Best Modeling Amp on a Budget
Here are the best modeling amps for the budget conscious, practical amps that provide convincing and reliable tones.
Modeling amplifiers are versatile tools that give you the tone flexibility of multiple guitar amps and effects in just one convenient box, and at a fraction of the cost. These amps offer amazing value for your money, especially below the $400 mark, where quality and affordability meet to produce versatile and reliable amplifiers that do not empty your pocket.
With its combination of digital modeling, analog tubes, and affordability, we consider the Vox Valvetronix+ series to be the best modeling amp in this price range. When digital modeling was introduced, naysayers said that they lacked the fidelity, nuance and dynamics of tube amps. Technology has now almost entirely caught up, with hybrid amplifiers like the Valvetronix+ utilizing real tube poweramps to achieve improved fidelity and dynamics, getting ever closer to accurately digitizing the behavior of tube amps. A 12 AX7 tube drives the poweramp section, it works in conjunction with 33 distinct amp models and 25 effects that you can tweak, mix and edit to taste. With the Vox Valvetronix+ series, you get the best of both worlds. We highly recommend the Valvetronix VT80 Plus (winner of our best guitar amp under $500 list), for its great balance of size, features, sound and affordability. It retails for $350. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
Line 6 Spider IV
The Line 6 Spider IV series is among the top selling amps in the world and for good reason, they offer flexibility, durability and power at very tempting price points. Made by the company that pioneered the digital modeling trend, the Spider IV amps are literally packed with great sounds and features, while remaining affordable and accessible. The really cool stuff happens when you play with the amp's 16 amp and 20 effects models, giving you access to a lot of tones. Aside from the wealth of tools, Line 6 also spoon feeds you with great presets, enlisting the help of professional artists to create 300 artist-made presets, and providing 200 song-based presets that mimic the tones used on popular songs. These features make the amp a fun toy to play with during practice and a serious tool when performing. The Line 6 Spider IV 120 model is a loud and powerful workhorse amp currently retailing for just $399. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
Peavey has made a name for itself by providing affordable and versatile products that maintain good sonic fidelity, and the Vypyr series is a great example. They packed these combo amplifiers with features, managed to keep the price tag sane, and ensured that they sound great. The combination of quality, affordability and flexibility helped the Vypyr series enjoy continued popularity in this highly competitive market, years after it was first introduced. These amps come with 24 amp channel models, 11 editable preamp effects and 11 postamp rack effects, which you can combine to cover virtually all conventional guitar styles. If you are looking for an amp that provide good high-gain tones as well as some nice clean tones, the Vypyr Series would be your best bet. The Peavey Vypyr 75 has enough power for gigs and is small enough for convenient transport. It retails for around $299. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
Big-name guitar and amp manufacturer Fender entered the amp modeling market with the Mustang Series. As expected, the amps retain that sought after Fender clean tone, which it expands upon with various levels of drives and effects, thanks to the miracle of digital amp modeling. Having been made by Fender, this amp produces some of the most convincing approximations of popular Fender amps like the Twin Reverb and Bassman. All in all, the Mustang amps give you 17 amp models and 44 effects to play around with, which is more than enough to let you gig with just one guitar and amp. The powerful DSP and solid state amp drives a 12" Celestion speaker, and all of the parts are housed in an elegant looking chassis. The Fender Mustang III with its 100 Watts of power is a steal, retailing for just $275. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
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