A lot of musicians argue that tube amps are better that solid state amps. But let’s face it – while a tube amp can offer you that smooth, buttery, warm sound, they aren’t as loud as the solid states.
And if you’re playing metal, no one is going to be impressed with your tiny sound. You want something that is powerful and impactful, so does that mean that you need to sacrifice full-bodied warm tones in favor of power?
The answer is no. Solid state amps may be powerful but it will not be able to give you the same tone as a tube. So what’s a musician to do with such a dilemma? Should you choose one or the other? Not at all. With the help of a combo amp, you could get the best of both worlds: a full-bodied sound with a lot more power.
Of course, having these shared qualities does not make it the best in performance but it will allow you to get a good balance of both amp types. Lucky for you, we’ve scouted a list of the best combo amps below. Check them out and perhaps one of them will convince you to give it a try.
Here are the best combo amps for metal in 2021
Think that a solid-state amp can never compare to the quality of a tube? The Fender Champion 20 might just change your mind. This amp is best suited for the beginner who does a lot of practice.
It’s nothing fancy; it sports a very clean and simple design, and it has all the basics included. But despite its lack of gadgetry in comparison to other options on this list, the Champion 20 makes up for it with its Fender quality.
This amp comes with a variety of primary effects as well as the ability to plug in your MP3 player. This is perhaps one of the most attractive features in my opinion, especially for those who are just starting out.
Being able to play along to one’s favorite songs is a great motivation to keep learning. All in all, I think that the Fender Champion 20 makes a solid practice amp – simple, basic, and reliable.
- Sports a beautiful clean look
- Made with top-notch quality components according to the high standards of the Fender brand
- Comes with everything a beginner may need
- Makes a great amp for practice
- Supports the ability to play along with an mp3 player
- Considering its lack of special features
The Vox Pathfinder 10 is perhaps the closest competitor of the Fender Champion 20. It’s small in size, but big with quality. Many people tend to think that smaller amps don’t go a long way but the Vox Pathfinder proves them wrong. This amp produces clean, warm, and rich tones – just like the bigger models in the Vox series.
It also has a convenient clean/overdrive switch that allows users to go from a clean tone to a warm Vox signature distortion. Gain and volume controls gives users the ability to find the right kind of vibe, plus the treble and bass EQ provides a wide range of tones.
Personally, I don’t think anyone could find a more robust and reliable amp with a small size such as the Vox Pathfinder 10.
- A great amp to take with you on the go
- Small but has the sound quality of bigger amps
- Excellent tone
- Clean and crisp but has a lot of grit on the overdrive for an amp its size
- Provides consistency in place of the lack of gadgetry and special effects
- For those who work with reverb
- Its lack of one is a setback
Marshall Amps (M-MG30GFX-U)
No amp list ever exists without mentioning a Marshall. The company never fails to impress and this time, it has made its mark with the MG30FX combo amp. Though it may look like your regular old amp, this modest device delivers a range of tones like no other. From classic to modern tones, the MG30FX has it all.
I would personally recommend this to a beginner who is looking for their first bona fide amp. It has all the essential features any newbie might need and with more to offer as they advance their skills.
It comes with an emulated headphone output for easy silent practice and no matter where you play, users can expect the same consistent quality.
- Sports a simple classic design
- Made with high-quality components according to the high-standards of the Fender brand
- Easy and straightforward
- Does not come with all the unnecessary features and effects
- Provides impressive sound quality and consistency
- Weak speakers
- Lacks volume
Fender Super Champ Guitar Combo Amp
We’re big fans of the Fender brand here but with justifiable reasons. What I love most about the Fender Super Champ is its easy computer connectivity.
For those who want to take their sound customization to the next level, this is the amp to get. It’s 15 watts of full-bodied sound – flexible, rich with tones, and best of all? It’s so easy to design your personal taste of sound with this amp, thanks to its advanced voicing and effects.
The Fender Super Champ is a dual-channel tube amp with a single 10″ Fender design speaker. It has a convenient voicing knob offering a selection of 16 different amp types like Tweed, Blackface, British, Hot Rod, Metal, and so much more.
It also offers 15 effects with level control and of course, dual-channel switching. That said, I would also highly recommend this amp to musicians who are also interested in recording at home. With that many customization possibilities, what more could you ask for?
- Great craftsmanship
- Reliable Fender quality
- Has a good range of effects and voices for sound customization
- Allows quiet practice but also loud enough for live performances
- Some users have reported a sizzling sound
Fender Mustang Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier
No, we’re not tired of talking about Fender amps just yet – here’s another selection you must not miss: the Fender Mustang I.
Fender’s Mustang series boasts itself to be the standard for modern guitar versatility. They’re known for that iconic Fender tone, thanks to its special design amp models, and for the numerous effects that comes with them.
The Fender Mustang I is another great option for those who like to experiment with effects. It provides easy USB connectivity and the remarkable Fender FUSE software. Users get to play around with 17 various amp voices, 24 on-board effects presets, and an on-board chromatic tuner.
If that’s not enough to keep you busy, this amp comes with the Ableton Live Lite 8 Fender Edition recording software and the AmpliTube Fender LE edition software – two very promising tools for recording.
- Great option for recording
- Offers a lot of options for sound customization
- Comes with state-of-the art software for sound shaping
- Produces consistent high-quality sound
- Complicated settings when dialing in a sound
- Some amp models included do not have the same quality as others
Roland CUBE Guitar Combo Amp
At first glance, the Roland CUBE might look like a simple box but once you hear it, you’ll never see it the same way again. This 10-watt guitar amp is all about providing high quality in a compact device.
Praised for its consistency and top-notch level sound, this amp from Roland makes an easy choice for anyone who wants something simple and straightforward.
The Roland CUBE comes with custom-designed 8″ speakers, three preset COSM amp types (Clean, Crunch, and Lead), and three onboard effects (Chorus, Delay, and Reverb) The amazing thing about this amp is that users get to replace the preset amps with custom COSM amps via a free CUBE KIT app for iOS and Android devices.
And what’s more is that users get to play along to their favorite tunes as well. The Roland CUBE also has Rec Out/Phones jack for quiet practice and a recording Aux In jack for jamming with an MP3 Player.
- Sports a lightweight compact design
- Perfect for taking along with you on the road
- Has a loud volume despite its tinier size
- Simple and easy to use
- Does not have a lot of distracting effects and gadgetry
- Durability of components needs improvement
CRUSH12-12-Watt Guitar Amp Combo
Looking for more compact options? The Crush 12 is one of the smallest full-format amps in the Orange catalog. If you’re a guitarist who appreciates analogue tone, then this is the only amp you should be looking at.
This single channel combo amp has a powerful 3 band EQ and a dedicated Overdrive control for a full range of tones. From crisp and clean to that iconic Orange vintage sound, the Crush 12 has it all.
This amp features a custom 6-inch Voice of the World speaker that promises nothing but consistency and precision. And thanks to Orange’s CabSim headphone output, users can enjoy huge tone at a quiet volume, making this amp a great companion for practice.
- Features a sleek compact design in a striking orange color
- Offers a lot of dynamic sound shaping options
- Provides loud volume while also allowing quiet practice via headphones
- Needs a bit more support in getting a true metal tone
Vault Fury Digital Guitar Combo Amplifier
The Vault Fury is one of those under-looked quality amps that deserve more love. Though the price tag may leave feelings of suspicion, this amp will prove you that cheap does not mean low quality.
If you have a tight budget, but would like to get an amp that will get you through practice and long hours of jamming sessions, then the Vault Fury is your pick.
Despite its humble price tag, this amp has everything a guitarist would need. It has a built-in AUX input, allowing users to connect their MP3 players, computers, and smartphones for audio playback while practicing. It also supports quiet practice – just plug in your headphones and it will automatically mute your speakers.
What I like most about this amp is the value you can get. You can’t find a better quality amp that has eight amp models (Jazz, Chorus, Clean, Tube Screamer, Blues Drive, Crunch, Lead, Rhythm, and Metal), 4 modulation effects (Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, and Tremolo) while simultaneously using 2 spatial effects (Delay and Reverb).
Honestly, you shouldn’t even have to think twice about this amp especially if you need to work with your budget.
- Provides a lot of room for creativity for beginners with more effects than the usual entry-level combo amp
- Comes at a very affordable price
- A great option for those with a tight budget
- Considerably durable and well-made for an amp within its price range
- Not as loud as other amps on this list
Yamaha is a brand that’s best known for producing some of the best entry-level and student-friendly instruments. If you’re a beginner who’s looking to purchase their first guitar combo amp, then the Yamaha THR5 is worth checking out.
Although it is a very standard model, this guitar combo amp comes with plenty of perks beginners or students may enjoy.
First, it includes five classic amp models with a wide range of effects processing, thanks to Yamaha’S VCM technology. It sounds great with any kind of music genres, whether you’re looking for a clean and rich sound or an edgy distorted tone.
The THR5 contains all the robust features of its brother, the THR10 except that it’s a more lightweight and portable. The THR5 also runs on AC power or batteries, making playing on the road more accessible.
- A great entry-level guitar
- Perfect for beginners and for practice purposes
- Sports a clean and classic look
- A must-have for vintage style fans
- Produces great quality sound
- Also listed as an audio interface offering accurate sound capturing
- Sound quality is subpar compared to other amps within the same price range
- Comes with less features in comparison to other amps
If you’re looking for an amp that gives you ease of use and control, then the Blackstar ID:Core V2 is the amp for you. Famed for its unique controls, the ID:Core V2 is all about giving users the intuitive control of a traditional amp but with more versatility and programmability.
This gives users a lot more room for creativity in creating their custom sound. But that’s not all there is to love about this amp…
The Blackstar ID:Core V2 also comes with an enhanced Voice control and six different channels – Clean Warm, Clean Bright, Crunch, Super Crunch, OD 1, and OD 2. And together with Blackstar’s ISF control, users can get the precise tone they’re looking for.
Personally, I like the fact that this amp’s effects section delivers studio quality modulation. Users can store delay and reverb effects simultaneously and store them with their sound.
- Provides a lot of control and room for creating custom sound
- Comes with 6 unique channels for sound shaping and has a special ISF control for precise tonal quality
- Has an impressive MP3/Line input with dynamic EQ for louder playback
- Includes the PreSonus Digital Audio Workstation software Studio One
- Clean tone disappears as it increases gain beyond 20%
- Some users have reported hissing noise after prolonged use
How To Choose The Best Combo Amp For Metal
The best type of combo amp for metal would have a high-gain tone and enough power to last throughout gigs, jamming sessions, and rehearsals. Learning how much wattage you need from an amp is one of the first things you should consider before purchasing one.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is environment. If you are looking for an amp that that will accompany you with several live gigs, you wouldn’t want a heavy amp to lug around. A lightweight option would be the best but that’s not all – you also need one that produces a volume loud enough for you to be heard.
And lastly, every musician is different and would prefer a specific type of tone over the other. Today, combo amps offer a ton of voices and effects to help users get the type of sound they like. Even the metal genre has different sounds and characteristics.
Find out what type of sound you like and choose a combo amp from there. If you aren’t sure about your personal sound, try opting for a combo amp that offers a lot of flexibility and versatility. Its sound palette would eventually help you find the right mix for you.
For this round up, we chose the Fender Champion 20 to be the champ of all combo amps for metal. Although it wasn’t built for the interests of the metal head, this ultra-flexible and versatile amp still makes the perfect companion.
First, it packs a lot of power for home practice and yet it is also sufficient for gigging. It has the right mix of effects without being too overwhelming to the beginner, but it also leaves a lot of possibilities for the advanced user.