The 10 Best Modeling Amps (2022)

Modeling amps are a great way to get classic amplifier sounds without investing in an expensive classic amp. A modeling amp provides a huge number of options to choose from when it comes to classic tones.

Modeling amps are very useful for you as a gigging guitarist. If you’re looking for a wide variety of tones but don’t want to take multiple amps with you, a modeling amp is an answer.

My top modeling amp pick is the Fender Mustang GTX 50 which has a great value-for-price ratio as well as a good selection of amps and tones.

My budget modeling amp is the Roland Micro Cube GX. It’s very portable and comes at a very affordable price if you don’t want to devastate your pockets.

The 10 Best Modeling Amps (2022)

Let’s look at the full list:

1. Fender Mustang GTX 50

Top Pick
A highly recommended modeling amp. It is a very versatile choice and is an all-around good buy.
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At the time of release, Fender Mustang GTX 50 was probably the highest recommended and rated amp by most professional guitarists. The versatility is great while being relatively modest to your wallet.

Pros

  • Great amp choices and tones
  • Great value for the price
  • Wi-Fi and smartphone connectivity
  • USB connectivity along with FX loop

Cons

  • Some people may not like the high gain tones
  • Gets close to real tube amps but is not perfect

Fender Mustang GTX 50 comes with around 200 basic presets ready for you to customize or plug and play on the go. It also comes with a lot of different effects which gives this amp great versatility to customize the presets to get the sound you are looking for or make a new tone from scratch.

The optional GT footswitch is a great addition making it easier to use on stage. It also allows you to use the looping capabilities of the amp which comes in handy when you are performing live.

Power50 watts
Speaker size12-inch Celestion Speaker
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Direct OutYes (XLR)
Line inputYes
FX LoopYes

In conclusion, this is my top pick for one of the best modeling amps on the market. You will be getting great value for the money you invest in this amp.

2. Roland Micro Cube GX

Budget Pick
One of the best budget guitar amps, runs on batteries.
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Roland Micro Cube GX was chosen as the best of the show at Summer NAMM 2013. This says a lot about the amp already. This amp was introduced to replace the hugely successful Micro Cube. The compact weight and size of this amp make it a great option for people who are just starting with modeling amps.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Runs on batteries
  • Great portability
  • Comes with the app and interface feature

Cons

  • Limited choices with amps and effects
  • The app is only for iOS users and not Android

Despite the small size, the Roland Micro Cube GX comes with 8-amp models and 8-DSP effects to choose from. This means for the price this is perhaps the most versatile amp you can get on the market as of now. The amp also comes with a built-in chromatic tuner. The memory feature included with the amp also lets you save your custom tones.

The amp works on batteries which makes it a handy choice for a practice amp or traveling amp because you will not need a power source to play your guitar or practice. It also comes with an i-CUBE link interface which lets you connect your guitar directly to your iPhone.

Power3 watts
Speaker size5-inch Speaker
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutYes (Jack)
Line inputYes
FX LoopNo

In conclusion, this is my pick for the best budget amp. It is a great addition if you are looking for a bedroom amp or a practice amp. It is also very good to take with you if you travel a lot, with the addition of a tuner and an app, this is a great choice.

3. Marshall Code 100W

Versatile and powerful
Marshall quality modeling amp option with great tones and customization options.
View Price at Amazon

Marshall is another well-known brand in the guitar world. They are perhaps one of the most popular amp manufacturers. Marshall Code 100H is another great modeling amp, it emulates a lot of the great vintage tones, especially the vintage Marshall tones which makes it a great choice for Marshall lovers.

Pros

  • Great tones
  • Very flexible in designing tones
  • Great for live performances
  • Bluetooth connectivity and control

Cons

  • Underwhelming clean tones
  • The display is small
  • Footswitch sold separately

The Marshall CODE 100H lets you mix and match by allowing you to choose preamps and power amp models instead of just modeling specific amps. It comes with 14 preamps models, 4 power amps, and 8 speaker cabs to choose and make your tone with. It is also packed with 24 effects which make the tone-shaping even more detailed and allows more control.

The amp also lets you connect it with your phone via Bluetooth which makes editing and shaping tone much easier. You can also upload or download tones from the global library, which is a great addition so you do not lose your tones. 

Power100 watts
Speaker size1×12 Speaker
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutYes (Jack)
Line inputYes
FX Loop,Yes

Overall, this is a great vintage Marshall modeling amp. This is a great choice for live performances as well if you are a touring musician.

4. Yamaha THR30II wireless

Highly versatile amp
A unique amp recommended for traveling musicians that offers loads of options.
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Yamaha is another well-known manufacturer, and they are known for their desktop-friendly amps. The Yamaha THR30II wireless is a great-sounding modeling amp that comes with wireless capabilities. It can also run on batteries so it’s a great choice for a traveling musician or any other individual.

Pros

  • Wireless experience
  • True stereo experience
  • Rune on both batteries and AC power
  • Can be used for both electric and acoustic guitars

Cons

  • The volume is underwhelming
  • Not a great choice for live performance

The Yamaha THR30II wireless is an excellent choice with 15 different amp models to choose from to carve out your perfect sound. This amp comes with 2×3.5-inch speakers which means you will get a true stereo sound from this. This amp can be used for both acoustic and electric guitars.

It also comes with Yamaha’s THR Remote app which means you will have all the control you can get right on your phone. Additionally, it has a built-in wireless receiver which reduces the hassle of guitar cables and increases the user experience.

Power30 watts
Speaker size2×3.5-inch Speaker
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutYes (Jack)
Line inputYes
FX LoopNo

This is a great compact desktop amp while being portable and usable for traveling with it. The tones you can get from this are very great and authentic and the overall build and design of this amp look nice which makes it a great pick.

5. Boss Katana-100 MkII

Durable modeling amp
One of the most well-known amps among professionals, durable Boss quality.
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The Boss Katana-100 MkII is the latest in the line of amplifiers by the Boss. In addition to all this, this is a does-it-all amp that can be used for electric as well as acoustic guitar which is a great feature if you tend to keep switching for your recording sessions or live performances.

Pros

  • Very versatile
  • Can be used as a practice or stage amp
  • A lot of positive feedback regarding the tones and sound
  • Great for clean as well as dirty tones

Cons

  • No display
  • The stone studio software can be confusing

The Boss Katana-100 MkII comes with 5 distinct amp models to choose from. The amp also comes with variable power control which allows you to get the cranked amp tone at lower volume levels as well. 60 different Boss effects are accessible from the Boss tone studio editor software that lets you customize your effects and tones easily and quickly.

It also comes with an FX loop which is a good addition to this. This amp can be used for both electric and acoustic guitar which means more flexibility if you are tight on budget.

Power100 watts
Speaker size12-inch Speaker
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutYes (Jack)
Line inputYes
FX LoopYes

In conclusion, this is a great choice to make once you get comfortable with it. The tones both clean and distorted sound great and you get a two-in-one amp for both electric and acoustic guitar which makes this a good choice for any musician.

6. VOX Valvetronix VT20X

Great-sounding amp
A great classic analog-style amp with good tones and a digital amplifier functionality.
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From the makers of the famous AC30, the Valvetronix VT20X is a modeling amp by VOX. Its excellent analog-style tones are the main standout of this amp. On top of all that, the compact design with 20-watt power is also very appealing to musicians who are looking for a compact amp that delivers great performance.

Pros

  • Authentic analog sound
  • Loads of options to choose from
  • Tone room software is nice
  • Value for money

Cons

  • No recording out for direct recording
  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi support
  • Uncontrolled volume jumps when going through presets

The VOX Valvetronix VT20X is an amp that employs a unique analog circuit that lets you get authentic tube-powered tones from your amp which has a different sound of its own. It comes with 11 different amp models to choose from and 13 classic effects as well which helps you get the exact tone you are looking for.

The amp also comes with tone room editor software which makes editing or creating your unique sound much easier and more interesting. The amp also supports a footswitch which means it can be used for small gatherings.

Power20 watts
Speaker size8-inch Speaker
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutNo
Line inputYes
FX LoopNo

In conclusion, this is a unique amp that tends to go out of the way than most other modeling amps to give you a great sound and timbre in your tones.

7. Line 6 Spider V 60 MkII

Very versatile, affordable
A very versatile amp for tone preference with around 500 presets which is more than enough.
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The Line 6 Spider is an affordable and beginner-friendly amp line that is very appealing due to its affordability and the features packed within it. The Spider V MkII is a 60-watt combo modeling amp that is great for beginners, especially because it features great tones.

Pros

  • Great for beginners with lots of preset options
  • Packed with effects and amp combo options
  • Enjoyable to use
  • Built-in features like a drum loop

Cons

  • No recording out for direct recording
  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi support
  • Speaker is not as good as the direct signal

The Line 6 Spider V 60 MkII comes packed with 78-amp models along with 24 cabs and 4 mic options. If that’s not enough, it comes with all kinds of presets as well, so the versatility is truly amazing. 

The 60-watt power means you will have enough power to be loud enough but still, I wouldn’t recommend it for large gigs. Apart from all this, the amp also comes with features like a tuner, looper, and metronome which makes it a good solo amp as well.

Power60 watts
Speaker size10-inch Speaker, 1x Tweeter
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutNo
Line inputYes
FX LoopNo

Finally, if you are a beginner looking for their first amp or just a new amp, in general, this will be a no-brainer for you to choose.

8. Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 Guitar Modeling Amp

Budget-friendly, durable
Highly durable Peavey modeling amp at a very affordable price.
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If you’re looking to play acoustic, electric, and bass guitar in one amp then the Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 Guitar Modeling Amp is one to consider. This is a perfect investment for someone who is looking to save some money and still get a good amp.

Pros

  • Works for all three guitars
  • Loots of effects and amp combo options
  • Easy and enjoyable user interface
  • Built-in looper

Cons

  • No recording out for direct recording
  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi support

Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 comes with 2 electric guitars, 1 acoustic guitar, and 1 bass guitar channel which makes it a good choice to consider. It comes with 36-amp models and 20 effects which means you will have a lot of options to get the tones you want.

This amp also comes with a built-in USB interface which means you can record directly in your DAW which fills in for the fact that this amp does not have a recording out. It also supports footswitch but for bigger shows, I would recommend you look into more powerful options.

Power20 watts
Speaker size8-inch Speaker
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutNo
Line inputYes
FX LoopNo

In conclusion, to have access to electric, bass, and acoustic guitar for the price is absolutely amazing. An excellent value-for-price ratio in my opinion.

9. Boss Katana Head MkII

All-around quality amp
Absolute beast when it comes to versatility. Excellent tones and great for live performances.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

It is no surprise that the Katana amps are here again due to their great sound. The Boss Katana Head MkII on the other hand is an amp head that is excellent for any musician.

Pros

  • Very versatile
  • Can be used as a practice or stage amp
  • 5-inch small internal speaker
  • Great for clean as well as dirty tones

Cons

  • No display

This is a very versatile amp head with 5 different amp models. It also comes packed with 60 BOSS effects which will only help in shaping the sound you are looking for.

The main thing that makes this head stand out is a small 5-inch internal speaker which makes this a great bedroom or practice amp. It also comes with all small things like tone studio editor and FX loop and all the other features available in the Katana series.

Power100 watts
Speaker sizeInternal 5-inch Speaker
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutYes
Line inputYes
FX LoopYes

In conclusion, this is a great amp head that works well, especially for live performances when paired with a good cabinet. This makes this an excellent choice if you are looking to invest a little.

10. Kemper Profiler

High-end, Premium option
A very different concept than a normal modeling amp, a great choice for musicians who like to make tones from scratch.
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The Kemper Profiler is the head that makes you build your very own amplifier. This means you can get into the details of every bit while designing your original sound from scratch and get to know the very ins and outs of tone design.

Pros

  • Very handy
  • Modeling on your own choices
  • Good for live performance as well as practice
  • Great sounding collection

Cons

  • Can be overwhelming and confusing for beginners
  • Volume jumps between presets

The Kemper Profiler is a product for people who want to get technical and detailed with their sound. This head allows you to build your very own sound with 200 factory presets already installed. It also comes with all the different effects which can be used to polish your sound even further.

It comes in a friendly size which means if you are a performing musician, you can easily travel with this. Moreover, if you need to profile an amp you like you can just do it with a mic and recreate the authentic sound every time you want it.

Power600 watts
Speaker sizeNot applicable
EffectsYes
Headphone OutputYes
Recording OutYes
Line inputYes
FX LoopYes

In conclusion, this is a piece of equipment that excels at exploring and designing tones. If you want to make tones from scratch, this is the way to go.

What is a modeling amp?

A modeling amp is a device that emulates higher-end guitar amplifiers. It generally has presets and options that mimic higher-end amplifiers. The sound profile is pre-programmed in the database of the amplifier. It provides a good quality digital emulation and is affordable as well.

How to use a modeling amp?

A modeling amp works just like a normal amp with the addition of more controls to make your choices of amp simulations and effects you need.

Are modeling amps any good?

With the advancement in technology, modeling amps in today’s market are good. They can emulate the sound of a vintage amplifier without giving you all the maintenance expenses. The sound you get is authentic to the ear as well to the point where only a handful of professionals can tell the difference.

How much power do you need?

The power rating of the modeling amp differs according to the model you choose and the size of the amp which can differ according to your requirements. Generally, a 50–60-watt amp is considered an all-around good choice.

Do you need built-in effects?

You do not necessarily need the built-in effects because you can plug in pedals just like you do in a normal amplifier if you want. There is also the option of FX loop in some amps so you can make use of that. A lot of these amps come with great built-in effects so I would recommend you give them a try.

Is connectivity that important?

This one will depend on person to person and their taste. But having more connectivity options like in the Yamaha THR with the wireless adapter is a good addition to the overall experience.

Where will you be using the modeling amp?

A modeling amp in today’s world, thanks to technology, can be used almost everywhere. You can even get authentic tube amp sounds from some of the above-mentioned amps so they can easily be used in live gigs or on records with proper tweaks.

A portable modeling amp on the other hand is an individual choice because it only makes sense to have if you are a traveling musician. If you do not travel as much and just want an amp for your home studio or live gigs, then you should look for other options like Fender Mustang.

Verdict

Modeling amps are just as good as any other amp, and for the price, they can get you much more than what a traditional amp can get you. I will recommend you to not invest heavily in traditional and vintage amps but try using a good modeling amp.

My top pick is the Fender Mustang GTX 50. It offers a great sound and is a well-rounded modeling amp with a reasonable price attached.

My budget pick is the Roland Micro Cube GX for those on a tighter budget but who still want something decent.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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