Gifts for a teenager: How to choose a karaoke machine.

Karaoke machines are considered as great gifts for teenagers in regard to their use. They are usually a hit with those youngsters and adults as well. Who can resist hours of fun belting out? ( I know for a fact that my sisters; in their mid 30s, and our kids can’t.) Singing out in the open just add a flavor to life.

Below is a simple way of identifying which karaoke machine will suit your teenager best. However, we will firstly learn a bit about the karaoke machines.

What is a karaoke machine?

Karaoke 2

A karaoke machine is a machine which can play instrumentals (with backing vocals) and lyrics which you can follow along using a screen. Some machines have built-in screen while most of the others, you have to connect with a TV to see the lyrics.

What is a Karaoke machine used for?

A karaoke machine is mostly used for entertainment. It can be used for parties or get togethers. It can also be use for fun with family members or friends.

To your teen, it will be a great asset in birthday parties or a sleep over. For sure, everyone will be entertained when there is a live singer and live audience to cheer on. It will make a big difference to the usual singing in the shower. Karaoke machine is great for amateurs.

What are the types of karaoke machine?

There are different types of karaoke machines out there, according to their use. These are:

  • For professional use
  • For home use
  • For kids

What type of machine are you looking for?

  • A machine that can be home used.
  • One that can be used in a room for a small gathering.
  • An all-in one. That is one having built-in components such as speakers and player.
  • Easy to use. One that does not need you to sit down endlessly with a manual before the fun can actually began.

How do I choose a singing machine for a teenager?

Things to consider:Karaoke girl

  • Quality sound
  • Sources of music
  • Ease of use
  • Screen display
  • Vocal leveling and enhancement

Look for a machine with:

  • Decent quality sound. That is one with built-in speakers or audio output that allows you to connect to your home stereo.
  • Display screen. That is one with an in-built display screen or, that you can connect to TV, computer or tablet.
  • Various ways to play music. That is one that can play traditional CD+G discs and karaoke DVDs. One that can also give you digital options such as MP3+G files, karaoke cloud which allow you access to online library via computer, smartphone, tablet or other apps.
  • Quality components. Microphone, mixer, speakers, amplifier, player, monitor, music.


  • Look for karaoke machines with built-in screen that can also be connected to a TV for larger display ( for the benefits of all the children).
  • The microphone is the most important part. It needs to be of high quality to get good results. Instead of buying an expensive karaoke machine, you can buy one at a lower cost and then buy a high-quality microphone at a low cost.
  • There are karaoke machines with headphones input. It is paramount if you want to have peace in the house. It will be good for when the teens are practicing. However, very few has headphone input.
  • Most are powered by electricity but kid’s machine can be battery powered or has either options.
  • Some machine has USB port and some doesn’t.

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In order for you to understand a singing machine better, I will talk about one that is popular with teenagers.

SML385BTBK from Singing Machine

  • This is a top loading karaoke CD player: It comes with a free demo karaoke CD. It can play karaoke CDs in CD+G format and even regular music CD.(Not included; needs to be purchased).
  • One of its outstanding features is that it has light effects: It has 54 LED lights which flash and change colors. It can be dimmed using the disco light switch thus making it a good party mood enhancer. The lights adjust automatically as you sing softly or wildly.
  • It has a built-in speaker: Speaker has a 3.5watts power output which is OK for a small room or small gathering.
  • Has 2 microphone jacks with their own volume and echo control. (This gives better voice output as you can adjust to your liking).
  • To enhance your voice output, there is an echo knob which allows you to give your voice a concert like effect.
  • To manually mute a singer’s prerecorded vocals by reducing or muting it all the way, you can make use of the “Balance ” feature.
  • Automatically, this can be done via the “Auto Voice Control” once you start singing into the mic.
  • It has a 2-digit LED display which let you know your song track.
  • It has Line-in to connect to other audio devices ( sold separately).
  • This machine is easy to connect with devices, for example Android phones, iPhone, tablets or laptops by using Bluetooth. This allows you to stream your music easily with both your voice and the song coming through the speaker.

NB:This model comes in 2 colors. White and black.( The white version may be more attractive to teenage girls.) In this model, some machine has USB connectivity which allows you to record your performance or to play your saved song. They are differentiated as Black USB, Black non-USB, White USB and White non-USB.

Items included upon purchasing

  • One wired microphone
  • Demo karaoke CD
  • Five songs for free (Downloadable from manufacturer’s website)
  • Instruction manual ( It is straight forward. Easy for any beginner to learn how to utilize the machine and optimize it for home use.)
  • AC adapter
  • RCA cables


  • Price is very low for an all-in-one karaoke system.
  • From your smartphone or tablet you can use YouTube or other karaoke apps to get more karaoke songs (Done by pairing with Bluetooth).
  • You can purchase another microphone for the other available jack. (Useful when doing duets). You can purchase a high quality microphone.
  • You can use the mic by itself, that is without the music playing.( This model has an independent volume control for micro). Although it does not have an in-built wireless microphone capability, you can connect a wireless mic receiver to the mic jack and go wireless. Works well as a PA system for a small gathering.
  • Allows you to sing with your own capacity.


  • Does not have a built-in microphone capability.Mic 2
  • The present microphone is of low quality.
  • Does not have a built-in equalizer. To make adjustment, you can do it on the device where you are streaming the music.
  • You cannot turn off the disco light.
  • Missing other features such as built-in recorder, voice changer and radio tuner (can be found in those with premium prices).
  • Some customers complained about the machine being broken after a couple of months (especially those with smaller kids.)

Setting up

Setting up is fairly easy.

  • Use an RCA cable to connect it to your TV. (provided)
  • Thus the lyrics from the karaoke CD will show up on the big screen.
  • This will output the sound to your home theater as well.
  • If tablet or smartphone is connected to the karaoke system, the lyrics won’t show up on your TV. You will have to read your lyrics on your device screen.


  • It doesn’t take up much space ( can be placed on a table)
  • 11.1 x 10.9 x 16 inches (L x W x H)
  • Lightweight (approximately 7lbs)


In order to really make a great choice on which karaoke machine to give your teenage daughter, son, niece, nephew or any teenager, it is of great importance to know what you are buying. Another important factor is to find out other people experience with your chosen product.

I chose this karaoke model and mark purely because of its popularity with teenagers, it has a reasonable price for its capacity and it does not have a large footprint.

Everybody’s experience is different and most of the time the best choice you can make is to experience it yourself. In the end if the teenager you have in mind is not thrilled with this gift, I am sure there will be family members who will be fond of it.

Always remember that being a teenager is a phase. You just need to keep testing until you tap in to the most effective way that you can reach out to them.

My advice is for you not to complicate your life. Make use of a karaoke machine which is as simple as the SML-385, especially if it’s your first experience with such product.

However, if you are looking for something a bit more sophisticated, I suggest that you search for a karaoke with premium prices.

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