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It’s not always possible for singers to project their vocals through a P.A system. Sometimes, a vocal amp is a more practical option for singers during live performances or rehearsals.
Some of these amps don’t even require to be plugged in, making them suitable for busking or performing in less conventional settings.
Although there are fewer options available to vocalists than guitarists or bassists when searching for an amplifier, it can still be difficult to navigate your way through the various manufacturers and models.
In this guide, we’ll highlight the best vocal amplifiers and provide you with a breakdown of what to expect from each of them. You’ll find options that suit your budget, style, and specific requirements.
In a Rush Roundup
How We Tested
Firstly, we tested these vocal amps by using them with a selection of microphones with varying attributes. This allowed us to rate the consistency of the amps for different vocal styles.
We then looked closely at the build quality of the amps, to get an idea of how long they are likely to last. To conclude our tests, we analyzed the onboard effects of the amplifiers and whether they sounded authentic, or unrealistic.
Best Amp for Vocals Reviews
When it comes to finding a speaker that balances quality and affordability, historically the options have been few and far between. Fortunately, there are now options that offer reasonable quality without breaking the bank, and one such option is the EV ZLX12BT.
From a design standpoint, the physical build of the EV ZLX12BT sets it apart. Unlike other budget-friendly speakers, the ZLX12BT boasts sturdy and durable construction, thanks to the use of high-quality materials.
Equipped with a 12-inch woofer and a 1.5-inch titanium compression tweeter driver, the EV ZLX12BT offers impressive clarity and precision in the higher frequency range. It houses a Class-D amp with a power output of up to 1000 Watts and has a frequency response ranging from 50 Hz to 20 kHz.
The sound quality is the most crucial aspect of any speaker, and the EV ZLX12BT delivers exceptionally well. The highs and mids are clear and well-balanced, making it ideal for singers. However, the low-end bass response lacks the same level of control and refinement, as commonly observed in speakers in this price range.
The ZLX12BT compensates for this limitation by providing various tuning features, allowing users to mitigate the issue. For optimal bass performance, adding a subwoofer is recommended.
As mentioned, the EV ZLX12BT impresses with its extensive tuning options, a rarity among budget-friendly speakers. The back panel houses a volume control and onboard DSP control knob, which can be adjusted via the speaker’s LCD screen.
It offers four preset EQ modes – Music, Live, Speech, and Club – each tailored for specific applications. Users can further customize and store up to five additional presets.
The EV ZLX12BT proves to be a worthy addition to the Electro-Voice family. Its durable build, impressive sound quality, and abundant tuning options make it a standout speaker in its price range.
- Splits 1000 watts between a powerful two-way speaker system
- 2 mic/line combo inputs for microphones, instruments, or a board feed
- Bluetooth built-in for easy access to music from your devices
- Solid mid and high-end sound
- Good connection options - two line-in options available as well as Bluetooth connectivity
- Wide range of tuning options, especially for the price point of this speaker
- Low-cost construction leads to a compromised low-end response
Fishman is perhaps best known for their exceptional range of guitar pickups, but with the Loudbox Mini BT, they’ve proven that they also know a thing or two about designing amplifiers.
Portable and lightweight, this amp is a great choice for vocalists who perform in a variety of settings. Despite its compact size, the Loudbox can reach impressive volumes without sacrificing its clarity.
This Fishman Loudbox Mini BT amp has two separate channels – one exclusively for vocal mics, and the other for instruments. If you like to accompany your vocals with an acoustic or electric guitar, this amp will deliver high-quality instrument amplification.
One of the most interesting features of this 60-watt solid-state vocal amp is its Bluetooth connectivity. This makes it easy to play backing tracks through the speakers, without any wires getting in the way.
It also has a useful XLR D.I output, so that you can capture your vocal performances with ease. Simply send the output into a preamp, mixing desk, or directly into your audio interface and hit record.
- 60 watts total power
- Clean and dirty channels
- Modulation and reverb effects
- Ideal for singing to backing tracks
- Smooth, clean vocal tone
- Very lightweight and portable design
- Not suitable for large venues
The next time you see a musician busking with an amplifier, the chances are they’ll be using a Roland CUBE Street EX. Renowned for its reliable performance and versatility, this amp is a great choice for vocalists.
With two individual inputs for mics and instruments, this amplifier is ideal for singer-songwriters or vocalists who use backing tracks for accompaniment.
Housed within the modestly sized, robust chassis, are two clear-sounding 8-inch speakers. These larger speakers are responsible for projecting the low-end and midrange frequencies of vocals or instruments.
Additionally, there is a pair of smaller, 2-inch speakers which take care of the higher frequencies. You can expect crisp, smooth-sounding highs when using this vocal amp.
Reverb is an important addition to any vocal amplifier, and Roland has perfected their digital modeling of this effect. It has a dedicated control to adjust the amount of reverb that you add to the sound of your voice, and a 3-band EQ for tonal alterations.
- 50 watts total power
- Battery-powered design
- Onboard reverb
- Great for buskers and street performers
- Convenient wedge-style design
- Durable and compact
- Requires replacement batteries after a while
Known for their innovative designs, prolific manufacturers Boss is one of the most trusted brands in the business. A popular effects pedal producer, they also design some excellent vocal and guitar amps.
Physically, the CUBE Street 2 is highly durable. It’s designed for easy transportation, and Boss has recognized that this requires maximum robustness so that the inner components will stand the test of time.
With eight AA batteries, you can power this amplifier for hours of continuous use. This is ideal if you like to play off-the-cuff performances or showcase your vocal talents by busking on the streets.
The CUBE Street 2 features found onboard effects – reverb, delay, harmony, and chorus. This allows you to tailor the sound of your vocals to suit each track that you play, by simply tweaking the controls.
Additional features such as the Eco mode, which improves battery life, and the i-CUBE LINK which allows you to hook the Street 2 up to any iOS device set this device apart from the majority of vocal amplifiers.
- 10 watts total power
- Battery or mains powered
- Onboard vocal harmonizer
- Great for adding effects to your vocals
- Convenient size and weight
- Very easy to operate
- Lacks the power required to reach very high volumes
When we think of Marshall amplifiers, the first thing that comes to mind is power. Used by many rock guitarists over the years, they manage to retain their tonal clarity at the highest volumes.
The AS50D Acoustic Combo is a slight departure from common Marhsall amp designs. It’s made specifically for acoustic performers, and therefore projects vocals in a crystal-clear fashion.
This device is essentially a portable P.A system for singers and musicians. At 50 watts, it has enough power in its arsenal to blast your voice into a medium-sized gig venue but also performs very well at lower volumes.
Another useful feature for vocalists is this amp’s built-in feedback suppressor. It has control specifically for eliminating any unwanted noise coming from your microphone or instrument.
Also, Marshall has included an effects loop for easy integration of your pedalboard. A smooth-sounding reverb has also been added to the amp and can be applied to both the vocal and instrument channels.
Being able to record your vocal performances is very useful, either for creating more content to share with your fanbase or simply to review your set. With a line out and DI output, capturing the audio from this amp is quick and simple.
- 50 watts total power
- Line output
- Onboard effects loop
- All-in-one portable PA
- Makes it easy to record your vocals with dedicated outputs
- Clean, clear vocal tone
- Heavier and larger than most vocal amps
The Roland KC-600 has four individual channels, making it one of the most versatile amps featured on this list. It also has an XLR input specifically for vocals and is easy to integrate into a PA system.
The only potential drawback of this 200-watt powerhouse is its weight. Compared to the other vocal amps we’ve selected, it is significantly heavier. However, Roland has considered this when designing the amp.
To make the KC-600 more mobile, four robust wheels have been installed on its base. This means that the amp rarely needs to be lifted, and can be easily positioned on stage or in the practice room.
Powerful enough to be used in large venues, this amplifier produces a strong low-end, which is complemented by sparkling highs and a warm midrange.
The clear sound is largely a result of the 15-inch speaker, which is joined by a tweeter. These two components combine to ensure that the KC-600 remains clear-sounding even when it is pushed to its dynamic limits.
- 200 watts total power
- 4 channels
- Custom designed speakers
- Wheeled design makes transport easy
- Powerful vocal and instrument output
- Versatile connectivity
- Doesn’t sound great with an electric guitar
Most vocalists would agree that they prefer their amplifier to sound natural, rather than overly compressed or processed. This powerful Fishman amp delivers an accurate tone that can be shaped using the array of onboard parameters.
The amp’s channels are divided into two sections – one for an instrument, and the other exclusively for vocal mics. Furthermore, the channels have their controls so that they can be blended and mixed.
The Loudbox Artist BT is compatible with basically any acoustic instrument, including guitars, banjos, and even violins. Using the 3-band EQ, you can ensure that the frequency output is right for the instrument you use.
Alternatively, this device performs very well as a standalone vocal amp. Singers can benefit from the high-quality reverb effects and the anti-feedback control which keeps noise issues at bay.
If you prefer to use a condenser microphone when singing, you’ll be pleased to know that this Fishman amp is equipped with +48v phantom power to facilitate this.
A headphone output is also installed on the amp for discrete practice, and you can hook up your phone or laptop via the onboard aux input or through a Bluetooth connection.
- 120 watts total power
- Instrument and mic channels
- DI output
- Powerful enough for medium-sized venues
- Bluetooth connectivity for playing backing tracks
- A wide array of adjustable controls
- Extensive controls may take some time to get used to
Best Vocal Amps for Singers Buyer's Guide
Most people associate amps with guitarists or bassists. Singers commonly use P.A system for liver performances, but having a vocal amp is more practical in many ways.
Vocal amplifiers are designed specifically to project the sound of a singer’s voice, while providing a number of adjustable controls and parameters that are useful. These controls differ from those commonly featured on guitar amps.
If you’re a singer, investing in a vocal amp means that you can perform in basically any setting. Some of these amps don’t even require to be plugged in, making them suitable for busking or performing in less conventional settings.
You can find all of the important aspects that should be taken into consideration when searching for a vocal amp below.
Things To Consider When Buying
Consider the inputs
If you’re solely a vocalist, you’ll need an amplifier with at least one XLR input. If you accompany your singing with an instrument, you’ll also need a ¼ inch jack input so that you can amplify your voice and instrument simultaneously.
Think about vocal effects
The amps for vocals come with an array of onboard effects. Reverb is perhaps the most important effect for vocalists, as it can soften the sound of your voice and add depth to the output. If effects are important, be sure to look out for an amp that has them built-in.
Consider size and weight
Like guitar amplifiers, vocal amps come in a variety of sizes. For singers who need to transport their amp for performances and rehearsals, it’s probably better to choose a lightweight option with a handle. If the amp will be kept in one place, you can consider a heavier, more powerful option.
Think about power
Are you a busker or street performer? If so, it would be wise to look for a vocal amplifier that can be powered by batteries. Having this option means that you can perform in almost any setting without having to worry about plugging your amplifier into mains power.
The Key Qualities of Vocal Amps
Thanks to the advancements in vocal amplifier designs in recent years, you no longer need to choose between mobility and sound quality. Even the most compact vocal amplifiers now produce high-quality sounds at impressive volumes.
It’s still a good idea, however, to look at the speakers installed within the vocal amplifier. The larger they are, the more clarity the amp is likely to produce at higher volumes.
The wattage of the vocal amplifier is another thing you should pay attention to, as it affects the maximum volume and the number and size of the onboard speakers.
Loudness is something that is most commonly associated with guitar amplifiers, but it’s an important thing to consider with vocal amps too.
In a live performance, the vocals often need to be the most prominent part that is audible over all other instruments. Consequently, if you choose an amp that lacks the necessary power to boost your vocals to the required level, everything may need to be turned down.
And if you’ve even asked a guitarist to turn down or a drummer to play quieter, you’ll know that this often doesn’t go down too well!
Most singers like to use some form of effects or processing to make their vocals sound less dry. This could involve adding reverb, adjusting the frequency output using EQ, or using compression to tighten up the dynamics.
The most basic vocal amplifiers will still almost always include reverb and possibly delay. You’re also likely to find a 3-band EQ that allows you to adjust the prominence of bass, midrange, and treble frequencies.
Other vocal amplifiers may focus on effects more heavily. Rather than offering one type of reverb, they will provide you with several presets, so you can use hall reverbs, plate, or spring reverbs, for example.
You may also find multiple delay effects installed on some of the amps. This can be useful if you want to create atmospheric vocal sounds or experiment with different timings and rhythms.
Power and Connectivity
Some vocal amplifiers don’t need to be plugged into a power source to operate. These amps are designed so that they can be used for busing or street performances running solely on battery power.
You can still plug these amplifiers in if you are playing somewhere where power is available, but it gives you the option of playing in other settings that usually wouldn’t be possible.
You’ll also find that some vocal amps also have an instrument input so that you can connect your guitar or keyboard to accompany your voice.
Vocal Amps for Singers FAQs
Can You Use a Guitar Amp for Vocals?
If a guitar amplifier doesn’t have an XLR input, then it’s going to be very difficult to use it for vocals. You could get an XLR to jack cable, but if the amp is not designed for vocals, then the sound probably won’t be very good.
Guitar amplifiers include speakers and components designed specifically for the tones and frequencies produced by a guitar. Using one for vocals will probably lead to a more distorted, midrange-heavy sound that might be ok for some styles but not so great for others.
How Do You Stop a Vocal Amp Feeding Back?
If you’re experiencing a lot of feedback when using a vocal amplifier, you need to turn down the volume or gain. If this isn’t an option, try standing in a different position while singing.
Amps can feedback when the signal has too much gain for the speakers to handle. It can also occur if the microphone points at the speakers, causing a feedback loop.
What Vocal Effects do Singers Use?
Singers can use a wide range of effects on their voices, including reverbs, delays, and even distortion. Pitch correction is also a common effect used by singers, with the auto-tune vocal effect becoming a popular sound in recent years.