Tube amps are often the choice for those guitarists out on the search for the warmer and more vintage sound. For those who really like to feel the vintage overdriven sound that the solid state amps perhaps can not offer to the fullest. Here is a very short list of some of the best tube amps currently out there.
1. Egnater Renegade 410
This relatively powerful 65 Watt amp has Egnater 10″ Elite-1065 Speakers and the tone is shaped by five 12AX7 preamp tubes and a power section of two 6L6 and two EL34 tubes. The amps two channels with independent 3 band EQ along with many other features offer some truly great tone-shaping options.
The Egnater Renegade 410 offers some really warm vintage sound and works for a variety of genres, while the 65 Watts make it suitable both for the practice room or the live stage. Plus if you feel you need some more watts, then you can always go for the equally great 100 Watt Egnater Tourmaster Series 4212.
2. Bugera 333XL-212 120W 2×12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp
This highly powerful 120 Watt hand-built tube amp comes with two 12” Bugera speakers and is driven by 4 x EL34 tubes. The amp has a 3 Channel design that include Crunch, Clean and Lead, along with a good quality integrated reverb with dedicated reverb control, giving you some great tone-shaping options.
The 120 Watts make this amp a good option for the stage, and its relatively small cost, as well as not being too heavy to transport, makes it into a pretty good live gig amp.
3. Orange Amplifiers AD Series AD30TC
This 30 Watt amp features 2×12” Celestion Vintage 30 speakers and has 4 x ECC83 double triode preamp tubes and 4 x EL84 output tubes. It is so well known for its great vintage sound that it does not need much of an introduction. Just to say the amp has 2 channels, with the first one producing more thicker and warmer sounds, while the second is more about extra gain and upper mids.
The downside of this popular Orange amp is that it costs quite a bit and 30 Watts might not be enough for playing bigger live shows. In that case you might try the 50 watt Orange Rockerverb 50 MKIII.
4. Mesa Boogie Mark V 90W 1×12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp
This 3-channel all-tube 10/45/90-watt 12″ amp offers you the classic Mesa Boogie sound, with the 5-Band Graphic EQ offering a great range of sound and tone shaping possibilities, making it an amp that suites a great variety of styles and genres. This is due to the 90 Watt Mesa Boogie Mark V letting you use anything from tweed-like tones to British crunch and the trademark Boogie overdrive. All of which makes it a great amp for the rehearsal room, as well as for live shows.
5. Peavey Classic 50/212 Tube Combo Amp
Here is one of the more highly valued vintage Peavey tube amps. This 50 Watt Peavey amp has four EL84 and three 12AX7 tubes. The amp comes with a 2 channel preamp and a 3 band passive EQ (middle, treble, bass) along with pre and post-gain controls on lead channel, as well as normal and bright inputs.
All in all this amp serves some really fine vintage sounds and is suitable for anything from blues to bluesy psych rock, plus the 50 Watts should be enough both for the rehearsal, as well as the live setting.
6. Vox Custom AC30C2
This vintage style 30 Watt Vox tube amp with a pair of 12″ Celestion G12M Greenback speakers features 3 x 12AX7 preamp tubes and 4 x EL84 tubes. The amps two channels are Normal and Top Boost, with bass/treble control for the latter channel. Other features include tremolo with depth and speed control and a spring reverb. All of this to give an ample range of tone-shaping.
What is good about this amp is that for its great vintage sound it doesn’t cost a fortune, and while the 30 watts don’t make it into the best tube amp in terms of volume, it can still be suitable for live gigs to a certain extent as well.
7. EVH 5150III 2×12-Inch 120v 50-watt Tube Combo Amplifier
This highly valued all-tube amp uses a pair of vintage-style Celestion G12M 12″ speakers, together with seven 12AX7s and two 6L6s, making it able to put out some 50 watts of juicy warm power. The amps three channels together with DSP reverb give more than enough tone-shaping possibilities to make this amp into a truly worthwhile medium sized combo. It is suitable both for smaller venues, as well as the rehearsal room.