Top 10 Guitar Amps for your Christmas Wishlist!

2018 was a special year for guitar amp releases. We saw plenty of new and innovative models unveiled by a variety of companies, many of which really struck a chord with us!

For the holidays this year, we've compiled some of our favourites from 2018, along with other amplifiers that we reckon you should definitely check out!

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Written by

Elliot Stent

It's that time of year again, and as Christmas draws closer, us guitar players can feel somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer amount of gear that is available. Although having lots of options is great, it can be very easy to lose yourself in the depths of a website such as ours, where you just don’t know where to start!

Luckily for you, we’ve compiled this neat little top 10 list so that you can easily find the perfect new amp to plug into on Christmas day. We’ve ensured that there’s a lot of diversity, regarding not only price but also the types of tones that these amps offer.

So whether you’re a hard-rocking metalhead or a boutique-style blues amp aficionado, we’re confident that you’ll find an inspiring tone-machine to annoy the neighbours with this Christmas!

To put it simply - if you're looking for the best affordable modelling amps out there, nothing can touch the BOSS Katana amp range. One of our best-selling lines from the past year, there's a reason why these feature-packed amps are so popular, and that can mostly be attributed to their fantastic sounds, built-in effects and overall versatility.

BOSS Katana Air

BOSS’ acclaimed Katana range was expanded in 2018 with the launch of the Air. Packed with the versatile amp sounds and effects from the core line, the Katana Air is hailed as the world's first truly wireless guitar amplifier.

Coming with a guitar adapter, this allows you to jam wirelessly with near-to-zero latency for up to 12 hours. And if you want to recharge the transmitter, just use the amp’s built-in dock! With a super-compact design, you can take this battery-powered amp just about anywhere, however it can be mains-powered too if you prefer.

Its innovation doesn’t end there either, as via motion sensor technology, the Katana Air’s transmitter will wake the amp up from power-saving standby mode. This means that whenever inspiration strikes, just pick up your guitar and the amp is ready to go! Featuring a powerful stereo speaker system and up to 30W of power, this ridiculously small amp can project plenty of volume to fill a small to medium-sized room. You’d be surprised!

BOSS Katana Amps on Andertons T.V.

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The Marshall DSL40 combo is notorious at Andertons Music Co. for a couple of reasons. Not only is it one of our best-selling valve amps, but it has also been featured in our Sound Like video series on Andertons TV more times than we care to remember!

Marshall’s DSL40 is arguably one of its most popular models; it’s valve-powered and wonderfully versatile. Providing that unmistakable Marshall crunch and a warm yet dynamic clean, the DSL40 is also appealing for its relative affordability and its 40W of power, making it more than gig-worthy.

But if you’re wondering why this old and well-known amp model is on the list, that's because the DSL40R is an updated version of the established DSL40C. Released alongside the rest of the revamped DSL line at the 2018 NAMM Show, the DSL40R features a 12” Celestion V-Type speaker that delivers a much clearer top-end. It also now boasts a Softube-designed emulated output, giving you a genuine mic-d amp tone straight into your recording interface!

Marshall DSL Amps on Andertons T.V.

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In the spirit of British amp manufacturers and refining admired formulas, Victory released a MkII version of its flagship V30 amp back in the summer. Regarded as the company’s "amp for any style", the V30 ‘The Countess’ is a 2-channel monster enclosed within a convenient and lightweight chassis.

Providing bold cleans with plenty of characterful chime, the V30 is perhaps most renowned for its saturated distortion that kicks out lots of British bark. The most noteworthy upgrade with the V30 MkII is its ‘crunch mode’, which allows you to take the clean channel into sweet overdriven bliss via just the click of a button on the footswitch!

You can also power down the V30 from its full 42W (that’s right, it’s more than 30!) to just 7W, letting you attain all the tonal glory offered by ‘The Countess’ at bedroom levels. The MkII also has a slightly more focused bass response, something that will suit modern players a little more. And if you’re someone that prefers a more American sound, you can get the V30 with 6L6s instead of EL34s. Whatever you prefer, Victory has catered for both camps!

It’s also worth remembering that this is Guthrie Govan’s amp-of-choice. If it’s good enough for one of the most talented guitarists on the globe, it’s good enough for anybody!

Victory V30 'The Countess' on Andertons T.V.

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The Hot Rod lineup is Fender’s equivalent of Marshall’s DSL range. Encompassing a number of pure valve-powered amps, we can’t imagine that anyone has ever gone to a gig where they haven’t seen one of these on-stage! And much like their British counterparts, Fender also gave their best-selling valve amps a refreshing makeover.

As one of the most popular performing amps ever designed, the Hot Rod Deluxe is notorious for its massive headroom. With 40W of power driven through a single 12” Celestion A-Type speaker, the Hot Rod Deluxe IV can fill even a large stage with ear-splitting volume.

Regarding what Fender improved for their 2018 model, the company tweaked the preamp circuit to offer a more musical overdrive sound with better overall clarity. Also redesigning the reverb, this now projects a smoother shimmering tone that can really embellish your cleans sounds. Despite these thoughtful tweaks, the Hot Rod line still remains within the reach of most player's budgets!

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe on Andertons T.V.

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Following the success of the immensely popular Katana amps, BOSS recently launched another innovative amplifier range to expand its overall lineup - Nextone. Although slightly pricier, these amps are staggeringly cool and offer something far more...

Featuring four completely separate analogue class A/B power amps, you can choose between American and British sounds at literally the flick of a switch! Unlike the Katana amps, this isn’t modelling techology, but they are quite literally amps with 4 power sections!

BOSS Nextone on Andertons T.V.

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PRS has been around for over 30 years, but only within the last few years has the company dabbled with amp design. However, they quickly turned heads with models such as the Archon, and their MT15 was even more of an instant hit when it was unveiled at the Winter NAMM Show earlier this year.

As the signature amp of Mark Tremonti, this highly-portable and valve-powered amp head can deliver the crushing high-gain tones most synonymous with the Alter Bridge guitarist. Although its tiny lunchbox-style chassis and 15W of power doesn’t seem like much, the MT15’s looks and specifications are deceiving...

When cranked up to gig levels, the MT15 remains clear and open-sounding, providing the sort of headroom you’d expect from an amp with over double its power. Delivering punchy and focused distorted tones, the PRS MT15 isn’t a one-trick pony either. That’s because this lunchbox amp’s clean channel is glassy and bright, offering that classic sound of Americana. And the best part about this amp? It’s really affordable!

PRS MT15 on Andertons T.V.

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Vox’s Mini Super Beetle is a unique little number, unveiled to warm reception at the Summer NAMM Show. A 50W head and 1x10” cabinet set, the Mini Super Beetle is a super-affordable amp rig that is surprisingly innovative, especially when you consider its retro aesthetics.

With bundles of vintage charm on the outside, internally however, the Mini Super Beetle features Korg’s modern and cutting-edge NuTube technology. Essentially a tiny vacuum tube, the NuTube uses flourescent display technology to provide that unmistakable valve-driven tone and response.

More reliable and thus lower-maintenance compared to typical amp valves, this pioneering design allows the Mini Super Beetle to still deliver that instantly recognisable Vox sound. Projecting chimey cleans through its open-back Celestion-powered cabinet, the Mini Super Beetle head also features a built-in tremolo circuit that is driven by the NuTube, for a truly vintage-style sound.

As the perfect blend of old-school and contemporary, traditional players will adore the Mini Super Beetle’s classic sounds while appreciating its compact and bullet-proof design. Even if you don’t intend to use it as an amp, it can be great furniture for your studio!

Vox Mini Super Beetle on Andertons T.V.

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Just like the Marshall DSL, the Egnater Tweaker is a popular choice in the ‘Sound Like’ series on Andertons TV. With a valve-powered design, this amplifier is revered for its authentic tones and immense tweaking options, hence its name!

Boasting 2 channels and a raft of voicing switches, you can tailor your tones to the very finest of detail with these flexible amplifiers. Also featuring an essential 3-band EQ that gives you that familiar control layout, the Tweakers have a vibrant clean sound that can stretch to aggressive high-gain via their dedicated distortion channels.

Egnater Tweaker on Andertons T.V.

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Orange is seemingly at the top of its game at the moment, and 2018 saw the release of many cool new products from the British brand. Among them was the Brent Hinds Signature Terror 15W Head, unveiled at the Winter NAMM Show. Spec-wise, this compact lunchbox-style amp is very similar to the PRS MT15, and in terms of tones - it isn’t far off either!

Dishing out tonnes of brutal high-gain, this amp is an unbridled metal machine that emits the crushing sounds Hinds is known for in his work with Mastodon. Featuring 2 channels, the Terror’s clean side is bonehead-simple with its single control, serving as a great tonal foundation for your pedals.

The dirty channel is where the magic’s at though. With a 3-band EQ, this mini amp head’s gain structure was designed from the ground up, to replicate Hinds’ super-saturated yet focused tone. Although 15W doesn’t sound like enough for gigging with, you’d be pleasantly surprised by its power, and you can scale this back to as little as 1/2 a watt for bedroom levels.

Orange Brent Hinds Terror on Andertons T.V.

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Hughes & Kettner has a reputation for innovation, and the Black Spirit 200 Head encompasses many of the company’s signature state-of-the-art features. The most noteworthy aspect of the Black Spirit is its solid-state circuitry; not relying upon any valves to achieve it sounds.

Instead, Hughes & Kettner fitted the Black Spirit 200 with its new Bionic Tone Generator, designed to emulate the way that tubes dynamically interact. And the results are incredible, providing that super-sweet, saturated valve amp sound without the hassle that comes with their notoriously fragile design.

Boasting four channels that can take you from bold, crystal clear cleans to insane high-gain, the Black Spirit 200 is incredibly versatile. And with a whopping 200W of headroom, this amp can be used at massive venues without sounding brittle or overly-compressed when cranked to high volumes. If that’s too much though, you can power down to 20W or as little as 2W, for practice levels at home.

A flexible EQ section, built-in modulation effects, savable presets, cabinet-emulated XLR output and Bluetooth connectivity are just some of the additional features that make this amplifier a dream for modern guitarists. Looking for an amplifier without limitations? This is it!

Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 Demo with Rabea Massaad

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