Top 5 Best Amps For Busking
Busking can be great fun, as well as a good way to make money. With the right selection of songs, the right spot, and the right amount of crowd interaction you can earn a day’s wage in an hour or two. You’ve also got to make sure that the crowd can hear you, and that’s when you’ll need a busking amp. These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but, as you might expect, it’s got to be portable – a Marshall stack hooked up to a generator isn’t the easiest thing to jump on the train with.
Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge
First on the list is the Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge. This has inputs for one instrument, and one microphone, so it’s ideal for solo artists – singer/songwriters with either a guitar or keyboard for example. It’s got bluetooth connectivity too, so if you’ve got backing tracks on your phone, you can link it up and sing/play along with those.
The Loudbox Mini Charge is rated at 60W, so it’s loud, making it great for busking in busy locations. Fishman make really good quality stuff, so the sound is crystal clear. They say at an average volume, you can get up to 12 hours out of one charge, though there’s a battery indicator on the front so you always know where you are with that. Effects-wise, you’ve got reverb and chorus on the instrument channel, and reverb on the vocal channel – pretty standard, but should cover most bases. It’s also fairly light – 9.6kg, making it easy to transport without a car.
You can also use this as a gigging amp too – it comes supplied with a wall charger, and there’s a DI output on the back. This means you can plug it into a PA to get the sound you’ve tweaked on the amp coming out front of house. The Loudbox Mini Charge isn’t the cheapest option here, but the build and sound quality really do make it worth the money.
KAM Portable PA
KAM make a range of portable PA speakers that are really budget-friendly. The sound quality might not be as good as the Fishman or the Laney, but the KAMs offer all the features you need for busking at a great price. They make different sized speakers so you can choose whichever one you need to suit where you’re going to be playing. You’ve got the choice of 8″ (50W), 10″ (75W), 12″ (100W) and 15″ (120W). The 10 and above also come with wheels and a handle attached so you can pull it around like a trolley.
All the speakers in the range come with two jack inputs so you can plug in an instrument and a microphone. However, they all come supplied with a wireless mic too (the 12 and 15 also with a headset) so you can run two mics at the same time if you so wish. They’ve also got bluetooth connectivity so you can run any backing tracks alsongside your instruments as well.
The controls are fairly limited so you can’t quite shape your sound as much as you can with others on this list, but the KAM portable speakers offer great value for money. Definitely one to check out if you’re just starting out busking.
Laney Audiohub 4×4 Bundle
This is really nice, compact busking solution that packs quite a lot in it. You’ve got two channels that will take either a jack or an XLR on each, as well as a stereo jack channel (ideal for keys), and a channel for either mini jack input, or bluetooth audio. This allows you to have a keys player, a guitarist and a singer plugged into the same amp, plus you can play any backing tracks you might want at the same time.
The Audiohub 4×4 has reverb and delay built in, so it’s not all sounding too dry, and, it weighs only 6.5kg meaning it’s really portable. We offer it as a bundle, with a gigbag and tripod stand, so you’re good to go straight away. This amp offers a portable and decent quality busking solution, at a really good price point!
Vox Adio Air
This is one for the electric guitarists, though it’s got a Flat setting, which means you can stick your acoustic through it too. The VOX Adio Air, is a really cool looking guitar amp, that can pump out 50W of battery-powered stereo output.
It’s got loads of different amp settings and effects built in, so you’re covered for tone, regardless of what genre you’re playing. The different amp settings are good as well – this isn’t just a novelty portable amp; it’s a versatile tool, that gives you a wide range of really good guitar sounds. The speakers aren’t huge – 2×3″, but you’d be surprised at how much volume you can get out of it. If you’re an electric guitarist playing with a singer, or even a small band in the streets, you should be fine with this. It weighs only 3kg, and you’d probably fit it in a backpack. This would be my top choice as an electric guitarist busking.
Roland Street Cube
One of the most well-knowen busking amps is the Roland Street Cube. It’s got inputs for a microphone and a guitar or keyboard, as well as on-board effects and amp simulators. It’s only 5W, so it doesn’t have bags of volume, though it is fairly light and portable. The Street Cube is one of the original busking amps – you’ll probably see quite a few of them about!
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