Top 10 Best Modeling Amps

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For home practice – Modeling amps come in many shapes and sizes, covering a broad price range from beginner to professional amps. If you only intend to use it for home practice, stick closer to the budget price range. Otherwise, you’d be spending a lot of money for an amp that you can’t push to its limits (unless you want some angry neighbours).

James Nugent


Modeling Amp Buying Guide

What is a Modeling Amp?

Simply put, a modeling amp is an amplification device which models itself and tone capabilities on acclaimed higher end guitar amplifiers. They contain presets that mimic well known, popular classic-amp tones. They provide a good quality digital emulation of distinctively recognizable sounds at a more affordable price. In a quest for sound superiority, the bias usually sways in favor of a tube amp based in the opinion that they respond more dynamically presenting an authentic audio headphone output that reflects the guitar player.

Modern modeling electric and acoustic guitar amps have come a long way and now contain such advanced modeling technology they capably imitate the response accuracy of their tube modeling muses. Their modern circuitry boards take the place of fragile, vacuum tubes and antiquated analog circuits.

Essentially they take the raw electric guitar input and run it through a program which has a mathematical database of the physics of what its tube-driven forefather did to affect the sound wave on the genuine article. It uses the maths to imitate the effect of the signal processing. The compact circuitry design eliminates the need for bulkier cabinets making them more portable multi-tool.

Line Spider Classic 15 amplifierThe majority of professional guitarists will have a preferred sound and some generalized knowledge about the amps they prefer playing with but this is an acquisition that comes with time and experience. You could try a few electric or acoustic guitar amps in-store but this can be an unnerving experience for a novice player.

Purchasing a guitar modeling amp with a decent range of tone capabilities is an advantageous way to experiment with infamous sounds and find what you like.

Modeling Amp VS Effects Pedal?

This is a tough question which boils down to mainly to preference Modeling guitar amps have a handful of that outweigh a lot of pedal cons. If you like to perform with diverse tones or you play multiple genres then the amount of multi-effects pedals can soon add up.

Even expression pedal board options which aim to cancel out the problem of carrying around multiple pedal effects by condensing them all into one handy device have their own issues. They limit the guitar player to staying in one space within reach of their multi-effects pedals this can affect musicians stage presence. It can also be a lengthy process to dial in desired tones beforehand and set them up for easy switching in live performances. Modeling amps essentially run computer programming offering quick cycling through classic and unique desirable tones at your fingertips in an all in one product.

Best Modeling Amp Under 500 Dollars

There are a variety of electric and acoustic guitar amps below this mid-range price, at this level they usually offer lots of perks. The Marshall 100 watts reviewed above is a clear contender it harbors a variety of clean tone options along with vintage crunches. Users can mix and match combinations to suit them it really promotes musical creativity. The app integration just opens up possibilities tenfold. If you are going to spend this sort of budget is important to do some research and understand the specs.

Marshall CODE 100W


Sometimes amps can be confusing but hopefully, our buying guide has helped with that! Go for an option that gives you real value for money some of the lower budget amps we have reviewed have pricier upgraded models which offer a variety of added extras such as software, and direct community access, etc.

Best Modeling Amp Under 300 Dollars

FENDER Mustang GT40 makes for a great choice for a guitar modeling amp under 300 bucks it is very versatile and comes with a host of extras. It realistically models amp response offers and is compatible with a range of modern day technologies. Other amps also worth strong consideration are VOX Valvetronix VT20X which offers combined vacuum tube technology allowing it to produce superior comparable tube sound. Or maybe the Yamaha THR10X above which features a host of guitar accessories including a copy of Cubase software great value for the money.

Roland Micro Cube GXW To be candid if you are honestly just looking for a great cheap guitar amp under $200 and you aren’t gigging the Roland Micro Cube offers adequate the sound manipulation in a carry around design and is one of the cheapest options available from a well-reputed company. When you are only looking to spend minimal cash sometimes the lower budget options are only available because production costs have been slashed by replacing parts with cheaper ones. If you don’t want miss out on quality go with a brand name you can trust.


If conservative budgets, size or energy consumption are an important factor for you then a modeling amp is a great way to go. Whether its a quest for a more convenient, reliable tube tones without dragging around a monster amp or simply just the desire to ditch the pedals once and for all. As with buying any amplifier the decision for which is the best modeling amp to go for boils down to what sounds good to your own ears but the benefits of a good modeling amp speak for themselves. They provide a lush tube flavor in a digital, economic package which promotes industry evolution, in keeping with the direction of modern day production.

Expert Tip

If you still firmly prefer the convenience of switching via foot control for stomping into your lead breaks most digital modeling amps have optional footswitch compatibility to accommodate for old habits die hard! Some offer them as part of the package and they even come with integrated software editing capabilities for the right price.

Did you Know

To generate their tone modeling amps use computer programmed chips with mathematical models that replicate the effect that analog components have on electric guitar signals. Researchers studied using Sine waves and made observations of how changing settings in vacuum tube amps incrementally changed the initial sound wave. They recorded the effects and codes were written to teach an amp the tools to replicate the performance digitally.

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