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Karaoke lovers can now sing their hearts out and hear their voices clearly even with masks on, thanks to a new feature recently installed on karaoke machines across Japan.

Individuals can find the new “mask effect” function on the popular Joysound machines often seen in karaoke parlors, according to Nagoya-based karaoke machine operator Xing Inc.

The singing parlors, which reopened after the state of emergency was lifted, have been seeing customers return, albeit under the new normal of wearing masks to avoid the novel coronavirus.

The new singing setting can be switched on using the Joysound song-selecting device and automatically amplifies the midrange and 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 parlors, 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. Most were closed after the state of emergency was declared in April.

The emergency was eventually lifted in late May, and business restrictions were eased in stages. With that, venues have resumed operations while taking countermeasures against the contagion.

An industry group established guidelines in May to prevent the spread of the virus, including tips on ventilation, disinfection and how to limit the number of people.

“We will continue to devise ways for people to enjoy karaoke safely and carry out thorough measures,” a company spokesperson said.

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