effects processor combos. These devices are not cheap when bought new, and most of them are too professional for home use. Many people go to second-hand platforms to find equipment discarded by closed-down KTVs, but even there, the prices are not cheap, and it is difficult for novices to distinguish between good and bad quality.

So, my final solution is to buy a brand new power amplifier and effects processor, choosing the most basic and affordable options. I already have speakers at home, and I will buy a few random microphones. After all, this is just a hobby, and the difference between a few hundred and a few tens of yuan for microphones is not significant.

Specifically, I will buy the power amplifier and preamp from Taobao's Weiliang Audio. Based on the reviews from other users, they should be better than other unknown brands for my needs. I will buy a wireless microphone for around 100 yuan from JD and consider buying a wired one as well, such as the Shure SV100C or the Shure R21S.

PS: For desktop speakers under 1000 yuan, I recommend Edifier's classic model R1700BT+.


Active Speakers: Active speakers, also known as "powered speakers" or "active monitors," contain built-in amplifiers and speaker drivers. These types of audio devices can be directly connected to audio sources such as music players, TVs, or computers and produce sound.
Since they have built-in amplifiers, they can directly accept low-level audio signals and amplify them to a level sufficient to drive the speaker drivers. Active speakers are generally simpler and more suitable for regular users or small-scale events.

Passive Speakers: Passive speakers, also known as "unpowered speakers," do not have built-in amplifiers. Unlike active speakers, they require external power amplifiers to provide amplification for the audio signals. Typically, passive speakers are just the speaker drivers themselves without any built-in amplifiers.
Therefore, when using passive speakers, users need to amplify the audio signals through external power amplifiers to produce sound. This type of audio system is more commonly used in professional audio applications such as concerts, performances, or recording studios.

Fixed Impedance Speakers: Fixed impedance speakers refer to speaker systems with a fixed impedance value.
Impedance is a measure of the relationship between current and voltage in a circuit and is usually expressed in ohms (Ω). In fixed impedance speakers, the impedance value remains constant within a specific frequency range and does not change with frequency variations. This design of speakers requires lower requirements for power amplifiers as they do not need frequent adjustments to match different impedance levels. They are commonly used in general home speakers.

Constant Voltage Speakers: Constant voltage speakers refer to speaker systems where the sound pressure output is constant within a specific frequency range.
This means that within this frequency range, the speakers will output audio signals with relatively constant sound pressure. In contrast, constant voltage speakers are less dependent on the output impedance of the power amplifiers driving them. Constant voltage speakers are commonly used in professional audio systems, such as public address systems or large-scale concert venues.


Dynamic Microphones:
Principle: Dynamic microphones convert sound into electrical signals by using the movement of a coil in a magnetic field. They consist of a coil connected to a diaphragm or membrane, which moves in response to sound pressure waves. This movement induces an electrical current in the coil, generating an electrical signal.
Characteristics: Dynamic microphones have a simple structure, are durable, and relatively inexpensive. Due to their construction, they generally have good tolerance for high sound pressure levels and are suitable for live performances, speeches, and recording work.
They are inexpensive and have low sensitivity, making them suitable for less quiet environments.

Condenser Microphones:
Principle: Condenser microphones convert sound into electrical signals by using the variation of capacitance. They consist of a vibrating diaphragm and a fixed plate (capacitor plate). The distance between the capacitor plates changes with the movement of the diaphragm, resulting in a change in capacitance and generating an electrical signal.
Characteristics: Condenser microphones are generally more sensitive than dynamic microphones and provide a wider frequency response and dynamic range. They are commonly used in recording studios, broadcasting, record production, and applications that require high fidelity.
They are more expensive, have high sensitivity (e.g., picking up breathing sounds), and require a separate phantom power supply (although some models have built-in battery power).

Regardless of the type, the sound transmission quality is the same. There is no inherent superiority of condenser microphones over dynamic microphones.

Wireless microphones add transmitters and receivers. It is also possible to purchase separate transmitters and receivers to convert wired microphones into wireless ones.

For those with low microphone requirements, the Pure Microphone X2 is worth considering, as it eliminates the need for a power amplifier and effects processor.

Audio Equipment Interfaces#

It is recommended to watch BV1pY411M7A7 for detailed information.

Analog Interfaces:

  • XLR Cannon Interface
    Transmits balanced signals, with a locking mechanism. Commonly used for microphones and sound cards.
  • 6.35mm Interface
    Large three-conductor (TRS) with two black rings dividing it into three sections. Used for sound cards, speakers, and headphone amplifiers. Transmits balanced signals.
    Large two-conductor (TS) with one black ring dividing it into two sections. Transmits unbalanced signals, used for electric guitars, etc.
    Balanced signals transmitted through a large two-conductor interface are usually -6dB in intensity.

Balanced signals are more resistant to interference and are suitable for long-distance transmission.

Digital Interfaces:

  • Ethernet
  • Optical fiber

There is also a commonly used interface: RCA interface, commonly known as the "phono" or "cinch" connector.
The RCA interface usually has a round plug with two different colored connectors, red (right channel) and white (left channel). Sometimes there is also a yellow connector for video signals. They are widely used to connect devices such as power amplifiers, audio receivers, TVs, DVD players, game consoles, etc.
RCA interfaces are commonly used for connecting audio and video devices, especially for low-frequency audio devices.
RCA interfaces are typically used for transmitting analog signals, although they can also be used for transmitting digital signals. They are unbalanced interfaces.

Then there is the highly advanced 3.5mm jack, commonly used in devices such as smartphones and cameras. It is an unbalanced interface.
Further subdivision based on the number of black rings: two-conductor (TS), three-conductor (TRS), four-conductor (TRRS), five-conductor (TRRRS). For example, if there is one ring dividing it into two sections, it is a two-conductor interface.
Generally, three-conductor (TRS) is the most common, used for stereo audio. Four-conductor interfaces have a microphone input and remote control functionality.

It is important to note that regardless of the number of rings, the corresponding female port must be available for normal use. In special cases, with four-conductor interfaces, there are two standards: CTIA and OMTP (sometimes referred to as "national standard" and "American standard"). Mixing them up can result in abnormal behavior (their microphone and ground connections are reversed). For example, if the sound is very low and holding the remote control restores it, a converter is needed.

Input and output cables cannot be mixed. They have different impedance requirements. For example, the commonly seen AUX input port is also a 3.5mm interface. When used as an input interface, it will not work properly if connected to a microphone.

Karaoke Machine#

This part is mainly about the popular karaoke machines used in KTV. To be honest, I don't think the ones for home use are very reliable. You can browse through second-hand platforms like Xianhuangyu, where the price is within 1000 yuan, which is not cheap either. But then I thought, since I won't sing that often, it might be better to rent an account for Quanmin KTV, which can also be found on Xianhuangyu.

The mainstream brands are Shiyi and Leishi, and there are also others like Youguan. If you decide to buy, I recommend Shiyi. Choose one with a preloaded hard drive and a VIP subscription that is not limited to a specific region. It is said that you can download up to 100 songs per day. Avoid older models like D56, D60, D60S, D66, and S69.

If you want to save money, you can DIY your own karaoke machine. There are free karaoke software options available, although the UI may not be as fancy. Adding a touchscreen would be a nice touch.

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