Can you tell the differences between a cheap and expensive amplifier?
We hear this question time and time again from both guitar aficionados and beginners. It seems that everyone is out there looking for the best solution, no matter if they are pros, regular buskers, or basement performers. Unfortunately, this is one question that will not have any definite answer.
Guitar lovers come from all walks of life. While some are willing to pay a hefty price for their amplifier of choice, more people would prefer to spend less for a good quality amp.
However, a lot of people have the impression that an amp with more zeroes on its price tag has more capability to produce better sound. While this is true most of the time, it does not discount the fact that expensive amps can also be bad amps.
In the same light, we also cannot dismiss a cheap amp to have low-quality sound – you’d be surprised at how some cheaper amps can prove to be better than expensive ones.
Why Does Your Amp Sound Bad?
Ask audiophiles, and they will probably tell you that judging the quality of sound is a challenging thing to do. For one, humans perceive sound different from one another. What may sound like a high-quality amp for one person may not be the same for another person.
There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration as well, such as location – where you are playing from, volume settings, the tone of your guitar, and let’s be honest – it could be because of the way you play your guitar too. These all make valid causes as to why an otherwise good quality amp might sound crappy.
Also, while price may not always be a tell-tale sign of an amp’s quality, there’s still something fishy about a shockingly cheap amp. In this case, you get what you pay for, so you shouldn’t expect much from a brand-new amp that is below average price.
How To Tell The Difference
Since this might be your first time to buy a guitar amplifier, chances are you have yet to use the guitar amp to judge its quality. So, how can you tell the differences between a cheap and expensive amplifier if all you’ve done is to window shop?
Don’t Judge The Amp By Its Price Tag
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The price tag of a guitar amp is insignificant unless you have a reason to be suspicious about it. Remember: an expensive amp can turn out to be a bust, and a cheap amp can work miracles despite what the price tag says.
Know What Makes A Good Amp
If it sounds good to you, then you should go for it. Because we hear sound differently from one another, there is no point in overpleasing the whole crowd. Pick one that sounds acceptable to many, and one that has all the right stuff. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to work with your standards at least.
In general, there are a few pointers that can guide you in choosing a good quality amp. You need to consider its tone, power, responsiveness, and versatility. Once you have all these checkboxes ticked, it may be safe to say that you have a good quality amplifier in your hands.
One of the easiest ways to find out whether a guitar amp is worth investing is to read reviews. Read blogs like ours for in-depth reports on the amps on your checklist. If you don’t find what you need, you can always ask us.
Another thing you can do is to ask other people who own or who have experienced playing with the guitar amp of your choice.
Try It Out
If you’re still on the fence after reading reviews and asking around, you can visit the closest music store near you and try it out for yourself. Give the guitar amp a test drive and see if it is everything you’ve expected. And if you are still struggling, go home and do more research on the amp – you can always buy it online later.
Find Out What You Need
A lot of the higher-end guitar amplifiers come with fancy knobs and effects. You don’t need to pay extra cash for something you won’t be using. And so one of the first things you need to figure out before buying an amp is to identify your style. Know what kinds of effects you want to use and how that will sound like with the amplifier of your choice.
Also, keep in mind the styles you want to experiment later on as you advance your skills. Investing in a guitar amp still costs money and so you’d want to get your money’s worth by choosing an amp that is versatile.
Expensive Amps – What You’re Actually Paying For
So now you might be wondering where all your money goes when you buy an expensive amplifier. The ultimate question is, is the hefty price tag worth it? Below is a list of some of the things you’re paying for when you buy an expensive amp.
Expensive name brands will tell you that they only use the best parts to ensure high-quality sound. Having better parts may also mean longevity and durability. It might be worth the investment if you’re looking for an amp that will be with you for many years.
Some guitar amp brands take pride in the fact that their products are all handmade, making their amps pricier because of labor. If you’re looking for something special and personal, then the additional amount to the price tag may be worth it.
As we’ve said earlier, amplifiers tend to have higher prices because of these features. All those knobs and wires might make you feel like a rockstar, but is the face value worth it? If you plan on using those effects, then it could be a wise investment.