Being a singer, I find myself often in need of a good singing session. You know, just sing, have fun, like they do in karaoke.

After trying singing apps which teach how to sing, and getting heavily disappointed, doing this karaoke app review was a thrill. It was much easier to find what I was looking for in a karaoke app. To be fair - the standard is lower, there are no vocal technique requirements here. 

What makes a good karaoke app?

I narrowed my wishes down to three main characteristics. If an app has those, it would get my enthusiastic recommendation:

  1. It should offer something YouTube doesn’t. YouTube is overflowing with karaoke versions of all songs. Hard to compete with that. There you can sing any song you want, as much as you want, for free. An app should give me something extra that I cannot get on youtube. 
  2. It has to be fun. Simple as that. If it’s not entertaining, it’s not karaoke. If you don’t agree, you have a very different idea of karaoke than me. 
  3. It should be practice friendly. Pausing the song, rewinding and forwarding is a must (you’ll see it’s not granted though). Recording is a plus, because that’s a good practice tool.

AND a beautiful, super useful feature I discovered exists here in the app world - transposing the song. As in, changing the key! 

For me - finding this option to change a song’s key, in some apps, was a game changer. So often a student would want to sing a certain song, but the original key would not suit their voice. 

Important note: This review was made before contacting any of the app developers, on purpose, so I can give you my honest opinion. There might once be affiliate links in here, obtained after the review was published, but no sponsorship or partnership will change my opinion about an app. 


Appcompanist

By: Appcompanist, LLC

Free, + upgrade options

Rating: 4.5 ~100 ratings

This app seems to be focused on classical and musical theater repertoire. I couldn't find pop or rock songs on it. 

Surprise! there are also vocal exercises on here! The build up is relatively good, almost as good as in Vocalizer (which is my current favorite warm-up app. check out my review of singing apps).

However, like Vocalizer, it doesn’t tell you which sound to use on a given exercise. That’s not so good, if one doesn’t know to start with consonants then closed vowels then open vowels. There are a TON of exercises there, so please don’t do them all. 

Better than Vocalizer: They start on the C note, that would be a comfortable range for most. But you can also change the starting point of your warm up! That’s great. You can take it one octave higher or lower, and you can decide on the post if you want to descend or ascend. 

Another cool thing: you can save a custom version of an exercise. After changing the key, speed or anything else you can save it in a playlist of your custom exercises.

Singing Songs

In the free version there are only 10 songs you can sing. They all have piano accompaniment, which is pretty good.

Here's the coolest, most useful thing: You can be transposed to different keys! I love this, super valuable. You can also change the tempo and turn the melody on and off. You can save your custom version of the accompaniment to a library.

However, when it comes to opera, arias are written for a specific voice type. One almost NEVER transposes those. It is my understanding that in musical theater songs are also written usually for specific voice types and are not expected to be transposed. So it seems impractical to have this feature in opera arias or musical theater.

It’s very useful for classical songs, though. Lieder, chansons, chamber music, those are often transposed. So this app is the best thing that ever happened to you if you want to sing, say, Schubert, and choose your best key. 

It would be ideal to be able to do this for pop, rock and jazz songs, this IS where we need this feature. But the repertoire is unfortunately not there. 

App repertoire
As said, this app has only classical and musical theater pieces. Virtually no contemporary music. 

When it comes to classical and musical theater music, it does looks like the repertoire in the Appcompanist library is quite impressive. I could find about 90 percent of the arias and songs which popped into my head. That’s nice. 

Paid versions

The upgrade options are interesting. You have a low cost option, €3.99 per month. For this you get to choose 6 songs and you can change your pick each month. More inclusive options are quite pricy.

You can choose to pick either classical or Musicals for €10.49 per month/€102.99 per year. All access is €14.99 per month/€149.99 per year. You get one month free. 

I think - if you know what your songs/arias are and you can find them on the app - it is definitely worth the €3.99 p/m. I would not work on more than 6 songs per month anyway in the earlier stages. There’s a lot to be said for repetition.

If you need more than 6 songs, and you know you will use this a lot - I suppose it is a good investment. But it is indeed an investment. 

Conclusion Appcompanist

If you sing a lot of classical songs (not opera) this app is fantastic. Also good as a huge source for vocal exercises.

  • Are they better/offer something else than youtube karaoke vids?  
    Yes: transposition and tempo changing features.
  • Can the app be used for practice purposes (like Youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    Yes, except for recording. 

Pros and cons Appcompanist

Pros

  • Good warm up library with good build up 
  • Good piano accompaniment
  • Transposition to any key!
  • Good library  
  • Low cost options 

Cons

  • Only classical music and musical theater 
  • Only 10 free songs 
  • Transposition is mostly irrelevant for musicals and operas
  • Most pieces in the library are not for free

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict Appcompanist

4 stars - Pretty awesome, it offers something very specific, in a very good way


Smule

By: Smule

Free + upgrade options

Rating: 4.5 stars ~136K ratings

After setting up a profile, you get going right away. You only get one free solo song. Had I known that, I wouldn't have chosen Let it Go, it's so hard... But oh, was that fun!

Smule is an entire social media platform. You have a feed, messages, songbook and explore function. 

There are original arrangements by members of the app - the lyrics indicate to you when is your time to sing. You can turn the video on or off. In audio recordings (only) you can skip in the song to where you want. 

You can record and then listen back, save or not save, share or not share. 

So wanting to keep singing, of course, I searched for an easier song - and hit a paywall. The free version doesn't give you solo songs! You can, however, “join” someone for free. What a great feature! Someone has recorded themselves and left some of the verses for me, and some verses are for signing together. That was so much fun.

Smule is so popular that you have the highest level of singers on it that I have seen in all the karaoke apps. In addition you have real celebrity singers recording duets and hosting competitions where you can sing with them. Mostly you need to be a member to compete, though.

Interesting options with membership

After singing a duet there will be a pop-up promoting something the singer who created the duet posted. It can be a way to gain followers and start a funnel to your services/products.

Upgrade or not?

I’m very tempted to upgrade, as the yearly subscription costs are reasonable. You get to enter competitions, sing solo songs and promote yourself as a singer. You can create duets and competitions, which can be a marketing and branding tool.

The upgrade on Smule is €9.99 per week; €19.99 per month and €49.99 per year. Occasionally there are promotions, for example after a couple of weeks of having the app I saw you could upgrade (through the laptop, not phone, for some reason) for less than €30 per year, which is a significant discount. I got it right away.

However, if you just want to have a good time, you can have a total blast without paying as well, just sing the duets! That's actually more enjoyable, if you ask me. 

Conclusion Smule

Except for a couple of limitations which are a bit of a bummer (no scrolling through the song while filming and no free solos), I love this app so much I will personally use it a lot in the future. And I found myself already recommending it to students, because the duet karaoke feature and "singing with the stars" is incredibly valuable if one wants to enjoy their singing. I recommend to use it (and do myself) in the last part of the practice which I call "sing-through".

  • Are they better/offer something else than Youtube karaoke vids?
    Yes: duets, social network, competition, high level and active celebrity singers.
  • Can the app be used for practice purposes (like youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    Yes. Although forward/rewind is possible only while using audio, not video.

Pros and cons Smule

Pros

  • Engaging and entertaining 
  • Useful to practice songs 
  • Can function as a branding/marketing tool
  • High level singers and celebrity active on the platform

Cons

  • No solo songs or competitions in the free version 
  • No option to change tempo or key of the song 
  • Can't rewind or forward while using a video recording 

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict Smule

5 Stars - Yessa!

Be careful you don't spend ALL of your time on this app, you need sleep.


Sing Harmonies

By: Zanna Discs

€2.29 with in-app purchases.

~3 stars, ~40 ratings

This app is for people who want to learn songs arranged for SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass). 

Upon opening the app I got a song ready to be played. A drawing of a band on the screen and a group of Singers, singing the song “lean on me”. Love this song!

You can press play and hear everyone playing and singing together. Then you can turn the singers soft or off, and turn the band off as well. 

This app give you a song, arranged in harmony. You can either learn individual parts by playing them separately, or play 3 voices and sing the 4th - super fun! And then you can choose for an A Capella version - also very cool!

I could only sing the melody on 2 out of the 3. Meaning the melody is given to different voices in different songs. That might be a good thing, I don’t mind learning a different part, but it would be nice to have more options. 

Song library is limited to 3 included songs. That feels stingy. There are 50 additional songs in the library, each costs about an extra euro each. In general - limited repertoire.

Great for learning parts - not pure karaoke


There are no lyrics on the screen! You can find song info through the app, but not on it. So that's a bit of a problem, you'll need to have the lyrics somewhere separate from the app, which basically means it's not Karaoke in essence.

Costs

The app initial price is low - €2,29, but includes only 3 songs. Then there are about 50 songs for purchase, for €1.09 each.

If I purchased all of the songs, the app would end up costing around 60 euros. I know there are more expensive apps than this - but their repertoire is also larger by far. So I don't believe it is worth the price at the moment.

Conclusion Sing Harmonies

I am a bit torn. On the one hand the first impression of this app is spectacular. I ran to my husband all giddy and sizzling with joy and showed him how cool this app is. Just judging from the first song. 

But then, I realized I paid 2 bucks for 3 songs. And the best I'll get here is 50 songs for almost 60 bucks. 

  • Are they better/offer something else than youtube karaoke vids?  |
    Yes: mix choir arrangement with breakdowns is unique to this app. Also, I think it's the only app with an option of singing A Capella (with only backup vocals and no instruments)!
  • Can the app be used for practice purposes (like Youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    Yes. Except for recording.

Pros and cons Sing Harmonies

Pros:

  • Original way of learning parts and harmonizing 
  • Unique: a capella singing with back vocals 
  • Unique: focus on SATB ensembles
  • You'll get to sing the melody and the back vocals no matter your voice type.

Cons:

  • Only 3 songs included 
  • Limited song library 
  • No lyrics displayed

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Included content

Cool features

Verdict Sing Harmonies

3.5 Stars - Maybe, kinda

Great potential for 4 or 5 stars, if they expand the library and add lyrics!


Yokee Karaoke - Sing unlimited songs

By: Yokee

Free+upgrade options

Rating: 4 stars ~903K ratings

Interface looks a lot like Smule. 

Playback quality is good. I hear myself back in the headset, like in Smule. It records automatically and plays it after the song is over.

I can save my recording either publicly or privately. I can then use my recording to create a clip (!) it plays your recording while you lip-sync to it 🙂 

Searching for a certain song I get multiple choices, including stuff that is on Youtube. I could search for a song in a higher key.

This is also a social network with a feed where others post their recordings, and have duets.

Problem: It’s difficult to find a good balance with the vocal and playback. While singing I hear myself very well, sometimes too loud compared to the playback, but then in the recording my vocals are too soft. 

Also, no pausing, forward or rewind, which makes it practically impossible to practice with.

Duets

Some songs can be made as duets, but I’m not sure how I can tell that in advance. Occasionally they will offer to make a duet after I have chosen a song.

You need to be a VIP to create a duet. When I tried to join a duet it wasn’t clear exactly how to switch between the singers. They didn’t indicate when it was my turn to sing: confusing.

Solos - unlimited, recordings - limited

Moving on I can sing as many songs as I want, but I can’t save the recordings or playing them back anymore without upgrading. There was no heads up that I only got ONE recording to save for free! I wouldn’t have deleted it 🙂

Later on I found that I could download one of their other apps to get a “credit”, which lets me play back and save recordings. So there’s an alternative to paying. That’s a nice loophole 🙂

Paid membership

The upgrade options in Yokee are: €10.99 per week (first week free trial); €21.49 per month and €106.99 per year. With the membership you can listen back to your recordings, save and share them, and it's add free. 

Personally I'm not tempted to upgrade, since I'm not convinced this paid version surpasses other apps' paid versions.

Conclusion Yokee Karaoke

There are a lot of similarities with Smule, with most things being better in Smule, unfortunately. Such as: celebrity singers, more recording savings, less expensive membership.


If singing solo is important to you - then Yokee is the better choice. Also the extra clip-making feature is pretty cool!

  • Is the app better/does it offer something different than Youtube karaoke vids?
    Yes: duets, recordings, lip-sync clip making.
  • Can the app be used for practice purposes (like youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    They do offer recording. As for the rest - unfortunately not.

Pros and Cons Yokee

Pros

  • Free solo singing 
  • Good playback and song variety 
  • Cool clip making - unique
  • Gives alternatives to paying for membership perks 

Cons

  • Duet feature not very usable 
  • Membership expensive 
  • Practice unfriendly
  • Recording audio unusable 

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict Yokee - sing unlimited songs

3.5 Stars - Maybe, kinda.

Great potential for 4 or 5 stars, if I could practice with it.


StarMaker

By: StarMaker interactive

Free + upgrade options

Rating: 4.4 stars ~2M ratings

Some of the songs here are free and some are available upon upgrade. Can’t tell just by the title you have to click on them.

Playback doesn’t sound as good as in other apps. But it has a special feature: it tracks your pitch accuracy!

After signing I can save a draft or post it to the app’s feed. That’s cool.

It’s also a social network so there are groups there and a feed.

There are "Families" which are like groups. I’m not sure what that entails but they call for actions like playing games to earn coins and fight between families. I’m not into that, but I’m sure it’s fun for people to whom it’s fun!

The singers on this app are over all of a lower level than on Smule. Then again, for now, no app I have seen matches Smule's singer level.

Parties

You can join a party and sing there. It’s like a live room, you queue up to sing and then can post your recording to the group. You can also sing freestyle (basically without a karaoke).

While trying to karaoke at one of the “parties” there was an automatic “singing guide” which meant I heard a singer singing the song a beat before I was supposed to sing. That confused the hell out of me! Also the lyrics sometimes were cut off in the middle of the sentence - that’s a problem.

Notifications

This is something I noticed quickly. Every app sends you notifications, but for some reason the StarMaker notifications were the most frequent. Also the most engaging! a lot of people sent me praise over my singing (which, frankly, wasn't so good): it is motivating and encouraging. There are some good people on this app, very supportive!

Free vs. Paid

The VIP memebership grants you ad removal, access to all the songs and a red name.

It costs €6.99 per week (first week free trial); €16.99 per month; €39.99 for 3 months (that would make it almost €160 per year). Quite pricy comparing to other apps, and I don't see myself paying that.

Conclusion StarMaker

It could be good fun, and you'll meet nice people. They have gaming and other group features so if you are looking for a community which plays games and sings together - this could be for you. Personally, I don't find a lot there that is preferable to other apps that I have examined so far. Level overall is not very high. 


  • Are they better/offer something else than youtube karaoke vids?  
    Yes: live parties singing with others.
  • Can it be used for practice purposes (like youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    Yes. 

Pros and Cons StarMaker

Pros

  • Free solo singing 
  • Many options to socialize other than singing 

Cons

  • Not very usuable 
  • Not offering much more than other apps 

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict StarMaker

3 Stars - Maybe, kinda.

Just because there are alternatives which do the same, only better


iReal Pro

By: Technimo

€16.99 + in-app purchases

4.6 stars ~6.5K ratings

This app costs more than any other app in the karaoke realm I have found so far. It's not a fortune, but if you are wired to getting free apps, or at least the free version first - not here. So of course I was very curious about whether it will be worth the 17 euro.

On first impression the app is super confusing. I'll go into more detail about that below, but this app is very hard to use. I could not find the song repertoire at all. I could find some jazz chord standards, but had not idea how I would use these to sing songs I know.

When I realized it's not at all as useless as I thought - it was at first I was overjoyed. So it's possible it made me want to praise the app more than necessary. Still - the sheer amount of cool features here is insane. So that counts for something. 

Tons of features and options

This app can do a few amazing things: 

  1. It provides you with accompaniment to songs in different styles
  2. Gives you the chords for the song, in all forms (piano, guitar, ukulele, you name it)
  3. Changes the key and tempo of the song!
  4. You can change the playing instruments.
  5. You can create songs by inserting chords.
  6. It can help you practice by increasing the tempo or raising the key on every repeat.
  7. It can create a playlist
  8. It can share the song accompaniment and your recording.

Weaknesses

  1. At first I could NOT for the life of me figure out what was going on in this app. I even thought I came to the wrong place.
  2. All I saw was a list of 50 songs, which were in fact chord templates of different styles. It took me a long time to find the option to import songs, which is what you need to do if you are looking for existing songs.
    So this is not a very comprehensive, usable app. One needs to break some sweat to figure it out.
  3. No lyrics. So it’s not a proper karaoke app.
  4. I cannot get the input level on the recording right so I am always too soft, barely audible. I could turn the instruments down, though, way down to 25% or so, then it was correct.
  5. Can’t rewind or forward within a song. Can restart it, though.
  6. After finding an option to import a playlist of 400 pop songs (!) I took a very long time to find my way back to the main library with options to import other playlists. Not at all self explanatory.
  7. Song selection is respectable but still limited. I am not sure it’s worth the money. On the one hand there are all those cool features and there are a lot of songs. But it’s no match for Youtube or other karaoke apps when it comes to song repertoire, at least in the pop section. There’s a chance that if you get the app you still won’t find the song you wanted on it. 

Additional purchases

it was difficult to figure out exactly what the "in-app purchases" include. I found an option to buy an extra style - "Blues Style" - for €5.49. So it seems like most of the content in the app is included in the initial €16.99. 

If you like the app and the specific way of doing things, you like blues style and you already paid the initial price - the extra 5 bucks would be worth it. 

Conclusion iReal Pro

This is no ordinary karaoke app. It's different in every way, some ways good, some not. If only it was easy to use, I would recommend it to anybody, because it can be used as a great learning tool, composing tool and singing practice tool. It's also almost impossible to practice your vocal technique with it because you can't forward or rewind.


Having said that, it is infinitely entertaining to play around with different musical styles on the same song and of course playing with the tempo, key and backing instruments. If you like the features of this app and you like composing your own songs, I think this is the only app (or nearly so) which allows to insert your own chords and use all the features on your own song. So I can see how some people would be willing to pay this one time fee for that, and all the rest that the app has to offer. 

  • Are they better/offer something else than youtube karaoke vids?  
    Yes: see tons of features listed above.
  • Can it be used for practice purposes (like youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    No. Only pause and restart are possible. Recording too.


Pros and Cons iReal Pro

Pros

  • Key transposition 
  • tempo, instrumentation and style change
  • Option to insert your own songs
  • Gives Jazz standard templates

Cons

  • Not usable
  • Practice unfriendly
  • Recording quality not good
  • No lyrics displayed
  • Costs money

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Included content

Cool features

Verdict iReal Pro

3.5 stars - Maybe, Kinda.

Great potential for 4 or 5 stars, with better usability and practice features.


HouseParty

By: Life on air inc.

Free + upgrade options (weren't found)

4.9 stars (!) ~600K ratings

You can sing in this app by yourself, but the point of it is gathering with others and having an online party. Play games together and sing together. 

The singing karaoke together sounds too good to be true. I have never heard of an online app or website which allows people to sing together simultaneously with no latency. But I went ahead and checked it for myself.

You can add friends of yours, then call them in a group call and do all sorts of activities - one of which is karaoke. 

Singing alone

Trying the karaoke by myself I liked it - but on the first song the lyrics moved in delay. Turned out to be only in that song. Others I tried were fine. But if this happens, and you don’t know the song by heart it’s a problem. 

When you choose a song it starts automatically and you can’t pause. You can stop and then it will just reset and you have to go back to choosing the karaoke from the menu and then the song. Not very handy.

Singing in a group/party

Connecting on the app with friends is not as smooth as I would like. Tried to get my husband to join and then we had to wait until he signed up and there were some communication problems: for some reason he wasn’t able to join my room. So it just took a while. If someone already has the app it should be easier. 

Eventually tried with my bro and sis - they both joined a video call with me and we chose a song we all liked.

And, alas, it doesn’t work. The audio comes in a delay, each member is heard in a different starting time, it’s a mess. One cannot sing like this in a group unless they are not bothered or distracted by hearing mismatching audio while trying to sing a certain song. 

Not all songs are on there, but it was easy enough to find something I like singing.

Conclusion HouseParty

Right now it’s a really nice app to socialize with friends and play different games together. The other games I checked were super fun, but the karaoke was a disappointment.

If only there was a way to achieve zero latency or close to that - this could be the actual bomb. But for now the group karaoke is not possible 🙁

  • Are they better/offer something else than Youtube karaoke vids?
    Yes: live video interaction with others, different games.
  • Can it be used for practice purposes (like youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    No.

Pros and Cons HouseParty

Pros:

  • Fun interface 
  • Cool games
  • Good way to connect and group call with video

Cons:

  • The group karaoke is impossible!
  • Practice-unfriendly
  • Song repertoire a bit limited

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict HouseParty

2 stars - Nah.

When the internet can send sound at the speed of sound - it will get 5 stars.


iSing

By: iSing Sp. z o.o.

Free + upgrade options

3.8 stars ~16K ratings

In order to sign in I was demanded to choose my gender between Male and Female. I don’t understand why that’s necessary. 

There are options to play the song or record it. In both cases you will hear the melody played by an instrument, and to have a version of “pure karaoke” with no melody, you need to upgrade.

Having the melody played is actually helpful because you can use the app to learn a song or remember a part of it which melody you forgot. 

There is no pausing, forwarding or rewinding. Only restarting or quitting.

You can record yourself with or without video. 

The playback quality is good, but it's difficult to find the right balance of playback and voice in the recording. Since you have to sing the whole song if you want a recording, this becomes tedious.

People post duets on there, but I don’t know how to join them or create them 🙁

Transposition upon upgrade

The upgrade looks tempting because they say they change the key of the song 2 semitones higher or lower. So far it's the first app which offers to transpose a normal playback, like the ones on youtube. Other might have a piano or a synthesized version which can be transposed, so it's handy, but not the same as feeling you have the actual accompaniment of the original song.

I later found out that there are 2 other app which offer transposition to any key using the actual playback, so I don't find this upgrade necessary for this purpose. 

Membership

iSing Plus grants add free use; pure karaoke (no melody playing), limited transposition, immediate access to new song releases, recording without melody line, adding your own songs and more. 


It offers 14 day free trial and then €3.49 per month. If you like the app this is a reasonable rate.

Conclusion iSing

iSing has one great advantage, in that it allows you to sing all songs solo for free (made by the app, not posted by members). Almost all other apps limit solo songs. However, you can’t use this app in a context of rehearsal or a lesson or even practice. Because it has to be all in one go.  

Other than that I don’t see an advantage in this app over Smule or even just Youtube, if you cannot really go back and forth in the song. 

  • Are they better/offer something else than youtube karaoke vids?
    Yes: playing the melody, limited transposing.
  • Can it be used for practice purposes (like youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    No.

Pros and Cons iSing

Pros

  • Free solo singing
  • Option to transpose 2 semitones higher/lower (paid)
  • Playback quality is good

Cons

  • Recording quality not good
  • Practice unfriendly
  • Not clear how to sing duets
  • "Pure Karaoke" with no melody at all is paid

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict iSing

3 stars - Maybe, kinda. 

Doesn't offer much more than Youtube and the perks are surpassed by other apps.


Singing Machine Karaoke

By: Stingray group

Free + upgrade options

4.4 stars ~1.3K ratings

You can queue songs here, cool! 10 songs in the free version and 100 in the paid one.

€9.49 per week, €15.49 per month

Upgrade gives you: access to all songs, lead vocals, mark favourite songs, personal history

Playback is good.

There are only 5 free songs! All the rest are 30 second samples of each song and not always from the beginning, which is lame. 

Conclusion Singing Machine Karaoke

Basically the free version is almost useless. After 5 songs you need to pay. 

I later found that another app is giving unlimited queuing feature for free, so...

  • Are they better/offer something else than Youtube karaoke vids?
    Yes: Queuing songs
  • Can it be used for practice purposes (like Youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    Yes, except the recording.

Pros and Cons Singing Machine Karaoke

Pros

  • You can queue songs
  • Playback quality is good
  • Practice friendly

Cons

  • Only 5 free songs
  • no advantages over all other apps

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict Singing Machine Karaoke

2 stars - Nah. There's nothing in the free version tempting to upgrade, and sadly no special features. 


I teach singing online

Let me find your bright spot.

SingSnap Karaoke

By: SIngSnap Corporation

Free + upgrade options

3.5 ~170 ratings

Immediately I like that I can choose to either practice or record a song. When you record you can stop at some point and review the recording, that’s great. After reviewing I can go on from where I left off - that’s cool. 

It can do audio or video. 

No forward or rewind - bummer. 

I can change the balance between the playback and vocals before and after the recording!

It also remembers the balance setting in the next song. Wow. very helpful. 

There’s a monitoring feature that I’m not sure what it does. 

Playback quality is fine, not as good as some other apps. 

Names of songs are not visible entirely, so you see only half of the song's name, sometimes that’s not enough.

This is also a social network so you can share and comment etc.

Membership

Gold membership costs €12.99 per month or €129.99 per year.


You get unlimited recording storage: option to record on multiple supported platforms,, access to all songs, pitch correction, privacy options.

Upgrading would be worth it if you would really love the specific features of this specific app. It's not anything that I personally have use for, or cannot find in other apps. 

Conclusion SingSnap

This could be THE app for practicing, if I could use it for practice purposes and if I could see the actual song names properly. Right now I have to sing the song from the beginning each time, that’s limiting. And not seeing the song name means it’s less easy to use and entertain yourself with for a long time.

Other than that there are good features here and some unique ones, it's enjoyable when it's not limiting.

  • Are they better/offer something else than youtube karaoke vids?
    Yes: Recordings.
  • Can it be used for practice purposes (like Youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    No, but you can record.

Pros and Cons SingSnap

Pros

  • Can record and listen back to parts of the song
  • Change the balance also after the recording - unique

Cons

  • Practice unfriendly
  • Some features are unclear
  • Names of songs incomplete

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict SingSnap

3.5 stars. Maybe, Kinda. With great potential for 4 or 5 stars 

With great potential for 4 or 5 stars, with full song names and practice friendliness.


MagicSing

By: EnterMedia

Free +upgrade options

4.1 stars 26K ~ratings

This app asked me, yet again, if I'm female or male - but this time they had a reason! They have a transposition option automated to change the key 2.5 steps lower for a male. I guess it would help in some cases, and it makes it a convenient transposition feature that would sometimes work.

You can transpose here to ANY KEY YOU WANT, just like that on the spot! And it’s the normal playback, like on Youtube. Yes! I think I finally found it! 

The Karaoke features

Pause, rewind, forward, record, change key, change tempo, change balance. Absolutely amazing.

The only bummer is that you cannot scroll back and forth, you can only rewind/forward one bar at a time. So it can take a while and it’s not super handy. You maybe can’t use it in a lesson because it takes too long to wait until you have rewinded to where you need it. But at home, when time is not of the essence, it still can be done.

Free vs. paid

Free version gives 3 songs to sing per day, which is not a lot. After that you get 30 second samples of the songs.  

Paid options: €9.99 per month; €19.99 per 3 months; €38.99 per 6 months; €64.99 per year; €89.99 per year with music notes add on (unique!)

Here is the thing: if you want to sing any song and be able to adjust it to your key - this is worth upgrading. Or waiting for the next day after 3 songs.

The upgrade options are not insignificant - but also not horribly expensive, considering you could really use this to practice and sing any song, and possibly get sheet music! 

Conclusion MagicSing

I will recommend this to students.

I would like to have at least a free trial to the upgrade versions. If so, this would be a no brainer. Or maybe have another paid level which is lower. Now it’s either nothing or a lot of money. For nothing you don’t get much, to be honest. But the features here are so cool and unique I am leaning towards buying it anyway. 

  • Are they better/offer something else than Youtube karaoke vids?
    Yes, tempo and key change, sheet music.
  • Can it be used for practice purposes (like youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    Yes, except for recording.

Pros and Cons MagicSing

Pros

  • Change key of real playback!
  • Change tempo
  • Mostly practice friendly
  • Unique: paid option to get sheet music

Cons

  • Only 3 free songs per day
  • Rewinding/forwarding too slow

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict MagicSing

4 stars, pretty awesome. With great potential for 5 stars, with less song limitation and better forward/rewind. 


KaraFun

By: Recisio

Free + upgrade options

4.7 stars ~6K ratings

From first impression there are some basic songs, and actually most of the songs that are premium only. Bummer.

However, later I found a way to make the best of the free songs: Clicked “discover” and found many playlists to go over. In “karaoke classics” there were a ton of fun songs which were for free. 

The Karaoke features

you can scroll through the songs, which is great. There are vocal lines of the singers singing the melody, which you can turn down/up/off. That's good for learning the song or if there is a duet. 

You can queue songs and mark as favorites if you sign up (free).

You can change the key here, to ANY KEY YOU WANT! And the tempo, too

You can change the order in the queue, also while you are singing! - that’s cool. 

Playback is good.

Free vs. paid

The only limitation is the repertoire: if you are picky about your songs you would need the paid version, probably (I think paying 8 bucks for a party evening is worth it, personally). If you are going with the flow - let’s get the party started!

Premium grants you access to 42,000 songs; customized audio settings and offline downloads (cool). 

It costs €7.99 per week or €9.99 per month. I wish they had a yearly subscription. Otherwise it amounts to €120 per year, more than double than Smule. On the other hand, Smule doesn’t transpose, so there’s that! 

Conclusion KaraFun

I recommend this now to my students, and I'll use it myself.

In all - I love this app. It has really all the right features and you can already enjoy it fully immediately. 

Here the transposition feature - which is the rarest in karaoke apps - is given for free. So that makes up for whatever few issues I take with this app.

  • Are they better/offer something else than youtube karaoke vids?
    Yes, transpositions, queuing, back and lead vocals.
  • Can it be used for practice purposes (like youtube can), namely: forward, rewind, pause, recording?
    Yes!

Pros and Cons KaraFun

Pros

  • Change key of real playback!
  • Change tempo
  • All necessary audio & karaoke features
  • Good quality playback
  • Queuing songs

Cons

  • Free repertoire limited
  • No yearly subscription or free trials

Aesthetics

Entertainment

Usability

Free content

Cool features

Verdict KaraFun:

5 stars, Yessa! This is everything I'm looking for in a karaoke app. Just wondeful, it's a winner for me.


Summary video: my 4 favourite karaoke apps

*Review made in July 2021*

My Top 3

#1

Karafun

You got a party ready to go, where you can play around with all settings imaginable, including key and tempo change, to suit the song to your voice. It's also incredibly handy for learning new songs, practice sessions and voice lessons, if you need accompaniment to your signing. 

5 of 5 stars

#2

Smule

A whole new world of unbelievable singing joy. I don't say that because they pay me, I am actually paying them! Listen to good everyday singers, as well as celebrity singers and record duets with them. Sing in competitions, share your singing (or not) and just repeat 'til the cows come home!

5 of 5 stars

#3

Magic Sing

Super cool place to sing almost any song you want in any key you want with sophisticated sound options. Very useful for practice and learning songs.

4 of 5 stars


speaking about apps...

An app is a tool that can only make you a better singer when integrated into a system. I have such a system. For all who feel overwhelmed by all there is to learn about singing.

Conclusion: my ranking of all karaoke apps

Karaoke app

My rating

KaraFun

5 stars

Smule

5 stars

MagicSing

4 stars

Appcompanist

4 stars

Sing Harmonies

3.5 stars

Yokee Karaoke

3.5 stars

Sing Snap

3.5 stars

iReal Pro

3.5 stars

StarMaker

3 stars

iSing

3 stars

HouseParty

2 stars

Singing Machine Karaoke

2 stars

How to use karaoke apps to improve your singing

One extra thought to wrap it up. Besides having a party, can karaoke apps help improve your singing? Here is how:

  • Are you practicing at home and is it time to sing a song and improve your technique? You can use some of these apps to sing with accompaniment, even fractions of the song. You need to be able to pause, forward and rewind for this, because you might need to repeat a phrase, a verse or a chorus, start from the top etcera.
  • According to the practice structure I recommend in my course, Make Singing Click, you should end every practice session with singing the whole song. I call it singing through. In this part you don’t worry about technique at all, you just have fun and feel the music. For this part of the practice a good app is perfect. You just play a song and have a blast. You can then improve your sing-through by using a performance exercise. So even while singing for fun you can still do something to get better.

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