Be the Boss with PocketC.H.I.P. Karaoke

No need to wait for your song to come on at the local karaoke joint anymore. You can now queue up all those hair metal ballads, Britpop hits, and good ole American heartland rock ‘n’ roll you’ve dreamt of belting out with your friends on PocketC.H.I.P. Karaoke!

I ❤️ karaoke. It brings so much Satisfaction and adds to my Lust for Life. Whether you are in Funkytown, the local dive bar (you know the one) or a Love Shack, it always livens up the party. When I found Pykaraoke in the Debian repositories, I knew this was the software PocketC.H.I.P. was Born to Run.

The best part is this build takes a minimal investment of energy with a maximum return of good times. Enough chit chat, Let’s Get It Started!


  • 1. Setup USB Sound Card

    Plug in the USB sound card, your speaker (or a pair of headphones) and the microphone. Fire up Terminal and open AlsaMixer:

    Here you can manage the USB sound card and any devices plugged into it. Following the menu at the top, press F6 and select your USB sound card. Mine is called C-Media USB Audio Device… very descriptive. Toggle the speaker and mic on and off by pressing m. Use the up and down arrows to adjust the volume levels to your liking.

    When everything sounds good, exit AlsaMixer by pressing Esc.

    2. Install PyKaraoke

    If you aren’t already, connect to a WiFi network in PocketC.H.I.P.’s settings (hit the gear in the lower right corner of the screen).

    On Pykaraoke’s website the author lists different ways to install Pykaraoke depending on the OS you’re using. For PocketC.H.I.P.’s Debian based image I found it easiest to use apt-get to install it and all it’s dependencies.

    Note: If you do download and install the dependencies as instructed on the website the package listed as libwxgtk-python has since been updated to python-wxgtk3.0.

    That’s it! Pykaraoke is ready to use. Your karaoke dreams are close to coming true. To start the application type:

    3. Upload Karaoke Songs to PocketC.H.I.P.

    Pykaraoke can play several different file formats designed for karaoke machines. I mostly used CDG and MIDI formats. CDG files can be purchased online and you can download MIDI files from various online sites for free.

    Pykaraoke also has a suite of tools that manage CDG files and even has a utility to create your own playble files from CDG discs. It makes for a good excuse to go hunting for karaoke CDs at your local thrift store.

    Once you have acquired a collection of song files it’s easiest to upload them by connecting to PocketC.H.I.P. via SSH from a host computer then transferring them using an FTP client like FileZilla. To SSH into PocketC.H.I.P., you first need to install a tool that will enable you to remotely connect such as OpenSSH.

    To connect via SSH to PocketC.H.I.P. you need it’s IP address. Use the following command and find the address:

    Next, create a directory for all your karaoke songs to live in:

    Open your FTP client and plug in the IP address a.k.a. host, username, password and connect. Transfer all your glorious song files into your new directory.

    4. Load Songs in Pykaraoke

    Pykaraoke has a convenient feature of creating a searchable database. All you need to do is tell Pykaraoke where to look. There are two ways to load songs: either by searching for a compiled database or by navigating to song files and loading them manually. By default, Pykaraoke will open in Search View which will be indicated in the upper right corner.

    To create a database navigate to File > Add New Songs to Database.

    A window that is not sized correctly will open. You will not be able to see the option of adding a directory for your database, but you still can! Hit TAB once and press Enter. This will highlight and select the option you can not see.

    Another window will pop open, this is where you navigate to your song directory. After you’ve done that, click Scan Now which will scan for karaoke files and compile a database of found songs. Then click Save and Close.

    Now when you type an artist or song title and press Search any songs that match your keywords will pop up. Add a song to your playlist by highlighting it and clicking Add to Playlist. If some of the buttons are hard to see or cut off, drag the middle bar right or left to adjust the size of the search and playlist windows.

    5. Press Start and Sing Your ❤️ Out

    Add as many songs as you like. To start the playlist highlight the first song and click Start. Pick up the mic and get ready!

    When you are done (which you never really are with karaoke) hit Esc to stop the playlist.

    What’s your favorite way to karaoke? Let us know in the comments below. Plus, make sure to tweet us your favorite photos from your very own PocketC.H.I.P. Karaoke sessions, and don’t forget to join the conversation in the forum.

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