Sometimes a powerful amp is not necessary to achieve the ideal guitar tone. Getting a desktop amp can be the right choice for you if you have a small room, aren’t able to perform at loud volumes, or just don’t want to carry about something that weighs half your body weight. The top manufacturers of guitar amplifiers are currently producing compact models that mimic their heavier, louder counterparts in terms of sound. These tiny amps can produce some strong tones, making them particularly suitable for informal jam sessions and simple recording. You can’t say the same for any old tube rig, but many of them are Bluetooth compatible and can be coupled with apps on your mobile devices. Here are some of our current top picks for desktop amplifiers.
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Positive Grid Spark MINI 10W Portable Smart Guitar Amp
- Portable guitar amp & Bluetooth speaker with powerful, multi-dimensional sound. Rechargeable battery delivers up to 8 hrs of listening or play time.
- Free accompanying smart app included (iOS or Android) with Auto Chords, video creation & access to 50,000+ tones and more for never-ending...
- A mini guitar amp that jams along with you: All-new Smart Jam Live uses machine learning technology to build bass and drum backing tracks based on...
With the introduction of the Positive Grid Spark 40, which effortlessly combined their guitar VST technology with a potent practice amp, Positive Grid established a new standard. Positive Grid is renowned for its digital sound processing applications that let you receive great-sounding tones via PC, smartphone, or tablet.
The Smart Jam auto accompaniment, which creates a rhythm section (bass and drums) depending on the chords you’re playing and the timing in which you’re plating them, is what distinguishes it as a practice amp, though.
Additionally, the amp can analyze your favorite songs and inform you of the chords being used, acting something like an internal AI transcriber. When coming up with new tunes and arrangements, this tool can be incredibly helpful.
Similar in design to its larger sibling, the Spark Mini chooses a more compact housing and battery power. You’ll get access to thousands of tones and effects once you’re paired with the Spark app, along with sophisticated practice tools that will change the way you practice. This is the Best Desktop Guitar Amp in 2023.
Blackstar Fly 3
- Refer the user manual below for troubleshooting
- Digital 'tape' delay effect; Patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature)
- MP3/Line In for jamming along or listening to music
The Blackstar Fly 3 is a three-watt small combo with two channels, an emulated tape delay, an MP3 / Line In, and the company’s patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) technology. It may be the most cost-effective option on this list. The MP3 / Line In is ideal for guitarists who wish to jam along to their favorite music, while the latter offers you access to both British and American voicings. The Fly 3 is powered by six AA batteries or DC if purchased as a stereo pack (comes with a FLY 103 extension cabinet and power supply).
Thanks to its clear tone, entertaining delay, and extremely appealing price, this mighty little 3-watt monster is on the desks of guitarists of all skill levels all throughout the nation. It may not have Bluetooth capabilities like some of the other items on our list, but its excellent overdrive tone and expandability more than make up for that.
With the addition of the Fly 103 extension speaker, which is ideal for streaming music or even having a set of portable PC monitors, the Fly 3 may be transformed into a real stereo rig. The revolutionary Infinite Shape Feature, found in all Blackstar amplifiers, allows you to fast and simply modify the timbre of the amp by just turning this dial. The Blackstar Fly 3 is available in a wide range of colors and designs, including vivid neon units, Day of the Dead-inspired themes, and even a Def Leppard alternative!
Boss Katana Air
- Totally wireless guitar amplifier with newly developed BOSS technology delivers rock-solid sound with ultra-low latency
- Compact wireless transmitter plugs into various kinds of electric guitars and charges while docked in the amp
- Transmitter provides 12 hours of playing time on a single charge, and automatically enters standby mode to conserve the charge when no activity is...
The head-style Katana Air, developed by BOSS as part of its class-leading range of Katana modeling amplifiers, is a totally wireless jam solution. The Air comes with its own low-latency, motion-activated wireless system, so you don’t even need to plug a cable in or flick a switch when you’re ready to rock. It is also battery operated, eliminating any power lines to trip over. Actually, it’s just as convenient to pick up and play. Two specially tuned 3′′ stereo speakers, over 50 BOSS FX to inspire your imagination, and five amp styles ranging from American cleans to British high gain are all found inside. The Katana Air is the ideal focal point for your home studio thanks to its USB interface and recording-emulated output.
The Katana Air is not only a reliable performance platform, but it also makes a cute small boombox or theater system for any room in your home thanks to its Bluetooth media streaming ability. This amp and its wireless system can be run for more than seven hours on eight AA batteries (you might want to buy some rechargeables), which is more than enough time for a full day of warm-up, practice, and performances. Additionally, adding AC power gives this Air an additional 50% output if you need it for the stage.
Laney Lionheart Mini
- 2 x 3" full range drivers
- Clean and drive
- 6 watts - Bluetooth wireless technology
Before discussing Laney’s Lionheart Mini’s sound, it is important to note how attractive this little amplifier is. With its navy shell and beige grill, this amp, which is obviously modeled by its much larger cousin, perfectly captures the classic atmosphere of the original. We think this little guy would brighten up any desk, and we’re sure you’ll agree.
Let’s get started by discussing this tiny desktop companion’s tone. The Lionheart Mini has a dual-channel layout, and all of the tone-shaping options are controlled via a single dial. Both a clean and an overdrive sound are available at the touch of a button. This functions very similarly to the tone control of a distortion pedal, and you even get a digital delay that has a tape-like authenticity that will give your sound a little more depth.
The inclusion of the Laney Smartphone Insert distinguishes the Laney from instruments like the Blackstar Fly or Fender’s Mini Twin. With the help of this clever feature, you can link your amp to apps like Ultimate Guitar’s Tonebridge app to access a library of effects and amp simulations. You may test-drive the lionheart for free because it comes with a 3-month subscription to Tonebridge.
Orange Crush 20W High Gain 2 Channel CabSim
- Foot switchable channels
- Analogue signal path
- CabSim loaded headphone output
Due to its high gain preamp design, the Orange Crush 20 is ideal for those who are addicted to bedroom distortion. The amp has four gain stages that allow it to produce chimey cleans, vintage bluesy crunch, and full-bodied metal distortion. With the Orange Crush 20’s optional footswitch, you may easily switch between the clean and dirty channels.
It’s surprising that guitarists continue to give the Orange Crush 20RT excellent reviews despite the fact that there are so many feature-rich amps in this price bracket. b This amplifier is as traditional as they get, with a simple 2-channel clean/overdrive layout and uncomplicated settings including gain, 3-band EQ, and reverb. It is perfect for practice and for fast plugging in to capture and develop musical ideas because it won’t confound any guitarist, regardless of ability level.
The amp’s headphone/line output performs more functions than it advertises. Guitarists can use Orange’s CabSim feature for silent practice and direct recording by plugging in. This is an accurate recreation of an Orange 412″ cabinet that has been mic’d and filled with the company’s premium Voice Of The World speakers.
Two of the key qualities that make this the preferred practice amp of many guitarists are the sturdy build quality and reliable tone. Many people are surprised by how responsive the amp’s voicing is to its basic controls considering how few functions it has. This thus offers it enough sound versatility to appeal to a wide range of players. Most people laud its crunch overdriven tone, but there are also many compliments on its clean to low gain tone. The fact that it receives pedals well, much like an old-school solid state amp, is another common complaint.