Nothing says party quite like Karaoke. The iPad is a near perfect accessory for the job. The Retina display makes the iPad excellent for reading lyrics, while the front-facing camera makes it possible to record you and your friends singing along with your favorite songs.
There are a number of great products and apps available to help you turn your iPad into a full-fledged karaoke machine. These options suit a wide range of needs from plugging an existing microphone into your device or even providing the microphone and associated app support entirely. You can even use the on-board mic on an iPad in a pinch, though that probably wouldn’t be as much fun.
Here are some excellent options for anyone searching for a way to turn their iPad into a karaoke machine.
Great for Kids: Disney Spotlight DS61 Karaoke
Kids love karaoke, and if you can turn their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch into a portable karaoke machine, they’re sure to be entertained for hours on end. This was the idea behind the Disney Spotlight DS61 Karaoke microphone and app which is available in either a wired or wireless capacity using Bluetooth.
If your son or daughter is a fan of the Disney channel, they’ll immediately recognize songs in the app and sing along. You can even use the iPad’s front-facing camera to record a music video featuring your kids.
Unless you’re hosting a party of Disney parents, the average adult will probably be unfamiliar with many of the songs in this package, so it might not be the best option for parties consisting mainly of adults. That said, this would be a great addition to any kid’s birthday party, especially if it’s themed with a Disney show in mind.
Bring Your Own Microphone: iRig PRE Microphone Interface
If you have your own high-quality XLR microphone and you’d like to connect it to your iPad for use with karaoke apps, then the iRig PRE Microphone Interface is probably what you’re looking for. This device plugs directly in to the audio port on your iOS device and works with phantom powered or dynamic microphones.
Gain control settings will enable you to fine tune your audio levels to match virtually any ambient noise situation.
The interface isn’t just for karaoke programs. It’s also a popular solution for podcasters doing field recording using the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Just because you’re recording on a mobile device doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the use of your favorite professional microphone.
Great Microphone: IK Multimedia iRig Mic
From the same folks that make the iRig, the IK Multimedia iRig Mic is an excellent choice for users that want a decent external microphone for karaoke without investing in a dedicated karaoke rig.
This mic has three gain settings ranging from quiet as a church mouse to as loud as your aunt who always comes to visit during the holidays.
The microphone itself is made of rugged materials and sounds great. The cable is a bit noisy, however. If you’re going to walk around with it, be sure to avoid having the cable rub or bump the ground as you’re walking. It’s poorly shielded, though audio still sounds rather good in most karaoke situations.
Best Stand-Alone Karaoke App: StarMaker: Karaoke + Auto-Tune
Few karaoke apps out there reward you for good singing. StarMaker makes some of the most popular audio apps for iOS. The Karaoke + Auto-Tune app is perhaps the best solution out there for someone who wants to sing karaoke on their iOS device.
Featuring auto-tune, this app promises to make you a better singer by rewarding you with tokens redeemable for additional songs when you hit the right notes. The auto-tune feature comes in handy when you just don’t have the ear for music… and let’s be honest, not everyone is capable of hitting the high notes on Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You.
This app is fun to use – and it’s free.
One to Avoid: Soulo AM71 Karaoke
Reviews are largely mixed about the Soulo AM71 Karaoke system for iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone. It’s not that it doesn’t work. In fact, there are plenty of satisfied customers that would argue that it’s perhaps the best solution out there. Unfortunately, they aren’t very vocal on Amazon.
Complaints about cheap materials and a small selection make it an easy candidate for a pass in my book.
There are some redeeming qualities about this product, though. The ability to record a music video with a custom background is certainly very appealing. It is one of the few all-inclusive systems that doesn’t hog your iPad’s audio jack.