Best Guitar Preamp Pedals 2022

Best Guitar preamp pedals are great for guitarists who require a plug-and-play solution for swiftly recording tracks in the studio. They enable you to dial in a consistent tone on stage without the hassles of transporting or setting up heads, cabs, mics, and other related equipment.

It protects you from the nightmare situations that can develop when using rental amps or, worse yet, playing directly into the PA. New technologies have lifted current guitar preamp pedals to an unprecedented degree as rigs shrink and mobility becomes more important than ever. It’s given rise to a new species of pedals, from budget-friendly ‘tone + boost’ pedals to superbly rendered ‘rig-in-a-box’ preamps for guitar players. Analog versions, which have been around for decades, are under daenger from both amp/cab modeling technology and digital circuitry.

JHS Pedals Colour Box V2 Preamp Guitar Effects Pedal (CBOXV2)

Jhs Colour Box V2 Preamp
  • A full-fledged studio-grade preamplifier, EQ, and distortion generator with multi-instrument and microphone compatibility
  • The Gain section controls the overall volume of the unit, the amount of gain between the two internal gain stages, and the gain of each preamp stage...
  • Using the new Hi/Lo switch, get ultra clean sounds without breakup when distortion is not needed or achieve a broad spectrum of overdrive, distortion,...

JHS Effects pedal preamps have a sizable fan base, indicating that the company’s unconventional approach is well received. The predecessor, the extremely popular flagship Colour Box, was a smash hit thanks to its unique ability to imitate the NEVE 1073 preamp with two circuits in series.

Guitarists, vocalists, and other musicians that desire complete control over their amplified tone should use the Colour Box V2. Despite its comprehensive onboard controls, the pedal is extremely simple to operate, so you don’t need a lot of experience with effects pedals to get the most out of it.

The Colour Box V2 is a studio-quality preamp and EQ pedal that can be used on a wide range of instruments. It paints the sound with an unmistakable richness, whether used as a DI on an acoustic guitar preamp pedal or as a voice mic to fatten your tone. The V2 features a new parametric EQ component as well as a Hi/Lo Gain mode, making it a joy to use as a guitar preamp pedal as a strymon iridium alternatives.

You may move from pristine clean to console fuzz and a wide range of driving and distortion tones with the five-step gain settings. It also doubles as a top-shelf DI when the situation calls for it, thanks to Lundahl transformers. On the front panel of the stompbox, there are three rows of three knobs (9 total). Each band lets you focus on a certain frequency range while giving you complete control over the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. As a result, the tone sculpting options are unrivaled, particularly if you prefer a tone that emulates the ‘direct-in’ sound.

If you appreciate the guitar tones on the Beatles’ White Album or musicians like Wilco, the JHS Effects Colour Box V2 is for you. Unlike its competitors, the V2 comes close to the tones you get when you put your guitar directly into the mixing desk’s preamp, i.e. without an amp. It does have a tiny learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before and is something you could get used to. JHS Pedals Colour Box V2 is the Best Guitar Preamp Pedals.

Jim Dunlop EP101 Echoplex Preamp

Dunlop EP101 Echoplex® Preamp
  • Faithful reproduction of the legendary Echoplex EP-3 front end
  • Gain boost up to +11dB
  • True Bypass

The Dunlop EP101 Echoplex Preamp is more than simply a preamp/gain boost pedal. The EP101 is based on the iconic Echoplex EP-3 preamp stage, which has been utilized by legends such as Eddie Van Halen and Eric Johnson. For most of the gain range, you get a bright boost, and guitarists adore the warm overdrive you get when you really crank the gain. We understand that your guitar tone occasionally needs a little something extra that typical tone-shaping equipment can’t deliver, and we highly recommend the Dunlop EP101 Echoplex Preamp for that.

The MXR range of classic pedals on the market is the most well-known product of Jim Dunlop’s namesake brand. The Echoplex Guitar Preamp is inspired by the famous Echoplex unit in this case. The Echoplex preamp pedal recreates such sounds, which were popularized by Jimmy Page, Duane Allman and condenses the driving system into a small, easy-to-use pedal.

The Echolplex, like many other guitar preamps and boost pedals, tightens up the bass end of your sound. It also amplifies the middle and treble frequencies for a vintage lead guitar sound. It’s basic and straightforward to operate, with only one knob to control the gain. It’s ideal for live situations where you need to quickly dial in the proper tone.

It won’t become too dirty on its own, but it’s powerful enough to meet most guitarists’ daily needs with 11db of boost and cut. This could be the only boost and drive pedal you need on your board if you play clean or lightly overdriven guitar genres. This is the best preamp pedal.

Strymon Iridium Amp and IR Cab Simulator Pedal

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

It is so much more than a pedal preamp, it would be unfair to label (or water down) Strymon’s Iridium. It may be used as a ‘before-amp’ pedal to feed the cabs, or it can be connected directly to a PA system for performances, or it can be used as an Amp/cab modeler for studio recordings. In a nutshell, it’s a tiny stompbox with variety, convenience, power, and finely created tones.

Iridium comes with three modeled amps and three cabs-on-demand for each amp. Each amp features its own drive, reverb, and a 3-band EQ to further shape the tone. If that wasn’t enough, you may use Strymon’s Impulse Manager software to replace all onboard cabs with numerous Impulse Response cabinet alternatives.

The three modes are inspired by vintage amplifiers. The Round amp (Fender Deluxe), Chime (Vox AC30), and Punch are among them (100W Marshall Super Lead). Having to lug any of things around is a lot more work. The Iridium, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense pedal that does an excellent job of simulating their signature sounds.

You can utilize a MIDI remote control and an assignable expression pedal to alter the parameters as a effects loop section. You can practice with a headphone while having the luxury of a full rig in only a few square inches of your pedalboard. You can keep it in your accessories bag and use it at live events or studios to perform directly into the mixer.

Iridium continues Strymon’s tradition of making game-changing stompboxes. It’s elegant, simple to use, and provides a wide range of realistic amp and cabinet options using cutting-edge simulation. The cost, as well as the requirement for 500mA power, may prevent some. However, if you incorporate the Strymon Iridium into your pedalboard, you can expect a lot of flavor with minimal effort.

Voodoo Lab Giggity Analog Mastering Preamp Guitar Effect Pedal

Voodoo Lab Giggity Analog Mastering Preamp Guitar Effect Pedal
  • Four Unique Preamp/Gain Voicings
  • Body & Air Fine-Tuning Circuits
  • True Bypass via High Reliability Gold-Contact Relay

The Giggity is a preamp mastering device that is used to control the fundamental features of a guitar signal before it is sent to an amplifier. The Giggity by Voodoo Lab is a preamp mastering pedal that allows you to manage every component of your guitar tone. If you appreciate manipulating every aspect of your dynamics and tone, you’ll find this preamp mastering pedal quite useful.

EQ and compression are more important to the Giggity than they are to most other preamp guitar pedals. The inbuilt rotary controls, which I found to be quite straightforward to use and get used to, are used to alter these. This stereo preamp pedal can be used at the start of the signal chain to prepare the output signal for your other effects, or at the end to tame your processed tone before it hits your power amp.

The Voodoo Lab Giggity has four preamp voicings, allowing you to build your own tones using the presets supplied in the pedal. It’s a tough pedal with high-quality electronics and real bypass switching for the best performance.

MOOER PreAMP Live

MOOER PreAMP Live with 12 Preamp Channels, Pre/Post Booster, Noise Gate, FX Loop,4 Cable Method
  • Contains 12 independent preamp channels with intuitive, familiar switching controls
  • Pre/Post BOOSTER and adjustable Pre/Post noise gates for each channel
  • TONE CAPTURE for sampling your real amplifiers tonal characteristics and creating new digital preamp models

If you want to take things a step further and customize your tone, the Mooer PreAMP Live is the best preamp for guitar. It’s a fantastic pedalboard-friendly and budget-friendly preamp with a slew of features making it best preamp for electric guitar.

For years, Mooer has shook up the pedal industry with their amazing micro-sized clones. They provide a ‘game-changing’ digital preamp with the PreAMP Live that has outdone the competition. It has a 3-band and 12-channel workflow, as well as MIDI compatibility, full bypass, USB cable PC connectivity, and Bluetooth connectivity via the Mooer app.

Mooer gives nothing to the imagination with its vast array of amps, cabs, features, and settings. The M999 has 50 tube amp copies, 30 cab simulations with third-party IRs, and a preamp App and software. It’s made to meet all of the demands of a touring musician.

The 12 totally customisable amps are exact replicas of well-known tube amps. You can choose from pristine Fender tones to Brit-grit to Mesa tones, all of which can be paired with equally powerful cabs. The M999 is ideal for high-gain tones, especially when combined with the pre/post noise gate to reduce hiss.

By connecting any amp to the independent speaker cab simulators, you can unleash a torrent of sound. Other notable features include tone capture and press-down pre/post-boost in a machine that is jam-packed with innovation and possibilities. This is one of the best multi effects pedal for tube amp.

After all, it’s a cutting-edge preamp for today’s tech-savvy and tone-hungry musician. The proportions are rather substantial at 230 x 130 x 46mm (L x W x H). The 600mA power usage is the same. Despite this, it has a ton of features per square inch. If you don’t have enough room on your pedalboard, the M999 can still be used as a backup for a Kemper-style rig while on the road.

Mooer manages to develop a large pedal with more models and effects than any of its competitors with the PreAMP Live. This is a complete pedal with a basic display that hides the software’s limitless modifying options. However, there is a significant learning curve involved. It provides the required quality at a fair price tag if you enjoy diversity.

EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Guitar Effects Pedal

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EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Features a new enclosure, all-discrete analog ciruitry, top-mounted jacks, and silent relay-based switching
  • Designed for adding an additional channel of gain to your dirt pedals and brightening up neck pickups
  • Boosts midrange, tightens up low ends and makes top ends shine while driving your dirt into blooming sustain with excellent harmonics

If you’re looking for the easiest-to-use preamp pedal on the planet, I recommend EarthQuaker Devices’ Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Pedal. This true bypass soft switching preamp booster pedal includes a single Level knob and a footswitch.

The Arrows V2 is a fantastic preamplifier and booster pedal that can take you from clean to boosted tones. With the Arrows V2’s simple single knob, you can improve your definition and enhance your signal into the remainder of your chain.

To tighten up bass, increase mids, and provide superb clean tones, turn the knob clockwise. This redesigned version has a number of benefits, including top-mounted cable jacks and silent relay-based switching for improved comfort and durability. Arrows V2 is ideal for individuals looking for a gain booster or a harmonic enhancer that can be set and forget.

This is the one for you if you don’t need fancy features and only need a preamp pedal for its most basic purposes. It has no adjustable effects and only a level dial, making it perfect for novices without sacrificing usefulness. It is incredibly inexpensive and wonderfully compact due to its lack of fancy features. Place it next to your other pedals for a sound that features a boosted middle, rich and tight bottom frequencies, and crisp treble.

The EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 is a fantastic Preamp Booster Pedal that features a new soft and silent switching technology, True Bypass soft switching, and is handbuilt for life by EarthQuaker Devices’ pedal geniuses. This small marvel will allow you to increase gain and definition while enjoying bass, boosting mids, and adding a lot of shine.

Xotic BB Preamp V 1.5 Pedal

Xotic BB Preamp V 1.5 Pedal
  • Overdrive/Preamp Effects Pedal with Active 2-band EQ
  • Gain and Volume Controls
  • True Bypass

The Xotic Effects BB Preamp Pedal V 1.5 is an improved version of the popular BB Preamp Pedal. The BB uses a pre-gain stage to go from a very pure clean to a very smooth, compressed, overdriven sound, just like its predecessor.

The flagship BB Preamp was designed to replicate the classic Marshall Bluesbreaker tone that we discussed briefly in our Eric Clapton and the Woman Tone article. It’s a superb pedal preamp with overdrive that’s reminiscent of early blues and rock music’s subtle, distorted roughness.

When used with an overdriven amplifier, the V1.5 excels as a guitar preamp pedal and may also be used for that extra kick. If you’re concerned about size, the v1.5 has the smallest footprint of the pedals we’ve featured. It can also function without the use of electricity (using only the 9V battery). Regardless, it can give your tone a lot of master volume and fullness.

The 4-knob control panel, which comprises Volume, Gain, Treble, and Bass, helps with the majority of the tone-sculpting. The BB Preamp is a versatile resource that can be used as a preamp, clean drive, or post-dirt volume boost in any signal chain, offering a touch of grit to gnarly hot-rod distortion tones.

Xotic’s BB Preamp v1.5 is a “easy button” for a superb tone, with crunch on tap and a 30dB boost. The BB Pre can play a variety of roles, from pure transparent tones to hefty overdrive, making it a highly flexible pedal. In comparison to the rest, our ‘Budget Pick’ is usually a simpler and more economical option. Despite its low price, this one is every bit as genuine as the others.

Two Notes Le Lead 2-Channel Hi-Gain Tube Preamp Pedal

Two Notes Le Lead 2-Channel Hi-Gain Tube Preamp Pedal
  • 2-channel Tube Preamp Pedal with Cabinet Simulation
  • Headphone Output
  • 2 Footswitches

Two Points to Consider At its core, Le Lead is a dual-channel tube-driven pedal preamp that comes the closest to putting your rig on the floor. The two completely switchable independent preamps and a myriad of modern high-gain amp tones are the most notable features of this feature-rich, dual-channel pedal. Le Clean has analog circuitry and extensive onboard I/O capabilities, making it compatible with any electric guitar setup.

Preamp A and Preamp B are the two options available. The A and B channels have their own voicing and EQ and are totally self-contained. Clean tones and touch-responsive playing are voiced for Channel A, which simulates the sense of a guitar interacting with a real tube amp. The B-mode has a post-EQ with mid-sweep and is tight and gritty with focused lows. The fuzz, furious distortion, and high-gain tones it can produce will appeal to djent and metal players.

Aside from that, Le Lead has three more functions: a) direct connection to an amp via the ‘Thru Jack,’ b) direct connection to the board, and c) control of external devices via the MIDI in/out. The Wall of Sound III speaker simulation VST plugin adds to the pedal’s capabilities. There are 16 cabinets in the free version, including several well-known British and American brands.

After auditioning the cabs, you can purchase them via in-app purchase. The free amps, on the other hand, provide plenty of alternatives for great computer and studio recordings. Le Lead is a very capable floor-rig that doesn’t encroach on your playing habits, regardless of function or setup.

Two Tone’s Le Lead is a beast in a box if you want a high-gain tube preamp in a cutting-edge pedal. In all of its stage and studio uses, this 2-channel pedal is versatile, durable, and impressive. It’s perfect for practice sessions because it has a cab simulation and a headphone out. It’s a great choice for anyone looking to imitate cab tones, utilize it as a backup amp, or greatly broaden their tone-shaping options with an easy-to-use, great-sounding preamp pedal. This is the best tube preamp guitar pedal.

Orange Terror Stamp 20W Valve Hybrid Guitar Amp Pedal

Orange Terror Stamp 20W Valve Hybrid Guitar Amp Pedal
  • 20W Hybrid Guitar Amplifier Head with Shape Control
  • Cab Sim Headphone Output
  • Speaker Output

Orange makes a variety of high-gain, warm-sounding amplifiers that are synonymous with the British guitar sound that stormed American shores in the 1960s. Many of their best amplifier tones are now available in a pedal style with the Terror Stamp.

A built-in effects loop is also included with the Terror Stamp. This is ideal for guitarists who don’t have amplifiers that allow them to do so. If you need to isolate particular pedals from the signal chain for enhanced clarity and performance, having the option of an effects loop is always handy.

The Orange Terror Stamp is a guitar preamp pedal that also functions as an amp simulator. It has a lot of tone and dynamic-shaping options, ranging from subtle and warm to forceful and rough. This is the best preamp pedal for metal.

Catalinbread Epoch Boost Preamp/Buffer

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Catalinbread Epoch Boost Pedal, Multi (CatEpochBoost)
  • Sounds like your base tone, but sculpted to perfection by a mastering engineer
  • Same internal circuitry as a real EP-3, from the NOS Orange Drop capacitors to the output mixer stage that acts as a rudimentary frequency...
  • We’ve taken the liberty of kicking the internal voltage all the way up to 22 volts, just like the original unit, giving you unparalleled headroom...

At its core, the Epoch EP3 is the best echoplex preamp pedal with a circuit housed in a metal case. It recreates the brilliance of the EP-3 Echoplex with the JFET preamp and buffer — all in a compact two-knob unit, unlike the other pedals in this roundup. The EP3 premap isn’t designed for tone shaping like other pedal preamps. It’s all about the EP-3 Echoplex’s loud, lively tone, which enthralled Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Duane Allman, and a long list of guitar legends. When it came to recreating the original EP3 preamp, Catalinbread wasted no expense.

One of the simplest methods to change the tone of your clean or overdrive guitar is to use this stompbox. While it can be used as a plug-and-play preamp, it excels as a mastering processor when placed at the end of your chain.

The Catalinbread Epoch EP3 is the most straightforward technique to achieve the Echoplex tone hue. If you haven’t tried it yet, this pedal will give you every incentive to do so. The EP3, on the other hand, isn’t about adaptability. It’s a straightforward stompbox with one goal in mind: to amp up your tone like nothing else. And it does so in the most captivating way possible.

Strymon Iridium Amp and IR Cab Simulator Pedal

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

Iridium continues Strymon’s tradition of making game-changing stompboxes. It’s elegant, simple to use, and provides a wide range of realistic amp and cabinet options using cutting-edge simulation. The cost, as well as the requirement for 500mA power, may prevent some. However, if you incorporate the Strymon Iridium into your pedalboard, you can expect a lot of flavor with minimal effort. It may be used as a ‘before-amp’ pedal to feed the cabs, or it can be connected directly to a PA system for performances, or it can be used as an Amp/cab modeler for studio recordings. In a nutshell, it’s a tiny stompbox with variety, convenience, power, and finely created tones.

Iridium comes with three modeled amps and three cabs-on-demand for each amp. Each amp features its own drive, reverb, and a 3-band EQ to further shape the tone. If that wasn’t enough, you may use Strymon’s Impulse Manager software to replace all onboard cabs with numerous Impulse Response cabinet alternatives.

The three modes are inspired by vintage amplifiers. The Round amp (Fender Deluxe), Chime (Vox AC30), and Punch are among them (100W Marshall Super Lead). Having to lug any of things around is a lot more work. The Iridium, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense pedal that does an excellent job of simulating their signature sounds.

You can utilize a MIDI remote control and an assignable expression pedal to alter the parameters. You can practice with a headphone while having the luxury of a full rig in only a few square inches of your pedalboard. You can keep it in your accessories bag and use it at live events or studios to perform directly into the mixer.

Diezel Herbert Two Channel Overdrive and Preamp Guitar Effects Pedal

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Diezel Herbert Two Channel Overdrive and Preamp Guitar Effects Pedal
  • All analog pedal based on the legendary Herbert Amp
  • Two ways to achieve the Diezel tone
  • Works as either an overdrive effect or as a stand-alone preamp

You can achieve the famed power, articulation, and gain that marked the Herbert, the famous Diezel’s all-tube amp head, with the Diezel Herbert Pedal 2-channel. All of Herbert’s performances are now available in a stompbox enclosure. The Diezel Herbert Pedal is a complete control layout overdrive and preamplifier effect pedal for electric guitar featuring bass, middle, treble, deep, presence, and a foot-switchable mid-cut circuit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Preamp Pedal do?

Gain circuits are also included in preamp pedals to produce overdriven tones. Many instances have EQ controls, allowing users to modify their sounds in a recognizable way. Most preamp pedals are solid-state audio equipment to offer greater dependability and longevity.

Some models come with more comprehensive control sets, allowing you to fine-tune your tones to perfection. Within the preamp pedal market, there is a lot of variety. Some of them, like amplifiers that enable you rotary switch between different sounds, can have several channels.

Can I use an Amp as a Preamp?

No, you can’t use an amplifier as a preamp. A preamplifier increases weak signals to line level, whereas an amp boosts the line level such that it can be heard through speakers. Although their functions are similar, you can’t substitute an amp with a preamp.

Although a preamplifier is a sort of amplifier, it cannot be replaced with a guitar amp unless the amp has inputs that are suitable with the type and volume of signal the preamplifier was designed to handle.

Do I need a Preamp and an Amp?

It would be beneficial if you could always connect and hear your guitar through a guitar amplifier. A guitar preamp pedal, on the other hand, is useful equipment, but it is optional, and you must determine whether or not you need it. To make this decision, keep in mind that having a second preamplifier comes in handy when you need extra aid tailoring your sound to the stage.

A decent guitar preamplifier can fill in the gaps and work in tandem with your amplifier to give you the greatest sound possible. If your amp doesn’t have parametric EQ, some preamps feature built-in EQ that allows you to tune your sound even further.