Help me choose an amp!

Pat Winters

Hey everyone,

I just upgraded my guitar (Schecter E1 Evil Twin) and I figure it's time to upgrade my amp as well (Line 6 Spider IV 15). I'd love to get your thoughts/opinions/advice.

A bit about me: I'm solely a bedroom player. No band, no recording, just playing for myself in my (small) room. I really don't use many effects at all, I'm not constantly changing levels to find the perfect tone (I've been using the same clean and distorted EQs since I got the amp a few years ago), and overall, I generally prefer simplicity. With that being said, I am not opposed to getting an amp with some fun features and effects that add to its versatility. Ideally, I wouldn't spend (much) more than $200. All I'm really looking for here is a beautiful clean tone and great distortion for metal (Metallica, Megadeth, Black Dahlia Murder, etc).

I've done some research and these are what I'm looking at:

Line 6 Spider V 30 MKII
Boss Katana 50 watt MK I
Boss Katana Mini
Peavey Vypyr VIP 1
Blackstar ID:15 TVP
Blackstar HT-1R
Yamaha THR10x

To be honest, I'm really not a tone snob and I think I'm leaning towards the Peavy Vypyr. The price is right, it has a ton of features, and people seem to be generally impressed with its tone and quality. If you have any thoughts or opinions on any of the amps (or others), I'd be very glad to hear them. Thank you very much!


Alan P.

I would get a modeler to try out the different simulations to help you decide which tone you want. I have Positive Grid Bias amp software and then a few weeks ago I have the Positive Grid Spark practice amp unit. I developed a liking for the Hiwatt sound and would buy one if they ever were available again and I had tons of money.

Andrew. L

Check out the PRS Tremonti, MT15.


Its a 15/7 watt tube amp.  Sounds great at very low volume.  Has great cleans and sounds like a rectifier on steroids.  


If you are looking to play blues music, check out this list. I would say that you can't go wrong with a Blackstar ID. I would say go with a Blackstar Core Stereo.

Whiteknuckle Deathgrip

The yamaha thr sounds like you have a miced up speaker cab next door, that you are monitoring through 2x5" speakers.

I had a Katana 50, mkI, and they're great amps, not just for the money. They have a weak speaker for loud band practice, but if you're never gonna crank it up super often, it doesn't really matter.

HT-1 has zero effects and 1 watt tube amps are weird.

I'd love to try a Vypyr, as it's pretty interesting being analog distortion circuit with fx. But it might be too much power in a small room. The katana 50 has that 0.5 watt setting that is great for low volume.

I've heard great thing about the Blackstar ID:TVP stuff. They supposedly sound great.




I have a similar playing situation, currently enjoying a Boss Katana Artist - a friend let me borrow his Katana 100 for a weekend a year or so ago and I really connected with it - I would have been happy to go with any amp from the Katana range.  I play at home, and have limited space for gear -although the amp is quite big (more in that in a mo), the flexibility and inbuilt effects are so good.  Most importantly, really can plug in and play - rather avoid endless tweaking and not actually playing - con honestly say I’ve never had an amp that works like the Katana.  I have a few patches and pre-sets but mostly just go with the panel.  They really are worth the praise!

Before my Katana, had a Yamaha THR (too small sounding, and found some effects options amazing but others underwhelming), a Blackstar (never really got a tone I liked and found the software complicated), a vintage Fender tweed (nice cleans but not for metal) - I still have this and will always, and a Marshall sold state (can’t remember the model number but never got a sound that did it for me).  Tried a few small valve amps but way too loud and not realistic for my space (and not tolerant neighbors).  An attenuator might help and a few pedals but I usually play then pack up and until I can set up some place...

Back to the Boss, great at low volumes, 0.5 watt setting, headphones, and although it is sizeable, the bigger 12” speaker in the 50 and 100 makes the difference - the smaller speakers often sound boxy. Katana also real nice with acoustic. 

Felix K.

I have a Boss Katana 50 watt MK I, as the post above me said, it's great if you're not gonna crank it up since they're too weak for this. This makes it bad when trying to play for other people. Otherwise a great amp for the money IMO.

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