If you’re searching for some of the best amps for distortion and overdrive, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place! In today’s review, I’m going to highlight 10 of the best and most affordable amps suitable for playing dirty tones. Hopefully, today’s guide will help you to find your next guitar amplifier.
The truth is that finding a reliable amp that offers a great overdrive and distortion is not that easy. A lot of amps are perfect for playing clean tones, but they aren’t the best for heavier types of music. But once you know what to search for, it seems pretty clear that market is full of great and affordable combos.
That’s why I decided to create a list of 10 best amps for distortion and overdrive! Feel free to check out the list below and scroll down to the next section if you want to hear how they all sound. I’m sure that you’re going to love all of the models mentioned below!
10 Best Amps For Overdrive & Distortion – List
|VOX AC30S1||See on Amazon||Thomann|
|Blackstar HT-1R||See on Amazon||Thomann|
|Orange Crush 20RT||See on Amazon||Thomann|
|Marshall MG30GFX||See on Amazon||Thomann|
|Bugera V5 Infinium||See on Amazon||Thomann|
|Peavey Bandit 112||See on Amazon||–|
|Orange Micro Terror||See on Amazon||Thomann|
|Marshall MG10||See on Amazon||Thomann|
|Fender Champion 20||See on Amazon||Thomann|
|BOSS Katana Artist MK II||See on Amazon||Thomann|
1. VOX AC30S1
VOX AC30S1 is one of the best and most popular tube amp of all time. This legendary model is perfect for both crystal clean and more creamy tones. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the best amps for overdrive and distortion as well.
Why is it so special? Well, the amp features two 12AX7 preamp tubes, four EL84 power tubes and a 12″ Celestion speaker which sounds absolutely amazing. On top of that, there’s a built-in digital reverb. And what’s important, this tube combo works perfectly fine with all sorts of guitar pedals – including distortion and overdrive.
It is also worth mentioning that the AC30S1 model is very versatile, so it can be used in a lot of different styles of music. Whether you’re into blues, country, grunge. indie or alternative rock – you won’t be disappointed.
The main disadvantage of this amp is the price – it’s not that cheap. But on the other hand, it features an amazing quality, so it’s definitely worth that amount of money! You can easily use that tube amp for gigging and studio recordings.
Here’s the sound demo – feel free to check it out.
2. Blackstar HT-1R
Blackstar HT-1R is one of the coolest small tube amps suitable for playing rock and metal. Although this model features only 1 Watt of power, it sounds surprisingly well and it can actually get very loud! Surely, it’s one of the best amps for overdrive and distortion.
The amp features a 8″ speaker, one 12AX7 preamp tube and one 12AU7 power tube. There are two footswitchable channels, so as you can imagine, it offers a lot of versatility when it comes to tone. Whether you’re searching for a crystal clean tone, a creamy overdrive or a powerful distortion – this amp will be an excellent choice.
What’s important, the HT-1R model is actually very affordable. This is actually one of the cheapest tube amps offered by Blackstar, but the truth is that it does the job very well. I’m sure that even guitarists on a low budget will appreciate the overall pricing of this combo.
If you think that one Watt of power is not enough, don’t worry – it’s actually more than enough! Blackstar HT-1R definitely proves that. That’s why I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you’re looking for a high quality tube amp for home practice or studio recordings.
Here’s the sound demo.
3. Orange Crush 20RT
Orange Crush 20RT is an another really cool and affordable amp suitable for all lovers of overdrive and distortion. Although it’s one of the cheapest amps offered by this manufacturer, it features a great quality at a very reasonable price. And it’s actually very popular!
Why is it so good? Well, this solid-state amp features a lot of versatility when it comes to tone. The combo has 20 Watts of power, 8″ speaker, a 3-band EQ and a built-in reverb. These features guarantee an amazing playing experience.
I have to admit that this is one of my favorite cheap practice amps that are available on the market. Although it’s not a tube amp, it actually sounds a bit like a tube amp. It has that characteristic warmth and brightness in the highs. I’m sure that a lot of guitar players are going to love that.
Overall, I have no hesitation in recommending the Crush 20RT combo to all guitarists who are searching for a reliable practice amp for rock and metal. Especially if you’re on a tight budget and you don’t want to spend too much on a new amp!
Here’s the sound demo.
4. Marshall MG30GFX
Marshall MG30GFX is an another really cool amp suitable for playing heavier music. This model proves that a good and reliable guitar amplifier doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. In fact, it’s actually one of the most affordable amps on today’s list!
The MG30GFX offers the inimitable Marshall tone, which is ideal for rock and metal riffs. Honestly, this legendary manufacturer really knows how to create great amplifiers. If you’re looking for a lot of versatility, you should definitely give this amp a chance.
The amp features 30 Watts of power, a custom 10″ speaker, a 3-band EQ and a few built-in effects (reverb, delay and more) that will spice up your playing. Surely, a lot of guitar players are going to appreciate that amount of features. The MG30GFX amp can be used efficiently for home practice, rehearsals, small gigs and even studio recordings!
Undoubtedly, it’s one of the best amps for overdrive and distortion. I have no hesitation in recommending this model to all lovers of rock and metal music!
Here’s the sound demo.
5. Bugera V5 Infinium
Bugera V5 Infinium is an another proof that a great amp for overdrive and distortion doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. This small, yet powerful tube amplifier does the job very well and it sounds particularly well with guitar pedals.
I have to admit that I really like the gear manufactured by Bugera. In my opinion, this is a really underrated brand. Most of their amps feature a really good quality and they can easily compete with much more expensive amps by Fender, VOX and Marshall.
This particular model features 5 Watts of power, one 12AX7 preamp tube, one EL84 power tube, a 8″ Turbosound speaker and a built-in reverb. The V5 Infinum is perfect for home practice and even small performances. It also offers a very nice clean sound, so lovers of that kind of tone are going to be satisfied as well.
Undoubtedly, the V5 Infinium model is one of the best and most affordable small tube amps available on the market right now. I highly recommend it to every guitarist who’s searching for the best amps for overdrive and distortion.
Here’s the sound demo.
6. Peavey Bandit 112
Peavey Bandit 112 is a very interesting and powerful guitar amplifier that offers a lot of punch. If you’re searching for a really loud amp that offers a great overdrive and distortion, this model won’t disappoint you.
The amp features 80 Watts of power, a 12″ speaker and a 3-band EQ that gives you a lot of control over your tone. Overall, it sounds great on both clean and overdrive channels. And what’s important, the Bandit 112 tends to sound even better with high quality overdrive and distortion pedals!
Who is it for? Well, this is a perfect budget amp for a gigging musician who plays in a garage band. It works great for rehearsals, so you’ll definitely enjoy practicing on it as well. On the other hand, it may not be the best for studio recordings.
Still, I highly encourage you to check out the demo below. Surely, it’s one of the best amps for overdrive and distortion that are available on the market right now.
7. Orange Micro Terror
Orange Micro Terror is a really small, yet powerful amp head suitable for all lovers of heavier tones. You may think that this tiny guitar amplifier may not be good enough for great overdrive and distortion, but the truth is that it does the job extremely well!
The amp head features 20 Watts of power and a very solid construction that should last for years to come. When it comes to tone, it offers a crystal clean overdrive and a vintage-sounding, creamy overdrive. What’s interesting, this is one of the smallest amp heads available on the market!
Undoubtedly, Orange Micro Terror is one of the best amp heads for overdrive and distortion. I’m sure that a lot of guitarists are going to love it! It’s amazing that such a small thing can produce such a good tone.
Here’s the sound demo.
8. Marshall MG10
Marshall MG10 is one of the best and most affordable practice amps of all time. This legendary model is cheap and it features a surprisingly good tone. Considering its price, it’s definitely worth it!
The amp features 10 Watts of power, a six inch speaker and two separate channels – clean and overdrive. There’s also a contour control which basically boosts the mids and gives you a bit sharper tone. In addition, the MG10 model allows you to easily plug in your headphones to practice without annoying your neighbors.
Of course, this is a budget compact amp, so it’s not the best sounding amp in the world. Let’s be honest – you can’t expect the highest possible quality at this price level. But when you think about how inexpensive it is, it definitely seems like it’s worth it.
I have no hesitation in recommending this amp to all the beginners and guitarists who are searching for a reliable, compact amp with a decent overdrive.
Here’s the video review that I recorded for my YouTube channel.
9. Fender Champion 20
Fender Champion 20 is a really popular guitar amp that offers a lot of versatility when it comes to tone. It’s suitable for a lot of different styles of music, so whether you like overdrive, distortion, chorus or reverb – you won’t be disappointed.
This solid-state amp features 20 Watts of power, a great-sounding eight inch speaker and lots of built-in effects and amp voicings. The Champion 20 is made mainly for practicing at home, although it’s totally possible to use it for rehearsals and small gigs as well. What’s important, it’s actually pretty affordable!
I had the pleasure to review this amp on my own and I have to admit that it made a stunning impression on me. I recorded a quick sound demo for you to check out. If you think that this video is helpful, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel – there are a lot of other gear reviews in there!
Here’s my review.
10. BOSS Katana Artist MK II
BOSS Katana Artist MK II is an another example of a large and a very powerful guitar amplifier suitable for the most demanding rock and metal guitarists. This popular model is definitely one of the best amps for overdrive and distortion.
Why is it so good? Well, it’s extremely versatile. The Katana Artist MK II is perfect for both crystal clean and more distorted tones. What’s important, it also works extremely well with various guitar pedals.
The amp features 100 Watts of power, a powerful 12″ Custom Waza speaker, 5 different amp voicings, various built-in effects (Reverb, Delay, Pitch Shift, Wah, Phaser and Tremolo) and a 3-band EQ that gives you even more control over your final tone. These features guarantee an amazing playing experience and a lot of versatility!
When it comes to pricing, it’s quite expensive, but it’s not as expensive as some of the other high-end amps manufactured by Fender, VOX and Marshall. That being said, it’s definitely worth that amount of money!
Undoubtedly, a lot of guitarists are going to love that amp. That’s why I highly encourage you to check out the sound demo below!
Do I need both overdrive and distortion?
You don’t need to use both overdrive and distortion, but if you like powerful guitar tones, you should definitely use them!
Is overdrive just gain?
You can think of overdrive as a mild form of distortion. When you’re using the gain knob, you’re basically adjusting the amount of distortion that you want to add to the signal. That’s why high-gain settings are really distorted!
Where do you put the overdrive pedal in a signal chain?
In general, your overdrive pedal should be somewhere at the beginning of your signal chain (unless you have a compressor, wah or pitch shift pedal).
As you can see, the market is full of amps that offer a great overdrive and distortion. I’m sure that if you decide to get one of the amps mentioned above, you won’t be disappointed. Personally, I’d choose one of the Marshall or VOX amps. I just love their iconic and inimitable tone!
Which amp do you think is best for overdrive and distortion? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, I’m really interested to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for checking out today’s review, hopefully it was helpful. If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: