Best PA System For Acoustic Guitar And Vocals

For acoustic guitarists and vocalists, a good PA system is a great assistance to boost their sounds without distorting them.

Available with different models, it’s really time-consuming to find the best PA System for Acoustic Guitar and Vocals in the market.

Speaking as it’s difficult though, this article will definitely tell you which PA system suits you the best. Now, let’s dig in!

Best PA System For Acoustic Guitar And Vocals

Among the best PA systems in the current musical market, we have chosen the top 5 systems which are listed below.

Each of them is the best match based on your needs regarding power of the system, portability and sound quality.

Last update on 2021-05-17 at 07:26 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Bose L1 Compact

Starting with our first choice, the Bose L1 Compact rises up as the best PA system for Acoustic Guitar and Vocals due to its power, lightweight, portability and sound quality (based on its effects and frequency response).

Despite not being mentioned, this little master of peace is estimated by users to use 200 watts power. You don’t need to give much thought to live music performance or any outdoor pool parties with the total people can go up to 150. 

Not just the power, a big plus to the reason why it can give such clarity and fine sound whether it’s outdoor or indoor is due to its design which I rarely mention here. The 180-degree horizontal design is great for dispersing the sound of its speakers to audiences. 

Weighing just 29 lbs, the Bose L1 Compact is light enough for one musician to carry.

The Bose L1 Compact has preconfigured presets for a vocal microphone and an acoustic guitar, so it'll bring out the best of the original sound as it can hit the treble tone of your vocal (up to 16kHz) or reach the lowest tone of your guitar’s bass (down to 50 Hz). 

Great as it seems yet this probably is over the budget if you follow Bose's rule which is 1 system per musician.

Bose L1 Compact with Carry Case
  • Bose Spatial Dispersion loudspeaker technology delivers sound evenly across the stage and throughout the audience even to the extreme sides
  • 2 Tone Match channels with fixed presets for a handheld microphone and an acoustic guitar

Last update on 2021-05-17 at 07:26 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to set
  • Good sound quality
  • Suitable for small to medium-size audiences (indoor/outdoor events)

Cons

  • Expensive

Fender Passport Conference

For the next recommendation, I will choose the Fender Passport Conference Portable PA Speaker System. It is very well-suited when it comes to effects and power. 

A combination of 175W power and the superb reverb channels will amplify and enrich your acoustic guitar and your voice to make it sound like it was played in a small concert hall even when you play outdoors for backyard parties.

Regarding portability, although its weight is 35lbs, the speaker cabinets are designed to be attached to the powered mixer for transport, which makes it much more like carrying a reasonably-sized suitcase.

The biggest drawback of this PA is that it uses a tone knob to equalize frequency ranges. With it, you have no control over the bass or any way to boost the highs on most guitars, it’s not what we would expect if we wish to have a perfect-sounding guitar tone to be amplified to our audiences.

Fender Passport Conference Portable PA Speaker System
  • 175 watts of power - ample for small to medium-size audiences
  • Five-channel mixer lets you intuitively mix lecture panels and small musical ensembles

Last update on 2021-05-17 at 07:26 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Suitable for small to medium-size audiences (indoor/outdoor events)
  • Great sound effects
  • Portable compact Design

Cons

  • Cannot change frequency response flexibility

Yamaha STAGEPAS 400I

As we can see above, compared to the Bose and Fender, this Yamaha, with a 400-watt amplifier is really a big deal and not a problem if you have your little band with, not just vocals and guitars, but also various instruments playing together.

What I love about this PA is the one-knob master EQ and 2-Band EQ per channel that optimizes the sound for different situations. The vocals are rendered so well, the piano and the guitar are reproduced with good precision across all frequencies. 

This Yamaha product is also impressive with its reverb and feedback suppression. No doubt that it will deplete those noisy feedbacks while leaving the most pleasant sound for your ears.

With that dynamic power and perfect sound quality, it’s made from a bunch of components to allow it function to that level. This fact, however, leads to the consequence that it’s the heaviest among the list, 56 lbs.

Yamaha STAGEPAS 400I Portable PA System
  • iPod/ iPhone digital connection
  • SPX digital reverb built in

Last update on 2021-05-17 at 07:26 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Most powerful PA system
  • Great sound quality
  • Suitable for small to medium-size audiences (indoor/outdoor events)

Cons

  • A bit overqualified for guitar and vocals
  • Least portable among these PA systems

Roland CUBE Street EX

This street amplifier has a reputation for being portable. This little beast weighs only 16.28 lbs and runs on batteries making it so easy to go around to play a song in just 30 seconds of set-up.

The power is rather low, but it’s power efficiency which lets us set the wattage. You can go in a row for 5 hours with the 50-watts setting for a small performance with around 50 people; or for a birthday party in your living room, you can set it at 10 ~ 25-watts which can last for 20 hours ~ 10 hours.

With regard to effects, this amp is supported by its own reverb amount controls and a chorus/delay control for adding variable numbers of chorus and delays of various durations. Hence undoubtedly, it gives your guitar a certain musical color.

However you may want to reconsider this choice since in a review checking its frequency response, it is likely to lack the range of vocal (tweeters are cut by 6dB at 6000Hz, and by 12dB at 3000Hz, so the frequency response will also be likely to cut them down to nothing significant than below a few kHz).

Roland CUBE Street EX 4-Channel 50-Watt Battery Powered Amplifier
  • Angled back for use as a stage monitor; mounting hole for use with optional ST-A95 . (Best with Polaroid AA Batteries)
  • Power: 50W (25W & 25W stereo)AC or battery-powered (5 hours at 50W; 10 hours at 25W; 20 hours at 10W)Speakers: 2x8" woofers; 2x2" tweeters

Last update on 2021-05-17 at 07:26 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Super light and portable
  • Power-efficient
  • Good choice for acoustic guitars

Cons

  • Low power
  • A lack for vocals

JBL Professional EON ONE

The JBL Professional EON ONE is famous for delivering exceptionally consistent sound coverage. It’s equipped with an unobstructed 10” subwoofer —the largest in its class—so the audience feels your bass tones with full force.

It also allows you to dial in your perfect tone with parametric EQ and reverb controls, then easily mix your audio to suit the performance space with individual channel volumes and a master volume.

One point that seems to be plus but turns out to be minus for this PA is that it’s battery-powered. It can operate up to 12 hours, but the real problem comes after it’s recharged a few times. The quality of the battery runs down quickly and it’s costly to change into a new one.

JBL Professional EON ONE Compact All-In-One Battery-Powered Personal PA System with Bluetooth
  • Your purchase includes One JBL Professional EON ONE Battery-Powered base | Rechargable Battery, IEC Charging Cable & Quickstart Guide
  • Speaker dimensions – 11.46” L x 10.04” W x 15.71” H | Weight – 17.63 lbs. | Battery Life – Up to 12 | Frequency response - 37.5 Hz-20 kHz | Max SPL – 112 dB (peak) | Bass – 8” woofer / 1" tweeter

Last update on 2021-05-17 at 07:26 UTC - 8/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Great sound quality with effects and controls
  • Battery-powered and portable
  • Suitable for small to medium-size audiences (indoor/outdoor events)

Cons

  • The quality of the battery needed to be considered

What Is A PA System?

Following the top 5 PA systems, I will go into a bit more detail about the PA system and its buying guide to help you have a better understanding and evaluation.

Most of us know that a PA system helps us to amplify your sound. By definition, a PA system is a public address system  Also known as a sound reinforcement system, a PA system is an electronic amplification system used to get and increase the sound from sources (human voice, musical instrument, or other acoustic sounds) to reach the audience. 

Buying Guide For A Good PA System

Having a PA system is a big deal and you need to consider many different factors before spending your money on it. Now that you have 5 different choices above, I’ll help you to go through 4 main factors that are necessary for acoustic guitar and vocals so that you can opt-out what you need the most.

Power

How powerful your PA needs to operate nicely and smoothly without distorting your sound, in other words, what size audience you will be catering for and what the spaces are like. As a general rule, you should aim for a watt per person in a normal condition (in-door space, not a lot of noise).

power of pa system

Power of PA system which is suitable for a small coffee shop

For example, a small coffee shop or restaurant, around 90 square meters, just a bunch of 50 people having coffee or dinner at their tables and chatting quietly, 40 to 60 watts would be enough for a guitar and a vocal.

For large numbers of people, large stages, high ceilings, noisy environments, you will need to double or triple the power. Our advice would be to overestimate rather than underestimate your power needs to avoid ending up with distorted and terrible sound.

Portability

If you're a solo artist or you just prefer a simple life, portability will probably be your major concern. Maybe not so much if you have a decent-sized car, but if you're a busker you'll need something compact and light enough to carry around without sweating yourself. 

If you have mains power where you are playing, then there shouldn't be any issues. But if you plan on a small solo performance on the street or maybe just want to have some fun playing music outdoors, it's worth checking out how long the batteries will last in those portable units that support battery power.

Frequency Response

To put it simply, the PA system will reproduce and amplify the sounds within a range of frequencies that we can hear. In a musical sense, we often define these frequencies as 3 levels: bass (between 20 and 300 Hz), middle (300 Hz to 4 kHz), and treble (above 4 kHz).

Frequency Response

Frequency Response

In other words, a good PA system is designed with features to be able to reproduce the same Frequency Response from sources. Audiences shouldn’t hear more or less of certain frequencies than there should be, otherwise, this can ruin the listening experience.

Effects 

Last but not least, another important feature that I would like to mention is the effects. Whether you are a guitarist or a vocalist, when you’re playing your songs in a live show, it’s obvious that you would want to have the same sound, effects, and processing on the voice as you use in the studio. 

It seems many brands do studying because it’s easy to see that today most PA systems are paired with common effects which are enough for a band of guitar and vocals: reverb, compression, delay, preamps, gates, and equalizers (or even distortion, chorus, etc.). 

The more effects and the control on each one (it’s also good if they are preset but it might not meet what you expect, particularly if you are a pro in the field) a PA system acquires, the better it is.

What Cables Do You Need?

Having your best PA system for acoustic guitar and vocals is not enough. You will need cables to connect to the system safe and sound. There are three basic kinds of cables you'll need to run your PA smoothly: Microphone Cables, Speaker Cables and Instrument Cables.

Microphone Cables are the ones with male and female three-prong XLR jacks on each end. They’re for connecting your vocal mics and not much else. 

Speaker Cables will have male quarter-inch jacks on each end, maybe speakers. These components will be used to connect your speaker cabinets to your mixer. 

Instrument Cables are what you use to plug in acoustic guitars, keyboards and any other gizmos like drum machines and samplers to your PA. They will also have male quarter-inch jacks on both ends. 

Both Speaker and Instrument Cables will have their identity printed on their rubber covering, so be sure to take the time to check it out.

Cables for a PA system

Cables for a PA system

FAQs

How do you hook up a PA system?

Here’re the steps for you when you hook up a PA system:

  1. Prepare the power supply and connect the speakers. Don't turn the power on until all connections have been made.

  2. Connect the microphone and instruments to the mixer
    Connect the microphone to channel 1, and set the MIC/LINE switch to MIC. Connect the acoustic guitar into channel 4, and set the MIC/LINE switch to LINE.

  3. Turn the power on
    Ensure that the MASTER LEVEL and INPUT LEVEL knobs are set to "0" (minimum) then turn the power on for all instruments, and finally turn the mixer on

  4. Adjust the volumes
    Set the MASTER LEVEL to the position indicated with "▼."
    While singing or talking into the microphone and playing the instruments, adjust the volume of each channel using its respective LEVEL knob.
    Adjust the tone of each input by turning the equalizer knobs. Sounds can be amplified (boosted) by turning the knobs clockwise, and can be attenuated (cut) by turning them anti-clockwise

How does a PA system work?

A PA system is made up of several components which handle these same basic functions:

  • Converting acoustic sound into electronic signals, most often with microphones or line inputs.
  • Processing and mixing these electronic signals, using mixing boards and effects modules
  • Amplifying signals with a power amp
  • Delivering the sound through speakers
  • Monitoring the performance with speakers or in-ear monitors

Can you play an electric guitar through a PA system?

Yes, it’s possible. A PA system is designed to cover a wider audio frequency spectrum than a guitar amp which is designed to cover a more narrow bandwidth specific to guitar. 

So it’s ok for you to run acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocal mics, instrument mics, keyboards, backing tracks, rhythm tracks, or background break music through a PA system. 

Sum Up

While considering the best PA system for acoustic guitar and vocals, you will need to take into account the PA’s size, weight, set-up instruction and sound quality. These factors will help you ensure that your audience can hear, enjoy and appreciate your performance to its fullest.


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