In 1994, Sega decided to enter the lucrative segment of Karaoke services. Sega created a new subsidiary called Sega Music Networks and jointly developed with Taycan and Clarion their first karaoke system under the name Prologue 21. Sega which was already working on their upcoming console, the Sega Saturn, decided to used their newest console as the base for the Prologue 21. The idea made sense as Saturn’s sound source uses a processor called SCSP developed by Yamaha which was a 32-channel PCM sound source with MIDI input / output supporting pitch, echo, etc. It was a perfect chip for karaoke machine.
Released in December 1994, one month after the Saturn, the Prologue 21 was an immediate hit in the karaoke establishments, thanks to the “Song Navigators” (SKH-4000A) manufactured by NEC. At the time, it was still common practice to give customers binders that would contain the list of song available on the device. The “Song Navigators” introduce a touch screen remote that replaced these binders.
The Prologue 21 system consists of many separate parts:
- Amplifier (SKA-3000)
- Commander (SKC-1000)
- Changer (SKA-2000A) which could be expended to hold up to 100 CD-ROMs. The Changer also support VCDs.
- Wireless Microphone Receiver for Sega-branded SKN-5000 microphones.
- Song Navigators (SKH-4000A)
- Remote (SKY-4100)
As the Prologue 21 was based on the Sega Saturn, it was built so it could also play Saturn’s game by connecting a Saturn controller into the Prologue 21. Although any Saturn controller worked, it was possible to buy Saturn controllers made for the Prologue 21 (SKP-1800).
As the competition was fierce in this market segment, especially with competitors such as Daiichi Kosho and XING releasing new models one after another, Sega had to quickly released an updated version of the Prologue 21 called the Super Prologue 21.