10 Best Tube Amps of 2021
When it comes to choosing an amplifier for professional live performance, tube amplifiers are undeniably the more common alternative. In comparison to a solid state amp, they have a smoother, darker tone with real depth and an incomparable clean sound, which sadly appears to have a bad rep in musical circles. They shape and colour the instrument's sound, something that is vital to all guitarists. Keyboard player? For the top keyboard amps, try our study.
Tube amps are often perceived to be the pricier option to their current opponents, but declines in production prices and developments in the industry result in heavy-duty tube amps at affordable competitive price points from leading brands such as Peavey, Fender and Marshall. While not a particularly new technology, honed and refined, which has led to a range of stunning models in recent years, they have been tirelessly researched.
View The Best Tube Amp Below
1. California Tone Research Set5
A low-priced 5W, A class, genuine all tube guitar amp, is the "California (Tone Research) SET-5" guitar amp. An 8-inch speaker can have a 12AX7 pre-amp tube and an EL84 power tube for the purest tones. Along with volume levels, treble and bass buttons, it has one input. For 8 & 16 ohm speakers, it has two 1/4 inch outputs. Its simplicity is one of its best qualities, truly. The cabinet has a sturdy frame, internal reinforcement gussets, and a vent to assist in cooling. The internal circuitry consists of high-quality parts, PCB fiberglass and ceramic sockets, as well as tone modulation, typically associated with Hi-Fi tube amps, providing greater versatility than conventional models. At high volume levels, it breaks up beautifully and gives tones of 'bare bone'.
+ Concept of single-end tripods.
+ Fantastic Jazz, Blues, or Surf Rock sounds.
+ Perfect tube amp for practice.
Why We Liked It - It is a user friendly, inexpensive tube amp that offers quality amp tones for guitarists to practice and perform in smaller venues.
2. Fender Pro Junior III
The special, recognizable Fender tone is provided by the Fender Hot Rod series amplifiers. With just a 10-inch amplifier, these Fender small tube amps are cheap, reliable and surprisingly loud, easily rivaling vintage Fender amps. For a back to basics approach to amplification, the Fender Blues Junior III is a simple 15-watt tone machine with stripped back circuitry. Although this Fender tube amp does not have all the bells and whistles of some of Fender's more costly versions, it provides genuine tubes with a touch-sensitive sound. It is a fantastic grab-and-go amp that is easy to use and dial in a tone, suitable for both beginners and accomplished electric guitar players (see our other review on the top acoustic guitar amps). With fat mid tones and reverb with the notorious slap-back noticeable in spring reverb housing items. The Fender Blues Junior provides a complex response that is most needed by seasoned players. Additional Fender Blues Junior III improvements include other upgrades to the model; lower-noise shielding for the EL-84 tubes; and rattle-reducing shock absorbers. With a 'dog-bond' type handle and' chicken-head 'knobs, it has outstanding aesthetics.
+ Volume control by clean-to-drive.
+ Simple control panel to read.
+ Sweet highs and safe lows.
+ Capability for external speakers.
+ Reverb Spring Housing
Why We Liked It -These Fender amps are a prime example of great value for money tube amps and inspire ingenuity in tones, enabling artists to find their own signature sound without over-complicating the method.
3. Marshall 2525C Mini Silver Jubilee
With its signature sound, this unbelievable mini edition of the sought after Silver Jubilee. To celebrate 25 years of amplification and 50 years of Jim Marshall working in the music industry, the Silver Jubilee was first created as a commodity. It contains classic pre-amp characteristics in a low power amplifier under 25 watts of power, inspired by its predecessors, it contains 3 12AX7 pre-amps, two EL34 (power amps), regular 3-band EQ, as well as presence, gain, volume FX loop controls. The product measurements at the Marshall factory in the UK are 27.4-inch x 14.9-inch x 23.9 inch and not outsourced components, made to the highest possible quality. This power amplifier shares many original features of the Jubilee Series and delivers recognized amp tones of consistency.
+ performance DI.
+ Inclusive foot turn.
+ High/Low switching feature for output (from 20W to 5W)
Why We Liked It - It is an expertly designed tube amplifier from a respected brand with years of experience in the products they design and engineer, making it one of the best electric guitar tube amps on the current market, although a little more expensive.
4. Vox AC4 4W
The Vox AC4 is a limited edition, hassle-free, all-tube miniature combo amp, housing the makings of the iconic VOX AC30. Providing the same epic top boost tones that for the last five decades have enchanted guitarists, a sound exclusive to one of the most famous manufacturers of tube amps of all time. In essence, the Vox combo amplifier is made up of two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and one EL84 power tube. It has all the expected mandatory controls; Gain Bass and Treble and a powerful 12-inch Celestion speaker (2 inches bigger than previous models). It is a class A tube amp that is capable of pristine cleaning and immense crunches. With a diamond grille cloth and basket-weave vinyl exterior, this combo amplifier bears the classic looks of the retro VOX identity.
+ Portable sound unbeatable.
+ Friendly with users.
+ Value of historic voice.
Why We Liked It -It expertly provides the rich sounds of a tube-driven amp appropriate for situations of rehearsal at home, live performance and recording.
5. Blackstar HT1R Series
This Blackstar HT1R is a mid-range 100-watt tube combo amp with a cutting edge. In an 8-inch compact amplifier, this Blackstar HT amp gives vintage tube tones. User friendly controls include; Volume levels, Gain, and ISF Tone control; Overdrive switch has high build quality industry standard push-pull circuity and the following specs; Tube Complement: 1 x ECC83 (12AX7), 1 x ECC82 (12AU7) Power Tube, and an 8 Ohm speaker output. Awesome crunch and break-up features are expected at lower volumes from a 100 Watt amplifier.
+ Simple regulation of the reverb.
+ Input for MP3/Line to jam with your favorite songs.
+ Speaker/headphone output emulated.
+ At the touch of a button, switch from normal to overdrive.
Why We Liked It -In combination with the equalization controls, the proprietary ISF control works to give players access to endless new tubing sound possibilities with the Blackstar HT1R to design their own sound.
6. Fender Bassbreaker 007 Combo
Bass breaker practice amps are a hard rock offshoot series that feature a strong 'crunch' not commonly associated with a Fender tube amp. There are hassle-free gain knobs and tone controls and a switchable treble booster for improved overdrive in the Bass breaker 007 Combo guitar amp. The sustain is audible but not over-bearing, true to the instrument dynamics, at higher gain channel settings. A single EL84 power tube, 2-12AX7 pre-amp tubes, and a single 10 inch Celestion speaker are available for this hard rock offshoot combo guitar amp. With trendy retro looks, a durable and flexible amp. Grey lacquered tweed, cloth grill and leatherette handle. Laden with complicated sounds.
+ Treble-booster circuit that adds gain pre-amp.
+ 1⁄4 Line Out Jack to feed the amplifier's output to a recording system or another line.
+ True Amplification Class-A.
Why We Liked It - - This combo guitar amp from Bassbreaker is an extremely loud tube amplifier from a company that is integral to popular music.
7. Peavey Valve King II Micro-Head
The ultra-compact all-tube electric guitar amplifier head is the Peavey ValveKing II Micro-head. This amp features hot-rodded amp tones with legendary durability from Peaveys. This well-researched designed and built Micro-head provides everything for stage and studio use with great tube sound. With state-of-the-art all-tube circuitry and operated by a pair of power tubes of EL84 standard. With all the usual controls, such as a 3-band EQ and reverb, along with power outputs for variable tubes. Between 20, 5, or even just 1 Watt, you can turn. It is excellent combined with an addition Cabinet, as with other guitar heads, but it is a beast of a mini amp by itself that will not annoy the neighbors. Big tones in a Peavey box that is tiny but legendary!
+ Performance USB recording
+ A direct out mic-simulated
+ emulation feature 'Vari-Type' (from Class A to Class A/B)
Why We Liked It - It is an excellent tube amplifier and also has a helpful indicator for TSI tube monitoring that tells you about the health status of your power tubes.
8. Bugera V5 Infinium
This highly affordable class A amplifier with an 8-inch turbo sound speaker is the epitome of everything in a cheap tube amp choice that is desired. In comparison to relying on mass-produced production processes, the pieces are all painstakingly hand made. It provides an honest vintage tube tone in a modest, compact cabinet that provides awesome tone control, powered by an EL84 tube and featuring a 12AX7 tube. The Bugera V5 has an additional patented Bugera-specific 'Infinium' tube life multiplier technology that revolutionizes tube life management. It has attractive retro aesthetics, with a basic tone knob, digital reverb, independent gain knobs, and volume master. Authentic tone to match the high calibre. Its Pre-amp architecture derives from a modest idea of design from the 1960s. The Bugera V5 has also moved to a single watt mode, which still benefits from full gain channel manipulation, although it is already a low watt tube amp. Great for use in rehearsals in apartments.
+ Headphone mode for solo practice with silent guitar.
+ Tube life management system 'Infinium' to help keep a tab on the capacity of your tubes.
+ Jack for unhooking the speaker built in and instead hooking up an external speaker cabinet.
+ Master volume & knobs of autonomous gain
Why We Liked It - World-famous British engineering in a small tube amp that creates a range of sound tones from pure cleans, purring blues, and immense crunches. See more amps for guitars under 200 dollars.
9. Monoprice 611705
A truly powerful 5 watt electric guitar tube amplifier. It uses a pre-amplification tube ECC83/12AX7 and a power tube 6V6GT for the amplifier portion, plus a speaker from Celestion. It manages a variety of frequencies deftly. A superior sound is created by its increased dynamic range. Totally balanced are the mids and peaks and lows. This amp features a sturdy open back case for a greater atmosphere and the retro cloth speaker grill and synthetic leather and chrome exterior make the inspired aesthetics of the 40's/50's very fun. As with most tube amps for guitar, it improves after a honey moon phase to break the tubes in and warm them up the provided 20 hours play time the warms tones will melt.
+ Simple controls.
+ Mega 8-inch speaker by Celestion.
+ Low choice budget.
Why We Liked It -Well-rounded tones from an extremely low-cost tube amp and smooth, rich distortion.
10. Bugera T50 Infinium
Bugera's are handcrafted to a high level of standards, as previously stated. This great guitar tube head cage-style has 2 channels and moves between a classic warm Class A sound and a rawer AB tone effortlessly. Great for rehearsal and intimate gigs, but it's really amazing once applied to a set-up. Typical controls and additional high-def reverb integration with dedicated control. Driven by four12AX7 tubes and two EL34. Cool esthetics on a multi-class compact guitar head.
Channel + Clean and dirty.
+ Groundbreaking technology for the INFINIUM Tube Life Multiplier.
+ Hand made with respect.
Why We Liked It - It's a solid amp with a lot of overhead and probably the best price you'll find for 50 watts.
Tube Amp Buying Guide
The genre you play would have a big effect on the type of guitar tube amplifier you are after. A tube amp targeted at Jazz is going to be nothing like a distortion amp and so on.
Many guitarists also have a favorite person they are searching for, and others tend to mix it up during performances so that what you want from a great tube amp will really impact the type of musician you are. The location and crowd size are other factors to remember, as this affects the necessary watts of power.
It is also critical if you already plan to use a variety of pedal effects with it, as it makes complex in-built tones an expensive and useless extra. Here are some commonly asked questions answered before you buy an acceptable electric guitar tube amp to help prospective buyers pick out a vacuum amp that suits you as a musician.
What is a Tube Amp?
Vacuum amps (or valve amps in the UK) are a term given to vacuum amps because they contain vacuum tubes inside that regulate the electric current inside. Forcing the current to travel in one direction only. About a century ago, a pioneering technology was invented.
Diodes are a very basic example of a vacuum tube. With cathodes and anodes. One sends electrons and sends them to a control grid and the other gathers them. They use thermal energy, warm up for a while and create a soft glow. This is why they normally have a greater consumption of energy than a solid-state amplifier.
Modern Tube amps, however, have managed to miniaturize the technology and these days they are capable of operating at a much lower wattage.
Why choose a Tube Amp?
The advantages of a good tube guitar amp far outweigh those of its digital counterparts, although this is a widely discussed subject. Tube amps create clean tones that are pristine, something that most accomplished guitarists strive to accomplish and appreciate above all else. They have what is described as a sound that is warmer.
Traditionally, they are considered the best amplifiers with a preferable tone sound. They also demonstrated substantially lower-harmonic distortion and excellent high-power and high-frequency operation than a solid-state amp operated by a transistor. When they are moved, they often have a more musical tone, which is noteworthy in contrast to an over-driven solid state transistor amplifier that often sounds almost artificial.
In a softer, less audible manner and use, tube amps clip and require much less negative feedback. Within most tube amp circuits, output transformers help prevent speakers from shorting, while transistor-driven amps typically blast the speakers if they are not fused.
Best Small Guitar Tube Amp
There's nothing as freeing as just letting a great tube amp rip, but particularly in a residential area, it can be impractical. Fortunately, there are a range of more portable models in this day and age that are still genuine vacuum tube amplifiers, offering that sought after sound and experience without noise complaint.
You will also want a pretty compact cabinet size as well as smaller speakers if you are looking for a nice tiny practice tube amp. These days, with a range available for sale, it should be simple to find the one that is perfect for you and your needs.
We suggest anything like the California or one of the guitar heads tested above their sound to size ratio should match the bill. CALIFORNIA TONE Set 5 small tube amp.
Although lower watt tube amps for guitar will certainly mean lower decibels, the high volume break-ups on these smaller scale models can still pack an admirable punch, but make no mistake. Innovation has really been brought to the highest miniature value standard by today's leading brands.
Best 25 Watt Tube Amp
There are several options for low watts currently on sale to customers. An obvious candidate is obviously the Bulgera 5 Watt above. It is also worth recalling that some of the higher watt amplifiers on our list also provide low watt settings to easily switch between for user-managed control of energy consumption if you are looking for a tube amp with low consumption or low output benefits.
Another model that offers built-in settings for use at just one solitary watt, like the Bulgera does, is the Peavey Valve King we tested in this report, but has the added ability to turn it up when you feel inclined. This is one way to keep your choices open regarding potential use.
Best Budget Tube Amp?
This question depends entirely on the kind of budget being referred to. The Monoprice or the 5 watt Bugera above are perfect examples of cheap tube amp options if you are looking for a low-budget tube amp. They both create a decent amount of bang for your dollars and deliver identical clean tones.
When deciding the budget level, you need to take your needs into account. It is for purposes of practice, success or perhaps documentation, as this is a significant factor that will have a major effect on your requirements. If you are only training you wont need a whole lot of volume at your fingertips, you might even want to opt for a headphone performance and practice morning noon and night until your hearts content!
They create cleaner, warmer, clearer sounds that are subtler and affix harmonic distortion. Tube amps have a top notch, incomparable natural sound. Most solid state alternatives are constantly marketing themselves, seriously stressing their ability to mimic tube amp tones to a high degree, but why choose a flattering imitation over the real thing when the costs are only slightly different in reality? There are plenty of amazing items on the market if you're looking for a tube amp for just its tone advantages.
When all is said and done what to look for in a good tube amp really does vary from person to person each favoring their own unique tones or even respected brands. This allows you to find the best tube amplifier as a person, but we hope that our article will help make the decision a more informed one.
In the digital era, if you are still undecided about tube-driven amps, we suggest opting for a hybrid amp model that uses pre-amps and transistor technology for a combination tube. For both low and high end frequencies, they deal well and still have the attractive tube-tone.
Did You Know?
Results showed that the physics of a valve amp gives users more options to form the sound when checked with a sine wave producer. If you press the overdrive, the top of the sound wave flattens a little as you push harder, it flattens the bottom too. So guitar tube amps really react more sensitively and the amplification remains true to the dynamics of the abilities of the guitarists playing.