The right amp is the most important factor in getting that perfect doom metal sound. Ideally you’d get a stack of vintage Sunn, Orange, or Marshall amps, but that’ll set you back thousands of dollars—if you’re even able to find them in the first place. Luckily there are many modern amps that can give you the same depth and power, sometimes in a surprisingly compact package. Check out our favorites below!
These are our recommendations for the 4 best doom metal amps on the market:
Orange Rocker 32 Amp
- Orange Amplifiers Rocker 32 30W 2x10 Tube Guitar Combo Amplifier Orange
- Price: $1,099.00
- Price as of 10/23/2020 08:27 PDT(more info about ad)
Orange is one of the classic brands doom metal players pine for. While purists swear by the OR50 or OR100 from the early ’70s, their more recent offerings are equally viable options for the genre. The Orange Rocker 32 is a 2X10” all-tube combo amp, and it just might be the best amp for pedals around.
The 2X10” speaker configuration (see full specs) gives this amp a lot of sound for its size. This is thanks to the custom Voice of the World Gold Label 10 speakers that come installed. They’ve got a full low-end without losing the crisp articulation in the treble. The high sensitivity of 101dB means you’ll get more output than you’d expect from a 30-watt amp.
What’s really impressive about the Rocker 32, though, is its stereo effects loop. Your pedals are a big part of your sound, and this amp will make sure you get the most out of them. The two-channel set-up also gives you lots of options for shaping your sound, with a 3-band EQ on the Dirty channel so you can get the perfect level of crunch.
Marshall JVM205C Amp
- Marshall JVM205C JVM Series 50-Watt 2x12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
- Price as of 10/22/2020 23:23 PDT(more info about ad)
If you’re looking for more raw power, you probably want to get your hands on a Marshall. They’re another go-to brand in the doom metal world. Once you hear the JVM205C you’ll understand why. This 50-watt 2X12” amp is an absolute powerhouse, capable of putting out bass-rich, soul-shaking sound.
The JVM205C (see full specs) is also a great choice if you’re looking for versatility. It has two channels, each with three stages of gain. Each channel also has an independent memory which can be linked to the included footswitch for hassle-free on-stage switching. The on-board reverb and effects loops are just icing on the cake.
This amp is neither small nor cheap. It’s not quite as much of an investment as, say, a vintage JCM800, but it’s not that far off. Considering both the output and the quality of the sound, though, it’s worth the expense in our estimation, especially since it gives you the versatility of 6 modes at the tap of a footswitch. If you have a deep pocket, this is likely the best doom metal amp around.
Peavey Classic 30 II Amp
- Peavey Classic 30 112 Guitar Combo Amp
- Price: $699.94
- Price as of 10/22/2020 16:17 PDT(more info about ad)
Peavey amps are sonic chameleons, capable of producing sounds that’ll fit in pretty much any genre or style. While it might not have the look you’d expect from a metal amp, it’s the tone that really matters—and on that front it definitely delivers.
This Peavey Classic 30 II is a 30-watt, 2-channel 1X12” speaker. It comes with a Celestion Midnight 60 speaker installed, and this is the source of a lot of its versatility. It’s also capable of powering an external speaker if you want to quickly add more sound and power.
You can’t beat the Peavey Classic for vintage tones, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely old-school. It also has modern features like a foot-switchable boost and both pre- and post-gain controls on the main channel. This is a great choice if you want an amp that can do doom metal and then some.
Ibanez TSA15 Amp
- Ibanez TSA15 1 x 12 15-Watt All-Tube Combo Guitar Amplifier
- Price as of 10/22/2020 23:23 PDT(more info about ad)
Tube amps don’t come cheap, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to get a doom metal tone. The Ibanez TSA15 is a 15-watt 1X12” amp with killer output and a switchable boost. It’s a relatively affordable way to get your hands on a quality all-tube amp.
Metal players of all sub-genres appreciate the Ibanez Tube Screamer effect. With the TSA15, you get that circuitry right on-board, for one of the best built-in overdrives you’ll find at the price point. There are separate controls for the effect and the amp so you’ll still get full control over your tone.
Sound-wise, this little amp packs a punch. The Celestion Seventy80 speaker works beautifully with the 6V6 power tubes for a lush and full-bodied tone with a nice fat low end. The option to switch into a 5-watt mode is a nice touch, too, since you can quiet things down for home practice without fiddling with your settings.
Choosing the Best Doom Metal Amp for the Money
While your pickups and effects pedals have a role to play, the right amp is really the key to a solid doom metal tone. It’s all about getting that heavy bass without turning your tone into a muddled mess. The four amps above should do that beautifully, but remember it also depends on how the amp interacts with your guitar. You really need to hear the two together before you can decide if the sound is right for you.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to rely on a single amp to give you all your power—and, in fact, most players don’t. If you can’t afford to get a whole stack of amps now you can start with one and add more as your bank account allows. If this is your plan, you should think more about the overall tone of the amp than its output—you’ll be adding more of that as you go along.
A 10” or 12” speaker is going to be your best bet for doom metal. Anything smaller and it won’t have the bass response you need. A 15” speaker, conversely, tends to be a bit too bass-heavy, and will almost always sound muddy. A combination of 10” and 12” speakers used in tandem can help to give you more sonic complexity, so keep that in mind if you’re building a stack.
Bottom line: your possibilities truly are essentially endless when it comes to getting the best doom metal amp! Best of luck finding the right combination for your ideal sound!
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