Back to the FAQ of ABK

 


Comparison of the relative advantages and
disadvantages of midi-karaoke and other karaoke media.


There are CDG disks, which professional KJs use. There is a
newsgroup that handles MP3+G files, which usually come from
those disks. It's alt.binaries.sounds.karaoke (similar name,
different topic.) They have their own FAQ, which lists the
kinds of hardware and software that are necessary to create
and use that medium.

What's good about midi-karaoke is that it can be created from
an existing midi file that's free of copyright restrictions
by just about anyone with the correct software -- and that
software is usually freeware. A .kar file is simply a midi
file with the lyrics added as text events. Those lyrics
can be edited later, so mistakes can be corrected.

What's even better is that if you're at all familiar with
midi sequencing and have some musical skills, you can create
your own midi files. With the permission of the original
sequencer, you can modify an existing midi or .kar file,
but by creating your own from scratch, you can create the
melody track with proper synchronization of the lyrics in mind.
In midi, a file consists of several "tracks." Since each
track can be muted or soloed, you can keep the melody track
turned on to learn the song and then mute it later for your
vocal performance.

Now, the quality of those files will vary, depending on the
talent and musical taste of the person who created them,
and the quality of their playback will also vary,
depending on what equipment is used to play them back.

Midi files are simply sets of instructions to the synthesizer;
that's why they are so small. The synthesizer creates the
sound. If you're using a computer's sound card, for example,
the synthesizer built into that sound card, whether it uses
sound fonts or not, and the quality of those sound fonts are
all factors. If you're using a soft synthesizer instead of
sound fonts, then the quality of that soft synthesizer is
important, as is the speed of your computer's microprocessor.
OTOH, if you're using a midi keyboard or external midi module
for playback, the quality of that equipment will affect the
quality of the playback. Midi-karaoke cannot contain backing
vocals, because there is no human voice in midi. What it can
do, which CDG and its derivatives could not do until recently,
is vary tempo and key independently of each other and on-the-fly.

CDG and its derivatives, OTOH, are digitally-recorded sound.
They have the advantages of vocal backing tracks, arrangements
like the original hit records, etc. However, the lyrics in
those files are graphics, just like the visual backgrounds,
and cannot be edited. If there are mistakes in them, you
just have to live with that. CDG disks are compilations that
have several songs on them. If you want just one song in the
compilation, you still have to pay for the whole disk. MP3+G
is an alternative, because each MP3+G is a single song.
However, MP3+G files are large -- so large that they often
are posted in that other newsgroup in multi-part messages.
You need specialized hardware to play or create them.

There are some professional KJs who use both midi-karaoke
and CDG. Those who simply enjoy karaoke without a
professional affiliation usually choose one or the other,
depending on whether they have a creative bent or not.
Both media can be found in various genres of music and a
whole variety of languages.
 

Back to the FAQ of ABK