Regardless of if your building a karaoke system for your family room, or for use in a professional environment, the basic components are the same. The list includes a mixer and amplifier or powered mixer, microphones, TV or monitor, the player, and music. Additionally you will need an assortment of cables and other accessories.

Mixer and Amp
A mixing board run through a raw amplifier is often used by professionals. These are usually rack mounted for ease of setup. A powered mixer is a compact unit that takes up minimum space and may be preferred for home use. These can be found in several power output ranges.

Karaoke Player
Your choice of players include karaoke hosting software installed on a PC or laptop or a karaoke disc player. Later model karaoke disc players support multiple disc types like CD+G, DVD, MP3, and others. The current trend is to play compressed karaoke songs stored on a hard drive using karaoke software and a laptop computer. It won't be long before discs have gone the way of the cassette tape. There's even talk of a "karaoke cloud" that would stream the songs from the internet.

Any good sounding karaoke system must include PA speakers. No attempt should be made to perform live vocals through surround sound or home stereo speakers. The PA speakers do not necessarily have to be those big black cabinets that you see the DJ use in clubs. Smaller and more decorative models are available for home use.

In a professional environment wireless microphones are essential because it is not plausible to have the mic cables underfoot. The two most common wireless microphone frequencies are UHF and VHF. VHF mics are generally less expensive and a decreased amount of traffic on it's frequency makes the UHF mic less susceptible to interference.

TV or Monitor
It's very easy to connect a computer monitor to a laptop or PC but to connect a TV you will probably need some type of signal converter. The signal from an s-video or VGA output can be converted to VHF. The composite video out from a karaoke disc player may also be converted to VHF. After this you will use coaxial cable to connect to the TV.

Karaoke Music
The most widely used karaoke disc format is the CD+G (Compact Disc plus Graphics). More song titles will be found on this type than on any other. CD+G song tracks do not contain video backgrounds.  The industry standard compressed karaoke song format is known as MP3+G. These are compressed versions of CD+G songs much like MP3 files are compressed versions of standard CD song tracks. Virtually all karaoke playing software supports MP3+G.