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What kind of amp do you use for vocals?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by RDY2RMBL, Feb 21, 2008.



    Feb 8, 2007
    Guitar amp? PA? Bass Amp??? I'm wondering because I've been trying to sing and play bass in my band (I'm better at the second than the first), and it's tough to hear yourself and sing good when I got like freakin 220 watts of bass, 60 watts guitar, and a loud drummer, and I'm singing through a little forty-watt guitar amp...

    So yeah, do I have to buy a PA? or could I get away with using a decent sized guitar amp? Would it hurt the guitar amp to sing through it, and would it sound decent? I am leaning towards this option since I am learning guitar too and am looking for an excuse to pick up a big ole' fender power chorus at the local pawn:)

    But anyways I would love to hear what you guys use and some of your opinions. We've been playing some tiny gigs and these have been mostly instrumental stuff I've written. I'd like to get better at writing and singing lyrics with our tunes, because you can only get so many gigs as an instrumental group. Let alone a beginner/amature one: www.myspace.com/threepeaces
  2. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    You can use a guitar amp for vocals as long as it has the proper handling. In most cases it's not going to be ideal, as the range reproduced by a guitar amp can be a little on the thin side, and also it won't be as easy to get a ton of clean volume out of most guitar amps like you would a decent PA. Acoustic guitar amps tend to work well for vocals because they generally have tweeters built in or a wider range. I've also seen keyboard amps used to pretty good effect. All that said, I've been in bands that used guitar amps for vocals at rehearsal, and then just put them direct in through the PA for live shows.
  3. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    I don't know how much money you want to spend. I would try and get a powered PA cab like the Peavey Pr series. They have a built in mixer in the back that you can just plug a mic into. It should sound alot better than using a guitar amp. Another advantage is later you could buy another one and a mixer and you would have a small PA.
  4. AlunJWDavies


    Nov 28, 2007
    I've got a Fender Bassman 150 which has a 12" and a tweeter. I use a small Behringer mixer into the rca(CD)inputs on the back and guess what? It sounds ok.
    Vocals land more in bass amp range freq. wise but if you have a bass heavy rig(410 without tweeter) then it will probably sound muffled no matter what you do with the eq. Anything that you could put a CD into and not have it sound like crap should do ok.
  5. Muckaluck


    Oct 11, 2005
    Whitby, Ontario
    Generally a small, cheap PA is best. The keyboard amp idea can work as well but not as upgradable as PA components. See what's used out there.
  6. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    I'm sure it's not at all what you are looking for, but just thought I'd mention the bose L1. I started as a singer and the bose L1 is bar none the best amplification I've heard for voice.

    To me it works awesome for bass to with enough bass modules, but some bass players would argue that point.
  7. Get something that reproduces high end like mad.
  8. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV
    I have a berhinger B300. You can switch between mic and line level, so you can plug in a mic or run a mixer to it. You can also adjust the bass and treble.

    Great on a budget. Certainly not spectacular, but it gets the job done.


    Feb 8, 2007
    Just thought I would update this by saying that I bought a Peavey xr-400b and a couple smaller monitor speaks at a pawn that will work for now for vox. I do need to pick up a bigger speaker though that will take all 100-120w (or whatever this PA has) power.
  10. axelrod

    axelrod Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2013
    Just ordered a blue encore 100 at best buy 68.00(that's why), and plan on plugging in with line adapter to old acoustic combo bass amp for starters, see how that works out for practice space, and then build some sort of pa set up for performing in small to medium sized empty spaces with no support.
    Speaker, preamp, power amp suggestions for those of us in similar situations?
  11. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Get a PA
  12. sometimes I use a mic straight into my roland KC 300, and it sounds great!

    I've even used a small mixing board to run several vocals, keys, acoustic guitars, all through the little amp, and it sounds pretty good, and I was able to keep up with the other instruments.

    lots of folks complain about the KC's, but mine works well for me. It's not pristine, boutique, perfect sound, but it sounds good at least, and it's reliable, tough, portable and versatile.

    It's all about what you put into it. crap in = crap out
  13. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Start building yourself a PA. As someone noted, even a single powered speaker that can mix a mic & a line input would be a great start. Get another one when you're ready. Get ones that can stand up, mount on a pole, or lay on their sides as a floor monitor. As your needs grow, add more speakers, a mixer, effects, cables, etc.

    A bass player with a PA system is a lot more valuable than one without.
  14. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    A bass player that can even sing harmony is a wonder to most bands :)

    PA definitely. Used Lunchpail style powered mixer a couple of poles and as much PA speaker 12 and a horn, 15 and a horn... As you can afford. As the weekend warrior side of the business runs towards powered PA speakers and digital boards, there is a ton of really good analog, passive stuff on Craigslist for cheap.

    Lunchpail mixers in my preferred order.
    Soundcraft Gigrac 1000ST
    Mackie 806
    Mackie 406
    Yamaha EMX 512

    A non-thrashed gigrac is is maybe $350 from Cl, a little less if you get lucky. The 806 will set you back more but from the packaging and reliability aspects, I believe the gigrac to be a better bet. When I began looking to add a 'low end' system to my rental inventory, I waited to find a decent Gigrac and I passed on multiples of all the others on that list...
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  15. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
  16. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    Every band I have been in has used a PA.
  17. bushy


    Mar 8, 2018
    Most people I know would avoid Kustom as it is low end stuff. Wouldn't something from Galaxy Audio be a bit better?


    Anyone have experience with this particular brand? This product is also 200 watts! Imagine getting a pair!

  18. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    I really don't know much about the Galaxy Audio stuff. All I know is regardless of the company's reputation, the Kustom PA50 is a great mini PA and well worth it's under $100 price point.
  19. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    The Kustom stuff is actually pretty good albeit underpowered and less features when compared to more expensive brands. I suggest a pair of powered speakers and a small mixer to start. Alto makes good, affordable powered speakers.
  20. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    I got decent results in running vocals in my bass amps (well, not all, but some). On this record both vocals and e-drums run in my TC BG250-115:

    This said, my next step up probably will be a pair of speakers for all this and leaving my bass alone. Or buying a second bass amp and plugging my bass in it.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018

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