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by Bravenet.com

Several years ago musical instruments with midi capability all used different formats. This changed when the industry came up with what is now known as General Midi or GM for short, which allows midifiles to use standard settings for various instruments i.e., drums are played through channel 10. Since it's conception hundreds of midifile creators have appeared allowing those with no musical ability to purchase or download tracks from the internet free.

Karaoke players use one of the following file formats:

CD+G
This format is most commonly used by manufactures for a type of CD disk which unlike standard CD's can also display lyrics and pictures using a CD+G compatible player. Some Home Entertaiment Centers and DVD players can also play these files (check the spec's before purchasing if this is a requirement).

Standard MIDI File - .mid
The most popular format of computer music is the Standard Midi File (SMF). It is supported by most midi software developers, can be played by practically any midi hardware plus saved, edited, as well as swapped between programs.

Karaoke Files - .kar
Karaoke files are midi files with lyrics included. Some midi files are coded with the lyrics, changing the extension i.e., from .kar to .mid will allow you to play the file using a midifile player. If the file contains lyrics try changing the extension from .mid to .kar to enable the lyrics to sync in your midi karaoke player.

Star 3 Files - .st3
Star 3 files contain midi, lyrics and graphics but are not in a standard file format which means you need a special karaoke player to use them.

MP3 Files - .mp3
MP3 has is become popular with internet users due to the increase in sound quality and addition of graphics and video clips which can be viewed using a an audio streaming player, or purchased and downloaded from the internet.

Other formats used include Tabulature or Lyric/Chord Tabulature .tab which is mainly used by guitarists

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