What is the best amp simulator pedal

The best modeling amps: advice and buying advice

With ever better digital effects processors, more and more guitarists have switched to modeling amps in the past. For whom modeling amps are suitable, what they can do and which amps are particularly recommended, you can read in our guide.

TOP-6 Modeling Amps 2021

In this overview we present our current favorites - the most popular modeling amps.

1. Fender Mustang GTX50

The Fender Mustang GTX50 comes fresh from the 2020 NAMM. The compact modeling combo combines intuitive operation with an almost unlimited number of possible sounds in a very classic and appealing design.

The robust and high-quality workmanship of the Fender Amp makes it particularly interesting for guitarists who always want to have a reliable companion at their side during rehearsals or live performances.

The 50 watt output power of the amp is enough to supply the rehearsal room, smaller locations and your own practice at home with sufficient volume (should it be a little more? Then the Fender Mustang GTX100 may be just the thing for you). But the amp also sounds excellent when quiet - thanks to good Fender transistor technology!

The peculiarity from Fender's new modeling expert is the wireless link to the completely redesigned FenderTONE app in version 3.0. With preset presets and the ability to create your own sound, the TONE app is a very good addition to the Fender Mustang GTX50!

With a integrated bluetooth connection the Mustang GTX50 can also be controlled with a smartphone and fed with backing tracks or drum parts. In combination with the good-sounding headphone jack, this feature also makes the Fender Mustang GTX50 a perfect amp for silent rehearsals and practice sessions in your own four walls.

2. Boss Katana MKII

Much has been written about the Katana series from effects specialists Boss - and for good reason. The modeling amps of the series offer an incredible wealth of functions and are extremely high quality built. The amps are offered in different performance classes, the most common are the models with 50 or 100 watts of power.

The sound of the amps is transmitted through 12 ″ custom speakers, the effects make the amp incredibly versatile: 5 amplifier types (Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown and Acoustic) and 5 independent effects (Booster, Mod, FX, Delay and Reverb) can also be varied.

With the Power control function the output power can be gradually throttled and thus also tamed for use in the living room at home: the power can be reduced by up to 0.5 watts without loss of sound.

Reading tip:Boss Katana 50 MKII & 100 in check

Over a extensive software the effects can be further changed and adapted to your own ideas.

Thanks to its extensive features, the katana offers both for beginners as well as advanced users and very experienced guitarists - with a price of less than 300 EUR for the 50 watt version, the Katana is also a real price-performance giant!

3. Fender Mustang I V.2

Fender was one of the first manufacturers to drive the production of modeling amps through experience and technical know-how. With the Mustang I V.2, the Americans are offering a handy modeling amp that has a lot to offer. A specially developed 8 ″ loudspeaker reproduces the sound of the amp very naturally, the sound appears open and natural.

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At 20 watts, the amp's output is mainly suitable for home use and medium-sized band rehearsals 24 presets from clean to metal however, ensure an incredible variety of sounds. In addition to the presets, the individual tone ranges (gain, volume, treble, bass, master, modulation and delay / reverb) can also be selected individually.

In addition to its good sound, good workmanship and extensive effects ensemble, the Mustang also offers headphones and recording outputs, a foot switch connection and a line input.

At less than EUR 200, the Mustang is a real highlight and straight ideal for beginners.

4. Vox Cambridge 50

Equipped with Vox's own Nutube technology, the Cambridge 50 bridges the gap between traditional tube sound and the latest computer technology. With its 50 watts, the modeling amp is well suited for home use as well as for rehearsals and performances.
The built-in 12 ″ Celestion loudspeakers emit a clear, natural sound and make the amplifier sound very natural and lively.

Vox has always relied on different amplifier models for its modeling amps, which can be activated at the push of a button. In the case of Cambridge, they are 11 different models (from classic to high gain everything is included), which can be combined with 8 effect types.

With a midi interface, headphone jack and the option to connect a foot switch, the Cambridge offers an excellent all-round package. At just over EUR 300, the amp is worth the money - beginners and advanced users alike will find a loyal companion here.

5. Line 6 Spider V 120 MKII

If you don't immediately think of Line 6 when it comes to digital effects, you are probably not very knowledgeable about electric guitar. The American group has been the forefather of digital effects since the world success “POD” at the latest and has been using this experience for a long time in its own amplifier production.

With the Spider V 120, Line 6 has created a true monster: 120 watts of power and a full-range 12 ″ speaker make the sound of this modeling amp audible everywhere.

The range of possible sounds is almost ridiculous: Over 200 amplifier models, loudspeaker simulations and effects are waiting to be combined, changed and tested. With such a gigantic scope, it is a real service of Line 6 to also play some presets from well-known artists on the Spider.

A highlight for those who don't like cables: The Spider offers an internal receiver for wireless systems - relay radio systems with 60-240 watts run superbly! USB recording, XLR outputs, drum loops and an integrated tuner make the package perfect. In order to be able to use the full range of functions of the Spider, guitarists should have a little experience - absolute beginners could be overwhelmed here.

6. Yamaha THR 10 II

The Yamaha THR 10 is a classic Living room and practice amp. With its output of 20 watts and the two built-in hi-fi speakers, the amp is suitable for everyone who wants to have good sound even at low volume.

The 5 memory locations of the amp offer the possibility to save and save your own presets. With its 6 effects and 3 amp models, it offers a manageable number high quality sounds.

The sound of the Yamaha comes close to that of classic tube amplifiers and is a lot of fun, especially on the go: only 3 kg the amp fits in every pocket.

For a little over 300, - EUR the Yamaha can pay for its good sound, but it offers an outstanding amp sound, especially for quieter environments!

Guide: Modeling Amps

1. Technology and functionality

Modeling amps differ from their classic relatives mainly in that they have a preamp and power amplifier as well Effects processor installed to have. The type of actual amplification, i.e. whether tube or transistor output stages have been installed, is not affected; both are also available with the modeling amps.

The effects processors pick up the guitar signal at the input and convert it through digital effects according to the wishes of the player. The type of effects used or programmed in ranges from standards such as distortion and chorus to more unusual effects such as flanging, tremolos and the like.

A digital effects device uses a computer chip to change the sound - this takes over the tasks that transistors and other electronic components do in an analog effects device.

2. Sound and variety of sounds

The sound of modeling amps is decisively influenced by the type of built-in effects processors and the power amplifier itself. Long gone are the days when digital effects sounded “lifeless” or “sterile”. With better and better processors and programming, modern modeling amps have become on one level with classic amplifiers with tube or transistor technology.

Due to the extensive effects that all coordinated the sound does not lose transparency and punch even with numerous effects connected in series - this is often different with classic effects boards, where different voltages, construction methods and resistances can negatively influence the sound.

3. Area of ​​application

Modeling amps are used everywhere: at home as a practice amp, which also quietly develops a brutal sound via headphones, in the studio to be able to use perfectly coordinated effects during recordings or live to achieve a good sound quickly and effectively using set sounds .

In short: Modeling amps are independent and professionally working amplifiers that can be used wherever music is to be played with the electric guitar. Depending on the respective performance, the amps are then suitable for different volumes or areas of application.

4. The benefits

The advantages of a good modeling amp compared to a classic setup (amp + effects devices) are obvious:

  • Compact design
  • Well-coordinated effects and power amplifiers
  • Avoidance of unnecessary cable runs
  • Extensive range of sounds
  • No additional equipment required
  • Cheaper purchase as a complete setup with effects devices

5. The cons

Of course, there are also some disadvantages that modeling amps have with them. Especially when you compare them with classic amplifiers:

  • Completely digital effects processors
  • If the device is defective, the sound is completely dead
  • Too many effects can distract from the actual playing
  • The settings are more complicated and often mislead, especially for beginners

6. Are modeling amps suitable for beginners?

In principle, modeling amps are of course also very suitable for beginners. The tonal variety of these devices can quickly spark enthusiasm for the electric guitar invites you to experiment.

Beginners usually don't need all of the effects that a well-equipped modeling amp brings with it, but that doesn't matter at all. However, especially at the beginning, beginners should work with ready-made sounds in order to get to the actual playing and practicing more quickly. So-called Presets offer the vast majority of modeling amps.

Anyone who does not dare to sink into the confusion of technology and thereby forget their instrument is very well advised with a modeling amp and will discover many sounds and possibilities of the electric guitar!

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