Best Solid State Amp

Solid Guitar Amp

We've reviewed some of the best practice amps out there, taken a look at some battery powered amps and looked into some cheap amps, for those of you on a tight budget. Now we are going to look at some of the higher end amplifiers available.

We'll start by trying to find out which is the best solid state amp you can buy today. As well as providing a list of some great solid state amps, we'll also take a closer look at a couple - an old classic, and a newer, feature packed model, from a name you will all know.

What Is A Solid State Amp?

You probably already know the answer to this (you will if you read our practice amp page as we discussed it there!) but we'll just give a quick overview in case any of our readers aren't too sure.

A solid state amplifier basically increases the amplitude of the signal coming from your guitar by using solid state technology (transistors, diodes etc.) The other way to do this is with the use of vacuum tubes. Amplifiers that use vacuum tubes are known as Tube amps or Valve amps. There are many differences between the two types of amplifier but valve amps usually sound better than transistor amps, that's the consensus of opinion anyway (actually it is more of a fact).

There are a multitude of solid state amps available today and new ones are continually entering the market

Solid state amps are cheaper and tend not to compare too well to their valve amp equivalents. Transistor amps cost less to manufacturer, so most of the budget amps and practice amps favour the use of solid state electronics as opposed to tubes. There is also a certain amount of snobbery involved and some of the purists think solid state amps are only for beginners and not the serious musician. Is that the case then? Well, we don't think so and neither do hordes of professional guitar players. If you are willing to pay that bit more, there really are some superb high end solid state amps on offer.

Let's take a closer look at some of the best available, starting with a real classic.

Roland JC-120

The Roland JC-120 is considered by many to be the best solid state amp there is. It has been used both live on stage and in the studio by the likes of Metallica, The Police, The Cure and many more big names. Known for its fantastic clear tone, many people reckon it is the best clean amplifier ever made. Maybe it's because this clean sound is so good that many guitarists feel the built in distortion is a bit of a let-down. A lot of players don't have an issue with this built in overdriven sound, but some do suggest you might be better off playing a distortion or overdrive pedal through the clean channel.

The classic chorus tone is kicked out in stereo via two 12 inch 60 watt speakers. On balance, this has got to be one of the best solid state amps there is, especially if you are looking for that 'world famous' clean sound.

Peavey Vypr Pro 100

In contrast to the Roland we have the newer, all singing, all dancing Vypr Pro 100. The Vypr's are modelling amplifiers; this means they can mimic other amplifiers such as Fender, Messa Boogie and so on. The Vypr Pro 100 includes (as the name suggests) 100 amp and effect models, whilst also blasting out 100 watts of power from its 12 inch speaker. It uses Peavey's Trans-Tube technology (solid state circuitry which is supposed to emulate the sound of a tube amp) to deliver some really great authentic sounding distortion. It is absolutely packed with features such as on-board looping and a built in tuner. Apparently this solid state amp is far superior to the earlier Vypr modelling amps you can buy. If you want an amplifier packed with extra's, the PR100 might be worth a look.

Some Of The Best Solid State Amps

Having had a closer look at two great solid state amps, here is a list of a few more you might want to consider purchasing.

Image Model Power (W) Review Price More Info
Blackstar ID Core Beam Blackstar ID Core Beam 20 n/a get best price

Roland JC-40 Roland JC-40 40 n/a get best price

Roland Blues Cube Hot 30 Roland Blues Cube Hot 30 30 n/a get best price

Peavey TransTube Bandit 112 Peavey TransTube Bandit 112 80 n/a get best price



There Are Others

The list above is by no means definitive. There are a multitude of solid state amps available today and new ones are continually entering the market. As with anything though, there are good and bad solid state amps just as there are good and bad valve amps. Hopefully though, at the very least, we have given you some food for thought in your search for solid state Nirvana!

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