Our Top 5 Pedal Amps for the Money 2017

Our Top Pick
We’ve read hundreds of reviews, talked to a load of loads of real “pedal guys”, and listened to hours of jamming through all the pedals you can possible imagine. It was really good fun, of course, but was all in the name of science. If you are looking for a guitar amp that will work and sound great with whatever complicated pedal set up you use, the Fender Super Champ X2 is the one to go for. For the price, this amp is simply the best value, delivering that signature Fender sound at more than enough volume, and on top of which any pedal effects sound great.

Editor’s Pick – Top Pick

Product DescriptionUsers Score
Editor choice
Fender Super Champ X2

Fender Super Champ X2

Wow, this is a great amp, perfectly suited for the practice room or for small gigs. If you are looking for a compact ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
2 Marshall MG102CFx MG

Marshall MG102CFx MG

Marshall are a legend amongst musicians, having built an enviable reputation over the years. This amp continues in that ...

User Rating: 3 (2 votes)
3 Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube

Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube

This amp represents amazing value. For quite a low price, the clean sound it produces works really well with any pedal ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
4 Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb

Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb

This is simply a great tube amp, and represents amazing value. The history of this amp goes way back to 1965, when ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)

Recommended Guitar Amps for Pedals

ModelSizeWeightPower
Fender Super Champ X214.8 x 8.8 x 17.5 inches 23 pounds15 W
Marshall MG102CFX MG 100 W10.95 x 26.35 x 19.45 in49.38 pounds100 W
Peavey Bandit 112 Transtube15.75 x 28.37 x 23.87 in48 pounds80 W
Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb26 x 11.2 x 19.8 inches 48.4 pounds22 W

Guitar Amps for Pedals

If you play with a huge bank of pedals, it is worth getting an amp that will be able to make them sound as good as possible.

It might sound obvious, but is something that many guitarists forget about. Some amplifiers simply add too much color to any signal that is fed to them to use with a pedal. This means that you are not getting the best out of your pedals, and also not the best sound quality.

What should you look for in a guitar amp for pedals?

Well, quite simply, the clean tone of the amp should be as clean and bright as possible. For this kind of amp, and in our review today, distortion and other effects do not matter so much, as they will be provided largely by the pedals you plug in.

Reviews

What kind of amp 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:

  • 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 60 W amplifier will easily deal with the task. It will still go incredibly loud, so don’t worry about not being heard.
  • 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 pedals you want to plug in. Check here for some of our wiring info.

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:


Fender Super Champ X2

Fender Super Champ X2 ReviewWow, this is a great amp, perfectly suited for the practice room or for small gigs. 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. Read more Fender reviews here.

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.


Of course, this amp also has several more advantages:

PROS:
  • 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!

CONS:
  •  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 your pedal board, then this compact and versatile amp is perfect.


Marshall MG102CFx MG

Marshall MG102CFx MG ReviewMarshall are a legend amongst musicians, having built an enviable reputation over the years. This amp continues in that proud line, and is an extremely solid device that will give years of reliable service.

The no-nonsense design of this amp suits beginners really well. Too often with amps, manufacturers feel obliged to pack the front panel with hundreds of dials and knobs, most of which have no relevance at all to the beginner. With this amp, you have access to just the options you need, meaning you can focus on the important thing – playing the guitar.

That said, the MP3 input is a great feature. You can plug in your computer, phone, or other device, and play music directly through the amp. This is a really handy feature, as playing along with your favorite track will quickly build confidence, and increase your motivation to practice.

Marshall MG102CFx MG

Marshall are a legend amongst musicians, having built an enviable reputation over the years. This amp continues in that proud line, and is an extremely solid device that will give years of reliable service.


In addition, this amp has several big advantages:

PROS:
  • It delivers more than enough power for most players. With 100W of noise, it is perfect for small gigs. If you are playing larger venues, it will easily connect to PA systems.
  • The build quality of this amp is something else. From the moment you receive this amp, you will be impressed with how solid it feels, and we are confident that it will put up with years of abuse without complaining.
  • This ruggedness extends to the circuitry inside. The amplification here is solid-state, and whilst some purists may complain that only tube amps give the warm, bright sound that everyone is after, nothing beats the hardiness of solid state amplifiers. You don’t have to worry about breaking, and then replacing, tubes, meaning you can chuck this amp in the back of your car and not worry that it is going to break.
  • Despite the fact that this is a solid state amplifier, Marshall have done a great job replicating their signature sound. Nothing sounds quite like a Marshall amp, and this practice amp is a really good example of that iconic sound.

CONS:
  • Very few. Some purists will never be happy with the sound of a solid-state amplifier, but we think that the differences they hear might just be in their own heads! If you are looking for an solid amp that will last for years, this is the one to go for!


Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube

Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube ReviewThis amp represents amazing value. For quite a low price, the clean sound it produces works really well with any pedal you decide to plug in.

Whilst this might not be the most adaptable of amps, it focuses on what really matters – amplifying every nuance of your playing without coloring the sound produced. This means it is an excellent amp to get if you play with a lot of pedals.

Though this amp is a solid state device, the sound produced is remarkably good, even when you push the volume. And of course, the fact that it is solid state means you don’t have to worry about breaking, and then replacing, and expensive array of tubes.

Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube

This amp represents amazing value. For quite a low price, the clean sound it produces works really well with any pedal you decide to plug in!


In addition, this amp comes with some great features:

PROS:
  • The focus with this amp has been on achieving a “tube sound” with solid state circuitry, and this has been achieved to a remarkable degree. Whilst some purists will claim that they can still hear the difference, to our ears this amp sounds just as good as tube amps that cost twice as much!
  • This means that, when the internal effects on this amp are turned off, it is an excellent amp to use with pedals. It will really allow you to get the best out of your pedal bank, clearly amplifying whatever weird sound you want!
  • The build quality on this amp is second to none. We don’t often review Peavey Amps, but are always pleasantly surprised when we do. Whilst they may not have the reputation of some of the more “premium” amps available, they know how to build amps that will last and last!
  • This amp, which delivers 80 watts as standard, develops more than enough power and volume for the vast majority of purposes. Use it in the practice room, or for small gigs – you may never need to buy another amp!

CONS:
  • Very few. If you are looking for an amp with gorgeous tones, and one that will make your pedals shine, this is the one!


Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb

Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb ReviewThis is simply a great tube amp, and represents amazing value.

The history of this amp goes way back to 1965, when Fender had the great idea to add spring reverb to their then-leading tube amp. The result was an amp that quickly became incredibly popular with guitarists the world over, spawned a whole host of imitations, and founded a series of classic amps that is still going today.

This is the modernized version of that original amp, and keeps the classic sound of it whilst adding a whole host of additional features. As these amps developed, more power was added at each step, and this 85 watt amp delivers an enormous amount of power and volume.

In our opinion, in fact, the volume produced by this amp is all the power you will ever need, and the way it sounds means that even though there are more powerful amps available, you will be wedded to you Fender Twin Reverb for years to come.

Fender ‘65 Deluxe Reverb

This is simply a great tube amp, and represents amazing value.


In addition, this amp has these great features:

PROS:
  • It looks great. Whilst we know that the majority of guitarists claim to care only about sound quality, and not such unimportant things as the way an amp looks, in reality it is possible to have both a good-looking and high-quality amp – just look at this one!
  • The sound. The sound. The sound. The tone of this amp has become legendary, and can be heard on hundreds of records. If you are just starting out on guitar, getting this amp can be a sure fire way of motivating you to continue – it will pick up even the lightest of touches, polish them, and make even the simplest chord progressions sound amazing!
  • The no-nonsense approach here pays great dividends. Too often, amp manufacturers feel obliged to pack their latest amps with a vast bank of options, dials, and knobs. Here, the stripped-back control panel means you can easily get the sound you need, and lets you focus on what is important – playing!
  • The amp is also nicely compact, meaning you won’t give yourself a bad back lugging it too and from the practice room. Combined with all the power you will ever need, this means that this may be the only amp you ever need to buy!

CONS:
  • None, for the price. If you are playing surf rock, in particular, this amp is an absolute must, although the sound is so great that it easily fits in with most genres.


Conclusion

So which to choose?
Well, your choice of 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 metal fan.
Our choice, though, is the Fender Super Champ X2. For the price, this amp is simply the best value, delivering that signature Fender sound at more than enough volume, and on top of which any pedal effects sound great!

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