How can a $150 prac/bedroom amp be any good?

Guitar Tricks Forum > Gear Discussion > How can a $150 prac/bedroom amp be any good?

dlwalke

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Joined: 02/02/19

Posts: 25

In a few weeks, I anticipate I will be buying my first amp. I don't need much volume at all. In terms of features, weight, size, etc., I'm very attracted to things like a Roland microcube or cube, or any of a number of other amps in that category. I like the fact that they typically have a headphone jack, an aux input, and I like the modeling function that most seem to have. However, most of them also have effects, like reverb, chorus, flange, delay. By themselves (e.g., in a pedal), these effects would be $300-$400 not counting the modeling feature. So I'm just confused about how these companies can sell an amp like this for under $200 typically. Where is the quality being sacrificed (I assume it must be somewhere unless pedals are vastly overpriced) - in the speaker, the amp electronics, the efx? Ultimately, I want a good base (not bass but base) sound from the amp. I can add effect pedals later but I don't even see that there are many (or any) options for practice/bedroom amps without these effects. Assuming I don't need much volume, will I be happy with the sound of these amps? Would I be better off getting a higher wattage amp and/or a tube amp where I never take the volume knob past 2? Thanks for any input.

#1

In a few weeks, I anticipate I will be buying my first amp. I don't need much volume at all. In terms of features, weight, size, etc., I'm very attracted to things like a Roland microcube or cube, or any of a number of other amps in that category. I like the fact that they typically have a headphone jack, an aux input, and I like the modeling function that most seem to have. However, most of them also have effects, like reverb, chorus, flange, delay. By themselves (e.g., in a pedal), these effects would be $300-$400 not counting the modeling feature. So I'm just confused about how these companies can sell an amp like this for under $200 typically. Where is the quality being sacrificed (I assume it must be somewhere unless pedals are vastly overpriced) - in the speaker, the amp electronics, the efx? Ultimately, I want a good base (not bass but base) sound from the amp. I can add effect pedals later but I don't even see that there are many (or any) options for practice/bedroom amps without these effects. Assuming I don't need much volume, will I be happy with the sound of these amps? Would I be better off getting a higher wattage amp and/or a tube amp where I never take the volume knob past 2? Thanks for any input.

Brandon Esbach

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Joined: 08/26/18

Posts: 73

It's actually a good question, but I would also add this - if you use an amp's modelling for, eg, reverb; it's not easy to use that effect "on demand". What I mean is, you have to take a hand off your guitar to engage it, or accept that it's your sound until there's a break from guitar play

A pedal on the other hand is optionally on-demand or set.

I have both a standard amp (Orange Crush) and a modelling amp (Blackstar ID:Core), and I probably spend more time playing on the modelling amp than the other one, even though it's not as loud. That'll probably change as I start collecting pedals, but for now ... :)

#2

It's actually a good question, but I would also add this - if you use an amp's modelling for, eg, reverb; it's not easy to use that effect "on demand". What I mean is, you have to take a hand off your guitar to engage it, or accept that it's your sound until there's a break from guitar play

A pedal on the other hand is optionally on-demand or set.

I have both a standard amp (Orange Crush) and a modelling amp (Blackstar ID:Core), and I probably spend more time playing on the modelling amp than the other one, even though it's not as loud. That'll probably change as I start collecting pedals, but for now ... :)

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 5355

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
In a few weeks, I anticipate I will be buying my first amp.

Good deal! I encourage you to try several before you buy. You might want to take your guitar to try out amps. Or you could just use a guitar in the store that is similar to yours.

It sounds like you have a good idea of what will fit your needs. Most of the small combos these days are all great stuff. Boss Katana, Line6, Fender Mustang, MircoCube, are all fine amps with lots of features. They are all capable of practically any style of music.

Last year I got a Boss Katana 50 and it is an outstanding small practice amp! Can't beat it for what's included in such a small package & low price. I expected to mostly just use it for home practice. But I've even used it for studio recording & at gigs! :)

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
However, most of them also have effects, like reverb, chorus, flange, delay. By themselves (e.g., in a pedal), these effects would be $300-$400 not counting the modeling feature. So I'm just confused about how these companies can sell an amp like this for under $200 typically. Where is the quality being sacrificed (I assume it must be somewhere unless pedals are vastly overpriced) - in the speaker, the amp electronics, the efx?

This is a great question. The advances in digital technology have made it possible to put all those effects & amp models into software on chips & in a small package! They are so good in quality that they are virtually indistingushable from the analog counterparts (amps & effect units) they were modeled on in the first place. So, most of the answer is that it's a great bargain to get everything in one machine.

And part of the answer is that pedals are relatively expensive. :) You can still buy individual pedals, but you will pay an extra price for the privilege. After all it still costs money to produce those as separate units. But it's just not necessary in order to get those tones.

Some people still like to use older amps & still like having the effects in pedal form. I have both! I have some older amps I love the sound of & pedals that work well with them. But I love the new tech as well & spend just as much time playing my Katana.

If you are just starting out buying gear, I'd say the best way to go is the all in one digital amp.

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
I can add effect pedals later but I don't even see that there are many (or any) options for practice/bedroom amps without these effects.

Or you can just turn them off!

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Assuming I don't need much volume, will I be happy with the sound of these amps?

Yes. But why not take a trip to the local music store just make sure? :)

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Would I be better off getting a higher wattage amp and/or a tube amp where I never take the volume knob past 2?

I think the answer here is pretty clearly no. Most bigger amps only work well when you can crank them.

Hope this helps. Happy gear shopping!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#3

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
In a few weeks, I anticipate I will be buying my first amp.

Good deal! I encourage you to try several before you buy. You might want to take your guitar to try out amps. Or you could just use a guitar in the store that is similar to yours.

It sounds like you have a good idea of what will fit your needs. Most of the small combos these days are all great stuff. Boss Katana, Line6, Fender Mustang, MircoCube, are all fine amps with lots of features. They are all capable of practically any style of music.

Last year I got a Boss Katana 50 and it is an outstanding small practice amp! Can't beat it for what's included in such a small package & low price. I expected to mostly just use it for home practice. But I've even used it for studio recording & at gigs! :)

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
However, most of them also have effects, like reverb, chorus, flange, delay. By themselves (e.g., in a pedal), these effects would be $300-$400 not counting the modeling feature. So I'm just confused about how these companies can sell an amp like this for under $200 typically. Where is the quality being sacrificed (I assume it must be somewhere unless pedals are vastly overpriced) - in the speaker, the amp electronics, the efx?

This is a great question. The advances in digital technology have made it possible to put all those effects & amp models into software on chips & in a small package! They are so good in quality that they are virtually indistingushable from the analog counterparts (amps & effect units) they were modeled on in the first place. So, most of the answer is that it's a great bargain to get everything in one machine.

And part of the answer is that pedals are relatively expensive. :) You can still buy individual pedals, but you will pay an extra price for the privilege. After all it still costs money to produce those as separate units. But it's just not necessary in order to get those tones.

Some people still like to use older amps & still like having the effects in pedal form. I have both! I have some older amps I love the sound of & pedals that work well with them. But I love the new tech as well & spend just as much time playing my Katana.

If you are just starting out buying gear, I'd say the best way to go is the all in one digital amp.

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
I can add effect pedals later but I don't even see that there are many (or any) options for practice/bedroom amps without these effects.

Or you can just turn them off!

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Assuming I don't need much volume, will I be happy with the sound of these amps?

Yes. But why not take a trip to the local music store just make sure? :)

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Would I be better off getting a higher wattage amp and/or a tube amp where I never take the volume knob past 2?

I think the answer here is pretty clearly no. Most bigger amps only work well when you can crank them.

Hope this helps. Happy gear shopping!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

manXcat

Full Access

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 420

Originally Posted by: dlwalke

In a few weeks, I anticipate I will be buying my first amp. I don't need much volume at all

You should write down a list of what you need in a first amp to achieve your intended purpose and where you intend to use it versus what you think you want in an amp, then determine your min - max budget spend range to achieve it and either choose one or reassess and modify choice accordingly relative to budget if that's the critical factor.

KISS. Simply put, for the overwhelming majority of us playing at home or intimate gigs, digital amps are the way to go today for a myriad of reasons you can research yourself.

Whether or not you want modelling, and the degree of programability desired and type of interface, is a personal choice. Most digital amps today have some degree of modelling even if not firmware patchable/modifiable. Pretty much every solid state amp today has an MP3/Aux input and auto output switching headphone out ports. Some have USB connectivity and a pedal input jack - usually proprietary. Where applicable, supporting software functionality, interfaces and real world support vary wildly if that's important to you.

Although stemming from an era before onboard modelling, pedals can still serve a purpose in conjunction with digital amps as Brandon explained, ergonomic dynamic switching of effects through facilitation of Wah being but two of them.

How much noise? Around 40W is plenty for home use in solid state IME. Many are happy enough with 20W, and they're pretty impressive in the home today too. Mind you, I even have have a 3W mini which does just fine for learning and practise which has its own strengths of ultimate portability with a super low footprint and go anywhere battery independence.

Any of these are affordable pretty good all rounders which are still reasonably portable.

Boss Katana 50

Blackstar ID Core 40/20

Fender Mustang GT 40/LT 25

Fender Champion 40/20

Marshall Code 50/25

Yamaha THR10/ 5

Roland Cube 40/20GX

My own first amp choice 16 months ago was Blackstar's ID:Core 40. It was a solid choice for purpose, and inarguably, with total GAS budget a consideration I did like the chunk of change I was left with in my pocket which bought me loads of ancilliary gear.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

#4

Originally Posted by: dlwalke

In a few weeks, I anticipate I will be buying my first amp. I don't need much volume at all

You should write down a list of what you need in a first amp to achieve your intended purpose and where you intend to use it versus what you think you want in an amp, then determine your min - max budget spend range to achieve it and either choose one or reassess and modify choice accordingly relative to budget if that's the critical factor.

KISS. Simply put, for the overwhelming majority of us playing at home or intimate gigs, digital amps are the way to go today for a myriad of reasons you can research yourself.

Whether or not you want modelling, and the degree of programability desired and type of interface, is a personal choice. Most digital amps today have some degree of modelling even if not firmware patchable/modifiable. Pretty much every solid state amp today has an MP3/Aux input and auto output switching headphone out ports. Some have USB connectivity and a pedal input jack - usually proprietary. Where applicable, supporting software functionality, interfaces and real world support vary wildly if that's important to you.

Although stemming from an era before onboard modelling, pedals can still serve a purpose in conjunction with digital amps as Brandon explained, ergonomic dynamic switching of effects through facilitation of Wah being but two of them.

How much noise? Around 40W is plenty for home use in solid state IME. Many are happy enough with 20W, and they're pretty impressive in the home today too. Mind you, I even have have a 3W mini which does just fine for learning and practise which has its own strengths of ultimate portability with a super low footprint and go anywhere battery independence.

Any of these are affordable pretty good all rounders which are still reasonably portable.

Boss Katana 50

Blackstar ID Core 40/20

Fender Mustang GT 40/LT 25

Fender Champion 40/20

Marshall Code 50/25

Yamaha THR10/ 5

Roland Cube 40/20GX

My own first amp choice 16 months ago was Blackstar's ID:Core 40. It was a solid choice for purpose, and inarguably, with total GAS budget a consideration I did like the chunk of change I was left with in my pocket which bought me loads of ancilliary gear.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

TDSGGuitar

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Joined: 01/24/19

Posts: 3

Hi DL don't know what your playing level is but I am between beginner and intermediate. When I started I bought the Fender Mustang 1 V.2 combo amp. I found myself spending more time trying to figure out the amp settings than actually playing the guitar. As a beginner I found it too confusing. I eventually traded it in on a simple affordable all tube amp the Bugera V5 Infinium 5W with gain, tone, volume and reverb and the ability to switch between 0.1 W, 1 W and 5 W output. I see them online for $199.00 but I got mine on sale for $179.00.

#5

Hi DL don't know what your playing level is but I am between beginner and intermediate. When I started I bought the Fender Mustang 1 V.2 combo amp. I found myself spending more time trying to figure out the amp settings than actually playing the guitar. As a beginner I found it too confusing. I eventually traded it in on a simple affordable all tube amp the Bugera V5 Infinium 5W with gain, tone, volume and reverb and the ability to switch between 0.1 W, 1 W and 5 W output. I see them online for $199.00 but I got mine on sale for $179.00.

daviddergute

Registered User

Joined: 02/12/15

Posts: 22

Get a practice amp!

I’ve been slowly improving over the last three years, and I have some thoughts as an newly minted intermediate guitarist. Buy a practice amp. Digital, effects, models, aux in, headphones out, metronome, beats and whatever else they are adding to these at the moment. Don’t worry about volume. All of these are plenty loud enough—especially when you are just starting. Even when you get your grownup amplifier (I want a Fender 65 Princeton Reverb) you’ll still find a use for a practice amp, namely practicing.

Oh, pedals are awesome, but these amps with built in effects will help you to learn what sounds you’ll need and which you can live without. If I were you, I’d look at the lists of practice amps and start researching on You Tube. If I were to shop right now, I’d get a Fender GT40 (used $170) or a Boss Katana 50.

Good Lück and have fun!

2016 Standard Telecaster in Lake Placid Blue

2016 Yamaha FSX800c in Ruby Red

2016 Fender Super Champ X2

#6

Get a practice amp!

I’ve been slowly improving over the last three years, and I have some thoughts as an newly minted intermediate guitarist. Buy a practice amp. Digital, effects, models, aux in, headphones out, metronome, beats and whatever else they are adding to these at the moment. Don’t worry about volume. All of these are plenty loud enough—especially when you are just starting. Even when you get your grownup amplifier (I want a Fender 65 Princeton Reverb) you’ll still find a use for a practice amp, namely practicing.

Oh, pedals are awesome, but these amps with built in effects will help you to learn what sounds you’ll need and which you can live without. If I were you, I’d look at the lists of practice amps and start researching on You Tube. If I were to shop right now, I’d get a Fender GT40 (used $170) or a Boss Katana 50.

Good Lück and have fun!

2016 Standard Telecaster in Lake Placid Blue

2016 Yamaha FSX800c in Ruby Red

2016 Fender Super Champ X2

dlwalke

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Joined: 02/02/19

Posts: 25

Thanks for all the great input everyone. I will definitely be trying a few out in person. I've done extensive youtube viewing and know what features I want. Will need to see in person how many watts is reasonable for me and see for myself how some of the different sounds soung. I don't plan on ever doing gigs or anything like that so really I don't think I need any more watts than is necessary to drown out the sound of my unamplified strings. Even with the relatively mild-mannered acoustic-electric I'm currently playing (an Ovation), I use a felt ukelele pick because I prefer the softer dynamics.

Was especially interested to hear Chris's input that a higher watt amp at low volume will not sound as good as a lower watt amp at the same volume as I thought I had heard other people say the opposite. Like maybe a 12" speaker (like you would have on a higher watt amp) will always sound better than an 8" or smaller speaker (like you would find in a smaller amp), at least on the bass end. Anyway, thanks again.

#7

Thanks for all the great input everyone. I will definitely be trying a few out in person. I've done extensive youtube viewing and know what features I want. Will need to see in person how many watts is reasonable for me and see for myself how some of the different sounds soung. I don't plan on ever doing gigs or anything like that so really I don't think I need any more watts than is necessary to drown out the sound of my unamplified strings. Even with the relatively mild-mannered acoustic-electric I'm currently playing (an Ovation), I use a felt ukelele pick because I prefer the softer dynamics.

Was especially interested to hear Chris's input that a higher watt amp at low volume will not sound as good as a lower watt amp at the same volume as I thought I had heard other people say the opposite. Like maybe a 12" speaker (like you would have on a higher watt amp) will always sound better than an 8" or smaller speaker (like you would find in a smaller amp), at least on the bass end. Anyway, thanks again.

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 5355

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Even with the relatively mild-mannered acoustic-electric I'm currently playing (an Ovation), I use a felt ukelele pick because I prefer the softer dynamics.

That might change things a bit! I should have asked about your guitar. Because I assumed you had an electric solid body! Any kind of acoustic guitar is going to sound & work better with an amp made for the dynamic range of an acoustic. Like these.

https://www.sweetwater.com/c980--Acoustic_Guitar_Amps

Typically the speaker is voiced different to retain the high end harmonics of an acoustic. Most electric guitar amps intentionally chop off the really high end & boost the low & mids in order to create their expected tone.

Pluggging an electric guitar into an acoustic amp is like plugging into a stereo or a PA. Plugging an acoustic guitar into an electric guitar amp sounds kind of boxy or like you put a blanket over the amp.

The Boss Katana actually has an acoustic setting on the amp. But I've never tried it, so I can't speak to it's effectiveness.

You really want to try these amps with you guitar to make sure you are getting what you want.

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Was especially interested to hear Chris's input that a higher watt amp at low volume will not sound as good as a lower watt amp at the same volume as I thought I had heard other people say the opposite.

You might be surprised to learn that many classic rock & blues album guitar tones were created by using small combo amps, but cranked to 10. In fact, in many cases the giant amps you see on stages are just for show. The guitar is actually running through one small amp, which is miked & run through the PA.

It's much easier to control & deal with a smaller amp cranked up, than it is to control a big amp. And big amps were only created for the purpose of filling an arena with sound. Which is ironic, because just a few years after full stacks were developed, PAs get better, bigger & more sophisticated & made large amps redundant.

But they continued to be used because they do have a certain charm. :)

http://www.metalsucks.net/2013/07/10/will-people-please-shut-up-about-the-fake-amps-on-stage-debate/

http://www.metalsucks.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Immortal-fake-cabs-604x453.jpg

Some bands & artists still use those full stacks. But usually just one is actually on & miked.

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Like maybe a 12" speaker (like you would have on a higher watt amp) will always sound better than an 8" or smaller speaker (like you would find in a smaller amp), at least on the bass end. Anyway, thanks again.[/p]

Now, that is a separate issue & great point. I personally think a 12" speaker is necessary to get full sound, even at low wattage & low sound. 8" or even 10" too my ears is a little too "boxy" sounding.

The good thing here is that the Katana & many other small combos come with 12" speakers. :) And most of these newer amps are also scalable wattage. For example, the Katana has 3 settings: .25w, 25w, 50w.

The .25w setting is outstanding for super low bedroom playing. Retains all the great tones, but at super low volumes. The other two settings are great for recording & performing. And it can get pretty loud at those settings!

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#8

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Even with the relatively mild-mannered acoustic-electric I'm currently playing (an Ovation), I use a felt ukelele pick because I prefer the softer dynamics.

That might change things a bit! I should have asked about your guitar. Because I assumed you had an electric solid body! Any kind of acoustic guitar is going to sound & work better with an amp made for the dynamic range of an acoustic. Like these.

https://www.sweetwater.com/c980--Acoustic_Guitar_Amps

Typically the speaker is voiced different to retain the high end harmonics of an acoustic. Most electric guitar amps intentionally chop off the really high end & boost the low & mids in order to create their expected tone.

Pluggging an electric guitar into an acoustic amp is like plugging into a stereo or a PA. Plugging an acoustic guitar into an electric guitar amp sounds kind of boxy or like you put a blanket over the amp.

The Boss Katana actually has an acoustic setting on the amp. But I've never tried it, so I can't speak to it's effectiveness.

You really want to try these amps with you guitar to make sure you are getting what you want.

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Was especially interested to hear Chris's input that a higher watt amp at low volume will not sound as good as a lower watt amp at the same volume as I thought I had heard other people say the opposite.

You might be surprised to learn that many classic rock & blues album guitar tones were created by using small combo amps, but cranked to 10. In fact, in many cases the giant amps you see on stages are just for show. The guitar is actually running through one small amp, which is miked & run through the PA.

It's much easier to control & deal with a smaller amp cranked up, than it is to control a big amp. And big amps were only created for the purpose of filling an arena with sound. Which is ironic, because just a few years after full stacks were developed, PAs get better, bigger & more sophisticated & made large amps redundant.

But they continued to be used because they do have a certain charm. :)

http://www.metalsucks.net/2013/07/10/will-people-please-shut-up-about-the-fake-amps-on-stage-debate/

http://www.metalsucks.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Immortal-fake-cabs-604x453.jpg

Some bands & artists still use those full stacks. But usually just one is actually on & miked.

Originally Posted by: dlwalke
Like maybe a 12" speaker (like you would have on a higher watt amp) will always sound better than an 8" or smaller speaker (like you would find in a smaller amp), at least on the bass end. Anyway, thanks again.[/p]

Now, that is a separate issue & great point. I personally think a 12" speaker is necessary to get full sound, even at low wattage & low sound. 8" or even 10" too my ears is a little too "boxy" sounding.

The good thing here is that the Katana & many other small combos come with 12" speakers. :) And most of these newer amps are also scalable wattage. For example, the Katana has 3 settings: .25w, 25w, 50w.

The .25w setting is outstanding for super low bedroom playing. Retains all the great tones, but at super low volumes. The other two settings are great for recording & performing. And it can get pretty loud at those settings!

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

manXcat

Full Access

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 420

Just to add to what Christopher said and affirm part of it.

Learning to play or playing in one's bedroom or ersatz home 'studio', the bed or couch, isn't necessarily about only it must be "the best at any price" with every bell and whistle or peer parroted "cool!" brand name on the facia cloth. It's about what you will use, features you can use, that is also affordable and practical for the purpose to which you will apply it. Someone else said earlier in this thread that they bought a Fender Mustang full on digital modelling amp, and replaced it with simplicity of a WYSIWYG Bugera, if a tube amp in the particular case could be considered simple vs a solid state along the same feature lines. I get why totally. That for instance is why Fender's Champion series amps are fantastic, if under-appreciated by those seduced by the hypnotic hype of every aspect of latest tech implemented must be better.

I compromised within budget for instance on my Blackstar ID:Core, not unhappily so in retrospect, as its functionality for purpose as a 40W solid state patchable modelling amp met my purpose of use criteria as my initial amp for my first guitar, an electric. That saving over the Katana 50 permitted me to additionally buy a Fender Acoustasonic acoustic purposed amp within the same total budget. Over here the Katanas are about $100 more expensive than my ID:Core was. In the US it's different, and Katanas can be had for about the same or no more than $20 difference so YMMV.

My experience endorses Chris' recommendation for a dedicated acoustic purposed amp of proportionate size and power for intended application for playing any acoustic with an active preamp, typically piezo fitted to so many e-acoustics today. Passive pickups typical of many soundhole pickups won't matter quite so much with an electric amp e.g. Katana or ID:Core without true bypass circuitary. They'll also sound OK with mic'd acoustic, but you can't get past the selectable presets - choose one. In the Katana's case, Boss have labeled one of them Acoustic. The ID: Core, you have Clean Warm or Clean Bright to choose from, unless you write your own specifically acoustic voiced config patch. Regardless which brand amp, the signal inputs are still being unavoidably and additionally processed through the amp's preamp stage for both the Katana and ID:Core. This will not sound as good for playing any acoustic with a preamp fitted as an acoustic specific amp does IMPE. The Fender Champions OTOH have a true alternative clean (bypass) channel coupled with a larger speaker, which is a useful feature if you play both electric with pedalboard or amp simulator, and e-acoustic.

On the speaker size debate. Hmmm. My personal practical perspective is that today it's a half truth much like the endless argument debating tube versus solid state. The stereo sound image produced by Blackstar's ID:Core 40 2×20W 6.5" speakers is mighty impressive in its own right. So much so that in class i.e. solid state digital around 40W, for intended purpose which sounds "better" is moot, and very much individually aurally subjective at best. You've got to listen to it to comprehend. I'm not playing at ID:Core 'fanboi' here, as I also think Boss' immensly popular Katana 50 with its different single speaker config a fabulous amp in its class, just as I do the Yamaha THR series and in its own right for different reasons, Fender's Champion series one of which, the Champion 100 x2, I bought favouring it over both Boss' Katana 100 x2 or Blackstar's ID:Core 100 x2! And, the crunch decider wasn't price but end user ergonomics, different features I will use in its intended deployment, and tones better suited to my purpose. Just sayin'.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

#9

Just to add to what Christopher said and affirm part of it.

Learning to play or playing in one's bedroom or ersatz home 'studio', the bed or couch, isn't necessarily about only it must be "the best at any price" with every bell and whistle or peer parroted "cool!" brand name on the facia cloth. It's about what you will use, features you can use, that is also affordable and practical for the purpose to which you will apply it. Someone else said earlier in this thread that they bought a Fender Mustang full on digital modelling amp, and replaced it with simplicity of a WYSIWYG Bugera, if a tube amp in the particular case could be considered simple vs a solid state along the same feature lines. I get why totally. That for instance is why Fender's Champion series amps are fantastic, if under-appreciated by those seduced by the hypnotic hype of every aspect of latest tech implemented must be better.

I compromised within budget for instance on my Blackstar ID:Core, not unhappily so in retrospect, as its functionality for purpose as a 40W solid state patchable modelling amp met my purpose of use criteria as my initial amp for my first guitar, an electric. That saving over the Katana 50 permitted me to additionally buy a Fender Acoustasonic acoustic purposed amp within the same total budget. Over here the Katanas are about $100 more expensive than my ID:Core was. In the US it's different, and Katanas can be had for about the same or no more than $20 difference so YMMV.

My experience endorses Chris' recommendation for a dedicated acoustic purposed amp of proportionate size and power for intended application for playing any acoustic with an active preamp, typically piezo fitted to so many e-acoustics today. Passive pickups typical of many soundhole pickups won't matter quite so much with an electric amp e.g. Katana or ID:Core without true bypass circuitary. They'll also sound OK with mic'd acoustic, but you can't get past the selectable presets - choose one. In the Katana's case, Boss have labeled one of them Acoustic. The ID: Core, you have Clean Warm or Clean Bright to choose from, unless you write your own specifically acoustic voiced config patch. Regardless which brand amp, the signal inputs are still being unavoidably and additionally processed through the amp's preamp stage for both the Katana and ID:Core. This will not sound as good for playing any acoustic with a preamp fitted as an acoustic specific amp does IMPE. The Fender Champions OTOH have a true alternative clean (bypass) channel coupled with a larger speaker, which is a useful feature if you play both electric with pedalboard or amp simulator, and e-acoustic.

On the speaker size debate. Hmmm. My personal practical perspective is that today it's a half truth much like the endless argument debating tube versus solid state. The stereo sound image produced by Blackstar's ID:Core 40 2×20W 6.5" speakers is mighty impressive in its own right. So much so that in class i.e. solid state digital around 40W, for intended purpose which sounds "better" is moot, and very much individually aurally subjective at best. You've got to listen to it to comprehend. I'm not playing at ID:Core 'fanboi' here, as I also think Boss' immensly popular Katana 50 with its different single speaker config a fabulous amp in its class, just as I do the Yamaha THR series and in its own right for different reasons, Fender's Champion series one of which, the Champion 100 x2, I bought favouring it over both Boss' Katana 100 x2 or Blackstar's ID:Core 100 x2! And, the crunch decider wasn't price but end user ergonomics, different features I will use in its intended deployment, and tones better suited to my purpose. Just sayin'.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

dlwalke

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Joined: 02/02/19

Posts: 25

Lots of helpful info. Thanks. I do plan on getting an electric solid-body guitar in a few months (provided that I feel like I'm making satisfactory progress with my GT lessons and will continue doing so) and the amp would be used primarily for that. I had considered getting the amp prior to the solid-body though and using it with my electro-acoustic Ovation (piezo-electric I believe). However, if that combo sounds not-so-good in the store I will put the amp on hold. I don't need an amp for the Ovation. In fact, I bought the Ovation after trying several more traditional acoustics because I liked the neckfeel and the unplugged sound (I am aware btw of the diversity of strong opinions - both pro and con regarding Ovations) and I would have preferred to not be paying for electronics. But I just got on with it better than the others. Anyway, as I do plan on getting the amp primarily for a solid body, all of the info posted earlier remains relevent and helpful.

Incidentally, after the last couple of responses, I did some internet research and it sounds, based on a couple of user reviews, that the Katana actually works pretty well with acoustic guitars. For some of the other amps mentioned in this thread, that did not appear to be the case. In any event, I will definitely need to check things out in person before any purchases.

All this raises another question in my mind. Is it correct that a hollow body or semi-hollow body should be used with an electric guitar amp rather than an acoustic-electric amp? I'm interested more out of curiousity than anything else insofar as I will most likely get a Strat.

And funny you should mention about the amps and PA systems being used partly for show these days in big Arenas. I had actually been wondering about that just a couple of days earlier for some reason. Are the PA systems the property of the venue then? The bands would typically just bring what they need to get the sound they want and then the venue takes care of projecting that sound. I don't know much, or anything, about PA systems but it makes sense to me that the venue would be in charge of the latter insofar as they can custom tailer their equipment to the idiosynchrosies of their particular arena.

#10

Lots of helpful info. Thanks. I do plan on getting an electric solid-body guitar in a few months (provided that I feel like I'm making satisfactory progress with my GT lessons and will continue doing so) and the amp would be used primarily for that. I had considered getting the amp prior to the solid-body though and using it with my electro-acoustic Ovation (piezo-electric I believe). However, if that combo sounds not-so-good in the store I will put the amp on hold. I don't need an amp for the Ovation. In fact, I bought the Ovation after trying several more traditional acoustics because I liked the neckfeel and the unplugged sound (I am aware btw of the diversity of strong opinions - both pro and con regarding Ovations) and I would have preferred to not be paying for electronics. But I just got on with it better than the others. Anyway, as I do plan on getting the amp primarily for a solid body, all of the info posted earlier remains relevent and helpful.

Incidentally, after the last couple of responses, I did some internet research and it sounds, based on a couple of user reviews, that the Katana actually works pretty well with acoustic guitars. For some of the other amps mentioned in this thread, that did not appear to be the case. In any event, I will definitely need to check things out in person before any purchases.

All this raises another question in my mind. Is it correct that a hollow body or semi-hollow body should be used with an electric guitar amp rather than an acoustic-electric amp? I'm interested more out of curiousity than anything else insofar as I will most likely get a Strat.

And funny you should mention about the amps and PA systems being used partly for show these days in big Arenas. I had actually been wondering about that just a couple of days earlier for some reason. Are the PA systems the property of the venue then? The bands would typically just bring what they need to get the sound they want and then the venue takes care of projecting that sound. I don't know much, or anything, about PA systems but it makes sense to me that the venue would be in charge of the latter insofar as they can custom tailer their equipment to the idiosynchrosies of their particular arena.