Guides + Tips

The Ultimate Guide to Using Coin Noraebang – a Fun Must-try in Korea

I’ve had the intention of creating this how-to guide for quite some time. However, each time I step into a Noraebang, the Korean equivalent of a Karaoke room, with the plan to capture some pictures for the blog post, I get carried away and find myself lost in the joy of singing instead. After a few recent visits where I managed to exercise self-control, I’ve finally accomplished it! Now, let’s immerse ourselves in this guide to ensure you make the most of this unforgettable experience in Korea!

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    What is Coin Noraebang?

    Coin Noraebang (코인 노래방), as the name implies, is a karaoke system operated by coins. Functioning much like a vending machine, it allows you to insert coins to select and enjoy a song of your choice, providing a musical experience instead of dispensing snacks.

    What sets it apart?

    Unlike traditional Noraebang venues, which usually demand a minimum number of participants and charge hourly for a private karaoke space, Coin Noraebang offers the flexibility to pay per song. This makes it an excellent option for solo travelers, small groups, or individuals seeking a convenient and budget-friendly karaoke experience on the go!

    Why it’s a Must-Try in Korea:

    Engaging in Coin Noraebang is a must-try experience in South Korea for several compelling reasons:

    Affordable Fun: It’s a cost-effective way to enjoy the noraebang experience, making it accessible to budget travelers and groups of all sizes.

    Privacy: You get a private room where you can sing without fear of judgment or embarrassment.

    Wide Song Selection: Coin Noraebangs offer an extensive catalog of songs, including international hits, so you can sing songs in your native language.

    Korean Culture: It’s an authentic Korean pastime that allows you to immerse yourself in local culture and music.

    Great for All Occasions: Whether it’s a casual outing with friends, a family gathering, or even a solo adventure, Coin Noraebang is suitable for any occasion.

    How to Discover These Enjoyable Musical Booths?

    In recent years, Coin Noraebang has become a prevailing choice, replacing traditional karaoke establishments for many in South Korea. These lively music booths can be found throughout the country, seamlessly blending into the trendy and bustling neighborhoods of major cities.

    To locate the ones nearest to you, simply input “코인노래방” (Coin Noraebang) into the search bar of popular navigation apps like Naver Map or Kakao Map. The more dynamic and vibrant the area, the greater the number of results you’ll encounter. For example, a search in the Hongdae neighborhood will reveal over a dozen Coin Noraebangs, showcasing the popularity of this trend in such areas.

    How Much is the Cost per Song?

    The price per song at a coin Noraebang can vary depending on the brand and the system they employ, but these days, there isn’t a significant difference among them. You’ll typically encounter the following price ranges:

    • 2 to 4 songs: 1,000 KW
    • 12 songs: 5,000 KW
    • 25 songs: 10,000 KW

    Some coin Noraebangs offer time-based services, and the prices are generally as follows:

    • 60 minutes: 5,000 to 7,000 KW
    • 130 minutes: 9,000 KW to 10,000 KW

    Rules and Etiquette:

    Before unleashing your vocal prowess, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some customs:

    Minors Restricted after 10 pm: As per Korean law, individuals under 18 years old (or 19 in Korean age) are not allowed entry to noraebang after 10 pm, even when accompanied by an adult.

    No Outside Food and Drinks: Noraebangs typically have vending machines to satisfy your thirst, so bringing outside food and drinks is not permitted.

    Complimentary Microphone Covers: For hygiene reasons, all noraebangs in Korea offer free microphone covers. In traditional noraebangs, staff distribute covers based on the number of singers. In coin noraebangs, covers are either accessible near the coin exchange machines or already placed in the room after it’s prepared for new visitors.

    Toilet Tissue Outside: Many noraebangs, especially coin-operated ones, do not provide tissue rolls inside the restroom. Instead, you’ll find them conveniently located near the staff counter or in front of the restroom area.

    How to Use Coin Noraebang:

    Utilizing a Coin Noraebang is a straightforward process, yet the lack of English instructions can be a hurdle for non-Korean users. Allow me to guide you through the steps with this comprehensive walkthrough:

    Understanding the Remote Control:

    Mastering the functions and buttons on the remote control is crucial when using any Karaoke machine. Let’s delve into the key components for a comprehensive overview:

    Section A: Tuning the Song

    • 뮤직: music volume
    • 마이크: microphone volume
    • 에코: adjust echo
    • 퍼펙트스코어: perfect score mode
    • 음정: adjust pitch
    • 템포: adjust tempo
    • 멜로디: adjust melody
    • 남/여 음정: male/female pitch

    Section B: Song Selection Shortcuts

    • 인기차트: popular songs chart
    • 테마곡: songs by theme
    • 메들리: medley
    • 신곡안내: newly released songs
    • 신곡연습: new song practice
    • 리듬변환: change rhythm 

    Section C: Advancing Playback

    • 간주점프: interlude jump
    • 육성제거: voice removal
    • 점수제거: score removal
    • 1절연주: 1st verse performance
    • 영상선택: video selection
    • 절 점프: jump a verse
    • 마디점프: bar jump
    • 박수: applause

    Section D: Navigation Controls

    • 선택: select
    • 쪽이동: move to the next page

    Section E: Start/Cancel/Reserve

    • 취소: cancel
    • 시작: start
    • 예약: reserve song

    Section F: Song Search

    • 제목: search via song title
    • 가수: search via artist name
    • 국가별: change country
    • 성인애창곡: adult song
    • 띄움: backspace
    • 지움: delete
    • 한/영: Korean/English
    • 입력: enter/input

    How to Find a Song:

    Given the multitude of features on a noraebang remote, there are several functions designed to assist users in finding a song. Here are a few straightforward and commonly used methods for browsing songs in a noraebang: 

    Utilizing the Song Directory Book:

    In every noraebang in Korea, including coin-operated ones, you will consistently encounter one or two thick books resembling photo albums. These books serve as song directory books, containing a comprehensive listing of songs categorized by genres such as K-POP, POP, J-POP, new releases, and popular international hits. Arranged alphabetically, each song within a genre is assigned a unique code number along with the artist’s name. To select a song from the karaoke book, input the corresponding code number using the number buttons located in Section E of the remote control.

    Searching by Artist’s Name:

    If you wish to explore the available songs by your favorite artist, follow these steps. Ensure that your screen displays the correct genre for the artist and that you’ve selected the option to search by the artist’s name. Using Adele as an example:

    • Continuously press the ‘국가별’ button on Section X until the word ‘팝송’ and the globe icon appear on the first tap – the ‘노래찾기’ tab.
    • Press the ‘가수’ button on the remote control’s Section F to initiate a search by artist name.
    • Confirm that your English typing mode is active by using the ‘한/영’ button located in the left corner of the remote control’s keypad.
    • Type the artist’s name, in this case, enter ‘ADELE,’ and you will see the available songs listed on the screen.
    Searching by Single Title:

    Discovering a song through this method mirrors the process outlined in the previous method, Searching via Artist’s Names. The only distinction lies in the second step of my example criteria – rather than pressing the ‘가수’ button, opt for the ‘제목’ button to initiate a search by single title!

    How to Reserve/Start a Song:

    After confirming that the correct song is highlighted, press ‘예약’ (found in Section E of the remote control) to place the song on the waiting list. If your waiting list is empty (for instance, if it’s the first song you plan to sing), press ‘시작’ to play the song immediately.  

    Additional Tips for Enjoying Singing in a Coin Noraebang:

    No Score, No Shame: In Korean karaoke, a score is typically assigned to each singing performance, displayed at the end of the song. If you prefer not to see your score, press the ‘점수제거’ button in Section C. This is consistently my initial action upon entering a karaoke room. Not only do I prefer not to gauge the quality of my singing, but it also serves as a time-saving measure!

    Clap for Excitement: Elevate the excitement when your friends are performing by adding applause. Press the ‘박수’ button in Section C to contribute clapping effects, enhancing the overall experience.

    Skip Long Interludes: Some songs come with extended and perhaps tedious interludes. If you wish to keep the momentum going and avoid delays, press the prominent button labeled ‘간주점프’ in Section C to skip the long interlude.

    Embrace Fun Sounds: Many noraebangs provide hand-held tambourines, adding an extra layer of joy and fun to the party. Don’t forget to use them to enhance the overall musical experience!

    And there you have it! If you’ve completed this guide, you’re undoubtedly primed and ready to unleash the fun at a coin noraebang. Go ahead, enjoy the experience!

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