The improvement in sound makes us think we should all wear face masks at karaoke from now on.   

Back in April, karaoke businesses were asked to close during Japan’s month-long State of Emergency after their small, enclosed spaces were deemed to be a coronavirus risk.

When the State of Emergency was lifted in May, the Japan Karaoke Box Association set up a new list of guidelines to safeguard staff and customers against COVID-19. These include limiting the number of people in one box and the request that everyone masks…even when singing.

Needless to say, bellowing our favourite hits into a microphone while wearing a mask doesn’t exactly make us feel like rockstars. However, for the folks at Joysound, who operate a lot of the country’s karaoke machines, this presented an opportunity to create a new effect to enhance the voice behind the face mask. 

▼ Et voila! the “Mask Effect” was born.

If you think this might be just a gimmick to get customers back in karaoke rooms, you’ll be surprised to know that it actually does make a difference.

▼ The video below shows what it sounds like to sing with a mask, first without the effect and then with the effect turned on.

The effect, which gives masked singers a significantly clearer, less muffled sound, can be selected by pressing the icon on menu tablets at karaoke joints directly managed by Joysound from 7 July. From 10 July, the feature will be available at other karaoke places that use the Joysound systems.

Now that more and more people are wearing masks as part of the new normal facing us during the pandemic, it looks like the mask effect at karaoke is here to stay. For those of us still wary about entering karaoke rooms right now, though, there’s always this silent stay-at-home karaoke option.

Featured image: YouTube/Joysound Channel
Insert images: PR Times
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[ Read in Japanese ]