The 5 Best Guitar Power Amps (2023)
Power amps give power to passive speakers. They are near the end of a signal chain and come in two forms: either as solid-state units or with tubes. The former is superior in terms of reliability, though the latter sounds better.
Later on in the article, I’m gonna discuss the differences between a power amp and a preamp, the different types of power amps, and the benefits of using high-quality power amps. But first, let’s go through the top recommendations.
My top recommended power amp is the Seymour Duncan Power Stage 700. This guitar amp head offers 700W of power, has a 3-band EQ, cab-emulated outputs, and can be used on a pedalboard.
My second recommended power amp is the MOOER Baby Bomb 30. This is one of the smallest power amps on the market with great value for money. It’s compact, affordable, and can fit a pedal rig easily.
- The 5 Best Power Amps (2023)
- 1. Seymour Duncan Power Stage 700
- 2. MOOER Baby Bomb 30
- 3. Hotone Loudster Nano Legacy Floor
- 4. Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170
- 5. Orange Pedal Baby 100
- What’s the difference between a Power Amp and Preamp?
- What are the different forms of Guitar Power Amps?
- What are the benefits of using Guitar Power Amps?
The 5 Best Power Amps (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. Seymour Duncan Power Stage 700
The Seymour Duncan PowerStage 700 is a guitar amp head that offers massive power, packed in a rig-friendly design that will fit most pedalboards. In combination with a guitar cab, this power amp will be more than enough for even large performances.
Apart from packing a punch, the PowerStage 700 is compact enough and travel-friendly for musicians on the move. It can fit a backpack or a gig bag easily, has stereo amplifier inputs and outputs, and allows you to use your pedals as the rig’s front end which is really neat.
This stereo power amplifier has a 3-band EQ section for tone-shaping, selectable cab-emulated outputs for direct pairing, and features switchable True Cab Circuitry Simulation. It may be on the pricier side of power amps but it does feature durable components and definitely brings value for money to the table.
2. MOOER Baby Bomb 30
MOOER is known pretty well as a company that delivers plenty of quality for money and covers pretty much a complete area of what we call guitar audio equipment. Among all those products, you can also find this tiny power amp, which is arguably one of the smallest units of this type on the market. Such a layout guarantees it will fit any pedalboard.
With the max power output of 30 Watts, it probably isn’t powerful enough for bigger venues, but the MOOER Baby Bomb 30 will work just fine for smaller gigs and practice sessions.
Besides superior portability, it is also extremely simple to use. Controls are pretty much the same as in the Electro-Harmonix 44 Magnum, which means there is just one, “Volume” knob, as well as a small toggle switch that allows you to put the focus on high-end tones.
3. Hotone Loudster Nano Legacy Floor
The Hotone Loudster Nano Legacy Floor is a portable and affordable floor power amp with a very simplistic yet aesthetic design. This power amp is made for pedalboards and can easily fit a rig with its compact design, made for traveling musicians.
I really like the aesthetics of this power amp. With a single-knob design, you can connect this floor amp to a PA system, or run your modeling amp unit through it. It is compatible with various cabinets with impedances ranging from 4-16Ω (ohms).
With 75 watts of power, the Hotone Loudster delivers high-quality tone with plenty of detail and bass, packed in a lightweight aluminum casing, powered by a DC power supply. All in all, if you want something that fits your pedalboard, has good audio delivery, and looks incredible, this power amp is worth considering.
4. Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170
The PowerStage 170 might be small in size but it is a really powerful unit that offers plenty of power for any audio setup and performance. This is a perfect gig unit that can fit any pedalboard setup. At the same time, 170 Watts of power is something that suits all kinds of venues, pretty much everything from 1×12 to 4×12 cabinets.
This power amp pedal is highly convenient in many ways and practicality isn’t the only thing you’ll get from it. It also offers a pretty amazing sound quality. You may count on 170 Watts of clean power, as well as on wide tonal diversity. The pedal comes with a typical 3-band EQ, which provides tons of tweaking possibilities.
The PowerStage 170 is also very simple to use. There are just one input and one output. All you need to do is to put all your pedals in front of this power amp and go directly into the speakers. It can’t go any simpler than that.
5. Orange Pedal Baby 100
The Orange Pedal Baby 100 may not be the smallest power amp pedal around but it is definitely compact enough to fit most pedalboard. Besides compact dimensions, it features a quite simplistic design, which includes a two-band EQ, so you can tweak the tone in any way you want. With full 100 Watts of clean power, it looks more than capable enough to deal with any venue.
Besides plenty of power, the pedal is characterized by pretty impressive sound quality. Although a solid-state unit, it features a completely analog circuit and we are talking about an AB-class amp, which delivers the recognizable sound of Orange amplifiers.
The sound is clean and offers lots of dynamics. At the same time, it won’t affect the sound of your pedals at all. So, whether it’s going to be your primary amplifier or you just need a great-sounding backup unit for your tube amp, this pedal is an excellent choice.
What’s the difference between a Power Amp and Preamp?
Both are essential parts of a guitar amp, though with different functions. On one side, a preamp amplifies the signal that comes from pickups. It offers amplification to an audible level, so it can be manipulated with all kinds of effects. On the other hand, a power amp is what makes everything loud. If your guitar amp has 50 watts, it’s because the power amp is that powerful.
What are the different forms of Guitar Power Amps?
In the past, power amps were nothing more than the power of a guitar amp. However, guitar players started to realize the full potential of mixing different power amps with different preamps. So, the first separate units appeared in the late ‘80s, in the form of rackmount products. These days, power amps come in all kinds of forms, including those that perfectly fit pedalboards.
What are the benefits of using Guitar Power Amps?
The benefits of using power amps are obvious. First of all, a great thing is that you can go directly into speakers with such a unit. If you get a decent preamp too, you won’t need a traditional guitar amp for your gigs, which sounds practical and highly convenient. Many of these come in the form of a typical stompbox and will fit any pedalboard.
Also, the obvious benefit is that you can combine different preamps with different power amps. Such diversity is something you can’t get from a traditional guitar amp, where you are limited to just one combination of these units.
Guitar power amplifiers are a necessity for most guitar players. They give power to passive speakers and offer a volume boost, usually with a dedicated EQ section for tone-shaping, to provide a more well-rounded and better-sounding performance for guitarists. If you’re an audiophile and want the best possible outcome when it comes to sound, power amps are devices that can make that happen.
My top pick is the Seymour Duncan Power Stage 700, a guitar amp head that offers 700W of power, has a 3-band EQ, cab-emulated outputs, and can be used on a pedalboard.
My budget pick is the MOOER Baby Bomb 30, which is one of the smallest power amps on the market with great value for money. It’s compact, affordable, and can fit a pedal rig easily.