best metal amps

THESE 10 Best Metal Amps Have AWESOME Brutal Tone!

ATTN: Metal Guitarists looking for top guitar tone!

Ready to melt faces?  These are the best metal amps to get that done!

Quick Links To Our Best Metal Amp Recommendations

Here is a quick view with links to our guitar amp recommendations along with the main reason why we chose each one.

Our Top Metal Amp Reviews

Tube Amp Head For Metal – Peavey Invective 120 Head

The Peavey Invective 120 Head metal amp has shown beyond doubt that it’s reliable in enhancing the sound quality of your performances. It promises to be able to provide a clean, precise, and clear tone at any volume that you’d wish it to be.

Set it at a high volume level, and you won’t be disappointed by the quality it gives you. If you want to set the volume level at an absolutely high level, however, you can rely on the foot-switchable options instead.  These two foot-switchable effects could also aid you once you wish to recall your tones immediately.

Other than those mentioned, this guitar amp is packed with a lot more features than you can imagine. Its half-power switch would be convenient every time you perform in smaller venues. A noise gate feature with an unimaginable fast response of sound cutoff is integrated at the front of the speaker.

One of my favorite choices for best metal amps.

The Peavey Invective 120 Head’s Features

  • Structure: Black Tolex
  • Type: Tube
  • Preamp Tubes: 6 x 12AX7
  • Power Tubes: 4 x JJ 6L6GC
  • Number of channels: 3
  • Total power (half-power switchable): 120 watts
  • Dimensions: 10.0” in height, 26.7” in width, 11.8” in depth
  • Weight: 48.3 pounds

Pros:

  • Very organic sound
  • Very responsive distortion

Cons:

  • Not very portable
Our Rating -
5/5

Marshall JCM800 2203X

The Marshall JCM800 2203X would definitely remain one of the most iconic guitar amps to exist. It has been used by a lot of musicians already, guaranteeing that it’s worth spending money on. Guitarists such as Angus Young from the band AC/DC and Kerry King from Slayer has held and astonished the audiences with their performances using these best metal amps.

If you’re someone who prefers metal amps for clean tones, though, this metal amp won’t guarantee you quite the satisfaction. However, if you’re looking for maximum total aggression, then this Marshall JCM800 2203X would definitely get you, and your performances hyped up.

This metal amp has been known to make rock sound better than it already is. It brings more life into the sound of rock and roll, making it earn a good reputation since the late ‘70s and the early ‘80s. Have your full rock and roll soul blast into this metal amplifier, and no doubt, you’d be highly pleased with how it sounds.

The Marshall JCM800 2203X Features:
Structure: Black Tolex
Type: Tube
Preamp Tubes: 3 x ECC83
Power Tubes: 4 x EL34
Number of channels: 1
Total power: 100 watts
Dimensions: 12.2” in height, 29.52” in width and 8.27” in depth
Weight: 45.19 pounds

 

Pros:

  • Comes in a variety of cool colors.
  • Comes with Marshall’s signature tone and sound that musicians love.
  • Works well for any musical style, from country to rock to metal.

Cons:

  • Quite pricey.
Our Rating -
4.5/5

Heads Under $1000 – PRS MT15 Mark Tremonti

This Paul Reed Smith MT15 Mark Tremonti is sure not to disappoint as it has a 15/7-watt tube amplifier with a high-gain antenna, vivid and precise tones, and sound quality, plus versatility. You could even manage your performances and switch it from an extreme 15-watt to a doable 7-watt one.

Its tones have a broad and extensive range. The PRS MT15 Mark Tremonti’s clear channel would be able to give you the clean and precise tones; in fact, these tones are the one which furnishes Tremonti’s signature tone. Other than that, the metal amplifier’s dimensions make it easy to bring and use wherever the place you wish to perform in.

If you switch to the back part of the metal amplifier, you’d be able to see more of its features, which makes it more convenient every time you’d have a performance. Its external bias controls are easy to configure every time you’d want to fine-tune the performance of your tubes.

Meanwhile, the amp’s loop’s transparent nature indicates that it will never intervene with the original tone of your guitar.

The PRS MT15 Mark Tremonti Features

  • Type: Tube Lunchbox Head
  • Preamp tubes: 6 x JJ ECC83S
  • Power tubes: 2 x 6L6GC MS
  • Number of channels: 2
  • Total power: 15 watts or 7 watts
  • Dimensions: 7.25” in height (feet included), 14” in width and 8” in depth
  • Weight: 17.8 pounds

Pros:

  • The amp has a powerful distortion.
  • The amp sounds great with a distortion on high and clean on low.

Cons:

  • It has a lot of features which may be complicated for some.

Check out our full review of the PRS MT15 here.

Our Rating -
4.5/5

Solid State For Metal – Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200

The Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 metal amplifier is inarguably one of the most flexible ones to exist among other metal amps. What makes this metal amp stand out from the other ones available is that this one would most likely suit anyone’s taste – that’s just how versatile the amp’s features could get.

Its Spirit Tone Generator feature is that one that enables you to recreate iconic amp tones over the course of 60 years. Aside from that, the Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 is claimed to be the pioneer amplifier that comes with a sag control for fine-tuning tube-like compression.

Connecting this amplifier to your other wireless devices could also be done since it’s integrated with a Bluetooth feature, allowing you to audio stream with it, as well. It is able to run on 100 volts to 240 volts power without the tone being affected at all.

The Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 Features
Type: Solid-state signal path, Digital switching/control
Number of channels: 4
Power Supply: Standard IEC AC cable
Total power: 200 watts (2 watts, 20 watts settings)
Bluetooth Enabled (Yes/No): Yes
Dimensions: 6.1” in height, 16.1” in width and 5.9” in depth
Weight: 7.9 pounds

Pros:

  • Very dynamic sound.
  • Covers a wide range of distortion sounds.
  • Sold with footswitch pedal for channel switching and a noise gate.
  • Provides great clean tones.

Cons:

  • The price is on the high end of the spectrum.
Our Rating -
4/5

Blackstar HT Stage 100 MkII

This metal amp guarantees itself to be versatile and can adapt to any stage or studio you prefer. Each of the metal amp’s channels have a voice switch, which helps enhance its versatility.

The Blackstar HT Stage 100 MkII’s clean channel is incorporated with a voice switch, allowing you to choose whether you prefer a British Class A clean tone or a US Dynamic one. Its overdrive channels also have this voice switch and allow you to choose between a classic sound or more of an energetic modern one.

The metal amp also comes with 3 foot-switchable options, which lets you range from a clean tone to a metal guitar tone – whichever you prefer, the metal amp is sure to assist you with it. The metal amp has a USB audio output with it, as well.

The Blackstar HT Stage 100 MkII Features
Structure: Black Leatherette
Type: Tube
Preamp tubes: 2 x 12AX7
Power tubes: 4 x EL34
Number of channels: 3
Total power: 100 watts / 10 watts
Power Supply: Standard IEC AC cable
USB: 1 x Type B
Computer Connectivity: USB (4 x 2)
Dimensions: 9.6” in height, 23.2” in width and 8.8” in depth
Weight: 39.2 pounds

Pros:

  • This amp is great for all genres. The amp models are perfect for metal.
  • This amp has a great clean tone.
  • This amp has a versatile tone, because you can make the cleans more dirty.

Cons:

  • This amp produces too much noise when not plugged in, so you may need to be careful with this issue.
Our Rating -
4/5

Rivera Knucklehead Tre Reverb

The Rivera Knucklehead Tre Reverb has been designed to be one of the highest gain metal amps. Well, its manufacturers have done a good job with designing it, then, because this amp is able to provide you with an extreme sustain, bottom end, and remarkable definition.

If you’re particularly after a thick and somehow “chugging” sound of an amplifier, then the Rivera Knucklehead Tre Reverb is sure to suit your taste and satisfy your preferences.

The intuitive tone controls of the metal amp are what makes the dial-in for any sort of guitar and effects rig easy to configure. It also comes with advanced I/O options to make the configurations more versatile than it already is. This I/O lets you record in a flash without even having to touch the mic, and has an effects loop that comes with volume controls for the input and output.

The Rivera Knucklehead Tre Reverb Features
Structure: Black Tolex
Type: Tube
Preamp tubes: 5 x 12AX7A
Power tubes: 4 x EL34
Number of channels: 2
Power supply: Standard IEC AC cable
Total power: 120 watts
Dimensions: 10” in height, 27.5” in weight and 11” in depth
Weight: 60 pounds

Pros:

  • Lots of headroom,
  • Amazing cleans that become crunchy and distorted with the slightest push of volume knob
  • Built like a tank, feels really sturdy and durable, as well as a very nice looking amp

Cons:

  • Heavy amp to lug around if you aren’t in shape.
  • Does not take pedals well, IMO.
Our Rating -
4/5

Under $500 – Orange Micro Dark

If you’re perhaps looking for a metal amplifier tube head that would be convenient to bring to all sorts of places where you could perform, then the Orange Micro Dark amplifier would be the best one for you. Of course, that’s not the end to it, as this amplifier is also integrated with promising features as well.

The controls of the Orange Micro Dark metal amp are easy to navigate around and configure. The Dark series’ tones are focused more on heavy metal, but with a few changes with its controls on the front panel, you’d be able to get a variety of tones that ranges from the usual heavy metal to more throrough cleans. If you find yourself not being satisfied with these, however, you could still opt to accompany your amp with a guitar amp cabinet.

The Orange Micro Dark would be one of the simplest yet most convenient metal amps to be mentioned in the list. Regardless, you’d find yourself using this metal amp with ease – this would be enough for you to realize that buying the metal amp is worth it.

The Orange Micro Dark Features
Type: Hybrid
Preamp tubes: 12AX7
EQ: Sharp tone control
Number of channels: 1
Total Power: 20 watts of power
Power supply: 15V DC power supply
Dimensions: 5.31” in height, 6.5” in width and 3.74” in depth
Weight: 1.72 pounds

Pros:

  • Great distortion sound.
  • Awesome amp for practice at home.
  • Portable and easy to move.
  • Can be used for both clean and distorted sounds.

Cons:

  • Not very versatile (however if a user is looking for an amp that can only do one thing then this is not the amp).
  • The distortion has a lot of noise with single coil pickups which can be fixed by changing the pickup or pickup selector position.
Our Rating -
4/5

Peavey 6505

The Peavey 6505 tube head is, without a doubt, a promising metal amp as it could guarantee you massive, stadium-filling power. The amp comes with two channels and inclusive tone-sculpting control.

It also has a Copious tone mojo, which you have control over. This grants you a variety of tones to use and perhaps experiment with.

The Peavey 6505 will remain as a classic and has remained in the market since the early ‘90s. Its design is simple, and the configurations that are integrated with it are easy to use and navigate around. Although the controls are simple, experimenting with it a bit more could give you greater tones with these amplifiers for metal.

The Peavey 6505 Features
Structure: Black Tolex
Type: Tube
Preamp tubes: 6 x 12AX7
Power tubes: 4 x 6L6GC
Number of channels: 2
EQ: 3-band with resonance, presence
Total power: 120 watts of power
Power supply: Fixed AC cable
Footswitch I/O: 1 x 7-pin DIN
Effects Loop (Yes or No):  Yes
Dimensions: 10” in height, 26.63” in width and 11.75” in depth
Weight: 48.3 pounds


Pros:

  • Peavey 6505 head in the combo is equipped with an FX loop which is afforded by the 2 separate foot switches.
  • Can be used for a variety of styles because it has more than one channel.
  • Enough power to keep up with most venues.

Cons:

  • The Peavey 6505 amp is a little bit too loud for small venues and intimate settings.
Our Rating -
4/5

Diezel VH4

The Diezel VH4 was manufactured with the thought of being one of the first-rate metal amplifiers in mind. The VH4 is still a part of one of the most flexible mental amps in the industry despite being in the market for decades already.

All sorts of sounds and tones are available once you start exploring the configurations of this amp, as it has multiple effects loop and musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) based switching.

What made the people amazed with the Diezel VH4 was that it’s integrated with four entirely different, individual, and distinct channels. These four individual channels are what make the VH4 flexible one of the most flexible amps in the market because configuring these channels could give you a whole new tone different from your previously used one.

More than that, the Diezel VH4 also has a thru jack, which lets you use numerous amps altogether.

The Diezel VH4 Features
Structure: Black Tolex
Type: Tube
Preamp tubes: 7 x 12AX7
Power tubes: 4 x JJ KT77
Number of channels: 4
Total power: 100 watts
Power supply: Standard IEC AC cable
Dimensions: 12” in height, 29” in width and 11” in depth
Width: 47 pounds

Pros:

  • Very easy to get a wide variety of sounds.
  • Has an effects loop.
  • Clean channel is great for blues, jazz, and other styles.
  • Very reliable and durable amp design.

Cons:

  • The band EQ boost can be very noisy if you don’t use it sparingly.

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 35

The Mark Five will surely not disappoint you as its manufacturers took over four decades, having to research for and develop this amplifier. There are two models of this metal amp, that being Mark Five: 35 head and Mark Five: 35 combos. Despite this, there aren’t really many differences between the two aside from its cabinet size.

Most of the metal amplifier’s components sat on three first-rate PCBs and has the electronic settle inside a fan-cooled aluminum chassis. Even though the former or initial Mesa or Boogie printed circuit boards were handcrafted and flourished by Randall Smith, this one has been generated by computer-aided design, most likely because of the expanded component density.

Regardless, the Mark Five: 35 promises you exceptional service as it also has reverb and boosts feature integrated with it. This allows you to have the exact amount of boost you’d wish to have your solos over your band’s mix.

The Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 35 Features

  • Structure: Birch with Black Tolex
  • Type: Tube
  • Preamp tubes: 6 x 12AX7
  • Power tubes: 4 x EL84
  • Number of channels: 2 independent channels and 6 modes
  • Total power: 35 watts (25 watts/10 watts settings)
  • Dimensions: 9.12” in height, 18.87” in width, 10.87” in-depth
  • Weight: 27 pounds
Here is a full Mesa Boogie Mark V 35 review as well.

Things To Consider When Looking At Metal Guitar Amps

Need more information on what to look for when choosing an electric guitar amp for metal music? What about what to avoid? You’re in luck, we have a whole guide on the subject! Read on as we lay out all the information you need to make an informed decision when choosing your next amp.

How Much Power do you need?

This is a major consideration when looking for a new guitar amp. Generally, you need more power if you want to gig with the amp or use it to perform in a band setting. It’s generally not advisable to play metal through less than 100 watts of power. If you’re looking for something a little more portable, 50-70 watts per channel will be enough to get the job done if you don’t plan on playing in large venues.

What Size of Amp Do You Need?

Generally, small to medium venues are handled by 1×12″ combo amps and medium to large venues are handled by 4×12 cabinets. If you’re looking for versatility, you can also look at 2-channel amps with an output speaker. The NS-210 Naim Audio is one of the best examples out there (producing 150 watts and weighing 19kg).  Or maybe you just need a practice amp for home use.

Is Usability Important to You?

If you look at the average metal rig, you’ll see it consists of many different pieces of equipment. This can be anything from guitar pedals, a mixer, rack for effects and speakers for on stage use. If you want to be able to use your amp at home (or on tour) but don’t have a place for other pieces of equipment, look at models that are easy to carry around (like the NS-212). This is because there’s nothing more annoying than lugging around a giant amp with all your other gear.

What Kind of Sound are you going for?

There’s a lot to be said about the sound of certain amps. Generally, tubes will have a very warm, round sound with plenty of texture and detail. Solid State amps will generally be smaller, lighter and will have a wide-open sound that is especially great for fast playing styles. Don’t worry though, you’ll find all sorts of different amps that produce both warm and sterile tones like Fender amps, just make sure to find one that suits your style.

Which Brand Should I Purchase From?

As you can imagine, there’s a wide variety of different brands of amps out there. While you’ll find some very high-priced gear on the market (with price tags hinging in the $1,000 and above range), it’s generally better to focus on mid-tier and low-tier options. If you’re looking for something basic that will work for your style, you don’t need to invest in thousand dollar gear.

What are the ratings of other users saying?

This is an important method of deciding which amp to buy. While you may be able to find some positive comments online, it will be much more useful to look at testimonials from people who have used the amp for live performance or studio sessions. It should be noted that a lot of amps on the market are very good for styles other than metal, so make sure that your purchase will suit your needs before buying.

Some other quick picks:

  • Blackstar HT5R MKII
  • Boss Katana100 MKII
  • Fender Mustang GT

Top Metal Amplifier Conclusion

There might be a lot of metal amplifiers available on the internet, and articles that tell you which they think is the best, but it’s still up to you if you think the amp’s features are to your liking. Some guitarists prefer massive power with their best metal amps, while some settle for an amp with more tones. The amps for these may vary. In fact, some of the metal amplifiers we’ve mentioned are versatile enough to be both of the good things.

Guaranteed, the amps that have been mentioned enough are reliable and can be used for any kind of performance you opt for. They’re convenient, easy to use, and these amps for metal are undeniably worth spending your money on.

Looking for more metal related articles?  Check out this – 10 Best Guitar Pickups For Metal – Thrash, Black, Death, Etc

About The Author - Dan Harper
About The Author - Dan Harper

My name is Dan and I have been playing guitar for about 35 years. Over the years, I have taught guitar, played in a number of bands and owned and played a ton of gear.
When not playing guitar, I like to travel with my family, grill good food and go to concerts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *