Published on January 23rd, 2012 | by Greg0
Soulo: iPad and iPhone Karaoke Made Easy
Confession: most of our staff love singing. None of us will get on American Idol anytime soon, but most of us love grabbing the mic in Rock Band, and many of our crew have spent quite a bit of time in karaoke parlors and bars. In a group, it can be a ton of fun- but maybe you don’t love taking turns, or perhaps you want to get in some practice and it feels weird to lack a posse. Alternatively, you could just be a bit embarrassed or uncertain about your prowess, or be traveling on the road and unable to lug around a lot of gear or find a place to indulge your vocal fantasies.
For each of these scenarios, the Soulo Digital Wireless Microphone for iPhone 4 and 4s and iPad/iPad2 comes in handy. Simply download the free app, connect the wireless dongle, and turn your iDevice into a personal, portable karaoke experience that works surprisingly well. On one hand, there are other microphones out there, as well as other karaoke applications. This one is definitely more fully-featured than others though, and the package is compelling for several reasons.
An app like this lives and dies on the music library of course. And there are some great songs here, and more added regularly, though if you have a favorite track, you stand a good chance of being disappointed. Classics include “Come Sail Away”, “Copacabana”, “Baby One More Time”, and “1999″, and ten tracks are included but then of course you’ll need to buy others. The software is easy to use and quite responsive, and we really liked the look and feel on the iPad, though the backgrounds and such that appear during a song are not exactly impressive. We liked many of the features- recording via the built-in camera, plenty of effects like Reverb, Echo, and a pitch correction that works well. And best of all, you can use your iTunes library and your own songs, and the software will attempt to remove to vocals- it’s nifty, though not perfect, but a great way to hugely expand your library as long as you know the lyrics (or have them in the metadata) and don’t mind an occasional glitch or being limited to 60 seconds of recording.
The wireless mic is solid, well-made, and powered by two AA batteries (not included). We didn’t have any trouble with battery life; apparently a new set should last you about 20 hours of singing time. A wired version is also available, for about $30 less, should you wish. The wireless version does require a dongle, and isn’t connected via Bluetooth- it uses the dock connector, meaning that you can’t dock your phone or iPad at the same time as playing. Also, you can only use one mic at a time. But overall, it’s hard to quibble. Everything worked well, and though we don’t often feel a deep need to karaoke on a small screen with limited sound, it’s pretty great from time to time and especially with a partner. We don’t suggest trying this on a plane, but even a small apartment will have plenty of room. At $99, it’s a good deal, and available widely now.