Video: The Best Budget Modeling Amps, With the New Line 6 Catalyst

Maybe you have an amp or two you love already. Maybe you're brand new to playing guitar. No matter what your level of experience or skill, you should consider a modeling amp.

Modeling amps vary greatly, but they all allow you to test out a huge range of voices in one unit. Some offer pitch-perfect emulations of classic amps. Many give you the options of built-in digital effects and built-in audio interfaces. And any of them will be helpful in finding new sounds, practicing, learning new songs, or recording your own.

In our video above, we're comparing some of the most popular budget-friendly modeling amps, and trying to see what tones we can create with them.

Line 6 Catalyst

The Line 6 Catalyst series is a brand new lineup, from one of the pioneers of modeling. There are three Catalysts to choose from, all named after their wattage: the 200, 100, and 60. The 200 is 2x12", while the 100 and 60 are both 1x12".

Each Catalyst is a dual-channel combo built to operate like a traditional amp, with six original amp voices inside, from vintage clean to modern high-gain. Additionally, there are six reverb types, 18 effects, effects loop, and built-in power attenuation for low-volume playing.

Want to practice at home? Plug in to a PA on stage? Record directly into your computer? This is all possible with the Catalyst amps, which each feature an XLR output and a built-in four-channel USB interface.

Learn more about the new Catalyst series here.

Boss Katana

The Katana series is, for good reason, one of the most recognizable names in modeling. They've made many a believer out of modeling tech, and at prices ranging from about $90 (for the 7-watt, 1X4" Katana Mini) to about $500 (for the 100-watt, 1x12" Katana Artist MKII) there are options for everyone.

In the video above, we have a Boss Katana-50, one of the most popular amps on Reverb—whether you count by all combos or just modeling amps. It has five amp characters (Clean, Crunch, Lead, Brown, and Acoustic), five independent digital effects, plus a range of cabinet and mic'd cabinet simulations.

Fender Mustang

Like the Katanas, Fender Mustang modeling amps are available at pretty much every size and price point: from the speakerless Mustang Micro headphone amp to 150-watt combos. One of the most popular in the series, the LT25, features 20 amp models, 25 effects, a total of 50 presets (30 preloaded, 20 user-generated), and USB recording connectivity.

Blackstar Silverline

At the slightly higher end of "affordable," we have the Blackstar Silverline Standard 20. It marries the response of numerous power-tube types (EL84, 6V6, EL34, KT66, 6L6, KT88) to the flexibility of digital modeling. Along with a USB port for recording and reamping, it has Blackstar's original ISF knob, which sweeps from American to British tones.

Honorable Mentions

Positive Grid Spark 40: This incredibly popular modeler makes practicing easy with its Smart Jam platform and offers an incredible 10,000 distinct amp tones through the Spark app. It's also currently the best-selling amp of any kind on Reverb.

Yamaha THR10II: Beloved for their hi-fi tones, Yamaha's THR series is a long-standing favorite. The 20-watt, 2x3" THR10II offers 15 guitar amp models, three bass amp models, and three mic models for acoustic-electrics.

Vox VT20X: The Vox VT20X is built to give you as true-to-life tube-tone as any modeling amp can give. And it achieves this, in part, from a real tube preamp. In total, it has 11 realistic amp models (20 when using the editor/librarian software), 13 built-in effects, and three preset programs (60 when using the editor/librarian software.

Of course, there are quite a few budget-friendly modeling amps we left off our list. What's your favorite?

"This article is part of a paid partnership with Line 6. From time to time, Reverb partners with trusted brands and manufacturers to highlight some of our favorite products we think our community will love."
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