Top 7 Best Guitar Amplifiers Under $500 – Best of The Mid-Range Segment

The-Best-Amps-Under-500
Last Updated Apr-20-2017. Guitar amplifiers found in this price range are ranked among the most popular ones on the market. They are affordable enough that both enthusiasts and professionals on a budget can afford them, yet they are packed with power. If your budget is hovering right around this mark, and you are looking for a solid amp, you are in the right place. Today we are going to take a look at what we think are the top 8 best guitar amplifiers under $500 at the moment.

We have included both combos and heads, considering that this a segment where we start seeing some pretty decent heads, as you are about to find out for yourself. As a matter of fact, we highly encourage you to pay closer attention to the heads. These are much more versatile than similar solutions found in the $300 range. Without further ado, let’s get right down to it and see which models made the cut.

Top 7 Best Guitar Amplifiers Under $500:

ImageGuitar Amplifier / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Peavey 6505 MH Micro Peavey 6505 MH Micro

Total of 4.90/5   4.90 Stars

A Smaller version of the well-known 6505 that sounds just as good.

+ - Blackstar HT-5R Blackstar HT-5R

Total of 4.88/5   4.88 Stars

One of the best balanced all-tube practice combos available on the market.

+ - Vox AC4 Classic Limited Edition Vox AC4 Classic Limited Edition

Total of 4.80/5   4.80 Stars

The spirit and sound of AC30 packed into a compact practice amp.

+ - Egnater Tweaker Egnater Tweaker

Total of 4.85/5   4.85 Stars

A truly boutique tube tone in a segment dominated by solid-state amps.

+ - Orange Amplifiers Crush Pro CR120H Orange Amplifiers Crush Pro CR120H

Total of 4.78/5   4.78 Stars

This puppy is a true solid-state workhorse from a well-known British brand.

+ - Boss Katana Head Boss Katana Head

Total of 4.78/5   4.78 Stars

A well-rounded amp, delivering just a perfect balance of power and versatility

+ - Line 6 Spider V 240HC Line 6 Spider V 240HC

Total of 4.77/5   4.77 Stars

A whole lot of output combined with great versatility and built-in speakers.

Peavey 6505 MH Micro

Peavey 6505 MH Micro

Controls:4.8 Stars
Features:4.9 Stars
Performance:5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

Peavey's 6505 head was, and still is the staple of heavier genres. Metal wouldn't really be what it is today without this amplifier. With that said, when Peavey announced the release of 6505 MH Micro, a scaled-down version of the big daddy we all love so much, the hype was almost too hard to contain. Coming in at 20 Watts of power, this smaller version of a legendary amplifier brings the very same type of tone that's hard to replicate using a different brand. While some might find it underpowered, 20 Watts from the 6505 MH Micro definitely sound louder than they should. In combination with a decent 4x12, you can get a legendary tone right in your bedroom.

Blackstar HT-5R

Blackstar HT-5R

Controls:4.9 Stars
Features:4.8 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

When Blackstar first released their HT-5R, the market was already saturated with a whole variety of compact tube combos. However, Blackstar's design offered a rather impressive combination of power, performance, and price. Things haven't changed much since then, and it has managed to retain its position on the market. With 5 Watts of power, a great speaker and an even better choice of tubes, HT-5R is still one of the best choices in its category. The tone you get resembles that vintage valve vibe, although you are presented with a pretty versatile tone-shaping potential. Overall, this amp is hard to match. It might not be packed full of features, but the core of its design guarantees a solid performance.

Vox AC4 Classic Limited Edition

Vox AC4 Classic Limited Edition

Controls:4.7 Stars
Features:4.6 Stars
Performance:5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

The shoes left behind by AC30 are quite hard to fill, especially when you are looking at a compact, 4 Watt amp such as the AC4 Classic Limited Edition. However, when it comes down to the pure tone, you will find that this amp offers a window back in time. Vox has managed to pack the AC30's identity into a practice amp that costs a mere fraction of the price. With a 12 Inch custom voiced Celestion, you are looking at a decent output and quality of sound. Everything about the AC4 Classic Limited Edition projects its no-nonsense nature. From a clean and simple control panel to its exterior design. It is a true piece of rock history on a budget.

Egnater Tweaker

Egnater Tweaker

Controls:4.8 Stars
Features:4.9 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

Egnater's Tweaker head is one of the most interesting heads you can find in this price range. Not only does it bring you a genuine tube tone, but it does so with a boutique circuitry. Egnater has selected some pretty sweet tubes for this model, which really come to life when you start pushing some gain into the signal. One of the best things about the Tweaker is the amount of unorthodox tone shaping controls it comes with. You can dial in a classic vintage tube tone, but that is only scratching the surface. Power output is limited to some 15 Watts, which makes it a great practice and recording head. Overall, Egnater's Tweaker is a great affordable boutique solution.

Orange Amplifiers Crush Pro CR120H

Orange Amplifiers Crush Pro CR120H

Controls:4.8 Stars
Features:4.7 Stars
Performance:4.9 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars

Orange Amplifiers, a well-known British brand, has given us some of the wildest tube rigs we have today. However, their solid state series are not too far behind. Orange Amplifiers Crush Pro CR120H is a perfect example of what a proper head of this type should be like. Loads of output, great quality of tone and great versatility are all features that define this unit. Those who are looking to get a reliable and durable head for gigging or studio practice can definitely find an answer in Crush Pro Cr120H. All you have to do is find it a decent speaker cabinet to deliver the tone, and you are pretty much set. Finally, this head is very well priced.

Boss Katana Head

Boss Katana Head

Controls:4.8 Stars
Features:4.7 Stars
Performance:4.7 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

Boss, the brand that has given us reliable and quality guitar effects pedals for decades, also has a thing or two to show when it comes to amps. Their Katana series offer a perfect fusion of power, versatility and overall quality. Katana Head we are looking at here is a 100 Watt unit packed with some of their best amp emulations and effects. Compact, easy to use and well priced, this is exactly the type of an amplifier a performing guitar player can use. Especially if they are on a tight budget. On top of that, Katana also features an acoustic mode, allowing you to plug in your acoustic electric guitar and have a more than a decent quality of tone.

Line 6 Spider V 240HC

Line 6 Spider V 240HC

Controls:4.8 Stars
Features:4.9 Stars
Performance:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

When it comes to versatile solid state amps, only a few companies can even comeclose to Line 6. This type of amplifier is their bread and butter. Line 6 Spider V 240HC is a perfect example of what kind of power, innovation, and diversity this brand is capable of packing into a single package. Not only does it come crammed with over 200 effects, amps and cab emulations, but they have also built in presets inspired by a variety of popular guitarists. Those who don't have a speaker cab, or can't budget one at the moment, will appreciate the fact that this thing comes with built-in speakers. Bang for the buck, Spider V 240HC is a real bargain.

Why Getting An $500 Amp Is a Good Idea?

One question that comes to mind of anyone looking to get an amp in this price range, is why not just save up and get a $1000 one? After all, that’s where the best of the best is, right? Well, yes and no. One of the best known unwritten rules of purchasing anything guitar related is to always get the best you can. In that sense, saving up for a more expensive amp makes perfect sense.

However, there are two important reasons why a $500 amplifier might be a better choice. First and foremost, not everyone has a grand to spend on guitar equipment. As a matter of fact, even half of that is too much for some people. Following that rule we just talked about, a $500 amplifier is going to be the best some can afford. The other thing to consider is what application you have in mind for that amp. If you are just looking for a practice rig to keep at home or in your studio, investing a thousand dollars might be an overkill. There is a large number of guitar players who have the financial backing to make that kind of decision but simply aren’t ready to commit purely out of practical reasons.

A $500 guitar amp is going to be the happy medium for most users. That is simply a fact. It is also worth mentioning that a lot of the amps listed above are heads, meaning that you have to get a speaker cab as well. In other words, another expense you need to keep in mind.

What Should I Get If I Gig Often?

An amp head. It is much more practical, and will probably offer a better output. When you are going from a venue to a venue, chances are they have their own speaker cabs. In that case, all you have to do is bring the head with you. Being lighter than combos, amp heads are going to be much easier to carry around where necessary. Also, this is the price range where some seriously good heads start appearing.

Conclusion

The amps we have shown you today are models which we think represent the best in their respective categories. We have included some tube models, solid-state, and modeling amps, all of which come in both the head and combo format. Finding on that works for you shouldn’t be too hard.


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