When it comes to karaoke, one of the key elements is the microphone, and when you start comparing them, it's as easy as deciphering hieroglyphics from a clay wall. They all look the same, and each one can produce sound.
Over the years, we have sold, built, and installed AV technology in hundreds of restaurants, learning what works and what doesn't. The microphones mentioned in this article are not the only options, but they are the ones we sold ourselves and found to be effective.
A microphone for karaoke use is a rotating baton subject to exceptionally rough handling. It must withstand drops, saliva, and all other forms of rough treatment for as long as possible. Generally, equipment acquired for professional use is a tool to make money, and therefore, it's worth investing in. It's essential to consider how a broken microphone could impact the evening's sales if customers decide to showcase their talents in a neighboring bar.
Microphones can be categorized into wired and wireless, each with its pros and cons.
Wireless microphones 🎤
In the majority of restaurants, wireless microphones are used for their convenience. This keeps the floor tidy without the hassle of cables that customers could trip over. However, wireless mics operate without wires, introducing potential interference and more prone to breaking parts. Typically, wireless microphone packages come with 2 microphones and a receiver, so when comparing prices, it's good to take this into account.
+ No cables, cleaner environment
+ Easy to move around
+ No breakable connectors
- More settings to possibly "mess up"
- Dependent from the battery
- More expensive
AKG WMS 40 Mini Dual Vocal Beginner-level set, suitable for light use. In this set, channels cannot be changed, so it's not recommended for crowded environments.
Shure BLX288/PG58-H8E Handy combo that includes 2 microphones. This device features an automatic frequency selector, meaning the receiver automatically scans through all channels and selects the least interference-prone one.
Sennheiser 1-825 Dual B Vocal Set Convenient combo that includes 2 microphones. This device features an automatic frequency selector, meaning the receiver automatically scans through all channels and selects the least interference-prone one.
Wired microphones are reliable workhorses and are excellent for a restaurant where the microphone is permanently installed on a stage or the cable is hidden from the customers. Wired mics are more cost-effective in terms of initial investment and are sold individually.
It's worth considering whether the microphone should have an on/off switch or if the karaoke host will handle turning the microphone on and off as needed. Additional switches are potentially breakable components. While the microphones themselves are generally reliable, the XLR cable or connector may break, so it's a good idea to have spares in stock.
+ Reliable and dependable
+ More affordable than wireless
- Requires a cable that one can trip over.
- The distance from the mixer depends on the length of the cable.
AKG D5 Built like a tank, similar to Shure, but the difference between these two microphones is that the AKG has a slightly brighter sound. On the flip side, it has a slightly higher susceptibility to feedback.
Shure SM58 A classic among wired microphones, and according to cautious estimates, it will continue to work for at least 2 weeks after the end of the world. Spare grilles are available for this microphone, making it a truly durable basic mic.
Sennheiser E935 High-quality professional-grade vocal microphone designed for soloists, with excellent sound quality.
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