The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa, iSM1030BT and iSM1050BT Review

 

The Singing Machine iSM1028 is full of features that karaoke enthusiasts will love – from the 7” LCD monitor, to the front-loading CD+G player, to the iPod/iPhone dock, this karaoke has lot to offer at a nice price.

Ask most consumers what they want from a karaoke machine for family use and they’re going to say they want the best set of features for a low price, under $200.  The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa seems to have it all.  The price is affordable, it has a camera, a 7” screen, separate tower speakers and a pedestal base with two microphones.  It’s specifically designed to work with your iPod to give you more music and song track options.

The real question is whether or not you can truly get great performance from a budget machine and how these features respond.

There seem to be two groups of people who buy this machine – those who understand what features it has and are pleased with them and those who misunderstand the features and are disappointed with what they’ve purchased.

Below you will find a detailed review of all the features and functions of this Singing Machine Karaoke System, along with pros and cons, consumer ratings, pricing information, and much more! If you are more serious about singing, combine this machine with some singing lessons online and soon you will be able to learn how to sing like a pro. Also, take a look at my other reviews on this site. I promise, Karaoke for All is the best place you can find online for the most in-depth reviews.

Also, note that there are two other models from the same family that offer options of recording and Bluetooth top of what ism1028Xa has to offer. If you are not here to read more details about the features and are after a quick view of this family of singing machine karaoke machines, then take a look at the table below and you will quickly understand what the common features are and what are the differences.

 ISM1028xaISM1030BTISM1050BT
Bluetooth®red-x-cirlcegreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Recording Optionred-x-cirlcegreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Auto Voice
Control
green-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Balance Controlgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Built-in
Speaker
green-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
CD+G/CD
Player
green-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Digital Key
Control
green-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Echo Controlgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Line-ingreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Monitorgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
MP3+G/USB
Playback
green-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Pedestalgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Resting Tablet
Cradle

red-x-cirlcegreen-check-markgreen-check-mark

OK, now let’s get back to our comprehensive review and see what each and every single feature means and why you should care nor not about them …. Enjoy…

Type of Usage

This Karaoke System can be used in a variety of different locations and for many different purposes.  Use it at your company Christmas party, or just use it at home with your family – either way, it will provide all sorts of fun.  The sound quality of the machine is probably best suited for a small venue, for instance in your living room at home, but people have used it in other slightly larger settings and were not disappointed.

Karaoke Microphone

The machine includes two wired microphones, each with their own separate volume controls.  If the user prefers to use his or her own microphones, they can be easily attached into the two included microphone jacks.  Users should note that this machine is not compatible with wireless microphones.

Monitor / Display

The Singing Machine iSM1028Xacomes with a 7” TFT LCD screen.  TFT stands for Thin Film Transistor, and is a type of technology that is used to help improve the quality of an LCD screen.  The user can also connect this machine to his or her TV to display the lyrics on a larger screen if desired.  The machine includes the necessary RCA cables to connect to a TV (yellow for video, white and red for audio.)

NOTE:  This system does not provide HDMI hookups. What this means is that you can still connect it to your TV, but not through an HDMI cable.  The display when played on a connected device is not high definition.

Song source / Player

This Karaoke system is very versatile and can be connected to sources such as CD/CD+G/CD-R/CD-RW/DVD/VCR MP3 Player, iPod, Tablets etc.

In addition to all the other features that make the Singing Machine iSM1028Xa he so versatile, it also has the ability to connect to sources such as iPods, tablets, Smartphones, and MP3 players. The benefit of this is that the user can stream his or her playlists simply by connecting these devices to the machine with a 3.5 mm audio cable.

While you can connect a variety of different devices to this machine, it should be noted that the docking station only fits iPods – other devices will have to be set on the floor or on table nearby. There has been some questions and confusion about the compatibility of this device with Android phones. The manufacturer does not mention this in their manuals and data sheets. Through several discussions I personally had over the phone with some of the technical support guys at this company, I came to the conclusion that this device has not been designed with Android compatibility in mind. They simply seem to have been mostly focused on iPod devices and alike.

The CD+G player will play not only CDGs, but also regular CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs.

The user can also connect the machine to a DVD player or VCR by using the included RCA cables (yellow for video, white and red for audio.)  This provides the user with the ability to play videos and DVDs to sing along with.

Here are some different options the user can use all the available connections on this machine:

  • You can play a CDG in the CD+G player and display lyrics on the built-in monitor.
  • You can show a video from your iPod or MP3 player on the 7” TFT screen and sing along (take a look at the following section to find out what kinds of iPods and iPhones are compatible with this machine.)  Note also that videos can be pulled up on YouTube using your mobile device, and then displayed on the built-in screen.
  • The user can also play videos and music from any other audio/video component such as a DVD, VCR, or TV.  This can be done by using the included RCA cables to connect with.
  • The machine also has the ability to display the videos on your iPod to your TV.

User should note:  This Singing Machine Karaoke System is not wireless, and is not compatible with Bluetooth devices.  There is also no USB port.

iPod docking and compatibility

The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa comes with an iPod connector compatible with the following iPod models:

  • Karaoke Machine with iPod Dock
  • iPod nano 6th generation (video Camera) 8 / 16 GB
  • iPod nano 5th generation (video Camera) 8 / 16 GB
  • iPod nano 4th generation (video Camera) 8 / 16 GB
  • iPod nano 3rd generation (video Camera) 4 / 8 GB
  • iPod nano 2nd generation (aluminium) 2 / 4 / 8 GB
  • iPod nano 1st generation 1 / 2 / 4 GB)
  • iPod touch 4th generation (8 / 32 / 64 GB)
  • iPod touch 3rd generation (32 / 64 GB)
  • iPod touch 2nd generation (8 / 16 / 32 GB)
  • iPod classic 5th generation (video) 30 GB
  • iPod classic 5th generation (video) 60 / 80 GB
  • iPod classic (2009) 160 GB
  • iPod classic (2007) 160GB
  • iPod classic (80GB)
  • iPod 4th generation (color display) 40 / 60 GB
  • iPod 4th generation (color display) 20 / 30 GB
  • iPod 4th generation 20 GB
  • iphone 4S 16 32 64 GB and older models

This Karaoke machine will not work with an iPod shuffle as they do not come with a dock connector.  The machine will work with iPhone 4S and older models as you can see in the list above.

One important point that most people pay not attention is that while running your playlist on your iPod you have the option to see the video on the karaoke machine screen or on your TV if you are connected to it. This means you are benefiting from a digital music library and at the same time watching the video on a larger screen.

For those interested in more detail, I have reviewed different iPod compatible karaoke machines and the features and benefits that each of them would offer.

There is no need to mention that another convenient feature of this machine is that you can charge your iPod using the iPod docking station.

The KaraokeVision Feature

This system is basically a Karaoke Machine with camera. This feature is called KaraokeVision. The attached camera allows the user to view himself or herself on the built-in screen.  This makes performances more fun because the singers can see themselves while they are performing!  The camera lens can even be rotated to attain ideal screen focus.  It can also be adjusted up and down so you should be able to get a good camera angle regardless of your height.  The machine is only about 3 feet tall, so kids should be able to use the camera feature as well.

Karaoke Speakers

The two speakers included with this home karaoke machine are sufficient, but some people have noted that the speakers “rattle” when volume is turned up to the maximum. If you have your own speakers that you would like to use, you can certainly do this by connecting them via the two speaker left and right speaker jacks.

The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa Features

2-digit LED display:  This will display the number of tracks on an inserted CD.

AM/FM radio:  This machine will play AM/FM radio, but there is no microphone or karaoke function  when radio mode is turned on.

CD/CD+Graphics player:  This CD+G player will play regular CDs and CDGs (CD+Graphics) which will show lyrics on the built-in LCD screen.

Demo disc:  The included demo disc comes with a selection of karaoke songs to get you started.

5 free Karaoke downloads:  Get 5 free karaoke songs that you can download from the singing machine store.

7″ TFT LCD color monitor to display scrolling lyrics:  When a CDG is played, the lyrics will display on the screen for your convenience.

Video and audio input/output:  These are the jacks that will allow you to attach a TV, VCR, or stereo system to the machine using RCA cables.

Compatible with iPods and iPhones: Machine comes with an iPod dock where you can attach your iPod/iPhone and charge it as well. See the iPod docking compatibility for the iPod and iPhone models that work with this Karaoke Machine.

Customizable controls including digital key control:  Allows you to adjust the key of the song so the singer can perform in the best key for his or her voice.

Auto voice control:  This is a fun feature, but it should be noted that it only works on a multiplex CD.  A multiplex CD is a CD+G (CD plus graphics) that has the same set of songs in two different groups. The first group usually just has lead vocals on the left channel and background music on the right channel.  The second group will generally have the karaoke background music on both channels but with no lead vocals. So when you play a multiplex CD, this function will mute the lead singer’s voice when you turn it to the left, and will mute the music when you turn it to the right.  If you play a regular music CD, this control will switch the sound to either the right or left speaker. This feature is great and will help you learn how to sing good and improve your vocal range.

Balance:  When you’re using a multiplex CD, you can adjust the balance between the pre-recorded singer’s voice and the music.

Echo control:  This enhances improves and enhances the quality of the singer’s voice.

Two wired microphones included

Two microphone jacks with separate volume control:  Plug in your own microphones into the microphone jacks if you prefer to not use the included microphones.

RCA cables:  Connect the machine to other devices such as TV or DVD player using the included RCA cables.

Two tower speakers

Instruction manual:  Provides user with instructions on how to set up and operate the machine, along with some troubleshooting tips as well.

Machine is made of plastic

90-day warranty from date of sale

Recording Options, Bluetooth

The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa does not have the ability to record and does not come with Bluetooth connectivity.  However, check out the following two models that have all the same features as the ISM-1028 and can also record and come with Bluetooth:

The additional two features above might be very important for some. If you are looking to hook up your smart devices using Bluetooth and/or if recording option is a deal-breaker for you, I would highly recommend to go with the above two options.

Voice Controls – balance control, digital echo, key control

Echo control: With this feature, the user can add echo to the singer’s voice.  There are 8 different levels that can be used to achieve the best possible sound for the singer’s voice.

Key Control:  The machine offers 8 different key control levels, so the singer can choose the best key for his or her voice.

Balance Control: When playing a multiplex CD (a special type of CDG) you can adjust the balance between the singer’s voice on the CD and the music.

Audio/Video Input & Outputs

Video IN Jack:  Use this jack if you want to display lyrics on the built-in monitor from another video source using the included RCA cables (yellow for video, red and white for audio)

AUX IN Jack (Left and Right):  Use these jacks to connect another audio source such as a tuner or AV receiver.  Use the red and white RCA jacks in the AUX IN left and right jacks.

AC power cord Jack

VIDEO OUT Jack (Left):  Use included RCA cables to connect to a TV, VCR, or DVD player (yellow for video, red and white for audio)

AUX OUT Jack (Left and Right)

SPEAKER Jacks (Right and Left):  These jacks are used to connect the included speakers to the system.  They can also be used to connect your own speakers if you prefer.

MIC1 and MIC2 Jack:  These jacks are used to connect the included microphones to the system.  You can also use these to connect your own microphones if you like.

Headphone Jack:  Use this jack to connect your headphones to the machine (NOTE: headphones must be purchased separately and are not included with the machine.)

Special Effects – disco lights, etc

This system does not provide any special effects or disco lights.

Power

Connect machine to the wall using the included AC power adaptor.  This Karaoke Machine does not work with batteries.

Control Panel

This home karaoke machine offers a control panel including the following functions:

  • Adjustable camera lens:  Camera that allows the singer to view himself or herself while performing.  It can be adjusted to achieve the clearest picture possible.
  • CD door
  • iPod support
  • iPod adjustment knob
  • 7” TFT LCD color screen:  Built-in screen will display lyrics when a CDG is played in the CD+G player.
  • iPod docking station:  Put your iPod in the docking station to stream music from your iPod and for easy charging.
  • Function Selector: Use this to select what type of device you want to use: iPod, CDG player, the radio, or when connecting to a TV, etc.
  • 2 microphone holders
  • COLOR control: Adjusts the picture color on the screen.
  • VIDEO out selector: Used when connecting to a TV.
  • BRIGHTNESS control: Used to adjust the brightness of the picture on the monitor.
  • BALANCE control:  On a multiplex CD, adjust the balance between the original singer’s voice and the music.
  • MIC1 Volume control
  • Singing Woman with Retro MicrophoneMASTER Volume control:  Controls the overall volume.
  • MIC1 Jack: Used to plug in one of the included microphones.
  • HEADPHONE Jack:  Plug in headphones here.
  • MIC2 Jack:  Used to plug in one of the included microphones.
  • SKIP-, KEY/ECHO button: Used to adjust the Echo effect, 8 different levels.
  • PLAY/PAUSE button
  • MENU DOWN button:  Used for navigating the menu.
  • On / OFF button
  • ON/OFF LED
  • TUNING knob:  Used for tuning the AM/FM radio.
  • PROGRAM LED:  Displays what program function is selected.
  • LED Display
  • PLAY/PAUSE LED
  • CDG LED
  • REPEAT LED
  • BAND Selector: Used when playing the radio to select AM or FM mode.
  • Monitor Selector: When displaying CDG lyrics, iPod video, or a video signal from another audio/video device, this selector is set to CDG/iPod/AUX mode. If you want to display your own image while singing, this selector can be set to CAMERA mode. Set this control to OFF if you don’t want to use the monitor.
  • Auto Voice Control:  When this function is used, the vocals on a multiplex CD are muted as soon as the singer starts singing into the microphone.  When the singer stops singing, the voice on the CD come back on.
  • MIC2 Volume control
  • PROGRAM button: Use this to program and play songs in a pre-determined order.  You can program a maximum of 20 tracks.
  • REPEAT button: Repeats the current track.
  • Karaoke-PartyRANDOM button: Plays songs in random order.
  • KEY button: Provides 8 different keys to sing in.
  • SKIP+, KEY/ECHO button
  • ECHO button
  • MENU UP button:  Used for navigating the menu.
  • SELECT button
  • STOP/MENU button

Remote Control

There is no remote control with this machine.

Set Up

The setup is fairly simple and only takes a few minutes.  The instructions in the user manual are easy to understand.  The main steps involved in setting it up are:

1. Attaching the pedestal to the stand
2. Attaching power connectors

3.  Attaching speakers into stands
Details instructions can be found in the user manual.

What’s in the box

Singing Machine iSM1028 with pedestal, two speakers, two microphones, set of RCA cables.

The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa Consumer Reviews

I have done extensive research about this product and have spent a lot of time going through related reviews. This is a summary of the outcome which will help you decide if this is the best karaoke machine for your needs.

Most people who purchased this Singing Machine Karaoke System were very pleased with its performance.  Some of the main features that people seemed to enjoy the most include:

iPod docking station:  People love that they can use their iPod or iPhone and use them to find and play karaoke songs and videos from online.  This keeps people from needing to have a huge library of karaoke CDs taking up space in their house.  Some people suggest buying an iPod touch to use with the machine, then taking a few karaoke CDs and uploading them to the iPod to save space.

Multiple microphones:  The machine comes with two microphones, which people found to be a nice bonus.  Some said it might be a good idea to buy cable extensions for the microphones so you have more ability to move around.  Others said that while the included microphones are sufficient, they are not the best quality, and one might prefer to purchase new microphones for better sound.

Sleek design:  People liked the design of the machine, and the fact that it looks very professional.

Camera:  Some thought the camera function that allows the singers to watch themselves while performing was a fun feature, but others found it somewhat useless since it doesn’t have the ability to record.

LCD screen:
Most people found the color 7” LCD screen to be nice and clear, and reading lyrics on the screen to be very easy.

Dimensions and other specifications

Audio section (Tower Speaker):

  • Karaoke-Machine-pinOutput power: 7 Watts (RMS)
  • Output Impedance: 3 OHMS

CD player section:

  • Frequency response: 100 Hz – 20 KHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 50 dB

Monitor section

  • 7” Color TFT LCD screen, NTSC system

Radio Section

  • AM Frequency Range: 530 – 1710 kHz
  • FM Frequency Range: 88 – 108 MHz

Microphone:

  • -74dB 600 Ohms Impedance with 6.3mm Dynamic Microphone

Power section

  • AC 110V – 120V, 60Hz

Dimension:

  • Main Unit: 18.7 x 17.9 x 37.9 inches / 47.5 x 45.5 x 96.3 cm
  • Tower Speaker: 7.5 x 7.7 x 26.8 inches / 19 x 19.5 x 68 cm

Weight:

  • Main Unit: 13.2 lbs / 6.0 Kgs
  • Pros and consTower Speaker: 5.3 lbs / 2.4 Kgs

Pros

  • Built-in screen for viewing lyrics
  • Comes with two microphones
  • Versatile connectivity: CDG, iPod, MP3 player, TV, DVD player, VCR
  • KaraokeVision feature: Users can watch themselves perform live
  • AM/FM radio

Cons

  • No disco light effects
  • No scoring system after performance
  • No HDMI hook up
  • Lower-quality speakers
  • No recording feature
  • Docking station only holds iPod devices (although you can connect other types of devices, just not through the docking station.)
  • Not very durable:  Kids should be closely monitored around the machine to avoid it being damaged.

Consumer Ratings

After reading the reviews on this machine, reading the manual, and doing a good deal of research on my own, I’ve found many people who purchased this machine were very satisfied.  However, even with all the people who found that it met all their needs, there were others who complained that the machine broke after just a few months of use.  Some people purchased the machine and liked it for the most part, but found they wanted better microphones or to plug it into a better speaker system.  There were also people who were surprised because the machine didn’t do something that they expected it to, like allow you to sing while in radio mode.

One look at the price on this machine, the number of features, and the various buttons and controls, and you can tell this is a decent machine.  Many similar machines with the same features will cost double what this one does.

I think that as long as you understand this machine’s capabilities and aren’t looking to use this for your career-launching performance in front of a public audience you’re going to like how this one performs.

The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa Price

After an extensive review of this product, I can say that those who purchased this karaoke machine and had no problems with it breaking felt that the machine was worth the money.  Avid karaoke users found this Singing machine karaoke system was a great alternative to a more professional, pricier machine.  Some people had problems with the machine breaking and felt that the karaoke machine was definitely not worth the asking price.

You have to realize what you get with this karaoke machine that you can’t get with others at this same price:  a pedestal set up that doesn’t need a TV connection or to be set on a table in order to see the lyrics, a camera so you can watch yourself singing, and the ability to connect your iPod – plus two microphones when most come with just one.  For the price, you get a lot of features and voice control options for a competitive price.  I think that’s some pretty good entertainment value for the money spent.

Here are the three options for you to purchase from this family of karaoke machines:

ISM1028xaISM1030BTISM1050BT

 


4 thoughts on “The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa, iSM1030BT and iSM1050BT Review”

  1. Excellent review. This was thurough and well articulated. Thank you for taking the time to research and write this review. I wish I could find this type of research on all reviews. Im pretty sure im going to purchase this machine. Thanks again!

    1. I am happy to see my review helped you make an informed decision. Enjoy your karaoke machine!

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