How to Set Up Karaoke Using a Laptop

It’s actually really easy to set up karaoke using a laptop. So easy in fact, that you can get started in minutes. Which is great news if you’re planning on hosting a karaoke party. But how do you actually do this? What connections and equipment do you need? Keep reading and we will give you two ways of using your laptop to set up karaoke. 

Here are the main steps for setting up karaoke on a laptop.

  • Decide if you’re using a karaoke machine or not
  • If you’re using a machine, connect it to your laptop using an AUX cable, USB or bluetooth.
  • If you’re not using a karaoke machine,then connect your microphone and laptop to a karaoke speaker.
  • Choose an instrumental audio and lyric video source e.g. karaoke apps, YouTube or CDGs. 

Check out these All-in-One Karaoke Microphones on Amazon. They’re the perfect option to pair with a laptop for karaoke so you don’t need to involve any extra equipment. I was really surprised at just how cheap they were. 

Decide on a Karaoke Setup

The first thing you need to do when setting up karaoke using a laptop, is to decide which setup you want to use. For karaoke to work properly, you will need the following equipment. 

  • Microphones
  • A speaker
  • Instrumental audio 
  • A mixer (which combines the sound from the microphone and instrumental audio)
  • A screen to display the lyric video

So there are two methods you can use to do this. 

  1. Using a karaoke machine (easiest)
  2. Without a karaoke machine

The easiest way to do this is to use a karaoke machine. Depending on which karaoke machine you own, it may include a speaker that’s built in, and some microphones and some even include a display screen. But the basic function of the karaoke machine is to act as a mixer. This means that it can take in the sound from the microphones and instrumental audio and play it using a speaker, either one that’s built in or by rigging it up to an external speaker.

But if you don’t have a karaoke machine, then you’ll need a karaoke speaker with a pre-amp/ mixer to perform this function. First, we’ll go through how you can use a laptop for karaoke if you don’t have a karaoke machine. But if you do have a karaoke machine, then that’s great! Skip past the next section to find out how you connect your karaoke machine to your laptop. 

How to Set Up Karaoke on a Laptop

So if we go back to basics, you’ll need a microphone and speaker to be able to use your laptop for karaoke. You’ll need to connect your microphones to the speaker, and then connect the laptop to the speaker as well. 

You can then use your laptop for both the instrumental audio source and screen for the lyric video. The easiest way to do this is by getting YouTube up on your laptop and searching for a karaoke/ instrumental version of the song.  

If you don’t already have a speaker in your home theatre system that allows the connection of both your laptop and microphones, then take a look at our list of the 8 best karaoke speakers, there’s an option for every budget. 

Connecting it all up 

  • Once you’ve got your laptop, speaker and microphone ready, you’ll need to connect it all together.
  • Some speakers pair to the laptop and microphones wirelessly using bluetooth, which is the easiest way.
  • If you’re using a wired connection, then usually you can connect your laptop to the speaker via an AUX or USB cable. 
  • Then you can connect the microphone to the speaker. However, in most cases, the output of the microphone will be too low. In which event, you’ll need a mixer. Some speakers include a mixer (or-pre amp), this will be the easiest way to connect it all without having to purchase a separate pre-amp. Take a look at the best karaoke speakers to find options that include this feature. 

How to Connect a Laptop to a Karaoke Machine

If you’re planning on using your laptop as a display screen for the lyric video and audio instrumental of your karaoke song, then you’ll need to connect it to a laptop screen. 

There are two main ways to do this:

  1. Using bluetooth (wireless)
  2. By connecting them physically (wired) 

1. Using Bluetooth

  • If your karaoke machine and laptop both have bluetooth functionality, then it’s really easy to connect them together.
  • Simply go into the settings of your laptop to make sure it’s discoverable.
  • Then you need to go into your karaoke machine settings to make sure the bluetooth is discoverable and then search for other bluetooth devices on your laptop and karaoke machine. This usually involves pressing a button on each device, but the exact method will depend on the manufacturer and model. 
  • Once paired, you can then use your laptop to play the instrumental audio and video. More on that in the next section. 

2. Wired connection

There are a couple different methods you can use to connect your laptop and karaoke machine depending on the input and output of each device. Here are a few methods you can try.

  • If your karaoke machine and laptop both have an AUX input, then use a 3.5mm AUX cable to connect the two devices.
  • Sometimes you can also use a USB connection. 
  • Some karaoke machines may require a RCA connection, but this cable is usually included with the machine if that’s necessary. It’ll usually only apply if you’re using an all-in-one karaoke machine that has a screen built-in that you want to mirror on a laptop. 
Now the karaoke machine and laptop will be connected and you’re ready to pick an instrumental source. 
Looking for a good karaoke machine? Take a look at our quiz to choose the perfect karaoke machine for you

Which Method is Best?

If you’re not sure whether you should use your laptop to play karaoke with or without a karaoke machine, here are a few things to consider.

  • Using a karaoke machine is the easiest way and requires the least knowledge.
  • You’ll need more equipment if you don’t use a karaoke machine.
  • The DIY karaoke setup will give you more flexibility in terms of the speaker you can use. 

Pick an Instrumental Source

Once your karaoke machine/ DIY setup is connected to your laptop, then you can choose an instrumental source to play the lyric video and audio instrumental. 

There are a few different options you can choose from:

  • CDG/ CDs
  • YouTube
  • Karaoke apps

What about Connecting to a TV?

If you’re happy with your setup, but want a larger screen to display the lyric video, then you can connect your laptop up to your TV. The best way to do this is by using a HDMI cable. This allows the laptop screen to be mirrored by the TV. You’ll be able to control the instrumental source on the laptop, but it’ll also be shown on the TV too. 

karaoke using laptop
HDMI cable

So there you go! That’s exactly how to set up karaoke with a laptop using a karaoke machine or without a karaoke machine. Check out these posts too.

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