Hello, I will be starting a band soon and Im currently shopping around for a microphone. When using a microphone, what kind of amplifier or speaker should I use? Do most people just use guitar amps? Also, how many watts should be good for playing shows?

you use a PA system, (power amplifier).

There are generally 2 different ways to go about this.

1. Purchase an all in 1 mixer. (powered mixer). these are Mixers that contain the power amp in them. Make sure to find one that has enough channels / inputs for what you need. (mics, keyboards, mic'd guitar cabs.. whatever you need)

It also needs to have enough power. this depends on venue/show size. small / medium (bar, club) you would like to have 600w (even for practice) or more.

I run duel 300w and it's usually pushing close to its limits.

This setup would then look like, mic --> Powered mixer ---> speakers (un-powered pa speakers).

The other solution is an un-powered mixer. in that scenario you need to purchase separate power amps, or powered speakers.

Let me just add. This is an area where i would definitely say you get what you pay for. Check reviews and pay attention to RMS Wattage, Never peak. If something looks to good to be true (really high watt, really cheap) chances are they are advertising there peak wattage, stay away and find a different brand.
Last edited by ToXyN at Jul 19, 2011,
Well im working on a very tight budget. We just need something to hold us over until we start hopefully making some money from shows. Then we can upgrade our gear.
So i read that I should look into buying an Audio Interface. How do these work? Do you like plug the microphone into it and then run a cable from the interface to a speaker?
Im guessing you want this for a vocal mic.

If youre going to be a cheapskate about it you could get a keyboard amp (Make sure its a couple 100w) with XLR inputs. Or maybe an active stage monitor like this


Itll cover you for small shows and stuff, but you really want to get a proper PA system at some point, which would require a mixing desk, monitors and a power amp if theyre passive speakers.

Audio interfaces are for recording with your computer, not live sound. You plug the mic in, then connect the interface via USB/Firewire to your computer, there'll be a headphone/speaker connection on the interface you plug the speakers into there. Then you use audio editing software to receive the data and edit it.