Best Tube Combo Amps

Best Tube Combo Amps

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The best tube combo amps should produce that smooth, creamy tone that will satisfy your desire for a vintage or classic distorted/overdrive sound. So in this article, we’ll show you the best options available on the market.


Table of Contents


Top 10 Best Tube Combo Amps

  1. Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb 1 Channel 12W Tube Combo Amp
  2. Marshall DSL1CR 2 Channel 1W Tube Combo Amp
  3. Bogner Atma 112CS 3 Channel 1W Tube Combo Amp
  4. Vox AC30S1 ONETWELVE 1 Channel 30W Tube Combo Amp
  5. Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb 2 Channel 22W Tube Combo Amp
  6. Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 3 Channel 40W Tube Combo Amp
  7. Marshall ORI50C Origin 1 Channel 50W Tube Combo Amp
  8. Mesa/Boogie Fillmore 50 2 Channel 50W Tube Combo Amp
  9. Mesa/Boogie Mark Five 1×12″ 3 Channel 90W Tube Combo Amp
  10. Marshall JVM210C 2 Channel 100W Tube Combo Amp

Best Tube Combo Amps Reviews


Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb 1 Channel 12W Tube Combo Amp

Fender '65 Princeton Reverb 1 Channel 12W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Great-sounding
Cons
  • A bit overpriced
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

The Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb is a premium combo amp with a great sound and a long heritage that provides a top-shelf experience and high-quality entertainment.

Best features and specs

The ’65 Princeton is a classic-looking 12-watt amp with 1 channel, tremolo, and tube reverb.

User impressions

Users say that the ’65 Princeton sounds smooth as wet sugar, is compact and lightweight, has a sturdy build quality, and is versatile in terms of music genres.

What we think

The ’65 Princeton is a must if you prefer vintage flavors in design and sound. We don’t really have many criticisms about it based on our research.

Bottomline

Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb is a great choice for someone who is looking to make a valuable investment in a vintage-sounding tube amp.


Marshall DSL1CR 2 Channel 1W Tube Combo Amp

Marshall DSL1CR 2 Channel 1W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Sturdy
  • Portable
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Perfect only for practicing
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Marshall DSL1CR is a very compact and lightweight combo amp that provides a classic Marshall sound on top of almost unmatched practicality.

Best features and specs

The DSL1CR is a 1-watt amp with 2 channels with great capability to give that classy Marshall sound.

User impressions

Users like the DSL1CR because even if it’s only a 1-watt amp, it’s crazy loud. Also, numerous users mention that this amp is ideal for practicing at home and studio.

What we think

The DSL1CR might be just perfect for practicing, but for gigging at larger venues, we think you should consider something else entirely.

Bottomline

DSL1CR is a great choice for someone who is looking for a small and capable tube amp for solo practice.


Bogner Atma 112CS 3 Channel 1W Tube Combo Amp

Bogner Atma 112CS 3 Channel 1W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Minimalistic
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Not for every budget
See price @ Sweetwater

The Bogner Atma 112CS is a premium combo amplifier with a minimalistic design and variable wattage power output.

Best features and specs

The Atma 112CS is an amp that gives you a variety of wattage, like 1, 5, or 18 depending on the settings. It also has 3 channels that offer you classic crunch tones of the 60’s-80’s. This amp provides you with a chance to plug in pedals with the help of an effects loop.

User impressions

Users say that the Atma 112CS is their choice whenever they need to practice or rehearse something because of the simplicity of controls, a range of easily achievable tones, and being lightweight.

What we think

Apart from the obvious benefits, the Atma 112CS also offers you a very modern and refined hi-fi sound.

Bottomline

The Bogner Atma 112CS is a great choice for someone who is looking for a lush tube amp that is versatile enough to handle both vintage and modern sound.


Vox AC30S1 ONETWELVE 1 Channel 30W Tube Combo Amp

Vox AC30S1 ONETWELVE 1 Channel 30W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Great-sounding
  • Easy to use
  • Portable
Cons
  • None
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

The Vox AC30S1 is a very faithful recreation of a legendary amplifier with an iconic sound and a very recognizable design.

Best features and specs

Vox AC30S1 is a compact and lightweight 30-watt amplifier that has 1 channel and is based on the thorough recreation of the AC30 Top Boost circuit. The said circuit is responsible for delivering a range of sounds, starting from clean to silky overdrive.

User impressions

Users like the AC30S1 because of the variety of tones that you can have, its versatility, and the fact that it’s so compact and easy to carry around. Some users, though, wish that controls would be on the front panel of the amp rather than on top of it.

What we think

It’s hard to find something better than the Vox AC30S1 if you enjoy vintage flavor both in design and sound but at the same time prefer modern conveniences.

Bottomline

The Vox AC30S1 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a capable and extremely portable tube amp designed for home-based practice.


Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb 2 Channel 22W Tube Combo Amp

Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb 2 Channel 22W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Loud
  • Classic-sounding
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Lacks a bit in low-end frequencies
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb is another reimagining of a classic amplifier on this list. It offers the same iconic sound but with a few modern twists.

Best features and specs

The ’65 Deluxe Reverb is a classic suitcase-like 22-watt amp that has 2 channels and tube-driven spring reverb. There are only a few differences between channels, such as one of them is normal and another vibrato. On the vibrato channel, you have an additional knob that controls reverb.

User impressions

Users agree that the ’65 Deluxe Reverb has a remarkable retro Fender tone and overall sounds very pleasantly. Users add that it’s relatively easy to carry around and comfortable due to its suitcase-like body.

What we think

The ’65 Deluxe Reverb is a must if you prefer the iconic sound of the 60’s but if more heavy and modern music is more of your thing you might look elsewhere.

Bottomline

Fender’s ’65 Deluxe Reverb is a great choice for someone who is looking for a tube amp that is designed to handle vintage music as a champ.


Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 3 Channel 40W Tube Combo Amp

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 3 Channel 40W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Sturdy built
  • Classic-sounding
Cons
  • Is not for players who desire heavily distorted sound
See price @ Sweetwater

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is yet another classic amplifier reimagining with a lot of improvement.

Best features and specs

The Hot Rod is a 40-watt improved version of the classic vintage Hot Rod platform unit that has 3 channels and an enhanced spring reverb that guarantees you have the richest and smoothest sound even when you crank it up.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Fender’s Hot Rod Deluxe as it sounds truly awesome and is compact and lightweight enough to carry around.

What we think

Hot Rod Deluxe is clearly not designed to accommodate more heavy styles of music, but for lightweight rock, it’s hard to find something better.

Bottomline

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is a great choice for someone who is looking for a tube amp with a classic Fender sound and enough in terms of versatility.


Marshall ORI50C Origin 1 Channel 50W Tube Combo Amp

Marshall ORI50C Origin 1 Channel 50W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Excellent tone
  • Sturdy built
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Doesn’t sound as retro Marshal
  • Limited in terms of effects
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

The Marshall ORI50C Origin is a very modern amplifier with simple, intuitive controls and a great tone.

Best features and specs

The ORI50C Origin is a minimalistic 50-watt amp that guarantees a desirable British tone. This amp has 5 knobs, among which some regulate the needed amount of crunch, others help you to shape the tone, and the last controls the blending of normal and bright sounds.

User impressions

Users like the ORI50C Origin because of the way it sounds, as well as the fact that it’s very loud and the speaker reproduces sound greatly.

What we think

Marshall ORI50C Origin doesn’t give you a lot of features but instead offers a great tone and a staggering amount of power.

Bottomline

The Marshall ORI50C Origin is a great choice for someone who is looking for an affordable and intuitive amp that is loud enough to handle any creative endeavors.


Mesa/Boogie Fillmore 50 2 Channel 50W Tube Combo Amp

Mesa/Boogie Fillmore 50 2 Channel 50W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Great-sounding
  • Well-built
Cons
  • Potential of this amp is a bit limited
See price @ Sweetwater

The Mesa/Boogie Fillmore 50 is a mighty combo amplifier with great sound customization options.

Best features and specs

Mesa/Boogie Fillmore 50 is a 50-watt amplifier with a classic vintage look and amazing build quality, as it is manufactured in the USA. This amp has 2 footswitchable channels, each one of which has 3 modes that ensure the player has more possibilities to shape the sound.

User impressions

Users agree that the Fillmore 50 is a really versatile, easy-to-use, and sturdily-built amp. Also, numerous users praise that this amp handles pedals quite well, but there is no actual need to use them as the amp itself has an enjoyable base tone.

What we think

The Fillmore 50 is ideal if you prefer a very modern sound and cherish excellent built quality above everything else.

Bottomline

The Mesa/Boogie Fillmore 50 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a top-quality tube amp that can handle every task on a superb level.


Mesa/Boogie Mark Five 1×12″ 3 Channel 90W Tube Combo Amp

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five 1x12" 3 Channel 90W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Flexible
  • Reliable
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Can be a bit overwhelming
See price @ Sweetwater

The Mesa/Boogie Mark Five is a monster of an amp with its variable power output and great customization option.

Best features and specs

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five is a 90-watt 3-channel versatile amplifier that guarantees you many possibilities to shape and control the sound. The Multi-Watt feature gives you the possibility to choose between wattage values, and the Simul-Class power feature gives you an opportunity to change the configuration on each channel.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with the Mark Five because this amp is a real gem for all metal players and not only for them but for all other music producers who play other genres. Also, users praise this amp for being easily tweakable and managing the pedals very well.

What we think

The Mark Five can be a bit overwhelming, but if you prefer versatility above anything else, it’s hard to find a better alternative.

Bottomline

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five is a great choice for someone who is looking for a versatile amp that can easily handle a quite huge venue.


Marshall JVM210C 2 Channel 100W Tube Combo Amp

Marshall JVM210C 2 Channel 100W Tube Combo Amp

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Powerful
  • Reliable
Cons
  • A bit bulky
  • Not suitable for those who are on the tight budget
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

The Marshall JVM210C is a premium amp that gives you classic Marshal sound with great sound customization options.

Best features and specs

The Marshall JVM210C is a 100-watt amplifier that has 2 separate channels which can be easily swapped and have overdrive and clear/crunch modes. Also, each channel has 3 footswitchable modes, such as red, orange, and green, which are responsible for giving you various voicings and different overdrive levels.

User impressions

Users like the Marshall JVM210C because you get absolutely rich sound, and you don’t need any more equipment to power up any venue.

What we think

The Marshall JVM210C is a quintessential Marshall amp with the most recognizable sound, but you should most definitely consider the cost.

Bottomline

The Marshall JVM210C is a great choice for someone who is looking for a powerful 100-watt amplifier that is easily customizable and provides you with prime Marshal sound.


Tube Combo Amps Buying Guide

What is a tube combo amp?

A tube combo amp is an amp that uses valves as an alternative to electronic transistors, the latter which are used by solid-state amps and are often combined with a speaker and amplifier.

Why would you need a tube combo amp?

If you want to achieve a smoother and more creamy distorted/overdrive tone, then it would be a good idea to have one at your disposal.

Important features

When choosing a tube combo amp, you should consider the wattage, the number of channels, and the sound.

Wattage

Valve amps that have low wattage are perfect for practicing and rehearsing at the home-based studio or any other relatively small venue. Those who operate on 20W can be used on small gigs. 50W valve amps are good to use in gigs where the drummer is also present. Finally, 100W tube amps will be effective in gigs with a 100-1000 audience.

Channels

If you have more than 1 channel in your amp, you have more parameters to shape and change the sound. There are no strict criteria for how many channels would be better for your needs, so you have to figure it out yourself.

Sound

Speaking about the sound, you mostly choose based on your preferences. Whether you’re more into the classic Fender sound with distinguishable spring reverb, a retro-inspired chime of Vox, or the shrill lead tone of Mesa Boogie, you ought to choose accordingly.

How to choose the right one for you?

When you are choosing the best tube combo amps, you should be guided by your needs and preferences upon everything else. Having said that, if you typically play from your studio, you don’t have to acquire a 100W valve amp. You should choose the manufacturer, depending on what sound makes you tick. Finally, if you desire to be more maneuverable, then you should check those amps which have more than 2 channels and are compact and lightweight.


FAQ

Are tube amps going away?

It’s too early to make that assumption. While guitar players need valve amps, there will be manufacturers to produce them. Maybe not in such quantities that it was done just a few decades back, but enough to satisfy the needs.

Does a tube amp sound better than solid-state?

It’s a matter of plenty of debates among music producers, and some will say that yes, they do. Valve amps tend to produce a much warmer, cleaner sound, while solid-state amps give a crisper sound. So, the answer is based on one’s preference and taste.

How long can you leave a tube amp running?

If the tube amp is of the highest quality and the tubes are excellent as well, it can be over 1000 hours. Still, tube amps, as well as tubes, have a very specific lifespan, and the longer you keep the tube amp on, the nearer the ‘death’ of the amp would be.

How long should a tube amp warm up?

The average time that the tube amp warms up is between 20 and 30 minutes. But to be sure, you should check the specifications of your amp in the user guide.