You have a lot more options than you might have initially assumed when it comes to the best pedal amps. The pedal amp revolution, according to some, has been going on for more than ten years. Actually, that “revolution,” in which guitarists have abandoned conventional heads and combos in favour of a guitar amp that can conveniently pack into their gig bag, has only recently begun to gain traction. There’s no denying that top guitar pedal and amp manufacturers across the globe have been focusing a lot of their attention on this sector for a while, so you’ll recognise some of the brands on our list of the best pedal amplifiers below. And as a result of the innovations made by these businesses, floor amps are finally competitive with conventional heads.
Today’s music business is seeing an increase in the use of amp simulator pedals. Everyone, from amateurs to experts, is aware that amp simulators are outstanding pieces of gear that shouldn’t be taken for granted. They provide a wide tonal range in a small, portable package that addresses various sound issues from the studio to the stage. There are several pedals available on the market that may mimic vintage, modern, or classic amps or add some sonic distortion effects to your sound. But why do you need or want to have the greatest amp simulator pedals in your collection?
Table of Contents
Strymon Iridium Amp and IR Cab Simulator Pedal
- Three amplifier models crafted using Matrix Modeling, capturing the subtleties and unique tonal qualities of each amp:
- True Bypass (electromechanical relay switching) or selectable transparent Analog Buffered Bypass
- Strong and lightweight anodized black aluminum chassis
Look no further than the Strymon for Best Amp Simulator Pedal that strikes just the right mix. The amp simulators are tiny and simple to use, featuring a variety of amp and cab combinations and extensive EQ knobs, including ambient ambience sound quality and master volume.
Of course, a pedal amp needs to sound well, and the Iridium does an excellent job of simulating old amps and cabinets. Fender Deluxe, Vox AC30, and Marshall Super Lead amplifiers may be convincingly replicated using the amp settings Round, Chime, and Punch. Meanwhile, the nine speaker cabinet pairings are not only realistic but also incredibly responsive, which is something that many of its simulator/emulator competitors have trouble with. You can also use the Strymon software to upload your own impulse responses (IR).
Finally, whether you’re wanting to mobilize your live setup, practice quietly at home, or increase your recording skills, the Strymon Iridium Amp with IR Cab Simulator Best Amp Simulator Pedal for guitarists.
Hughes & Kettner’s Black Spirit 200 Floor Pedal Amp
- 4-channel Analog Guitar Amplifier
- With Spirit Tone Generator
- Emulated DI Output
The Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 Floor aims to be a portable version of the acclaimed Black Spirit 200 Head and Combo, and it succeeds admirably while also providing a number of unique features. The Black Spirit 200 Floor features a digitally controlled analogue solid state preamp with four channels: Clean, Crunch, Lead, and Ultra. This unit also doubles as a multi-channel amp and cab simulator, as well as a multi-effects pedal, thanks to its high-quality digital effects.
The number of knobs and features is too long to go over in this best pedal amps guide, but the Red Box cabinet simulation is one of the clear standouts, making it ideal for recording or going straight to a PA. Sagging control, which allows the Black Spirit 200 Floor to approximate valve amplifier dynamics, is another fantastic feature like bass amplifiers. It’s the attention to detail like this that elevates this unit to the top tier of power pedal amplifiers.
While the Black Spirit 200 Floor is on the larger side in terms of dimensions and isn’t exactly ‘board friendly, it’s remarkably light (8.9lbs/4.1kg) and could easily replace a lot of equipment in your present rig. Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 Floor is one of the Best Amp Simulator Pedals for guitars.
Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver Effect Pedal
- Capable Of: Much more than just a direct box, the SansAmp Bass Driver DI is capable of dialing up big vintage tube tones, bright modern slap sounds,...
- Three Different Outputs: Three different outputs to drive power amps, recording desks, PA mixers, or simply enhance your currentrig
- Controls: Controls include Presence for definition and upper harmonic content; Blend to combine the proportion of direct signal and SansAmp circuitry,...
The Tech 21 SansAmp GT2 Amp Emulator Pedal’s fame is well-deserved as one of the best pedal amps on the market. This pedal is not only economical and easy to install on your pedalboard, but it also has a lot of tone possibilities for its size.
With just this box, you can cover a wide range of styles and sounds with three different tube amp sounds (modeled after Fender, Marshall, and Mesa Boogie), mic positioning, and gain settings. While many players see the GT2 as nothing more than a glorified distortion, it’s still a capable amp modeler that gets the aforementioned amp tones down very well.
However, the SansAmp GT2 Amp Emulator Pedal is the oldest device on this list, and the technology employed is a little out of date. That’s especially true when you consider the BlueGuitar Amp1, which effectively eliminates the need for tube amp modelers. Regardless, the GT-2 is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a simple yet versatile distortion pedals amplifier.
This item can be powered by either a 9V alkaline battery or the optional DC power source. It is the best based on customer feedback, and this is due to its outstanding versatility and the wide range of uses and tones that this effects pedal can evoke. The separate Drive and Presence knobs may be used to emulate tube circuits and speakers, and the Blend knob can be used to balance the simulation you want to add to your dry signal. The Bass and Treble controls can also be used to raise or reduce the frequency of your choice. Furthermore, in response to the growing popularity of 5- and 6-string basses, the manufacturer introduced a switch that allows the bass frequency to be adjusted so that it reaches into the lower registers.
BluGuitar AMP1 ME Mercury Edition 100-Watt 4-Channel Pedalboard Amp with Nanotube
- 100-watt Guitar Amplifier Head with Nanotube
- Cabinet-emulated Line Output
- 3 Overdrive Channel Modes
The BluGuitar Amp1 Mercury Edition is hard to beat when it comes to creating genuine amp tones from your pedalboard amp. The Amp1 is mostly analogue, with a solid-state preamp driving nano tailored micro tubes for an amazing 100-watt class D amp output, while many of its competitors rely on digital modeling. As a result, you’re getting a four-channel tube amp crammed inside a stompbox.
The BluGuitar Amp1 Mercury Edition is also quite responsive, which is a great plus. Custom control may be used to improve the best electric guitar pickups, including humbuckers and single coils, which is great news for Fender Stratocaster players who have struggled to find acceptable items in the past.
You can conjure up authentic tones from bluesy overdrive to full-blown metal with three drive channels and a customizable EQ setting (especially when plugged into a 4×12 cabinet). And it’s in this category that the BluGuitar Amp1 Mercury Edition excels. Nothing else this small delivers such a punch, making it one of the greatest pedal amps on the market by a long shot.
Digitech Dual Speaker Cabinet Emulator Pedal (CabDryVR-U)
- DigiTech CabDryVR Dual Cabinet Simulator pedal features a selection of 14 all new great sounding guitar and bass cabinet impulse responses.
- Now you can run direct from your pedal board or preamp through the CabDryVR to your mixing board, in-ear monitors or DAW and get high quality cabinet...
- The CabDryVR uses a 9VDC power supply to easily integrate into your existing pedalboard.
The DigiTech CabDryVR is a sleek pedal that gives guitar and bass players some cabinet variation. This pedal has 14 cabinet emulations in total, however you might be disappointed to learn that the guitar and bass cabinets are evenly split.This is an excellent purchase if you are a musician who would like cabinet simulation for two instruments. If you’re searching for a pedal that only has guitar emulations, you should probably look for something else.
The Digitech CabDryVR Dual Cabinet Simulator Pedal Bundle wins the award for best kit. It’s made to be simple to operate and takes up very little space on your pedalboard, with whatever other gear you choose to use.
This unit has two inputs and outputs, one of which can be used to connect to your amplifier if you want to blend the two signals for a unique sound. This can generate amazing results both live and in the studio, so it’s worth a shot to see how it works. It includes fourteen impulse responses, seven for guitar and seven for bass, each of which can be set to different cab “sizes” according on your tastes and the sound you’re after.
Overall, this is a well-made pedal with a lot of potential that can withstand a lot of rigorous use.
Milkman Sound The Amp 100W Tube Hybrid
- A 50W Guitar amplifier
- Along with tube EQ there is on-board reverb and tremolo effects
- A Class D power section delivers 50 watts into 8ohms, or 100 watts into 4ohms
This would easily occupy the top spot on our list of the finest pedal amps based solely on appearances. And, while it is one of its better features, Milkman Sound’s The Amp is more than just a pretty face. It’s a solid-state, class-D power amp with a 12AX7 preamp tube that outputs between 25 and 100 watts.
As a result, it has a reasonable amount of headroom and some nice, warm tube tones, making it a terrific choice for musicians who have had trouble finding that balance in other gizmos. The Amp from Milkman Sound also has variable power, making it a more user-friendly alternative for those seeking for a portable power amp.
In terms of functionality, this pedal amp may be used as an amp head, a tube preamp, a practice amp through headphones, or a DI amp for your DAW when plugged directly into a passive cab. In fact, this could be one of the best applications for The Amp, as it provides far more genuine and warm tones than most emulators.
The outstanding built-in tremolo and spring reverb pedal effects are the frosting on the cake, adding color and personality to this already unusual piece of gear.
Seymour Duncan PowerStage 200
- 1-channel Solid-state Flo-based Guitar Amplifier with 3-b EQ
- Cabinet Simulation
- Headphone Output
With its PowerStage line of pedal amps, Seymour Duncan has made a reputation for itself in the pedal amp market, and for good reason: the brand has built some of the most powerful yet simple-to-use instruments available. The PowerStage 200 is a 200-watt solid-state amplifier with a class D output.
One of the reasons why many guitarists wishing to shrink their setup prefer the Seymour Duncan PowerStage 200 is the amount of headroom available. The cab simulator option is pretty decent and means you can plug straight into the house PA and still get a great, full sound. While it works best when paired with a decent sized cab, the cab simulator option is pretty decent and means you can plug straight into the house PA and still get a great, full sound.
Though it is comparable to the PowerStage 170 model below it, the PowerStage 200 is the superior choice because it has a cab sim and headphone output control, making it a far more versatile alternative.
NUX Solid Studio IR & Power Amp Simulator
- Solid Studio comes with 8 speaker cabinet simulations. All the cabinet models inside the Solid Studio are sounds great as original as the way it...
- 8 microphone models you can combine with any cabinets. You can adjust microphone position for fine tuning.
- Power Amp Simulation produces a warm tube-like sound and you can choose one of three power tubes for your essential sound needs.
The NUX Solid Studio IR & Power Amp Simulator is actually quite simple to use, despite the fact that it contains a large choice of classic amp/cabinet combos (eight cabinets, eight microphones, and three power amp tube simulations). NUX has crammed as much as possible into this box, making it appear intricate and clever. However, once you’ve gotten your head around the layout, it should be very simple.
There is so much opportunity for tone sculpting here, with simulations of all the big brand cabs, including AC30, Twin and Deluxe Reverbs, Bassman, and so on, as well as all the important mics and placement possibilities. In case any of the other possibilities weren’t enough, the NUX Solid Studio IR & Power Amp Simulator now has USB inputs, allowing customers to load their own impulse log.
It’s probably realistic enough to gig with as far as amp simulations go. But, with so many cab and mic sim choices, it’s no surprise that the IR & Power Amp Simulator finds its best application in the studio, allowing guitarists to produce genuine mic’d up cabinet sounds without having to call in a seasoned engineer.
Comprehensive Buying Guide: Selecting the Perfect Amp Simulator Pedal
Choosing the right amp simulator pedal involves various factors. Here’s a comprehensive buying guide to help you navigate your options:
The primary factor to consider when buying an amp simulator pedal is undoubtedly the sound quality. You want the digital modeling to sound as close to the real thing as possible. Look for a pedal that offers a realistic, dynamic, and responsive amp modeling. Listening to audio demos and reading user reviews can help provide an idea of the sound quality a specific pedal offers.
A significant advantage of amp simulator pedals is their ability to emulate a wide range of amplifiers. If you play various music styles, consider a pedal that offers a broad selection of amp models. Also, look for a pedal that allows you to tweak the amp settings to customize your tone further.
The user interface plays a crucial role in the usability of the pedal. Look for an amp simulator with a clear, intuitive interface that makes it easy to select and adjust amp models and settings. If the pedal includes built-in effects, it should be easy to control these as well.
Many amp simulator pedals come with additional features that can enhance your playing experience. These may include:
Built-in Effects: Some pedals include built-in effects such as reverb, delay, and modulation. This can save you from needing separate pedals for these effects.
Loop Function: This is a handy feature for practice and performance. It allows you to record a phrase and play it back repeatedly while you play over it.
MIDI Compatibility: This allows you to control the pedal using a MIDI controller, offering more flexibility and control options.
Direct Recording Capability: Some pedals offer a balanced XLR output, which lets you connect the pedal directly to a PA system or audio interface for recording. This can be a great feature if you plan to use the pedal for recording.
Size and Portability
If you plan to use the pedal for gigs, consider its size and portability. Some amp simulator pedals are compact and can easily fit on a pedalboard, while others are larger and might require more space.
The build quality of the pedal can affect its durability and lifespan. Look for a pedal that is robustly built and can withstand the rigors of live performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Best Amp Simulator Pedals?
The best amp simulator pedals depend on your specific needs and budget. However, top-rated choices include the Fractal Audio Axe-Fx III, Line 6 HX Stomp, and Kemper Profiler, all known for their sound quality, versatility, and user-friendly interfaces.
Can an Amp Simulator Pedal Replace My Amplifier?
In many situations, an amp simulator pedal can replace an amplifier, especially in a studio recording context or for playing live through a PA system. However, some guitarists may still prefer the feel and response of a traditional amplifier when playing live.
Can I Use an Amp Simulator Pedal with Bass?
Yes, many amp simulator pedals work well with both electric guitar and bass. However, ensure that the particular model you’re considering is capable of accurately reproducing the frequency range of a bass guitar.
Do Amp Simulator Pedals Work with Acoustic Guitars?
While amp simulator pedals are primarily designed for electric guitars, some models can work with acoustic guitars. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the pedal provides models of acoustic guitar amplifiers or has a neutral setting that won’t color the sound of your acoustic guitar too much.
Are Amp Simulator Pedals Suitable for Beginners?
Yes, amp simulator pedals can be suitable for beginners. They offer a wide range of sounds and can be a cost-effective and space-saving way to experiment with different amplifier sounds. However, beginners should also learn to use a regular amplifier to understand the basics of tone shaping.