The best vocal amps reproduce a singer’s voice with sparkling clarity while providing plenty of adjustable, onboard controls. They need to be portable, but also adequately powerful to project vocals for live shows.
Ideally, a high-quality vocal amp or P.A speaker also requires some built-in effects such as reverb and delay. In this detailed guide, you’ll find the very best amplifiers and speakers for vocals so that you can decide which one best suits your needs.
Best Vocal Amplifiers & PA Speakers for Singers
A portable and robust PA system, the Expedition XP106w is one of Samson’s finest offerings. It combines the convenience of battery power with wireless operation, making it a perfect choice for inspired vocal performances.
Surprisingly compact and lightweight, the Expedition PA speaker can easily be transported from one location to another. It’s the ideal amplifier for parties, gatherings, or intimate live shows.
Providing impressive 20-hours of battery life from a single full charge, the XP106w will last for the whole night and beyond. In terms of volume, its onboard Class D amplifier is capable of producing up to 100 watts of power, which is more than enough for a small to medium venue.
There’s also a dedicated USB wireless port that is compatible with the included Samson Stage XPD1 Digital Wireless System. This allows you to plug in and start enjoying amplified vocals right away.
The Music/Speech switch provides you with the means to quickly flick between two EQ presets that are well suited to either spoken word or melodic vocals. Also, there are several analog inputs for connecting wired mics, instruments, or other auxiliary devices.
Finally, the 4-channel onboard mixer is useful for streaming music wirelessly via Bluetooth. You can cascade multiple systems using the line output and use this speaker for a range of purposes.
The Acoustic Singer Live LT by Boss is exactly what you’d expect from this legendary manufacturer. In comparison to the other amps in the Acoustic Singer range, the LT is very easy to operate, without compromising on sonic options.
Featuring a range of intuitive controls such as independent instrument and vocal EQ units and high-quality effects, the Live LT gives you ultimate freedom over your vocal sound.
For such a compact and mobile amplifier, the Live LT packs a punch. With 50 watts of solid-state power and a bi-amped speaker set, it is loud enough for most medium or small-sized spaced.
A common issue with live vocals and acoustic instruments is the boxy, flat tone that is naturally produced. To balance this out, Boss has voiced the Live LT with a little extra mid-range and treble brightness, drawing attention to the vocals.
The main strength of the Acoustic Singer amplifiers is their unrivaled effects units. Boss is known to be extravagant when adding processing options to their amps, probably due to their expertise gained from decades of pedal production.
The Live LT has an onboard vocal delay, chorus, independent reverb channels, and the possibility for footswitch effects pedals. It also includes a USB audio interface that captures your live vocal tracks and can send them into the DAW of your choice.
I must admit, the Roland Cube Street amplifiers have a special place in my heart. In my younger days of busking, I used one of the earlier models. Its portability, clarity of sound, and long battery life were very useful indeed.
The latest version, the CUBE Street Ex, takes the range to even greater heights. With multiple inputs for using vocal microphones, instruments and auxiliary devices, and several newly added features, it’s a great choice for on-the-go performances.
With eight AA batteries, the Street Ex can run for considerable lengths of time. You can switch between 25 watts or 10-watt operation depending on your requirements. There’s a built-in tuner, amplifier modeling section, and a 3-band EQ for fine-tuning vocals.
Also, the CUBE Street EX provides you with a volume that belies its compact size. Two 8 inch speakers provide powerful lows and immersive mids, while the two smaller speakers produce clear treble.
4. JBL EON615
JBL’s reputation as a leading provider of speakers, amplifiers, and audio systems has grown significantly in recent years. With the EON615, they have created a brilliant P.A speaker with remarkable power.
With a total of 1,000 watts, this vocal speaker is powerful enough to fill even the largest of music venues. Reinforced by the 15-inch woofer, the speaker has an extended frequency response and a max SPL of 127dB!
When designing the EON600 series, JBL utilized their very own transducers. They also used their revered waveguide technology, coupled with onboard EQ that can be tweaked using the wireless remote control via Bluetooth.
One of the challenges faced by manufacturers when designing large P.A speaker is to achieve the same level of clarity and accuracy as a smaller vocal amplifier. JBL has managed to do this, thanks to their combination of drivers and a kilowatt of Class D bi-amplification.
For such a powerful vocal amplifier, it’s remarkable that the EON615 only weighs 39lbs. This makes it a convenient choice for the traveling vocalist. With a frequency response of 50 Hz – 20 kHz, it caters to all styles of singing.
The Micro Cube GX is a conveniently compact vocal amplifier by Roland. Offering smooth functionality, accurate clear amplification, and a selection of onboard parameters, it’s a great choice for on-the-go performances.
With a total of eight DSP effects, eight COSM amplifier models, and an inbuilt chromatic tuner, the Micro Cube GX can be used for a variety of purposes. As a standalone vocal amplifier, it performs commendably.
The Micro Cube GXW has a 3-watt, low magnetic leakage speaker that spans 5 inches. With six AA batteries, the amp will run for up to 20 hours. Although it’s not the loudest vocal amp on the market, it still provides ample volume.
One of the useful features that Roland has included with the Micro Cube GX is the onboard memory function. When you create a desirable vocal tone using the effects and EQ, you can save it for later recall.
The miniature LTD Edition Pignose vocal amplifier is surprisingly powerful for its size. A popular in professional recording studios, it has a rich history dating back to the first incarnation in the 1960s.
This limited edition Pignose amplifier is now presented in tweed, a vintage material that stays true to the original aesthetics. It only produces 5 watts of power, but if you place a microphone in front of the speaker, it sounds great for amplified vocals.
The LTD Edition Pignose runs on six AA batteries or an AC adapter. The array of tones it produces include crunchy and warm, clean and precise, or natural and spacey. It sounds great with an electric or acoustic guitar, too.
The most convenient thing about the Pignose amp series is undoubtedly the compact sizing. The 5-inch speaker may not have the power of a larger vocal P.A, but it sounds exceptionally clear and accurate.
Useful Features on Vocal Amps
There are several main qualities to look for when choosing the best vocal amplifier for your requirements. Indeed, clarity, volume, and tone are the first three that spring to mind.
Along with these foundational qualities, it’s important to choose an amp that offers the processing options that you need. Onboard EQ units allow you to tailor the frequency response of the amp or speaker to suit your voice.
Effects such as reverbs and delays are also commonly included. If you prefer a clean tone, then these aren’t essential, but if you like to soften your vocals with reverb or make them sound more ambient using delay, you should choose one that provides these options.
Investing in a good quality amplifier or P.A speaker for vocals is a very wise mover indeed. Too often vocal amplifiers get overlooked in comparison to instrument amps. Choosing the right one for your style will help to get the very best out of your voice in a live setting.