Best Solid-State Amps – 2020 Complete Round-up

For many years, solid-state amps had a bad reputation; however, more recently, they have begun to gain in popularity. They are built with superior technology and are capable of offering a lot of versatility of sound. 

Still, there are so many to choose from that you may find it difficult to work your way through the right one for you.

That’s why in this article we will be looking at several of the best solid-state amps as well as some points that might help you make the decision more easily.

Comparison of the Best Solid-State Amps

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Roland JC-120

  • Best solid-state amp overall
  • Built with fibers sections, rivets and corner guards for enhanced durability
  • Constructed with two cone speakers and built-in effects for versatile sound
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Orange Crush Pro CR120H

  • Multiple digital reverb options to choose from
  • Constructed in high-grade materials for enhanced durability
  • Multiple stages used for rapid sound crafting on both the clean and dirty channel
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Boss KTN-50

  • Best solid-state amp for the money
  • Crafted with multiple unique amp characteristics for the versatility of sound
  • Customizable effects and routing configurations with proprietary editing software
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Orange Micro Dark

  • Best solid-state Amp for Metal
  • Constructed in a hybrid design of the valve and solid-state
  • Amp includes components that bring with it a wide variety of tonal palettes
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Fender Blues Champion 40

  • Best solid-state Amp for Blues
  • Designed with a 40-watt power capability for the versatility of use
  • Built with a two-channel system that helps with the rapid change between clean and distorted signs
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Fender Champion 20

  • Best solid-state Amp for Pedals
  • Designed with multiple controls for improved soundscaping
  • Built with an open back that makes for a great storage space
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Marshall CODE25 Combo Guitar Amp

  • Best solid-state Combo Amp
  • Programmed with Bluetooth capability for both iOS and Android
  • Designed with multiple amps and cabinets to increase soundscaping capabilities
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What is a Solid-State Amp?

This style of an amp is crafted using transistors, which have low voltage requirements and reduced consumption of power, no matter what size amp you choose. These amps can work well with circuits of different symmetry. Often, the transistors that power this amp are made of silicone, and this means they have a long life. 

These amps are also less expensive to make and are often more reliable than other units. Though you can get more complicated and go into semiconductors more in-depth, that is basically what a solid-state amp is, so now let’s look at how it works.

How Does a Solid-State Amp Work?

This amp is an amp powered by semiconductors. There are, of course, more technology-based solid-state amps nowadays that use some digital parts, but the basic structure and method of how it works is still the same. Using the same basic idea as vacuum tubes, the solid-state amp utilizes a semiconductor to carry signal through the amp. 

Taking a closer look, you will find an input driver circuit that amplifies the small input signal into a large signal. The output transistors use electricity to improve the signal through the speakers. The unit itself is powered through basic electricity to do all that.

What Makes a Great Solid-State Amp?

There are many factors you can look at when making your decision. Though there are many features and functions, the ones below are the best ones to focus on. Utilizing this list, you are sure to find just the right amp for all your musical needs.

Tone

The most important thing to consider when looking into a solid-state amp is the tone. There will be some units that have better tones for different musical styling and effects. So, reading a review or testing them out at your local music store is crucial. Make sure you get the amp that brings with it the cleanest, crispest, warm tone possible, and you will be sure to get the right one.

Speaker

The speaker size depends on what you want from the amp. A small speaker will give you a clean voice but with a focus on the trebles, whereas the larger speaker will give you a nice sound on all the tonal spectrums.

Roland JC-120

Effects

Looking at the amp’s compatibility with pedals as well as the built-in effects can be a determiner if you play music that is effect driven like heavy metal or even blues.

Price

No matter what piece of equipment you are looking at, you will always want to think about the price and your budget. You will need to know what you are willing to spend and find the option that has the right effects and features that will help enhance your performance, but still fit with the funds you have available.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best solid-state amps:

  1. Roland JC-120
  2. Orange Crush Pro CR120H
  3. Boss KTN-50

Review of the Best Solid-State Amps

Now that you have a good amount of knowledge on what to look for when choosing a solid-state amp, we can begin to take a look at our list of the best solid-state amps.

Best Overall:
Roland JC-120

Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus 120-Watt Guitar Amplifier with Two 12-Inch Speakers

PROS

  • Offers an amazing tone
  • Constructed with a nice build quality
  • Excellent voice and superior power handling
  • Easy to understand and use knob configuration
  • Crafted with multiple amps for a true stereo image
  • Built-in stereo chorus effect makes the unit stand out
  • Multiple input channels with a tri-band EQ per channel

CONS

  • Price may be a little high for some
  • Only three-foot switch ports to control effects loops

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have a lot of great things to say about this amp . They love the easy upkeep and little maintenance, as well as the fact that there is no loss in tone. Even though many people feel that it isn’t great when used with a pedal, they still would highly suggest it for its clean state.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are a lot of great things about this solid-state amp, but the thing that particularly stuck out to us was the individual triband EQ available for each input. This gives this Roland amp a level of control that differs from many of its peers.

Who Will Use This Most

Though this is the best overall solid-state amp and can be a great asset for any guitarist because of its crisp, clean state, the guitarist that will get the most out of it is the jazz guitarist. The control over EQ and the clean state, crisp tone that loses none of its vibrancy, the jazz guitarist will have superior sound all around. 

Bottom Line

The Roland JC-120 is easily the best overall solid-state amp on the market. Not only is its internal construction-grade A, but its external build offers a heightened level of durability as well. The internal build of the amp includes two high-quality cone speakers and several built-in effects. This gives this amp versatility and durability.

Orange Amplifiers Crush Pro CR120H 120W Guitar Amp Head Black

PROS

  • Easy to use layout with simple controls 
  • Built-in effects offer high-quality sound
  • Full and crisp cleans to be had when using this head
  • Offers a traditional Orange tone in a solid-state amp
  • Constructed to be able to take the rigors of the road

CONS

  • Will need to purchase a cab in order to use
  • Some issues with the dirt channel being extremely muddy

What Recent Buyers Report

Though there are a few guitarists that have criticized this product's dirty channel and its muddiness, there are a lot of great features that outshine this one small flaw. Such features that make this a great choice in the eyes of recent buyers are things like the FX loop and the versatility of use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Solid-state amps are typically analog, and with this unit, you actually get a bit of a hybrid. In fact, the thing that sticks out to us is the variety of digital reverb options that are available to choose from. This will give you a versatility that elevates this well above many of its competitors.

Who Will Use This Most

When you look at the features and functions of this amp, you will quickly see that it is a superior performing amp, especially for the gigging guitarist that likes to rock out. With the crisp, clean sound and versatility of effects, you will be able to craft your sound exactly the way you want it.

Bottom Line

This amp is built from high-grade materials that give it a durability that will let it withstand the rigors of the road easier. Then when you step back and look at the features and functions of the amp, it is really easy to see why it had to be a part of our best-of list.

Best for the Money:
 Boss KTN-50

Boss KTN-50 12 Inch Katana 50W Combo Guitar Amplifier

PROS

  • Amp works well with a wide range of pedals
  • Quick adjustment of sound with dedicated controls
  • Acoustic preamp brings an enhanced level of sound
  • Crafted with a USB connection for access to more options
  • Power attenuation allows for versatility of venue capabilities
  • Designed with built-in BOSS effects that give you a wide range of sound crafting

CONS

  • Not constructed with an FX loop
  • Not fitted with a line out, unlike other models

What Recent Buyer’s Report

Those who have opted to make this their amp of choice love the value of this amp model. It offers a lot of great features and functions and is easy to use while keeping the budget-friendly price tag. The software for editing, though, seems to be a thing of contention; in the end, this amp is still highly recommended.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This amp is fitted with a lot of great things, but above all, the ability for quick adjustments from dedicated controls makes this a high-quality amp. This ability will allow for quick soundscaping while in the midst of a show, which will expand the versatility of sound capable.

Who Will Use This Most

The quick-adjust, as we said, is the reason that this budget-friendly option stands out. With this functionality, the live guitarist will be able to read a lot of performance-enhancing capabilities. Not only that, but with the wide range of BOSS effects available, the level of customization of sound is elevated just that much more.

Bottom Line

This amp is chock full of values with all of the effects and the high-quality build. Built with unique characteristics that offer a wide versatility of soundscaping capabilities, it includes customizable effects thanks to the patented software. All of this for a budget-friendly price is precisely why this amp finds itself on our list.

Best Solid-State Amp for Metal:
Orange Micro Dark

Orange MD20 Micro Dark 20-Watt Mini Guitar Amplifier Head Bundle with Instrument Cable and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth

PROS

  • Price versus value is amazing
  • Unique CabSim headphone output jack 
  • Small amp with a big sound capability
  • Rich, warm sound without a large footprint for enhanced portability
  • Simple and easy to use design and controls for optimized customizability
  • Shape and gain controls combine to allow for a versatility of power and tone

CONS

  • Will need to purchase a cab before using
  • Lack of battery-powered option that limits usability

What Recent Buyer’s Report

When you talk to guitarists who have invested in this amp, you will hear things like beautiful tone and excellent volume. They also love the lightweight, compact build, and though it doesn’t have the battery-powered option, the amount of performance you get lends itself to a lot of guitarists recommending this option.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Traditional solid-state amps are great, but they lack a little of the advantages you get from valve style amps. With this unit, you won’t have to worry about that, as this model is built as a combination amp. This gives it an enhanced tone and a wider versatility of sound capabilities.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This amp is well suited for any type of guitarist, but the metal musician will be able to reap the most from this amp. It also lends itself to the guitarist who is looking for a high-quality amp for home practice, especially those looking to shred some sweet metal licks. The volume and headphone jack make this perfect for a small home studio or even your room. It is compact and lightweight, which also helps when dealing with home studios. 

Bottom Line

Metal has some very specific requirements. The amp needs to have gain and shape control, as well as to be able to handle high volumes. This amp is fitted with so many tonal palettes that this is easily controlled and customized to build a rich, warm metal sound. The inclusion of the CabSim headphone makes this an even more beneficial buy for home practicing headbangers.

Best Solid-State Amp for Blues:
 Fender Blues Champion 40

Fender Champion 40 - 40-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier

PROS

  • Works well in conjunction with a Fender guitar
  • Wide range of capabilities of sound creation and crafting
  • Enhanced portability from a lightweight, compact design
  • Crafted with an AUX input so that you can use to plug a phone in
  • Designed with high-quality amp modeling that gives it a multi-amp feel

CONS

  • Some find the reverb to be a little dirty
  • To enhance this amp's capabilities, you may want to buy a pedal

What Recent Buyer’s Report

Recent buyers reviews rave about the ease of use and multiple onboard effects that are housed within this amp. There are a few guitarists who complain about a pop when shutting off, but other than that, this amp gets plenty of 5-star reviews.

Why It Stands Out to Us

This amp has a lot that we love, but the biggest thing that caught our attention was the two-channel system built into the amp and its ability to enhance the quickness of change between clean and distorted. This is why we have chosen it as the best option for the blues guitarist.

Who Would Use This Most?

Finding a good amp that is easy to use and offers everything a guitarist wants is a great way to start. That is why we feel this is best suited for the beginning guitarist, especially those who play blues.

Bottom Line

There are so many features included in this amp, which is why it had to be on our list. The ability to plug in with your phone and play along is just one of these. The power capability gives the unit versatility of venue, and with amp modeling abilities, you have a wide variety of options when it comes to sound as well.

Best Solid-State Amp for Pedals:
Fender Champion 20

Fender Champion 20 - 20-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier

PROS

  • Crafted with 15+ easy to access amp modes
  • Amp modeling increases the versatility of sound capability
  • Wide range of built-in effects for optimized soundscaping
  • Crafted with an easy to use simple layout that increases usability
  • Aesthetically pleasing to look at with a classic vintage Fender look
  • Lightweight and compact which elevates its portability and space efficiency

CONS

  • Power capability is not suited for larger gigs
  • Power switch is hard and awkward to use due to its location 

What Recent Buyers Report

When you check out the reviews from the guitarist that have made this one of their amps, you will hear many things. From the complaint of the loss of volume when the headphones are plugged in, to the positive things like the sound that is rounded and warm. They also love the quality of the effects.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Fender amp has a lot going for it, but when we broke down the features, one thing stood out to us. This unit’s use of multiple controls in its design makes this one of the most versatile amps on the market. This also makes it perfect for pedal use, and that expands the usability as well.

Who Will Use This Most

This amp is excellent for a lot of guitarists, especially those that opt for gigs in small venues. It is also a great choice for a practice session at home. The compact build leaves a small footprint and is beneficial for space management. 

Bottom Line

This unit is designed with an open back that offers a lot of storage options. The inclusion of the multiple amp modes makes it an amp that affords a wealth of opportunities in sound capabilities. The amp is perfect for pedals, and that is why we have included it on our list.

Best Solid-State Combo Amp:
 Marshall CODE25 Combo Guitar Amp

Marshall Amps Code 25 Amplifier Part (CODE25),15' x 10' x 15',Black

PROS

  • Lightweight and compact for enhanced portability
  • Easy-to-use, downloadable app for your smartphone
  • Amp is equipped with high-quality amps and effects
  • Crafted with the ability to be used via USB with a DAW
  • Fitted with a USB port for recording and audio streaming abilities
  • Versatility of sound crafting capability from the access to presets

CONS

  • LCD screen for display is small and may be hard to read
  • Power capability limits usability to small venues or home studios

What Recent Buyer’s Report

Guitarists who have purchased this amp may have difficulty with the interface, but that is a small price to pay according to them. They feel that the level of volume capability and other sound functionality is well worth taking a hit when dealing with the setup and use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the best things about this amp is the streaming capabilities. This unit is built with a USB port that allows for superior recording and streaming. This can elevate your sound performance in ways that go well beyond many of these amps competitors.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit has a lot of uses for many different types of guitarists, but the guitarists that will get the most from this amp are beginners. This is the perfect amp for practice in a home studio or even your bedroom. It is compact and lightweight with plenty of uses that will enhance your skills.

Bottom Line

This entry is the perfect combo amp that is a combination build constructed with multiple cabinets and amp modes that extend the use well beyond its compact size. Plus, it has access to Bluetooth capabilities with both iOS and Android. 

Types of Solid-State Amps

In every category, there are always variations that you should know about before making your final decision. In guitar amps, it is no different, so looking at these and the effects, as well as the features, can be the determining factor.

Traditional

This style of solid-state uses a combination of transistors and is run by semiconductors. If you turn this model up, you will get a level of distortion and warmth. This is an affordable option that often comes with multiple effects. 

Amp Modelling

This amp type models different types of amps. This model replicates classic amplifiers and types both in regards to effects as well as brands. They can even model cabinets. These are often hybrids, and though not solely a solid-state, there are solid-state options.

Hybrid

This model uses a solid-state technology when it comes to the power amp that drives the speakers. This model of an amp is reliable and versatile through the use of solid-state circuitry. It also offers all the advantages of the valve amp with half the price.

Conclusion

There are a lot of great options on the market when you are looking for a high-quality solid-state amp. These amps are fitted with many amazing features and performance-enhancing functions, but finding the right one is tricky. We hope that by laying out all of this knowledge about solid-state amps and looking in-depth at the best solid-state amps makes your decision-making process a little easier.

People Also Ask

Though we have covered a lot in the sections above, there may still be a few questions you have floating around your brain. We have taken the liberty to put together a list of some of the most commonly asked questions below:

Do Tube Amps Sound Better Than solid-state?

This has been a question of contention for a while. In fact, ever since the transistor was invented, this debate has been going on. If you compare the two, you will see that a solid-state amp offers a budget-friendly option, but a tube amp shines when it comes to the sound quality. The answer really depends on what you are looking for. 

Do All Solid-State Amps Sound the Same?

Just like with all equipment, not every solid-state amp is created equally. Many things can affect the sound from the cord to the speaker. This means that depending on what brand, speaker, effects, and so on, all can make the amps sound different.

Do Solid-State Amps Break Up?

If you are looking for that break up that can be accomplished from a tube amp being overdriven in your solid-state amp, you will be happy to hear it is possible. Though you may want to do it with a pedal, it is possible to get your clean sounding solid-state amp to break up. 

Are Tube Amps Louder Than Solid-State Amps?

This is a common thought, and for the most part, it is true. This is because when solid-state amps are played at higher volumes, they do something called hard clipping. This is a term used to describe a very aggressive distortion. This causes the sound to get a bit muddy and therefore sound dull in comparison to tube amps, and that is why many feel that tube amps are louder.

Are Solid-State Amps Analog?

Solid-state amps are traditionally analog, though in the past decade or so, there have been some digital and hybrids designed. This typically uses a pre-amp for a tube and the power stage from a solid-state. With a digital option, you get a solid-state circuitry for the power stage and digital preamp stage.