Best desktop guitar amps 2021: 9 compact tabletop amps for portable practice
The best desktop guitar amps are affordable, compact, and come loaded with features - some don't even have to sit on a desk.
It wasn't too long ago that the humble practice amp was a fairly basic unit only used as a means to keep the volume down. Today desktop amps are jam-packed with studio-quality guitar tones and high-tech features that make practicing the guitar fun!
To say the desktop amp market is crowded is an understatement. Almost every manufacturer has some form of table-top amp, and some even offer mini versions of classic amplifiers. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming. Luckily for you, we've put together this handy guide to the best desktop guitar amps you can buy right now. So sit back and allow us to guide you through the process of choosing your new amp.
We've included some expert buying advice at the end of this guide, so if you'd like to read it, click the 'buying advice' tab above. If you'd rather get straight to the products, keep scrolling.
Best desktop guitar amps: Our top picks
It's hard to deny the popularity of the Positive Grid Spark. If you’re looking for an all-singing, all-dancing desktop guitar amp that makes practicing the guitar fun, then this is the amp for you. Perhaps you're not too keen on using mobile apps to control your new amp? Well, in that case, we highly recommend the Yamaha THR30II. This amp not only looks great on any desk or shelf but sounds excellent straight out of the box.
For the player looking for the smallest option available, then look no further than the Laney Lionheart Mini. This nifty little amp comes alive when using the Tonebridge app and sounds fantastic - not to mention it's cheaper than most guitar pedals!
Best desktop guitar amps: Product guide
1. Positive Grid Spark
The future of home practice
Launch price: $299/£235 | Wattage: 40W | Effects: 30 Amp Models 40 Effects | Speakers: 2x4" Custom Designed Speakers | Weight: 11.46 lbs/5.2 kg
Easy to use
Smart Jam/Auto Chords great for practice
Supply issues can make it difficult to get your hands on one
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you've heard of the Positive Grid Spark. This innovative smart amp took the guitar world by storm and created demand, the likes of which we've never seen before for a desktop practice amp.
On the surface, the Spark is a 40-watt practice amp powered by the highly revered BIAS tone engine - but in reality, it's far more than that. When used in conjunction with the Spark app, the amp transforms into the ultimate practice companion.
Listening to a song and want to jam along? Simply use the 'auto chords' feature to figure out the chords in any song from Spotify, Apple Music, or Youtube. Perhaps you want to jam or write songs? Well, the 'smart jam' feature carefully analyses the notes you're playing and creates a backing track in a style of your choice - how cool is that?! If all of this wasn't enough for you, the app also gives you access to over 10,000 tone presets.
This clever little amp offers incredible value for money and may just change the future of practice amps forever.
Read our full Positive Grid Spark review
2. Yamaha THR30II Wireless
The original desktop amp pioneer
Launch price: $499/£429 | Wattage: 30W | Effects: 15 Guitar Amp Models, 3 Acoustic Models, 3 Bass Models, 3 Flat Voicings, Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Tremolo, Reverb, Delay, Compressor, and Noisegate | Speakers: 2x3.5 Full Range | Weight: 9.5 lbs/4.3kg
Simple to use
Fantastic range of sounds
Built-in wireless receiver
The look might not be for everyone
The Yamaha THR series doesn't look much like a guitar amplifier, and that's the idea. Styled after home audio equipment, the THR30II can sit anywhere in the home, and the non-guitarists can stream music to it via Bluetooth.
The guitarists, however, are in for a real treat, because this is a serious desktop amp from the pioneers of desktops amps. With convincing onboard modulation, reverb and delay effects, 15 amp tones courtesy of Yamaha’s Virtual Circuitry Modeling, there is a whole lotta tone here. A pair of 1/4" line outputs make it a great option for home recording.
Read the full Yamaha THR30II Wireless review
3. Blackstar ID:CORE BEAM
Bass, Electric, Acoustic, and Music!
Launch price: $394/£199 | Wattage: 10W | Effects: 6 Electric Voices, 2 Bass Voices, 2 Acoustic Voices, 2 Acoustic Simulator Voices, Modulation, Delay, Reverb and Distortion | Speakers: 2x3” Full Range | Weight: 8.6 lbs/3.9kg
Perfect for bass and acoustic as well as electric guitar
Sounds huge for its size
Built-in Bluetooth for streaming music
Not much to complain about
Blackstar’s BEAM (Bass, Electric, Acoustic and Music) is a popular desktop solution. It’s compact, so it’s great where space is limited, and it features the familiar range of Blackstar clean and overdrive sounds, together with studio-quality modulation, delay and reverb effects.
You can stream music via Bluetooth, although you’ll need a USB cable to get into deep editing with Blackstar’s Insider software. What the BEAM lacks in features and models it more than makes up for by being simple, fun and great value for money to boot.
4. Boss Katana-Air
The cutting-edge wireless desktop amp
Launch price: $412/£369 | Wattage: 30W | Effects: 5 amp voices and over 50 effects | Speakers: 2x3” | Weight: 4.14lbs/2.2kg
Iconic Boss effects
A little expensive compared to the standard Katana
The Katana amps have been a big success story, with Roland adding its digital might to make them a popular choice for guitarists wanting to jump to digital. The Katana-Air’s boast is that it was the first fully wireless amp of its type, bundled with a Boss guitar transmitter.
There are just five amp models, but they’re truly awesome and you can access over 50 Boss effects. Audio streaming and editing via Bluetooth is standard, and the Katana can run on batteries. Power output is a respectable 30 watts (2x 15 watts) when plugged into the mains adaptor.
Read the full Boss Katana Air review
5. Fender Mustang LT25
Amp modeling made easy
Launch price: $149.99/£129 | Wattage: 25W | Effects: 20 Amp Models, 25 Effects, 50 Presets (30 Pre-Loaded, 20 Easily Accessible) | Speakers: 1x8" Fender Special Design | Weight: 12.75 lbs/5.7 kg
Simple to use
Great range of sounds
Fender build quality
Other amps in this price category have more features
The Fender Mustang range is synonymous with excellent quality practice solutions for guitar players, and with the release of the Mustang LT25, modeling amps just got simpler. The LT25 takes what we loved about the previous iterations of the Mustang and condenses them into a portable amplifier that fits perfectly on your desk or coffee table.
The simple user interface and 1.8" color display make this an ideal amp for beginners or the guitarist new to amp modeling. This powerhouse of an amp comes fully loaded with 20 amp models, 25 studio-quality effects, and 30 presets, with another 20 banks reserved for user presets. So no matter the sound you’re searching for, you'll find it with the Fender Mustang LT25.
Read our full Fender Mustang LT25 review
6. Laney Lionheart Mini
A small amp with a mighty roar
Launch price: $99.99/£39 | Wattage: 3W | Effects: Clean/ Overdrive (Lots more when using TONEBRIDGE app) | Speakers: 1x3" | Weight: 1.65 lbs/0.75 kg
More features than other mini amps
Needs subscription to Tonebridge app to fully unlock amps potential
The market is awash with mini versions of famous amps. Although the Laney may not be the most recognizable, it may be the best. This petite 3-watt amp delivers a big sound that is more than enough for at-home practice, and the rather attractive navy exterior and blue and beige grill cloth means it looks great as well.
What sets this amp apart from the competition is the Laney Smart Interface socket (LSI). This nifty addition allows you to connect the amp to your smart device and use third-party apps to access new and wonderful sounds. Laney recommends using your new amp with the Tonebridge app, and all Laney mini amps come with a free 3-month full subscription to get you started.
7. Vox Adio Air GT
Classic Vox styles with modern technology
Launch price: $299/£249 | Wattage: 50W | Effects: 11 amp voices (23 with app), 8 effects (19 with app) | Speakers: 2x3” | Weight: 6.39lbs/2.9kg
Other amps in this category have more features
This is a strong player in the desktop amp field, helped by Vox’s partnership with another giant in the digital music field, Korg. It has a powerful 50-watt (2x 25-watt) power output, 17 amp models and up to 19 effects. The Adio can do audio streaming and remote editing via Bluetooth using Vox’s Tone Room app, and it can run on alkaline or rechargeable batteries.
The Adio is also bundled with the popular Jamvox app. There’s no guitar wireless, but you can buy one of several popular transmitter/receiver kits to use with the Adio Air.
Read the full Vox Adio Air GT Review
8. Blackstar Fly
Practice your guitar on the fly
Launch price: $69.99/£49 | Wattage: 3W | Effects: Clean/Overdrive and Delay | Speakers: 1x3” | Weight: 1.9lbs/0.9kg
A little basic
As far as portable, battery-powered practice amps go, the Blackstar Fly may be the most popular one out there. This tiny 3W amp not only delivers two channels (clean/ overdrive) but also ‘tape delay’.
Blackstar offers a Fly Stereo pack (or separate FLY 103 extension cab) which turns this mighty little amp into a 6W stereo rig. This sounds great for guitar but even better for music playback or even PC monitors.
The Fly is portable, loud, and best of all extremely affordable!
9. Marshall CODE25
Every Marshall tone imaginable in one small unit
Launch price: $269/£149 | Wattage: 25W | Effects: 100 preset, 24 different built-in effects (5 simultaneously) | Speakers: 1x10” | Weight: 13lbs/6.1kg
Classic Marshall look
Other amps at the same price point may have more features
Not quite a desktop amp but still a potent rival, Marshall’s CODE25 has a cracking remote editing app that really makes the amp come alive. Again, the CODE streams audio via Bluetooth making it a great play-along tool. No stereo here, but a beefy 10-inch loudspeaker makes it more of a ‘proper’ guitar amp, capable of handling the odd small gig with ease.
There are 14 preamp models, four power amps and eight cabs, with 24 effects – you can use up to five simultaneously. Best news is the price: at $340 MSRP, and available at heavy discounts across the web, the CODE25 is amazing value.
Best desktop guitar amps: Buying advice
The most important thing to think about when choosing the right desktop amp is the sound that it can produce. Unfortunately, not all of these multi-channel or modeling amps are capable of re-creating every tone you can think of, so choose your desktop guitar amp wisely.
Which tone do you use 90% of the time? Find an amp that can reproduce that. If you're a blues player, you may want to look for an amp with an authentic low gain sound and a nice spring reverb. For us, the Yamaha THR30II does a great job at achieving this sound. If metal is your thing, then make sure the amp you choose has a solid high-gain setting. The Blackstar BEAM, Katana-Air, and Positive Grid Spark handle the high-gain sounds very well in our opinion.
Next, we need to consider effects. Which do you like/use the most? Each amp on this list comes with access to lots of guitar effects, from delay to reverb, compression to chorus, and many more.
Playing around with effects can get a little confusing - especially for beginners, but something with a simple user interface like the Fender Mustang LT25 is totally beginner-friendly - and as it's capable of loads of tones, it's a great option if you're not quite sure what you want.
If you find yourself wanting to experiment with loads of new effects, then look at the amplifiers with integrated apps, as usually, this means you can download extra effects and presets whenever you want to try out new sounds.
Each amp on this list has more than enough power for home practice, although this can vary significantly. Most mini battery-powered amps come in at 3W, and the larger options go up to 40W. So make sure you consider the wattage carefully.
Think about where you're going to be using your amp, and in what setting. If you're going to be playing with other people, then more power is best. If you're only ever going to be playing at home on your own, then anything as small as 1W will suffice.
Sadly we are unable to ship this product outside of Europe at this time. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions you can contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or check out our Help Centre.
The included software may now be a download online and the stated CD may not be enclosed with this item as a result
When the Yamaha THR10 Guitar Amp hit the market last year it was seen a real breakthrough for people wanting great tone at low volume for desktop use. If the original THR10 was a one size fits all model the new Yamaha THR10C Guitar amp gives your a more specific set of tones to suit your playing. The THR10C is all about those classic boutique bluesy sounding amps. Digital Delay is replaced a warm Tape Delay Emulation.
The Yamaha THR10C also works great as a recording interface and an ipod dock (or anything with a 3.5mm jack) Yamaha refer to this as your "Third" Amp but we feel it would also work great as your First, Second, Fourth or Fifth Amp.
Watch our World Exclusive Videos to hear what this amp can offer.
Use it anywhere
It’s not a stage amp, but it’s not a practice amp either. THR is something totally new – the amp for everywhere you play that isn’t on stage. Designed from the ground-up to be the perfect amp for the way guitarists really play when they’re not playing live, THR-toting guitarists are joining the tone revolution and rewriting the rules on how your guitar should sound away from the stage.
THR with added blues
But what if you like the THR concept but want it more specialized, with even more focus, to get the perfect sound for you? What if you’re a real tone-hound and already know your sound down to the smallest detail, but are constantly on the search for that tiny detail, that certain ‘something’ to perfect it everywhere youplay? What if there was a THR that was dialed in to a specific tonal direction, a THR that was focused on
the subtleties of tone and dynamics between amps that are similar in most people’s eyes but are worlds apart in the eyes of the experienced?
Get ready to spend even more time playing guitar. You’re going to like this…
Here is what Yamaha say about the THR10C
THR10C takes the personal-amp concept to a new level of audio fidelity. The finest tube amps respond to a player’s every touch – with picking dynamics and playing style adding as much to the tone as your guitar and pickups.
Using Yamaha’s exclusive VCM (Virtual Circuitry Modelling) technology, THR10C perfectly recreates the unmistakable response and dynamics that only a boutique tube combo can provide.
- DELUXE: Twin 6L6 output stage and low gain preamp for clean tube warmth with late-breakup
- CLASS A: 4xEL84s in a true Class-A configuration with interactive EQ for rich, complex harmonic tones and warm overdrive
- US BLUES: low-power, low-gain twin EL84 design for clarity and definition
- BRIT BLUES: KT88 powered for easy breakup and midrange rich overdrive
- MINI: 12AX7, single EL84 – a no-frills tone monster that responds incredibly to picking dynamics
- BASS, ACO, FLAT: These are the same as on the THR10.
- Controller/Switch AMP, GAIN, MASTER, BASS, MIDDLE, TREBLE, EFFECT, DLY/REV, GUITAR OUTPUT, USB/AUX OUTPUT, USER MEMORY Switch x 5, TAP/TUNER Switch
- Connections INPUT (Standard Mono Phone), PHONES (Standard Stereo Phone), AUX IN (Stereo Mini), USB
- Speakers 8cm Full Range x 2
- Rated Output 10W (5W + 5W)
- Battery:AA alkaline batteries (approx. 6 hours) or Nickel-hydride batteries (approx. 7 hours)
- Width 360mm
- Height 183.5mm
- Depth 140mm
- Weight 2.8kg
Yamaha THR10C Classic Blues Guitar Amp Video Reviews
Yamaha THR10C Classic Blues Guitar Amp Specifications
| Amp Type: |
Does the amp use Valves/Tubes, 'Solid State' circuits, a combination of the two (hybrid) or software emulation?
|Modelling , Crunchy|
| Effects Loop: |
An Effects Loop allows you to insert your effects pedals in to a loop - usually between the preamp and power amp instead of before the amp.
|Number of Channels:||1|
|Speakers:||8cm Full Range x 2|
|Wattage Range:||1W - 10W|
| Footswitchable: |
Can this amp be used with a separate footswitch?
|Total Cash Price|
|Amount of Credit|
|Duration of Agreement|
|Monthly Repayments of|
|Cost of credit|
|Annual Rate of Interest|
|Total Amount Payable|
How do I use instant finance?
It's simple! Just add the products you want to your basket and click the "Checkout" button in your basket. Go through the checkout process and tick the "Finance" option under "Select Your Payment Method". You can then choose which finance term you'd like to apply for, and change your deposit if you wish.
At the end of the checkout you'll be taken to the V12 Finance web site. This is where your finance application is processed. Assuming your application is accepted you'll be able to place your deposit and confirm your order right there.
Then, your order will come through to Andertons and we'll send you the goods. Get approval before 3pm and we'll send your order out the same working day (stock permitting) for next working day delivery!
Who can apply for finance?
You must: spend over £300, be at least 18 years of age, have been a UK resident for 3 years or more, be able to make repayments by Direct Debit, be in regular employment (minimum of 16 hours per week) including self-employment, or in permanent residence with your partner who is in regular employment.Read More About Online Finance
Andertons Music Company's Registered Office: 58-59 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, GU1 4RF. Andertons Music Company acts as a credit broker and not a lender and only offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance. Andertons Music Company is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Credit provided subject to age and status.
Mr Ige Adebari / Oct 9th 2019
The amp is just what I wanted - great tones and ideal for playing in my flat. Andertons service I think excellent as stated above.
Fergus / Sep 17th 2019
Had been using various iPad app amps to play through headphones at night but this gives a far better tone even at very low volume. Really impressed.
Mr simon balley / Sep 16th 2019
Should have bought one ages ago - perfect studio practice amp! This with my tweed blues junior is all you need - love it!
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Yamaha G50 / G100 – Maybe the Best Sleeper Amp Yet
Yamaha G50 / G100 – Maybe the Best Sleeper Amp Yet
Okay gang, as you all know, I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for guitars and amps that I consider “sleepers” … you know, they are awesome, but somehow the awesomeness has been undetected and so they can be bought “for a song”. Today’s entry is the Yamaha G50 and G100 amps of the late 1970’s - 1980’s. I had one come through my shop, and it turned out the only problem it had was a tired speaker. With a new WGS ET65 in her, she was a superb clean amp. I’m going to keep this short (I promise), but let’s talk just a little bit about why these are cool and VERY under-rated amps.
Okay, first, let’s start with this: these amps are often able to be bought for under a hundred bucks. Got your attention? Good, let’s dive in.
These solid-state amps were Yamaha’s take on Fender’s Twin Reverb, the reigning heavy-weight combo king of the late 1970’s. Their 50 and 100 wat versions are as loud as comparable 50 and 100 watt tube amps; this was far before the days of inflated solid-state output ratings. Yamaha was, and is, a great Japanese company that takes quality seriously. Designed with help from Paul Rivera, they are built well and can fill a big stage.
They were made in the original series as well as the II and III versions. With all three variants, the clean tone is big, fat and juicy with acutronics long-spring verb; in other words, a GREAT clean amp for Jazz, etc. … but also a great pedal platform! With all three variants, the “distortion” is downright awful; unless cheesy buzzy 80’s solid-state distortion is your thing (hey maybe you’re in a Devo tribute band), you will NOT like the amps distortion. Put a pedal in front of her!
A final note: As is soooo often the case with mass-produced amps, the one place where Yamaha cheesed out was on the speaker(s). Just like with Gibson’s excellent Lab Series amps of the same period (see my blog), they stuck speakers in that didn’t really sound great and couldn’t really handle the power of the amps. So, be prepared to drop a WGS ET65 (or two if you get the 100-watt 2x12 version) in to unleash these amps true potential!
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