Best Guitar Amplifiers
Around $/£200 or Less

Ok so now we're shopping for slightly better guitar amplifiers than the previous selection which was for amps around $/£100. I say slightly better when in fact we can get quite a lot better for an extra 100 quid or bucks! 

The amplifiers in this price range are decent enough amps but mainly for home and band practice. For a really good 'working' amp that you want to gig with on a regular basis you may want to pay a little bit more than this and get a bit more power. It all depends on what level you're at in your playing ability, what type of amplifier you're looking for with regard to extra features and sound etc. and what size venue you want to play at if you're going to play live gigs. Let's not forget also how much money you've got to spend!

If you're on a tight budget but you want a decent guitar amplifier for band practice, then these amplifiers should give you enough power even when you've got drums playing. They may even be loud enough if you want to play live gigs at small indoor venues with an audience of around 50 people or less. This depends on whether you have a full-blown band with drums etc. in which case these amplifiers may fall short of power and quality loudness and might need to be rigged up to a PA system (public address system) so you can be heard loud and clear. It depends on what amplifier you choose as its border line at this price level.

For bigger crowds and/or outdoor venues, many, if not all of the amplifiers on this page will almost definitely need to be rigged up to a PA system so you can be heard. Valve amplifiers are the exception as they are naturally louder anyway. Just remember, sound dissipates more easily outdoors as there are no walls to bounce off of. 

Whatever venue you're planning on playing at, you don't really want your guitar amplifier cranked up to maximum to be heard. Generally speaking, better quality sound comes from a powerful amplifier on a lower volume setting, than a lower powered amp cranked up high. Again, it really does come down to how much you've got to spend.

Bottom line, if you're going to play live gigs regularly, and you've got more cash to spend, then you'd probably be better off spending a bit more cash for an amp with a bit more power.

After considerable research, these are what I think are some of the best guitar amplifiers around $/£200 or less that I can find at the time of writing (Oct 2016).

Please be aware that prices can fluctuate over-time and also between exchange rates. If you don't have this much cash to spare, then why not take a look at best guitar amplifiers around $/£100

Orange Crush 20RT 20 Watt Analogue Guitar Amplifier

This Orange amplifier is only 20 watts I know, but it's a bit in between the last price range and this one and I didn't want to leave it out as I relay do like Orange amps. They often offer a no frills, good quality practice amplifier at a reasonable price.

Orange amplifiers often possess a responsive lively feel due to their analogue circuitry. This makes them great amplifiers for purists who just want to play guitar through their amp and not be bothered with a multitude of different effects, modes and sounds.

That doesn't mean it doesn't have a variety of vintage and modern tones because it does. The two channel, high gain pre-amps deliver lush tones expected in far more expensive and more powerful guitar amplifiers. The two channels, clean and dirty, can either be switched on the amplifiers panel or by an optional extra footswitch.

The Orange crush 20RT also contains high low noise components that provide four stages of gain for exceptional richness and clarity. This delivers a wonderful variety of tones from blissful cleans, to classic bluesy orange crunch to high gain metal distortion.

The headphone/line out socket simulates the sound of Orange's 'voice of the world' 4x12 speaker cabinet as if it were mic'd. This gives you great Orange authentic sound while playing quietly to yourself or while recording.

The in-built reverb is an all-new digital module which adds a warm openness to the sound and delivers tones from subtle shimmers to lengthy ethereal trails. The circuit also features an analogue 'dry through', ensuring the tone maintains its integrity as the reverb blends in.

This great sounding Orange amplifier also has a built in chromatic tuner which is fast and accurate making easy tune-ups between sessions.

Weight = 17.9 pounds

Dimensions =   17 x 10 x 22 inches

Conclusion

I really do like the sound and comparable simplicity of this great little Orange amp. Take a listen for yourself. Just scroll down to the 'audio demos' section on the orange website.

I think the Orange RT20 is a simple, good quality, great sounding, low maintenance practice amp for not a great deal of money and definitely gets my vote for one of the best guitar amplifiers around $/£200.

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Blackstar ID: Core 40 Watt Modelling Guitar Amplifier

At the time of writing this review, this 40-watt amplifier is under $130?!

Blackstar have been going since 2007 after a group of four friends decided to get together in 2004 to design and create their own brand of guitar amps.

The Blackstar ID Core 40-watt amp is a two channel amp of 20 watts each channel. Its control is set like a traditional amp and is said to deliver incredible tone in super wide stereo sound via two 6.5" speakers.

The additional feature on this amp is its unique ability to be able to be programmed to allow you to custom design your own sounds.  

The Voice control has six different settings - clean bright, clean warm, crunch, super crunch, overdrive 1 and overdrive 2. These standard on-board effects can be manipulated further when used with Blackstar's patented ISF control to give you even more tonal control and further variations of the regular six sound settings. Apparently, the ISF changes the overall tonal character of the amplifier and by using the standard three band equalizer, namely the bass, mid-range and treble, you're able to fine tune the sound further still.

This innovative guitar amplifier also allows deep editing and storing of patches using the Blackstar INSIDER software. The patches can then be shared by uploading and downloading via the online community. This is not something that I would personally do myself but some folks like this type of thing.

This great little amp also features a USB connector to connect directly to your PC to record from the amplifier to your computer. An emulated line out for silent practice with your headphones is also featured, as well as an MP3 line-in for playing along to your favourite tunes or just for using the amp as an audio player. As far as I'm aware you can even speed up or slow down these tracks to practice by using the INSIDER software.

Weight = 10.6 pounds

Dimensions = 21.2 x 9.4 x 17.9 inches

Conclusion

The Blackstar ID 40 is a great little guitar amplifier especially if you enjoy playing around with software and editing/creating different sounds and stuff. Some say it's not a super loud amp and it should only be used for beginners or as a practice amplifier. I think it's a bit more than that myself, after all is it 40-watt, although it's not a valve amplifier I know, which would be louder than a 40-watt solid state or modelling amp.

Either way this amplifier is very low priced given its wattage, effects and other features and is said to have very good tone as well. Add to this the editing software for editing the effects, if you like that type of thing and want to delve deeper, and I think you'll agree that this amp is a great buy well worth the relatively low price tag.

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Marshall MG CFX 30-Watt Guitar Amplifier

As I've said before, we've all seen them on stage with some really massive bands and big names over the decades and that says it all really I think. Marshall make some incredible guitar amplifiers and they are without doubt one of the most iconic names for on-stage amplification ever.

The MG 30 CFX is a 30 watt amplifier with a powerful 10” custom speaker which delivers fantastic tone. It has four programmable channels and a variety of built in special effects; reverb, chorus, phaser, flanger, and delay. The MG 30 CFX allows two effects simultaneously i.e. reverb and one of the other four digital effects namely; chorus, phaser, flanger or delay.

The four programmable channels are; clean, crunch, overdrive 1 and overdrive 2. These four channels operate as most amps do when in 'manual' mode, but they can also be used in pre-set mode too if you decide to create your own settings. The pre-set mode memorises and stores your created settings so they can be recalled when you switch to that channel.

Headphone/Line Output
The line out recording socket also acts as the headphone socket. Both of which feature speaker cabinet emulation thus giving you the full Marshall sound when either recording or practicing through headphones for silent practice.

Line Input
Another great little feature nowadays with many modern guitar amplifiers is the added option of connecting an external audio source such as an MP3 or CD player. Needless to say, the MG 30 CFX also has this feature via the 3.5mm MP3 / line in socket. This is great for practicing while playing along to your favourite tracks on a CD or MP3 player through the amplifier simultaneously. Of course, it can just be used for listening to your favourite music through the amp, but I'm not certain it will be playing in full stereo sound so I would say its real purpose is really for practicing at keeping in time etc. It's certainly a neat little feature that makes it sound like you're part of the music, as your guitar sound will be coming out of the same speaker. 

Stompware Footswitch (Optional)
The option to upgrade your MG 30 CFX with additional Stompware footswitch is also another feature of this great little amplifier. This allows for seamless transition between the four channels as well as foot control of the tap tempo delay and also a built-in tuner with LCD display.

Weight = 23.8 pounds 

Dimensions = 8.9 x 8.8 x 16.5 inches

Conclusion

This is not a light amplifier so it isn't that easy to lug around, but its wide variety of sounds, effects and foot switchable memory makes the MG30CFX an incredibly versatile and flexible amplifier for this price range.

This iconic guitar amplifier combines solid-state circuitry with digital and analogue FX (special effects) said to offer both the classic Marshall tone as well as a variety of quality modern FX tones. All this is neatly wrapped up in a carbon fibre (CF) outer casing for great looks and long lasting durability. 

This is a quality amplifier with lots of good quality sounds and plenty of power and well worth the relatively low price tag. But, if you want to save even more of your hard earned cash then why not take a look at the 15 watt version of this quality guitar amplifier either at the US Amazon site or the UK Amazon site.

Note: As far as I'm aware the 15 watt version has all the features of the 30 watt version but a bit less power. Please make sure you look at the specifications on both versions thoroughly to make a correct comparison before buying. Either of these definitely gets my vote.

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Fender Mustang II V2 40 Watt Modelling Guitar Amplifier     

This is the bigger brother of the Mustang I V2 20 watt amplifier which I discuss on the reviews for amps around $/£100

There now seems a significant price difference between the US and the UK for what reason I don't know to be honest. Anyway, Fender have been manufacturing musical instruments since 1946. Since that time, they've played a massive part in musical history with some of the biggest and most influential guitarists of all time playing their guitars and using their amplifiers. Going by what people have been saying, the Mustang II V2 40 watt modelling amplifier seems a far superior model to its younger brother, the Mustang I V2 20 watt amp.

Fender Mustang amplifiers are full of versatility and power and are of a high standard as you'd expect from Fender. Even the cheaper models are made well with decent materials and good working knobs etc. They sound great too. The thing is, when you start to get into the slightly higher priced models such as these in this price range and above, things start to take on a new meaning. And, when you think about it, $199.99/£148.00 (at the time of writing this review) is not a great deal of money for a good quality amp.

The Fender Mustang II has all of its younger brother's features but with a lot more power and tonal quality.

With simple selection by a turn of a knob you can choose from 17 modelled (simulated/copied) amplifier tones from clean to distorted to allow almost any musical style to be played.

Just like its younger brother the Mustang I, there's 24 pre-set special effects such as; reverb, delay/echo, tremolo, phaser and many more. These effects can all be altered too if you choose via USB connection to your PC using the included Fender FUSE software. Alternatively, you can just play around with them in the traditional way with the knobs like you'd normally do on traditional amplifiers.

This amp also has studio quality recording software for Mac and PC to record tracks from a performance to your computer and makes it possible for you to send the file to a friend or colleague.  

You can even plug your MP3/CD player into the Mustang II so you can jam along to your favourite tracks and feel like part of the band. If you want to remain silent that's fine too. Just plug your headphones into the 1/8th headphone socket to allow you to practice quietly and help keep the parents or neighbours happy.

As far as I'm aware, all Fender guitar amplifiers are backed by Fender’s 5 Year Transferable Warranty.

Weight = 24 pounds

Dimensions = 8.7 x 18.2 x 17.2 inches

Conclusion

This amplifier has had really excellent reviews on Amazon.com. It's said to have incredible tone quality that is both loud and clear and capable of small gigs. It's also said to be good at lower levels and therefore suitable as a practice amp. Although Fender amps are well known for their excellent 'clean' tone, this amp is said to deliver excellent 'dirty' tones too.

In my opinion, this is one of the best guitar amplifiers in this price range for sure. If I were buying an amplifier at this level it would definitely be on my short-list along with the Marshall MG 30 CFX further up this page.

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Line 6 Spider V 30 Watt Modelling Guitar Amplifier

This is the newly upgraded version of the older IV model that's now been discontinued but at the time of writing is still available.

This newer model is definitely a big improvement on the already popular Spider V 30 watt modelling amp. The clean and fresh looking design has a ton of upgraded effects and amplifier models and is said to be one of the best sounding Spider V models around with its specialized full-range speaker system.

This great sounding guitar amplifier is also said to be one of the easiest Spider amps ever to use with no less than 78 amplifier models, 23 cabinet models and 101 effects! The possibilities are almost endless and just as easy to use with its simple colour-coded dial controls. 

The full-range speaker system consists of a custom-designed guitar speaker and high-frequency tweeter allowing you to hear the modelled amps and effects tones in superb depth and clarity for both electric and acoustic guitars as well as music too. So, if you play acoustic guitar too, you'll save on the cost of a separate amplifier as you can play your acoustic guitar through the Spider V 30 watt amplifier and all the models above as well. You can even play your favourite music through the Spider V 30 for a great experience when it’s time to practice.

Built-in Tuner, Metronome, and Drummer Loops

The Spider V 30 watt amp also features a built in tuner, a metronome and real drummer loops that have been recorded by professional musicians. Having these additional features is a real bonus to help you to take your practice and playing to the next level.

One of the most difficult and important things to master as a beginner is playing in time. The built in tuner will keep your guitar in tune and the metronome will help you to play in time while practicing. Playing along to the real drummer loops in particular though, will not only help you to play in time while playing lead, licks or rhythm, but it'll also help to give you a real sense of playing in a band as far as atmosphere is concerned. This is a great place to start if you're hoping to play live gigs in future.

Weight = 16.2 pounds

Dimensions =   8.2 x 15.4 x 15 inches

Conclusion

The clean and fresh looking design of the Line 6 Spider V 30 makes it one of the nicest, sharp looking amplifiers on the market today I think. And not only does it look good, it sounds good too, with a multitude of upgraded effects and amplifier models that not only can be played through a regular electric guitar, but also an acoustic guitar too. In addition to that is the fact that it's quite light compared to others in this class so it isn't as hard to move around as some of the other amps discussed here.

For me, this is one of the most versatile, best value guitar amplifiers around and it would definitely be on my shortlist if I were looking for a new amp in this price range. If you're looking for a bit more though and you've got more to spend, then take a look at the 60 watt model. It's wireless ready for the Line 6 G10T relay. More on that in the next price range though.

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Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 - 40 Watt Modelling Instrument/Guitar Amplifier

The Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 is the world's first guitar amplifier to contain models for electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass guitar. This is an extremely versatile amplifier that seems to act very much like a guitar synthesizer to me. It replicates the sounds of various stringed instruments such as; acoustic guitar, 12 String guitar, mandolin, 7 string guitar, baritone, resonator guitar, electric violin, sitar and bass guitar. 

This amplifier also has the added feature of 'variable instrument input' which allows you to play different guitar types just by plugging the instrument in and selecting the appropriate mode by pressing a small button. Yes, this amplifier lets you plug in your electric guitar, acoustic guitar and even a bass guitar.

I have seen on some reviews however, that those who have used a bass guitar through this amplifier have indeed blown the speaker/amp? Now, whether that's because they haven't selected the right setting or not I really can't say. What I would say is, just be aware of that and do some more research yourself and/or ask relevant questions before you buy this amplifier.

TransTube Technology

The Vypyr VIP 2 40w amp delivers excellent tone via Peavey's patented technology they call 'TransTube'. The TransTube technology aims to emulate the sound of real valve/tube guitar amplifiers with the added benefit of low maintenance and reliability that you get from a solid-state amplifier.

Sanpera Foot Switch Controllers

The option to add the Sanpera I or Sanpera II foot switch controllers is also available at extra cost. These are a great addition to this amplifier and other amps also in the Peavey Vypyr VIP series range.

The Sanpera I features four foot selector buttons offering four bank selection functions, 12 Amp accessible stomp box models and looper access and control. This great little additional foot controller also adds real time whammy, volume, wah and pitch shifter expression control.

The Sanpera II is a little more both in terms of cost and also features. It boasts ten buttons for foot selecting tap tempo and looper control, as well as for accessing pre-sets, preamp stomp box effects, post-amp effects, delay and reverb. The Sanpera II also features two expression pedals for whammy, volume, wah and pitch shifter expression control. 

The Sanpera II looks great to me. It allows access and remote control of virtually any feature of the Peavey VYPYR Series modelling amps and increases the pre-set storage from 12 in-amp pre-sets to an incredible 400 programmable pre-sets?!

The Sanpera I and II are both constructed of high quality, tough cast-metal, with the foot switches being made of high-quality metal also.

The Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 also features bi-directional USB for connecting to a PC for data, midi and audio record out. Studio quality headphone line out is also available for quality quiet practice, and you can also plug your MP3 and CD players into this amplifier for practicing along to your favourite tracks.

Take a look at the Peavey YouTube video demonstrating the Vypyr VIP 2 - 40 Watt Modelling Instrument/Guitar Amplifier.

Conclusion

This seems to be an excellent guitar amplifier with tons of features, sounds, amp models and quality tones. The option to add even more is available with the addition of the Sanpera foot switch controllers, albeit at extra cost. This amplifier appears to have plenty of power too and loud enough for small gigs going by what people have said. 

The only down side is that it may lack some build quality compared with some of the stronger contenders is this class. Read as many reviews as you can before buying. 

Bottom line, the Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 40 watt guitar amplifier allows you to perform, record or practice with a regular electric guitar, an electro-acoustic guitar and even an electric bass guitar. The option for a variety of many other sounds and instruments is there too if you want it with or without the optional Sanpera I/II foot controllers.

This is definitely one for me in this price range and well worth strong consideration.

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