Looking for all-in-one PA for small cocktail-hour gigs

I am looking for a good multi-channel amp that can handle acoustic, tracks, a Beat Buddy, maybe some bass, and vocals. I need it to be loud enough to carry a cocktail hour in a small-to-medium sized lounge on its own as an all-in-one PA, but I don’t need it to carry a hall. Hopefully that helps.

For comparison, the Roland BA-330, while it has the right features, is absolutely NOT close to loud enough once you introduce the Beat Buddy.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot out there, but I do regret not buying, for example, a Carvin AG300 when they were available, which, by all accounts, would have done the trick.

So, does anyone have any experience with the Hughes & Kettner Era 2, the (completely opposite end of the spectrum) Laney Audio Hub AH300, or maybe the Laney A-Duo? I’d also love to hear from anyone who has any other suggestions for a loud and clean-ish amp the will take an acoustic guitar, bass, vocals, and a drum machine.

What about a VERY compact PA like a HK Polar 8 or 10?

Any thoughts?


My experience with the JBL Professional EON ONE has been very positive for playing 100 - 150 person rooms. Use for mixing sound 4 uniquely different guitars / pedal board / looper /mic / Beat Buddy has yet to come up short on sound dynamics and just enough volume.
Seriously considering JBL’s new MK2 that has a phased array configuration which i believe would add to the clarity of vocals and total room coverage. A pair would be killer. But getting by ok for now with the current EON ONE on a stand.

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the Electro-Voice Evolve 30M are amazing for this. Can handle bass, multiple channels, and breaks down into one box and a backpack…sounds AMAZING too.

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Thank you both for your thoughts – much appreciated!

I actually have an RCF JMix 8 which would be comparable, but I’m hoping to be a bit smaller and less conspicuous.

Same comment – unless you’re talking about the little Eon One Compact, which I have not tried. The Bose L1 Compact is just nowhere near, so I’ve kinda stayed away from this sort of solution.

Harbinger MLS1000 Personal Line Array Speaker System


Thanks, @Mike_OC!

Again, a bit similar to what I have, But I am getting closer to deciding to just gig the RCFs. Not sure there’s much else out there that isn’t close enough to what I have to justify spending money. And the JMix has lots of channels, effects, and experience with my Beat Buddy (the “full band” gigs with it every weekend).


I would with a Roland KC-550. It’s rated at 150 watts, and has a 15" speaker, so the bass could work. It’s a good full range amp. I personally use a pair of KC-350 when I play around with stereo effects. They a 4 channel amps with individual volume for each channel. There is an XLR input for the mic.


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Thanks, @Phil_Flood, that’s a bit more in the ballpark, for sure. I’m a bit surprised they don’t have any effects, but I guess that’s a keyboard amp thing, isn’t it?

Traynor used to make a monster keyboard amp that I’d love to have now, called the K4. Maybe I should look for one of those as well. But at this point, I am seriously considering just trotting out one of my RCFs. Overkill, for sure, but I own them, so, no additional outlay. I really have my eye on the Era 2s, but no-one seems to have them in stock, and I don’t want to spend that kind of money without at least trying one out.

Question: Do the KCs handle the Beat Buddy okay? I find the Brushes kit surprisingly heavy in the lows.

I would go for a slightly different approach… A RCF ART-910 with a small 4-channel analog mixer mounted on your pedalboard. You can mount a pocket-compact gig that you could carry in a one-way trip from the parking lot to the cocktail stage. Your main instrument on your back, one hand the RCF ART910 (or ART710) and the other hand your pedalboard. On your pedalboard you can of course mount all your stomps AND a small mixer for you and your band mates or your duo. For the mixer, a small Behringer is enough. RCF is known to be a PUNCH-in-the-face power… enough volume for at least 100 people outdoors or maybe even 200 people indoors… if you bring a pair of them, you can go stereo and easily double the people on the venue, just mount them pointing straight and a little above public heads, like 2 meters high.

I like the Beat Buddy through it. I’ve used it with acoustic guitar, vocal and BB. And, I was just looking at listings for the KC-550 and seeing them for prices in the $200 US range.

Wow, cheap! And they are good with vocals? They seem to be hard to find here, but I’ll keep looking. Thanks for the tip!

I considered this (I have several active speakers), but I really want a simple plop-it-down-and-play solution.

We have two JBL Eon MKII’s for bigger gigs, but usually only need one. Mighty powerful, clean, somewhat lightweight (42lbs). Has DBX Driverack, Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Anti-Feedback. We like it a bunch except for the tablet software app. Clunky as hell. Quicker to adjust on the unit itself. Supposedly a fix is in the works. We run 2 mics, 2 acoustic guitars, and the Beat Buddy.

Are you saying all of that is built into the Eons??

Yes you are.

This is similar to my RCF JMix-8, so, not quite far enough afield from what I have to make it worth the change. But it’s a very cool unit, so, thank you for pointing it out!

It is. One of the reasons we bought the Mk2 system

I have used the Roland AC90 in the scenario you describe. Although it is an acoustic guitar amp, it is essentially a mini PA with basic onboard effects if you need them. Also has two main inputs and a separate RCA type input for your tracks.

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Looks like the AC90 is discontinued so will have to check the used gear market.

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Thanks! Something else to keep an eye out for! Much appreciated!

I’m surprised noone mention the Bose systems; my BB sounds awesome through my L1 Pro16. They aren’t cheap but they sound incredible for AC guitar, Drums, Piano and Voice IMHO!