Amps are audio amplifiers; these are electronic devices that transmits and converts low-power electronic audio signals to a level that is strong enough for loudspeakers. AMP’s are found in many applications, from motorbikes, cars, trucks, home entertainment centers, as standalone speaker boxes and in office applications.
There are a number of amp types, ranging from pre-amp to power amp. A guitar amplifier is a basic amp designed to work with a guitar and is made up of four individual electronic components; these include a preamp, controls, a power amplifier and one or more loudspeakers set in a cabinet.
The power that an amp system can produce depends on the audience the musician wants to reach, where a non-amplified signal will produce around a few hundred microwatts. An amp system can increase this power to tens or hundreds of watts for an individual bass amp set, or home stereo system, to several thousand watts for gig sound system or tens of thousands of watts for a large concert sound reinforcement system.
When investing even a small amount in a guitar amp for personal use, you have to consider the components and conditions you want to work with. Therefore, you must buy either a complete guitar amp set or, if buying components individually, make sure they match. This means that the power you want the amp to produce must be equal to, or twice that of the speaker you intend to use. For instance, if you have an 8-ohm speaker, using 350 watts of power, you will want to pair it with a 700-watt amplifier.
A solid, loud amp for home and practice use should only be between 3-5 watts. An amp for jamming at home or in a garage should be around 10 watts, an amp for small performances including outdoor improve should be between 15 to 20 watts, and an amp for performing with bands would be around 30 watts. If you want an amp to project to a large auditorium or gig, then you go above 50.
Headroom is all about sound distortion which is the difference between the maximum and normal operating level that the amp can pass without the speakers distorting the sounds. Since musical instruments provide wide variations in dynamic range; without enough headroom, you get frequent distortion (clipping).
As such, when you have a limited budget or purchase legacy equipment that uses a lower power amp, take care that you have enough headroom or you will end up damaging your speakers from a low power result too.
Impedance and Ohms
Ohms are measures of resistance. Amps work with 4, 8 or 16 ohms of resistance. The best amp speaker configuration is when the loudspeaker’s power is exactly correct for the amplifier.
You can connect more than one loudspeaker to an amp, the most common method used is the parallel connection. This is when you divide the impedance by the number of speakers connected, for instance, if you have four speakers that are rated at 16 ohms, you take 16/4 to get the overall rating of 4 ohms.
There are a number of amp classes on the market, and these include A, B, AB, etc…to D. The class D amp is the current live sound market model of choice. These are small, compact and powerful. Modern electronics is downsizing amps considerably.
Amps are not just about the tone types or sounds, they are about how to transmit the best equivalent sound out of your guitar, and the depth, height, and power of the tones are set by the type of amp you buy, the speaker you attach and the instrument you choose to play. What you need to know before you go into tone specifics, is if the system will perform well or not. Once you have a good quality system, you can start to compare the output in terms of tone and depth.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the Amplifier systems, just remember these key functions you need to see in your best bass amp unit:
- Watts: Amp watts must be equal or double to the speaker
- Headroom: must be wide enough to eliminate clipping.
- Ohms: Always calculate the exact impendence of each individual speaker when connected in parallel to one amp.
List of Top-Rated guitar amps under 150
The Best guitar amps under 150 Reviews
This is the Fender Frontman 10G 10 watt amp and speaker
When starting out with an electric guitar, it’s best also to consider a beginners amp and not invest in the most expensive piece of equipment out there. As such, the extremely convenient and easy to use Fender Frontman 10G is a great practice amp that generates 10 watts of power and combines this with a 6” speaker and controls over gain volume and for the metal players, an overdrive switch.
This is a very laid back box, it comes complete with a headphone jack for silent practice mode, and the overall design is a classic silver cloth grille with a big Fender logo and front controls.
- 10 watts
- 6” Fender Special Design speaker
- Gain, volume, treble, and bass controls
- Overdrive switch
- 1/8” auxiliary input and headphone output jacks
- Closed-back construction
This is a 10 in watts and in ratings, and the price is well suited for this amazing guitar amp.
This is the Fender Champion 20 watt guitar amp
This Fender model pumps out 20 watts of concentrated power and as such, is a perfect performance amp and practice or backstage amp box.
This model comes with the standard volume, gain, bass, and treble controls, but has added features, an FX selector with an FX level knob to control the effect. This is a Fender model, so it comes with the classic Fender Logo and silver cloth grille. The controls are located on the front as usual.
- 20 watts
- 8” Fender Special Design speaker
- Single channel and input
- Full FX controls include Reverb, delay/echo, chorus, tremolo, Vibratone and more
- 1/8” auxiliary input and headphone output jacks
For under $150 this is a steal, and you won’t find anyone coming near this price for such a powerful brand and model.
This is the Donner DEA-1 10W Electric Guitar Amplifier
The Donner DEA-1 is a versatile 10W Electric Guitar Amplifier that is perfect for beginners. It comes with a nice range of features including gain, volume, bass, middle and treble control. It also comes with an AUX IN jack as well as a headphone jack and is integrated with a 6.5” speaker. There is a booster button for those overdriven tone effects too.
The Donner is a two channel amp with clean and boost modes, a 3 band EQ and a good line input for connecting external music score sources.
The design of this model is a classic silver grille cloth with a black box cover and classic chicken head knobs.
- 10-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
- Gain, boost Select Switch, Volume, Treble, Middle, and Bass control
- ¼” Instrument Input,
- 3-Band EQ,
- 1/8″ Auxiliary Input Jack
- 1/8″ Headphone Output Jack
This is a very reasonably priced model that is one of the least expensive in its category, delivering clear tones with exceptional control and boost.
This is the Orange Amps Crush 12 amp.
When it comes to guitar amps and perfection, Orange is out there at the front and is considered to be one of the leading amp brands in the world for the last 50 years.
The Crush 12 is the smallest of the full-format Crush models. This model is a 12-watt amp designed for a no-nonsense performance delivering quality analog tone. This single channel combo amp comes with a 3 band EQ and dedicated overdrive control. Paired with this amp are the famous 6” Orange Voice of the World speakers, and their bespoke CabSim headphone jack system.
Together with the standard features of volume, gain, bass, middle and treble controls, you get an overdrive switch that combines with the other controls to deliver you an exceptionally wide range of outputs. You get clean to dirty with all the different tones, warms and crunchy tones only an Orange can give you.
- 12 watt Single Channel Guitar Amp Combo
- Overdrive Control
- 3 Band EQ
- CabSim Headphone Jack
- Full controls including Instrument input, gain, overdrive, bass, middle, treble, and volume.
- 6” Voice of the World Speakers
This is an Orange, so its Orange, and since its an Orange it’s going to knock you off your socks both with an unbelievably low price combined with over the top quality of performance.
This is the Mugig 10watt guitar amp with equalizer and effects
Mugig is a new Chinese company specializing in the musical instrument market and has some exceptional models that outperform many leading brands. With the support of a team of de3dicated sound engineers, Mugig, the trademark of Changchun Chengji Technology Co. Ltd., is the owner of a number of patents and specialized in producing various musical instruments from violins to electric guitars, as well as a long range of accessories including amps.
The Mugig 10 watt guitar amp and speaker combo comes with a bass and treble control and is housed in a solid box with great corner safety devices to keep it from damages.
The tone controls include a Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Master, Preset Select, and Modulation and they flow through a matched 8” Omega speaker. Yes, that’s right, an Omega speaker. So you are not buying some cheapo knockoff, you are buying into quality.
Other features include an AUX IN jack to connect your mobile devices and use this amp as a glorified speaker for your audio streaming requirements.
- 10-watt amp
- 8” Omega speaker
- Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, and Modulation
- Preset Select
- ¼” Line in
- 1/8” AUX IN
- Power Supply choice from AC adapter or 6 AA batteries
- Net Weight: 2830 g
This is an emerging giant of a company with exceptional products that come with very affordable price tags.