The Singing Machine ISM-1028Xa is a more sophisticated karaoke system than the top-rated Electrohome EAKAR300 (Est. $70) . It includes a built-in screen, dual microphones and two powerful external speakers. While it has more features than the Electrohome, it also gets more complaints about durability, despite its higher price tag. Also, while it has a dock for an iPod or iPhone, it lacks an auxiliary port to connect other types of MP3 players.
Feature packed. The ISM-1028Xa offers a wealth of features, including dual speakers, a built-in monitor, two microphones and separate volume controls for vocals and backing tracks. There are also various voice modulation options, such as echo control, digital key adjustment and auto voice control (AVC). However, it's not as versatile as some other players. It can play CD+Gs and stream music from an iPod or iPhone, but there's no way to connect any other type of MP3 player. Note that you'll need an adapter for the latest Apple mobile devices, which use a Lightning connector. Also, though the ISM-1028Xa has a built-in radio, you can't sing along with it; all karaoke features automatically switch off when the radio goes on.
Sound performer. Reviewers generally describe the ISM-1028Xa as very easy to set up and use. Owners are particularly pleased at how easy it is to stream YouTube videos via the karaoke machine's iPod/iPhone dock. Thanks to this feature, reports one satisfied owner at Amazon.com, "I have yet to need to buy any of the CD+G disks." Most reviewers also say this machine delivers good overall sound quality and volume, though some warn that it's not really professional quality. The ISM-1028Xa's weakest point seems to be the microphones; some users say their gain is poor and you must get very close to them for the vocals to be audible.
A bit flimsy. The reviewer at KaraokeMachineCritics.com says that the machine's mostly plastic construction is "a bit of a bummer," though everything still worked on their machine. Not all users were so lucky, however: Many reviewers at Amazon.com and Walmart.com say the machine either stopped working soon after purchase or never worked properly at all. It's backed by a 90-day warranty that covers "defects in material and workmanship," but that won't protect you if the machine gets knocked over -- which some owners say is quite likely to happen, as it's very top-heavy.
The Singing Machine ISM-1028Xa is one of the top three home karaoke players at KaraokeMachineCritics.com, with an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. The reviewer praises its sound performance and great features, but notes that it's hampered by the lack of an auxiliary input jack.
Review: Singing Machine iSM1028Xa, Editors of KaraokeMachineCritics.com, Not Dated
There are over 80 reviews for the Singing Machine ISM-1028Xa at Amazon.com, with ratings averaging 3.6 stars out of 5. Owners praise the karaoke machine's sound quality, and they love how easy it is to view YouTube videos on it. However, there are quite a few complaints about durability.
Review: Singing Machine iSM1028Xa 7-Inch Color TFT Display CDG Karaoke Player, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2014
The Singing Machine ISM-1028Xa has about 50 reviews at Walmart.com, with an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. Owners say the machine sounds good and is very easy to assemble and use. However, we also saw many complaints that it's unreliable and the mikes are of poor quality.
Review: The Singing Machine iSM1028Xa Pedestal CD+G Karaoke Player, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of March 2014
Editors at KaraokeMachineReviews.org say the Singing Machine ISM-1028Xa is "the karaoke machine to get." They love its features and find it very easy to set up and use. It's not clear why they award the machine only 4 stars when others on the site get 5.
Review: Singing Machine iSM-1028 Review, Editors of KaraokeMachineReviews.org, June 8, 2013