Guitar amp versus PA system
I see in the various catalogs PA system setups for not a whole lot more than dedicated guitar amps. If you are playing acoustic or electric guitar what do you lose by going with a powerful PA system?
Clearly you gain possible inputs, some serious wattage, the ability to contour the sound to the venue, and microphones. But what do you lose? If a person has pedals, do you lose some kind of tone?
Electric guitar amps tend to "color" the tone, making it sound good in peoples minds...
With a P.A. there is little or no color so the sound is very sterile, etc. P.A.'s are maily used for vocals and acoustic guitars, because you tend to want the sound to be as uncolored as possible, so the cox or the acoustic seem more "natuaral"... Hope I cleared this up...
Stairway to Freebird!
I use a Kustom KMA65 PA/KEyboard combo amp along with a digitech RP100 modeling processor with my electric and acoustic. I'm sure that some purists would say that I am giving up on the tone of a real guitar amp but it works for me. The processor sounds even better with a full PA system. I like having one unit that I can also plug in a vocal microphone too. At some point I would like to upgrade to either a line 6 pod or the behringer version.
PAs are awesome for amplifying modeling pre-amps, but just using 'regular' effect pedals won't do the trick.
Yoyo had it. Guitar amps are designed to distort. Even when playing clean there is some distortion there. And this is what people have come to know as the sound of electric guitar.
And PAs are designed not to distort, especially the voice. Electric can sound a little bland straight into a PA.
Lots of folks (including artists like Eric Clapton) are getting away from the big guitar stacks that everybody used to use. Now, many are using smaller amplifiers mic'd into a powerful PA system. I read an article that said Eric Clapton uses a small 50W combo to get his tone, and uses the PA to deliver it to the crowd. Even though a PA does not distort, if it is getting the mic'd signal from a guitar amp it will reproduce this. So the crowd hears the great tone of a good guitar amp.
And some are getting away from amps altogether and just running an effects processor into the PA. As Presbystrat said, some purists might not go for this, but many are doing it. No more heavy amps to haul around and set up. Just plug into the PA and go!
Just my 2 cents, but I think the way to go is get a small amp you can really crank, and then mic it into a good PA.
If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis
Thanks all. I have a smallish practice amp already, so I think my next step will be to get a PA system, then mic it to the amp, at least until I get an inline modeling system. I like the idea of not having to lug around an amp. Plus the PA can do double duty if I decide the old-folks DJ thing is something to do.