I've recently been doing lots of writing/ recording material, in which ive been playing all of the instruments and vocals. When i want to jam to these songs obviously its impossible to play every instrument. I mainly do guitar and vocal work so i need something to run the backing tracks and such through while i play and sing. Ive tried using my computer to play the music back but i have no mic amplification.

I'm wondering should i buy a small PA system to use or something similar. I'd also use it in more of a band situation with other people, so i'd still need to be able to monitor my vocals while playing. Could you guys recommend something to buy in order to help with this. Keep in mind i'd like for it to also be able to be used in a rehearsal environment with band members. I have a budget of around $500. I know its not much but its all i really have atm.
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So want you want to do is play tracks off of your computer so that its loud enough? In that case you would only need about 10-12 inch speakers.
Behringer actually has really nice live sound equipment as long as you dont get sucked into their marketing ploys. My band uses a 12 input eurorack into an old carvin fet amplifier and it sounds pretty darn good (and loud)
In terms of mics, The pa system packages are junk in terms of cords. You can get away with quite a bit with a $30 mic as long as you dont skimp on the mic cord. By skimp i mean prepare to pay $25 or more for a decent mic cable.
I just bought a small (150 watt 2x10 speakers) PA system off Craigslist for $150 and its perfect for what you want to do. It allows you to play anything you have on a computer or anything else at a real volume. A stereo would work, but the PA just sounds much more 'real.'
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Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

I have a Behringer 1202fx mixer. I use it to solo record, and use headphones to monitor the mix, including solo jamming with backing tracks and singing. It's around $100 or so, maybe a little more.

That would get you started. 4 mic/preamp'd channels and 4 stereo channels, plus 99 built in fx for adding some basic fx (reverb, delay, etc) to your vox.

When you get a band together you could add a power amp and some speakers that suit your band's needs. I like the idea of separate components that you can add to or upgrade as needed instead of powered mixers or powered speakers.

Practice PA is above mixer with a pair of 10" monitor speakers running from a Pyle PTA 1000 amp.

That's how I did it, anyways.