Regardless of whether you're doing it for personal or business use, if you're planning on putting together a solid karaoke system, you're going to need great speakers. We've carefully compared the quality and performance of 17 different speaker setups, and we think the Rockville RPG122K's make the best karaoke speakers. They not only offer phenomenal performance at a great price, but they're also purpose-built with karaoke in mind so you don't have to worry about singers' voices blowing out your speakers over time. Article Summary
Karaoke has been one of everyone’s favorite pastime activities ever since the concept first came to light. Nothing beats going out with a bunch of friends and singing your heart out to your favorite songs! Not so long ago, karaoke equipment was pretty much restricted to clubs, restaurants, and businesses due to the high cost of everything necessary to put together a decent karaoke rig. Times have definitely changed in this regard. These days, anyone can set up a great karaoke gig right in their living room, or anywhere else for that matter.
One of the most important aspects of any karaoke setup are the speakers. Finding the best speakers for karaoke will depend on a variety of different factors, such as size and weight, volume and power output, device inputs, and more. Some are fully-integrated PA-style systems that can bang out karaoke without requiring any additional equipment, while others are more-or-less just standalone speakers designed to be used for karaoke purposes.
As former car audiophiles, we know a thing or two about good speakers, so we felt especially qualified to research and compare karaoke speakers. We know exactly what makes a good speaker that won’t distort as the volume gets higher, and most importantly can hold up over hundreds of hours of high-volume playing. When looking for the best karaoke speakers, we also considered each type of user: those who will want fully-integrated systems without the need for additional equipment, and those who are planning a more professional setup and want powerful, high-quality vocal speakers. After comparing 17 different speakers setups, we’ve settled on the following three speakers due to their size, quality, performance, and value.
Tweeter: 1" (horn)
Mid: Dual 3" (cone)
Tweeter: 1" (cone)
Peak: 1,000 watts
Program power: 500 watts
Peak: 250 watts
Peak: 100 watts
The best karaoke speakers overall
At the top-tier of karaoke speakers we have the Rockville RPG122K Powered Speakers. At first glance, these might look like a regular PA system, which they are in a way. However, the functionality and flexibility you get with these Rockville boxes makes them a perfect choice for a more serious karaoke setup. On a similar note, the amount of power you get for your money is simply impressive. That – and several more reasons – is why we think these should be your primary choice if you want the best karaoke speakers.
What we are looking at here are two PA boxes which are packed with 12-inch long throw woofers. These take care of the majority of frequencies. On top of that, there are also 2-inch aluminum coils which enhance the tone and bass response. The very top of the frequency range is the job left to a pair of 25mm piezo compression horn tweeters, one in each speaker. This is an active/passive configuration where one of the speakers is active and powers the other using a cable.
In terms of raw power, you are looking at 1000 Watts peak, 250 Watts RMS and some 500 Watts of program power. For our purposes, RMS power is what we are most interested in. With that in mind, the Rockville RPG122K speakers are more than capable of filling out a smaller venue with enough volume, let alone a house party. Since they are rated for program power, you can use these as your standard PA boxes as well, which increases the overall flexibility.
The active speaker comes with a very functional control interface on the back side. There is a small LCD display used to control the built-in FM tuner as well as other features such as the Bluetooth pairing, equalizer and more. Beneath it, you will see four rows of separated controls. The first two rows are your microphone 1 and microphone 2 clusters. Each features an XLR input, a 1/4 inch TRS input and microphone level controls. Next is your channel select cluster where you can either choose an MP3 or Line input. Lastly, we have the two-band EQ and master volume control. Rockville supports both the USB and SD format, which makes loading songs very easy.
When it comes to their performance, Rockville RPG122K gives you a great balance. The tone is pretty clear with saturation all across the frequency range. There are basically two ways you can use these speakers in terms of karaoke. You can either load the songs directly into the speaker and hook up the microphones to them, or you can connect them to a standard karaoke machine. For a home system, the former is probably going to be a better choice. Rockville RPG122K come with stands as well as microphones and all necessary cables.
For this type of money, the Rockville RPG122K Powered Speakers are the all-around best karaoke speakers you can get at the moment. Not only do they offer great value for your dollar, but their performance and ease of use makes them perfect for any setting personal or professional.
A more professional pair of speakers
After showing what is essentially a multi-purpose system, let’s take a look at something that was specifically built for karaoke applications. VocoPro’s SV-500’s are a pair of three-way speakers which are a result of a pretty long R&D process. VocoPro has spent a considerable amount of time researching what the karaoke market is looking for in terms of speakers, and has used that feedback to design this awesome model. However, it’s important to note that these are just speakers, and they are pricey. In other words, you will need the rest of the karaoke system before you can use them.
The design of SV-500 is a combination of functionality and minimalism. Coming in all black, these boxes feature a horizontal design which makes them a bit more versatile in terms of positioning and placement. As we have stated before, this is a three-way system. What that means is that you get three transducers per each box. Being purpose built for karaoke, all of the transducers in THE SV-500 are calibrated to bring the best tone for vocals. Each speaker comes with a single 10-inch woofer that is fitted with a high-temperature voice coil. Then we have the 3-inch dual cone midrange drivers that bring those mids down pretty effectively. Lastly, each box has a center mounted 1-inch cone tweeter that takes care of the high end of the frequency range. These also come with Kapton voice coils.
Power ratings on THE SV-500 are pretty comfortable for a privately owned karaoke system. You are looking at some 250 Watts of peak power and 120 Watts RMS. It is worth noting that 120 Watts RMS coming from a set of speakers designed specifically for vocals, means much more than having a more powerful general purpose speaker (like the Rockvilles). The frequency range available goes from 20Hz to 25kHz, which means that you get a fairly good low-end response combined with enough headroom in the upper end of the range.
Seeing how the quality of an average karaoke user’s talent varies wildly, there is always a chance that a speaker could end up with some damage. That is mostly the case with general purpose PA systems which are rated for program power. VocoPRo’s SV-500 comes with a series of protective features that prevent any kind of damage that could occur due to unpredictable volume levels. In other words, you don’t have to worry about anything happening to your speakers when you call your friends over, even those whose singing skills are not that great.
The last thing we’d like to mention is that the SV-500 does not come with any additional accessories. By this, we mean that you don’t get any stands, mounting adapters or similar. If you want to install these on your wall, you will have to get the necessary hardware separately.
The reason why we’ve put a purpose-built set of karaoke speakers in the second place instead of first is due to their pretty exclusive nature. You need additional equipment in order to use these, which isn’t the case with our top pick. Our top pick is easier to use and offers a better value for your dollar; however, if you’re looking for solely speakers, there’s really nothing better than the VocoPro SV-500’s.
A great bang for your buck
We chose the ION Audio Tailgater iPA77 as our third choice because it is a fully-integrated system that is easy to use, easily portable, offers a solid performance, and is by far one of the most affordable karaoke speaker systems. On a first glance, the iPA77 looks more like a small guitar amp than anything else. Its design gives off that type of vibe. It comes in a pretty robust cabinet that features protective guards on every corner while the speaker located at the front is covered with a fine mesh.
For such a compact package, having 50 Watts of dynamic power isn’t all that bad at all. Behind the grille, you will find a decent two-way speaker setup that covers a fairly wide frequency range. To be more specific, iPA77 pushes out anything from 77Hz to 20kHz. As you can tell, it doesn’t reach quite as low in terms of bass, but considering its mobile nature, that is something we are more than willing to forgive. The top of the speaker is where you will find your main controls. Other functions that are usually located at the back can be found here as well; the only controls on the back are a power port and an on/off switch.
Going left to right on the control panel, the first thing we run into is the input cluster. You have the 1/8 inch aux input for your mp3 device that is followed by the microphone line in. Now, speaking of the microphones, the iPA77 doesn’t come with an XLR input. In other words, you are pretty much limited to using the type of microphone that gets supplied with the speaker as opposed to an aftermarket mic. On top of that, there is only room for one microphone to be used at any given time, which might be a drawback if you’re looking to have karaoke duets. Next up is the microphone level control knob which is followed by the main control interface. Here we find a fairly large display with several buttons beneath as well as a built-in FM tuner (which is accessed using these controls).
Aside from the radio and the 1/8 inch hardline auxiliary input, you can also connect your devices using Bluetooth. The range available is up to 100 feet from the speaker, which is more than sufficient for most people’s usage. With that said, this model also comes with a USB port which can be used to power your smart devices.There are two available options to power the iPA77. You can either use the power cable, or you can use the built-in battery. The latter will give you some 50 hours of continuous use. Combined with its compact design, this makes the iPA77 a perfect solution for camping, road trips or just good old tailgating.
The only real reason why we’ve put this model in the last place on our list is the fact that most users would rather have something more powerful and versatile. Sure, this is a portable setup and quite easy to use, but it is not that flexible from a more serious karaoke point of view. If you’re not quite looking for a pro setup but instead looking for something more along the personal lines, the ION Audio Tailgater iPA77 is one of the best karaoke speakers for home use and other smaller events.
How we picked our top three
Karaoke speakers have a lot of requirements that need to be met in order to be considered a good choice. They have to give a quality performance in terms of both vocals and volume, they have to be fairly easy to use and transport, and they have to be priced well. Due to the very versatile nature of these systems, there are certain speakers that are suited better for professional use, whereas others that are suited better for personal use. We tried to consider both ends of the spectrum when selecting the best karaoke speakers, focusing on a few key aspects such as those below.
The number of users who own full-fledged karaoke machines, the professional kind, is not that high. These type of configurations are still somewhat too expensive for an average user. When we set out to find the best karaoke speakers, our goal was to put an accent on more integrated models. That is why two out of our three picks (Rockville and ION) can serve as plug-and-play karaoke rigs if necessary. With that said, we have also included one pretty capable speaker (VocoPro) for users who are looking for purpose-built karaoke speakers.
Size plays a major role when selecting karaoke speakers – at least, for those who plan on setting up their karaoke rig in their house. Clubs and other venues can deal with larger speakers way more easily. During our research phase, we’ve run into a couple of great speakers which were just too big. Setting them up in a home living room would take way to much space, which in turn increases the risk of someone bumping into them, knocking them over, and damaging them. That is why we have selected three speakers which are not too big, but not too small either.
Our criteria for power followed the same line of reasoning as the size issue. If we were to pick speakers which were too powerful, their practical value would simply be worthless to an average home user. What’s the point of buying speakers that you can only turn up to 25% volume? On the other hand, we definitely wanted something that could move some air. The power range of our selected models is between 50 Watts and 250 Watts RMS. That is more than enough power for home use and professional use at venues. Don’t expect these to fill out a stadium, but any moderately sized area should be fine.
An average general-purpose speaker was designed to play mastered audio (professionally recorded songs that most often feature flat volume levels). With karaoke, the only thing that is mastered is the backing track. Raw voice input can vary widely in volume, which is why standard PA boxes are not recommended for this purpose. The main risk here is the high chance of damaging the transducers in an average PA box, which haven’t been rated to deal with such volatile volume levels. That is why we’ve speaker models that are specifically built with karaoke in mind – to avoid unpredictable damage.
Since we chose our models with an average home/semi-professional user in mind, the price was one of the main factors in our selection process. We wanted to find a good balance of performance and cost that would allow those with a limited budget to find a solution for their needs. Going with the more expensive speakers would alienate a good portion of our target audience while going too cheap would bring the performance of our picks to question. We feel that we have found three models which ride that fine line quite well.
Things to consider before buying
As we’ve mentioned above, karaoke speakers range in purpose from fully-integrated plug-and-play style systems to standalone speakers that require a lot of additional equipment. In that same vein, usage varies from basic home karaoke setups to full-blown professional builds. With all this variation in mind, there are some things to consider to ensure you choose the best karaoke speakers for your personal usage.
How much power do you really need?
For home use and professional use alike, finding a decent power level is important. With home use in mind, you definitely don’t want to get a weak pair of speakers, but you don’t want ones which are too powerful either. With larger venues planned, the sky is pretty much the limit in terms of what you choose, but of course it’s important not to go over the top (there’s a point where you’ll just be blowing money without actually using the extra power you’re buying). The best way to figure out your ideal power level is to measure the room you plan on using for karaoke nights and consulting audio technicians about the power rating necessary for that amount of space. You can also check out this guide from Audio Gurus for a rough estimate, but it’s more geared towards home audio than karaoke.
Are you looking for any specific functions or features?
Most modern karaoke speakers, at least the integrated ones, come with an abundance of features. In most cases, these features can have a pretty big impact on the price of the set. It would be highly recommended that you sit down and go through the features you need (USB inputs, song storage, etc.). Narrowing this list down can save you some money which might be better used for something else. The speakers we have selected come with a fairly balanced array of features. They offer everything that is necessary, but not much more than that if you’re looking for something unique.
If you already have microphones or insist on using a specific kind, you will have to make sure that your karaoke speaker of choice supports your specific model. Most speakers you can hook up a microphone to will come with XLR and TRS inputs for this purpose. These two are the most prolific standards in the audio industry. However, some speakers will come with different inputs, which you definitely want to pay attention to. For the most part, you shouldn’t really have too much trouble finding an XLR-compatible speaker.
Wrapping it up
Finding the best karaoke speakers requires quite a bit of thought and planning, but it will all be worth it the moment you use your setup for the first time. The most important thing to remember is to get speakers which were designed for karaoke. Finding a cheap, used PA system might be attractive, but you are risking damage to both that equipment and the user if you decide to go this way. The speakers we’ve settled on are purpose-built solutions that are sure to provide a great karaoke experience, whether you’re looking for a standalone speaker or an all-in-one configuration. But be warned – your phone may start to see rising activity levels with all your friends bugging you for karaoke nights!