Finding the best guitar amp under $200 can be tough. This post reviews some of the top models available for this budget. We found the Marshall Amps Guitar Combo amplifier to be the best available for under 200 dollars. To find out why keep reading!
Getting your hands on a great guitar amp isn’t always simple. It’s even more difficult when you’re trying to work to a tight budget. You need to take various factors into account such as the amps brand, its output and even weight if you’re planning on taking it places.
Below we’ve listed 6 of the best guitar amps which you’ll be sure to love.
1. Marshall Amps Guitar Combo
This amp from the iconic Marshall brand is 10 inches of powerful sound. Despite its vintage look, this amp can give you modern digital effects. You can also get classical sound if that is what you are after. Reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, and octave are some of the effects this amp will produce. The amp has gold piping as well as gold lettering.
The headphone output is great for when you want to practice without disturbing your friends and family. There is also a line-in port to let you play along with some of your favorite music. The amp comes with both preset and manual channel modes. You will find clean, crunch, OD1, and OD2 channels.
Finding the right tone for your music is easy to do with this amp. This is a 30-watt amp that produces a decent level of sound. Users love how easy it is to use.
2. Line 6 Spider V 30 Modeling
This amp has models that range from 15 to 240 watt. If you are aiming to stay under the $200 mark, your options are the 15 or the 30 watt. The 30-watt features tons of great features that are easy to control. Color-coding on the controls make them super easy to navigate.
You get a built-in tuner, metronome, and real drummer loops. With the ability to combine up to 8 effects at one time, you can create some seriously original music.
The look of this amp is very clean and modern. This amp is well suited for a wide range of music. There are a whopping 128 presets that come with the amp. These include both classic and modern tones. Something that makes this amp unique is it comes with a full-range speaker system. As a result, this is a great buy for both acoustic and electric guitar players.
3. VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling
Here you have an 8-inch, 20-watt amp. At this level, this is an ideal amp for in-home use. This amp operates using a vacuum tube multi-stage amplification circuit. With Virtual Elements Technology, you can expect outstanding sound out of this product. This VET technology can actually analyze the circuitry and components to help deliver the best possible sound.
This amp features a “preamp” that incorporates analog circuitry that helps you get the subtle tone adjustments you may need. With this feature, you can capture the nuances that you would expect fromvacuum tube amps.
You get 11 realistic amp models, as well as 13 awesome onboard effects. The Valvetronix features 33 presets. This amp comes with a built-in tuner. You also get an Aux-in jack, headphones out jack, and USB connectivity. In order to give you stunning resonance, the casing of this amp was carefully thought out. The cabinet is tightly sealed.
4. Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt
For those looking for an amp from an iconic brand for under $200, this is the product for you. This 20-watt amp features 17 amp models to ensure you can get the right tone and style for what you love to play. This product even comes with software so that you can edit the onboard amp models yourself.
This amp features both an Aux-in port for plugging in your MP3 player and a headphone jack for when you want to practice silently. The software that comes with this amp is compatible for both PC and Mac. You can use the software to record and tweak your music. After that, you can even send it to your friends for their input. There are 24 onboard preset effects that come on this amp. You also get an onboard chromatic tuner. This is a great amp that delivers big sound while still being easily portable.
5. California Tone Research SET5
Here you have a very affordable all-tube guitar amplifier. This is a 5-watt amp that provides all Class A power. Due to the wattage, this is an ideal choice for anyone who plays Blues, Jazz, or Soft Rock music. This amp gives you an 8″ high output speaker. People find this product perfect for either practicing at home or playing very small venues.
Due to the fact that this is an all-tube amp, there is no headphone jack or Aux-in port. This is because transistors are generally required to make the music sound good over headphones. That being said, it does exactly what it sets out to do – deliver pure, beautiful sound.
One thing that people love about this product is how simple it is to use. You will not spend half of your time fiddling with the dials. Instead, you can plug in and play. This is a great product for anyone who isn’t regularly playing for large crowds.
6. Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 – 20 Watt
This 20-watt amp has a lot to love. If you are willing to go all the way up to the top of the $200 price range, you may be able to get the 40-watt version as well. At the 20-watt level, this is a great amp for practicing, playing live, or even recording with.
The manufacturer claims this is the world’s first amp that contains acoustic, bass, and electric guitar amplifier models. In order to produce these, this product uses powerful 32-bit SHARC processors as well as a patented Transtube analog circuitry.
It is easy to record using this amp. This is because it comes with USB bi-directional data and audio ports. All of the awesome effects that come with this product can be directly controlled on the amp itself. You do not need to plug it into a computer to find your desired sound. The controls are simple to use, as well.
Buyers Guide for Guitar Amps Under $200
Once you have found the perfect guitar for you, you’ll want some great accessories to go with it. Amps are actually more of an extension to your guitar than accessory. Although it is important to buy a high-quality product, you do not need to break the bank to find the right one for you. There are several considerations to make when shopping for an amp.
Important Amplifier Terms
There are various terminologies you’ll come across often when shopping for your amp. If you are new to the music world, some of them may be unfamiliar to you. Here are some keywords to know:
EQ: This is an abbreviation for the word equalizer. Almost every amp has this built in. It is designed to shape the sound coming out of it. A common type of EQ you will see is a 3-band one. These include bass, mid, and treble, allowing you to control each one individually. More expensive amps also allow you to control high and low mids.
PreAmp: This is an important piece because it picks up the sound coming from your guitar and boosts it enough that the electronics in the amp can handle it. Without the PreAmp, the EQ would be useless in certain amps.
Power Amp: This is the part that boosts the sound and pushes it out through your amp. Both PreAmps and Power Amps are more important in tube-style amplifiers.
Combo Amp: Any amplifier is going to have two main pieces to it. They are the head and the cabinet. In combo amps, these two pieces are combined. These amps are often less powerful.
Head and Cabinet: If the two main pieces are separate, it is often referred to as a head and cabinet amp. The amp is the “head” and the speaker is the “cabinet.” Multiples cabinets can be connected to one head. As a result, this type of amp is more common for large venues. You are unlikely to find one for under $200.
Channel Switching: Some amps give you the ability to switch between two different channels while you are playing. In order to do this successfully, you will need a foot pedal. Many musicians use this feature to switch between a pure, “clean” sound and a “distorted” one.
If you’re looking for more information on guitar amps we recommend checking out this page.
Tube Style Amps
This option has been around for over 60 years. It uses vacuum tubes to pull and amplify your sound. Although often pricey, they are preferred by many musicians because of the natural sound they produce. They are also considered classic. Eventually, the tubes in these amps will need to be replaced. This can be quite expensive.
Going from the past to the future, you find modeling amps. These amps use a processor to recreate certain sounds. This relies on digital sound modeling technology. Serious guitarists consider this amps okay for practice and home use, but not worthy of taking on stage. This is due to the fact that it is easy to hear the digital quality of the sound created by these amps.
Solid State Amps
These are similar to Tube Style amps, but use transistors instead. These transistors are much cheaper and easier to change out if need be. You can find one of these amps for a lot less than a Tube one. The quality of these amps can vary greatly, so be sure to research one thoroughly before purchasing it.
In an effort to make everyone happy, some manufacturers combine digital tech with tubes in order to create hybrid amps. Some people find these to be perfect, while others just can’t settle for the compromise.
How many watts your amp has will impact how loud it can get. While those who play big venues often use 200-plus-watt amps, this will not be an option for anyone trying to stay under the $200 mark.
This amount of power is usually plenty for practicing, playing with your friends, or even playing smaller venues. How well each individual amp utilizes their watts varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
The size of your amp may or may not matter to you. It likely depends on whether or not you plan on traveling with it. Those with smaller living spaces may also be concerned about getting a large amp. Many of the amps available in this price range are going to be 8-10 inches, making them portable and easy to store. Generally speaking, small speakers are going to give you higher frequencies. Anyone looking for a low, rumbling noise will need a bigger speaker.
Some amps out there will have a headphone jack to allow you to practice in silence. You can also look for one that has an Aux port, which is how you can jam along to your favorite music. This port also allows you to record your music. As technology advances, some amps even have USB ports to make it easier than ever to connect to a computer. In fact, many amps come with software that allows you to tweak your presets.
The number of presets, and whether they are standard or can be customized, is something to look at on an amp. Different effects can also be applied by your amp, including reverb, chorus, and delay. How important this is to you will depend on how much you are wanting to tweak your music. Be sure to check out the controls and make sure they are simple to use. Some products can be controlled directly on the amp, but others need a computer to change.
Why not try to find the amp that will take your music to the next level? Reading product reviews, as well as user reviews, you can find the type of sound an amp is known for making. It may be clean, distorted, have a good overdrive, etc.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into deciding what amp is best for you. Knowing the style of music you want to play and where you want to play it is important. Hopefully, this guide helped you get a better understanding of your options.