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The Top 5 Mini Amps On The Market

More often than not these small form factor amplifiers go unnoticed compared to their larger counterparts that house more power, yet these amps are optimised for home use due to their light weight, portability, and small yet powerful sound that won’t smash your windows even when you turn volume to the max. In this blog we will be listing the top 5 mini amps that are available right now, rating them on their price, sound, portability, and overall looks.

Katana Mini

  • Great Katana tone in a highly portable amp
  • Rich, full sound that far exceeds other amps in its class
  • Authentic multi-stage analog gain circuit and three-band analog tone stack
  • Three versatile amp types: Brown, Crunch, and Clean
  • Built-in tape-style delay for warm ambience
  • Aux input for jamming with music from a smartphone
  • Phones/recording output with cabinet voicing
  • Runs on six AA-size batteries or optional AC adapter

Thanks to the Katana-Mini’s advanced-yet-compact design, you can plug into serious guitar tone any time and any place. Weighing just under three pounds, it sits easily on a tabletop or shelf at home. And with the integrated handle and battery operation, it’s easy and convenient to grab the amp and play anywhere you want, indoors or out. With the aux input, you can even plug in your smartphone and jam along with your personal music library or tracks streamed from the web. And for private practice and recording situations, you’ll want to take advantage of the phones/recording output, which features special cabinet voicing for real mic’d amp tone.

Blackstar Fly

  • 3 Watt compact mini guitar amp
  • 2 channels – Clean and Overdrive
  • Patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature)
  • Digital ‘tape’ delay effect
  • MP3 / Line In for jamming along or listening to music
  • Emulated Line Out for ‘silent’ practice or recording
  • 3″ speaker producing true Blackstar tones
  • Battery or DC powered
  • Revolutionary sonic performance

 

The FLY 3 is an innovative, cutting edge 3 watt mini amp which combines two channels, tape delay and the Blackstar patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) to create the perfect compact and portable guitar amplifier. It’s advantageously small and packs a punch with big TONE, even at the lowest volumes. The ISF allows you to infinitely change the sound of your FLY 3, which gives you endless possibilities on the tone of your amp. The FLY 3 also features tape delay effects, allowing you to make your amp output resonate during play. The FLY 3 also comes with an MP3 / LINE IN jack built in, allowing you to connect to your MP3 player, mobile phone, laptop, tablet etc. and jam along to your favourite tracks; the Emulated Output jack can also be used with headphones. Capable of being battery powered, you can take the FLY 3 with you wherever you go as a set of portable speakers. Retailing at £48 for the normal amp, or £79 for the bluetooth version, perfect for those who want a powerful performance but are on a budget.

Orange Crush Mini

  • Guitar Lead Activated Power On, Integrated Tuner, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, 8 Ohm Jack For External Speaker, 3.5mm Aux In Jack
  • Controls (Right To Left): Input, Gain, Shape, Volume, Headphone Jack (Below) Integrated Chromatic Tuner.
  • Finish Options: Orange Basketweave Vinyl
  • Output Power: 3 Watts
  • Power: Internal 9 V Battery (Supplied) Or 9v Centre Negative Power Supply (Not Supplied)
  • Unboxed Dimensions (W X H X D): 15 × 14.5 X 8.3cm (5.9 X 5.7 X 3.26?)
  • Unboxed Weight: 904g (1.99lbs)

A new feature for the Crush Mini is the 8 Ohm speaker output. Using the preamp stage of the amp, you can plug directly into an external speaker cabinet to open up even more tonal capabilities. The Crush Mini features a built-in tuner, as well as a headphone output that cuts the speaker for silent practice. The AUX IN makes playing along to your favourite songs is a breeze! The Crush Mini uses three controls: volume, shape and gain. Giving you a wide range of tones; The gain can be backed off and the volume pushed up to gain crunch tones. Then the gain brought in more to add more high gain distortion, with the shape being used to fatten or scoop your sound. Retailing at £45 this small amp is perfect for home use, and due to it’s minute size, it is able to fit into small spaces, and remain hidden from plain sight.

Marshall MS-2

  • Classic Marshall styling in a micro-sized amp
  • 1 watt of authentic Marshall tone
  • Clean and overdrive settings
  • Volume and tone controls
  • Headphone jack can also be used to drive an external power amp
  • Belt clip for shredding anytime, anywhere
  • Battery- or AC-powered (with optional power adapter)

The Marshall MS-2 Micro Amp is a portable micro stack amp, perfect for mobile musicians. This compact unit delivers a full Marshall tone from its 14cm x 11cm x 6cm size, and can be powered by battery or mains power. Despite its small size, the MS-2 features clean and overdrives modes, tone control and a headphone output for private listening. With all these great features on offer, the MS-2 combines high-quality Marshall tone and aesthetics with a fun novelty appeal. Even smaller than the Orange Crush Mini, this small but incredible looking mini amp is perfect for those who want the quietest option available, as well as the smallest. Featuring a clip to be able to attach to guitar straps, this amp offers the most portability, and weighing in at just over 300g, and only costing around £20, this amp is perfect for those extreme budgets.

Fender Mini Deluxe

  • One watt of power
  • Single 8 ohm, two-inch speaker
  • 9V battery-powered

The Fender Mini Deluxe Amp has a level of detail unmatched by any other mini amplifier. Functional “dogbone” handle, chrome control plate, mini chicken-head knobs. And the Mini Deluxe has Fender tone, too! Retailing at £35, with a price like this, and a look that’s as vintage as ever, there’s no doubt that this is a strong contender in the mini amp series. It’s strong design means that it is robust, but still looking stylish at the same time. This is a perfect choice for those who don’t fancy the slim design of the Marshall MS-2, but still want a 1W power output.

Conclusion

After researching these mini amps extensively, there is still no clear winner as to which amp is the best overall. There are all sorts of sizes and wattage for all sorts of prices online, and really it all comes down to preference when investing in these small form factor amps. Personally, my choice would be the Blackstar Fly 3. Due to the option of having a bluetooth speaker, the portability of this amp goes way beyond any others, and a 3-Watt power output means there is the option to crank the volume up for a stay at home gig! However all of the mini amps have incredibly enticing features individual to themselves, so it was a difficult choice to make.

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