Top 10 Best Modeling Amps

Dave Mostert
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What Is the Best Modeling Amp?

I’ve done a lot of research on this subject and to me, it’s WAG. Shure and Korg are good too.

With so many amp models on the market these days, it can be hard to choose the right amp for you. A good amp doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but not all cheap models are created equal.

From inexpensive modeling amps to multi-effects units with hundreds of sounds, we’ve tested and reviewed some of the best models you can buy today.

Here’s what I recommend:

NameCategoryProduct
Fender Mustang GT 40 Bluetooth Enabled Solid State Modeling Guitar AmplifierBest OverallFender Mustang GT 40 Bluetooth Enabled Solid State Modeling Guitar Amplifier
Fender Champion 20Budget PickFender Champion 20
BOSS KTN-HEAD Portable Katana 100W Guitar AmplifierUpgrade PickBOSS KTN-HEAD Portable Katana 100W Guitar Amplifier

1. Fender Mustang GT 40 Bluetooth Enabled Solid State Modeling Guitar Amplifier

Our rating: 9 / 10

Fender Mustang GT 40 Bluetooth Enabled Solid State Modeling Guitar Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Set up for six speakers
  • Includes amp modeling
  • Working pedal board included
  • Six speaker system included
  • Can be operated from your iOS or Android device
  • Stays true to classic Mustang styling
  • Plenty of presets to choose from
  • Supreme sounding amplifier

Are you are in the market for a new amp? Check out the Fender Mustang GT 40. It's Bluetooth enabled for those who are looking to play along with their phone or tablet. The model of this amp is ideal for beginners as well as intermediate players that are looking for a simple, effective solution for playing a good variety of styles.

It's very simple to use for modeling with the presets and controlling it through your phone. There's plenty of features here to keep you busy. In fact, it's the only Bluetooth music playing amp in its price range anywhere!

This is an excellent choice for intermediate players on a budget.​

2. Roland MICRO CUBE GX Portable 3-Watt Guitar Amplifier

Our rating: 9 / 10

Roland MICRO CUBE GX Portable 3-Watt Guitar Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Extremely compact and lightweight amplifier
  • Very portable
  • Great price
  • Includes built-in cord and cable
  • Perfect for practice and recording

Cons:

  • Low maximum volume
  • Doesn’t have a wide dynamic range

To identify your best cheap modeling amps you first need to figure out what you need. Do you want a full-on, professional sound, or just something that’ll get the job done?

The Roland Micro Cube is an ideal choice for a beginner. This incredibly portable amplifier is small enough to fit in any vehicle or bag! It’s also great for practicing and recording with at home since it’s so quiet.

3. Fender Champion 20

Our rating: 8 / 10

Fender Champion 20

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Pros:

  • Great balance between price and performance
  • Solid construction
  • Good tone
  • Easy to use
  • 6.5” speaker provides loud volume
  • 2 channels

Cons:

  • Previous generation model
  • No USB connectivity
  • A little on the heavy side for portability

Here’s a durable guitar amp with a powerful, full-sounding 6.5-inch speaker. The Champion 20 is a great option for beginners because it offers two channels with a clean and an overdrive, each with its own volume control. This amp has a solid construction and is easy to use. It features a 3-band EQ, a gain control, and has an auxiliary input for plugging in a secondary device. The Fender Champion 20 has a nice sound and high volume, making it a good option for practicing without disturbing the neighbors.

This amp only comes with a 3.5mm line input, so you cannot plug your guitar directly into it. This is not a big deal, but you may want to consider plugging this amp into a recording interface or a mixer to record with it.

This amp is relatively heavy, weighing about 47 pounds. Fender offers a package that includes a sturdy tripod stand on wheels, an amp cover, and a leather strap.

4. Marshall Code 50-50-watt 1×12" Digital Combo Amp

Our rating: 8 / 10

Marshall Code 50-50-watt 1x12" Digital Combo Amp

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Pros:

  • Valve modeling combined with digital effects
  • True bypass switch for a natural sound
  • Saves presets
  • LED display and battery meter
  • Highly durable casing
  • Entry-level model for beginners
  • Comes with an attenuator

Cons:

  • Not very loud in small venues
  • No footswitch and no headphone jack

There are a few distinct factors that make Marshall Code 50-watt 1×12" Digital Combo Amp the best option for beginners or for intermediate players looking for an affordable, entry-level amp option. First off, this digital model from Marshall comes with both valve and digital modeling, so it can be used as a valve practice amp at home and as a digital practice amp at gigs.

As Marshall is an established name in the business, it's no surprise that the Code 50-watt combo sounds great. It does a great job re-creating the sound and feel of a tube amp. When used with software like GarageBand, you can also create your own tracks. The amp comes with 24 onboard presets and a number of effects and amp models.

The Code 50, however, does not come with a footswitch, which means you can't switch between presets or play it on stage. This amp is also a little on the quiet side, so it may not be suitable for live performances or in venues with low sound pressure levels.

5. Yamaha THR10X Hi Gain Modeling Desktop Amplifier in Camouflage Green

Our rating: 7 / 10

Yamaha THR10X Hi Gain Modeling Desktop Amplifier in Camouflage Green

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Pros:

  • Cool design
  • Built-in effects
  • 12 amp models
  • 18 studio presets
  • Acoustic guitar model amps
  • Bluetooth compatibility

Cons:

  • There are complaints about the small foot print of the amp
  • No built-in tuner

The main reason the Yamaha THR10X made it to the top of our list is its design. It is a modern looking amp that also is quite small which is great for amps. The fact that it is small also means it is portable for taking on the go. You don’t need a real lot of space for this amp because it is so compact.

It produces a number of great sounds and has a wide range with its controls. It has switches that control the body and tone of sound. You can use the switches to make your sound harder or softer. The amp also has a slot for an SD. This is a slot you can use if you want to play samples.

6. Line 6 Spider V 60 Wireless Ready Modeling Amplifier

Our rating: 7 / 10

Line 6 Spider V 60 Wireless Ready Modeling Amplifier

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The Line 6 Spider V is a modeling amplifier that has a wide range of sounds that it can create with just one touch of a button, like an acoustic, electric, or other sounds you want to immerse yourself in. These sounds can be selected using the fast-access footswitch.

The amp also has other features that can help you recreate all the tones you need to create your music, like a compressor and a built-in tuner. This can be a great feature if you want your headphones to pick up on the weird sounds your guitar would make in the wrong tuning. You can also hook up your phone to the amp if you wanted to get more than one person involved in your jam session.

It can house up to 10 presets and can be paired with another amp, which makes it unique among the best guitar amplifiers. If you're a beginner, it may be a bit complicated to use because of this. However, for any intermediate or advanced musician, the amp fulfills your practicing needs and offers great performance at a decent price.

7. Marshall CODE 100W 2×12 Guitar Combo Amp Black

Our rating: 6 / 10

Marshall CODE 100W 2x12 Guitar Combo Amp Black

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Pros:

  • Incredible sound
  • Unique with 3 presets
  • Raw power
  • Versatile for many types of music
  • No worries about power
  • Good value for money
  • Easy to use
  • Rounded Clean sound
  • Lacks noise
  • Good for modeling

Cons:

  • Only 1 channel
  • Lacks warmth
  • Slightly pricier than others

This amp will suit you if you are into classic rock or blues music. In this aspect, it can be considered the best modeling guitar amplifier for you. You can choose between 3 different presets, meaning you can flick it on and rock out almost immediately. The amp features a 12 inch speaker, and produces enough sound to fill a medium-sized room. Using it for a while will help you to better understand the unique tweaks that go into programming an amp like this one.

This particular amp meant to channel the Code name to what it feels like being in a room with Marshall amps. The amp is also designed to give you the ability to stand out among others. You will have a new focus on your sound, and this product. What’s more, you will have a new love for is, especially for the price it’s being sold for.

8. BOSS KTN-HEAD Portable Katana 100W Guitar Amplifier

Our rating: 6 / 10

BOSS KTN-HEAD Portable Katana 100W Guitar Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Universal power supply used in most parts of the world
  • Compatible with effects pedals
  • Wood cabinet and vintage-style control panel
  • Katana-inspired design

Cons:

  • Low-mid range of the amp is loose
  • Not great for high volume playing
  • Available only in a limited color option

Many portable models of guitars from the big brands in the industry are smaller than the standard guitar amps. However, this amp comes with a 100-watt power.

It is designed to emulate the elegance and good looks of the Katana guitars, keeping the amplifier compact. There is a wide frequency range so you can get your bit of tone right out of the amp.

A few users had issues with the tone of the amp in the low-mid range. It was noted to be loose. Other factors to consider are the vintage-style control panel, the shape and design of the amp, and compatibility with effects pedals. It does not come in a wide range of colors and is available only in black.

9. VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling Amplifier,Black

Our rating: 6 / 10

VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling Amplifier,Black

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Pros:

  • Modeling stands for versatility and authentic sounds
  • Simple controls
  • Instant access to customizing sound settings
  • While this amp is no lightweight, it’s still relatively compact
  • Its detailed amp models, tuners, effects, and especially reverbs are definitely on point
  • Very lightweight and portable for a modeling amp
  • Amp presets are easy to switch between
  • Great sound quality
  • LED accuracy in sound modeling makes it stand out among competitors

It’s one of the best modeling amps for any guitarist to invest in due to its many features, which can be used to create any kind of sound that are tailored to fit your style and taste.

What’s great about this amp is that it sports many more features than your standard solid state amps, with most of its overdrive options sounding very authentic. You can also choose between various amp setups and effects that ultimately add more precision to your sound.

This amplifier also produces more realistic sounds, covering a wider range of musical instruments.

10. Blackstar IDCORE20 Guitar Combo Amplifier

Our rating: 5 / 10

Blackstar IDCORE20 Guitar Combo Amplifier

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Pros:

  • Detachable footswitch
  • Sleek design
  • Excellent playability
  • Works seamlessly with a wide variety of guitars

Cons:

  • No mid-boost switch
  • Takes up a bit of space
  • Fits best in a fixed position

1×6.5"

This is an all-tube amplifier that has been designed to give you a wide range of tones for a variety of effects. The amp emphasizes the mid-range tones, so it gives you a nice reach for blues or rock. It also makes it easy to use for a big variety of types of music. The 20W design makes it super efficient, but there’s an option to crank the amp up to the full 100W easily.

There are two separate channels on this amp, giving you a wide range of tones and textures, which can be controlled with the three band EQ. You can mix and match between either channel so that you can combine them or enhance them as you are playing. What’s nice is that you have the option on each channel to either have the master volume on or off as you are playing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best modeling amp?

If you are in the market for an amp, chances are you have narrowed it down to one of these three types – modeling amps, tube amps, or solid-state amps. There are different opinions and debates that go on back and forth between players of all different levels about which amp type is superior.

On one side of the fence, you could have someone like Kurt Cobain singing the praises of a tube amplifier on stage by his side. Or, on the other side, you could have someone like Steve Vai insisting that modeling amps are superior to the tube amps of yesteryear.

Ultimately, the type of amplifier better depends more on what you are going for in terms of tone and feel than anything else. I personally own many amps, varying in size, brand, and the type of amplifier they contain.

Are Modelling amps good?

Modelling amps have received quite a lot of flack over the last ten years or so as the craze for guitar modelling has swelled and simmered.

A lot of people argue that modelling amps are over-complicated and unnecessary. That’s a fair point.

However, modelling amps can certainly be of use to hobbyist guitar players who want to dabble in different styles.

Modelling amplifiers allow for note-for-note reproductions of classic and emerging guitar sounds. On top of this, you can also create your own sounds using the amp’s built-in effects.

What are some good amps?

Many guitarists are happy to stick with the amp they already have.

Many others, however, certainly are not.

What is the best guitar amp brand?

Buying a guitar amp can seem like an easy task. Look at some boxes, read some specs, and figure out which amplifier is best. While this can be a fairly easy task, it doesn’t end here. Guitar amplifiers have their own personalities, and you need to match your needs to the amplifier’s personality.

Many new guitarists overlook the importance of amp character, and they just pick one out based on the brand and how it looks. This can end up being a huge mistake because then they can’t get the sound they want out of it.

Conclusion

Whether you’re just learning amateur guitar, seriously studying the instrument, or a pro looking to improve your tone, practicing with quality equipment will always help you get better.

There are many different amplifier models on the market today and finding the best modeling amp out there, well, that’s a difficult task. We’ve done the research for you and narrowed down the top 10. Read our recommendations and then go have some fun playing your favorite tunes.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Fender Mustang GT 40 Bluetooth Enabled Solid State Modeling Guitar AmplifierBest OverallFender Mustang GT 40 Bluetooth Enabled Solid State Modeling Guitar Amplifier
Fender Champion 20Budget PickFender Champion 20
BOSS KTN-HEAD Portable Katana 100W Guitar AmplifierUpgrade PickBOSS KTN-HEAD Portable Katana 100W Guitar Amplifier