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How do I choose a media type?

What is the difference between a karaoke disc and a non-karaoke disc?

Karaoke media contain graphics files which will show lyrics onscreen. Whether MP4, CDG, or DVD karaoke format, the ability to display graphics when connected to a TV or other screen is what sets karaoke media apart from ordinary CDs, DVDs, or MP3s.

Will my CD, DVD, or MP3 collection play in a karaoke machine?

The short answer is: Yes, but without the lyrics display. CDs will play on a CDG machine or in a DVD player. DVDs will play only in a DVD machine or player. MP3s will play on all Emerson karaoke machines.

To use non-karaoke disks for karaoke, you can experiment with the following to see what works:

  1. Download lyrics from the web or obtain sheet music for song selections.
  2. If you have a stereo system and can lower the vocal track on one speaker, you may be able to substitute in as the singer.
  3. If you have a microphone, mixer, and amplifier (i.e., the elements of a karaoke machine), the microphone and mixer will integrate your voice with the audible instrumental music, and you should hear the result coming out of your amplification system (amplifier, TV, stereo).

Is one type of media preferable to another?

You will want to consider the types of media which have a good selection of the type of music you or your gift recipient prefers.

CDG is the most common type of karaoke disk, and has an excellent repertoire in country and other popular genres. The CDG machine will also play CDGM, and you will find that the Children's Series of Forever Hits on this site has a wide selection of children's music which can not only teach songs but also can teach reading and the English Language through children's songs.

DVDs often are copies of CDG discs. DVDs are not yet widely used, but have video capability beyond lyrics display which some machines utilize.

MP4 Lyric Players may appeal to individuals who rely on music downloads from the web. These files address the need to be current on whatever is the user's preferred music type or style.

DivX media address the need to keep disc changes to a minimum. However, one is limited to the music selection, although large, on such discs.

Multiformat karaoke machines allow anyone who wishes more than one type of capability to use one machine for different types of media.

What should I know about the media types on this site?

CDG: CDG (CD+G, CD+Graphics), is the most common karaoke format. It usually has a disc with songs described as "made famous by," giving the name of the artist. However, due to copyright issues, the famous artists' renditions are not contained on the discs. CDG discs do not actually contain any lead vocals, but simply a melody line which is subdued, plus an instrumental recording. These discs will play on a DVD or CD player, but the lyrics will not be available.

CDGM: CDGM (Multiplex, CD+G Multiplex) is a type CDG with the lead vocal recorded on a separate track. CDGM discs will play on a CDG karaoke machine. While the vocal track takes extra room on the disc, so that the number of songs on the disc is decreased, the multiplex track is convenient when one is unsure of the lyrics, timing, or tune, and wants to hear the vocalist. On an ordinary CD which player does not have an automatic vocal cancel function to turn the vocal track down, you simply select the multiplex track or the instrumental track. CDGM format is used in the Forever Hits Children's Series, for its ease of use when children need the vocals to learn the songs as well as learn to read the lyrics, and then wish to sing (and read) without the vocals.

CDG+PC: A CDG+PC disc may be played both on your CDG karaoke machine and your personal computer CD drive. Not all CDG discs are playable in a computer. However, certain brands of CD-ROM drives are more likely to be able to read CDG discs including lyrics. Some Plextor and Sony drives read "sub-channel" (lyrics) data. Software applications which facilitate this are Power CD+G Player Pro and WinCDG Pro.

DVD: DVD format (Digital Video Disc) holds more data than a CDG, but will not necessarily contain a larger number of songs, and may contain fewer songs. These discs are often replications of CDG discs. At times a DVD will contain a second recording of a song containing lead vocals, so you will have a model for practice as well as a version which allows you to be the soloist. A DVD will not play in a CDG or CD player.

DivX: DivX discs use MP4 technology but look like CDs and other discs. Although DivX discs cannot be played on CDG or DVD karaoke players, they will play on a computer with a DivX-compatible drive. The DivX disc holds many more songs than a CD or DVD. This site currently has a single DivX disc containing 250 songs, and 6 players which will accommodate DivX discs.

MPEG (MP3, MP4): Although the MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) format is utilized in CD, DVD, and DivX disc technology, we most often think of it as a file downloadable to the iPod, using a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection. MP3 is a container for audio files, and MP4 is a container for video files.

All Emerson products on this site have a cradle or dock for a personal digital player (iPod, Zune), and can play MP3 files from the iPod. However, not all players will read the MP4 Graphics (lyrics, or .lrc) files.

MP4 is the karaoke version of an MP3 file, in that it is an MP3 (audio) file with an MP4 (video/graphics/lyrics) file added. Lyric files may be downloaded separately or along with music. If you download music with lyrics, you will be downloading 2 files for each song: the MP3 file, and the .lrc file. suggests as a resource for MP4 files. offers 3 players which play MP3/MP4 (USB) format only.