Most of the amps you’ll find with a headphone jack in them will be labeled as practice amps. Don’t take this to mean they’ll only work for practice. There are a lot of options out there, and some of them are just as viable for use on the stage as they are in the practice room. No matter what style you play (or what budget you’re working with), there’s bound to be something that catches your eye.
Here are our recommendations for the 5 best guitar amps with headphone jacks on the market:
Marshall Amps M-DSL5CR-U Guitar Amp
- Marshall Amps Guitar Combo Amplifier (M-DSL5CR-U)
- Price as of 08/13/2020 17:03 PDT(more info)
For a lot of players, the Marshall brand is synonymous with high-quality tube tone. The DSL5CR is 1X10” tube combo amplifier that can handle clean tones, distortion, and high gain with equal aplomb. If you like shaping your tone on your amp, this is a great choice for you. It has a 3-band EQ and on-board reverb, along with two separate gain styles that can be used separately or in tandem.
What this amp lacks in volume it more than makes up for in tone quality. The 10” Celestion 30 speaker has a lot to do with this. Even better, the Softube emulation program gives you that same warmth and depth when you run the signal as a direct line for recording. All-told, when it comes to sound quality, this is the best tube amp you’ll find with a headphone jack.
Orange Crush 20 Guitar Amp
- Orange Crush 20 Twin-Channel 20W Guitar Amplifier, Orange
- Price: $139.00
- Price as of 08/13/2020 20:53 PDT(more info)
Orange is a leading name in tube amplification. If you’re looking for that classic British tone, this company is a great place to start. The all analog signal path makes sure your sound stays pure the whole way from strings to speaker. With a redesigned 4-stage preamp, both the clarity and the power you can get from this amp are more than you might expect for the size.
This is a relatively low-power amp, rated at only 20 watts. It has a lot of punch, though, and a rich array of distortion tones, thanks in large part to the custom Voice of the World speaker that comes installed in it. They’ve also thought carefully about how you’ll sound through your headphones, using a CabSim-loaded output that sounds just as good as what comes out the front.
The aesthetic appeal of an Orange amp is obvious. You either like the eye-catching color or you don’t. What you can’t argue with is the quality of the build. This cab is solid, and it’ll last you through years of use, whether that means practice in your room or gigs in smaller venues. If you’re looking for the most versatile guitar amp with headphone jack capability, this is your answer.
Fender Mustang I V2 Guitar Amp/
- Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt 1x8-Inch Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier
- Price: $139.99
- Price as of 08/13/2020 16:15 PDT(more info)
Here’s one for budget-conscious shoppers to consider. The Fender Mustang I V2 is the practice amp of the Mustang line. Like the others in the series, this is a versatile combo amp that can work beautifully in a wide range of genres and styles.
The features you’ll get on the Mustang I V2 seem like they belong to a more expensive guitar. It comes loaded with 17 amp models and 24 effect pre-sets. You’ll also get Fender’s FUSE software, which lets you alter the existing effects or add new ones for more tonal possibilities. It’s even designed to function in both live and studio applications. It comes with a copy of Ableton Live Lite for recording and editing your tracks.
This is a relatively small amp, with a single 8” speaker and only 20 watts of power. It won’t give you a huge amount of output or power, no matter how high you crank the gain. It’s great for distortion as well as clean tones, though. You’d be hard pressed to find a better value from any amp brand.
Orange Micro Dark Terror 20-Watt Hybrid Guitar Amp Head
- Orange Micro Dark Terror 20 Watt Tube Preamp/ Solid State Hybrid Amp Head
- Price: $189.00
- Price as of 08/13/2020 20:53 PDT(more info)
If you’re looking for more volume out of a tube amp with a headphone jack, your best bet might be to get a head that has what you need and buy the cabinet separately. This does mean you’ll have to spend a bit more in the long run, but it also lets you customize the equipment to your exact specifications.
This particular amp head is another gem from Orange: their Micro Dark Terror. This unique amp head uses a hybrid format, with tubes for the preamp and solid state circuitry for the power. The combination makes the amp more versatile, giving you access to a wider range of tones whether you play clean or with a lot of distortion.
There aren’t many tone shaping controls directly on the amplifier. There are knobs for shape, gain, and volume, but it doesn’t have an EQ or on-board effects. If what you’re mostly looking for are a valve tone and an option for silent practice, though, it definitely fits the bill nicely.
Bugera BC15 Guitar Amp
- Bugera BC15 15-Watt Vintage Guitar Amp with 12AX7 Tube
- Price as of 08/13/2020 19:11 PDT(more info)
Tube amps are often tricky to find on a budget, but there are a few good affordable options out there, one of which is this BC15 from Bugera. It has vintage styling to match its classic tone. The 1X8” design is compact and lightweight, which also makes it an attractive option to take with you on the road.
As you might guess from the speaker configuration, this isn’t the loudest amp you’ll find. We wouldn’t call it strictly a practice amp, though. It has 30 watts of power, enough for singer-songwriters and even players in small ensembles. The controls are streamlined but still give you all the basics like EQ and gain.
If you like that classic ‘50s style, you’ll fall in love with both the look and the sound of this little amp. The installed Bugera speaker has a nice fat gain and a smooth, rich clean tone. All of this is an incredible value, making this one of the best guitar amps with headphone jacks for the money.
Best Tube Amps with Headphone Jacks: What to Expect
Large, powerful amps don’t come with headphone jacks. This puts a natural constraint on how much volume the amp will be capable of producing. While you can add extension cabinets to expand the sonic picture, these won’t add wattage, only speakers. None of these amplifiers will give you the screaming guitar sound desired in genres like rock and metal.
As a plus, a smaller amp also means a smaller price tag. This means you can probably afford to get a small amp with a headphone jack for the practice room, with another larger one for the stage. You won’t get the exact same sound on the smaller amp that you will in performance, but if you buy one with a similar style it’ll be close enough for effective practice.
For softer genres like jazz or folk, these little guitar amps with headphone jacks might do you just fine full-time. It all comes down to what kind of music you play and what you need out of your amplifier. Best of luck finding the right one for you!
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