The Best Solid State Guitar Amps

The Highest Rated Solid State Guitar Amps

Disclosure

We recommend all products independently of 3rd parties including advertisers. We earn advertising fees from:
• • • • •
Sweetwater
• • • • •

Amazon

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
• • • • •

Removing fragile tubes in amp circuits result in amplifiers that are lighter, easier to maintain, and sound more consistent. They are also usually cheaper and more accessible, since they don't require tubes which are no longer widely manufactured.

Thanks to their practicality and reliability, more and more musicians, including pros, are making the switch to solid state amplifiers. They join musical luminaries who are known for using solid state amps include: Andy Summers (Roland JC-120), Johnny Greenwood (Fender Eighty-Five), B.B. King (Lab Series L-5), Metallica (Roland JC-120 for clean tones), and Dimebag Darrel (Randall C200).

Here we look at the best solid state amps that you can buy for under $1500, based on the most current reviews and ratings data up to July, 2021.

The Best Solid State Amps

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Under $500 - Regular Solid State

At publication time there was a 3-way tie for the Highest Rated amps in this category: Orange Crush 20RT, Orange Crush 35RT and Roland JC-22.

Orange Crush 20RT

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$189
Orange Crush 20RT

There's just no mistaking an Orange amp, especially those that follow their signature picture frame design. The Crush 20RT comes in this familiar form factor with built-in Reverb effect and Tuner - hence the label "RT".

This amp also features line-out emulation which replicates the response of a miked 4x12 cabinet when used with either headphones or a P.A. This means that the amp retains a lot of the character that other amps lose when you plug headphones into the them, making it worth serious consideration if you’re looking for a silent practicing amp.

Features

  • 20 Watts
  • 8" Speaker
  • 3-Band EQ
  • Overdrive Channel, Reverb, Tuner
  • 2 Foot-Switchable Channels
  • Cabsim Output Line/Headphones Output

Pros
While aesthetics definitely gets a lot of thumbs up, the Orange Crush 20RT is well loved for its overdriven tone, thanks to its specially designed 4-stage preamp which reproduces the quintessential Orange sound in a compact and portable form factor. Many describe the amp as being fun and musical, while others just feel that the tone is more alive, compared to others in the same price range. According to reviewers, the amp's built-in reverb meshes well with its tone, while others appreciate the practicality of having a tuner on the guitar amp itself.

Cons
Some users are not as impressed with its clean tone, while others are not too happy with the amp's reverb feature.

Overall
With its killer looks and tone, along with its extra features, this wallet-friendly solid state amp will make a great addition to your gear.

Orange Crush 35RT

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 800+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$259
Orange Crush 35RT Guitar Combo Amp 35W 1x10"

The no-frills Orange Crush 35RT is a 35W combo amp that continues to attract high ratings from guitarists.

It does away with the bells and whistles that other amps offer, but makes up for its lack of features with its 4-stage preamp. This results in tones that many people appreciate, especially when driven hard.

The preamp section has two channels, clean and dirty, with the dirty section being its strong suit. Tone shaping controls include basic EQ along with volume and gain knobs.

As the "RT" label implies, this one comes with Reverb and Tuner built-in.

Finally, this guitar amp is housed in the familiar picture frame like cabinet that's unmistakably Orange, along with its 10" speaker.

Features

  • 35 Watts
  • 1 x 10" Speaker
  • Band EQ
  • Built-in Reverb
  • Aux Input
  • Headphones Output

Pros:
Positive reviews continue to pour in for this amp, most of which credit its greatness to its overdriven tone. Guitar heavy music styles like rock and blues are what most owners use this amp for, be it for practice and even for small venue gigs. Chris Gill of Guitar World shares a similar sentiment in his review, concluding that "The Orange Crush 35RT is perfect for players who want an affordable classic-style amp for practice that can also hold its own during gigs".

Cons:
Since this amp sounds best when driven hard, getting it to sound great at lower volumes can be a challenge. Some users recommend playing with the EQ knob to get it sounding better in settings where you can't crank it.

Overall:
The Orange Crush 35RT is best if you're looking for an affordable and easy to use rock and roll friendly amplifier.

Roland JC-22 Jazz Chorus

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$463
Roland JC-22

Andy Summers, Jeff Buckley, Larry Coryell and Albert King are just a few of the many guitarists who have utilized a Roland Jazz Chorus (albeit the larger models). And their good opinion of the JC series is shared by many users, making these amps a popular clean tone choice for various styles of music, from rock to funk.

The JC-22 in particular is a more compact member of the Jazz Chorus family, a 30W combo amp with two 6.5" speakers.

The dual speakers allow for the amp's signature stereo features including stereo input, stereo reverb, stereo effects loop and of course it comes with Roland's Dimensional Space Chorus effect.

Features

  • 30 Watts
  • 2 x 6.5" Speaker
  • 3-Band EQ
  • Stereo Chorus, Reverb Effects
  • Foot-Switchable Chorus and Reverb, Stereo Effects Loop
  • Stereo Input (2 x 1/4" - left/mono, right)

Pros
Being part of Roland's JC amp series, expectations are quite high for this relatively small amp. Thankfully, the Roland JC-22 exceeds the expectations of many users, as seen on many reviews. Many are happy with its overall voicing. In addition, many are surprised by how loud this amp can be, with some users reporting having gigged with the amp from small to big (with the amp miked) venues. Durability and reliability are also commended often.

Cons
While there aren't any complaints about existing features, there are a few who wish for aux input. There are also some reports of the amp not working well with distortion pedals, but this may be personal preference.

Overall
If you're looking for a lightweight, great sounding and reliable solid state amp for your clean tone needs, then check out the JC-22.

Under $500 - Solid State With Amp Modeling

Fender Mustang LT 25

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 2300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
Fender Mustang LT 25 1x8" 25-watt Guitar Combo Modeling Amp

The LT25 takes Fender's Mustang amp modeling technology and packs it in an affordable and compact 1 x 8" combo amp configuration, rated at 25 Watts .

This amp houses digital sound processing that allows for a lot of voicing and tone shaping options, including 20 amp models and 25 effects, which you can blend to taste and save in the amp's 50 presets.

The sound of the amp covers everything from Fender's trademark clean tones to mid crunch and even high gain, and it does all this while retaining a control interface that even beginners can manage.

Other features include USB recording and software control, built-in tuner and headphones output.

Features:

  • 20W Amp
  • 1 x 8" Speaker
  • 20 Amp Models, and 25 Effects
  • Aux Input, Cabinet Simulator Headphones Out
  • Weight: 15.8 lbs.

Pros:

The Fender Mustang LT25 is described as a good utility amp for beginners, providing wide enough range of tones to appease eager learners of the instrument while retaining a very reasonable price point. Being easy to use is another common reason why many give this amp their thumbs up, impressing even experts like Stuart Williams of Guitar World, who said: "With its unfussy simplicity and interesting sounds, the Mustang LT25 is a modestly-priced digital combo that makes you want to play just that little bit longer." Overall build quality also gets good response from owners, who also appreciate its more modern appearance.

Cons:

Speaking of appearance, some users prefer the more old school Fender amp design with front mounted controls. As expected, some of the amp models are not as well received as the others.

Overall:

When it comes to quality and value for money the Fender Mustang LT25 is quite a force to reckon with, well worth its high ratings.

Boss Katana-100 MkII 1x12"

98
GEARANK

98 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$370
Boss Katana-100 MkII (KTN-100-2)

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Solid State Guitar Amp with Modeling Under $500.

The best thing about digital sound processing is that it gets better as technology improves, and this is the reason for the staying power of many popular modeling amps, including the Boss Katana line.

The Katana MkII line expands its amp modeling with the addition of a variation switch, which tweaks the voicing to a different flavor while still retaining the sound quality that is expected from the line. Like before, it utilizes the same DSP technology found in their guitar processors and multi-effects units, albeit packed inside an amp.

Having the ability to attenuate its output is also another noteworthy feature, giving you the option to get cranked tones at lower volume levels. You can set it to 50W or as low as half a watt. The amplifier section is paired with a single 12" speaker.

Features:

  • 100 / 50 / 0.5 Watts
  • 1 x 12" Speaker
  • 5 x Amp Models (+5 Variations)
  • 60 Boss Digital Effects
  • Aux In, Line Out and Recording/Headphones Out

Pros:
The MkII release of the Katana line from Boss is getting a lot of positive feedback from users and experts, thanks to their balance of great quality tone and sonic versatility. This particular model is well received for being versatile, thanks to its combination of DSP and power attenuation which makes it viable as a one-stop-rig for both stage performance and practice. Being part of Boss, you can also expect it to have good quality effects which are based on Boss' long line of pedals and multi-effects units.

Cons:
While it can go down to 0.5 watts, this amp can still be a bit too loud, bulky and heavy for some.

Overall:
If you're looking for an all-in-one guitar guitar amp that can serve you both on stage and at home, then definitely check this amp out.

Boss Katana-100/212 MkII

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$480
Boss Katana-100/212 MkII 2x12" (KTN-212-2)

While Boss was primarily known for their stompbox pedals, they are growing in reputation when it comes to solid state amplifiers. The Katana-100/212 MkII is one of their top rated representatives, with the main showcase being its 2 x 12" combo profile.

It features 5 amp models that cover essential amp tones from clean to high gain, all of which can be tweaked to your preference via gain and EQ and effects controls, with software editing option for more precise adjustments.

Another noteworthy feature is its built-in power attenuator, which lets you go from 100 Watts (which is more than enough for even big stage / venue use) down to half a watt, so you can enjoy cranked tones at very low volume levels.

Features:

  • 100 / 50 / 0.5 Watts
  • 2 x 12" Speaker
  • 5 x Amp Models (+5 Variations)
  • 60 Boss Digital Effects
  • Aux In, Line Out and Recording/Headphones Out

Pros:
This amp is well loved for its great balance of functionality, tone quality and value for money, with owners commending it for being a great all-in-one workhorse amp with their own words. While its main strength is supposed to be its built-in effects, more reviewers end up commending its amp tones, especially its "brown" amp flavor and clean tone. The ability to turn down the power to 0.5W makes this as good a practice amp, as it is on stage.

Cons:
If you won't be playing in big venues, or you're looking for a portable amp, then this 100W combo with 2x12" speaker maybe overkill.

Overall:
With its versatility in terms of tone and volume, this is a workhorse amp that's well worth looking into.

Fender Mustang GTX 100

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$500
Fender Mustang GTX 100

The Mustang GTX 100 is Fender's top rated solid state combo amp in the sub $500 market, and rightly so being one of the most feature packed amps in that price range with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, over 70 effects, 40 amp models and 200 presets.

The amp models range from classic Fender clean, which they do a great job of emulating, to modern high-gain tones. While the built-in effects cover a lot of ground with 15 overdrive/distortion, 15 modulation,13 delay, 14 reverb, 7 comp/EQs and 9 pitch shift effects. It even comes with a built-in looper. And in line with all these features, the GTX 100 comes bundled with a multi-switch foot pedal that makes it easier to switch between effects, amp models and presets.

In addition to its powerful DSP, the GTX 100 has a 100-Watt amp paired with a 12" Celestion G12P-80 speaker, which should be enough for most of the stages and venues that guitarists play on.

Features:

  • 100 Watt
  • 1 x 12" Celestion G12P-80
  • 40 Amp Models
  • 70+ Effects
  • 200 Presets
  • Aux In, 2 x 1/4" Line Out
  • USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Compatibility
  • Bundled with Footswitch

Pros:
In terms of sonic flexibility, the GTX 100 is hard to beat, and this is reflected in reviews. Users are pleased with the many ways they can build up their tone, and many also expressed their satisfaction with the preset tones included, especially the presets that emulate Fender clean tones. Value for money, being a direct result of having many features, is another strong point of this amp, especially when considering that this is a 100-Watt amp and it comes with a footswitch controller. Many also report that it is relatively light for a 100-Watt combo amp.

Cons:
Unfortunately, the Mustang GTX 100 does not come with power attenuation, so it will be too loud and too big for many guitarists. There are also some users who aren't too impressed with some of the amp models.

Overall:
When it comes to features and bundles, the Fender Mustang GTX 100 is hard to beat. Highly recommended if you're looking for a reasonably priced 100W all-in-one guitar amp.

$500 to $1500 - Regular Solid State

Orange Crush CR120C

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$699
Orange Crush CR120C

While most manufacturers have gone down the DSP route, Orange stays on the beaten path with their Crush series of solid state amps with no amp modeling. And interestingly, this line of streamlined amps are still rated highly, even in the face of more sophisticated and complex digital amps.

The CR120C in particular is a 120-Watt amplifier paired with two 12" speakers, which means that this amp is meant to go really loud. It doesn't give you the ability to choose between amp models, rather it sticks to the tried and tested 2-channel formula, one for clean and one for dirty.

What separates this from digital amps is the use of multi-gain stages to achieve its tone, much like how solid state pedals work. The dirty channel gives you the unmistakably Orange crunch tone via four gain stages, while the clean channel utilizes two gain stages.

Finally, it has a built-in reverb which you can set to spring, hall or plate.

Features

  • 120 Watts
  • 2 x 12” Speaker
  • 2-Channel Multi-Gain stage Amplifier
  • Built-in Reverb (Hall, Plate, Spring)
  • Effects Loop

Pros
Tone is the main reason why users love this amp, many even describe it as sounding very close to a tube amp, and more importantly - it sounds great without the need to go diving into multiple layer of controls and parameters. As expected, most reviewers commend its overdriven sound, but there are some who are even impressed with its clean tone, something that Orange is not well known for. Being pedal friendly and reliable are also often mentioned in reviews.

Cons
There are a few who feel that this is a one-trick pony amp, but given the limited 2-channels that it has, it does quite an amazing job as reviews attest to. Still, this is not ideal for those who want amp voicing and effects right on the amp. Being heavy also means that this is not very easy to haul around, and it is not meant for low volume practice.

Overall
This is a true stage ready workhorse amp, ideal for those who prefer tweaking pedals and rackmount effects instead of playing with settings on their amp.

Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb

98
GEARANK

98 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$900
Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb 1x12" 100-Watt Guitar Combo Amp

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Solid State Guitar Amp from $500 to $1500 along with the Roland JC-120.

The Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb is a modern solid state recreation of its all tube name sake. It is meant to replicate the sound, look and overall vibe of the original Deluxe Reverb, sans the use of tubes and with modern enhancements that include power attenuation.

Contrasting Fender's Mustang line of amps, this one does away with multiple amp models and effects, and concentrates all its digital processing and gain stages into reproducing the voicing of Fender's classic tube amp. And it seems to be doing it really well, based on the many high reviews that it's getting.

Rated at 100W with a 12" Jensen N12K neodymium speaker, this combo amp is designed to model the same SPL (sound pressure level) as a 22W Deluxe tube amp, but with its built in power attenuator, you can lower the output down to 0.2W.

Finally, it does all this without the usual weight associated with tube amps.

Features

  • 100 Watts
  • 12” Jensen N12K Speaker
  • Built-in Reverb and Tremolo
  • Balanced XLR out with output control, selectable cab IRs, and ground lift
  • Built-in Power Attenuator
  • Bundled with 2-button footswitch for reverb and tremolo.

Pros
It seems that Fender's strategy of creating solid state alternatives to their popular tube amps is being warmly received. So much so that the Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb is currently the equal top rated solid state combo amp in the the price range that we cover in this guide. Users are impressed with how close it sounds to the actual tube amp, and how it does so while being way more reliable and portable. Charles Saufley of Premier Guitar is just as impressed, summarizing his review as follows: "Super-accurate emulation of blackface Deluxe Reverb performance characteristics. Effective attenuator. Super light. Fair price."

Cons
Pricing seems to be the most common concern, with some pointing out that you can buy a second hand tube deluxe with the money. Still, the convenience and reliability that this solid state amp brings are more than enough for most users to be more than satisfied with its value.

Overall
This is a reliable workhorse amplifier with genuine Fender tube tone that even experienced guitarists appreciate. Highly recommended for those who want the simplicity and tone of a clean tube amp in a solid state amplifier.

Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb

97
GEARANK

97 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1000
Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb 2x12" 200-Watt Guitar Combo Amp

The Fender Tone Master series gets another spot in this guide with the Tone Master Twin Reverb, a modern solid state reproduction of the iconic Fender Twin Reverb tube amp with built-in power attenuator.

This one is rated at 200-Watts, with two 12" Jensen N-12K neodymium speakers, configured to reproduce the SPL of the original 85-Watt tube rating, with digital modeling that emulates the tone and feel of its name sake.

It sports the same 2 channel (normal and vibrato), two inputs with bright switch and dedicated 3-band EQ per channel, and controls for reverb and tremolo speed and intensity.

The power attenuator feature lets you bring down the output level to 1-Watt, for cranking up the amp at lower volumes.

Finally, all these features are packed in a 33 lb. combo amp profile with tilt back action - that closely resembles the original.

Features

  • 200 Watts
  • 2 x 12” Jensen N-12K Speaker
  • Built-in Power Attenuator
  • Balanced XLR out with Output Control, Selectable cab IRs, and Ground Lift
  • Bundled with 2-button footswitch

Pros
Making a solid state amp that sounds close to a tube Blackface Twin Reverb is no mean feat, but even experienced guitarists who have played through them are impressed with this solid state alternative. So much so that many of them have switched to the Tone Master Twin Reverb entirely for gigging. This is especially true for older players who love the tone of the original Twin Reverb, but can no longer tolerate its weight.

Cons
There are a few who aren't too happy with the built-in reverb reproduction, but they are far outnumbered by those who are pleased with it. There are also some who wish that the price was more akin to other solid state amps.

Overall
If you are a fan of the original Twin Reverb, then this is one solid state amp that you don't want to miss. But you don't have to be a fan of the original to appreciate the overall top notch performance of this amp.

Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus

98
GEARANK

98 out of 100. Incorporating 400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1030
Roland JC-120

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Solid State Guitar Amp from $500 to $1500 along with the Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb.

The Roland JC-120 is the flagship model of the Jazz Chorus amp line, and it continues to be in demand long after it was first released back in 1975. As such, this amp commands a premium price, but it is still something that many are happily and willingly paying for.

Rated at 120W, with a pair of 12" speakers in tow, this combo amp is loud enough to handle the volume requirements of most venues. And it does so while faithfully reproducing the amp's distinctly clear sounding clean tone.

Interestingly, this particular model comes with a dedicated channel with built-in distortion, although that's not what most users will buy or use this amp for.

Wrapping up its features are stereo inputs and 3-band EQ for each channel, built-in reverb and chorus, and dedicated footswitch ports for the reverb, distortion and chorus effects.

Features

  • 120 Watts
  • Two 12” Speakers
  • 3-Band EQ Per Channel
  • Two Channels (Normal/Effect)
  • Reverb
  • Distortion
  • Chorus, Vibrato, and Tremolo
  • Headphone Out
  • Line Out

Pros
Market response continues to be positive, with some users going as far as claiming that the Roland JC-120 is the best solid state amp for clean tone. Despite its lack of modern DSP features, there are many who commend the JC-120 for being versatile, in that it accepts different pedals well, and works with a variety of musical styles. Some even commend it for non-guitar instruments like keyboards and synthesizers. There amp's chorus effect is also praised often. Finally, as a testament to its road worthiness, there are reviewers who still give top scores even after decades of using their JC-120.

Cons
It goes without saying that this amp is heavy and is a bit too loud for many guitarists. It is also bit limited in features compared to modern amplifiers of the same price range.

Overall
If you want a tour ready solid state amp with great sounding cleans, then this should be high on your list.

$500 to $1500 - Solid State With Amp Modeling

At publication time there was a 3-way tie for the Highest Rated amps in this category: Line 6 Spider V 240 MkII, Quilter Labs MicroPro Mach 2 Combo 12 and Quilter Labs Mach 2 Combo 12HD.

Line 6 Spider V 240 MkII

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$550
Line 6 Spider V 240 MkII 2x12" 240-Watt Guitar Combo Modeling Amp

The Spider V 240 MkII is the loudest and biggest combo amp in Line 6's current line of Spider amps. It combines a 240-Watt amp with two 12" speakers and two tweeters, along with amp modeling and effects.

The amp's digital sound processing power allows for a wide variety of tone options, thanks to its over 100 built-in effects, 78 amp models, 24 cab simulations and 4 mic models.

To make better use of the amp's sound processing, Line 6 added two HF drivers along with its 12" woofers, which expands the higher frequencies beyond what normal amps provide. Interestingly, this feature is not positively received by some guitarists, so for the MkII version, Line 6 added a way to switch off the HF drivers together with cab and mic modeling to give it more of a traditional amp tone.

Other features include having an onboard tuner, metronome, looper, and drum loops.

Features

  • 240 Watts
  • 2 x 12” Woofers and 2 x Tweeters
  • 78 amp models, 100 Effects, 24 Can Sim, 4 Mic Models
  • Built-in Tuner, Metronome, 60-second Looper,
  • Built-in Line 6 Relay Wireless Receiver
  • 1 x XLR Out
  • USB Connectivity

Pros
Fans of amp modeling appreciate this amp's hi-fi type speaker set, with two woofers and two tweeters that allow it to better reproduce the various amps, effects and cab models that it carries. Given its speaker configuration also makes it a viable multimedia speaker. As expected from Line 6, versatility is this amp's strong suit, and it receives a lot of thumbs up for having great student friendly features.

Cons
Not everyone was impressed with the Spider V's hi-fi speaker design, so for this MkII version, Line 6 added the option to turn off the HF drivers along with the cab and mic sims. This makes the amp operate more like a conventional guitar amp. While it does enjoy popularity and success in the market, the Spider amp series as a whole gets flak from experienced musicians who feel that it compromises sound quality for the extra amp models.

Overall
When it comes to convenience and tone versatility, the Spider V 240 MkII is hard to beat. It's a great amp to get for those with existing Line 6 gear, but you don't need to be a fan to appreciate its overall performance.

Quilter Labs MicroPro Mach 2 Combo 12

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1099
Quilter Labs MicroPro Mach 2 12"

The man behind the Micro pro Mach 2 amp, Pat Quilter, is well known in pro audio circles for being part of the well reputed QSC brand of speakers. This amp brings the same level of pro audio quality tweaked to meet the demand of guitarists, using an all analog design.

The amp section sports two 100-watt channels with 1/4" and XLR combo inputs.

It has a rotary switch knob that lets you choose between 6 voicings: Full Q, Lead, Smooth, Surf, Brown, Tweed - each one is said to be derived from sought after amps.

Other features include having a single Celestion Classic Lead 80 speaker, built-in reverb and tremolo, expanded EQ for channel 2 and effects loop.

Features

  • 200 Watts
  • 1 x 12” Celestion Classic Lead 80 Speaker
  • 6 Analog Amp Voicings
  • Built-in Reverb and Tremolo
  • FX loop
  • 1 x XLR (DI Out), 1 x 1/4" (Internal Speaker), 1 x 1/4" (4/8 ohms)

Pros
For a 200 Watt amp, the Quilter Labs MicroPro Mach 2 balances good tone and portability nicely, and this weight per tone quality ratio is well received in reviews. Many commend the amp for how easy it is to get great tones, while others appreciate the warm sounding analog quality of the voicings. The compact profile of the amps is also often commended.

Cons
With its limited amp voicings and effects, this amp is not advisable for those who want an all-in-one amp package.

Overall
If you're familiar with the quality of QSC speakers, then choosing this amp is a no brainer. This amp is also ideal for those who want reasonable flexibility without going down the digital modeling route.

Quilter Labs Mach 2 Combo 12HD

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1299
Quilter Labs Mach 2 Combo 12HD 200-Watt Combo Guitar Amp

The Quilter Labs Mach 2 Combo 12HD takes the portability concept of the Mach 2 Combo 12 a step further with a slightly smaller and lighter profile.

It houses the same 200W solid state amplifier with 2-channels, but features a different speaker, a 12" Celestion BN12-300S, rated at 300W. This means that the speaker can handle what the amp can throw at it without any break up issues that may color the tone.

Everything else about the 12HD follows after the Mach 2 formula, from its 6 analog amp voicings, down to its built-in reverb and tremolo effect. The main difference though is that this is their lightest 12" combo amp, and it is able to maintain clarity even when driven hard.

Features

  • 200 Watts
  • 1 x 12" Celestion BN12-300S
  • 2-Channel with 6 Analog Amp Voicings
  • Built-in Reverb and Tremolo
  • FX loop
  • Input:1 x 1/4" (instrument), 1 x XLR-1/4" combo (mic/line)
  • 1 x XLR (DI Out), 1 x 1/4" (Internal Speaker), 1 x 1/4" (4/8 ohms)

Pros
This amp is well loved for its tone, even those who already own more expensive tube amps are switching to the Mach 2 Combo 12HD's portability and tone consistency. The lower weight is especially appreciated by older players who want great sounding tones minus the weight and bulk of tube amps. Speaking of tone, even those who play acoustic guitar this amp's clarity, they also use the XLR input to plug a mic in for singing and playing. Build quality and reliability also gets a lot of thumbs up.

Cons
For a 1x12 solid state amp, this can be tad too pricey compared to other options, but those who have invested in this amp are more than happy with what they got for the money.

Overall
The Quilter Labs Mach 2 Combo 12HD gives you premium tone in a portable combo amp configuration, well worth checking out.

Things to Consider When Buying a Solid State Guitar Amp

Power Rating and Volume

Having an amp with just the right power rating for your use is important. You don't want a loud practice amp, nor do you want a quiet stage amp. Thankfully these days, there are now amps with built-in power attenuation which allows big and loud amps to go down to bedroom levels while still getting good cranked tones.

Most of the time, tube amps are louder than solid state amps given the same power rating. The main reason being is that tube amps can be driven harder and handle clipping better, while solid state amps can't. When solid state amps are heavily cranked, hard clipping occurs, which sounds like aggressive non-musical distortion. Tube amplifiers “soft clip” which is a bit more musical sounding.

There are also other factors which can influence volume, chief among them being the efficiency of the speakers. The majority of components in an amplifier have a part in changing the tone and volume you get. With that being said, as a rule solid state amplifiers are generally going to be quieter than their tube counterparts. Just keep in mind that the best solid state guitar amps are built with quality components, so the difference in volume between a high-end solid state amplifier and a high-end tube amp isn’t going to be overly dramatic.

With that being said, for gigging in medium to large stages/venues, you’re going to want to make sure you have at least 100 watts on hand. This will give you plenty of head room during a gig, so you won’t have to push your solid state amp too breaking point.

Tone

Because the technology of a solid state amplifier is more affordable, most cheaper amps are solid state. Because of this, solid state technology has gotten a reputation of sounding bad because its generally used in cheaper amplifiers. However, given the prevalence of solid state amplifiers in a variety of different musicians’ rigs they obviously can’t sound bad all the time.

Imagine a situation where you had two amplifiers that were essentially the same, with one being a solid state amplifier and one being a tube (obviously this isn’t really possible, so it’s just a hypothetical). The main difference you’d experience in this situation is that the solid state would have a quicker response. Notes would feel like they were literally leaping out of your amp. The tone you’d get would also be very articulate and clear. A tube amp wouldn’t have quite as much immediacy in its attack, but the notes would have a higher representation of overtones and a more organic flavor. This would of course be at the expense of some articulation.

Tube amps also tend to handle distortion better, but this is also more of a generality than a hard and fast rule. If you’re using pedals to get your distortion, odds are you’re going to get just as good of a tone out of a high-end solid state amplifier that you’d get from a tube amp.

Speaker Size

Speaker size is a metric you can use to get an idea of the response an amp is going to have in different frequency ranges. A smaller speaker (6-10”) is going to have a clearer voice that emphasizes treble frequencies, while a larger speaker (15”) is going to be more bass heavy. Most amps are in the middle at 12”, because a 12” speaker is generally considered to have a pleasing response across the board.

However, the size of a speaker isn’t the sole factor that decides the frequency response of an amplifier. Frequency response, just like overtones and volume, is influenced by every component in your amp.

Do Built-In Effects Matter?

If you want an amp with a lot of built in effects you’re going to want to go with a modeling amplifier, otherwise all you really need is reverb. Most solid state amps don’t have the best distortion/overdrive circuits built in (with high-end solid state amplifiers being the exception), so they’re not really a must have. However, most solid state amps do come with distortion. The distortion you get from these amps generally isn’t going to knock your socks off, but it will be serviceable enough until you get a distortion or overdrive pedal.

And while modeling amps may be cool, they’re not really going to be necessary for many musicians. Their main appeal is their versatility, so if you only really need one core sound you’re not going to stand to benefit overly much from the different effects and amp sims a modeling amp has on hand.

Why Should I Get a Solid State Amp Instead of a Tube Amp?

The main selling point of a solid state amplifier is that they’re more reliable and easier to maintain than a tube amplifier. You can also play them at a quieter volume while retaining good tone. Tube amplifiers, due to the nature of how tubes function, generally need a larger amount of power (which produces more volume) in order to sound their best.

While reliability is definitely a plus, something that some musicians don’t know is that solid state amps can actually sound pretty good in their own right. If you use a lot of pedals the complex overtones and frequency response of a tube amp has the potential to make your tone muddy and unfocused. This isn’t a guarantee by any means, but it is a possibility.

Think of your tone like a sandwich. You have your bread, meat, cheese, and leafy greens. In this metaphor, your frequency response is like different sauces. A presence of overtones that works toward your desired tone is like putting a bit of mayo and/or mustard on your sandwich. Too many overtones for a given situation is like throwing on mustard, mayo, ketchup, soy sauce, and vinegar. All of those things are good on their own, but when combined they result in an unfocused mess.

Best Solid State Amp Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the current edition was published on July 6, 2021.

Solid state guitar amplifiers comprise a broad market segment when considering the many variations that are available. So we limited our scope to solid state combo amps that can be readily bought from major US music gear retailers with a maximum price of $1,500.

With so many solid state amps being released every year, we ended up with a list of 56 viable combo amps. And for each of these candidate amps, we analyzed relevant ratings, reviews and forum discussions, including the most recent up to July of 2021, summing up to over 21,400 rating sources. The Gearank Algorithm did the rest, giving us rating scores out of 100 that represent actual market sentiment, which we then used to narrow down the list to just the cream of the crop. Finally, we divided the list by price and segregated those with multiple amp melds, and those with a more classic single or two channel amp voicings. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

He's written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at his local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Drawing from his experience in performing and recording, he teaches guitar and bass and mentors young artists to be better musicians. And when he is not busy playing or tinkering with musical gear, he puts on his entrepreneurial hat, which helps fund his passion for collecting guitars, mecha figures and Gunpla kits.

Contributors

Alden Acosta: Product research.
Mason Hoberg: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Compiled using photographs of the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus, Quilter Labs MicroPro Mach 2 Combo 12, Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb and Orange Crush 35RT.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

Comments

What happened to GALLIEN

What happened to GALLIEN KRUEGER guitar amps? Latest I found they only continue making bass amps. Until the mid 90s I remember some big name guitar players using them mostly in rock bands. I believe they were pretty good high end solid state amps if I'm not wrong.
Thanks

I played a solid state

I played a solid state throughout the 90s & I would have sworn bye it, (was a recording professional at this time)anyway two heads no 3 actually I still believe have Somme of the tightest most focused high gain I've ever had the pleasure to play. (Mind u I play through a Herbert or uberschaller now a days)give AMPEG VH 140c a try or the ss 150, both SS & both will thump your chest like a sledgehammer! & finally PEAVY supreme 160 all 3 imho are legit, if u listened to death metal in 90s I won't say the 2 bands names only album names & u can get an ear full of ampeg from both, pierced from within & system's of the animal.ampeg WERE about $1300 then but, the PEAVY& the amps noooo joke man, . $500! Try em!

No Quilter?

No Quilter?

The Quilter amps look nice

The Quilter amps look nice but at the moment they still seem to fall into the 'boutique' category and as such there's not really enough feedback from buyers for us to get a reliable ranking on them. In this list we were focusing on widely available and well known amps.

No Katatna?

No Katana?

Back in May when we published

Back in May when we published this guide the Boss Katana amps were very close to being included but their ratings were just a fraction low - but not by much.

Out of personal curiosity I decided to update their Gearank scores and publish them in the Music Gear Database.

The result was that if we were to update this guide today, then the Katana-100 would have a strong chance of being included, but the Katana-50 would probably just miss out again (I have not published updated Gearank scores for the rest of the contenders).

Post a Comment or Question

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <b> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.