You want your guitar amplifier to be sturdy, compact and loud. Furthermore, you want the sound to be good so that you can captivate your audience and yourself too. You can get both from a tube combo amp. However, you’ve to be really careful when buying one. You don’t want an amp that doesn’t suit the genre. You also don’t want one that breaks your bank and makes you starve for weeks. Thus, we’ll talk about the best tube combo amp under 500 that will fulfill all your goals.
Top 5 Best Tube Combo Amps Under 500
1. Monoprice 611705 Guitar Combo Tube Amplifier
As our best, we’ve chosen the Monoprice 611705 5-watt amplifier. People choose tube amps for the tone and this amp provides the best of it. If it suits your genre, you’ll love how its effects make it sound. The unit is affordable and easy to control. What more could you want?
Want the vintage tube amplifier’s sound to fill the room? If yes, this amplifier will bring a treat to your ears as it contains a sought-after tone in tube amplifiers.
With a five-watt power, this isn’t the loudest in the market. It’s great for practicing and small gigs. It also provides you a few effects but not all of them will be the best at higher volumes. Some may just not be as satisfying as the others.
Even though the unit looks amazing, it needs some maintenance. While it’s at a good price, you can get irritated by the number of times it may malfunction. However, the bad does not happen to everyone but just a few. So, what you can do is choose carefully.
- Great traditional tube amp sound.
- Easy to carry around.
- Looks amazing.
- Some effects just nail it.
- Fairly high volume.
- Great value for the price.
- May not sound so well at higher volumes.
- A few quality issues require maintenance.
2. VOX AC10C1 Guitar Amplifier Head
This is yet another tube amp that provides the sound tube amp seekers want. It’s good looking and comes with a number of useful effects (although not all are amazing). You may feel a bit dissatisfied with the distortion of this amplifier.
Overall, it’s a great combo unit. Very compact and portable. The tubes are hidden and safer but unfortunately, they’re harder to maintain and monitor. What’s more, the volume is pretty loud and clean. But, a humming sound may come and go for a few units.
At last, it provides great value for the money.
- It has a lot of effects
- Really good tone
- Great volume
- Good value for money
- Looks great, compact and portable
- A few effects don’t work well
- Hard to fix
- Humming sound may be there
3. BUGERA V5 Class Amplifier Combo
The main concern with tube amps is the durability of the tubes. Luckily, this BUGERA V5 tube amp has quality tubes that’ll surely last. Besides that, despite being a 5-watt tube amp, it produces a sound of a volume you don’t expect. However, the stock tube may produce a muddy tone that many people won’t like.
While this amp comes with a number of great effects and features, you may be left craving for a few more. Plus, it’s a large unit but still pretty portable. Also, this amp is pretty easy to control and understand. Lastly, it has a really sturdy build and you can rest assured it will last for awhile.
- Great quality tubes
- High volume despite the low power
- Very durable
- Easy to control
- Good value for money
- Muddy tune at times
- Could do better with more features
4. VHT AV-SP1-6 Special 6 Combo Amplifier
It lets you break in easily and once you do, it gives you a really nice tone. However, the problem remains – the quality goes down after some time. You may notice humming sounds or more. But, as a six-watt amp, it produces pretty loud sound.
It has a number of speaker jacks as well which makes things convenient for you. Other than that, the price it arrives at is quite affordable. Even if you have quality problems, in the long run, the price kind of justifies it.
- Great volume
- The effects are pretty nice
- The boost feature is the best
- Sounds great
- Very portable
- Easy to use
- Pretty affordable
- Not the most durable
5. Fender Bassbreaker 007 Combo
Who doesn’t want something that gets better over time? The tone of this Fender amp gets better the more you play on it. However, the same doesn’t go for its quality. It may need some maintenance in the long run.
This combo handles the effects and changes very well. You can switch from clean to a different tone easily. However, you will need to adjust the volume along with it. Apart from that, some features don’t really let you adjust a lot or are pretty pointless. But, most of the time, your genre may not be needing those effects anyway.
This unit is very loud and you can use it for playing at small coffee shops as well. It’s a pretty portable unit, and the tubes may not be the most durable. Also, it’s a bit expensive for what it provides.
- Very loud volume
- A good range of effects
- Pretty portable
- Looks great
- Handles changes well
- Good input and output features
- One change needs a few more adjustments
- Not the most durable
- It doesn’t provide the greatest value for the price
The following are musts to consider when buying a tube combo amp.
1. Vacuum Tubes
This probably is the most important factor and also the key factor that sets a tube amp apart. This is where you consider whether you want a tube amp or not. Because with the tubes, you have more to worry about whereas solid amps don’t have tube that could get damaged.
You’ve to ensure the tubes are made of a material that doesn’t get damaged easily. It must be of the highest quality and durable. Else, you’ll have to run back and forth workshops to replace or repair, which will increase the cost. Further, check out the sound as well. While tube amps can create a clean tone like no other, defected ones won’t produce such a sound.
Check out the features, fortes, and effects of the amp you’re looking at. After that, look at the genre of music you play. Not all types of tube amps will meet your needs.
So check out the features well, especially the effects and make sure your music sounds best through it.
Combo amps can be both heavy and light. However, they can still be very easy to move thanks to the cabinet being built in the head. Now, if it’s heavy and comes without a handle or bag, you can score it low on portability. On the other hand, if it is light, has a handle or bag, consider it portable.
Its power source is another consideration. Batteries make amps portable.
The larger the venue of the amp, the higher the power. Thus, your practice room requires a different, lower-powered amp while an amp for concerts requires much more power. Choose according to the venue you’ll be playing and the volume you’ll be needing.
Hopefully now, you’ll find the best tube combo amp under 500 that’s best for your type of music.