Acoustic Amp VS Portable PA: Which One Should You Get?

Choosing the right sound system is extremely essential for a musician. Starting musicians always seem to struggle to find the best sound output for themselves. And the confusion between the amp and a portable PA arrives at times like this. 

Which is better in acoustic amp vs portable PA?

The answer depends on the usage and other variables. Acoustic amplifiers come in a cheaper price range than the PA. Although the PA offers more versatility, an amp offers more accurate and natural sound output. Also, the amp comes with less hassle causing the amp to be more durable and long-lasting. 

Sounds good? If so, then read along to have a detailed discussion. here we are going to explain both sides of the coin and compare between two heads to head. 

Why wait? Let’s get into the sound system world!

Short Comparison

In order not to have you intimidated, We thought of giving you a brief comparison. This must provide you with an initial idea before we go into the broader comparison. 

Here we’ve prioritized a few key factors that you need to know. And we compared the features between the acoustic amplifiers and the PA. Here are the key differences between them; 

FactorsAcoustic amplifier Portable PA
Operating Voltage Level110/115V to 220/230V220 to 240V
Portability Slightly difficultEasily portable
Exterior Materials Wood, Metal & PlasticWood, Metal & Plastic
Output QualityTonal control for the main channel onlySeparated tonal controls for all channel
Ease of AccessNeeds fewer plugins Need to be plugged in multiple connections
Shapes Mostly Square or rectangularRectangular
Features Can be used for one instrument onlyMulti instruments pug in capabilities. 
Price $80 to $4000$300 to &2500

The above things are the key differences between the acoustic amp vs PA speakers. Now let’s jump to the details of each key factor of each system. 

Extended Comparison

Even though we have briefly tried to compare the two, You still might crave more. Therefore, we’ve also provided you with a detailed comparison between both speakers for your convenience. 


This will provide you with a much clearer idea of which one to get. So, why wait? Let’s dig deep into the world of your sound system. 


If you are a beginner musician, then price can be among your major concerns. You would not want to invest a huge chunk of money on something like that. In this case, the more affordable, the better. 

In this sector, both the sound system comes off cheaper than the professional ones. The acoustic amp takes a lead in this sector by providing within an affordable range. 

Guitar amp prices can start from $80 which is more affordable than you might think! And the priciest acoustic amps can reach up to $4000. You can also get a mini acoustic amp in the market for a cheaper price!

However, some vintage acoustic amplifier might cost a lot.

On the other hand, the portable PAs are also very affordable given the sound it provides. Although the price range starts a bit higher than the amps, it’s still relatively cheap. The starting point of PA is roughly $300 and can shoot high up to $2500. 

Winner: In terms of Price point, the acoustic amp might be more suitable for you. 

Output Quality 

When it comes to output quality, the PA might be more of your speed. Most of the PAs come with the separated tone control for each plug-in. But setting up the PA properly is necessary 

As we already have mentioned, Amp usually comes with only one instrumental output. While the portable PA comes with two different instrument outputs. Having two separate outputs for both of the plug-ins provides more control over the entire tonality. 

Also, you will find a master control in the PA system. This will allow you to set the overall sound levels and will bring cohesion to your sounds. 

On the contrary, even if at times amps come with two plug-ins, that’s just an addition. You don’t get separated tonal control with the other one. Therefore, the overall tonality falls short. 

But in good hands, both can produce similar output. 

Winner: When it comes to the Output quality, the PA takes this one. 

Ease of Usability 

When it comes to usability, the amps are easier to control over the PA system. A guitar amp has a more powerful equalizer. Therefore, it can produce natural tonality of the instrument. For a clear example, you can read this article on pair HD800 amps

On the other hand, even though PA provides more control, it lacks accuracy. Due to this, the natural tonality will be harder to produce.

Also, the acoustic amplifiers come with correct input impudence. Such as the notch filters to the EQ. it can easily derive better feedback along with the instruments. 

Furthermore, a PA needs plenty of cables to be connected. It might seem a hassle at times. On the other hand, amplifiers need fewer cables. It saves a lot of time and effort and allows you to concentrate on the instrument. However, there are different types of PA, such as a 10 inches and a 12 inches one. Both will give you completely different experience.

If you’re thinking about buying some cables for your acoustic amp or PA. You can give the given below cables a try. They are really good at their job.

These are some of the really good cables. Okay, now let’s get into the next fact.

Winner: In terms of usability and producing good sound. Amp is the way to go. 


Durability & Maintenance 

As we have mentioned earlier, amps need less effort than PA. Therefore, the maintenance of the amp is also much easier. An acoustic guitar amp also uses fewer cables than the PA which essentially requires less attention. However, some guitar amps like Fender causes some problem. So amps require some maintenance now and then.

The Amp also lasts longer than the PA. Over the period of time, the PA’s sound quality decreases as gain start to increase. As a result, you will start hearing unwanted buzzing noises from the PA. You will also lose the clarity of the sound. 

Also, you might find your bluetooth speaker beeping

Whereas, the amp will retain the sound quality for a longer period of time. An amp is set up with relatively much accuracy with the sound pitch signals. Hence, it maintains the sound quality for a longer duration. Essentially it gives you more value for your money. 

Winner:  The acoustic amp gets the winning trophy in terms of durability and maintenance. 


Sometimes having the most efficient sound quality is not the concern. At times multiple instruments are needed to be plugged in. In situations like this, the PA will be a better friend than an amp. 

The PA comes with multiple instrument plug-in capabilities. Additionally, you can control the output for each channel. Therefore, it gives you more versatility than an amp. 

The amp on the other hand is not as versatile as the PA. Generally, you can plug only one instrument in and control the sound quality. Even if at times the amp comes with another sound channel, it does not come with the controls for the second channel. 

As a result, you can not specifically control the overall tonality. Affects the overall sound control. A PA allows you to do that. 

Winner: In this case, getting a PA will produce a much more efficient result. 


Final Verdict 

Choosing between a PA and an acoustic amp can be hard. There are a lot of variables and concerns that need to be considered. But it also depends on the usage of the consumer as well. It’s alright if you can’t choose one right away. There are other amps you can try out. See if sound digital amp works for you or not.

However, if someone is determined to use only one instrument. And they need more accurate sound controls, the amp is the best option for them. It comes with a good tonal setup to bring out the natural tonality of the instrument. 

On the other hand, if someone is looking for multi-purpose usage, then PA is the solution. You can add multiple instruments together letting you have multi-purpose use in one go. 


Can I use a guitar amp for a PA system?

Yes. you can use a guitar amp in a PA system. You can use it as a speaker and connect a microphone as well. A PA guitar amp is not designed to play music while for the backing track. At times which you do need. 

Can you run an amp head through the PA system? 

To have a balanced output, the head has to have a power supply of over 500ohm. The 4.8.16 ohm carries too much electricity which might result in frying the PA mixer. 

Are PA speakers good for guitars? 

Yes. There is nothing wrong with plugging in guitars to an acoustic guitar PA system. Playing amplified acoustic instruments with a rig works best with a PA. 


So that’s all from our end. I hope you’re now clear on which one to get for your sound system: an acoustic amp vs portable PA. 

It’s an instrument related to electricity. So, do follow safety measures when you are working with electronics. 

Good luck with your sound experience!

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