And one of the best way to get a hold of extra flavor is through pedals. And to get the best sound out of your pedal, you will absolutely need a proper amp.
So, what makes an amp good for pedal use? Well, it needs to be as effect-free as possible, and as clean as possible. If you want your pedals to take on the dominant sonic role, you will need an amp that will be able to transfer the effect without distorting it or interfering with it.
With than in mind, we decided to embark on a quest of bringing you the best amp for pedals on the market. We have 4 items to offer that meet the listed criteria while offering the best possible quality, durability, and value for money.
Fender Super Champ X2
- Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt 1x10-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
- Price: $399.99
- Price as of 11/24/2020 06:50 PST(more info about ad)
Let’s say this right from the get-go – Fender is the best brand to choose from here, and Fender is the company you are least likely to go wrong with when choosing the best amp for pedals.
And our top contender from the Fender boys is the Super Champ X2 model, a compact, concise, and sonically clean amplifier that can work like a charm with just about any pedal.
This product falls into budget friendly-price range. It sports a set of powerful tubes that make those 15 watts of power seem like so much more. The mix includes a set of two 6V6 tubes and one 12AX7 preamp tube, along with a 10-inch Fender Special Design speaker to deliver the groove.
The amp has a set of two standard channels and sticks to the “basic yet highly efficient” motto. This is a great amp on its own, albeit not too versatile. But when backed with a proper pedal board, it will deliver the vibe of those effects in the best way possible.
- Marshall MG102CFX MG Series 100-Watt 2x12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
- Price as of 11/23/2020 13:58 PST(more info about ad)
In the mid-range price category, we bring you the Marshall MG102CFX. You might instantly say that Marshal makes rock amps, and we absolutely agree. If you are primarily a rocker or a fuzz lover but also like to infuse that rock vibe with a healthy dose of effects like so many guitar icons do, this fella is a fine choice.
The amp (see full specs) presents quite a healthy load of distortion but still leaves the sonic output clear and sharp, with more than enough room for experimentation with effects. It comes with 100 watts of power delivered through a pair of 12-inch speakers, four programmable channels, and an Mp3 input.
This solid state amp also comes with a set of effects of its own but is still incredibly versatile in all modes. This means you can easily shut down the on-board effects and fully rely on your pedal board, which is actually the approach we recommend.
Peavey Bandit 112 Transtube
- Peavey Bandit 112 Guitar Combo Amp
- Price: $449.94
- Price as of 11/24/2020 06:50 PST(more info about ad)
Back to the affordable options; if you don’t want to get a Fender and you want to stay within the budget-friendly domain, get this guy: Peavey Bandit 112 Transtube.
Once again, we’re looking at a very clear sound, elegant looks, and a sleek style. This is one of those amps that deliver the very essence of your instrument and your playing by doing exactly what the name suggests – amplifying you. No sonic interference, no crackling, no unnecessary uninvited effects, just your sound.
This way, you have the winning candidate for pedal use. The amp offers up to 100 watts of power through a single 12 inch Blue Marvel speaker. It offers exceptional reliability and durability, and a sound that’s as close a solid state amp can get to a tube device as possible.
As a matter of fact, that’s what the manufacturer invested into the most here – getting the tube sound. Somehow they pulled it off, and while the Bandit is obviously not a tube amp, its sound can be deceptive, in a good way of course.
When you plug your pedals into this one, you are bound to be pleasantly surprised. Bar none, this is one of the best amps for pedals period.
Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb
- Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb 22-Watt 1x12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
- Price: $1,099.99
- Price as of 11/24/2020 00:11 PST(more info about ad)
And now, the time has come to pull out the big guns. This right here, in our humble opinion, is the top amp for pedals – the mighty Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb (see full specs)! All the features we have discussed so heavily up until now – the importance of clarity, the power of tubes, ability to adapt to pedals – they are all perfectly packaged within this guy.
The other models are amazing in their own right and primarily within their own price niches, but this one is the best option by far, especially if you’re looking for the best clean amp for pedals.
It delivers 22 watts of pure, raw, organic tube power tucked inside a classy Fender case. The set of 12 inch 8-ohm Jensen C-12K speakers delivers the purr and the roar, all while giving all the breathing space your pedals need. So if you’re after the best tube amp for pedals, this Fender is once again your top choice.
Also included in the mix are dual channels (normal and vibrato), tube-driven Fender reverb, tube vibrato, and a two-button footswitch. If you want the best, get this one, it’s as simple as that.
What to Look for in the Best Amps for Pedals?
Well, a lot of standard amp qualities will always apply, so classic high-quality sound, durability, reliability and value for money will always be something to look for, but as noted, clarity is an extra requirement if you are looking to pack your amp with effect pedals.
So make sure that when you test the amp in clean or classic overdrive mode, it has no unwanted sonic interference that would muddle up the sound when connected to an effect.
You’d also want a clear canvas to work with here and any sort of extra effect from the amp would only make it more difficult to utilize your tools.
With that said, treat yourself with one of these mean pups as early as today – they’re all amazing choices for an effect-fueled approach, and the sooner you get one, the sooner you’ll be practicing and tweaking with those pedals! Good luck!
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him