It is common knowledge that premium metal amps can cost you a fortune. Fortunately, the budget amp market has grown and contains a variety of amazing options. These options range from tube amps that focus purely on tone, to digital ones that pack a myriad of sounds.
If you are looking for cheap metal amps, you shouldn’t have to compromise on tone and sound. That’s why our team has done a thorough research and compiled this list of the top 8 best metal amps under 500 dollars.
What to look for in the best metal amps under 500 dollars
- Tube Amps Vs Solid-State Amps
Even though tube technology is very old, it is still pretty popular in these modern times. The response provided by these amps and their sound is still considered to be superior to solid-state amps. However, since these amps have fragile tubes, they need to be handled carefully as they are expensive.
On the other hand, it is a lot easier to handle solid-state amps and they are much more reliable. This is because the components used in these amps are easily available. Developments in these amps are resulting in an improvement in sound. These amps are a great option if you’re looking for something practical.
- Power Rating
The loudness of the amplifier is described by its power rating. Hence, the louder the amp, the higher the power rating. Some people need loud amps for stage performance. While some need amps that can operate at a lower volume for home practice sessions.
Some amps have attenuators built-in so that the amp could be driven hard at a lower volume. Notably, tube amps are louder than solid-state ones.
- Size of the Speaker
The speaker size determines many factors including the clarity of the sound as well as its loudness. Speakers that are smaller in size work well if your guitar style is one that emphasizes the mids. On the other hand, some people like to emphasize base and hence, go for speakers that are wider.
- Amp Modeling
Amp modeling is being embraced by an increasing number of people due to the developments in Digital Sound Processing. Even complex customizations of virtual components of the amp are on the rise. If you are someone who is into personalization, you would want to get an amp with a lot of features, However, if you are looking for convenience, you should consider amps with fewer controls and options.
- Built-in Effects
The most common effect that is added to amps is the reverb effect. This is because it tends to enhance the sound’s texture and space.
Additional connectivity features are great when it comes to using amps for stage performances or recording sessions. Some amps provide the ability to directly connect to recording consoles and PA systems. In addition to that, some amps even let you connect headphones so you can play quietly.
Some of the amps that have recently been released even offer Bluetooth and USB connectivity. This would allow you to have direct control when it comes to recording and software usage.
1. Line 6 AMPLIFi 75 Amplifier – best metal amps under 500
- Dimensions: 12.70 x 17.50 x 8.00 inches
- Manufactures: Line Inc.
This amp is on the top of the list for the best metal amps under 500 dollars. It is also one of the loudest amps you can get. One of its most impressive features is that it works as an amp as well as a Bluetooth speaker system that can be controlled by an iPhone or iPad.
The AMPLiFi has five speakers. The four extra speakers in the amp let it work as a stereo system due to the range of frequencies it can produce. The Bluetooth connectivity of this amp lets you control your tone even while setting on your couch.
Overall, this amp has amazing features that make it a great option. However, some customers have found that the remote app isn’t compatible with certain versions of iOS.
- Can also work as a full-range stereo system
- The app is easy to operate
- Music can be streamed through Bluetooth
- Can find tones from the cloud, and loads music from iTunes
- Full-range speakers have great sound
- There is no foot controller
- XT/X3 modeling technology is older
2. Orange Amps Crush 12 amplifier – versatile heavy metal amp
- Dimensions: 11.8 x 20.5 x 19.1 inches
- Manufactures: Orange
The Crush 12 by Orange Amps has a small design and works perfectly for home practices. This amp is really easy to use and control, and its speakers are equipped with Orange’s CabSim technology.
This app has a simple interface for control consisting of a volume knob, a gain knob, and an overdrive knob. The overdrive knob is the only thing that lets you control growl since this amp is a single channel one.
All in all, this amp can surely deliver great rock and roll overdrive. However, it is limited to being a practice amp since it can’t be hooked up to a cabinet.
- Distortion is amazing
- Versatile, but simple tone control
- Budget-friendly price
- Powered by tube
- Single-channel amp
3. BOSS Katana MKII – good metal amps of high-quality
- Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 3 inches
- Manufactures: Boss
The BOSS Katana MKII is a high-quality amp that can be enjoyed by all kinds of metal guitarists. This amp is a solid-state one and has five different amp characters you can choose from. These five types are clean, acoustic, crunch, brown, and lead.
This amp provides great dynamics and fantastic articulation through the gain function. The “brown” character is made specifically to recreate sounds from the early 80s as well as the late 70s. This amp also gives you a great number of effects and tones that you can control.
Overall, this amp has several impressive features including the five-character selection. However, some customers have found the instruction manual to be faulty.
- The superior quality of build
- Great clean sounds
- Impressive distortion and crunch
- Affordable price
- The user manual is faulty
4. Orange MD20 Micro – light-weighted heavy metal amp
- Dimensions: 10.75 x 7.15 x 5 inches
- Manufactures: Orange
The MD20 is the best small amp for metal provided to you by Orange Amps. This company is very popular with all kinds of metal guitarists like Stoner/Doom camp. This amp gives you fantastic distortion, overdrive, and clean sounds and is designed around a circuit having high gain.
This circuit can combine the functions of tubes and solid-state amps in one. Due to all these features, it performs better than a small tube amp.
All in all, this is one of the best affordable amps in the market. However, some users are of the opinion that it isn’t as loud as other options out there.
- Design is small
- Light-weighted amp
- The effects loop is buffered
- CabSim technology
- Is small, might not look good on a stage
5. Randall RG Series RG1503H Guitar Amplifier – 150 Watt heavy metal amp
- Dimensions: 30.91 x 14.57 x 14.37 inches
- Manufactures: Randall
The Randall RG1503 is a solid-state amplifier that lets you enjoy the Pantera sound. This amp works great for fast-picking due to its tightness. This is a feature that not a lot of tube amps have!
In addition to that, it has a three-channel head that is based on FET and has a four-channel EQ. It also has effects like reverb, mid-scoop, bass boost, and loop. There a footswitch that lets you control reverb and channel functions conveniently.
All in all, this is an amp that deserves to be taken into consideration due to its numerous features. However, it is slightly hard to move due to its big size.
- Amp works on 150 watts
- Has three-channel head
- The EQ section has four bands
- Amp is big and isn’t easy to move around
6. BUGERA T50-INFINIUM – Portable tube amp for metal
- Dimensions: 17.91 x 6.18 x 12.68 inches
- Manufactures: Bugera
This tube amp is powered by two EL34 power tubes and four 12AX7 preamp ones. This amp is built by hand and is capable of producing premium sounds due to its tubes. The Multiplier Tube Life Technology by Bugera provides you with consistency and reliability through the life-span of the tubes.
This amp lets you choose between Class AB operation for warmer sounds and Class A for more classic sounds. Even though tubes get worn out, the T50 Infinium automatically adjusts the levels of the current. This allows the tubes to continue giving out great sound throughout their life-span.
This amp is a good option to consider, however, some users believe that the material used is low in quality.
- Amp is easy to operate
- Designed to be portable
- Gives out impressive sound
- Functions are limited
- Sounds are sterile
7. Peavey MAX – three-banded heavy metal amp
- Dimensions: 22.8″ X 19.4″ X 16.2″ inches
- Manufactures: Peavey
One of the most impressive features of this amp is the active and passive bass inputs. The controls on this amp include ones for volume, treble, bass, gain, and middle. The EQ has three bands for treble, mids, and bass control.
In addition to this, there are also buttons for contour, mid-shift, kosmos-c, overdrive, and bright. When you turn the gain up, the overdrive also accelerates. Frequencies more than 1kHZ get a boost up to 10dB when the bright switch is activated.
All in all, the Peavey MAX offers a lot of fantastic features. However, some users have experienced that tuning the switches results in a popping sound.
- Three-band EQ
- Portable amp
- Has inputs for active and passive bass
- Low Kosmos-c results in a reduction of clarity
- Popping sounds when switches are tuned
8. Marshall Amps DSL1CR – best high gain amp
- Dimensions: 12 x 17 x 18 inches
- Manufactures: Marshall
The Marshall DSL1CR is the best high gain amp that is powerful but also portable. The Ultra Gain channel on the amp lets you enjoy riffs and the output can be dropped from 40 to 20 watts.
This amp is very popular among different types of metal guitarists. This amp also lets you create amazing tones due to its two-channel design. The two-channel design gives you Ultra Gain and Classic Gain.
Overall, this is an amp that offers you some notable features and functions. However, due to its small design, it isn’t at powerful as bigger amplifiers.
- Tube-powered amp
- Ultra Gain channel
- Comes with footswitch
- Doesn’t have a modern look
- Small in size
Going through this list must have given you all the information you require to buy an amp that performs great but is also light on your pocket.
The budget-friendly amp market has a variety of options you can choose from including tube amps and solid-state ones. However, choosing one out of these best metal amps under 500 is a decision you should base completely on your needs and preferences.
- What amp is best for metal?
The best metal amp under 500 dollars is the Line 6 AMPLIFi 75
- Are 10-watt amps good?
Yes, amps that are 10-20 watts are well suited for beginners and have a speaker that ranges from 8-12 inches.
- How loud is a 100-watt amp?
The loudness of the amp depends on its speakers. With that said, a 100 watt at a distance of 1 meter can give you up to 125 dB of sound.
- Are solid-state amps better for metal?
Both the solid-state and tubes amps have some functionalities that the other doesn’t. Hence, we can’t pick one kind to the best. However, tube amps are better when it comes to metal tones that are aggressive.
- What are Orange Amps known for?
Orange amps are known for their premium sound. The company has a reputation for making high-quality amps with superior components.
- How loud is Orange Micro dark?
The Micro Dark by Orange Amps has a height of 6 inches and can be connected to a speaker cabinet of 8-16 ohm. The Micro Dark is loud considering that is a 20 Watt amp!