You need to have the right kind of busking amp for performing in public. Using a busking speaker and a microphone, you can amplify yourself and put on a better performance.
The best amps for busking are battery-powered and clear. Distorted amplifiers won’t be any good for your vocals. Therefore, you want to use amps that act like PA speakers. They will allow you to have multiple inputs for both your guitar and your microphone.
Have a look at our best amps for busking, as well as the best microphones for live performances. Whilst some of these amps are cheap and affordable, we’ve included some high-end speakers too.
What is a busking amp?
A busking amp is an amplifier or speaker that can be set up anywhere and allow you to perform. This means that they typically need to be portable and have inputs for mic and guitars. They also need to be loud enough for wherever you perform. This could be set in a small intimate venue or it could be a loud busy street.
Best busking amp
There is no definitive best busking amp because you need to find the best busking amp for your style of performance. You might just want a PA for your vocals and acoustic or you may find you need one with effects.
Have a read through and see which amp has the features you want the most. Once you’ve found an amp you like the look of, go to your local music store and try before you buy!
Best busking amp for vocals
If you’re looking for a busking amp just for vocals then you will want one that is as clear as possible. It might be worth looking into some that have effects too but you ideally want to stay away from the guitar amps for your voice. Don’t forget that amps are just half of the equation and microphones are just as important.
Best microphone for busking
The Shure SM58 is widely regarded as the tried and tested all-time great live microphone. It is as sturdy as anything and offers good sound quality. It is also very affordable and definitely worth investing in. If you’re looking for something else than
Microphones for busking
- Sennheiser e 935 Dynamic Microphone
- AKG D5 Dynamic Microphone
- Shure Super 55 Dynamic Microphone
- Blue Microphones enCore 100 Dynamic Microphone
- Beyerdynamic M 88 TG Dynamic Microphone
- Neumann KMS 105 Condenser Microphone
- Shure KSM 9 Condenser Microphone
Battery-powered amp for busking
Battery-powered amps are by far the most practical amplifiers for busking. You can’t expect there to be a mains supply in the middle of a street so battery-powered amps are going to be your best bet. Fortunately, there is a large range of battery-powered amps to choose from.
Roland busking amp
Roland offers some of the best amps that buskers can buy. They come with a range of features and varying price points so there will be something for everyone.
Roland CUBE street amplifier | £225
This is Roland’s most popular busking amp and is perfect for singers and guitarists. It works as a portable PA system so your vocals can come through clear and clean. However, it also allows your guitar to go through its amp models and effects, along with a tuner.
The CUBE street can be powered by batteries and has different power modes that can reduce the amount of power being used. Alternatively, it also has a mains supply so it can be plugged in if the opportunity is there.
Best CUBE busking amp
Roland CUBE Street Ex | £447
The Roland CUBE Street EX is a more powerful version and feature-heavy version of the CUBE street. The 50W of power means that it can hit volumes that are loud enough for large crowds on busy streets. You can even link multiple amps together if you really need that extra power and all it takes is 8 AA batteries.
Roland Mobile CUBE busking amp | £135
This mini amp is battery powered and incredibly portable. You’ll be able to put it in a bag and take it anywhere you want. You will need an XLR to 3.5mm cable for a vocal microphone and you can also connect a keyboard or guitar via 3.5mm as well. It is much cheaper but be aware that it won’t be nearly as loud as the others. Therefore it might not be the best idea for loud streets.
Roland BA 330 busking amp | £598
The BA 330 acts much more like a PA than a guitar amplifier. It doesn’t have the amp modelling that the CUBE has but it does have 4 inputs and a big speaker. There are some simple effects too and can be mains or battery powered.
Battery-powered bass amps for busking
There aren’t a lot of specialised bass amps that are designed for busking. You should find that most of the amps and PA systems here will actually be fine for bass guitars. However, if you do want a specialised amp the Roland has the one for you.
Roland micro CUBE bass RX amp | £210
The micro CUBE bass RX is small and portable amplifier made for bass guitars. It can be powered by mains but also by batteries so you’ll be able to perform with needing to worry about a power supply. It also has some cool bass effects and a rhythm section to play along to stock grooves.
Rechargeable busking amp
These Roland amps are all battery-powered but you’ll need to supply your own batteries. If you’re a regular busker then you could be replacing a lot of batteries, which could be quite expensive. Rechargeable busking amps means that you won’t have to worry about replacing batteries and could be more practical.
Joyo busking amp
Joyo is an amp brand with some amps that are perfect for buskers. They are rechargeable and convenient along with plenty of power for busy crowds.
Joyo AC-40 | £190
The AC-40 is a 40-watt amp designed specifically for acoustic guitars. It will give you 3 hours of playing time on a full charge and has some basic effects for your guitar. It also has a microphone channel so you can sing and play your guitar at the same time with no problem.
Joyo BSK 60 | £345
The Joyo BSK 60 is designed for buskers and is one of the top options for anyone really serious about busking. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts four hours and incredible features, such as a built-in looper.
Busking amp and mic
Joyo JPA 862 | £199
This is the same price as the AC40 but functions as a standalone PA. It is great for portability and has wheels and a handle to roll around and also comes with a microphone if you don’t have one already. It is only 12W so don’t expect it to be as loud as these other options.
Bose busking amp
Bose is a name associated with high-end speakers but they also have a great option for buskers. It is hardly at the cheaper end of the spectrum and isn’t made specifically for guitarists. However, it is a top-quality brand known for great sounding speakers.
Bose S1 Pro | £575
The S1 Pro is a high-end PA system with a massive rechargeable battery. You can get 5 hours out of this speaker which is plenty of time for anyone. It has two inputs that can be tone matched for guitar or vocals plus an aux/Bluetooth input for your own music.
Power supply for busking
You could use your own power supply for busking but you’re much better off using a portable amplifier or PA. If you’re already carrying a guitar and speaker that has its own power then another external supply is just inconvenient. If you were to use a power supply then the Bose S1 pro has its own battery pack that can extend the S1 Pro to 11 hours.
Cheap busking amp
There are plenty of other amp options for busking that we’ll cover below. Whilst Roland and Joyo may have the best general busking amps, have a look at these and they may be better for you.
Aroma AG26 | £99
This Aroma busking amp is a rechargeable amplifier made for acoustic guitars that also includes a mic input. At 25W and with a 6.5” speaker, it should be just about loud enough for a bustling street. It also has a great look for the price and you wouldn’t believe it’s under £100.
Aroma AG15 | £79
The AG15 is the 15W version of the above. It still has a punch to it but it won’t cut through crowd noise as well. It has the same look as the AG26 and is slightly cheaper. It’s probably your best option if you’re just getting started and need a chape busking amp.
Fender Passport Mini | £125
The fender passport mini is a really compact portable busking amp. It has some great fender amp models as well as effects and mic input. It is only 7 Watts but is still a great option at the lower end of the market.
Behringer MPA40BT | £130
Behringer’s busking amp is a 40 watt portable PA at an affordable price. It has a great option for streaming through Bluetooth and has the typical microphone and instrument input combination.
Vox Mini 5 | £135
The Vox Mini 5 is a great little amp with an abundance of effects. It has a guitar and mic in so you can sing along while you play. There is also a rhythm version with plenty of grooves that you can jam along to.
Yamaha THR5A | £159
Yamaha’s busking amp is actually billed as a desktop amplifier. This is a testament to how portable it is although it only has an input for guitar. If you just want an amplifier for performing as a guitarist, then this should do the job.
How do I choose a good speaker?
With all this choice it can be hard to make a decision. The first thing to have in mind is how much you’re going to want to spend. This can vary a lot depending on your financial situations and how committed you are to busking.
The other thing to consider is how else you could use it. A more expensive amplifier could make more sense if you’re going to use it for parties or casual listening as well. Or if you’re looking for an amp that you can practice with then you might want one with a headphone port.
The most important thing to do to help you choose is to test the speaker or amplifier out. You might find that it isn’t quite loud enough or may even be too loud. Try out more than one and get a good feel for what it sounds like and how easy it will be to carry around.
Don’t forget to try both your guitar and your vocals through the amp you’re testing. You most likely need one that is great for both and there’s no point in getting one that makes your voice sound great but doesn’t do the same for your guitar.
Are you a busker? Let us know what your favourite amp to use is in the comments below.