Karaoke lovers can now sing their hearts out and hear their voices clearly even with their face masks on, thanks to a new feature recently installed on karaoke machines across Japan.
Individuals can utilize the new "mask effect" on the popular karaoke machine "Joysound" used in karaoke boxes across the country, according to Nagoya-based karaoke machine operator Xing Inc.
The singing parlors, which reopened in line with the lifting of the state of emergency, have been seeing a rise in customers, albeit with the new normal of having their face masks on to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The newly introduced setting can be switched on using the "Joysound" device for selecting songs, and automatically amplifies the mid-range to high-range pitches, which can sound muffled through a mask.
With the new feature, masked customers need not raise their voices even during the chorus -- often associated with the climax of a song -- to hear themselves clearly.
Karaoke venues, typically consisting of multiple rooms in various sizes equipped with karaoke machines, fall under the "3 Cs" -- confined spaces, crowded places and close contact -- that should be avoided to prevent the spread of the virus and were closed during the state of emergency declared across Japan since April.
The state of emergency was eventually lifted in late May, and business restrictions were eased in stages. With that, venues have resumed operations while implementing various countermeasures.
An industry group established guidelines in May to prevent the spread of the virus, including tips on ventilation, disinfecting and limiting the number of people.
"We will continue to devise ways for people to enjoy karaoke safely and carry out thorough measures (to curb the virus spread)," a company spokesperson said.