7 Best-Sounding Modeling Amps – Reviews and Buying Guide

38 Models Considered
65 Hours of Research
3 Experts Interviewed
143 Reviews Analyzed

To guarantee that your music sounds it’s very best, you need to have an excellent quality amp. There are a few different types of guitar amps out there. In the past we were limited to two types of technology, solid state and valve. The introduction of computer powered amps helped change how musicians use these devices overall and how amazing music sounds in general. In this review, you will learn more about the best modeling amps in the industry and why you need to add one to your system.

Modeling amps combine the best features of valve and solid state amps to create sound that is unlike anything we had grown accustomed to in the past. If you play guitar and have yet to switch to a modeling amp, it’s time to start looking for a great modeling amp. But before you buy, it’s important that you learn as much as you can about the features associated with these amps such as their configuration, power, and the different types available. How you intend to use the amp will also have an effect on the type of modeling amp you should purchase.

Top 7 Modeling Amps Review 2018

We have taken the time to search through countless customer reviews to find the best modeling amp options out there for you. Our research involved reading over hundreds of honest customer reviews from websites that specialize in the industry. In this review, we will let you know what amps we think are the best modeling amp options and provide you with the buying guide so that you can make a well-informed decision.

Name and Features Image Rating Price
1. VOX Valvetronix VT20X (Editor’s choice)
A fairly priced amplifier with a great selection of modeled amps available and the latest VOX Tone Room editing software you can use
VOX Valvetronix VT20X image
2. VOX MINI3 G2 (Best Small Modeling Amp)
A compact battery-powered amp great for those on the go and great for practice
VOX MINI3 G2 image
3. Fender Mustang GT 40 (Best Value for Money)
A great advanced yet budget-friendly option boasting Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities
Fender Mustang GT 40 image
4. Line 6 Spider IV 75 (Best Modeling Amp for Metal)
A powerful amp coming with more than 300 hand-crafted presets from famous bands and guitarists
Line 6 Spider IV 75 image
5. Peavey Vypyr VIP 1
One of the most versatile modeling amps good for practice or small gigs
Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 image
6. Line 6 Spider Classic 15 (Budget Pick)
A very affordable and fully adjustable amp that comes with plenty of effects
Line 6 Spider Classic 15 image
7. Marshall CODE 100W
A 100W amp with two powerful speakers and a wide range of effects to choose from
Marshall CODE 100W image
Features
  • Configuration: combo
  • Power: 20W
  • Speakers: one (8″)
  • Inputs: IN jack, AUX IN jack
  • Dimensions: 16.14 x 8.86 x 13.66 inches
  • Warranty: 1-year

More features: 11 realistic amp models; 13 high quality on-board effects; 33 preset programs, Virtual Elements Technology, USB output

OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10

The Vox Valvetronix VT20X is our top pick for the best modeling amp, and for a good reason. This impressive guitar amp operates at 20 watts of power to give you the ultimate level of sound for every performance. If you are in the market for a new modeling amp, you should consider the Vox Valvetronix VT20X.

This 1 x 8” amp may be small in size, but it is big on sound. It uses a vacuum tube multi-stage amplification circuit to ensure that every note is heard clearly. There are 11 amp models in all with 13 high-quality effects and an impressive 33 preset programs that will add that special touch to your recordings. This amplifier also includes the latest VOX Tone Room editing software that allows the user to customize and enhance the effects of their current amps.

This Vox modeling amp presents users with the next generation of Valvetronix products. It has a new modeling engine that will make your music sound better than ever before. Like all other VTX amps, the Vox Valvetronix VT20X produces the most realistic amplifier sounds in the industry.

This modeling amp features a built-in tuner and AUX-in jack. It also includes a headphones out connection and is fully equipped with VET (Virtual Elements Technology). The Vox Valvetronix is compatible with USB devices. Optional VFS2 and VFS5 footswitches are sold separately.

PROS:
  • Great selection of modeled amps available
  • Affordable
  • Solid pedal effects
  • Supports an optional foot switch

CONS:
  • Potential for a bad tube

Features
  • Configuration: combo
  • Power: 3W
  • Speakers: one (5″)
  • Inputs: IN jack, AUX IN jack
  • Dimensions: 10.32 x 6.85 x 8.78 inches
  • Warranty: 1-year

More features: battery-powered, 11 authentic amp models and on-board 8 effects

OVERALL RATING: 9.5 out of 10

The VOX MINI3 G2 is an excellent compact amp to buy when you want to try out modeling amps. While it may be small in size, this modeling amp still has a lot to offer musicians of all types. The classic style of this guitar amp makes it the perfect addition to your current amp setup.

Features for the VOX MINIU G2 include dual power options so that you can use either an AC adaptor or six AA batteries. The amp will operate for up to 10 consecutive hours on battery power.

Additional features for this VOX amp include eleven amp models that range from high-gain to pristine clean. The VOX Bassilator circuit offers a heavy sound mixed with ultra-low frequencies for superior audio clarity. This guitar amp also features enhanced sound quality effects like chorus, flanger, delay, compressor and more.

The VOX MINI G2 includes an AUX input jack so that you may connect your MP3 player or other compatible device and play along. The amp features two inputs, and each one has separate controls for the effects, so that it may be used with more than one instrument at a time. This modeling amp is suitable for use with the guitar and microphone at the same time as well.

PROS:
  • Compact size
  • Affordable
  • Capable of working with more than one input at once

CONS:
  • Feedback issues
  • Effects could be of better quality

Features
  • Configuration: combo
  • Power: 40W
  • Speakers: two (6.5″)
  • Inputs: one (1/4″)
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.25 x 15.25 inches
  • Warranty: 2-year

More features: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, USB out, artist presets

OVERALL RATING: 9.4 out of 10

The Fender Mustang GT 40 is a great option if you are looking for a budget-friendly option. This amp is available to purchase for less than $300.

This modeling amp allows you to use pre and post effects simultaneously. This particular model has 13 total effects for you to choose from, and you can combine them all into one preset or use a combination of two or three to create a broad range of exciting effects.

This amp is not simply a hardware only unit. It is a digital amp that is highly reliable on software and therefore it needs to be connected to Wi-Fi as much as possible while in use. This is the best way to ensure that you get the best results out of your sound.

The features found on the Fender Mustang GT 40 Bluetooth Enabled Solid State Modeling Guitar Amplifier include Wi-Fi capabilities for easy updates, preset exchanges, and connectivity to the easy to use Fender Tone app. It also features the latest amp modeling technology.

This Bluetooth enabled amp can stream content and make it available to connect your app to your mobile device. You get to enjoy amazing sound and a crisp, clear display. And everything is backed by the company’s 2-year warranty.

PROS:
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities
  • USB Out feature
  • 2-year warranty
  • Fender Tone App
  • Technology that’s ahead of its time

CONS:
  • Some users have had issues with the Wi-Fi settings.
  • It can be difficult to set up for users with little experience

Features
  • Configuration: combo
  • Power: 75W
  • Speakers: one (12″) Celestion Custom
  • Inputs: 1/4-inch input; 1/8-inch CD/MP3 input
  • Dimensions: 15 x 24.7 x 23.1 inches
  • Warranty: 1-year

More features: 300+ hand-crafted presets from 50 world-famous bands and guitarists, 16 amp models

OVERALL RATING: 9.2 out of 10

During our research and testing, we found that the Line 6 Spider IV 75 might be just the best modeling amp for metal. This loud and proud amplifier has a combo configuration and it is powered by 75 watts. There is one Celestion 12” custom speaker inside that is more than enough to get the job done.

This modeling amp features several inputs so that you can connect multiple devices at once including a 1/4-inch input and a 1/8-inch CD/MP3 input. It comes with a 1-year warranty and features more than 300 hand-crafted presets from famous bands and guitarists.

The Line 6 Spider amp does include a Mic in jack so that you can connect your microphone along with your guitar or other component. It also features two speaker out jacks for L/R as well.

Remember when it comes to buying this modeling amp that you shouldn’t make your purchase based on your recording needs. This amp comes in a 15-watt, 30-watt and a 75-watt version. If you record direct, then the wattage isn’t going to make a difference. But if you record with your microphone connected to the amp, the 75-watt model will be your best bet.

The Line 6 Spider IV is a great, affordable choice when you want to upgrade your equipment. It features 16 amped up models, many of which have a nice vintage feel to them. There are Bass Mid and Treble knobs that allow it to double as an  equalizer. Additional knobs include those for channel volume and master volume.

The Line 6 Spider IV 75 modeling guitar amp is an excellent choice if you are interested in upgrading your equipment and if you love to play your music loud.

PROS:
  • Great affordable price
  • Multiple connections
  • Excellent sound
  • Mic-in option

CONS:
  • Some users have noticed unusual noises while playing
  • Difficult to get a mid-level volume

Features
  • Configuration: combo
  • Power: 20W
  • Speakers: one (8″)
  • Inputs: Aux/MP3/CD
  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 17.5 x 10 inches
  • Warranty: 2-year

More features: 16 presets, 25 amp accessible effects, 36 on board amp models, 6 bass amp models, 6 acoustic amp models

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

The Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 is a combination amp that offers 20 watts of power. It is a sound practice amp that comes with one 8” speaker inside. The inputs for this Peavey amplifier include AUX, MP3 and CD.

The Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 has plenty to offer those looking for a modernized guitar amp. It features 16  resents and 25 amp accessible effects. There are 36 on-board amp models and 6 useful bass amp models. It even has 6 acoustic amp models for you to try out.

The user has the option to connect their guitar, bass and acoustic amp using a USB connection. It is the perfect amp for recording, practicing or for live shows. Practically any amp or instrument sound can be found on this device. It also comes with a handy 2-year warranty.

This Peavey digital amplifier allows you to use up to 4 sounds effects simultaneously so that you can create a multitude of amazing arrangements with little effort. There is also an on-board looper activated with optional Sanpera I or II.

The Peavey Vypyr is an affordable option if you are interested in giving modeling amps a try. It is available in 20 watts, 40 watts and 100 watts.

PROS:
  • Affordable at less than $200
  • Connections available for guitar, bass or acoustic use
  • 2-year warranty
  • One of the most versatile modeling amps on the market

CONS:
  • Some have mentioned that it’s difficult to get a clean tone
  • Multiple comments regarding shorts in the system have been reported

Features
  • Configuration: combo
  • Power: 15W
  • Speakers: one (8″)
  • Inputs: 1/4″, 1/8″ CD/MP3 input
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 16 x 15 inches
  • Warranty: 1-year

More features: 4 amp models, 4 pre-sets, 6 effects, built-in tuner

OVERALL RATING: 8.7 out of 10

The Line 6 Spider Classic 15 is the best cheap modeling amp we managed to find. It is a combination amplifier that operates on 15 watts of power. It comes with one 8-inch speaker inside and has a 1/4-inch as well as a 1/8-inch input for CD or MP3 players. This modeling amplifier also comes with a 1-year warranty.

The Line 6 Spider Classic 15 has everything you need to get started playing live shows or recording. It includes four amp models, four pre-sets, six effects and a built-in tuner. It may not have all the elaborate effects as some of the other amplifiers on the list, but it still has what it takes to get the job done.

This amplifier does not have an XLR input for a microphone; however, some have mentioned using the guitar input for a dynamic mic as it will not cause damage to the amp.

You can connect the amp to a computer to playback your recordings and to set up updates. To do this, you will simply need a standard USB A to B cable.

Features for this amp include exceptional models with classic tones, effects like reverbs, delays and mods, fully adjustable settings and an easy-to-use device that you will spend more time using and less time tweaking to get it right.

Priced at just under $99, this Line 6 Spider Classic 15 amplifier is a steal.

PROS:
  • Very affordable
  • Plenty of effects
  • Available in 15, 30, 60, 120, and 240-watt models
  • Fully adjustable

CONS:
  • No microphone input
  • Some users have mentioned that it wasn’t the best quality amp they have used

Features
  • Configuration: combo
  • Power: 100W
  • Speakers: two (12″)
  • Inputs: 1 x instrument jack, 1 x Aux In (3.5mm jack)
  • Dimensions: 27.4″ x 18.9″ x 10.2″
  • Warranty: 1-year

More features: 14 preamp models, 4 power amp models, 8 speaker cab models, 24 different built-in effects (5 simultaneously)

OVERALL RATING: 8.5 out of 10

The Marshall CODE 100W is one of the best sounding modeling amps out there. This combination modeling amp offers an impressive 100 watts of power and contains two 12” speakers inside. It includes several inputs such as a 1x instrument jack and a 1x Aux In (3.5mm jack).

Features for the Marshall CODE 100W include 14 preamp models four power amp models, eight speaker cab models and over 20 built-in effects. It is loud enough to play with your entire band, including the drummer. And it can be used with pedals which must be purchased separately.

The Marshall CODE 100W amplifier applies the technology that the brand is known for. The special effects on this model are hard to beat with such a broad range for you to choose from; musicians of every walk of life should be able to find the right effects for their tracks by using this modeling amp.

The amplifier comes with a 1-year warranty and is a great quality amp for the price.

PROS:
  • A wide range of effects
  • Multiple connections available
  • 100W solid state of power
  • Priced under $500

CONS:
  • Some reviewers have mentioned that it is more of a beginner amp than one for an expert.

Buying Guide

Regardless of what kind of amp you’re looking for, the best way to find what you need is to know several specific features all modelling amps come with. We’ve compiled this guide to make sure you keep everything in mind while choosing your perfect amp.

Why get a modelling amp?

4997ace0c1d5b820555cb54baef61e81 imageModeling amps go farther than your basic solid state or tube amplifiers. These modernized guitar amps add in the benefit of a digital processor which allows the user to recreate a verity so sounds and effects. If that wasn’t a good enough reason to add a modeling amp to your setup you should also consider the fact that these amps are lightweight and easy to carry. They are more reliable than amps that contain fragile tubes. And they are extremely versatile with most models now offering Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.

Features to consider while choosing a modelling amp

When it comes to modeling amps, there are several features for you to consider, many of witch are not avalable on your standard amps. These can include their multiple conections, Bluetooth capabilities, and the ability to use a broad range of sound effects.

Type and Configuration

The type of modeling amp that you decide to buy, and the configuration of its features will make a huge difference in how your music sounds while practicing or on stage. You will want to buy an amp based on the type of gigs that you play, the special effects the user would like to add in, and how easy it is to use.

The Vox Mini G2 would be a good choice for those playing smaller gigs for example while the Marshall Code 100W is a better choice for larger arenas and loud Metal shows.

Power and speakers

C1fXLDIWgAAf2N8 imageModeling amps allow you to choose between using AC power for your amp or battery power. While you may think that an amp that runs on batteries will not provide you with the same amount of strength and quality sound, the amps mentioned in this review can deliver just fine on either AC or AAA’s. Using a battery powered amp also makes it easier to transport your music from one location to the next.

While there are some amps that you should never connect an external speaker into, there are also a few modeling amps currently on the market that allow you to connect a speaker, or even a microphone along with your guitar if you desire.

Inputs and outputs

The amps in this review offer a wide array of inputs and outputs for you to choose from. You can go with something basic such as Aux/MP3/CD found on the Peavey Vypyr VIP 1, or with something more advanced like the 1x instrument jack, 1x Aux In (3.5mm jack) found on the Marshall CODE 100W. The more input and output connections found on your modeling amp, the better off you will be when it is time to connect something new.

Built-in effects

Guitar Bass Gear 28 10 25 imageThe built-in effects on a digital amplifier helps set it apart from the older models and allow musicians to be even more creative with their tracks or live shows. These special sound effects can bring new life to your performances and allow you to customize your music exactly the way you want it.

From acoustic amp models to presets set by famous bands and musicians, you can find the effects that you love when you check out the best modeling amps mentioned in our review.

Warranty

It’s important to look for a new modeling amp that has a great warranty when it is time to buy new equipment. Especially if you plan to purchase a combination style amp that may feature tubes as well as digital features. While many people have switched to digital amps because they are more reliable than the standard guitar amps from years past, it is still possible for the newer modeling amps to malfunction. Protect your investment with a good warranty plan if possible.

FAQ

It depends on a couple of factors. First if you have a compatible connection so that you can use the extra speakers with your modeling ap. And Second, the type of speakers you want to use.

If you have a Speaker Out jack on your amp, for example, you could connect a speaker, as long as you aren’t attempting to connect powered speakers. Doing so could cause serious and expensive damage to occur.

Yes, again if there is an input available. Most of the modeling amps in our review allow you to plug in a microphone while your guitar is connected at the same time.

Yes it’s possible to change the speaker in an amp. But the process will require you to have some electronics knowledge. When choosing rhe right replacement speaker, it would be best to consult with someone who has knowledge about your particular brand of amp.

Our Verdict

Out of the seven amps that we reviewed, we found that we loved the Vox Valvetronix VT20X the most. This amp simply had the best features and effects for the price. And it is available in a compact size that makes it easy to move from one location to the next.

While this was our top choice, that doesn’t mean the other six amps are not extraordinary in their own way. Each of the best modeling amps that we found have something new and exciting to bring to the table.

The Vox Mini G2 and the Fender Mustang GT 40 both were on par with our top pick in terms of many features, but were not so versatile. The Vox Mini is a nice addition to the brand’s lineup as it puts all the best things about a Vox app in a much smaller, compact amp.

The Fender Mustang GT is a nice combination amp that operates on 40 watts of power and delivers exceptional sound at a great price.

We hope that we have helped narrow down your choices for a new modeling amp so that you may choose the one that best suits your needs and your budget.

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