Guitar amps are one of the most crucial technological devices in music, and that’s why they are so essential for you to be able to play your favorite songs. However, it can be complicated to choose one that adapts better to your style and needs as there is too much variety in the market, and that’s why most guitarists end up purchasing the wrong guitar amp.
Therefore, picking the best metal guitar amp for yourself is critical.
Today we’ll describe the best metal guitar amp for under 500 dollars. Additionally, we’ll explain some of the factors that you should take into consideration for your purchase. You want to avoid buying the wrong amp, so it’s better to start looking when you’ve done your research beforehand!
Top Five Best Metal Guitar Amp for Under $500
1. BOSS Katana 100 MKII – Best Overall
If you want to equip yourself with an arsenal of sounds, effects, and more features you can use to experiment, then the Katana MKII may be the best option for you.
BOSS has been providing excellent devices throughout the years, and this time, they’ve come up with an all-rounder guitar amp that not only is affordable but also allows you to test different features for you to enhance and shape your tonality. These aspects include a more solid distortion tone, making it one of the best metal guitar amps for less than $500.
If you’re into black metal or nu-metal, this amplifier will be the best purchase you would’ve made in a long time.
- Its power consists of one-hundred watts. Moreover, the amplifier allows you to choose how many watts of power you’d like to use! You can select from three options: 0.5 watts – 50 watts and 100 watts. You don’t have to worry about your sound if you want to make the most aggressive distortions!
- The amp includes five different modeled voices.
- It would include five characters for each feature, regardless if you chose clean or brown. Other options include lead, crunch, and acoustic.
- There are about sixty effects you can try out while you’re practicing.
- It grants you infinite possibilities for tone-shaping.
- You can select from three cab resonance options, so be sure to test them all. These features include vintage – modern – deep.
This amp is a great all rounder for the standard metal player, loud enough for medium sized gigs, but still pumps out enough tone at low volumes for practising.
2. Marshall CODE50
Next up, we have the Marshall CODE50. This amplifier is crucial for the brand for multiple reasons, one of the primary reasons is that it is Marshall’s first attempt at digital modelling. And wow did they deliver!
The Marshall CODE50 puts at your disposal 14 preamp models, to mention one of the key features. Marshall Amplifiers have particular characteristics that make them unique, and that’s a feature that remains in the CODE50.
- As for the number of channels, you have up to 14 preamp models available. You also have up to 24 effects.
- It’s possible to use up to five effects simultaneously allowing to create some gripping tones. Some of the effects include reverb and overdrive.
- You can make things easier thanks to the Marshall Gateway mobile app (Android and iOS devices).
- It combines both worlds’ best – sounds from the old school and everything we like about modern metal.
3. Orange Micro Dark
As we know, I’m a bit of an Orange fanboy. As an old school British amp, it has been around since metal’s early days and has accompanied big names such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and many other bands worldwide for a long, long time. Orange amps are still used to this day across a huge amount of genres.
This company had two popular amps, the Dark Terror and the Dual Dark. After some years and due to both products’ popularity, fans kept asking the company to come up with a “mini-valve hybrid head” version, and that’s how they created the Orange Micro Dark.
It has been praised by big names in the industry, including Nico Santora from Suicidal Tendencies.
For a compact setup, you really can’t beat the Orange Micro Dark. It is an excellent deal for a metal guitar amp under $500.
- It has up to 20 watts available for power.
- It is the best option for portability. Not only is it tiny, but also hugely lightweight.
- You have three knobs available: volume – shape – gain. Simplicity at its best with no compromise.
- It contains a “buffered” effects loop.
- It includes a CabSim headphone out if you want to practice by yourself or if you need the option for recording.
4. Fender Mustang LT25
Are you looking for the best budget option for a metal guitar amplifier? It would help if you considered the Fender Mustang LT25.
Fender is a huge name we’ve all heard of, with fantastic guitars and amps alike. The mustang series is known for its impressive features, quality and simplicity.
Similar to the Orange Micro Dark, the Fender Mustang LT25 provides you with portability with it being super lightweight. This option is one we would recommend for beginners or those with more adjusted budgets – although the only drawback we found is that some amplifiers offer you more effects and features for the same price.
- A 25w amp that provides enough power for small gigs and comfortable when practising.
- It is tiny and light, which allows you to store it easily. You can take it anywhere!
- It includes twenty amp models, twenty-five effects, and fifty presets.
- You can connect headphones through the out-and-in aux.
5. Line 6 Spider V 120 MKII
This option is another alternative for those with a tight budget. The Line 6 Spider V 120 MKII is perfect for live performances and practices. You can use up to two-hundred modeled presets if you’re into experimenting with your sounds, and it also includes connectivity with computer and model devices.
You would think that such an affordable amplifier would have a closed selection of effects, but the Line 6 Spider V 120 MKII allows you to use more than one-hundred effects.
Although most of its features are “plain” compared to what other amplifiers listed here can offer, the Line 6 Spider V 120 MKII is one of the best metal guitar amps for under $500 as it allows you to experiment with your sounds. Make sure to try all the options until you find the sound that suits you better!
We’d recommend this amplifier for those who play death metal, for instance.
- You can connect the amplifier with your computer (Mac and PC) and your mobile devices (iOS and Android).
- You can select more than 100 effects models.
- It includes seventy-eight amp and twenty-four cab models.
What makes an amplifier good for metal?
We have made available five of the best metal guitar amps for under $500 at your disposition. Now that you have options, it’s time to clarify some factors you should take into account when buying an amplifier good for metal.
For starters, you should know that playing metal obligates you to play “crushing” tones, most of the time at strident volumes. Therefore, the device you choose should be able to “packaging” all this baggage.
A good amplifier for metal should offer intense compression, allow enough if not ample distortion, and mention some of the many factors you should consider.
Moreover, if the amp you chose cannot “push” your gain tones higher, maybe you should reconsider your purchase and start exploring other options. A good amplifier for metal should be able to allow your sounds to resonate through the whole room and reach the whole crowd – if what you’re aiming for is to find an amplifier for live performances.
As we said above, it can be a bit daunting to choose an amplifier with so many options available in the market. There are tons of features to recognize and explore, as two amplifiers of the same brand or line may not have the same effects available. Moreover, a good amplifier for metal should be able to comply with your style and needs.
Some of the features to take into account while considering options for good metal amplifiers are the following:
- Amp style – It can be “tube,” “solid,” or “hybrid.” The amp style you choose affects different aspects of your tones and the total price of your device. For instance, solid-state amps are mostly used for clean tones; tube amps allow you to play “organic” distortions, and “hybrid” amps combine everything you like about the styles mentioned previously. Additionally, there are “modeling” amps that are meant to “mimic” the sounds of classic amplifiers.
- Some amps may be heads or combos, and the type you choose will let you know if you must purchase an external speaker, although that shouldn’t be an issue with the options we mentioned above.
- Last but not least, please pay close attention to the power the amp draws. Although only one of the options we mentioned on this list allows you to choose between numerous power settings – in this case, three, an amplifier that offers you multiple choices of this feature may be top-notch. However, even if they do not have power options available, they may still be a good deal.
How to choose the best metal amp for you
There are too many features to describe and explore, and that may overwhelm some beginners. If you’re just getting started in the music business, it would be best if you absorbed as much information as possible for you to be able to get the best amplifier for your needs.
In the old-school days, you had to choose different amps for each purpose, live performances, recording at the studio, or practicing. Nowadays, even budget amplifiers are capable of complying with all of these tasks.
So, what should you be looking for?
Additional to the types of amps, you should be aware of the configurations. Some of them may be a single device that contains the amplifier and the speaker in the same product, while others come separately.
What’s best in these cases is to explore different options until you find one that suits your style better. Different brands will include distinct effects and many other features, but if you’re a beginner, you probably won’t use them as much, so it would be best if you chose a “mini” amplifier.
In these cases, we would recommend going for the Marshall CODE50 as it is easy-to-use and allows you to experiment with a limited set of effects and other factors until you find a sound that resonates with your style and personality.
It may be complicated to choose a guitar amp at first, but it doesn’t hurt to do research and explore numerous options until you find the one that suits you the most.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to obtain a good metal guitar amplifier for under 500 dollars. Although some of the options mentioned above are suitable for both beginners and pro guitarists, it would be best if you did enough research about the different things that affect your sound in order to come up with the best option for your case.
Although you can take advice from a more experienced musician, your styles may differ. What works for them may not work for you, and that’s a crucial aspect to take into account when purchasing a metal guitar amp as well.