It’s no secret that to achieve the best possible quality of tones on the guitar, as well to fully express the skills and spotlight what a guitarist can really do; the guitar amplifiers they’re going to use is undeniably an essential part on providing them the iconic sounds for rock, blues, jazz and other genre of music a player could ever think of to play.
Although it is tempting to own a full stack head & speaker cabinet or a large combo valve amp around the house to play with. It is still nice to have a small size two channel solid state, modelling or a small valve driven amp to plug in effects for alone time practicing which players normally do, and probably the amplifier to be use quite often than not for every day practice no matter what skill level the player is at the moment, because the volume is just suitable to arrive on a sweet spot and the space it will occupy.
There are many choices around this budget, but before selecting an amp, in case you wonder what’s the difference between all of them by keeping it simple. Guitar amplifiers with a tube preamp or a power tube will be slightly louder than a solid state amp due to how they work, and the wattage even at the same level arguably the amp with a tube has more headroom, suggesting different break-up point when cranking up the volume especially on the clean channel. While modelling amps are aimed to provide the best of both worlds, emulating the sounds and volume capacity of a tube and solid state as much as possible.
Definitely these are practice amps for home use and rehearsal sessions in low volume, enjoyable for what it is intended too. So without further ado in no particular order, here’s our line up for best guitar amplifiers under 200 dollars.
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This 15 watts vintage looking amp with a 30 watts capacity 8” inch speaker from Bugera packs a power for great sounds and has the features to compete with other guitar amps on the same level. It is the most affordable guitar amplifier with a tube driven preamp on the list that has a clean channel for clean tones and as you crank up the volume gives a crunch players love to have on an amp.
Switching from clean to the dirty channel is easily done by a push of a button, turning on the high gain mode for the big sounds to use on lead riffs and licks. Other controls to mention on this amp to blend sounds is the shift switch button to change for a more thinner sound, along side the gain, bass, and treble knob which gives a variety of tones on such a small amp. Standard features like an On/Off switch, CD input to play with a track and headphone input is also available for quiet practices.
Where to buy: Bugera BC15 Guitar Amplifier $129.99 Amazon
Laney Linebacker Series LR20
For skirmishes inside the bedroom and only wanting an affordable 2 channel modelling guitar amplifier that has on-board digital modulation effects namely Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Tremolo, Delay and Reverb. Also not to fail to mention a built-in tuner to keep the guitar in the right pitch, the Laney Linebacker LR20 got it all covered.
The highlight and flavor of this 20 watts amp is cored on the iconic British rock sound. So if your song set includes some Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and other artist not stated, this amp on a the right settings, more or less can capture their sounds. Rotary controls on the LR20 adjust and shapes the sound from pure clean to crunch, up to high gain replicating classic and modern tones.
Fender Champion 40
Beside the superb guitars Fender makes, this giant in the musical instrument business is also well invested in providing great amplification to pair with the guitars/basses on their stable and for other guitar brands as well. The offering of Fender for a budget friendly amp is the solid state Fender Champion 40, which is a 40 watts model having two channels in black with a silver grill cloth cover.
Channel 1 is for the regularly used clean to crunch sounds and channel 2 where it gets really interesting, the heavy stuff every player sought after. The independent volume control, gain control and voicing knob enables guitarist to tap into historic sounds like British, Tweed, Blackface, and Metal. Then last but not the least, it will not be complete without Reverb, Delay/Echo, Chorus, Tremolo, Vibratone and other effects it carries.
Where to buy: Fender Champion 40 Guitar Amplifier $179.00 Amazon
Vox Valvetronix VT20X
To those in need of an amp for small jam sessions in their practice room, this 20 watts modelling amp with a 12AX7 tube preamp circuit from Vox can give the cleanest of clean and highest of gain that is surprisingly loud. The controls at first may look pretty complex, but as you get use to it, you’ll find the amp is extremely flexible and unique for its size.
The Valvetronix 20 watts version is loaded with usable features to satisfy your requisite on sound. Starting of with its modelling technology allowing to recreate a number of sounds of different amplifiers with complete control over the volume from really low to a full 20 watts. Additional amp models if still not enough can be access by plugging the amplifier onto the computer via USB to use the editor librarian software.
Another things to get excited about the amp is the preset feature for saving your own sound and 33 on-board presets preprogrammed coming from Vox. Followed by on-board effects totaling to 12. Pedal 1 has Compression, Chorus, Overdrive, Distortion, then Pedal 2 Flanger, Phaser, Tremolo, Delay, and Reverb types Room, Spring, Hall and Plate. Built-in tuner is also available and to further tone shaping, bias shift and class button changes the feel of the sound.
Where to buy: VOX Valvetronix VT20X Guitar Amplifier $179.99 Amazon
Orange Crush 20RT
Orange Crush 20RT is one of the best solid state amplifier you’ll ever find in the market today on a relatively reasonable price. It is a 20 watts amplifier with 8” inch custom voice of the world speaker placed inside the legendary orange housing with a basketweave speaker cover, dating way back since 1968 as part of its original features.
On top of the amp are the input jacks to plug-in the guitar, headphone and audio source together with the very simple controls as follows for shaping the sound. Separate volume controls for clean and dirty channel, 3-band EQ treble-middle-bass, gain control, a toggle switch to go from clean to dirty, and spring Reverb knob. The amp also has a built-in chromatic tuner that tells which string you are tuning and LED indicator that flashes green when already in tune. The amp literally is a plug and play amp that get its awesomeness thru its simplicity. This amplifier favor those players who likes to keep it simple, dwelling themselves to the good old classic sound of a guitar and amp.
Where to buy: Orange Crush 20RT Guitar Amplifier $189.00 Amazon
Very champ like sound on a budget. This amp from Monoprice offers guitar players real tube powered amplified tones in a fraction of a price compared to the leading and well-known brands. It is a 15 watts amp with 12” inch celestion speaker placed on a open back cabinet, powered by 3x12AX7 tube preamp and a 2xEL84 power tubes that delivers the punch to capture awesome classic sounds.
The control panel to blend-in sounds is situated in front for easy access consist of a master volume, gain, tone, 3-band EQ bass-mid treble and has a spring reverb to add ambient spaciousness on the tones that can be switch on/off using a foot pedal. Input jacks are present at the back for external speaker and FX loop which allows you to insert effects between the preamp and power amp sections, giving more versatility to your sound.
Where to buy: Monoprice 611815 Guitar Amplifier $192.43 Amazon
Line 6 Spider V 30
If you’re the type of guitar player who has a big appetite for vicious overdriven rock sound and tremendously loves to play loud all the time. Line 6 Spider V 30 is well recommended and likely the kind of small modelling amp you’ve been searching for. This amp right out of the box is ready to use with its wide range of presets to mess around based on studio setups from legendary songs, albums, top artist and to come up also with your own original sound.
This fifth installment of the Line 6 Spider, players can choose over the 200 amp models to capture as many iconic guitar sound imaginable which sets the Spider V apart with any other amp in its class. Moving the volume, gain, bass, middle, treble knobs shapes the voicing, adding or taking something away depending on your taste. To activate the effects included on the amp is by a push of a button and their degree levels are also operated using the knobs viewable on the screen. Overall its is a great sounding amp, true to it promise making it worth every penny you’ll pay for.
Where to buy: Line 6 Spider V 30 Guitar Amplifier 199.99 Amazon
Many guitarist personal favorite and probably even those who never pick a guitar in their life would recognize the brand and logo to say that, there is really something special with the amplifiers made by Marshall. The Marshall MG30CFX is a solid state 30 watts 10” inch speaker amp with a carbon fiber vinyl covering that goes well with the silver panel, giving the amp its old school vibe.
It is a small powerful amp consisting of 4 channels separating the clean from the crunch, and has 2 OD channels for a better range of overdrive to capture the quintessential Marshall tones like no other amplifiers can. The effects that comes with the amp is sectioned operated thru a rotary knob consisting of a Reverb (spring/studio), Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Delay with tap-tempo and Octave adding more to the sound. Then to saves the settings you had dial-in, it can be stored using the preset mode, so when you switch thru the channels, the settings you had made will be recalled. Also on the control panel are the input jack for the cable, MP3 and a headphone jack is also available.
Features just mentioned on the Marshall MG30CFX are the same with its smaller version, the Marshall MG15CFX combo amp, and with the Marshall MG15CFXMS micro-stack (head and 2 speaker cabinet) all in a different price range.
Where to buy: Marshall MG30CFX Guitar Amplifier $199.99 Amazon
Blackstar ID:CORE 40 V2
Blackstar is another well-known brand with a popular range of guitar amplifiers catering players to avail a good sounding quality amp in any budget. Speaking of budget, Blackstar ID:CORE V2 is that kind of amp offering flexibility of amplification with three models, a 40 watts (2×20), 20 watts (2×10), and 10 watts (2×5) version. Every amp has two speakers giving each a stereo sound.
All of the models no matter what wattage power, has identical features maximizing guitar players creativity and making sure no one is left behind. The voice knob on the amp channels two overdrive sound for variety, a super crunch and crunch, bright clean to warm clean, and Blackstar’s patented ISF knob to go form American to British soil type of sound. The effects section has a number of modulations, delay and reverb effects operated in a press of a button, an excellent attribute to be found on a practice amplifier. Such feature to edit and store patches is made available using the Blackstar Insider software thru USB, and set of input jacks are placed for an MP3 and headphone.
Where to buy: Blackstar ID: CORE 40 V2 Guitar Amplifier $199.99 Amazon
Peavey 6505 Piranha
The affordable and simple to operate 6505 Piranha head is a high gain 20 watts guitar amplifier on a compact format with 12AX7/ECC83 valve on the preamp and solid state power to pair with a cabinet of choice. Controls are master volume, gain knob, single rotary EQ, and Crunch/Lead channel switch. Input/output jacks are for the effects loop, auxiliary input for tracks, speaker output, and headphone. 4 ohm minimum impedance to match and use only speaker cables.
Where to buy: Peavey 6505 Piranha Guitar Head Amplifier $131.34 Amazon
Light and amazingly small on a sturdy looking box. The Orange Micro Terror is a 20 watts guitar head amplifier with a 12AX7/ECC83 tube preamp for jaw dropping sound, and the price has always very friendly on the budget that if you elect for one, definitely you can’t go wrong. Controls to carve tones are the master volume, gain, and tone. Available input/out jacks are for the headphone, aux-in for an audio source, and at the back, a jack for a speaker cabinet. In comparison with the Orange Micro Dark Terror this one don’t have an effects loop. 8 ohm minimum to 16 ohm impedance to match and use only speaker cables.
Vox MV50AC Series Amplifier Head
The VOX MV50AC series are variation of 50 watts miniature amp heads with an all analog preamp circuitry that features the revolutionary new vacuum tube, the Nutube which can produce authentic tube tones for its size. Each model namely the AC, Clean, and Rock are meant to access different sounds specific for a guitarist purpose and taste using the set of controls given on each model. The AC is modeled after the classic Vox AC amp, Clean for a more American clean sound, and the Rock model for high gain British kind of sound. The amps also includes a EQ switch to go from flat to deep, headphone out and attenuator switch found at the back. Impedance of 4 ohms minimum to 16 ohms to match and use only speaker cables.