What are the Different Karaoke Formats and Files?
There are lots of different formats for karaoke. In order to figure out which format your player supports, you can do a Google search for “(your player name) + supported karaoke formats”. In order to find out what the model name of your karaoke player is, take alook at your player from all angles. It should say somewhere which model it is. When you do a search, you will usually find a website in the search result from the manufacturer of the exact model you have, and they will most likely list which formats are supported.
These are the common types of discs that you will find when looking for karaoke discs with songs on them.
Compact Disc + Graphics (CD+G or CDG)
This looks like any normal CD you are used to, but the +G means that it has extra “graphic” information, which is whatever shows up on the screen when you sing karaoke. The music is synchronized with the images and the lyrics. CD+G is the most popular and widespread karaoke format. If you play a CD+G on a regular CD-player, it will only play the music. But if you connect it to a screen, it should also display the lyrics together with the music.
Compact Disc + Extended Graphics (CD+EG or CDEG or CD+XG or CDXG)
This version is similar to the CDG, but it can play extended graphics which can be anything like additional figures, lights and colors. However, it has never become a widespread standard format in the industry so it is not the type you will usually find. But you should note that if your player supports CD+G, it will also support and be able to play any CD+EG karaoke disc.
Video CD (VCD)
This type of format is used to store video information on a compact disc, and was growing in popularity before the introduction of DVDs. However it has mostly been popular in Asia and not as huge in Western countries. The difference from a CD+G is that VCD does not only store the karaoke version of the songs, but also the original songs which you can listen to.
Karaoke DVD (KDVD)
KDVD are similar to VCD, but just as the DVD format can store more information and better quality than the CD format, so do KDVD format store a lot more songs and higher quality video than VCD can.
Karaoke Blu-Ray (KBD)
KBD is simply Blu-Ray discs with karaoke songs and lyrics information on them. Blu-Ray is the high quality standard of today as it can play video in Full HD resolution and store a lot more video information than a DVD. You should note that if your karaoke player supports KBD or Blu-Ray it will also support and play KDVD or DVD, but the reverse is not possible.
Digital Karaoke Formats
As digital music has become more and more popular, the need for a physical disc is no longer needed. Many users find it more practical to store karaoke music digitally than on physical discs. Here are the different types of digital karaoke files.
WAV, or Waveform Audio File Format (or WAVE), is the normal music format use for the individual tracks on a CD. You will see them as .wav files if you try to play them on a Windows computer. These are music files that have not been compressed. If your karaoke player can play normal CDs, they will be able to play CDs with individual wav-tracks. However, WAV only supports musical information and does not store graphical information and therefore it will not display any lyrics or graphics if you try to connect it to a screen.
MP3 is MPEG-1 Audio Layer III or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III. When digital music grew in popularity, there was a demand for more digital storage so you could store more songs. However, digital storage space used to be quite expensive compared to today. A work around was to “compress” music into formats that took up less digital storage space but without losing too much sound quality. Then you could store more songs on your computer, hard drive or music player. The MP3 file format quickly became the standard for music compression, and the term “MP3 player” became synonymous with digital music player. The MP3 format does not store any graphical information such as lyrics. It can only play music.
MP3 + Graphics (MP3+G or MP3G)
Just like a MP3 file, the MP3+G is digital, but can also display graphics such as lyrics. To play MP3+G on your karaoke machine, it needs to support the format. Since it is a digital format, you will most likely have to store it on the digital storage in the karaoke player itself, or connect it with a USB flash drive or SD card where the MP3+G files are stored and play them from there. If your player supports MP3+G, it will also support MP3, but the reverse is not possible.
WMA is short for Windows Media Audio. It is basically Windows’ own format for compressing music and is very similar to the MP3 format but just not as widespread or popular. A lot of players that support MP3 format also support WMA, but it is not always the case so make sure you check to see which specific formats your own player supports. Also you should note that WMA, just like MP3, does not contain graphic such as lyrics.
WMA + Graphics (WMA+G or WMAG)
Basically exactly the same thing as WMA but they also can store graphical information such as lyrics for karaoke. It is not a very common karaoke format at all anymore, but may still be used by Windows users who creates their own karaoke files on their computers.
These cover most of the karaoke files and formats out there. And if you need to find a good karaoke machine you can take a look at our home page where we have listed the best karaoke machines in 2017.