Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sing it like you mean it!

I have a confession to make. I’m a videoke maniac. I, like millions of Filipinos now scattered all over the world, cannot fathom a month, a week, or even a day of not grabbing a microphone and belt a tune at the top of my lungs.

And why not? We are, after all the true inventor of the Karaoke, calling it the “sing-along machine” way before the Japs stole the idea and branded it with a nifty, catchy name.

And so, it is no secret that this midnight creature has been fantasizing about owning a Magic Mic for the longest time. For those of you who can’t relate, the Magic Mic is one of the Philippines’ most significant contributions to this planet of ours. An ingenious invention composed only of a microphone, a number of buttons on the interface, a microchip and an RCA cable. Plug it into the boob tube, turn it on, and voila! An instant portable sing alone machine you can bring anywhere there’s television. And electricity, of course.

Rock on with Bon Jovi’s Bed of Roses to your hearts content while a skimpily clad Rebecca Romijn emotes to the rhythm on the screen. Release all your inhibitions and do it “your way”. Just a warning though, the song “My Way” has claimed 12 lives so far since the Videoke machine (a vendo-like contraption where you drop 5 peso coins in exchange for a song of your choice - see photo below) was invented some years ago. According to the Philippine National Police, seven people had perished in the year 2003 alone from videoke related incidents. Most of them sang Frank Sinatra's famous ballad "My Way" before they got killed. Another proof that patience is a virtue, but hearing a drunk singing off key is always an exception.

After the song, check out how you fared with the chanting of the score. Dyan-dya-ra-ran-dyan-dyan-dyan….Dya-ra-raaaaannn!!! (Message on monitor:) Your score: 68. You are a lousy singer. And you deserve death by a strong whack in the head with a beer bottle.

You see, the Philippines is a music-loving nation. And here, more than any other place on earth, the way you carry a tune is a matter of life and death.

And so, the advent of Magic Mic is a welcome innovation to most. No longer do you have to go to hole-in-the-wall pubs and endure the stinking breath of philandering drunks that has seemed to stick to the microphone. No longer do you have to carry bulky coins in your pocket. The Magic Mic is plug and play, and you can sing, sing, sing at the comfort of your own abode without fear that the next person on the table is giving you an evil eye because you were hogging the mic for too long.

But there is one catch, though. Magic Mic can drain your pockets. To some, it even costs a fortune. The microphone alone costs 10-12 grand (that’s more than 200 dollars to my dear readers in the US), and the song chip is about 3 grand each or 60 dollars for 3,000 plus songs. Unfortunately, unless you’re a radio station DJ or some sort of a musical genius, you can only sing (as you are only familiar with) about 300 of them. Some songs in the chip are also in foreign languages. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, etc., songs that only C-3P0 would appreciate. Moreover, if you want a decent sounding videoke, you’d have to invest on an amplifier and speakers, or at the very least, a nice home theater system. Otherwise, you’d have to be content of the music (and your voice) coming out of the TV speakers.

Needless to say, the Magic Mic has its flaws, price and practicality being the foremost reasons why this blogger cum rockstar has dilly-dallied on his purchase. But alas! There is an answer! It seems that Ursulla, Goddess of voice have heard our prayers!

Trumphet sound… Drum roll... Say hello to the DVD Videoke player. For just 5,000 bucks, (a gift from our Fairy Godmother) you get a DVD/MP3/CDR/DVDR/MIDI/VCD player, two free microphones, a songbook and a Midi disk with 9,500 pre-loaded songs. That’s right, 9,500 frigging songs! And the list is up to date, too. Only a handful of Chinese and Korean tracks here and there. I’m actually in the process of highlighting the songs that I am familiar with and I was giddy to have marked almost 80% of the song list per page! The player I bought, Karavision, gives Magic Mic and all its competitors a run for their moolah. There are also other brands like Daewoo and Platinum but are more expensive and appropriate for commercial use. Commercial meaning restaurants who have transformed their venues into Videoke joints.

Right now, I am still astonished over this wonderful thingamabob. And believe me when I tell you there is not a day that passed that I never got a hold of that mic. Or at least the songbook as I still have to battle with the first song choice over the household.

Eat your heart out, Magic Mic. I’m singing my way to stardom with my new videoke system. And to my fellow future belters out there, let me know if you’re interested. I can give you a tip where to buy your own DVD videoke system that’s way cheaper than sold in malls and advertised in Ebay.

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, folks. This rockstar is unstoppable. Today, the Philippines, tomorrow, the world!


Dirk_Star said...


Another new look?

russkal said...

It's a constant thing, i guess. And I won't stop till I'm Lord of the Blog too, like yourself.

Or maybe I could settle for court jester...

blair_mitch said...

Russ, you kill me.
Can you sing Bonnie Tyler?
I'd hate to see your i tunes mix.

russkal said...

No, the only Bonnie Tyler song I can sing are the words "Turn around..." in Total Eclipse.

I can do a mean Marvin Gaye though. And oh, Al Jarreu! Impressed?

Carlo said...

WOW! Galeeng! Kuhang-kuha mo si Mang Rob Tomas! :p

singaw said...

bro, san mo nabili ung karavision for 5K? balak ko kumuha. Tnx

russkal said...


Bro, sa Raon. Dami dun. The Karavision sells for 5 to 5,500. Platinum, mga 8K ata. The most expensive is Hyundai (around 10K plus) pero pang-videoke business na yung mga iyun.)

Got mine for 4,800. Solid!

teka muna, sino ba 'to?

Anonymous said...


I live in Dinalupihan, Bataan. Would like to know where you bought your machine for less than 5k. Can only find a ebay seller and he wants 7k plus.


russkal said...


Sa Raon, Manila. Malapit sa Quiapo. Can't remember the exact name of the shop. Most shops there sell the Karavision for 5,000 to 5,000. Kung magaling ka tumawad, makukuha mo ng 4,800. Like I did.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

hey... who knows how to burn a videoke format cd for YD-999 Platinum Player???