Last Update Apr 2017 – As far as guitar amplifiers go, it is no secret that tube models are the way to go. These amps blow those cheaper solid-state amps clear out of the water, so if you want the finest sound, getting a tube amplifier is an obvious choice.
And this doesn’t apply just to gig amps, but to smaller house amps as well. Even in small packages, the power of tubes is more than evident, so if you want to keep that raw, organic, and power-loaded sound by your side at all times, we advice getting the best tube practice amp money can buy.
So we took the liberty of sifting through today’s market in an attempt to find such products. Out thorough search yielded three top-notch amplifiers, make sure to check them out in the rundown below.
How to find the best tube practice amp?
We’ll kick things off with a classy guy known as the Bugera BC15. This amp is on the affordable side, yet packs a strong sound and gorgeous looks.
A mere glance at this puppy proves that we are looking at a serious piece of equipment, while a mere glance at the price tag, proves that we are looking at a serious piece of bargain.
The amp offers up to 30 watts of power delivered through a single 8 inch vintage-tuned speaker. It packs a hand-picked 12AX7 tube, and a distinctive vintage design, along with a two-channel tube preamp with wide-range gain control for extra-fat sounds with all the pickup types. Also included in the mix is a dedicated two-band EQ control, along with a mid-shift button for extra audio shaping.
Other notable features include A 1/4 inch TRS jack for connecting an external playback device such as an Mp3 player, a CD player, or a tape deck, allowing you to play along with pre-recorded tracks. Another important part is an on-board headphone jack for silent practice hours.
The sound is quite natural, sleek and organic. Although the amp utilizes just one tune, you can most definitely feel the roar there, driven by a strong middle section, buzzing basses and cutting higher registry.
While occasional crackle might occur at higher volumes, the amp is powerful enough for you to never need those in house environment, not to mention that for the listed price you can hardly get audio quality of this level.
Up next is a bit of a hidden gem of this domain, a fella known as the Defender V15. Coming from Kustom Amps, this is a heck of a deal at this price range. It has vintage looks reminiscent to classic Fender amplifiers, while the sound is also more on the vintage side.
The amp delivers 15 watts of power presented through a single 10 inch Celestion speaker. Powered by an EL-84, the amp utilizes standard Volume and Tone controls, along with a set of standard sonic controls, and a four position EQ low-frequency response control for American to British low end response and blended settings in-between.
Also included in the mix is a 1/4 power switch, multiple impedance operation and transformer, as well as an XLR balanced line out with ground lift.
The thing we recommend doing with this fella is removing the stock amp as soon as it arrives and packing it with something more powerful, like Sovtek 5751 GE and two Mullard’s EL84, or a pack of Tung-Sol EL84s and a Tung-Sol 12AX7.
With this minute switch, you will get a freshened-up amp that roars and purrs like a genuine beast.
Pretty good, we have to say. This amp has everything one would expect from a small tube amp, but if you go the extra mile and make that tube switch, you will get a whole new dimension of crunch and punch.
Regardless of the tube change, this is a great deal for the price.
And now let’s fire up the big guns with the mighty Blackstar HTSTUD20C! This company makes some of the finest tube amps for guitars in the world at the moment, and this is your ticket to that globally-renowned sound in a small package.
The amp offers 20 watts of power through a single 12-inch speaker. It utilizes the following tube combo – 2 x ECC83 (12AX7) plus 2 x EL34 Power Tubes, while offering the player with a digital reverb option and a set of two channels – Clean with Volume and Tone controls, and Overdrive with Gain, Volume, and OD Select controls.
Also included in the mix is exclusive ISF control, and emulated speaker output, a Footswitch controller for shifting between channels, and series effects loop. All of the components and features are of utmost high quality, you really get what you paid for here.
When you hear professional guitar players praising the tube sound across every corner of the galaxy, they are talking about the sonic attack of amps like this one.
Incredibly clear, with a strong roar that sounds so organic and natural, with zero “fake” digital sound, you can just feel the sound resonating through those powerful tubes and warming up the space around the amplifier.
It’s one of those things in music that give you the chills, and in our humble opinion, is worth every penny. Amazing stuff right here!
Conclusion – Best tube practice amp
Thus, in a nutshell, these are all strong contenders for the title of the best tube practice amp in the world right now. They all pack a heck of a punch, they all sound great, and they all qualify as one of those few items that you simply cannot regret purchasing.
As long as you are in need of small amp with tubes, these are three of the best picks you can make. Now the only thing left to do is to jot down your personal preferences, needs, and spending budget, and treat yourself to one of these fine gentlemen as early as today. Highly recommended, a major thumbs up from here!