Best Guitar Amp under $500 in 2020 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
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Are you a budding guitarist who’s looking for the best guitar amp under $500?
Well, with the dizzying array of options in the market, we know finding a budget-friendly guitar amp is a difficult task. We’re here to your rescue. Based on the specific needs of guitarists, we’ve shortlisted and dissected 5 best guitar amps under $500 that will be the perfect companion to your guitar and will make your tunes heard wide and clear.
Dive into our list to find out more.
|1. Fender Champion 100|
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|2. BOSS Katana 100|
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|3. VOX AC10C1|
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|4. Marshall Acoustic Soloist|
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|5. Orange Micro Dark|
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Our Best Guitar Amp under $500 for 2020 Reviews and Comparisons
1. Fender Champion 100
- When burying your drummer in volume is important, the 100 watts thrown out of 2 12 Fender special designed speakers will get your point across.
- Jam along with your favorite tracks by simply plugging your MP3 player into the Auxiliary input and you instantly become part of the band and /or practice privately with the 1/8th headphone output jack that also mutes the speaker output.
- Toggle between 100 Watts of clean or mean from the 2 channels with the kick of a footswitch during a stage or studio performance.
- Explore many very usable musical tones from the many amp classic to modern amp voicings and the various spacial effects such as digital reverb, chorus, delay and vibratone.
- Limited Warranty Included.1/8 inch aux input
The Fender Champion 100 is a value-packed amplifier that combines power with neat features behind its old school silver grille cloth front fascia.
To get started, it has a 100 Watt amplifier section that drives 2″x12″ speakers, more than enough for most venues, while keeping the price tag reasonable. The first channel of the amp is based on old Fender Blackface clean, while the second channel allows you to choose from 16 different voices, from overdrive to high octane distortion.
Fender equipped the Champion 100 with an Effects Loop connection to better accommodate existing guitar rigs.
What We Like About Fender Champion 100
The Fender Champion 100 is a true champion on the market. Its best traits are sound quality and value for money, and it also stands out for its intuitive control of the old-school style. Many are pleased with its authentic sounding clean tone of Blackface while others are particularly fond of its overdriven tone.
The solid aesthetics of the amp build and vintage style also adds to its premium appeal, ideal for experienced guitarists who prefer classic looks.
What We Don’t Like About Fender Champion 100
Fender Champion 100 lacks an extension speaker output and a dedicated reverb knob.
- Effects Loop connection
- 16 different voices, from overdrive to high octane distortion
- Vintage appeal
- No extension speaker output
- No dedicated reverb knob
2. BOSS Katana 100
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BOSS’s Katana amps have earned a reputation as some of today’s best guitar amps you can buy and the BOSS Katana 100 does not disappoint. This 100W solid-state model is ready for gigs and, like the rest of the range, has five amp characters (Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown, and Acoustic), plus variations for each.
Since this is a BOSS amp, you also get five independent sections of digital effects thrown in (Booster, Mod, FX, Delay, and Reverb), all of which can be saved across eight memory setting tones. However, with adjustable cab resonance options, power control, easy to record mic’d cab-emulated outputs along with the tonal control, Katana is our top pick.
What We Like About BOSS Katana 100
Its tone is praiseworthy, especially it’s clean, slightly overdriven voicings. And there are many who have gotten reasonably good sounding high gain tones with some tweaking. Many users are happy with the built-in effects of the amps coming from BOSS.
Those who already own pedals report that it works well with the stompboxes and the guitar processors. Also adding to the overall value of the amp is the built-in attenuation of the amp, making it viable for use in smaller venues and even for practice with low volume.
What We Don’t Like About BOSS Katana 100
Some users found this amp too complicated to use.
- 5 amp characters with variations for each
- Good sounding high gain tones
- Ideal for smaller venues
- Too complicated in its functioning
3. VOX AC10C1
- 10 Watt tube combo offering the classic VOX Top Boost tone
- EL84 power tubes; 12AX7 preamp tubes
- Custom 10" VX10 speaker made by Celestion
- Simple but effective Gain, Bass, Treble, Reverb, and Master Volume controls
- Extension and External speaker outputs; By-passable Effect Loop, Distinctive VOX Styling.Output Power:10W RMS
Vox amps have very distinctive retro styling and the AC10C1 looks every bit like a vintage model. It has a single channel, based on the classic Vox Top Boost tone circuit, which gives you a variety of vintage and modern tones.
It features the same EL84 power valves under the hood as the original AC10, plus two 12AX7 preamp valves. It also features an automatic power-off function which is quite unusual in valve amps. It does have a very nice reverb of studio-quality which nicely polishes off the natural tube tone.
What We Like About VOX AC10C1
This amp is all about the classic Vox tone, and so there is no abundance of controls. With the controls set at the top of the amp, Vox has gone for a master volume, and separate gain control to get the right amount of overdrive at various volume levels.
You also have your reverb control, plus an external speaker jack. It’s a small 10-watt amp, so it’s easily portable and has enough valve power for practice or stage.
What We Don’t Like About VOX AC10C1
We felt that a more streamlined circuit would have sounded just a touch better and been less expensive.
- Vintage feel
- Automatic power-off function
- Could have been better with a more streamlined circuit
4. Marshall Acoustic Soloist
This is a 50W solid-state amp with 2″x 8″ Celestion speakers and a “high fidelity polymer dome tweeter” designed to deliver a full range of frequencies.
There are two channels, volume and master volume, chorus and reverb, bass and treble, and an anti-feedback feature. There is an optional footswitch, as well as an effects loop.
You can cater to multiple instruments or guitar and microphone via the 2 channels. Both channels provide volume and tone controls, which means you can get the right mix of guitar and voice or 2 instruments. Channel 2 also provides an RCA input (perhaps for a backing track) and a phantom-powered XLR input, perfect for a microphone.
What We Like About Marshall Acoustic Soloist
The chorus and reverb on this amp are both above average. Also, the amplified tone is warmer than most other amps that make your guitar sound harsh. Two individually controlled channels, effects loop, anti-feedback controls, chorus, and reverb are some plus points that make this amp ideal for small gigs and home practice.
What We Don’t Like About [Product Name]
One flaw of the amp is that there is no 1/8″ input for an iPad, iPhone, Android, etc. It comes with stereo RCA jacks. So you will need to buy a Y chord adapter.
- Anti-feedback feature
- Optional footswitch and effects loop
- Warm amplified tone
- No 1/8″ input
5. Orange Micro Dark
- 20-watt hybrid amplifier head geared toward metal tones
- Hybrid tube preamp and solid state power amp push 20-watts of power
- Shape and gain controls go from country cleans to savage high-gain
- The amp is less than 3 lbs. and only 5.31" tall
- 20 watts is plenty for practice
The Micro Dark is a straightforward single-channel design with gain and volume controls. Along with this, it has Orange’s very versatile Shape tone control, which boosts mids in one direction and scoops them in the other.
The Micro Dark is a quality amplifier with a very usable 20-watt solid-state power stage coupled with a preamp using a single 12AX7 for authentic valve-overdrive timbres. It has a heavy-duty enameled steel chassis and is built to last, with all the internal components mounted on one very high-quality PCB.
There’s also a very usable headphone output which features the authentic CabSim speaker emulation from Orange, in addition to speaker output and a fully buffered loop effect.
What We Like About Orange Micro Dark
One of the things the Micro Dark impresses us with is its volume, easily one of the biggest 20-watt amps. It’s amazing how great a tone Orange has been able to squeeze into such a small box and it’s loud enough for home practice, rehearsals or even small gigs.
What We Don’t Like About Orange Micro Dark
Most users say that this amp is more suited for practice than gigs.
- Versatile Shape tone control
- Heavy-duty enameled steel chassis
- Impressive volume
- Better suited for practice than gigs
Packed with five amp characters, five different digital effects, power control and many other features, BOSS Katana 100 is the best guitar amp under 500 according to us. This amp impressed us with its clean tone and we found it to be a quality one for small gigs.
If your choice does not coincide with ours, we have mentioned other options that you can choose from. So pick one and amplify your amazing strumming skills.