There’s nothing like standing in front of a huge stack of amps and getting blown to the bones with the sheer power of your guitar tone. But what if you can you achieve something just as exciting with an amp that can fit in your pocket? We set out to discover some of the market’s best micro-amps and to find out what else these miniature beasts have to offer apart from their extreme portability. If you’re a guitarist with places to be and riffs to shred, read on to find out which of these micro-amps is your essential new piece of kit…
Blackstar FLY 3
The FLY 3 is Blackstar’s cutting edge micro-amp that features their patented Infinite Shape Feature, a control that gives the Blackstar range its signature sound. Even in this tiny 3watt amp the ISF means that players have ultimate control over the sound of their amp. Using the ISF knob, you can choose between a tight percussive response characteristic of American amps, and the warm and woody response more akin to a traditional British amp. The really exciting feature of the FLY 3 is the MP3 line-in that allows you to plug in an external music source to jam along with on your guitar, or play music in any lifestyle setting. The FLY 3 packs a huge auditory wallop compared to many other mini amps with its dual 3inch speakers, and dual channels for a clean and overdriven sound. It can also be connected to the FLY 103 to create a 6watt stereo amplifier ideal for use as a practice or performance guitar amp, PC speakers or to bring the party to any social situation! Battery operated and an ideal size for music on-the-go or at home.
If you are as little more adventurous there is also the Bluetooth version as well, that retains all the great tone, flexibility of control and features of the original, but the addition of Bluetooth that makes it the perfect take anywhere practice amp and MP3 speaker dock.
And all you bass players out there, the FLY3 is also available in a bass version to handle those lower end frequencies and can also be paired up to FLY 103 to create a 6watt stereo amplifier as mentioned above.
Fender MD-20 Mini Deluxe
Coming in at just 1watt, the Fender MD20 is a compact classic replicating the time-honoured Fender Deluxe amplifier for the player on the move. Whilst you will not get an ear-shredding amount of volume out of this one channel micro-amp, it will provide you with the warm and full tone that Fender has long been known for. This, in addition to the ¼ inch headphone in, makes it a lovely addition to any guitarist’s at-home practice routine.
Fender Mini Tone-Master
The Mini Tone-Master shares many traits with its Fender micro-sibling, the MD20, including its dual 2inch speakers and a 1watt single-channel amplifier. However it is its fun retro aesthetic that sets the Mini Tone-Master apart, styled to exactly replicate the classic full-size Fender Tone-Master with metal amp corners, vintage-style brown grille cloth and white control knobs. From the classic period lettering to the warm retro sound, you won’t believe you’re not Jimmy Page (…at half the volume…)
A Marshall amp would not be a Marshall amp without their famous punch-packing dirty crunch, and the teeny-tiny MS-2 does not disappoint. With a knob that can control overdrive and a belt clip for attaching this little guy to your body, the MS-2 is a great choice for the rock-star on the road. The MS-2 can also function as a pre-amp but is great as a stand-alone practice amp with 2watts of acoustic power and a 2inch speaker.
The only micro-stack in our micro-amp round up, the Marshall MS-4 doubles the speaker output of the MS-2 and looks good doing it. With pretty much the same specs as its other micro-Marshall kin, the MS-4 simply packs a greater punch in terms of volume and power. As well as running on a 9volt battery, this amp can be plugged into power mains making it a reliable amp for the home, stage or on the go.