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Combo amplifiers or, as musicians affectionately call them, “amps” are a special type of equipment that combines an amplifier and a speaker system in a single device. Special combo amplifiers for guitars are created precisely in order to extract from the instrument (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, separately bass) everything that it is capable of.

The editors of Expertology magazine bring you an overview of the best combo amplifiers in different price categories on the market in 2020. The review was compiled based on the results of a study by our specialists, as well as on the aggregate feedback from the musicians themselves. As part of this review, we considered models focused on electric guitars with rare exceptions. An extended review of combo amplifiers for acoustic guitars is a separate topic.

Rating of the best combo amplifiers for guitars

Nomination place Name of product price

The best portable combo amps for guitars

one

Fender Frontman 10G

6 900 ₽

2

Roland MICRO CUBE GX

9 885 ₽

3

VOX AC2 RhythmVOX

6 100 ₽

four

Marshall MG15G

9 900 ₽

5

Orange Crush 35RT

14 990 ₽

The best budget combo amps for guitars

one

Marshall MG10G

6 278 ₽

2

Behringer AT108

7 590 ₽

3

Fender Champion 20

13 300 ₽

The best mid-to-high price combo amps for guitars

one

Peavey Vypyr VIP 3

24 948 ₽

2

Bugera 333-212-INFINIUM

45 980 ₽

3

VOX AC30S1

42 721 ₽

four

Fender Blues Junior IV

42 721 ₽

The best premium combo amps for guitars

one

Marshall 1962-01 (Bluesbreaker)

185 000 ₽

2

Fender 65 Twin Reverb

208 000 ₽

The best portable combo amps for guitars

First, let’s consider one of the most “running” in all respects categories of combo amplifiers – compact portable models. This is an indispensable thing for street musicians, for outdoor events, and just for home use, if there are problems with free space. We considered not the cheapest, but not the most expensive options, but only those that more or less everyone can afford.

Also Read: Best Digital Pianos

Fender Frontman 10G

Rating: 4.9

FENDER FRONTMAN 10G.webp

The section opens with the most inexpensive combo amplifier among those whose manufacturer does not raise unnecessary questions. This is Fender’s 10G Frontman Transistor Model. The famous American brand, the combo amplifiers themselves are made in China.

This is one of the smallest and lightest combos in its class. Its dimensions are 146x260x279mm, weight is only 3.8kg. The body is made of wood with a leather-look finish. The power of the device is 10W, the resistance is 4 ohms. Powered by mains.

Audio configuration – one channel, one 6″ speaker. Built-in simple two-band equalizer. An instrument input (1/4″ – 6.3mm) is used to connect a guitar, as well as two RCA jacks for connecting headphones and additional equipment, such as a drum machine. There is no built-in tuner. One-button foot controller is compatible. preamplifier, overdrive, treble, bass gain controls (Treble, Bass).

According to the musicians, the Fender Frontman 10G proves to be pretty much a versatile piece of equipment, playing a variety of styles, including blues and hard rock, even heavy in places. Sounds equally good with guitars with different pickups – single coils or humbuckers.

This model is perfect for home rehearsals, as well as for use in conditions of increased mobility. Although the combo needs 220V, its size and weight contribute significantly to convenient transportation.

This is an excellent budget and versatile model in all respects, but it is not without flaws. The musicians are almost unanimous in their opinion that the Fender Frontman 10G is not designed for overload – the overdrive is rather weak. We will note this as a drawback, but we will also add that many other musicians do not see this problem.

The manufacturer’s warranty for this model is 12 months.

Advantages

  • powerful and high-quality sound;

  • strong impact-resistant case;

  • comparatively versatile;

  • invariability of characteristics after years of use;

  • compact and lightweight;

  • affordable price.

Flaws

  • weak overdrive.

Roland MICRO CUBE GX

Rating: 4.8

ROLAND MICRO CUBE GX.webp

The next guitar combo in the selection of portable models is also from the manufacturer, whose name is familiar to almost everyone who has even the most indirect relation to the musical theme. This is a super compact MICRO CUBE GX combo modeling amplifier. It is half the price of the previous one, but it has other tasks.

First, briefly about the main characteristics. The combo is quite miniature – 24.7×17.2×22.7cm in size, weighs only 2.7kg. The power is also the minimum possible for such devices – 3W, but the device can be powered only by AA batteries, which makes it completely autonomous. True, the batteries will need as many as six pieces, but the possibility of power supply through the AC adapter is also provided.

The MICRO CUBE series has been in fact the best-selling in such a narrow segment as fully autonomous battery-powered combo amplifiers for 10 years now. Each subsequent generation does not disappoint the public, but only adds positive feedback.

So, in the MICRO CUBE GX model, while maintaining the same minimum dimensions and impeccable sound as its predecessors, a lot of new and useful things have been added. These are i-CUBE LINK (audio interface for iOS), MEMORY function (saving personal settings), built-in tuner, massive effects EXTREME, HEAVY OCTAVE. All this adds new possibilities for home rehearsals and recording. The device works correctly with music applications for mobile gadgets.

This model has an extended set of controls: Gain, Volume, Tone, Master and others; indicators POWER, MEMORY, EFX and others. A free CUBE JAM application has been developed to interact with mobile gadgets on iOS. With it, you can easily play along with backing tracks, apply COSM effects, record your own guitar parts. After recording a track, you can adjust the volume of the guitar and backing tracks separately and then export to WAV format at 44.1kHz 16-bit. CUBE JAM functionality includes useful features for practicing music, including changing the tempo and key, Center Cancel, and more.

The combo amplifier can work from a set of six Alkaline batteries for about 20 hours and from the same set, only nickel-magnesium cells – about 25 hours.

Advantages

  • the most compact and lightest;

  • world bestseller for 10 years;

  • full autonomy (powered by batteries);

  • power supply from the network through the adapter is provided;

  • built-in tuner;

  • correct work with mobile applications;

  • eight DSP effects;

  • functional mobile application CUBE JAM.

Flaws

  • not everyone has enough lows.

VOX AC2 RhythmVOX

Rating: 4.8

VOX AC2 RHYTHMVOX.webp

And another super-portable combo that Expertology experts couldn’t ignore is another fully autonomous battery-operated model, this time of a different brand – VOX.

This is generally a crumb measuring 17x7x12.8cm and weighing only 620g. The power of the device is 2W, the resistance is 4 ohms. Two 3″ speakers with 8 ohm impedance. Like the previous model, AC2 RhythmVOX runs on six AA batteries or a 9V AC adapter.

Despite these modest basic characteristics, this is by no means a symbolic device. There is a built-in rhythm machine with a wide selection of patterns, a metronome, various effects. You can connect external devices via AUX IN or a standard output – headphones or active acoustics.

The AC2 RhythmVOX is designed specifically for the guitar so that you can practice and rehearse in any environment – whether at home or on the bus during the tour. There are three sound modes available: clean, crunch and distortion. There are volume, tone and gain controls. There are 9 genres of rhythm patterns with 9 variations for a total of 81 individual patterns; five effects – chorus, reverb and others; tempo range – from 40 to 240 beats per minute.

The conclusion on this model is obvious – it is definitely worth the money, and is suitable for both a beginner and an experienced musician “for all occasions”. But we must clearly realize that this combo can serve precisely as an auxiliary, and not the main one.

Advantages

  • super portable;

  • completely autonomous;

  • quality of materials and assembly;

  • wide selection of rhythm patterns;

  • three sound modes;

  • you can connect external devices;

  • can also work from the network through an adapter.

Flaws

  • no obvious flaws were found.

See also: 8 best bass guitars

Marshall MG15G

Rating: 4.7

MARSHALL MG15G.webp

The third number in the selection of portable combo amplifiers is the popular Marshall brand combo. The MG15G model has proven itself well in the framework of homework and rehearsals, “kvartirnik” and chamber performances.

Device dimensions – 375x370x195mm, weight – 7.7kg. Case with a classic design and striking golden metal front panel. The power of the combo amplifier is 15W. Resistance – 8 ohms. Two channels, one speaker with a diameter of 8 inches. A 1/4″ jack instrument input is provided for connection, one standard 3.5 mm AUX input. The output is a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack.

The two channels in this model are the standard “clean” and “overdrive”. Built-in 3-band equalizer. Channels will allow you to move from clean sounds to overdrive, covering a fairly wide range of styles – from plain pop to overdriven and even distorted metal. A simple but fully functional equalizer will help shape the tone.

Overall, this is an excellent workhorse for homework and rehearsals, as already mentioned. It is difficult to identify serious disadvantages in it, and for all the years that the model has been in stable demand, there have been no systematic complaints or even clear wishes from the musicians. For the most part, everyone is happy with everything.

If the capabilities of this model are not enough, you can look after the closest relative – Marshall MG15FX. This is something more serious – 4 separately programmable channels, you can connect a foot switch, two separate effects controls: chorus, flanger, phaser, reverbs and more. But the MG15FX will cost at least half as much as the MG15G.

Advantages

  • reputable brand;

  • good sound;

  • conditional coverage of many styles on two channels;

  • combination of price, quality and features;

  • durability without loss of sound quality over the years;

  • built-in equalizer;

  • compact dimensions.

Flaws

  • there were no pronounced minuses and systematic complaints from the musicians.

Orange Crush 35RT

Rating: 4.6

ORANGE CRUSH 35RT.webp

Something particularly interesting will complete the first selection of our review. The Crush 35RT is one of the few authentic Orange brand guitar combo amps that you can buy for a reasonable price. The fact is that it, like all the previous ones, is transistorized. Many marketplaces on the Internet mislead visitors that they say the Crush 35RT is a tube model. Actually it is not.

Let’s go over the main features first. This is the heaviest combo in the collection – 11kg, but still completely portable. The natural wood body successfully complements the magic of sound. Dimensions – 44x40x23. Power – 35W. Speaker configuration – 1×10. Available in two color options – traditional Orange and classic black.

The size of the speaker and the transistor “concept” already point to a predominantly home use. However, this amp cannot be called quiet, so it is also quite suitable for chamber performances. In an apartment, it is better to turn the volume to a minimum – this will be enough for classes and will not create problems with neighbors.

This model has standard two channels – clean and overloaded with separate adjustment for each. You can switch between channels using the switch on the control panel or with a foot pedal. The overdrive channel has a dedicated gain control. Adjustment of high, medium and low frequencies is common for both channels. There is also a reverb for both channels. A loop is provided for receiving external effects – chorus, delay, flanger, tremolo and others.

In this model, everything would be perfect, if not for one obvious strange detail. The fact that the power cable is connected to the socket at the back can still be forgiven, since you can pick up a cable with a curved plug. But exactly in the same place at the back is the power switch / power switch. This is at least strange from the point of view of ergonomics, since even portable combos are installed mainly against the wall, and it is extremely inconvenient to reach the back wall with your hand.

Advantages

  • renowned brand;

  • impeccable quality;

  • clear sound (where it is needed);

  • big speaker;

  • reverb;

  • wooden case.

Flaws

  • extremely inconvenient location of the power switch.

The best budget combo amps for guitars

The second selection of devices in the review of the best combo amplifiers for guitars according to Expertology magazine includes the most inexpensive models from the same famous world manufacturers, but without reference to portability. Our experts considered options no more expensive than 15 thousand rubles.

See also: 19 best acoustic guitars

Marshall MG10G

Rating: 4.7

MARSHALL MG10G.jpeg

The first and most inexpensive combo amp for guitars in this collection is the “little brother” of the Marshall MG15G described above – the MG10G model. The number 10 in the name indicates the power of the amplifier. It is also small and portable, but placed in this group due to its more affordable cost.

The dimensions of the combo are 29.6×17.5×31.4mm, weight – 4.8kg. The appearance is almost identical – the same classic body, the same style of golden front panel, only smaller and lighter than the MG15G. Body material – wood. The design is strong, accidental falls are not afraid.

The power of the device is 10W, the resistance is 8 ohms, it is powered from the mains. The speaker diameter is 6.5 inches. Standard two channels – clean and overdrive. Panel controls include a channel selector, a Contour control that works for both channels, a separate Volume for the Clean and Overdrive channels, and an additional Overdrive Gain. There is Distortion.

The set of interfaces is modest, but sufficient, and even with “bonuses”. Instrument input 1/4 “- 6.3 mm jack; standard AUX input 3.5 mm mini-jack. There is only one output – a standard 3.5 mm mini-jack for headphones. When headphones are connected, the sound from the speaker is automatically muted.

In general, this is an extremely concise base-level model. Well suited for beginners, for whom great functionality will be more harmful than useful. Here, the volume is far from being the most impressive, there is no timbre block, and the gain margin is not too large. But the fact that there is a line-in and line-out for external devices adds to the plus model – there are budget options that don’t even have that.

Advantages

  • quality materials;

  • flawless assembly;

  • sound sound;

  • linear input and output;

  • nice golden metal front;

  • affordable price.

Flaws

  • minimal functionality and range of sound possibilities.

Behringer AT108

Rating: 4.6

BEHRINGER AT108.webp

As the second item in Expertology’s selection of the best inexpensive combo amps for guitars, we will make a small exception and consider a good and relatively inexpensive amp focused on an acoustic instrument. This is the AT108 from Behringer.

Behringer AT108 is a transistor amplifier with case dimensions of 322x357x162mm and relatively light weight – 5.6kg. The design is classic with a beautiful finish, natural wood is present in the materials. The power of the device is 15W, the built-in speaker with a diameter of 8 inches is BUGERA with a double cone resonator. Two standard channels. Permissible load – 20W, resistance – 8 ohms.

Separate channels are used for connecting an instrument and a microphone: an XLR jack for a microphone and a ¼-inch TS jack for an instrument. The input signal level is adjusted separately. Additionally, you can connect an external player via the ¼-inch TRS stereo input and overdub audio on the instrument and microphone signal. Simple correction of the total signal is possible using the built-in three-band equalizer. You can output sound to a mixer, headphones or external speakers via the TRS stereo output. When the output is activated, the signal to the built-in speaker is muted.

For all the modesty of the price, the Behringer AT108 tries its best to sound like a premium combo amplifier. The developers have even introduced VTC (Virtual Tube Circuitry) technology into this model, which is aimed at high-quality imitation of a special tone of sound that expensive tube amplifiers give. This is especially important for acoustic parts.

All controls and jacks are located on the front panel – it is assumed that acoustic guitar performances are most often carried out alone without a sound engineer and often even without additional complex devices, a maximum of a microphone.

In conclusion, we note that Behringer AT108 is the youngest model in the series. The combo attracts with its simplicity and reliability, combined with extraordinary sensitivity. This is the best option for performing in front of an audience of several dozen people. When you connect a mixer, the possibilities, of course, are greatly expanded.

Advantages

  • “tube” sound thanks to Virtual Tube Circuitry technology;

  • well-thought-out interface configuration;

  • BUGERA speaker with double cone resonator;

  • beautiful and expensive appearance;

  • 3 years official warranty.

Flaws

  • no noticeable flaws were found.

Fender Champion 20

Rating: 4.5

FENDER CHAMPION 20.webp

The third and final position in our mini selection of the best combo guitar amps is yet another model from the Fender brand. And this combo is more serious than the above-described Frontman 10G.

The Fender Champion 20 is a transistor modeler combo amp, the junior in the Champion series. The number 20 indicates power – 20W. Case dimensions – 19x35x32.5cm, weight – 5.4kg. Resistance – 8 ohms. One built-in speaker with a diameter of 8 inches. Like the Frontman 10G, it has one channel. The whole series is characterized by versatility, and this also applies to the most affordable and simple 20-watt “champion” in terms of functionality.

Of the controls in this model, there are such controls: Volume, Voice, Treble, Bass, Gain, FX Level, FX Select, TAP. The bad thing is that the control is strictly manual – this also applies to turning effects on and off. So if we are talking about a performance, and not a home workout, then it will be difficult without an assistant.

Of the interfaces, we have here: two inputs – instrumental 1/4 “- 6.3mm and one input 1/8″; one standard 1/8” – 3.5mm headphone output. A built-in three-band equalizer will bring the total sound to perfection. There is no built-in tuner. There is a whole range of effects: Reverb, Delay / Echo, Chorus, Tremolo, Vibratone and others.

This model is quite versatile, but still more suitable for those who are at the beginning of the path of mastering the electric guitar and the first attempts at concert performances on a chamber scale. For these purposes, the device is quite easy to learn, combines a relatively affordable price and high quality, and generally teaches a novice musician from the first steps to really worthwhile equipment.

Advantages

  • the highest quality of materials and assembly;

  • quality sound;

  • set of effects;

  • linear input and output;

  • simplicity and accessibility in development;

  • high-quality branded speaker;

Flaws

  • single channel;

  • only manual control.

The best mid-to-high price combo amps for guitars

The third part of our review is already raising the bar for the cost of combo amplifiers to 80 thousand rubles and combines conditional medium and high class devices of this type. Here we will already see not only transistor, but also high-end tube models. The form factor can also be portable.

Peavey Vypyr VIP 3

Rating: 5.0

PEAVEY VYPYR VIP 3.webp

Peavey’s Vypyr VIP 3 electric guitar modeling combo amp opens the category, the most affordable in its class. This model, although inexpensive in this context, is still the flagship within the Peavey Vypyr VIP series itself. The device is universal, and it could be successfully used for both an acoustic instrument and a bass guitar.

Actually, the entire series was presented at the NAMM exhibition as the world’s first instrumental combo amplifiers with variable gain – this is the main and defining characteristic of the device. Now let’s briefly go over the other key points. The diameter of the proprietary speaker is 12 inches. Power – 100W (adjustable from 1 to 100W). Built-in chromatic tuner. Dimensions – 52.7×54.6×29.2cm, weight – 13.3 kg. On the front panel there is a small monochrome LCD display for selecting presets, effects and more.

The Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 is a solid-state combo amp, but is able to mimic tube specifics thanks to the integrated patented TransTube® technology. The firmware of the device contains more than 400 presets, 26 effects, Tap Tempo function.

As already mentioned, Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 supports different amplification modes, thus covering the specifics of different instruments. So, there is a whole set of preset modes for different instrument options: 7-, 8- and 12-string guitar, acoustic, sitar, electric cello, resonator and bass guitar. There are also many modeling options.

The combo amp has a built-in looper that is controlled by Peavey’s original Sanpera I or Sanpera II pedalboards. When using them, it is possible to turn on up to five effects at the same time.

Of the interfaces, in this case we have: universal input Aux / MP3 / CD; high quality headphone output; USB output for recording Midi, etc. Actually, the versatility of the device is determined not least by the presence of the innovative Variable Instrument Input interface.

With all the described wealth of functionality, the management of the Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 is quite intuitive and easy to master in the shortest possible time.

The package includes a combo amplifier, a 220V power cord, documentation, a Peavey sticker, a software disk – a ReValver version 4 virtual guitar processor and a Reaper sequencer.

Advantages

  • flagship of the series;

  • the world’s first versatile variable-gain combo;

  • a rich set of hundreds of presets, effects, presets;

  • use up to five effects simultaneously;

  • innovative technologies;

  • imitation of a lamp sound;

  • power 100W;

  • LCD screen;

  • many necessary interfaces;

  • intuitive control.

Flaws

  • if there are, then they are small and are lost against the background of advantages.

Bugera 333-212-INFINIUM

Rating: 4.9

BUGERA 333-212-INFINIUM.webp

And now we come to the “same” tube sound. The fact that the 333-212-INFINIUM from Bugera is a tube one can be guessed from afar, already by its cost. It is far from a record, but differs from the above by almost two times. And there is even a certain irony in this, since this model is essentially a clone of the Peavey 6505 amplifier, but at the same time cheaper than the original. Here is such a tricky recursion.

So, here we are dealing with a handmade three-channel amplifier. Its dimensions are 24.9×68.7×24.6cm, weight – 21.5kg. Two speakers 12 inches in diameter. Amplifier power – 120W. Four 6L6 tubes for the power amp and four 12AX7 tubes for the preamp. Three channels – Clean, Crunch, Lead and three pentode/triode modes.

Each channel has its own dedicated 3-band EQ. General control is carried out by means of damper switches – High, Medium, Low. The Clean section of the channel has Crunch and Bright toggle buttons. The master section has an adjustable reverb. An effects loop is provided. A four-pedal footswitch (included) can be connected.

The word INFINIUM in the name of the product is not for beauty. It implies the use of the technology of the same name in this model, according to which the state of each output lamp is continuously monitored with adjustment and adjustment on the fly. All this significantly increases the life of the lamps, which are very expensive.

Among other things, INFINIUM technology saves you from manual adjustment of the output stage, allows you to quickly and easily change the lamp. Moreover, it is allowed to replace one type of lamp with another, including the simultaneous use of lamps of different types – an ideal solution for various force majeure cases. Indicators for output lamps are displayed on the panel, which immediately show problems.

Some high expectations are associated with this model, which are expressed in rare remarks by especially picky musicians, they say, the sound “could be better”. But all this can be regarded as pure subjectivity, and it is difficult to make really justified serious claims to this model.

Advantages

  • lamp;

  • INFINIUM technology for lamp control and monitoring;

  • quality sound;

  • three channels;

  • separate equalizer for each channel;

  • relatively low price for a tube combo amplifier.

Flaws

  • musicians’ individual grievances that they “expected a better sound”.

Also Read: Top 10 Guitar String Manufacturers

VOX AC30S1

Rating: 4.8

VOX AC30S1.webp

The third number in this part of the review is an even more expensive lamp solution. Without exaggeration, this is a legend, or rather, another incarnation of the immortal VOX AC30 series, which served as a faithful assistant to musicians back in the middle of the last century. Many of these musicians have become legends themselves.

First, about the technical characteristics. This is a fairly large combo with dimensions of 65.8×26.5×26.5cm and a weight of 24.5kg. But a handle is attached to the top of it, which technically makes it portable. Power – 30W. One channel and one 12″ Celestion VX12 speaker. Hall effects and reverb are provided. Built-in 2-band EQ for Bass and Treble. Four EL84 drivers and two 12AX7 preamps. There is an effects loop and a digital reverb that simulates the classic Spring Reverb.

The single channel concept of the Vox AC30S1 is based on the unique circuitry of its legendary predecessor, the Top Boost AC30. It is characterized by a wide range of tonalities from clean to deep and juicy overdrive. Built-in digital reverb confidently claims studio quality. The role of the effects loop and the send/return connector is also important here, through which it is convenient to connect effects from the outside and output the signal to an external cabinet.

This model does not particularly shine with functionality, but the main thing in it is still not a conditional “quantity”, but still quality. Here we see a real professional level.

However, with all the outstanding qualities of this combo amplifier, buyers still note a somewhat inflated cost, which, if it corresponds to the quality, does not correspond to the functionality. There is a clear overpayment for the name here.

Advantages

  • lamp;

  • impeccable sound;

  • direct heir to the legendary model of the 60s;

  • built-in studio-quality digital reverb;

  • FX loop and send/return jack with cabinet output

  • portable.

Flaws

  • Not the best combination of price and functionality.

Fender Blues Junior IV

Rating: 4.8

FENDER BLUES JUNIOR IV.webp

Rounding out this extended selection of the best combo amps for guitars is the premium Blues Junior IV model from the already familiar Fender brand. This model is a representative of a whole series of combo amplifiers, adapted to certain styles. We are considering the blues version as an example, and there are various modifications in the assortment, including even Tweed.

This is also a tube combo made in a portable form factor. The dimensions help it to be portable – 25x46x41cm, and the weight – only 14.1kg. There is one channel, one speaker – Celestion A-Type with a diameter of 12 inches. Power adjustable from 15 to 25W. There is a built-in 3-band EQ for Treble, Middle and Bass tones. Controls include function switches and Reverb, Master, Volume controls. Three 12AX7 and two EL84 lamps. Single button footswitch included.

The Fender Blues Junior IV is actually an updated version of the Blues Junior portable tube combo amplifier that has long been beloved by musicians, having gone through three reincarnations before. The 4th version received a softer sounding spring reverb, improved preamp circuitry and an updated design.

By the way, the issue of design in this version is important, because in the previous one “something went wrong”, and the musicians were very disappointed with the external “cheapness”. Here we also see a panel with an improved texture, stylish ivory tone controls, a carrying handle reinforced with steel inserts, and a silver grille with a lightly aged effect.

Improvements touched, of course, not only and not so much design. So, thanks to a qualitative upgrade of the preamplifier circuit, the amp sounded more clearly and purely, and at the same time richer. Engineers have modified the characteristics of the spring reverb to smooth out the sound at any intensity of the effect.

Advantages

  • quality speaker Celestion;

  • crisp and clear sound;

  • a number of improvements compared to the previous version;

  • updated design;

  • footswitch included.

Flaws

  • there are no fundamental flaws.

The best premium combo amps for guitars

The final category in Expertology magazine’s best combo amps for guitars is a mini-selection of three very expensive devices starting at $2,000. This is already a technique for the pros, and if there are some limitations in functionality, do not let this mislead anyone. Premium equipment differs from the usual “average” in that it uses materials of a obviously higher class and quality. So, with comparable functionality, the difference in price between a mid-range and premium combo will be striking.

See also: 7 best harmonica manufacturers

Marshall 1962-01 (Bluesbreaker)

Rating: 5.0

MARSHALL 1962-01 (BLUESBREAKER).webp

First, let’s take a look at an interesting and very iconic Marshall combo amplifier. This is not an ordinary model, if not quite unusual. The name Bluesbreaker is the second, and his device received after and as a result of the fact that this model (its previous releases) was used in the Bluesbreaker group by none other than Eric Clapton himself. It was back in 1966, but the combo is not outdated, but has become an immortal classic.

Let’s briefly consider the main technical points. This is a 30W tube combo amplifier with a straight semi-open cabinet. Maximum cabinet load – up to 50W. Installed two Celestion T1221 Greenback speakers with a diameter of 12 inches each. Resistance – 8 ohms.

This model has two standard channels – clean and overdrive. Thanks to this configuration, the combo is suitable for high-quality transmission of different styles – from very light pop music to very progressive rock. The power here is not a record, but it is enough not only for home rehearsals or chamber performances, but even for a not too large concert hall.

A few more words about, if not the most important, then the most interesting – lamps. This model uses two ECC83 tubes in the preamp, one of the same tubes and two more 5881 tubes on the tip.

From the interfaces here we see four instrument inputs, for different instruments depending on the height of the signal. The effects section is an analog tremolo.

The effects loop is not provided here. This could be regarded simply as a feature, not a disadvantage, but musicians are often unhappy with this circumstance.

Advantages

  • lamp;

  • impeccable quality of materials;

  • model-legend;

  • clear sound;

  • 4 instrument inputs;

Flaws

  • no effects loop.

Fender 65 Twin Reverb

Rating: 4.9

FENDER 65 TWIN REVERB.webp

Now consider a striking model made by Fender. This is really something special with all the outward modesty and discreetness. This amp in the reviews is honored with such epithets as “the purest tube sound of all time”, “an icon of guitar sound, time-tested” and the like. However, the price of about 3.5 thousand US dollars, as it were, forces him to at least not be mediocre.

What do we see here? Dimensions – 67.31×50.8×26.67cm, weight – 29kg. Classic design. Fully tube original circuitry. Power – 85W. There are two branded Jensen speakers with a diameter of 12 inches each. Two channels are provided. A tube vibrato and also a tube mechanical reverb based on a spring. The package includes a 2-button footswitch.

Here it is worth adding a few explanations from professionals for the sake of completeness. The first clean channel has two outputs, and the sensitivity on each of them is different – high and low. At the first stages of the development of the model, it was planned to connect guitars with single coil pickups to the first input, and to the second – with “humbuckers”. In fact, both types are connected to the first input.

It is categorically not worth connecting two instruments at once, since an overload of the tip can happen and the expensive amplifier will simply burn out. At a minimum, lamps, and maybe even a transformer.

The second channel is almost identical to the first, only it has one more effect – a tube Vibrato, which is activated via a footswitch. Two additional knobs change the depth and speed of the effect, thereby directly affecting the final picture of the sound.

A few more words about the speakers. Jensen speakers are used here, which have earned a place on the musical and instrumental Olympus for quite a long time. This is one of the most important elements of the Fender ’65 Twin Reverb sound character. But real audiophiles will say that when buying a new combo, the speakers can “sand” at high frequencies for some time, after which they are developed and give the very sound for which they are valued.

Advantages

  • lamp;

  • impeccable quality;

  • a pair of branded Jensen speakers;

  • “guitar sound icon”;

  • functionality;

  • professional level;

  • 2-button footswitch included.

Flaws

  • exorbitant price.