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Karaoke players and discs - information on different formats, plus a UK buyer's guide

CD+G Karaoke DVD Players at Amazon

- Choose from a range of Karaoke players by Roadstar, Goodmans and other manufacturers, that play CD+G karaoke disks and some other formats.

Karaoke - Discs and Formats

Understanding the different formats of karaoke discs can be a bit daunting when you first start to get interested in the world of karaoke and having your own system at home. In this article, I will explain the different formats of karaoke discs and what equipment you need to both play and produce back up copies of them.

CD+G (CDG, CD+Graphics)

Plextor PX-755ACD+G is the standard format of karaoke disks made by popular manufacturers such as Sunfly, Easy Karaoke, Zoom Entertainments and others. A cd+g disk is like a normal audio cd, except that it has the additional "g" or graphics containing the words to the song. The "g" is carried on a subchannel that can only be recognised by a player that is compatible with the cd+g format, otherwise it will just play (or copy) like a normal audio cd. In order to make a back up of a cd+g disk, or indeed play a cd+g disc as a karaoke disc on your computer, you need hardware that is cd+g compatible, such as cd and dvd writers made by Plextor, and proprietary cd+g playing / burning software such as Power CD+G Burner.

What are the other formats?

The other karaoke formats include:

  • CDGM - also known as CDG Multiplex, these disks carry song versions both with and without the lead vocal for the purposes of learning the song. If your player has a multiplex button (MPX) or balance control, the lead vocals can be muted as required. If not, you can just play the other track that does not have vocals on it.
  • VCD - A video CD. These discs have a moving video as a background with the words to the song appearing across the bottom of the screen. They usually have the lead vocal removed.
  • DVD - This format is likely to increase in popularity in the future as it has the capacity to store many songs, videos and may different versions of songs.
  • Super CDG - This is a compressed format developed by CAVS which allows over a thousand tracks to be stored on one cd. You will need a Super CDG player to play these disks.
  • NEO CD+G - Another proprietary compressed format, this time developed by RSQ, which allows about 70 songs on one disk. You will need an RSQ NEO compatible player in order to play these disks.
  • MP3+G - This is the format you get if you "rip" karaoke tracks from a cd+g disk, in the same way as you get MP3 files when you rip audio tracks from a standard audio disc. MP3+G actually consists of two files - a standard MP3 which contains the audio file, and a CDG file which contains the graphic file. These two files are often zipped together as a pair - but they need to be unzipped before they can be played.
  • MIDI - Midi files are standard formats used by computers. They do not contain sounds themselves, but store information on which instrument(s) are to be played, what note is being played etc to tell the computer which sounds to play. Midi files that also have lyrics attached have the extension .kar. These files can be played on the computer in free software such as VanBasco's Karaoke Player.

Other FAQ's

  • Can I change the key the song is in?
    Yes - most karaoke players have a digital key change function which will allow you to sing the song in the key of your choice. Steer clear of players that can only change pitch by speeding up or slowing down the song - digital key changers leave the tempo of the song unchanged.
  • Do karaoke discs have any vocals on them?
    Yes - if the original song had backing vocals on it, then the karaoke disc will replicate the backing vocals also. These cannot be removed.
Karaoke Island
- Over 5000 mp3 backing tracks plus thousands of midi tracks. Songs and demos can be downloaded instantly.
East Midlands
- Extensive selection of equipment and discs including the new RSQ NEO E500.
Song Galaxy
Backing tracks, including both midi and audio files, together with music software. The audio backing tracks are played by real musicians and are professionally recorded.