In order to further understand my knowledge of how an amplifier effects electric guitar tone, I watched this video from Andertons Music Co. that showcases a range of low-end modelling amplifiers and assessed some of the characteristics that made each amplifier unique. I have also listed some artists from the rock and heavy metal genres that I think these amplifiers would be most suitable for in regards to achieving their desired guitar tones. This video was a great comparison point as almost all of the amplifiers had the same configurations (1×12), with the exception of the Blackstar ID Core 2 (2×10), and the Line 6 Spider V 60 (1×10).
Vox – Valvetronix – VT100X – 1×12
This amplifier featured prominent mid and high frequency response, accompanied by a well-rounded bass response. It provides a great clean tone, but sounds a little bit washed-out when it comes to distorted chords, leading to a cheap-sounding oldschool vibe that could be utilised in the grunge genre.
Appropriate for acts such as Blue Cheer and Cheap Trick
Marshall – CODE 50 – 1×12
This amp features a prominent bass response with clear high frequencies and reasonable yet underwhelming mids. The clear high frequencies lead to a great sound when used with time-based effects. It does a similar job as the Vox of replicating an oldschool tone, though it has the potential to sound more high-end and be more versatile in general than the Vox thanks to the improved high frequency response.
Due to it’s versatility, the CODE 50 could be used for anything from Jimi Hendrix which relies on access to a wide spectrum, or a straightforward crunchy tone such as AC/DC
Fender – Mustang III MK2 – 1×12
The Mustang III MK2 specialises in high frequencies, with a strong mid frequency presence and a bass response that is a little lacking compared to the other amps. It seems to have a crunchier (more distorted) sound than the Marshall or VOX, which is more suited towards excitable rock music than slower ballads. Its lacking bass response also makes it undesirable for metal, as many metal acts scoop their EQ on their amp so that the bass and high frequencies are loudest, with more withdrawn mid frequencies.
Suitable for acts such as Guns N’ Roses and The Angels
Boss – Katana KTN100 – 1×12
This amplifier has a beautiful-sounding midrange, with a capable, yet slightly underwhelming high frequency response, and middling bass response. It does clean tones well, but lacks the power that would make it more desirable for distorted tones. It is a reasonably well-rounded amp, though it fails to be more desirable than most of the other amps at any aspect.
This amp may be suitable for overdriven, yet not fully distorted rock guitar, such as The Wrights and JET
Blackstar – ID60TVP – 1×12
This is the last of the 1×12 configurations, and is the most well-rounded amp on this list so far. It has powerful, yet luscious mids which are the focal point of this amplifier. The bass frequency response sounds very serviceable, as does the high frequency response. Ultimately this amplifier sounds very similar to the Boss, though I would definitely class the ID60TVP as an upgrade over the Katana. As such, I am not including an appropriate application for this amplifier.
Blackstar – ID Core 2 – 2×10
The ID Core 2 is my personal favourite of these amplifiers, being excellent in multiple areas of the frequency spectrum, with a beautifully smooth bass sound, fragile highs that cut through, and mids that can service just about any style of rock or metal. It also works extremely well with time-based effects; and due to its amazing frequency response, it really brings out the best of the harmonics. It can get a great distorted tone, whether it is a warm or crushing tone and can also produce the oldschool, washed-out tones that were mentioned earlier as well as an elegant clean tone. This amp also benefits from two speakers, meaning you have a lot of room to change up your microphone technique and take advantage of the stereo time-based effects that are possible with this option.
I would consider this amplifier for bands like Kiss, Metallica and Led Zeppelin due to its versatility, with particular reference to its excellent low end and mid range. Progressive bands like Pink Floyd would benefit from the stereo speakers due to the forethought that they employed in the writing process in regard to the technologies they had available to them.
Line 6 – Spider V 60 – 1×10
The Line 6 Spider V 60, despite being a 1×10 setup, also has a separate tweeter for the high frequencies, which are the sonic focal point of this amplifier. Outside of the high frequencies this amp’s response is well-rounded. The Spider V 60 has a lot of ways to configure your tone, but is lacking in terms of the end result. It is also capable of being used with a wireless guitar jack, which is great for small touring bands. It is an amp that has a lot of functionality, and in some ways is the jack-of-all-trades of this list in that it doesn’t specialise in much.
This amplifier would be a good option for guitarists that like a lot of customization in their tone that also want to play in small clubs.