We test out the One-Person Karaoke Deluxe.

As the biggest anime fan on our staff, our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa has been coping fairly well with the need to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak. After all, even when going out was an option, a day on the couch working through his backlog of recently recorded anime episodes always sounded like a pretty good time to his otaku ears.

However, with the pandemic now causing production delays and a sudden drop in the amount of new anime content coming out, Seiji needs to find other ways to keep himself entertained, and so he’s turned to his other passion: music. Unfortunately, living in a compact Tokyo apartment means Seiji is always in pretty close proximity to his neighbors, but he stumbled across a way that would hopefully allow him to sing to his heart’s content without also getting on his neighbors’ nerves.

It’s called the Hitori de Karoke DX, or “One-Person Karaoke Deluxe.” It’s not the solo singing that’s the real draw here, though, but that the device promises to let you sing with a full-sized voice while muffling the sound enough so that it doesn’t disturb others.

Seiji found the kit on Amazon for 7,800 yen (US$73), and while that may put it out of your instant-impulse-buy price range, it’s still an impressive value. A nice-quality microphone by itself can set you back 10,000 yen, and the set also includes an audio interface unit, something that can easily cost 5,000 yen even for used examples.

The microphone’s unusual looks are so that the cup can cover your mouth while singing, and there’s a layer of foam sound insulation on the inner surface too.

Set-up is quick and simple. There’s an AC adapter that provides power to the interface unit, and also a cord to connect the interface to a PC, music player, or radio via its earphone jack, through which your karaoke session’s background music will be pulled. There are also spots for you to plug in the microphone and your earphones/headphones, through which the mix of the music and your vocals will be played back to you.

With everything hooked up, it was time for Seiji to sing!

First off, he was pleasantly surprised by the audio quality. In addition to volume, the interface unit lets you adjust the amount of echo for the microphone just like you’re at an actual karaoke parlor. Even better, because Seiji was using CDs and YouTube videos of non-vocal versions of the actual songs, the backing music was a higher quality than the synthesized imitations you hear at most karaoke joints.

But while what Seiji was hearing in his headphones sounded nice, what about what the people around him were hearing? Could the One-Person Karaoke Deluxe really contain the sound of Seiji’s rendition of boy band Smap’s “Dynamite?” Let’s go to the video:

Nope, not really. Sure, the sound of Seiji’s voice ws definitely muffled, but it wasn’t like you couldn’t hear him singing. Instead, it sounded like he was singing while having been taken hostage and gagged.

But as he thought about his experiment, Seiji realized that he wasn’t really testing for the parameters the device is designed for. The One-Person Karaoke Deluxe isn’t to protect the people who are in the exact same room as you from your singing voice. If those people don’t like your singing, they can easily tell you to shut up, or maybe just punch you in the stomach since you’re holding a microphone and won’t be able to block the strike.

No, the One-Person Karaoke Deluxe is supposed to help keep the peace between you and your neighbors, i.e. people who aren’t hanging out in your living room while you’re going through your personal greatest hits. So Seiji set up his recording device again, but this time placed it in the room next to where he was singing.

▼ When you see the characters 防音なし appear in the video, Seiji is singing without using the mouth-covering microphone, and when you see 防音あり, he’s using it.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 中澤星児 (@seiji_nakazawa) on

While this still wasn’t enough to completely block the sound of Seiji’s voice, it definitely seemed to make more of a difference. Without using the special microphone, Seiji’s voice was clear enough to make out the individual words he was singing. With the One-Person Karaoke Deluxe, though, the effect was closer to someone having a muffled conversation in the next room.

It’s also worth noting that for Seiji’s experiment, the wall between where he was recording and the room he was singing in is an interior wall, and so less insulated than exterior walls or the ones between separate tenants’ units in an apartment building. So if you’re choosing between singing with the One-Person Karaoke Deluxe or without, your neighbors will definitely appreciate if you choose “with,” but you’ll still probably want to refrain from any full-force, late-night sessions.

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where his karaoke repertoire consists heavily of Bump of Chicken and Monkey Majik songs.

[ Read in Japanese ]