7 Of The Best Cheap Amplifiers This 2018

By Monica | Product Reviews

Jan 09
best cheap amplifier

If you are a guitarist, having an amplifier in your setup is necessary. This gear can highlight the prowess of your instrument, especially if you are playing live. With a good amp, you can actually stand out with the mix, regardless of your role.

But as what most players would complain, finding a good amp is not that easy, especially if you have a limited amount of cash to spend. Once you know the details and considerations that revolve around this device, you'll realize that acquiring an amp would never be straightforward. Soon you'll worry that you can't get a functional unit because you have been plunged into the economic whirlpool.

However, you should not be discouraged immediately. I did my homework and found out that there are a plethora of quality guitar amps that are sitting at the entry-level price. Do you want to know the best cheap amplifier that you can get today? If not, then you should check out these following units that I have found on the treasure trove!

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Best Cheap Amplifier: Top 7 Options

Of course, even if we are looking for a cheap amplifier, it doesn't mean that we are going to settle for less. That's the reason why I was super surprised when I discovered the Fender Champion 40. From its name alone, I am pretty sure already that this amp won't fail my ears and expectations. And oh boy, it never did disappoint me. From its tone down to its hardware, I am pretty sure that on its price range, the Fender Champion 40 is hard to beat.

Despite being an entry level guitar amp, the Fender Champion 40 possesses an insane tonal versatility. It can read and release all the subtle frequencies that are being sent by your rig. It also features crystal clear articulation, especially with its overdrives. Take note that this amp has modern and British-inclined voicings, which features delay, reverb, and other effects.

Other than these perks, this Fender amp also offers ergonomic controls and setup. All of the necessary configurations can be done by simply turning the set of knobs that it has. The labels of the knobs are entirely visible, too, which makes it less confusing to use. It is an ideal choice for amateurs who are still new to the world of amps. But certainly, pros and experienced players alike will find delight in using this wonderful gear.


Pros:

  • Comes with an auxiliary input for plugging other audio devices
  • Features an open back cabinet that you can use for storing your wires
  • Durable and rugged construction
  • Clean and clear sound articulation
  • Covers the entire frequency adequately

Cons:

  • No particular drawbacks noticed

Let's take a look at this product...

Fender Champion 40-40-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
  • All the tonal versatility you can handle in a small package with clean and overdriven tones, British and modern amp voicings and various effects including reverb, delay and more.
  • Straight forward controls such as "Voice" and "FX Select" allow you to dial in your sound with the ease of just turning a knob.
  • Jam along with your favorite tracks by simply plugging your MP3 player into the Auxiliary input and you instantly become part of the band and /or practice privately with the 1/8th headphone output jack that also mutes the speaker output.
  • Store extra cables or other small accessories with the open back cabinet. Two channels, single input
  • Limited Warranty Included

Another great entry-level amp that you should consider is this unit coming from Marshall. Just like Fender, Marshall has an insurmountable rapport in the music industry. They are known to produce some of the best musical components and accessories that we have today. Therefore, if you think that the Fender Champion 40 is not the right one for you, try this option instead. It still has the features that would awe you.

This amp can deliver exceptional tone while covering all the frequency ranges. It has been integrated with three of Marshall's most famous circuitries, namely the overdrive, crunch, and clean channels. Digital effects have also been included in these configurations (e.g. phaser, chorus, reverb, and reverb). Because of the various settings and effects that it has, the Marshall MG30CFX MG Series became one of the most versatile amps that you can see on the entry-level market.

Of course, this product can't be called a Marshall without the Frequency Dependent Damping or FDD. With this technology, the amp can provide its circuitries with unbelievably realistic sounds. The amp can create the tone that you want without compromising its programmability. It also comes with an intuitive layout, which allows you to control it efficiently and quickly. Overall, the construction of the Marshall MG30CFX MG Series ensures its users the satisfaction that they wanted.


Pros:

  • Programmable footswitch
  • Comes with three customizable channels
  • All the digital effects can be accessed on a single knob
  • Comes with a line that you can use for your guitar headphone
  • Sound palette is vast

Cons:

  • Its power plug is permanently connected to its body
  • The cabinet that it has is made from plastic

Let's take a look at this product...

Marshall MG30CFX 30 Watt Guitar Combo Amplifier Bundle with Cables, Power Adapter, and Zoom G1Xon Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Marshall MG4 Carbon Series MG30CFX 30 Watt Guitar Combo Amplifier
  • Zoom G1Xon Guitar Effects Pedal with Expression Pedal
  • Planet Waves 9V Power Adapter with 2 Guitar Cables

For those that can't afford those guitar amps that have three-digit price tags, the brand Fender has still something to offer. Recently, they manufactured this mini amp that can cater the needs of practicing players. Even though it is not applicable to live performances, I can say that this one is more than enough for personal usages. I have this one in my mini studio, and it can really deliver the punch that I want.

The very essence why Fender created the Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp is for portability. We all know how heavy and bulky guitar amps can get. For those who don't want to get burdened by this factor, investing in this device is a wise move. But does this mean that the Fender Mini Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp has a lightweight performance? Well, based on my personal experience, I don't think that's the case.

When it comes to controls and configurations, this amp comes adequately. It can let you explore a gamut of tones, thanks to its volume, tone, and gain controls. Its articulation is pretty impressive as well due to its uniquely-engineered hardware. The placement of the knobs is ergonomic, too. They are big and properly labeled, which is necessary for a fluid performance. Notably, the Fender Mini also features a sturdy construction. It is something that you can rely on even on the harshest studios.


Pros:

  • Lightweight and extremely portable
  • Doesn't require the use of electrical outlet
  • Sufficient amount of controls for tone exploration
  • Sturdy and rugged construction
  • Impressive sound delivery

Cons:

  • It doesn't have the similar power as other standard-sized amps
  • Not suitable for live performances

Let's take a look at this product...


If you are among those folks who have a moderate spending capacity, I suggest that you should take a look at this guitar amp. Specifically, the Roland Micro Cube GX is a great guitar amp, since it is patterned on the famous standard Cube series of Roland. Therefore, you can always expect that this amp can deliver the tonal quality and versatility that suits your demands.

But just like the Fender Mini, the power of this amp does not rely on cords anymore. Instead, it is a battery-operated unit that you can take anywhere.

However, don't take this information wrong. Just because it is a portable unit, it is not worthy of being used in stages and live performances. This compact device can provide surprisingly huge tones that don't suck or distort. Everything that you can hear on this gear is articulated and clear. The frequencies are all covered, which guarantees that the tonal identity of your rig is showcased fully.

When fully charged, the batteries of the Roland Micro Cube GX lets the device operate for a day. Take note. I am talking about non-stop playing time here. If you have some playing stints that require quick and portable setup, this amp is a highly suggested choice. Notably, this amp has an integrated chromatic tuner. What the latter does is that it removes the need for you to bring external tuners. This fact alone proves that the Roland Micro Cube GX is built for those who want a powerful amp that they can carry right away.


Pros:

  • Comes with modern and classic amp models
  • Extremely versatile and powerful guitar amp
  • Features the "Extreme Amp" that delivers the right tone for the metal and rock genre
  • It has reverb and delay effects processor onboard
  • Durable and portable construction

Cons:

  • No noticeable drawbacks

Let's take a look at this product...

Roland Micro Cube GX 3W 1x5 Battery Powered Guitar Combo Amp Red
  • Power: 3WUltra-compact portable DSP guitar amp with 5-inch speakerRuns on battery or AC power (adapter supplied) and includes carry strapi-CUBE LINK jack provides simple audio interfacing with Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (interface cable included)8 COSM guitar amp models including JC-120 and a special mic preamp model8 DSP effects: chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo and separate Delay/ReverbBuilt-in chromatic tunerRecording/Headphones output and stereo Auxiliary input for CD players, etc.

The brand Roland doesn't seem to run out of arsenals when it comes to portable guitar amps. Aside from their Micro Cube GX, they also have the Mobile Cube Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier. The hardware of this device still follows the blueprint of the Cube series. Therefore, you can still get full and magnificent sonic attacks out from this amp. What I like the most about this unit is that it is compatible with acoustic guitars, keyboards, and other digital instruments. It is a one-stop-shop that can elevate your playing versatility.

Just like I said earlier, the tone of the Roland Mobile Cube Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier doesn't suck. The vocal delivery of this device is full, riveting, and compelling. No unwanted buzzes can be noticed on this device, which is pretty surprising on my part. After all, I have a preconception that this device will sound "artificial." But oh well, that thought was already debunked when I heard this amp playing.

Similar to the previous guitar amps that I featured here, the Roland Mobile Cube Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier features integrated effects. It comes with the basic ones such as the reverb, chorus, reverb, and delay. You can still configure these effects with the use of the ergonomic knobs that this amp has. Of course, you can trust the build of this device. It is rugged as it gets!


Pros:

  • Portable and ultra-small footprint
  • Rugged construction
  • Comes with adequate effects
  • Clear sonic attacks
  • Compatible with different musical instruments

Cons:

  • Volume is not as full as robust as other portable amplifiers

Let's take a look at this product...

Sale
Roland Mobile Cube Battery-Powered Stereo Amplifier
  • Unlimited uses: electric and acoustic guitar, keyboards, computer audio, MP3 or CD playback, mini-PA, field recorder playback and much more
  • Get great instrument and vocal tones with stereo sound and built-in effects: overdrive, chorus, delay and reverb
  • Truly portable amplification: fits in a briefcase and runs on batteries!
  • Play any instrument along with your favorite songs, or sing along using Center Cancel for karaoke

This one is something that you should get if you have the chance. After all, you can't always have that opportunity to spot an entry-level guitar amp that is as good as this.

Specifically, the BUGERA V5 INFINIUM is a high-class 5-watt guitar amp that is driven by the notorious EL84 tube. Its performance and sonic delivery are always on the caliber of those intermediate amps. It is clear and distinct. Moreover, it is extremely responsive and natural, which makes it a one-of-a-kind device.

Despite its small size, the BUGERA V5 INFINIUM is a true behemoth. It has a lot of features that it can boast, especially for those that are looking for an amp that they can take on live performances and recordings. One of these is the power attenuator that it has. Through this component, the amp can get the right sound at any given volume. It also has the Turbosound speaker, which has been engineered by British audio technicians to provide an unparalleled audio clarity.

However, the top feature that the BUGERA V5 INFINIUM flaunts is its Tube Life Multiplier. This particular technology enables the tube to be reliable and consistent for a long time. The tube can put up an exhilarating performance, thanks to its soulful harmonics and reverbs. For me, the best use of this amp is when you are trying to recreate vintage sounds. The warm distortions that it has will let you remember the sound of the past!


Pros:

  • High-quality effects are onboard
  • Hits the proper sound in any volume
  • Comes with a mechanism that keeps the tube as healthy as long as possible
  • Has tone control for shaping sound
  • Sound quality is superb

Cons:

  • The tube may be too "muddy" for some players

Let's take a look at this product...

BUGERA V5 INFINIUM
  • Hand-built 5-Watt Class-A amplifier driven by 1 x EL84 tube
  • Revolutionary INFINIUM Tube Life Multiplier technology:
  • Way cool vintage look and feel
  • World-famous, British engineered 8'' TURBOSOUND speaker
  • Authentic preamp design from the '60s featuring 1 x 12AX7 tube-everything from purring blues to mind-blowing crunch

The Mugig Guitar Amplifier is the one that you should consider first if you have an acoustic guitar. This portable unit can amplify the sonic attack of your instrument by the controls and settings that it has. Mugig has designed this device for practice purposes and on-road performances, too, which makes it somehow versatile despite its size.

Don't be fooled by the looks of this amplifier. It is actually a 25-watt monster that is operated by a set of rechargeable batteries. When fully charged, this amp can serve you for around 10 hours or more. The construction of this device is pretty sleek and nice, too. It can be a perfect display for your studio or playroom. But hey, you are not just going to left this thing idle, right? Because if you do, you will be missing a lot from this instrument.

The Mugig Guitar Amplifier also has exceptional connectivity options. Its guitar input will allow you to access the reverb, volume, and delay controls. The gain control is there as well. There are two microphone inputs and three USB inputs, too, for maximum versatility. Meanwhile, the Balance control that it has offers a three-stage equalization for efficient sound moderation and amplification.


Pros:

  • Small footprint (can be hand-carried)
  • Comes with different inputs
  • Sound amplification is great
  • No tonal flavoring
  • Bluetooth-capable device

Cons:

  • Volume is a little bit weak
  • Only ideal for practice purposes

Let's take a look at this product...

Sale
Mugig Guitar Amplifier - Rechargeable Speaker Works with Guitar (Acoustic and Electric), Voice, Karaoke (25W)
  • Use for Acoustic guitar practice, street performance, karaoke with friends, band performance, outdoors playing, and listing to music.
  • This 25W guitar amplifier has high efficiency and a high capacity chargeable battery, it can work for around 10 hours when fully charge.
  • Recording function included, record your every excellent performance.
  • This product use professional amplifier and speaker, it can modify and amplify different sounds of different instruments.
  • Especially for guitar practice and vocal sound. 8 kinds of sound options, 10 meters long-distance transmission.

How to Choose A Guitar Amp

I know that the question that is running to your mind right now is how did I get these options on this list. What is my basis? Did I follow some certain considerations or did I just select these amps just to have something that I can present to you?

However, if you have taken my previous statements into account, it is pretty apparent already that I conformed to some guidelines so that I can derive this content. Just let me emphasize it to you once again: choosing a guitar amp is difficult, especially if you are first-timer.

Now, I can be too technical and gibberish on this part. But I will choose to explain these considerations as humanely as possible. I know that none of you doesn't want to deal with musical jargons as of this moment. All you want are straightforward facts, right? Well, your wish is granted!

How to choose the perfect guitar amp? Just check the following guidelines:

Do It Personally

This is a practical recommendation that I will share with you. We all know that there a lot of mouth-watering guitar amps out there. And for us, getting them is like a lifetime achievement already. But for sure, most of these amps might not be "compatible" with your instrument.

Some of the amps out there may be too bright for your setup. Others might be too muddy for your liking. You have to remember that these amps are made to have distinct nuances and tonal characteristics. Therefore, it is proper that you should check out how the amp sounds and see if it can match your guitar. In fact, I do recommend that you should take your guitar with you while shopping. Doing this would eliminate your doubts.

But if you can't, just look for some video reviews about the particular amp that you want. Listen to the sonic attacks of the amp and decide if it is worth the shot.

Tube or Solid State

Another important aspect that you should never forget is the circuitry of the amp. Specifically, the amp relies on its circuitries to produce the sound that you want to hear. In the market today, we have two mechanisms for this. One is the tube, and the other one is the solid state.

If you are a purist, you might want to incline yourself to tube amps. You can compare it to the analog circuitry of guitar pedals. Specifically, tubes can provide an authentic and classic feel to the amp. The tone that it can produce is dynamic, natural, and profound. It has an imperfect delivery, but such flaw makes it genuine; thus being preferred by serious players.

But don't ever think that solid-state circuitries suck because they don't. Since they are a product of the digital industry, it is given that their delivery is clean and superior. They are less susceptible to errors, too. Many just don't prefer solid state amps because they sound too artificial. But hey, it is still you that can decide which sound do you like more.

Just let me give you a caveat, though. Tube amps are hard to manufacture. As a result, they tend to be costly than its solid state counterparts. Fortunately, you can still find some tube amps in the entry-level category.

The Size

Amps do vary in size. Obviously, a bigger amp can deliver more blast and power than the smaller ones. Most of the amps that I featured here have small footprints. Therefore, you can't compare their performance to those monstrous amps that you can see on rock concerts.

But just remember one thing though: you don't need big amps all the time. Are you willing to place a 100-watt in your apartment or garage? Are you willing to be seized by the police because you are disturbing your neighbors already? The setup is okay if you have a guitar amp headphone. But if you don't have this amenity, better settle for a 10 to 30-watt combo.

Oppositely, don't expect that a 10-watt amp can provide enough presence if you are playing live. People might not hear you at all. The moderate choice here is getting a 15-watt guitar amp. But at the end of the day, it is still your choice.

Once more, let me tell you that smaller amps are cheaper than the bigger ones. It is a consideration that you have to take into account as well.

Construction

Of course, you should not ignore the outside details of the amp. Ideally, the thickness of the material that is used in constructing the amp can determine its sound quality. For example, if the wooden cabinet is too thin, the speaker will tend to vibrate. This can lessen the articulation and tonal clarity of the amp.

Ideally, you should get an amp that has a material thickness of around 1/2 inch or bigger. In this way, the housing can hold the speaker in place and prevent it from vibrating.Also, the quality of sound that you can hear differs from closed back and open back amps. It is notable that closed-back guitar amps have excellent bass response compared to its counterpart.

Final Verdict

There is no doubt that the best cheap amplifier can still meet your requirements as a dedicated guitar player. Even if you are just looking for a starting setup, it doesn't mean that you can settle for less.

For example, the Fender Champion 40 can become a perfect match for any electric guitarist out there. With its solid construction and excellent sound delivery, the device is deemed to be usable even in live performances. Of course, the other units that I have listed here, such as the BUGERA V5 INFINIUM and Marshall MG30CFX MG Series are worth trying, too.

But regardless of what you choose, always remember that you have to cater your preferences. You don't to over-extend yourself for something that proves to be an overkill.

Did you find this article helpful? Tell me in the comment section below!

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About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don't want to drop my zeal--especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!