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Cheap Advice On Live Sound
48 Tips To Make Your Band Sound Better
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Can I Run Live Vocals Through an Instrument Amp?

Live Sound 1 Comment

Many new bands want to know, can we just run our vocals through a spare input in one of our instrument amps when we play out, instead of buying and setting up a whole fancy-schmancy PA system? Well, my answer to this question is no, yes, and kind of. (How’s that for razor-sharp clarity?)

1. No

Most of the time, when we think about a high-powered onstage amplifier, we think about the guitar player’s amp. The thing’s huge! Why don’t we just run the vocals through that along with the guitar?

The main problem with this is that guitar amplifiers are purposely designed to not have a flat frequency response. If they did, they’d all sound the same! And yet we know that there is a “Marshall sound,” a “Fender sound,” and so on. It stands to reason that your vocals would sound markedly different if run through different guitar amps, and that can’t be good.

The electric guitar and its amplifier are best thought of as a single instrument. After all, an electric guitar makes very little sound without an amp! The frequency response and other sonic characteristics of the amp combine with those of a specific guitar to create a sound unique to that combination. This makes guitar amps great for guitarists, but not so good for vocalists.

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