PA vs. guitar amp


View Full Version : PA vs. guitar amp

01-20-2008, 02:48 PM
hi everyone.

i'm the vocalist for my band and i'm looking for the best way to get my volume way up. right now we're using a small 15w amp with a preamp which results in barely audible vocals while jamming. not to mention they are quite distorted...just horrible.

i've been looking around online and its come down to purchasing a PA system or a more powerful guitar amp. i also play acoustic and electric guitar and would like to be able to amplify those one way or another as well. my question is: can a PA system be used to amplify guitars? is this harmful to the system in any way?

i would use pedals to get the effects on the guitars. will i need to a preamp to control the eq and volume?


01-20-2008, 02:54 PM
People use PA systems for the whole band I think. If you get a larger amp for vocals (no guitar) I heard bass amps are better, and keyboard amps are the best for vocals.

01-20-2008, 02:56 PM
you can use a PA system to amplify a guitar if you Mic the amp that your running your guitar through.

if your in a band, you'll need a PA to do shows

01-20-2008, 02:58 PM
Get a decent enough PA and you can mic everyone

01-20-2008, 03:48 PM
Wrong forum. I'll report this and ask a Mod to move it to GG&A for you.

01-20-2008, 06:55 PM
So does anyone know if a guitar can be plugged directly into a PA system without mic-ing an amp? If not, it would mean I need a PA and an amp...which is not preferred.

steven seagull
01-20-2008, 07:38 PM
So does anyone know if a guitar can be plugged directly into a PA system without mic-ing an amp? If not, it would mean I need a PA and an amp...which is not preferred.
It can be done, but to get it to sound remotely good you'd need to buy some kind of DI interface, by the time you've done that you might as well have bought an amp. DI'd guitars tend to sound crap.

01-20-2008, 07:44 PM
Unless you want cleans that could make Jesus grovel, expect ****ty sound if you DI into a PA.

01-20-2008, 08:07 PM
go for a good line PA, youll be happy you did.
then you can mic or run line outs from amps and such to boost their volumes.

any guitar amp isnt a good choice for vocals as you've found already.

stay away from Nady and Behringer.
Phonic, Yamaha, kustom, bose, and B-52 make some good PA sets so look into those.
keep an eye out for used units on ebay as well.

try to get the best system you can for your price keeping in mind how loud it needs to be.

not all DI instruments are bad, you just need the proper gear and such for good tone out of it all. This will also cost a lot of money though.
its best to mic amps and such and if you have an acoustic, get the MXL 990/991 and use both to mic the acoustic guitar. You will need to use these condenser mics when the band isnt playing so youll have to multi track it in a recording program since the other sounds will bleed into the condenser mic.

if I was buying a PA I would not want to go below $600 and would probably stick with a Yamaha unit since they work well and I trust that brand.

BTW I have a Behringer KX1200 keyboard amp/PA which I love and it was about $300 new. It stays in my studio, no gigs because I'm not sure how well it would work with gigs and its only 120W so its on the low side for live use IMO. None the less, its a nice unit for the studio or home and sounds/works great.

In the riffs & recordings section theres a nice review sticky which I used to review this amp so you may want to check it out.
The amps are not sold anymore so you may want to look around ebay or local listings.

Say Ocean
01-20-2008, 10:19 PM
To get a decent reliable PA you're gonna have to spend a looot of money. You can use them to amplify a guitar amp. You just stick a mic in front of the amp and run it through the pa amp.

Say Ocean
01-20-2008, 10:20 PM
Also stay away from Peavey PAs.

01-21-2008, 02:21 AM
Oh dear, I misread. This thread is about vocals, not guitars....

Yes, DEFINITELY get a PA. Like Moody said, not much "quality" can be had for under 500-600, although I've had relative luck with the cheaper Phonic units. Stay far away from Kustom, cheaper Peavey units, and cheaper Nady units. All sound, and work, rather horribly.

If not that, a good keyboard amp such as the Roland KC-550 should be enough to push you above everything else. They can be had used for 3-400.

01-21-2008, 02:27 AM
There are PA/guitar amps...but the guitar side is mostly tuned for acoustic guitars. is where one is at. Drive makes a PA/Keyboard...but then again most keyboard amps can double as a PA.

01-21-2008, 02:34 AM
You can get away fine with a keyboard amp. Just make sure it's a healthy amount of wattage.

Check your local for keyboard amps.

01-21-2008, 08:05 PM
thanks for all the input everyone! I think i'm gonna go for the PA and maybe pick up a not-so-high watt guitar amp (since i can mic it anyways). any thoughts on that?