Amplifier Buying Guide
Components of an Amplifier
There are several different components that make up an amplifier. These components need to be considered when you are looking for the right model for your needs. We’ve outlined the different aspects below.
- Tube or Solid State – Tube amps provide users with a creamy, warm tone. They can also create distortion if they are overdriven. If you want to play clean parts, roll back the volume and then crank back up when going into an overdriven lead. Tube amps are the most popular amplifiers on the market. They provide the same vintage sound of the Marshalls and Fenders from years ago. The higher end tube amps will have a higher price tag than solid states. They are also prone to being heavier, fragile and will need to have the tube replace occasionally. Solid State amps are much more affordable and will have a brighter overall tone in addition to weighing less and being much more affordable. Don’t purchase a tube amp simply because it is the favored type of most professionals. Make sure you make your choice based on the sound and tone.
- Wattage– Wattage is the power that the amp puts out. Many players think that you have to have high wattage to have a lot of sound but that is not the case. Some small amps with less wattage, but high quality are louder and have better sound than higher wattage, less quality models. The only reason you would really ever need a high wattage amplifier is if you are going to be playing out at different venues. Base your choice for wattage on the sound, not simply the number. If you find a smaller watt amplifier and love the sound, that is all that matters.
- Speakers – In general, low watt speakers will produce more distortion much easier than a higher watt speaker will. If your genre of music is more hard rock, you may actually prefer the more distorted sound, but f you’re going for clarity, choose the amplifier that reports to have clear, true sound no matter what they size.
- Channels – If you use several different tones, an amplifier that has multichannel amplifiers will be just the right type of amplifier for your needs. If all you are looking for is a good distortion and a clean sound you will not really need an amplifier with more than two channels. You can also look for an amplifier that provides the musician with separate equalizer controls that work for each individual channel.
- Configuration – What will you be using your amplifier for? Practice? Small performances, such as church, coffee houses, etc or large venues like conventions and concerts? What you will be doing with the amplifier will determine the kind of configuration you set up. Dual channels are very common. If you are looking for an amplifier where the sound can be changed, you need to make sure that you are the right age and have the right configuration.
- Effects – The majority of amplifiers have reverb which offers a unique but common echo-like sound. There are many different types of effects that an amplifier can have. Many of the models are equipped with full digital capabilities. There are advantages and disadvantages to having the controls onboard. It does make it convenient due to the fact that there are no additional boxes required. The biggest disadvantage to having onboard controls is that if you don’t like the effects that amplifier comes with, you still have a built in aspect that you won’t use and don’t like. When buying an amplifier make sure that any internal digital effects it has are able to be bypassed.
- Tone – The biggest point of importance when it comes to an amplifier is the tone it has. No matter what offerings it may have if it doesn’t have a good tone it won’t matter. Good tone consists of clear high notes that are not too high, a midrange that can be adjusted to fit your preferences and a big bottom end for the low notes. The right amount of bass is crucial to good tone and far too many musicians forget about it. There is a fine line from goo, full bass to boomy so make sure you find a good medium.
- Extra Features – Volume and tone are the first considerations that a musician looks at when shopping for an amplifier but you should also see if there are other features that you need that will enhance your playing experience. Features like external pedals, processors, loop, line outputs and external speakers can make using an amplifier even more enjoyable for a musician who likes using a lot of effects.
There are certain electronic instruments that can’t be heard without the aid of an amplifier. There are many different amplifiers on the market and choosing from among all the different wattages and features can be very difficult. It will make the sorting and selection process much easier.
Amplifiers are necessary for electric guitars, some acoustic guitars, bass guitars and keyboards. There are even some violins and other types of instruments that need amplifiers to give them a boost in sound and volume.
Although many think that you have to get an amplifier with a huge wattage capacity to get a lot of sound and volume, the new design of amplifiers disproves this. Even small mini sized, portable amplifiers have full sound that will enable the instrument to be heard and heard well.
The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to help you understand the most important things to look at when searching for an amplifier. When you have some knowledge about the item you are looking for, you will not waste time or money purchasing something that won’t meet your needs or that is substandard.
- Marshall – https://marshallamps.com/
- Peavey – https://peavey.com/
- Blackstar – https://www.blackstaramps.com/