Best budget amp modellers?

000 000 0000

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Hi there,
I am currently looking into getting a guitar amp modeller for home use for under £500. I am not someone who knows a lot about guitar amplifiers or amp modellers, so I am looking for some advice and recommendations for my search. I have considered a few options, such as a used axe fx standard/ultra, or something like a line 6 helix pod go, or even bias fx, or amplitube. What do you think would be the best value for this price point? Which have the best tones? Which are the easiest to use?
Any help and/or recommendations are greatly appreciated :)

Thank you
 

Matt08642

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Hi there,
I am currently looking into getting a guitar amp modeller for home use for under £500. I am not someone who knows a lot about guitar amplifiers or amp modellers, so I am looking for some advice and recommendations for my search. I have considered a few options, such as a used axe fx standard/ultra, or something like a line 6 helix pod go, or even bias fx, or amplitube. What do you think would be the best value for this price point? Which have the best tones? Which are the easiest to use?
Any help and/or recommendations are greatly appreciated :)

Thank you

If you're just playing at home, I'd recommend an interface to plug in to your computer, then some free plugins with decent IRs. My current setup is a Motu M4 interface, then in my DAW (Cakewalk, which is free), I use a few plugins:

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TSE 808 is a free Tubescreamer VST
LeCto is a free Dual Recto amp VST
The Reverb and Delay (Baby Comeback) are also free
NadIR is an IR loader (Emulates the sound of speakers so the amp sounds like an amp) is free, the only thing I paid for were some decent IRs (Speaker impulse responses) from York Audio, specifically the Mesa Oversize 412.

The signal path here is Guitar > Interface > Tubescreamer > Amp > Reverb > Cab > Delay > Headphones/PC Speakers.

This whole "setup" would cost you maybe £175 since you could get something like a Focusrite Scarlett interface for £150 , then like £15 for the speaker IRs and whatever shipping and tax you might need to pay.

This is my go-to setup 99.9% of the time when I'm at home, sounds great through headphones or computer speakers as well!
 

ATRguitar91

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Used HX Stomp is definitely the way to go.
I guess I should expand on this as I did spend several months convincing a friend he needed a Stomp (he loves it of course). The Stomp is basically the perfect guitarist Swiss army knife. It can do as much or as little as you need, It can serve as your entire signal chain (into headphones or powered speakers), as a preamp (into a poweramp or effects return of an amp), or as a part of your pedalboard (in front of an amp, in the loop, or in 4cm).

You get the full Helix modelling, which should cover almost any amp or effect you could possibly need, A plethora of ins and outs to hook up a ton of ways. And it's tiny!

You mention the Pod Go, which does have the same modelling. But I would almost always recommend the HX Stomp instead because: Signal chain flexibility and the fact the Stomp gets updates when the big boys do, whereas the Pod Go seems to be a bit behind.

I always used analog prior to the Stomp, but it won me over to the digital side of things instantly. Sounds great no matter what I ask out of it, and incredibly versatile. I really can't speak highly enough of the thing. Line 6 also has incredible support. Just a really cool piece of gear. I grabbed mine for $500 used, I'd say it's well worth waiting for the right deal if you don't want to stretch your budget.
 

000 000 0000

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Thank you for all the advice and recommendations :)
I have been comparing the line 6 hx stomp and the headrush mx5, the mx5 seems to have more dsp power, and so can have larger, more complex signal chains, however, the hx stomp has more amps, cabs, effects etc. What do you think is better: have more choice for amps, cabs and effects, or being able to use more at once? Also, does anyone have experience with the hx stomp and/or the mx5? If so what did you like/dislike about them?

Thanks again
 

Kosthrash

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Don't forget the expression pedal too! 😉

Edit: Of course hx stomp is amazing piece of gear for the money, if it's in budget, go for it, it's worth tonewise!!!
 

Xaeldaren

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I guess I should expand on this as I did spend several months convincing a friend he needed a Stomp (he loves it of course). The Stomp is basically the perfect guitarist Swiss army knife. It can do as much or as little as you need, It can serve as your entire signal chain (into headphones or powered speakers), as a preamp (into a poweramp or effects return of an amp), or as a part of your pedalboard (in front of an amp, in the loop, or in 4cm).

You get the full Helix modelling, which should cover almost any amp or effect you could possibly need, A plethora of ins and outs to hook up a ton of ways. And it's tiny!

You mention the Pod Go, which does have the same modelling. But I would almost always recommend the HX Stomp instead because: Signal chain flexibility and the fact the Stomp gets updates when the big boys do, whereas the Pod Go seems to be a bit behind.

I always used analog prior to the Stomp, but it won me over to the digital side of things instantly. Sounds great no matter what I ask out of it, and incredibly versatile. I really can't speak highly enough of the thing. Line 6 also has incredible support. Just a really cool piece of gear. I grabbed mine for $500 used, I'd say it's well worth waiting for the right deal if you don't want to stretch your budget.

Just to piggyback onto this - I have the Pod Go, and I absolutely love it, but you definitly feel the limitations. Single amp setups and DSP limitations can be a little stifling. It sounds and feels amazing, but after owning it for a couple of years, I'll be upgrading to the Stomp/Helix LT in a little while.
 

EmaDaCuz

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If you don't have a PC and an interface or also want to play live: HX Stomp is the best choice, lots of good quality amps and effects, and the new updates fixed the only real issue i.e cabinets. Look up on Facebook Marketplace, there have been many HX Stomps going for £300-350.
I tried other not expensive modellers, the Valeton GP-200 is the only one I would recommend but, IMHO, doesn't sound and feel as good as the Stomp.

If you are going for a home studio setup, I would just stick to plugins. Audio Assault has Reamp Studio, basically their version of Amplitube/Helix Native/Bias FX, for £10 for Black Friday and buy some IR from Bogren Digital (Rhythm pack and Rainbow+Chainsaw are £17 each on Black Friday, both amazing). Reamp Studio has some great amps and sounds amazing with right IRs, also good choice of clean, mid gain, hi gain, and metal.
Best plugins, IMHO again, are Plugin Alliance/brainworx, but of course they are one trick ponies, or better you need to buy different amps. They are inexpensive when on offer and the included IRs sound gorgeous. I highly recommned their Engl amps (all of them are great, but choose whichever is best for you) and VH4.
 

000 000 0000

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I have been listening to demos of the Headrush mx5, and to me, on a lot of the demos I have heard of the high gain patches used sound quite muddy/fuzzy. I don’t know if this is just how this amp modeller sounds, or whether it’s just to do with the signal chain used and/or the IR. Could anyone provide any insight on this. I like that the mx5 has more dsp power, compared to something like the hx stomp, but so far I doesn’t sound brilliant to my ears.

Thanks again :)
 

ATRguitar91

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What do you think is better: have more choice for amps, cabs and effects, or being able to use more at once?
That all really comes to your use case. I'd go for better sound quality myself. I've never found the Stomp DSP too prohibitive. My patches are usually just a few boosts/distortions, a gate, an amp, and a dual cab. If you work with a lot of effects, you may have to make minor sacrifices like using a single instead of dual cab.
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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The MX5 seems good if you absolutely need big signal chains.
But for sheer sounds you cannot beat the Stomp, XL, or POD go for the price.
 

littlebadboy

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Thank you for all the advice and recommendations :)
I have been comparing the line 6 hx stomp and the headrush mx5, the mx5 seems to have more dsp power, and so can have larger, more complex signal chains, however, the hx stomp has more amps, cabs, effects etc. What do you think is better: have more choice for amps, cabs and effects, or being able to use more at once? Also, does anyone have experience with the hx stomp and/or the mx5? If so what did you like/dislike about them?

Thanks again

I have been listening to demos of the Headrush mx5, and to me, on a lot of the demos I have heard of the high gain patches used sound quite muddy/fuzzy. I don’t know if this is just how this amp modeller sounds, or whether it’s just to do with the signal chain used and/or the IR. Could anyone provide any insight on this. I like that the mx5 has more dsp power, compared to something like the hx stomp, but so far I doesn’t sound brilliant to my ears.

Thanks again :)

For me... I don't need a ton of amp options. I like building a tone I could call my own, and I am done! I was in that phase of wanting many options available, and it just went down through a rabbit hole. It was like a never-ending chase! So, I decided to find a tone I was happy with and just added effects (or virtual pedals) on my modeler when needed for a project.

Demos on Headrush vs HX are usually subjective, while some are not. Try each at a store and see what tickles you. You can't go wrong with almost any modeler middle tiered and higher nowadays.

I am settled with my Headrush for now. It gives me everything I need. It is not better than a Fractal or Kemper, but it costs a fraction.
 

ElRay

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Before I dip into Fanboi-mode:
  • What's your tech level?
  • What's your tolerance for DIY?
  • do you have an audio interface and/or Raspberry Pi available?
 

Thefallingdream

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Hi there,
I am currently looking into getting a guitar amp modeller for home use for under £500. I am not someone who knows a lot about guitar amplifiers or amp modellers, so I am looking for some advice and recommendations for my search. I have considered a few options, such as a used axe fx standard/ultra, or something like a line 6 helix pod go, or even bias fx, or amplitube. What do you think would be the best value for this price point? Which have the best tones? Which are the easiest to use?
Any help and/or recommendations are greatly appreciated :)

Thank you
You may not think it, but this little guy BLEW ME AWAY. If you're just jamming in your room or practicing semi low level...the profiles in this are absolutely AWESOME, especially on the high gain front...particularly loved the 5150 and Recto profiles
 

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