What's your preferred "all in one" PA for acoustic + vocals?

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Silver Supporting Member
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I recently sold off the last of the P.A. gear that I kept from my band days. Almost every gig I do now is either no P.A. needed or P.A. provided. My former gear mostly sat unused for months at a time which is why I jumped at the chance to finally sell it.

Every once in a while I still need a solution for a small, simple P.A. for my acoustic guitar and vocals to be heard in a small room. I want it to be relatively portable and relatively capable, but also simple. I don't want to have to carry a mixer too.

Options include:
  • A small acoustic/vocal amp like Loudbox/AER/Schertler
  • A small/light stick system like Fishman SA330/Turbosound iQ1000/EV EON ONE
  • A powered speaker with mini-mixer capabilities like QSC K8.2
My familiarity with small powered speakers has me leaning that way, but I've never used one of the small acoustic amps and wonder how much different they might be.
 

OM Flyer

Supporting Member
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5,499
Don't dismiss the venerable Fender Passport. I had one for my classroom and it worked very well for vocals and guitar. My students used it for outdoor gigs and it performed extremely well. Towers for the speakers were an added plus.
 

Bluedano1

Member
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7,045
Love my Fishman Loudbox Mini

Use it for small room ( or outdoor porches at Wineries) solo gigs, as it has perfect amount of power, good basic tone on my guitar PU and vocal mic, 2 completely Independent Channels ( including Revetb), minimal/easy controls- 19 lbs.
Great as a personal monitor too as it has a line XLR for pro Live Soundboard

It's perfect for venues that want good background music, or are actually listening!
It is NOT built to overpower a loud / chattery room.
 

TwoHandsTenThumbs

Silver Supporting Member
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1,112
I like the QSC option, and own one myself. It is less expensive than many acoustic amps (AER / Schertler), and more flexible than array columns. I use my 8.2 as the “amp” for my keyboard rig, or my acoustic / vocal pa for appropriately sized rooms. A small mixer adds a bunch of flexibility, but most of the time, I just run a vocal mic in, and my DI. Sometimes, if it’s just for guitar, I’ll run a guitar mic and the DI. I’ve done duos, two, with either two DIs or two mics. Great little box!
 

mccreadyisgod

Member
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420
Since you are specifically looking for something that slots between that "true acoustic" venue (no amplification needed), and the venues with a full and proper PA, I would lean towards one of the combo amps or small towers. No need to haul more equipment than is necessary for this application, just enough to do the job. They are great, because you can set them up so you can hear them just as much as the audience, and they provide just enough oomph to fill out those smaller spaces without overwhelming anyone. I prefer the Fishman boxes, I've used them and been comfortable with them. I've also been impressed with the Genz Benz Shenandoah amps. The towers are nice, because they get the sound off the floor, not trapped around your (and everyone else's) knees and ankles. But then you're carrying a stand in addition to the speaker. It's a tradeoff I'd be willing to make, though, to get a little more clarity at the back of whatever space you're playing in.

The advantage of getting a small mixer and one or two small speakers is the ability to do larger venues. You could easily cover a space like above with a single QSC K8, but by adding a second K8 in a stereo arrangement, you could easily play larger spaces (I'd say two K8s could play a 300-seat venue pretty comfortably for solo acoustic). If that's not a situation you envision, then it might not be worth having all those extra items to carry, power cables and signal cables and stands and a separate mixer. You would probably also want to add a monitor speaker to that kind of arrangement, adding another level of complexity.
 

stephenT

Member
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2,398
I have a Schertler Jam 400. Best sounding acoustic amp I've owned of many. Vocals sound fantastic, lot's of flexibility, inputs, etc. I've filled large rooms w/ just the Jam 400. A bit heavy but I schlep it around for solo acoustic guitar gigs too, just sounds so good.
 

JSeth

Member
Messages
2,403
Have yet to hear or play through anything that comes close to my Bose L1 Model II rig... and I've heard a bunch of the "wannabes", but they aren't in the same league...
I have an AER Compact 60 that is a terrific little amp and I love it... at 12#s, I couldn't ask for anything lighter that packs as much of a punch as that little dude! It will get VERY loud without any sort of stress, too... far louder than 60 solid state watts should be, but there it is!
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
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37,559
Every once in a while I still need a solution for a small, simple P.A. for my acoustic guitar and vocals to be heard in a small room. I want it to be relatively portable and relatively capable, but also simple. I don't want to have to carry a mixer too.
what's the budget?

for under a grand i'd look at something like the turbosound IP2000, something with a real sub and a tall "stick". a friend uses a lucas nano version with the sub and two little satellite speakers that can be spread out, all run by an ipad or phone, for maybe a little more.

systems like these are easy to set up and do a far better job of evenly filling out the corner of a bar than any "acoustic amp".
 

The dman

Member
Messages
149
I have a Schertler Jam 400. Best sounding acoustic amp I've owned of many. Vocals sound fantastic, lot's of flexibility, inputs, etc. I've filled large rooms w/ just the Jam 400. A bit heavy but I schlep it around for solo acoustic guitar gigs too, just sounds so good.
I have the Schertler Roy which is the newer version of the Jam 400 and I don't miss powered speakers at all. The Roy is an amp but it's really more of a powered speaker with a Class A mixer built in. I've played some big rooms and outdoor parties and never had a problem with not being heard.

I'm picky about vocal sound and the Schertlers are the first amps I've run across that don't make the vocals sound boxy.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Silver Supporting Member
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19,084
what's the budget?

for under a grand i'd look at something like the turbosound IP2000, something with a real sub and a tall "stick". a friend uses a lucas nano version with the sub and two little satellite speakers that can be spread out, all run by an ipad or phone, for maybe a little more.

systems like these are easy to set up and do a far better job of evenly filling out the corner of a bar than any "acoustic amp".
"What's the budget" is the right question, LOL.

The TGP in me is interested in the nicer stuff, but the pragmatist realizes that this is a piece of gear that is likely to sit unused for months at a time.

I've been tempted by a used QSC K8.2 at under $550 used. I will probably keep my budget in that neighborhood.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
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22,481
I love my Loudbox. I forget the model name--it's the one with two totally discrete channels.
 

Alpo

Member
Messages
210
Love my loudbox Artist.
It’s 120 watts vs 60 for the mini, but it’s only slightly larger.
It has a much fuller sound and plenty of volume to play with multiple people.
If a pa is provided you can run a line from the loudbox and use it as a monitor too.
Small, lightweight, good sound, effects, with aux in and Bluetooth.
 

crumjack

Member
Messages
238
I use and like the Bose S1 Pro.

For PA provided gigs, I’ll use the line out to the house system and use the S1 as my monitor. I have also used it on its own and it worked for a room of about 75.

For reference I currently use a K&K pickup into a Red Eye pre. Moving to a TC Play Acoustic with a K&K for future gigs.
 

Totally Bored

Member
Messages
8,888
I use the Fishman SA220. I’ve done 150 - 200 gigs with it. It’s very portable watch the video . They make a better one now SA330.


I also have (3) QSC K10’s and a Mackie 12 channel mixing board with effects that I’ve used maybe 5 times :dunno
It’s a great setup but not very portable and a bit overkill. I’m always a bit exhausted when I bring that rig. The Fishman SA 220 really fills a room IMO so why kill your self :omg
 




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