The 7 Best PA Systems for Acoustic Guitar and Vocals (2021)

When choosing a PA system for acoustic guitar and vocals, most people want to get the best possible sound at a decent price without overcomplicating their setup.

The Bose L1 Pro8 is our top choice. It is a product that comes from a highly reputable manufacturer, which packs everything you need in a single housing and delivers excellent sound quality.

If you are up for something more affordable, the JBL EON One Compact is our budget recommendation. This product comes with essential features and can also run on batteries, which makes it a great choice for street musicians.

The 7 Best PA Systems for Acoustic Guitar and Vocals (2021)

1. Bose L1 Pro8
Editor's Choice - All-in-one design, a wide range of tones and easiness of use
2. JBL EON One Compact
Affordable Option - Affordable, rechargeable, and packed with lots of features
3. Electro-Voice Evolve 50
Versatile, excellent sound quality, intuitive and lightweight
4. Bose S1 Pro
Great for Buskers - Small size, big sound, and great overall functionality
5. Yamaha StagePas 600BT
Best Choice for Small Bands - Very compact, very functional, and very easy to use
6. Roland Cube Street EX
Great for Buskers - Great overall quality, impressive battery life, and lots of tone-shaping features
7. QSC K12.2
Good Choice for Bands and DJs - Plenty of power, easy to use, portable

Let’s look at these in more detail:

1. Bose L1 Pro8

Our Top Pick
All-in-one design, a wide range of tones and easiness of use.
View Price at Guitar CenterView Price at Sweetwater

When someone talks about portable PA systems, it’s mostly about compact size and lightweight but true travel-friendly systems are those that are also convenient. The Bose L1 Pro8 is definitely one of them, as it sets up in a few minutes and also offers so many convenience features.

Pros

  • Good overall sound quality
  • Easy to set up
  • Powerful EQ controls

Cons

  • Some knobs feel cheap
  • Not the best reverb around

The best thing about this PA is that it packs everything you need in a single, quite compact package. You get a decent mixer, as well as solid stage monitoring. One of the things I really like about the L1 Pro 8 is that it fits various spaces. If you’re at some smaller venue, you can use a collapsed position. On the other hand, the extended setup can cover quite big spaces, as the total output goes up to 60W for the array and 240W for the subwoofer.

Inputs (number of them, and what types?)2x XLR-1/4″, 1x 1/8″ (aux), 1x 1/4″ (aux) 
Power (watts)60W Class D (array), 240W (sub)
Including Subwoofer?Yes
MixerYes, 3 Channel, 2-band EQ, Reverb
Bluetooth Connectivity Yes
Power Source IEC AC power cable
Mounting Yes; Floor

The mixer features three channels, while you may count on a two-band EQ as well. Furthermore, this system can be connected to smartphones and other Android and iOS devices, for even more precise settings. All the connectivity options you need are there, starting from 2 XLR inputs, 1 XLR output, Bluetooth connectivity, Audio in, etc.

2. JBL EON One Compact

Our Budget Pick
Affordable, rechargeable, and packed with lots of features.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The JBL EON One Compact is designed primarily for street musicians and those who play small indoor venues. We like the fact that this PA can work up to 12 hours without recharging, as well as the fact that there are things like 48-V phantom power for a microphone, two 3.0 USB ports for phone charging, and other highly convenient features.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Decent EQ with several effects
  • Solid battery

Cons

  • Additional outputs would be nice
  • A little bit more power would be perfect

This is an all-in-one unit, which besides a decent loudspeaker also comes with a pretty capable mixer. I really like its 4-channel design, as well as the fact that besides typical EQ controls, I can also count on a few effects, such as reverb, chorus, delay, etc. Also, many will appreciate the fact that this PA can work both in vertical and stage monitoring orientations. For private monitoring, there is a headphones jack as well.

Inputs 2x XLR-1/4 (mic/line), 1x 1/4″ (Hi-Z), 1x 1/8″ (aux) 
Power 120W
SubwooferNo
MixerYes, 4 Channels; 8-band EQ; Reverb, Delay, Chorus
Bluetooth Connectivity Yes
Power Source IEC AC cable / Rechargeable Lithium battery
Mounting 

Speaking of the connectivity features, you may count 4 inputs and 2 outputs, as well as on a couple of USB charging ports for your mobile devices. There is one more 1/4” jack, which allows you to connect your PA with another EON One compact if you perform in a larger room.

3. Electro-Voice Evolve 50

Our Most Versatile Pick
Excellent sound quality, intuitive and lightweight.
View Price at Guitar CenterView Price at Sweetwater

The Evolve 50 packs everything you need into a single, quite compact package. You get 1000 Watts of power from a 12’ subwoofer and 8 column-arrayed neodymium drivers. The two parts are connected with a sturdy aluminum pole, which promises years of safe exploitation. The best thing is that everything is controlled by a single-knob interface.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Plenty of power
  • Nice built-in effects

Cons

  • Not the most affordable PA around

As it was just mentioned, the Evolve 50 is very easy to use, as most of the things are operated via a single knob, thanks to a powerful DSP interface. The EQ is pretty powerful, while you may also count on four built-in presets – Music, Live, Speech, and Club, so you can easily set up the system in accordance with the venue. Also, there are five more empty slots for user presets.

Inputs 2x XLR-1/4″ (mic/line), 1x 1/8″ (aux in), 1x Dual RCA Stereo (aux in)
Power1000W
SubwooferYes
MixerYes; QuickSmart DSP EQ
Bluetooth Connectivity Yes
Power SourceIEC AC Power Supply
MountingYes; Floor and Column

Besides typical inputs and outputs, this PA comes with a few more connectivity features, such as phantom power for condenser microphones, or wireless streaming from smartphones and other devices. Also, you may count on advanced Bluetooth that allows you to monitor up to six systems simultaneously.

4. Bose S1 Pro

Best Compact Pick
Small size, big sound, and great overall functionality.
View Price at Guitar CenterView Price at Sweetwater

The S1 Pro can run either on power or batteries and it can be a perfect companion whether you need a PA system for small events, or you want to use it for other purposes, such as monitoring, practicing, etc. This all-in-one PA does it all and, at the same time, it is one of the lightest and smallest products of this kind on the market.

Pros

  • Solid overall quality
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • The low-end output should be higher

As I’ve just mentioned, the S1 Pro can deal with various tasks. It can be tilted, seated, or even mounted, and in all cases, you may count on equal sound dispersion in all directions. Another thing worth mentioning is the battery, which can deal with up to 11 hours of playing without recharging.

Inputs2x XLR-1/4″ combo, 1x 1/8″ (aux)
Power 150W
Subwoofer
MixerYes; 2-band EQ; Reverb
Bluetooth Connectivity Yes
Power Source Rechargeable battery, IEC AC cable
Mounting Optional 35mm pole mount (not included)

This is a 2-channel PA, but you also get a third channel that is dedicated to audio in or Bluetooth streaming. Both channels are independent. Also, you may count on Bose’s familiar ToneMatch technology, which allows you to choose pre-programmed settings for your vocals or acoustic guitar.

5. Yamaha StagePas 600BT

Best Choice for Small Bands
Very compact, very functional, and very easy to use.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

Whether you are a solo artist or have a band, you will definitely appreciate the functionality this Yamaha PA offers. With enough power to deal with small and mid-size events, it also offers expanded connectivity options, including Bluetooth connectivity, which helps you to get rid of unnecessary cables.

Pros

  • Good overall quality
  • Easy to set up, nice effects
  • Unimpressive low-end tones

Cons

  • Unimpressive low-end tones

The Yamaha StagePas 600BT is an all-in-one PA, which comes with a quite impressive 10-channel mixer. Among these channels, two inputs also offer phantom power for microphones. The EQ works great, while there are also several good-sounding and very useful effects. Each channel comes with separate 3-band EQ controls.

Inputs 2x XLR, 2x XLR-1/4″ combo, 6x 1/4″ TS, 1x Dual RCA Stereo, 1x 1/8″
Power 680W
Subwoofer
MixerYes; 10 Channels, 3-band EQ, Master Volume; Reverb
Bluetooth Connectivity Yes
Power Source IEC AC cable
Mounting Optional 35mm pole mount (not included)

This PA has a max output of 680 Watts, which makes it great for small and mid-size events. Also, the system comes with pretty good power management features, which would control the eventual feedback in such a nice fashion. Bluetooth offers pretty strong connectivity, which allows you to control the system with your laptop or smartphone from a distance that goes up to 33 feet.

6. Roland Cube Street EX

Best Choice for Guitarists
Great overall quality, impressive battery life, and lots of tone-shaping features.
View Price at Guitar CenterView Price at Sweetwater

Roland has pioneered the segment of portable amps and the Cube Street EX is one of the latest products. This time, the manufacturer tried to offer a more versatile unit, which doesn’t work just like a guitar amp, but also offers a great PA system that works great for speakers, singers, and other musicians.

Pros

  • Great guitar sounds
  • 50 watts on batteries
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • Dedicated effect controls for mixer would be nice

With a total output of 50W, this system covers smaller events successfully. If the venue is even smaller, you can turn on the Eco-power mode for better battery longevity. In this mode, eight AA batteries can run this PA for 20 hours. Besides batteries, you can also run the Cube Street EX with a 13V DC power supply.

Inputs 2x XLR-1/4″ combo, 2x 1/4″ (R, L/Mono), 2x 1/4″ (Stereo), 1x 1/8″ (aux), 1x 1/4″ (aux)
Power 50
Subwoofer
MixerYes; 2 Channels, EQ, Delay, Chorus, Reverb
Bluetooth Connectivity 
Power Source 13V DC power supply (included)/8x AA batteries 
Mounting 

Even though this is a versatile unit, guitar players still get the most attention. So, you may count on a pretty capable amp section, which comes with the company’s well-known COSM technology, which offers several amp emulations. You may also count on built-in effects like chorus, reverb, and delay, as well as on a 3-band equalizer and built-in tuner.

7. QSC K12.2

Best Choice for Bands and DJs
Plenty of power, easy to use, portable.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

Whether you are a DJ or you’re in a band, you need a PA system that can deal with any venue size. The QSC K12.2 comes as a great solution, especially if you want to keep things simple and don’t want to spend more money than necessary.

Pros

  • Plenty of power
  • Excellent sound dispersion
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The deep bass function would be a nice addition

This is a capable PA loudspeaker, which comes with lots of features, but is very easy to use. There are numerous sound-tweaking options, including several built-in effects. Also, you may count on all the connectivity features you’ll ever need. A nice small display allows you to track all of the parameters with ease. Built-in presets are also offered.

Inputs 2x XLR-1/4″ (mic/line), 1x 1/8″ (aux in)
Power 2000W
SubwooferYes; 1800W
MixerYes; EQ, Delay, Dynamics, User Presets
Bluetooth Connectivity 
Power Source IEC AC Power Supply
Mounting Pole Mount with 1.37″ socket, Floor Wedge, 2x M10 Fly Points (not included)

Another thing I really like about this loudspeaker is that it offers several mounting options. Of course, you can use a typical pole mount, but the QSC K12.2 also works great as a floor unit. Finally, there are two M10 fly points

Portability

It all depends on your needs. If you’re on a constant move, you would probably like to have a type of PA that you can always carry with you. Fortunately, most of today’s products come in a so-called “all-in-one” package, which includes not just a power amp, but also a mixer, preamp, built-in effects, etc. Life is much easier with all these things in a single housing.

What Size PA System Do I Need?

The answer may depend on different factors, but the main thing is transportation. If you’re on foot, you obviously need something that can fit in a bag or backpack. On the other hand, if you use a large van for transportation, then your possibilities are endless and there is no need for compromises.

What’s important to have in mind is that pictures on websites can sometimes leave a different impression regarding the actual size. So, make sure to check the dimensions and see if a certain product works for you.

Connectivity Options

Pretty much every PA on the market comes with essential connectivity features, such as line ins and outs, XLR jacks, USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, etc. For most of us, that’s more than enough. However, if you are looking for a PA for your band, you would probably prefer something that has more inputs and outputs, more channels, and a little bit more advanced mixer.

You may have noticed that PA systems usually come with all kinds of inputs and outputs. Line In is one of the most common jacks you will find. It is a typical 1/4-inch jack, which is mainly used for instruments.

Modern products come with a separate Microphone In jack, which is reserved for a microphone. Compared to typical line inputs, it features a different amplifier in the mixer. They usually come with the same-sized 1/4 jacks, but XLR inputs can be found as well. These cables preserve the signal a little bit better, especially if you use long cables.

Aux In jacks are also common, and they may come in either 1/4 or 1/8-inch sizes. In both cases, they allow you to connect a PA with your phone or another device that can work as an audio player, so you can play with your backing tracks or along with your favorite songs.

USB ports and Bluetooth are also common connectivity features, which allow connection with mobile devices. In that way, you can use all kinds of apps to set up the sound of your PA.  

Models like Electro-Voice Evolve 50 come with a full pack of connectivity features.

Do You Need a Subwoofer with a PA System?

Many PA systems come with several loudspeakers and one of them is a subwoofer. Its main function is to reproduce low-frequency tones. So, if your music expression comes in a super-wide frequency range, you should probably get a PA with a subwoofer. If you mostly sing and play guitar, you would do just fine without it.

Battery Powered PA Systems

PA systems are usually powered by a typical AC power supply but many products can run on batteries as well. These products are perfect for street players. So, if you play on events where the power supply isn’t always accessible, this may be a great solution for you.

Still, keep in mind that such PA systems aren’t particularly loud. So, if you need a high-output PA, you will hardly find one that runs on batteries. The JBL EON One Compact is one of the exceptions, as it features a max output of 120W.

Mixer and Effects

Once again, it’s about how much convenience you want. A built-in mixer is definitely a great thing, but such a unit hardly beats a separate mixer in terms of features, quality, and overall functionality. Still, if your band doesn’t include too many members, most built-in mixers will do just fine.

Even if your music doesn’t include a massive use of effects, it’s always great to have effects like reverb, delay, and chorus, which allow you to shape the sound, depending on the venue. Fortunately, most PAs come with, at least, some of these effects.

What is the difference between a PA system and a Guitar Amplifier?

The difference is in the design approach. On one side, PAs are designed to cover a wider frequency range, so they work great for all kinds of instruments.

On the other hand, guitar amps put focus on the frequency range that’s typical for guitars. Anything beyond this range doesn’t sound as good. Also, guitar amps usually come with more effects, preamp sections that include overdrive, and similar things

If your music is mostly about guitar playing and singing, a busking amplifier would do just fine. For example, the Roland Cube Street EX comes with a preamp section that includes several amp emulations, overdrive, reverb, chorus, delay, and even a built-in tuner.

Do PA speakers sound good?

Unlike HiFi speakers, PA speakers are neutral, which makes them perfect for musicians. With a good mixer and additional effects, the tone can be shaped in pretty much every way you can imagine.

Are PA speakers good for home use?

It depends on how you plan to use them. If your main preoccupation is listening to others’ music, then HiFi speakers are a much better choice. If you want to make music, then PA speakers are a must.

Summary

As you can see, the offer of quality PA systems is pretty impressive. All products on the list feature very good overall quality and it’s up to you to pick the one that meets your needs best. We hope this article will help you determine your preferences. 

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