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Practice amp recommendations?


My old 15w Crate practice amp is finally giving up the ghost, and it is time to replace it. (You may be wondering why I use a POS practice amp. Worship practice is on Thursday and I leave my rig there until Sunday because I am lazy. Practice amp is used in between.) I will admit I have appreciated the simplicity of having so few knobs and options as it has helped me focus on actually practicing.

What I’m looking for:
  • relatively small (8 or 10” speaker)
  • not crazy expensive ($2-300 max)
  • modeling or solid state (I want low maintenance and low volumes)
  • not overly complex or difficult to use (I already spend more than enough time tweaking tones on my Axe)
  • usable headphone tone (unlike my old Crate... don’t know if any non-modeling solid state amps can pull this off)
  • aux input for headphone practice with recordings
  • [edit] built-in tuner
  • [edit] don’t need to use a smartphone app for basic functions (ok with doing some initial setup with an app but don’t want to be whipping out my phone all the time)
Of course I could find amps with the general features easily enough online. Where I am hoping my fellow Fractal users can help is opinions on something with a palatable tone that is user friendly (or amps to avoid). I trust your opinions more than the average stranger on the internet. 😂
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After a quick look at the Spider V manual, I’m crossing that one off the list. Front panel looks like you have a handful of amps to choose from but it is really 16 presets, you can change to different ones, and there are 70-something amps available. If I was a beginner and this was my only amp, this would appeal to me, but it’s too much stuff for what I want in a practice amp.


I had good results with a Peavey Vypyr 20 watt back in the day. Haven't had one for years at this point but I remember it being easy to use and sounding relatively good. Haven't tried the newer iterations but they seem similar.

Dave Merrill

Fractal Fanatic
Blackstar ID60 TVP looks to be $325 ish, and for better and worse, it's a lot more amp than those. 12" speaker, lots of presets, basic fx, pretty simple interface, sounds pretty good actually. If you're looking for something your family won't notice in the living room, it's probably a bit much, but not a lot. OTOH, you could take it to a weeknight jam.


I am curious about the difference between the Roland Cube and the Boss Katana... they’re made by the same company, aren’t they? Which one sounds better?
Roland/Boss is a big company...

I don't think Cube is attempting to emulate a tube amp and the Katana is.

I played a Katana briefly while jamming at Vai Academy - just used it as it was set and it was pretty decent.


Axe fx with headphones doesn’t work? If not the boss katana 50 is pretty good by a lot of people’s standards


I have both a Boss Katana and a Yamaha THR10. Because you like to hook up your phone and play along to backing tracks and also use headphones, I recommend the Yamaha. If you wanted something that feels like a real amp in the room and be an all round good amp for jams, gigs and practice, I would recommend the Katana.


New Member
I really my Katana but it took me a little while to understand that the EQ is completely different from any amp I’ve ever used. It’s a great practice amp though. I have one sitting next to my Supro Blues King so I can cover all my bases for practicing in the house.


I really like using my orange micro terror into a ibanez 1x12. Lots of tones available, input to run backing tracks as well. Still feels like an amp, helps "keep me honest". Has a headphone out as well - but if I'm using headphones I might as well use my AxeFXIII. FWIW.
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