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MP3 Players

iKaraoke: Sing Hosanna!

What's the one big problem with Apple's iPod? Obviously, the lack of a karaoke function. Griffin has plugged this gaping hole in the market with the iKaraoke

Karaoke began in '70s Japan when an enterprising popular singer began selling a machine that played instrumental tapes of his songs at ¥100 a pop. Thirty years later, the world's most irritating invention is now available to plug into your iPod.

Using a process known as 'centre removal' Griffin's iKaraoke strips the vocal from your favourite songs and lets you ruin them with your own vocals -- or in the case of Keane, improve them immeasurably. The system subtracts the audio on the right channel from the left, so anything in the centre (usually the vocals, snare and some solo instruments) disappears. 

There's a problem here though: centre removal is hit-and-miss for getting rid of vocals, and relies on the studio engineer who mixed the track having perfectly panned the vocals between the left and right audio channels. This is rarely the case, and you'll often get slightly odd results.

The squealing sounds coming out of your mouth, however, will be far more distracting to the innocent bystander than any phase issues with the backing track. The iKaraoke can be plugged into your hi-fi using a regular headphone-style cable, or will broadcast to a nearby radio via its built-in FM transmitter. For the sake of humanity, do not buy this £27 accessory available from all major stockists. -CS