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Karaoke Formats

There are numerous karaoke formats available, and they differ from each other in many ways. Firstly, we will discuss karaoke discs. Secondly, we will talk about other karaoke formats.

Types Of Karaoke Discs

Knowing about the various types of karaoke discs can help while you are building up your collection. Indeed, this information can help you save money. That is because you might buy karaoke discs and tracks that you can’t play. In other words, there may be compatibility issues.

All karaoke discs will play music and show some graphics on a monitor or television. The information is stored on ordinary CDs or DVDs. You can also rip or burn karaoke discs yourself. However, you will need appropriate software and hardware to do that.

The following guide will help you understand the different karaoke formats.

CD+G Karaoke Discs

The most widely used karaoke discs are CD+G discs (CDG), which means CD plus Graphics.

These discs contain audio tracks and graphics that can be displayed on a TV or projector screen.

The images typically include song lyrics flashed in synch with the audio track. In nearly all cases, the words highlight when you need to sing them.

Early CDGs were basic and showed the lyrics only.

CDG is one of the best known karaoke formats. ZHR006 Disc.

However, some firms sometimes added other graphical features, especially during the break between the songs.

Because a CD only holds around 700 MB (Megabytes), this format does have limitations. For example, when you rip a disc at just 320kbps, your files may be about 10 MB. Should a CDG have 18 tracks, each recorded across the whole audio spectrum, you can see that space would be at a premium.

Be that as it may, CDGs are the standard karaoke format. Indeed, your collection will possibly consist of those only.

CDGs usually play in an ordinary CD player, but you will only hear the audio. To see the on-screen graphics, you will need a karaoke machine. These are not expensive and will give good results.

Pros and Cons of CDGs


  • The most popular karaoke disc format.
  • Cheapest option and is abundant on the second-hand market.
  • Adequate for most home users and DJs/KJs.


  • The on-screen graphics have limitations.
  • Thousands of CDGs can be bulky.
  • Damaged CDGs are more likely to skip than ordinary CDs.

Ripping Karaoke Discs

Your CDG collection is valuable, of course. Therefore, you may wish to preserve them. Furthermore, CDGs can suffer damage, like ordinary CDs. For example, they can skip if you scratch them. So, Karaoke Info recommends you make a copy of the original. That way, you can store the original CDGs in pristine condition for future use.

Usually, when you rip a CDG, the files will become MP3+G. That stands for MP3 plus Graphics. You can store and play those files on a computer. An MP3 is a compressed audio file and will not have the same qualities as the original CDG. However, you will hardly notice a difference except if you are an audiophile.

In the early days, ripping a CDG at 128kbps was the usual option to save space on the hard drive. However, at 128kbps, the audio will suffer somewhat. In other words, you may not get the thundering lows or the sparkling highs you get from the original CDG.

Of course, storage space has become a lot cheaper. Because of that, we recommend ripping your CDGs at 320kbps. This way, the audio doesn’t suffer too much. We have more detailed information about ripping CDGs here. You can also burn CDGs using ordinary CDs. Indeed, we show you how to burn a CDG here.

Karaoke Formats: DVDs

Karaoke Formats. Startrax Tickled Pink DVD.

DVD karaoke discs are similar to CD+G discs but contain much more content. While a CD can hold about 700 MB, a DVD can hold about 4.7 GB. This means more companies can store much more information on the discs.

Due to the higher capacity of a DVD, you can access higher-definition audio and video. That includes multiple tracks for each song, including karaoke versions and instrumental versions.

The audio and video tracks are usually far superior to their CDG counterparts.

Superimposing the karaoke lyrics over a video background is more pleasing in a visual sense.

Unlike CDGs and their primitive graphics, you can get decent, high-quality video on DVD.

A karaoke DVD should play on most DVD players. Indeed, this is a more convenient way to play a karaoke disc. However, most karaoke enthusiasts still prefer CDGs in their collections. Not only that, but computerised systems became popular, and karaoke DVDs didn’t appeal to those in the DJ/KJ industry.

Pros and Cons of Karaoke DVDs


  • Graphics and video are of higher quality.
  • Superior sound quality and may have other features.
  • A DVD can hold more tracks.
  • They play on DVD players.


  • Will not play in ‘ordinary’ karaoke machines.
  • Usually, they cost a little more.
  • Computerised karaoke systems can now use video without the need for DVDs.

Karaoke Formats – Super CDG (SCDG) (CAVS USA)

Some karaoke manufacturers in our massive directory released Super CDGs (SCDGS). For example, Sweet Georgia Brown (SGB) released a few for their Magic Tracks series. On those discs, you get over 1200 songs on each disc!

What is a Super CDG, you may ask. SCDG stands for Super Compact Disc + Graphics. Furthermore, this format uses DVDs.

As we said earlier, you can cram much more information into a DVD. However, unlike the other karaoke formats, Super CDG has a unique compressed file system.

Because of the particular compression, a Super CDG needs a unique karaoke player.

Super CDG - Karaoke Gold from Music Maestro. MMGPMS Front Cover.

Indeed, CAVS USA invented the Super CD+G, and you will need a karaoke machine from them to play the discs. In other words, they have a monopoly on SCDGs. So, expect to pay a premium for CAVS karaoke players unless you buy second-hand.

Pros and Cons of Super CDGs


  • These discs can contain hundreds or thousands of karaoke tracks.
  • They have enough room for extra graphics.
  • CAVS machines will play CDG and DVDs.


  • They will not play in a traditional CDG player.
  • The audio quality (bitrate) may suffer if the disc has thousands of karaoke tracks.

Karaoke Formats: NEO+G (RSQ)

Karaoke Formats - ZMNE001 - NEO+G disc.

Just like the Super CDGs above, NEO-G also uses a DVD. Indeed, RSQ, the firm behind this format, has capitalised on its patented NEO+G software and uses the MP3+G format for its discs.

Like the CAVS Super CDGs, the NEO-G discs can hold hundreds of karaoke songs. In our karaoke directory, you will see numerous companies that took advantage of NEO+G technology. Our favourite, ZOOM Karaoke, made NEO+G discs. Also making NEO+G discs was the Music Maestro Karaoke firm.

In the case of Nutech Karaoke, they produced a 419-track Elvis Presley NEO+G disc. So, you can see why some KJs would have chosen this karaoke system.

Indeed, compare those NEO+G karaoke discs with a standard 18-track ‘normal’ Elvis Presley CDG. You’d need far less space if thousands of karaoke songs could fit on one disc.

Those companies that used NEO+G on their discs only needed to produce a few for their catalogue, and they did!

You can also burn a NEO+G karaoke DVD. However, their free software to do this seems to be unavailable from the RSQ website nowadays. Burning CDGs for RSQ karaoke machines is easy, but making a NEO+G DVD may prove harder. This is due to the lack of a decent burning program.

Pros and Cons of NEO+G Karaoke Discs


  • NEO+Gs can hold over 500 karaoke songs.
  • Because they are DVDs, there is ample space for extra graphics, etc.
  • NEO+G machines play CDGs


  • These discs will not play in an ordinary karaoke player.
  • 500+ karaoke tracks on a disc mean the audio quality will suffer.

Karaoke Formats: MP4 Videos

Apart from the DVD formats above, most karaoke media had basic graphics. However, technology has moved on, and graphics can now be high definition (HD).

MP4 karaoke songs offer HD video as they display the on-screen lyrics. Of course, this gives a better user experience.

SBIH-34220 - Pink - Walk Me Home.

Because karaoke downloads have become the norm, this is how you will buy this format. Some MP4 karaoke tracks are beefed-up versions of the older CDG tracks, while others offer various video backdrops.

No matter what backdrop, you will notice a massive difference between older CDGs and MP4 video versions. Indeed, the background will be smoother, and the lyrics will be considerably cleaner. This also applies to those with video backgrounds.

Because the format is MP4, you can download the songs to your computer and play them using an ordinary media player.

Pros and Cons of MP4 Karaoke Songs

While the file sizes of MP4 karaoke songs are much larger than the older CDG tracks, we can’t find a negative side to this format. That is because hard drives are cheap and hold a lot of data. Video karaoke gives you clarity, and that is a big plus!

Karaoke Hard Drives And Laptop Systems

Modern karaoke jockeys (KJs) mostly use karaoke hard drives and laptops for gigging. That is because humping around hundreds, if not thousands, of karaoke CDGs, can be a pain. Of course, a small portable hard drive can hold up to 5TB of data. This is more than enough to contain hundreds of thousands of karaoke tracks.

Instead of constantly changing out discs, KJs can select the song they want from the menus on the hard drive. For serious home karaoke enthusiasts, karaoke hard drives are also a great option.

Pros and Cons of Laptop Systems



  • Convenience.
  • Cheaper.
  • Sound quality will usually not be as good as a commercially recorded disc.

Buying Karaoke Discs & Tracks

Buying Karaoke Songs For Computerised System

KJ/DJ Laptop.

Karaoke songs are so easy to purchase. Indeed, there are many outlets, and the tracks are cheap enough.

Some karaoke songs are readily available as MP3+G. Therefore, you can add them to your hard drive immediately.

However, karaoke discs require a little effort. But once you rip your karaoke discs, adding them to your HDD is easy.

Of course, laptops are convenient for karaoke gigs. You can also use a cheap laptop to play karaoke songs at home.

Buying CDGs

Although not as popular nowadays, new karaoke discs (CDGs) are still on sale. But companies are releasing less and less of them. However, they are more widely available on the second-hand market. Once you purchase the karaoke discs, you can easily rip them for use on a hard drive. Those rips should be in the MP3+G format. Also, rip your discs at the highest quality possible.

The main karaoke format for a computerised system is MP3+G. Typically, a 320kbps MP3+G karaoke track will be 8–10 MB. So, you can see how a hard drive can hold every track you need.

Downloadable Karaoke Songs**

Thanks to the internet, downloading karaoke tracks has become extremely simple. Several websites offer free and paid downloadable karaoke tracks. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can find just about any song in karaoke form. However, always check copyright and licensing laws before downloading any tracks.

Downloadable karaoke tracks will usually be in the ever-popular MP3+G format. You can then add them directly to your file system on your hard drive. If you have options, always choose the highest quality possible. We recommend downloading karaoke tracks at 320kbps.

Downloadable MP4 Karaoke Songs**

Current karaoke manufacturers are busy updating their catalogues. Indeed, most should be able to offer an MP4 version of the karaoke song you need. Some even provide MP4 and CDG versions for the same price. You can add these downloadable tracks directly to your hard drive.

** See our comprehensive Karaoke Directory to find current manufacturers where you can download tracks.

Our karaoke directory will also show you manufacturers that no longer exist. This is handy because you can still buy their products on the second-hand market. Not only that, but we review all karaoke makers!

Summing Up Karaoke Formats

With so many different karaoke formats available, our comprehensive information should help you decide which ones to choose. Of course, you can use them all, provided you have the equipment.

No matter which one of the karaoke formats you choose, you can be sure to have a super time. With so many options available, the possibilities are endless. So grab some friends, pick some songs, and get ready to have a great time singing karaoke!

Our favourite karaoke format is the MP4 video version. That is because the on-screen display is so much better. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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