Buying a guitar amp can be a daunting business. As can deciding on the best one. With so much choice available, how can you be sure that the amp you are looking at is the best one for you?
Well, help is at hand! We’ve read hundreds of reviews, talked to a load of musicians, and listened to hours of riffs. It was fun, but also all so that we can tell you that the Marshall DSL Series DSL40C is the best guitar amp around at the moment. It sounds great, delivers more than enough power for most guitar players and situations, and comes with a great range of added features. If you are looking for a guitar amp that will deliver quality sound for years to come, this is the one to get.
Editor’s Pick – Top Pick
|1||Marshall DSL Series DSL40C|
|3||Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III|
|4||Vox VT40X Modeling Amp|
|5||Fender Super Champ X2|
Marshall DSL Series DSL40C
Wow. Marshall has long been the choice of guitar amps for serious and professional musicians, and it is not hard to ...
User Rating: ( votes)
This is simply a great practice amp, and represents amazing value. Vox have a legendary reputation, and draw on ...
User Rating: ( votes)
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III
Fender are one of the most well-known guitar amplifier brands, and have offered a huge range of different amps over ...
User Rating: ( votes)
Vox VT40X Modeling Amp
A slightly different amp to those we have reviewed so far. This kind of modeling amp makes use of the most advanced ...
User Rating: ( votes)
Fender Super Champ X2
This is simply a great practice amp. If you are looking for a compact amp which includes all of the latest ...
User Rating: ( votes)
|Marshall DSL Series DSL40C||29.33 x 25.39 x 15.35 in||61.72 pounds||40W|
|Vox AC15C1||15.2 x 28.1 x 21.9 in||56.06 pounds||15W|
|Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III||12.5 x 26 x 22 in||52.2 pounds||40W|
|Vox VT40X Modeling Amp||18.5 x 9.6 x 22 inches||24.3 pounds||40W|
|Fender Super Champ X2||8.75 x 14.75 x 17.5 in||23 pounds||15W|
What is a Guitar Amp?
Put simply, a guitar amp is an amplifier for your electric guitar. Though such amps have been around for many years now, the technology that goes into them is constantly being updated, and guitar amps today are nothing like those of even a few years ago.
Old school guitar amps required you to control everything and know exactly what was going on.
The latest advances in sound reproduction technology are quickly applied to guitar amps, so all the best amps on the market today sound incredible. In addition, many amps come with built-in effects, making it easy to get exactly the sound you are looking for.
One big advance over the past few years has been the rise of modeling amps. These are high-tech devices that use digital technology to reproduce the sounds of vintage amps. Whilst, for a long time, people looked down on digital amps, this is starting to change, as their sound comes ever closer to that of vintage tube amps. These amps also offer the advantage that, since they are digital, they can be controlled by your computer, tablet, or even your phone!
The sheer number of guitar amps available today can make choosing one really. Don’t fear, though, we are here to help. So if you are looking for a great guitar amp that will give you years of reliable service, have a look below.back to menu ↑
Our Reviews for Best Guitar Amps for the Money
What kind of guitar you need, and the features you want it to have, depend on how you’re going to use it. An amp for practicing in your room is quite a different beast to one you can tour huge venues with.
Some of the things to look for in amp stay the same, though:
- Power. A lot of people talk a lot about power, as though it was a measure of how good an amp is. Certainly, if you are playing huge venues, or outside, you will need a powerful amp. However, for most places and people, a 50W amplifier will easily deal with the task. It will still go incredibly loud, so don’t worry about not being heard!
- Speakers. A common set-up for guitar amps is a 12” woofer coupled with a smaller tweeter, typically 1”. Some amps come with an additional mid-range horn as well, which can potentially improve frequency response and definition.
- Inputs and outputs. It might sound obvious, but make sure the amp you are looking at has the correct type of inputs, and enough of them, to accommodate all the gear you want to plug in.
Ultimately, there is no substitute for hearing these amps yourself. Everybody has different preferences when it comes to how they want their amp to sound. But you could do worse than checking out these ones:
For a couple more articles, we think you’d dig check out:
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1. Editor’s Choice – Marshall DSL Series DSL40C
Wow. Marshall has long been the choice of guitar amps for serious and professional musicians, and it is not hard to see why. Over the past decades, the brand has built a reputation for building solid amps that simply sound great.
The DSL40C is no exception. The primary reason we have chosen it as our winner today is its amazing sound. It is impossible to get that signature Marshall sound with any other brand of amp, and this item is a great advert for it.
No matter what style of music you play, this amp will deliver. Its frequency response is incredible, meaning that even when pushed to its limits, every note is clear and bright. It is also highly adaptable, so even if you are the kind of guitarist who has a huge bank of effects pedals on stage, the amp will be able to deal with even the weirdest noises.
Go down to your guitar store, plug in, and give it a listen, and we are sure you’ll agree – this is simply the best sounding guitar amp around today.
Of course, in addition to the incredible sound, this amp comes with a range of great extra features:
- The amp has more than enough power to deliver great sound, even when pushed to the limit. Whilst, at 40W, this is not the most powerful amp that we reviewed, it is really, really loud. You can play even large halls with this amp, and not worried about being heard.
- This amp shares many of the great features that have made Marshall amps such classics. It features foot-switchable classic and ultra gain channels, so you can quickly and easily switch between sounds, no matter how crazy things get on stage.
- The digital effects that are built in to this amp are also great. The digital reverb included with this amp is quickly becoming something of an iconic sound, and with this amp it can be activated using the included foot switch.
- The flexibility of this amp has made it a favorite amongst gigging musicians. The people we talked to for this review praised the fact that this amp was so compact, whilst also delivering all the power and volume that it is famous for. This is especially valuable for busy musicians, because lugging a heavy, huge amp to gigs and practice quickly becomes really tiresome.
- The build quality of this amp is good. Whilst there are some Marshall amps, for more than twice the price of this one, that offer hand-built construction, this mass-produced amp is fabulously built considering its price. We are sure that it will give many years of reliable service.
- Again, that sound. Obviously, the sound you want in your guitar amp is a matter of personal choice. However, we are confident that no matter what style of music you play, you will be delighted with the crisp, clear sounds of this amp.
- In truth, none. It is very hard to beat this amp at the price, and the value it represents is outstanding.
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2. Vox AC15C1
This is simply a great practice amp, and represents amazing value.
Vox have a legendary reputation, and draw on over 50 years of amp-building expertise in their products. This amp is a worthy addition to a line of amps that has become iconic.
Before we get to the sound and other features offered by this amp, take a moment to look at it. It looks great, with vintage styling that will never go out of fashion, and resembles so many iconic amps so closely that we’re sure even the most discerning amp connoisseur will fall in love with it.
The sound is great. Vox know that different styles of music, and different musicians, each require something different from a guitar amp, and have designed this amp with this in mind. No matter if you play jazz, rock, or even metal, the gorgeous tones of this amp will sound great.
Whilst, at 15W, this amp is not really powerful enough for gigging, it is perfect for practicing, and many professional musicians recommended it because it is so easy to carry to and from practice.
In addition, is has these great features:
- The small size of this amp makes it perfect for practice sessions. You can easily chuck it into your truck, and carry it around all day, without your back complaining. Whilst you may want a bit more power to play stadium shows, adding this amp to your collection will really pay dividends.
- The circuitry in this amp, whilst based on classic designs, is really innovative. It offers two channels of amplification, Normal and Top-Boost, and each channel is equipped with its own volume control, and the latter channel offers treble and bass controls.
- For beginners, who are just starting to learn how to set up an amp, this one is perfect. Small enough to be carried around easily, yet still delivering a powerful sound, the effect options are also just complicated enough to provide a huge range of effects without confusing the amateur.
- The Vox tremolo sound is iconic, and no Vox amp would be complete without it. Even when paired with this small amp, it sounds incredible, with the warm and bright tones you would expect from any Vox amp.
- None, for the price. If you are looking for a gorgeous sounding practice amp that will give years and years of service, this is the one to go for.
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3. Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III
Fender are one of the most well-known guitar amplifier brands, and have offered a huge range of different amps over the years. Having tested this one, we think it is perhaps the best yet!
It is hugely powerful, offering a full 40W of noise, and is incredibly loud when pushed to its limits. The people we spoke to for this review even said that this was the only amp that most guitarists will ever need.
It sounds great even at low volumes, making it perfect for the practice room. The sound then stays remarkably stable even up to the limit of its volume. With 40W of power, the amp is capable of playing small venues on its own, and if you are playing larger venues it will be plugged into a PA system anyway, so any more power is somewhat unnecessary.
The amp is also really reliable. These amps are seen on stages throughout the world, and with good reason. Musicians know that this amp will go on delivering great sound for years to come, and so getting one is a worthy investment.
In addition, this amp comes with some great features:
- The no-nonsense design of this amp is a great advantage. With some guitar amps, manufacturers feel obliged to pack the front panel with as many controls and features as possible. Whilst great for some musicians, the majority simply want an amp that will reproduce their sound accurately, and let the guitar do the work!
- That said, the spring reverb on this amp is gorgeous. The first time you use this function, you will be reminded of so many tracks that have used it in the past, and it sounds so good that you may end up changing your style to incorporate it more often!
- If you are looking at building a large set-up, this amp is the perfect place to start. It is powerful enough to form the base of a huge system, and reliable enough that even if you spend years tweaking your sound, the Fender will keep going.
- It is hard to beat the sound of tube amplification. Even the most advanced amp simulators available today are not quite able to match the warm, vintage sound of tubes. If you are looking for an amp to reproduce classic 60s sounds, then this is the one.
- Very few. If you break a tube, they can be difficult to replace, but be careful and this amp will give years of reliable service.
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4. Vox VT40X Modeling Amp
A slightly different amp to those we have reviewed so far. This kind of modeling amp makes use of the most advanced digital technology to reproduce the sounds of classic amps.
Whilst there has long been criticism of amps like this from purists, who claim that it is impossible to get the kind of vintage sound you get from a tube amp, the newest breed of modeling amps sound so close to classic amps that most players will find it difficult to tell the difference.
The advantages of this kind of modeling amp also more than make up for some perceived lack of “purity”. It is possible to simulate many great amps of the past, and even create your own effects, meaning that getting a modeling amp can come in as significantly cheaper than buying many, many separate items.
This example, the Vox VT40X, represents one of the best modeling amps around at the moment, and comes with many advantages:
- It delivers more than enough power for most players. With 40W of noise, it is perfect for either the practice room or small gigs. If you are playing larger venues, it will easily connect to PA systems.
- The Virtual Elements Technology in this amp, a innovation made by Vox themselves, delivers stunning sound quality. No matter what style of music you play, tones are just how you want them.
- The amp models offered by this amp are wide-ranging. It can simulate 11 different amps, offers 13 on-board effects, and 33 preset programs. The people we spoke to for this review reported that they had spent many happy hours just playing around with the sheer range of options available on this amp, before finding the perfect sound!
- Whilst it includes all the latest technology, Vox have cleverly integrated vintage elements into this amp. The Valvetronix pre-amp uses vacuum tubes to deliver that Vox signature sound, so the base amplification of this amp is as traditional as they come!
- Very few. Some purists will never be happy with the sound of a digital amplifier, but we think that the differences they hear might just be in their own heads! If you are looking for an adaptable amp that offers an unparalleled range of sounds, this is the one to go for.
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5. Fender Super Champ X2
This is simply a great practice amp. If you are looking for a compact amp which includes all of the latest features, then look no further than the Fender Super Champ X2.
The heart of this amp is pure Fender. It is based around 15W of rich, two-channel amplification that delivers a sound quality on a par with far bigger and more expensive guitar amplifiers. The signature Fender sound is well displayed here, and as soon as you play through this amp you will realize why the brand has become such a favorite of musicians.
In addition, this amp comes packed with the latest features, offering versatile amp voicing with a huge variety of different effects. It will easily connect to your computer, also, so you can spend hours tweaking the sound to get it just right.
Of course, this amp also has several more advantages:
- The unlimited tones than can be achieved with this amp are a great advantage. The amp is perfect for beginners, in particular, because it allows them to play around with their guitar sound before graduating to larger amps. With the sheer variety of options available, it is easy to create your own signature sound.
- The build quality of this amp is amazing. Fender have a reputation for building amps which will last and last, and this one is no exception. The people we spoke to for this review reported that ancient versions of the Super Champ are often encountered in practice rooms and backstage, still in perfect working order.
- The USB output is a really innovative feature, and again great for beginners. Using this output, speaker-emulated recording is possible, so you can record your latest riff directly to your computer.
- The voicing knob on this amp is really easy to use, and gives access to 16 different amp types – Tweed, Blackface, British, Metal, etc. This is a really innovative feature, and gives instant access to amp set ups that have become iconic. It is also perfect if you play in a variety of styles, because it means that swapping from a morning of jazz to an evening of metal is super easy.
- Very few. If you are playing huge venues, then you are going to need more power. However, if you are looking for an amp that is perfect for practicing or for a beginner, then this compact and versatile amp is perfect!
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Our Final Thoughts on Cheap Guitar Amps
So which to choose?
Well, your choice of guitar amp is yours alone, of course. Nothing can beat hearing these amps in the flesh, and finding one that perfectly matches the sound you want to achieve. All of the amps we reviewed today offer incredible sound that we are confident will please even the most discerning player.
Our choice, though, is the Marshall DSL Series DSL40C. In terms of value, this is the best guitar amp around at the moment. It sounds great, delivers more than enough power for most guitar players and situations, and comes with a great range of added features. Its build quality is second to none, and it has become a favorite of gigging musicians. If you are looking for a guitar amp that will deliver quality sound for years to come, this is the one to get.