Hey, all!

I'm getting ready to get a nice new acoustic (probably a Taylor 214ce dlx). It will be my second acoustic, and I really want to have nice speaker of some kind to carry the nice bass and tone of the guitar. I'm going to be mainly gigging with it, so I would like to have something portable, and I know PAs are typically not portable.

So my questions would be:
1. PA or amp?
2. If PA, what would you suggest as far as a portable one?
3. If amp, which one have you liked the most?

Really kinda treading into new waters here, so an explanation of anything I should know about a PA would be appreciated.
*le me *le forum person
The larger acoustic guitar amplifiers are essentially PA systems, in that they have two separate channels, with separate EQ, gain, FX, and reverb, in each. A few of these amps are in fact stereo, and no doubt speaker outs for additional cabinets. So basically PA on the hoof.
Here are 3 pages of acoustic amps: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acoustic-combo-guitar-amplifiers

Time to bone up the various merits of each one, so you can make an informed decision on your own. "Of your needs, by your needs, and for your needs".

Since you didn't specify a budget, should I take it that money is no object?

These types of threads usually digress to , "buy this one because I have one". I'm going to try and nip that in the bud. And BTW, Merry Christmas
Well, I mean preferably under a couple hundred dollars. I mean, it's not like I'll be playing in front of thousands of people. My 30 watt SS electric amp is plenty loud without distorting too much for about a crowd of one to two hundred.

So, to avoid the "I have this one, so get it cause it rocks" thread (I know how that is), let's generalize things: will a PA be better for instrumental stuff on a large scale of the $300 and under range? Or would an amp carry plenty of the percussive bits and bass?

I'm sure there's not a heck of a lot of difference when I'm playing rhythm stuff as compared to instrumental. btw, by instrumental, I mean like Antoine Dufour, Mike Dawes, etc., who incorporate a lot more percussion than most.
*le me *le forum person
Well, like I tried to say, (at this point regrettably in not so many words), a good acoustic amp, is a PA system, and they're designed for exactly the task you have in mind.

With that said, I honestly don't think you're going to find anything anywhere near 2 or 3 hundred bucks.

Trust me, I have a $200.00 acoustic amp, (Peavey Ecoustic 208), and I simply can't find enough not nice things to say about it. It's OK for the house, after that, it's all downhill.

Now, the concept that electrical wattage being equivalent to loudness is simply, pure, unadulterated bullshit.

"Volume", is determined by how much electrical wattage is being converted to acoustic wattage, and the two arbiters there are, loudspeaker efficiency, and cabinet design. It take 10 times the power to make something 2 times as loud, it's not a linear conversion, it's logarithmic.

Now, the link I gave you, should be your new best friend right about now. Take some time to read the different features and specs.

I'm thinking you're going to spend closer to $500.00 to get what you said you needed.

A PA system would require a mixer included, for mic and guitar. I honestly don't know what you could get for $300.00. But perhaps you might find a single channel "mono" rig. You won't know until you do a great deal of window shopping. Let's get to it.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 24, 2014,
Okay yeah I did some more research (with the link you gave me) and figured out that I will definitely not be getting a PA for what I previously allocated. I know all that about it takes ten times more wattage (on average, between the same type of amplifier) to produce a sound two times as loud. I know that wattage doesn't equal volume (though, admittedly, I didn't recognize some of the factors you listed that do affect it).

Thanks for the input.
*le me *le forum person
I have no idea where you are. That makes a difference, because you may not be able to pick up some of the things I can.

For example, a Carvin PM12A with 400W RMS output and a 12" LF driver and a 1" HF driver weighs 30 lbs and currently costs about $249. There's a mini-mixer on the back with minimalist controls. You can use it as a floor wedge, put it on an amp stand or put it up on a speaker stand (pole) just like a PA system speaker. http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/PM12A The version with a 15" LF driver is a few bucks more and still within your budget.

Carvin's acoustic amps (http://www.carvinguitars.com/guitaramps/acousticseries.php ) run $400-500 and have a much more extensive set of controls, FX and so on, but are probably the best value on the market in an acoustic-specific amp.
Quote by dspellman
....[ ]....Carvin's acoustic amps (http://www.carvinguitars.com/guitaramps/acousticseries.php ) run $400-500 and have a much more extensive set of controls, FX and so on, but are probably the best value on the market in an acoustic-specific amp.
AG 100D looks really good. It's got a 12" woofer which I kinda think you need to put a good, solid bottom on the acoustic guitar and the lower harmonics of male vocals. Too many acoustic amps have a ton of watts, pushing through 6" & 8" drivers. A waste, IMO. at about 1Khz, you can hear them a mile away, but it's all midrange...

Anyway, don't forget Carvin isn't one of those "free shipping" kind of stores. So be sure to budget another 50 bucks for UPS ground shipping. (That's my best, "top of the head" guess, for a 35 Lb. amp.

That places the AG-100 at about $400.00-ish to the front door, with the current "sale price". (Carvin's stuff does go off sale sort of, so you have to catch it on the right bounce, so to speak).

This assumes, of course, as you pointed out, that our TS has access to Carvin in the US.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 25, 2014,
Yeah I know a guy who got a custom made bass from Carvin (isn't that all they do; custom-made instruments?). He lives in the same state as me.

Thanks for the input, guys.
*le me *le forum person
Quote by uto998
Yeah I know a guy who got a custom made bass from Carvin (isn't that all they do; custom-made instruments?). He lives in the same state as me.

Thanks for the input, guys.
Rondo Music calls a portion of their "Agile" line of guitars, "semi-custom", which sort of attaches to Carvin as well.

You pick from a line of (Carvin) standard bodies, which all have a long list of "custom options".

Each guitar is built to order, with your selected "standard custom options".

You can't really go, "off the reservation", specifying options, shapes, or paint which they don't offer. I say with a truly, "full custom guitar", the buyer would be able to do that.

That's the hair splitting semantics of the issue, but buying from Carvin is the closest to "custom made", as most of us are ever likely to get....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 26, 2014,
Easy decision tree.

If you will only ever use this for one guitar and you place high value with onboard effects, eq, and tone shaping, get the acoustic amp. The Carvin is a nice one.

If you might want to run 2 guitars or vocal mics through it at some point for gigs without dragging a whole bunch of extra gear, or use it as a monitor with a larger PA at some point, get a powered speaker. Carvin, JBL Eon, and EV ZLX series are all good choices.

I have great appreciation for flexible gear with multiple uses and I like using a DME or Baggs DI instead of onboard effects to shape my acoustic guitar tone. I would always choose the powered speaker and the EV ZLX is particularly sweet for guitar and vocals. YMMV
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY