Solid state amps versus tube amps – which is the better option? This age-old question has always been used to check an audiophile’s credibility. Whether people like to admit it or not, tube amps have always been the more favorable option.
People say that everything sounds better with a tube amp and that no other amp can give you a richer and fuller tone than a tube. But with all the new technological improvements happening in the music production scene, why not give solid state amps a try?
In truth, solid state amps may even be the more reliable option out of the two. While it’s true that a tube amp sounds louder and fuller in tone, it is also a lot more fragile than a solid state amp.
The vacuum technology found in tube amps is a lot older than the solid state amp, which means that it is prone to having more issues than their solid state counterparts. If you’re a newbie to the amp scene or someone who is looking for a good practice amp, solid state amps may be the better option.
And if you’re ready to take the next step and purchase a solid state amp, we’ve got a list that could help you out. Read on below to find out our favorites.
Top 10 Best Solid State Amps 2021
One look at the Marshall MG30GFX might leave you uninspired because of its super simple appearance. But once you turn it on and hear what it can do, you won’t think of it the same way ever again. This Marshall amp is all about a wider range. It provides a variety of classic to modern tones while also delivering key features that any player would need.
Although this amp is versatile enough for players of any level, I would only recommend this amp for someone who is looking for their first combo amp and for those who like silent practice. In short, this amp is great mostly for beginners.
While the emulated headphone output makes a great addition for those who like to keep their practice private, the Marshall MG30GFX lacks the power and volume for gigs and live performances. This may be a huge setback for players looking to start performing live regularly.
- Sports a simple and sleek design with beautiful gold piping and gold metal finish
- Comes with a wide range of classic and modern tones
- Provides an emulated headphone output for silent practice
- The speakers are considerably weaker than most options on this list
- Lacks volume – not ideal for gigging or live performances
The Fender Acoustasonic is an ultra-compact amp that comes in strong at 15-watts – and that’s pretty powerful for an amp of its weight and size. That said, the Fender Acoustasonic makes the perfect companion for the traveling musician.
Despite being smaller in size than most amps, it manages to deliver a high-quality tone that is comparable to regular-sized amps. For a more effective high-frequency response, it is interesting to note that the Acoustasonic is the only Fender amp that uses a ‘Whizzer’ cone – a tiny additional speaker cone that is attached to the voice coil of the amp’s 6-inch speaker.
And thanks to the Acoustasonic 15’s built-in chorus effect, this amp also gives an extra ambient depth that no other amp of its size can.
I’m also impressed at the fact that this tiny amp manages to provide super convenient dual front-panel inputs which include a standard 1/4-inch jack for instruments and an XLR input for mics – what more can a musician ask for?
- Compact and lightweight
- A perfect portable solution for musicians on the go
- Delivers high-quality tone for a small amp
- Works well with acoustic guitars and mics
- Loud enough for smaller gigs and gatherings
- Microphone jack creates a lot of electric noise
- Lacks reverb and volume
- Not recommended for bigger events
Orange Amps Electric Guitar
With its striking pop of orange color, the Orange Crush 12 is an amp that is definitely hard to miss, and there are many reasons why you shouldn’t! If you’re a beginner who is looking for a reliable practice amp that does not cost a lot of money, then the Orange Crush 12 is the perfect choice for you.
This amp makes it simple and easy to dial in your tone with its 3-band EQ and its Overdrive and Gain controls. It comes with a 6″ speaker that may be the loudest among 12-watt amps today, making it ideal for those interested in using the amp for small gigs as well.
I also love the overall design of this amp. Apart from its classic Orange color, the basket weave Tolex and the woven speaker grille makes it a unique amp great-looking amp.
- Compact and super lightweight
- Weighs only 12 pounds
- Comes with simple yet complete features for beginners
- Makes a great practice amp with an affordable price tag
- Does not come with an aux input
- The Sound quality is mediocre but one of the best among smaller amps
Fender Mustang GT 40
Who can resist a Fender? As one of the most respectable brands of musical instruments, Fender never ceases to impress its loyal fans. With their new and improved amp modeling technology, Fender has taken the bad rep of solid state amps and transformed it into a sophisticated and advanced instrument: the Mustang GT.
If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’d know that I love all things wireless: remote controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth – whatever it is, I’ll like it. Blame it on the laziness of today’s generation but you still can’t deny how convenient it is. Take the Mustang GT, for example.
Being Wi-Fi equipped, it can get easy updates, pre-set exchanges, and access to the Fender tone app. You can also stream and control the amp via Bluetooth using your mobile device, talk about being truly convenient!
- Supports wireless connectivity via wi-fi and Bluetooth
- Works with the Fender tone app
- Comes with 21 classic amp voices
- And more than 45 different effects offering countless tone combinations
- Has a beautifully vibrant display screen and light but durable wooden chassis
- Bluetooth connection via Android is faulty
- Sound clarity and overall quality lacks consistency
Fender Mustang I V2
If you’re in the market for an amp that has a bit of everything, then the Fender Mustang IV might be the option for you. Fender’s Mustang amps take pride in being one of the most authentic amp models today.
Users get a long list of features for a friendly price and they also get free software while they’re at it. But in my opinion, those aren’t the real reasons why you should consider getting a Fender Mustang amp.
Personally, I think this amp is well-suited for creative projects. Users get to explore 17 various amp voices that range from classic Fender amps to more modern models. Plus, the 24 onboard effects presets and the onboard chromatic tuner makes it easier for artists to play around with new sound.
I also like that this amp supports USB connectivity, making it readily available to use with a computer. And trust me, you’ll be on the computer for hours thanks to the Fender FUSE software included with this amp.
- Build with high-quality materials according to the Fender standards
- Provides accurate amp modeling comparable to higher-end amps
- Comes with the Fender FUSE software
- The included presets are subpar
- The controls are not user-friendly for beginners
No list of guitar amps is ever complete without mentioning a Marshall. There are really no other explanations why you need to get an amp from Marshall except that it has reliable superior quality. And if you’re looking for a simple yet powerful amp, the Marshall CODE should do the trick for you.
This 100-watt modeling guitar amp has two powerful 12-inch speakers. It also has an impressive set of 14 digital preamp models, 4 digital power amp models, and 24 onboard FX, along with speaker emulation.
But the list doesn’t end there – the Marshall CODE also supports Bluetooth connectivity, making it a very convenient tool to work with. And it also comes with a 2-channel foot switch. In my opinion, you can’t get another amp as good as this with such a high value.
- Has a lot of power at 100 watts with a strong and durable build
- Comes with high-quality components
- Created by one of the world’s top instrument makers
- Impressive sound quality with a richer and deeper sound
- The sound of the presets are not as good as other options
- The quality of sound on the bottom end at higher volumes need improvement
Some complaints were made about the usability of the Fender Mustang amp. And if you’re one who couldn’t be bothered by complicated controls, then Fender has another option for you.
The Fender Frontman is all about intuitive and easy-to-use controls. I highly recommend this amp for the novice electric guitarist who wants something straightforward and reliable enough for practice.
In terms of sound quality, the Fender Frontman delivers high-quality explosive tones. And if you want a bit of distortion, this amp makes it super easy with its convenient front-panel clean/overdrive switch. Basically, it has everything a beginner might need. So if you’re looking for something smooth and easy, then this is the amp for you.
- Comes with super easy and intuitive controls
- Perfect for beginners and for practice
- Delivers good quality tone for an entry-level amp
- One of the most affordable amps for beginners
- Needs work with tone sustainability
- Overdrive controls need a bit of work
Marshall CODE 100W
Looking for some serious power? Look no further because the Marshall CODE is about to blow you away. This is the type of amp you need to get to set the stage on fire.
Surpassing the high standards of the Marshall brand, this amp is more than just your regular robust powerhouse. It comes with 100 presets and runs on 100-watts. It’s fully programmable so you can perform anything, anywhere you like.
But if you ask me what there is to love about the Marshall CODE, it’s the Bluetooth connectivity. Take your whole music library with you on your phone and stream it through the Marshall CODE amp via the Gateway app (available on both iOS and Android) Plus, you can also upload and download to the global library of user presets using MyMarshall.
- Packs a lot of sustainable power and quality
- Perfect for live performances
- Comes with 100 presets and access to a whole global presets library via MyMarshall
- Supports Bluetooth connectivity
- Works with the Marshall Gateway app
- Big and bulky
- Not ideal for traveling
If you love jazz and you’re looking for an amp that has all the classic effects, then you will absolutely love the Roland JC-40. A smaller and more compact version of the Roland JC-120, the JC-40 is a small yet versatile amp. Don’t be fooled by its small size – it has the complete package.
It may have old-school iconic effects but it is by no means out of date. All its iconic effects have been updated to fit the modern music scene. Users get to play around with the classic Roland style chorus, vibrato, reverb, and distortion.
What’s more is that this amp is made with nothing but the highest quality components – a true reliable amp from the well-known brand, Roland.
- Packs all the iconic effects jazz lovers will love
- Small and compact but comes in a complete package
- A super clean amp with great pedals
- One of the most expensive amps on the list
Fender Champion 20
Fittingly named as the Champion, this winning solid state amp from Fender easily finds itself on the top of our list. Although modest at 20 watts, the Fender Champion packs is a wonderful balance of power and quality sound.
Its EQ section (Bass + Treble) coupled with the collection of lush effects allows flawless sound shaping, making it a dream to work with for creative music stylists. Users get to play around with effects such as chorus, digital reverbs, vibratone, and delay – a great palette of controls that promise endless possibilities for sound personalization.
Personally, I like how the Fender Champion gives its users access to tones from 17 various amp models, making it a great companion for users with varying tastes of music genres. Besides, the additional open back cabinet proves that this amp is the best option for taking music on the go. I would recommend this amp to anyone who is considering purchasing their first solid state amp.
- Made with high-quality components from a trusted brand
- Sports Fender’s iconic Classic Blackface styling
- Easy sound shaping with lush effects and tones from 17 various amp models
- Comes with an aux input and 1/8th headphone output for private practice
- A popping sound can be heard when turning the amp off
- Only has one channel
- Does not support channel switching
How To Choose The Best Solid State Amps
Like any instrument out there, the key to choosing the best solid state amp lies in how well you know your needs. Thanks to the advancement of technology, quality is not such a big problem. Unless you are an expert looking for something highly professional, purchasing an amp from a trusted maker should suffice.
However, the “best” solid state amp for you depends on your personal needs. Before going out to buy one, think about how you will use your amp. Are you new to amps and are you looking for something that is meant for practice?
If so, purchasing a compact amp with medium-range wattage should be enough to deliver your needs. You might also want to get an amp that has a headphone jack for private practice.
And while having a ton of effects sounds cool and fun, beginners on a budget should not get carried away or worry about lacking in effects. A reliable amp with all the basics gives enough room for creativity.
The best solid state amp for The Guitar Junky is hands down the Fender Champion. Apart from the fact that it is created by a well-trusted brand, the Fender Champion is indeed a champ when it comes to sound quality and reliability. It has all the basics covered and it is also friendly towards beginners.
The portable size and weight make it a great companion to take on the road as well. Overall, we think that the Fender Champion is the amp for everyone – no matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned electric musician.