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How Do I Choose the Best Portable Amplifier Speaker?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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A portable amplifier speaker refers to a self-powered speaker that is easily maneuverable. As the amplifier is already built in to the speaker, it is already powered and does not need a separate amplifier. A portable amplifier speaker may come in the form of guitar speakers, PA speakers, or stereo speakers. It’s important to determine what the portable amplifier speaker will be used for and how often it will be moved when choosing the best to buy.

Guitar speakers are one of the most common forms of a portable amplifier speaker. As they are constantly being moved, it’s important to have a speaker that is both small and sturdy. A guitar amplifier that has both an amp and a speaker in one unit is called a combo amplifier.

Combo amps are more portable than half-stack amps, which come in two parts: a speaker, or cab, and an amp, or head. Many musicians install wheels on the bottoms of their amps for easy transport. It is important to store these units away from extreme temperatures, especially if they are powered by tubes. While solid-state, or nontube, amps are more durable on the road, tube amps give off much better sound and are thus the choice of many serious musicians. Both types of amps come in a variety of sizes for easy transportation.

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PA speakers are another common form of portable amplifier speaker. While most PA speakers are unpowered, others have built-in power sources and do not require the purchase of an amplifier. These powered speakers are often the best portable option because the user does not have to transport other amplifiers. These units come in portable sizes and can fit in most trunks and backseats of automobiles.

Many live events require an MC voice to be projected. There are small speaker and amplifier combos that connect to a microphone. These units can be purchased online and at most audio shops. Mic, amp, and speaker combos are great portable options for small events that need to project to a small audience. Larger-sized, powered PA speakers are also available with direct mic inputs. Look for larger speakers with more power when doing outdoor events.

A stereo speaker can also be a portable amplifier speaker. For live events requiring prerecorded music, you may want to look at a powered subwoofer as well. These units fill out the low end of the sound. Fifteen-inch (38-cm) powered speakers are standard for most live events under 300 people. Remember that significant trunk space is needed to transport a subwoofer.

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