Sometimes new products enter the market that we can't quite wrap our heads around. The Singing Machine microphones are no exception; with some able to wirelessly transmit your voice and music directly to your car speakers. While this uses known microphone technology and principles, this article aims to de-mystify how they work, which can even help when setting up your microphone.
Singing Machine Carpool Mics connect to your car via an unused FM radio channel, broadcasting your voice as well as music from a Bluetooth-paired device. The Party Machine model has its own speaker, but still uses music from a Bluetooth device. Wired and wireless microphones are industry-standard.
I will explain these concepts in more detail below, covering how each of the Singing Machine microphones work. I have also included some troubleshooting tips in case your microphone is not working.
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How Singing Machine Microphones Works
The official 'Carpool Mic CPK545' (link to Amazon) and the 'Carpool Mic 2.0' are both designed to broadcast music from your phone (or another device), as well as your voice, through your car's speakers. These Singing Machine microphones are operated via a rechargeable battery and primarily work through FM radio and Bluetooth connections.
Radio: Connecting the Microphone to Your Car
The idea is to find an open FM radio station on your car, which is just a radio station with nothing but static playing, and use this as a channel for the Carpool Mic. Once you have tuned your car radio to an open station, the Carpool Mic can be tuned to the same channel using the 'FM+' and 'FM-' buttons. For example, you might tune both your car and the microphone to 88.7FM.
This process connects your microphone to your car speakers, allowing your voice to come through when you talk into the microphone. However, you also need music to sing to. The Carpool Mic does not come with any in-built songs because it relies on you streaming songs from your own song library.
These songs come from any Bluetooth device that can play downloaded songs or songs from a streaming service, such as Spotify. Most people tend to use their smartphones because they already have them in the car.
Bluetooth: Pairing the Mic to a Device with a Song Library
To pair your device, you simply press the Bluetooth button on the microphone and find 'Singing Machine' in your device's Bluetooth pairing menu. Whatever is played through your device will be sent to the microphone via Bluetooth, and then to your car speakers via radio signal. This is the basics of how your music and your voice comes through your car's speakers.
The original Carpool Mic is limited in that it can only play your voice over the vocals from the music on your device. However, the Carpool Mic 2.0 has the ability to add voice effects, sound effects and remove the lead vocals from the songs you play. It also has a light display for the added karaoke experience.
Using the Carpool Mic with Other Speakers
The Carpool Mic also offers an AUX cable so you can play your voice and the music from your Bluetooth device through a different speaker. For example, you could use it at home using a regular speaker.
Party Machine Microphone
The Party Machine Mic SMM548 (link to Amazon) is a new and improved version of the Carpool Mic. This microphone works by playing your voice and your device's music through a built-in speaker, which you can see on the front of the microphone.
There are no radio connections available, no is there any other way to connect to an external speaker, such as an AUX cable. The in-built speaker is the only output for your voice and music.
The Party Machine microphone still requires a Bluetooth connection to play the music you will be singing along to. Just like with the Carpool Mic, this music can be downloaded or streamed music on any Bluetooth device. This is paired to the microphone using the Bluetooth button.
In this way, the Party Machine microphone is a simplified version of the Carpool Mic, eliminating the need to connect to an FM radio station. It also has voice effects and the ability to cancel the lead vocals in the song so that your voice is not drowned out by the original singer.
Standard Wired and Wireless Microphones
The microphones used with Singing Machine's karaoke systems are standard wired and wireless microphone technology. Wired microphones include the SMK105 Kids Microphone, SMM205 Wired Mic and SMM225 Wired Mic with Lights. Singing Machine currently offers one wireless microphone, the SMM107.
For the wired microphones, you sing into the microphone and this signal is sent to the karaoke machine via cable. Therefore your voice comes through the speakers over the top of the music you have playing on the machine. You simply plug the microphone into the Singing Machine system for it to work.
The wireless microphone does not have a cable, but has a small receiver that plugs into the Singing Machine system instead. The receiver plugs into the same input that a wired microphone would (AUX).
Both the wireless microphone and the receiver require a 9V battery to operate and must be turned on using the switches found on each. A connection between the two is made automatically, provided both are on when the karaoke machine is turned on.
Wireless microphones work using radio waves, similar to what we discussed with the Carpool Mic. However, with the Singing Machine wireless microphone, the radio frequency ('channel') is pre-determined. In other words, you cannot change it.
This channel has been set for the microphone and receiver so they will always connect with one another. The signal sent over this radio channel will then always be played through the karaoke or speaker system that the receiver is plugged into.
What to Do if the Singing Machine Microphone is Not Working
If your microphone is not working, there may be a simple explanation. Below are some basic troubleshooting tips for different microphone connections that may help. If none of these work, you may need to consult your microphone's operating manual or call Singing Machine.
- Make sure the radio channel is the same on the microphone as it is on your car's radio.
- Make sure you are using FM radio in your car, not AM radio.
- Make sure the microphone is switched on.
- Check that the microphone has enough charge.
- Make sure the microphone and car volume is turned up.
- If all else fails, you can always use the AUX connection in your car until you can solve the issue.
- Turn off other Bluetooth devices to make sure no unwanted connections are made.
- Make sure you have pressed the Bluetooth button on the microphone. If you have already pressed this button, try pressing and holding the Bluetooth button to restart the pairing process.
- Make sure Bluetooth is activated on your device and you have selected the microphone ('Singing Machine') from your device's Bluetooth pairing menu.
- Make sure the volume on your device has been turned up (you may need to do this in the app you are using as well).
Wireless Microphone Troubleshooting
- Make sure the receiver, microphone and Singing Machine system is turned on.
- Replace the 9V batteries in both the microphone and receiver.
- Make sure the volume is turned up.
- Turn all systems off, unplug the receiver and plug it back in, making sure it is not loose. Then turn the receiver and microphone on before turning on the karaoke machine.