Most small busiess offices are a lot more functional than that of the fictional Bluth Company, which served as the corporate backdrop for the beloved TV show Arrested Development. In that show, a holiday party features an awkward karaoke duet. Nevertheless, if a holiday party has music (and what good party doesn't?), there's often the temptation by many to grab the mike to show off their (lack of) vocal talent. Fortunately, there are options out there perfectly suited to the level of skill of any office crooner.

For karaoke idols. You may have seen the squat karaoke boxes by The Singing Machine in a local toy store, but the company's pedestal model takes the look and features up several steps with separate speakers. It also includes Bluetooth as one of many sources for music alongside traditional karaoke CDs and even FM radio. It also neatly houses two microphones for duets and hooks up to a television (composite video only) for sharing group lyrics. Despite the many components, the system assembles and breaks down quickly (if you skip putting in the screws) but the lightweight plastic may not survive a particularly rowdy party. Overall, the system, while quite loud, doesn't offer the sound quality at louder volumes of some alternatives.

For the tone-deaf. With its boom microphone and powerful amp-like speaker, Singtrix looks more like something you'd see at a local coffeehouse open mike. Its various components, including placeholders for tablets and phones, take a while to put together. But the heart of the system is a vocal processing unit that can not only autotune vocals to make anyone sound great, but create on-the-fly harmonies and vocal stylings for particular karaoke favorites like Bohemian Rhapsody. As a result, the product can let virtually anyone join in without concern for their vocal talent.

For those whose sing-off has turned off. The handle and wheels on Ion's Block Party Live allow you to easily roll this DJ-style speaker with booming sound virtually anywhere. It comes with a microphone and support for Bluetooth audio. But what really sets the unit apart is its multifaceted clear domed top that, at the touch of a button, puts forth a convincing room-filling disco light show of red, orange, blue and green lights that can sync to the beats. Even more impressively, a companion iPhone app allows fine control over the illuminated spectacle. As a bonus, the system should work well for general announcements during non-party times as long as one's willing to take the chance that the distracting lights won't go off accidentally.

Published on: Dec 21, 2014