Top 10 Best Mini Guitar Amplifiers 2017
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Top 10 Best Mini Guitar Amplifiers 2017

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

Throughout recording history, some of the biggest, most iconic tones came from tiny amplifiers. Many of them were little Fenders, like Eric Clapton’s tone on “Layla”. Dave Davies of The Kinks used a pawn shop Elpico amp for “You Really Got Me” and Jimmy Page often recorded with a cheap Valco. When it comes to capturing searing tone, you don’t always need muscle.

If most of the amps in our small combo amp post were still too loud for your needs, you’re in luck. There are a handful of great tiny amps on the market that will give you some semblance of their larger siblings’ tone without getting you evicted. Almost all of the time-honored flavors are covered, and often at price points low enough that you could get several for the price of a larger amp.

These little tone machines range from the one-watt, battery-powered desktop amp to lunchbox stack heads. All of these options are exceptional for recording, giving you a focused sound that is easy to capture. For natural breakup, it’s hard to beat these tiny things, which can be driven hard without the need for extreme volumes. They can generally be run into the front of other amps for an overdrive effect that could be more authentic-sounding than some pedals. They’re also excellent for practice.

Perhaps the most important takeaway from these is that they’re fun. Even if you don’t find your ideal guitar tone, messing around with these, building stereo rigs and miniature walls of amplifiers, is just enjoyable for any tone chaser. It’s a lot less fussy than tuning in amp models on your DAW, anyway. It should probably be noted that most of these don’t include reverb and can be quite dry, so you might want to grab a pedal to handle that part for you. They’re also super easy to give as gifts, so consider these for the musician in your life.

Looking for mini amp heads? Those are right over here.

If you’re in the market for a tiny tone machine, consider our list of the top ten best mini guitar amplifiers.


1. Fender Mini Deluxe

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Fender)

Modeled after the excellent Hot Rod Deluxe, this little dude will save you about $700. Okay, not quite, since you certainly can’t go gigging with it. Still, it provides an inexpensive jolt of Fender tone in a super-compact size. It even comes with the chickenhead knobs and jewel light, for the detail-oriented. It can be run off a battery or a 9V DC adapter.

For more Fender-y goodness, consider the ’57 Mini Twin Tweed or the Tone-Master versions. Both have the same controls and the same power. Maybe buy all three and rotate them.

Price: $29.95

Buy the Fender Mini Deluxe here.



Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery or DC input
  • Wattage: 1 watt
  • Controls: Gain, Tone, Volume
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Fender Mini Deluxe information and reviews here.



2. Danelectro N10B Honey Tone

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Danelectro)

The Honey Tone was the first mini amp I was ever introduced to. Someone had removed the H, Y, and last E to make it read One Ton. For an amp of this size, it’s approximately one ton of sound, so that’s fitting. This thing screams in comparison to similarly-sized amps, packed as it is with ten watts. While it will do clean and has an overdrive, the magic of this one is just turning it up past three and using the naturally compressed speaker sound. It’s a driven distortion tone that can be quite pleasing. Especially useful into the front of a bigger amp when the situation allows for it. Otherwise, use the belt clip to wander around while you practice. It’s also available in aqua and black, if you need to match your other gear.

If you like where this is headed but want a little more, the Danelectro DH-1 Hodad starts with the same basic tone, but adds a second speaker, echo, and vintage-style tremolo. A very tiny ’60s machine.

Price: $22.95

Buy the Danelectro N10B Honey Tone here.



Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery or DC input
  • Wattage: 10 watts
  • Controls: Volume, Tone, Overdrive
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Danelectro N10B Honey Tone information and reviews here.



3. Vox MINI 3 G2

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Vox)

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed that the price on this one is considerably higher than the first two. That’s true. But this is quite a lot more than just your average mini amp. This is a full-fledged modeling amplifier complete with eleven amp tones, effects, a tuner and a mic in. You could plug this directly into your recording interface and have a complete guitar tone solution. At three watts, this will be plenty loud enough to practice with, while giving you more than enough power for excellent recordings.

Amp models include three Fender-style, two Vox AC amps, three Marshall-style, two Mesa Boogie styles, and a line level. Effects include compression, chorus, flanger, and tremolo, as well as analog delay, tape delay, spring reverb, and room reverb. The tuner switch doubles as a tap tempo for setting the delay time. It even comes with a Vox-branded speaker, and will last ten hours on battery power. It’s a pretty incredible little machine.

This is the black version, but it’s also available in classic Vox coloring and Ivory.

Price: $119.99

Buy the Vox MINI 3 G2 here.



Specs:

  • Power: 6 AA batteries or DC input
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Controls: Gain, Tone, Volume, Amp Model, Effects, Delay/Reverb, Mic in Trim, Mic in Send, Tuner/Tap Tempo
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Vox MINI 3 G2 information and reviews here.



4. Blackstar FLY3

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Blackstar)

Blackstar is well known for providing huge tones at reasonable prices all throughout their range. They’re also good at producing lower wattage amps that are ideal for home and studio use. This battery-powered combo is no different. It punches way above its weight class when it comes to tone, providing both a clean and dirty channel in combination with Blackstar’s ISF tone control. The ISF is designed to model American sounds (Fender cleans and Peavey overdrive) at one end, and British style (Marshall) at the other. It also includes a digitally modeled tape delay, with controls for level and time.

The combo itself sounds pretty good, but you can pair it with the FLY 103 extension cabinet to get even more out of it. The included three-inch speaker is voiced so that you can use it as a portable speaker for any device, while the headphone jack out is emulated for direct-in use. The line in is wired in such a way that the drive and delay don’t color your backing track.

If black doesn’t do it for you, it’s available in cream and, well, why not, Union Jack.

Price: $57 (5 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Blackstar FLY3 here.



Specs:

  • Power: 6 AA batteries or DC input
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, ISF EQ, Overdrive switch, Delay, Delay Level
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Blackstar FLY3 information and reviews here.



5. Marshall MS4 Mini Micro Full Stack

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Marshall)

Who hasn’t wanted to stand in front of a wall of dimed Marshall stacks? Well, now you can and you won’t even get arrested for it. For the price of an equivalent ’59 Plexi full stack, you could pick up 76 of these little guys. Or just get one and enjoy Marshall-like tone in this tiny package. The Plexi is best when cranked all the way up, and this is your opportunity to do just that. This full mini stack emulates the compressed, singing distortion tone that made Marshall famous. It doesn’t have quite the bells and whistles as the others on this list, but it’s pretty neat, nevertheless. There’s a pull-out stand in the back so you can angle it up for better sound projection. The headphone jack is a preamp out for recording and plugging into bigger amps.

If you’re feeling modest, you can get the half-stack MS2 instead.

Price: $64.99

Buy the Marshall MS4 Mini Micro Full Stack here.



Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery
  • Wattage: 1 watt
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, Tone
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Marshall MS4 Mini Micro Full Stack information and reviews here.



6. EVH 5150 Micro Stack

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(EVH)

Very much in the style of the Marshall above, this EVH-inspired micro stack will help you dial in those Van Halen tones while you work up your covers. Based on the 5150 50 watt mini head, the cleans on this are actually fairly chime-y. The drive is convincingly derived of something Eddie Van Halen-esque, so it could be a good option for some players. Like the Marshall, it includes a kickstand for sound projection.

Price: $49.99

Buy the EVH 5150 Micro Stack here.



Specs:

  • Power: 9V battery
  • Wattage: 1 watt
  • Controls: Gain, Volume, Tone
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more EVH 5150 Micro Stack information and reviews here.



7. Roland Micro Cube M-CUBE-GX

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Roland)

Like the Vox above, this Roland unit is a full-fledged modeling amp. While it lacks the tap tempo option of the Vox, it makes up for it with a Memory function, which will save and recall your favorite setting at any time. Use it on battery power as a practice amp, or as an extremely versatile guitar preamp for recording situations.

There are eight amp models, including Roland’s legendary JC-120. The eight effects include chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, octave, delay, and reverb. It has an on-board tuner and an i-Cube/auxiliary input. This should give you plenty of options for practice, but excels in the recording space.

Price: $149

Buy the Roland Micro Cube M-CUBE-GX here.



Specs:

  • Power: 6 AA batteries or Roland DC input
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Controls: Amp Type, Effects, Delay/Reverb, Tuner, Gain, Volume, Tone, Master, Memory
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Roland Micro Cube M-CUBE-GX information and reviews here.



8. Boss Katana-Mini Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Boss)

Part of the newly-released modeling Katana amps from Boss, this little machine contains a few of the voices found on its larger siblings. This starts with a three-way amp style selector switch that allows you to choose between Brown, Crunch, and Clean. These are made up of an analog gain circuit which is then shaped by an analog tone stack. Rather than supply a bunch of on-board effects, Boss pared it down to a tape style delay. This is great for adding a little ambiance and sets it apart from other offerings that might only feature reverb in its place.

While you can run in on a standard nine volt adapter, you can also use six AA batteries for up to seven hours. For the price of a Boss pedal, you can sample the voicing Boss has put into this excellent line of amps.

Price: $99.99

Buy the Boss Katana-Mini Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier here.



Specs:

  • Power: 6 AA batteries or 9V adapter
  • Wattage: 7 watts
  • Controls: Amp Type, Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble, Delay Time, Delay Level
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Boss Katana-Mini Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier information and reviews here.



9. Orange CR3 Micro Crush

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Orange)

Naturally, Orange also dabble in the mini combo amp market, offering this charming little beast. Like its larger Crush brethren (mentioned in both our small combo amp post and best bass combo amps), you get a built-in tuner and an overdrive “channel”. Three watts drive the three-inch speaker, and the unit can be powered by the included adapter or by 9V battery. All the typical Orange details are here from the tolex to the grill to the familiar crunch.

Price: $69

Buy the Orange CR3 Micro Crush here.



Specs:

  • Power: DC input or 9V battery
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Controls: Volume, Tone, Overdrive, Tuner
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Orange CR3 Micro Crush information and reviews here.



10. Yamaha THR5 10-Watt Desktop Guitar Combo Amp

mini amp, mini amplifier, micro amp, mini guitar amp, cheap guitar amps, marshall mini stack, portable amplifier

(Yamaha)

As a commenter notes, the Yamaha THR10 Mini Guitar Amplifier is a pretty amazing mini amp. I haven’t included it in this post because it’s fully $100 more than the most expensive model here. Fortunately, Yamaha have also given us a little brother that’s a little closer to being in the price bracket for amps like these, though the price is still pretty steep.

Nevertheless, there’s plenty to love and dig into here, so it could well be worth the money. This is a fully-featured modeling amp, squarely aimed to conquer the Roland and Vox options above. This is loaded with five amp models — Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brit Hi, and Modern — as well as ten effects that includes all the usual suspects. When using the delay effects, you can tap in your tempo using the dual-function button on the left that can also be held down to access the chromatic tuner. All the effects and models can be edited on a computer and loaded via the included USB cable. With a total output of ten watts via two drivers, this is a complete solution that will give you a large amount of flexibility.

Price: $199.99

Buy the Yamaha THR5 10-Watt Desktop Guitar Combo Amp here.



Specs:

  • Power: AC adapter or AA batteries
  • Wattage: 10 watts
  • Controls: Amp Model, Gain, Master, Tone, Effect, Delay/Reverb, Volume, Tap Tempo/Tuner
  • Output: On-board speaker or headphones

Find more Yamaha THR5 10-Watt Desktop Guitar Combo Amp information and reviews here.



For the most part, these are meant to be fun more than anything else. For more serious practice applications, check out our best small combo amps post here. For gigging purposes, try our best gigging amps under $1,000.


Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
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1 Comment

Anonymous

The Yamaha THR10 series amps blow most of these out of the water.

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