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If you’re an electric guitarist, you’ll know tube amplifiers – versus solid-state and digital ones – are the holy grail of guitar amplification. Tube amps, though, can be prohibitively expensive, with many models going for many thousands of dollars. Except this Monoprice amp, which clocks in at only $148.10 on Amazon, down from $168.
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The Monoprice 611705 is a five-watt all-tube combo amplifier, meaning all you need to start rocking out is a guitar and a lead. It’s equipped with the industry-standard 12AX7 tube in the preamp section and a 6V6GT tube in the power section, the latter of which drives a Celestion Super 8 GBA-15 speaker. Celestion is another household name among guitarists – esteemed brands like Marshall, Fender and Blackstar use this brand of speakers, too.
Despite its small size, the Monoprice amp, like many tube models, packs a wallop. So much so that the amp lets you swap between five watts (full power) and one watt of output – useful for both keeping volume levels sane and for pushing the amp into natural distortion. Controls-wise, Monoprice keeps things simple with two chickenhead knobs, one for volume and the other for tone. The latter lets you adjust the ‘sharpness’ or ‘definition’ of your guitar sound.
And you can’t slag off the Monoprice’s design, either. Its cream-coloured textured exterior – it’s made of synthetic leather – is all about vintage vibe, as is the amp jewel that lights up when the unit is switched on.
Additionally, while tube amps are notoriously heavy, this mighty little unit clocks in at just 500 grams, with dimensions of 30.8×30.9x21cm. That might just be our favourite feature.