April 4, 2019

What Are the Best Guitar Amp Tubes?

So, you have purchased your dream guitar and can’t wait to have a jamming session at home. You strum the guitar but something doesn’t feel right. The guitar’s sound is good, but it is not the crisp and clean tone you expected. The answer to your problem might lie in the amplifier. An amplifier helps in bringing out the sound of the guitar but a good amplifier accentuates the guitar’s natural sound and brings out clean sharp tones. There are different varieties of amplifiers available these days but the tube amps ruled the roost till the 1970s. Later, with technological advancement, the solid state and modeling amplifiers came about, but Tube amplifiers remain a favorite with clean tone enthusiasts.

If you are eager to know what the best guitar amp tubes are, they’re all here! The 5 best Tube Amplifiers for your guitar which are guaranteed to bring a clean and bright tone. So read on to change the way your guitar sounds.

Best tube amplifiers for your guitar

A good tube amplifier can take your guitar from good to extraordinary by highlighting the guitar’s natural warm tones and giving an extra zing to your strumming. There are many tube amplifiers available but continue reading to know about the 5 best tube amplifiers.

Fender is the name to go to if you need quality products and the Fender Pro Juinor III is no different. This is a small tube amp with 15 watts power and does not have many fancy specs, though it still belts out a smooth, warm, and clean tone. The controls on the amp are simple to use and are suited for beginners as well as professional musicians. Also, the Fender Pro Junior III comes with lower- noise shielding and rattle reducing shock-absorbers. Fender amps are more popular with Jazz musicians but can be used for all music genres. The Fender Pro Junior amp is a good investment and proves to be value for money.

                Pros

  • External Speaker provided
  • Easy to use and play
  • Amazing tone quality
  • Value for money

                Cons

  • Small in size
  • Power capacity is only 15 watts making it not suitable for larger shows.

The VOX AC4 is a limited edition tube amp which boasts of some legendary sound and tonal quality. The VOX brand has been manufacturing amps with their trademark boost tones and is popular with guitarists all around. However, the VOX AC4 takes the popularity one notch higher with its pristine clean tones. This miniature tube amp comes with all the necessary controls like Gain, Treble, Volume control etc. along with a 12inch Celestion speaker. The VOX AC4 has the classic looks of the earlier VOX amps but with contemporary features. The amp is easy to port around due to its size and can be used for home jamming sessions, live performance, and even for recording.

                Pros

  • Easy to move around
  • User-friendly interface
  • Great sound and tone quality

                Cons

  • This is a miniature amp and would not find favor with musicians looking for a more powerful heavy duty amp.

Marshall came up with their Silver Jubilee series of amps to celebrate their 25 years in the music industry. The Marshall 2525C amp is a miniature version of the much loved Marshall Silver Jubilee amp. This mini amp comes with 25 watts power along with the much-needed gain, volume, and FX controls along with 3 band equalizer and a foot switch. The amp also includes an output switching feature using which you can go as low as 5W and as high as 25W. This feature ensures you can play inside the house without fearing about the glasses breaking and have a great strong sound when playing in gigs. The great part about Marshall Amplifiers is that they are built with the highest precision using self-manufactured quality products and outsources none of its parts. This makes the amplifier durable along with carrying the promised clean tone. For anyone who believes in quality and durability, the Marshall 2525C mini Silver Jubilee amp should be the obvious choice for a tube amp. It is great for all kinds of music genres and can be used for small gigs and recordings. This quality amp comes with a slightly steep price tag and might not gain favor with those looking for cheaper options with no concern for quality.

                 Pros

  • Good quality durable amp
  • Includes a foot switch
  • The output switching feature.

           Cons

  • High price

The Peavey Valve King II is a micro head amp that means it’s compact but still packs the famous Peavey tone. A lot of research and work has gone into manufacturing the Peavey Micro Head and its results in the great quality output. The 20 W Peavey micro head amp can be used for stage and studio recording purposes. The amp comes with the usual 3-band equalizer, reverb, and variable tube power output options along with USB recording output. It also includes the output switching feature where you can go as high as 20 W and as low as 1 W. The amp works great with an addition cabinet but is also capable of raging a sound storm on its own. One of the new features on the Peavey micro head amp is the TSI tube-monitoring indicator which helps you keep a check on the health of the amp tubes. All-in-all a great package with some outstanding sound.

                Pros

  • Output switching feature
  • Compact and easy to port
  • TSI Tube monitoring feature

               Cons

The Blackstar’s HT1R series amp is a mini bomb with 100-watt power tube combo. This 8-inch tube amplifier gives vintage tones associated with tube amps. It comes with all the required controls like volume, gain, reverb, and ISF tone control. This amp allows the user to switch from normal to overdrive by just pushing a button and also includes an 8 Ohm speaker. The HT1R is built with an MP3 or Line output which makes jamming with friends much more fun. Also, the amp’s ISF technology along with the equalizer offers guitarists the opportunity to mix and match with tones till they get the one they love and call their own. The Blackstar HT1R is a great mid-range speaker and can be used for live shows and recordings. If you are looking for a compact amplifier with strong power, then the HT1R Blackstar amplifier should be your pick.

                  Pros

  • 100 W power
  • Easy interface
  • ISF technology for tone control
  • 8 Ohm speaker/headphone output
  • An added feature of switching from normal to overdrive by just pushing a button.

                   Cons

  • Compact size might not find favor with those looking for big amps

So, these are our top picks for tube amplifiers. You can elevate your guitar’s sounds by using any one of the above tube amps, which are easily available on Amazon and other online retail shops. But before you go out to buy a tube amp, it's important to know the features which a good tube amp should have. It's better not to be fooled by marketing tactics, discounts and great looking amplifiers. To help you understand tube amps and what you should expect from a good tube amp, continue reading as we provide an easy tube amp buying guide.

Things to consider before buying a Tube Amp
​​​​

The following considerations should be researched and examined before you zero in on a tube amp.

1. Power Play

Before you search for the best amps around, you need to decide on the watts or power you require. If you intend to use the amp for home playing sessions and small gigs, an amp with around 5-20 W should be sufficient. If you will be using the amp for a larger audience or live shows, then an amp with higher watts should be considered.

2. Tube amp types

“Tube amps” is a broad term and there are a variety of tubes used in manufacturing the tube amps. Each type of tube has pros and cons and before buying a tube amp, inquire about the type of tube used and if it will deliver on what kind of tone you are expecting. The various kinds of tubes are 6L6, EL34, EL84, etc.

3. Show me the money

It’s recommended that you fix your budget for the amp and then search for the best amp within that price range. It is not always true that the more expensive the amp, the better it will perform. The inflated price might be because of the brand name, quality of product etc. Keeping your budget in mind helps you choose from a limited set of options and make the right choice.

4. Features

Nowadays, the tube amps come loaded with features, some of which are not required. It's in your favor to check the features on an amp and to judge whether the features are useful or just a marketing tact. Some features like gain, volume, and reverb controls are unquestioned. A good amp should also have an equalizer and headphone output. Any other feature over and above of this should be evaluated for its importance and need. Some amp manufacturers inflate the price of an amp by just adding a small inconsequential feature which will do nothing for the tone of the guitar. Make sure the amp you choose has all the necessary features.

5. Durability

A good tube amp should be made with high-quality parts which ensure that it stays for long. But at the same time, if some part of the amp is damaged, it usually is very difficult to get it repaired because of the lack of available parts. Ensure that the tube amp which you purchase is made with quality products and has some kind of warranty on its products. It's better to shell out a little more money to buy a quality amp rather than spending money on its repair at a later date. A good quality amp will help save a lot of money on repairs and servicing while also lasting for a long, long time.

Follow the above guidelines on your next shopping trip for amps and you will get the right choice for yourself. A guitar playing experience is made of a lot of small parts like the kind of guitar you use, the pickups, and also the amplifiers. So, choose a good tube amplifier to make your next guitar playing session memorable.

Mario

Mario@rockoutzone.com