$200 Dollar Combo Amp Shootout
Todd Simpson
Jan 8 2021, 06:51 PM
Posts: 21.796
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
There are some killer little amps available at or around the $200 price point. Mooer recently added the HORNET to the field and there were already several killer options. Let's take a look.

This 15 watt combo has 9 amp models and 9 effects. It's got a lot of flexibility due to it's amp selection. You don't need pedals with it as it's got fx insie, but you could add pedals if you like. It also supports bluetooth connectivity. It's got a 6.5 inch speaker. It's got some nice tones in it and would make a handy practice amp.

The Mustang LT 25 builds on the mustang series by adding a portable amp with powerful features. It's the least expensive amp in our shootout. Its got 25 watts of power which makes it more powerful than the first amp in our series but less powerful than the other two. It's got a single 8 inch speaker. It has a USB port on it which allows you to record to your computer and let's you use the Fender Tone Software to edit patches and store them on the amp. It does support a footswitch, however at 25 watts it's really meant as a practice amp more than a gigging amp.

The 35 watt ZT Lunchbox Jr is the smaller brother to the original ZT lunchbox. It's only 6 inches tall so it's very very portable. It's got a really handy feature in that it can power your pedals! It's got a 9 volt port on the back that you can plug your pedal chain in to if you get a multi pront 9 volt cable, you can power your entire pedal board. It's really meant for just being an easy way to add a pedal to you practice amp. This amp sounds amazing considering it's size. It doesn't have a lot of fx/amp models etc. It's not that kind of amp. Just a very small practice amp with good tone. It's meant as a practice amp as it's below 50 watts. With the extension cab it might work for band practice, but it's probably not powerful enough for gigging. Add your fave overdrive and bam.

BOSS KATANA 50 ($230)
At just over $200, this amp is a steal. It's the loudest amp of the bunch at 50 watts. Also, it's a modeling amp so it's got amp models and effects built in, like the Mooer. it also has the BOSS TONE STUDIO editor which is a great way to put patches together and add them to the amp. It's got a 12 inch speaker so it's got the biggest speaker of the bunch. Also it supports footswitch control. This is an amp you could actually gig with or use for practice with a band.

These are just a few of the amps currently available. I’ve listed them from lowest power rating to highest. Typically, one wants 50 watts or better for gigging/playing with a live drummer. This is a general guideline and your mileage may vary. These are very different amps. The ZT is meant to be a good sounding, mini amp. Most amps of that size don’t sound very good. The others add in amp modeling and effects. I’ve added amp demos to let you hear what each sounds like but the real test is to go put your ears on one to see what you think.


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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Jan 8 2021, 06:52 PM
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