Tube amps are famous for their warm, fat tone, and natural frequency distribution, which is why they are the amp of choice for many serious guitarists. Compared to digital or solid state amps, tube amps tend to sound louder, and usually come with a switch to change tones between clean and distorted. Some modeling amplifiers also come equipped with digital/ analog outputs, and speaker simulation.
Best 15-Watt Tube Amp: How to Pick the Right One?
When you go out to buy a 15 watt tube amp, an amp that is very common among small time gig runners and professionals who wish to practice at home, you need to make sure that you’re getting the product from a reputable brand. The importance of quality components is often understated, but since tube amps tend to have a shorter lifespan than solid state amps by default, it is extremely important that you get one with good quality components inside, because it may fail in the middle of a performance and leave you embarrassed afterwards.
We have taken the guesswork out of the equation, and present to you a list of the most reputed and reliable 15 watt tube amplifiers on the market right now. All of them are recommended by top class guitarists as well as enthusiast customers, so you might definitely find the best amp for your needs among these choices.
Monoprice 611815 15 Watt Guitar tube amplifier
Pro: Great at handing low-medium range frequencies
Con: Reverb is not very good
The Monoprice 611815 15 watt tube amp is great for first time users, as well as serious players on a budget. It generates crisp highs, deep mids, and well-defined lows with the help of the three pre amplification tubes. The porting is done at the rear, and the weight of the cabinet is handled by a well-designed leather strap. It can handle frequencies between 80 Hz and 10 KHz, and the harmonic distortion is virtually non-existent at just 0.5%. Audio is provided by a Celestion speaker, and the entire unit can be easily put into overdrive to gain that unique, slightly distorted sound with an ever so slight humming noise.
Laney Amps Cube CUB-HEAD 15-Watt amplifier
With its multitude of tonal controls that include- reverb. Bass, gain, middle, treble, etc., the Laney CUB-HEAD is a pretty handy 15 watt tube amplifier and gets its amazing sound quality from the three ECC83’s sitting underneath the hood. The power amp section also contains two EL84’s, and all of these parts are hand selected and assembled to ensure the best possible quality. There are two input sections, and while one of them features 15 W RMS of valve tone, the other input section cuts output by .75 W. The 0.75 W may not seem like much but once you overdrive the amp, it allows you to get some very pleasing effects over at the output end.
Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt 1×10″ amplifier
This 15 watt Fender tube amp features two 6V6 tubes with one 12AX7 preamp tube. Audio is delivered via a crisp sounding 10” Fender speaker, and the voicing knob lets you select from a wide variety of amp effects such as Tweed, Black Face, British Metal, etc., and the effects control lets you add effects to each of these amp effects. A USB output ensures easy compatibility with a PC, so you can export your audio effects and songs directly over to equalizer software on a PC. There is an optional footswitch as well, included alongside the package.
Ibanez TSA15 1 X 12” 15 Watt Tube Combo Amplifier
With its warm tone and incredible screaming/ crying guitar effects, the Ibanez TSA 1 X 12” is a 15W tube combo amplifier that provides plenty of tonal control and built in special effects at a rather low price. It is built with a 100% internal circuit to maintain complete authenticity of sound quality, and a bypass enabled tube screamer tone circuit helps you engage features such as overdrive, and tone/ volume on the fly. You may also choose to get a footswitch (not included), in order to toggle the tube streamer and get a 6 dB boost on the fly.
Marshall DSL15C 15 Watt Combo Amp
While this tube amp is said to be one of the most powerful 15 watt models on the market today, it packs more than enough horsepower under the hood to backup that claim. From the custom built Celestion 12” speaker, to the all valve design, Marshall did not make any compromises with their build quality and features. The digital reverb sounds just perfect, neither too mellow, nor too artificial. It is powered by 2 6V6 power valves and three ECC83’s in the preamp module. While the exterior is a little smaller than most competitors, its guts are the exact same as that of its big brother, the DSL100H.
Orange Tiny Terror 15 W Tube Amp TT15H
When you decide to buy a big amp, you are limited by its weight and large size. What if you could get the exact same distortion control, depth of tone, and power from a much smaller amp, at half the cost of a bigger amp? Well, we’re talking about the Tiny Terror over here. It is much smaller than conventional full size 15 W amps at just 55.1” x 118” x 74.8”, and weighs a measly 13 pounds. However, the casing is fully made of thick gauge steel and is virtually bullet proof. The interiors consist of dual ECC83 valves, and 2XEL84 power valves to drive this little devil. The speaker has been removed, so you need to plug it into an external speaker, but when you do so, you’ll be blown away by the sheer amount of audio that this amplifier can output. And it does so without even going into overdrive, so the distortion stays at zero.
Kustom Amps Defender V15 1 X 10″
The Kustom Defender 15 watt tube amp is short and stout, with a 10” Celestion speaker sitting snugly in the middle of the squarish black frame. A tone and bass response selector panel is mounted on the front so that you can comfortably control the tonal depth and audio brightness straight out of the box. It is powered by EL84 valves, and contains a quad-position low frequency equalizer mode to control low end responses at all volume levels. The XLR out port is balanced with ground lift, and the switches feature multiple impedance operation.
Vox Night Train NT15C1-G2 15 W 1 X 12″
With a variable RMS of either 8 or 16 Ohms, and a Celestion G12M Greenback speaker mounted in the case, the Vox Night Train manages to somehow cram a whole lot of full size features into one of the most compact 15 watt guitar combo amplifier cases we have ever seen. It is powered by 3X12AX7 preamp tubes, and dual EL84 power tubes. The dial operated controls on this little beauty include- master volume, reverb, girth-control switch, etc. There is even a brightness/ darkness switch to play around with the tonal depth of the sound, and you also have the regular bass, mid, and treble controls.
Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb 15 W 1 x 10″ Combo Amp
While it is definitely the most expensive 15 W amp on this list, the Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb is a timeless classic and represents what a perfect 15 W guitar tube amp would look like. Firstly, this is an all-tube design, meaning that the sound produced by the amp sound extremely crisp, loud, and has a lot of thickness in it. You can vary the thickness and add more blur, or lighten the overall mood of an effect by using the girth control knob. The basic controls on this amp are- speed, reverb, bass, treble, intensity, volume. Just by varying these parameters, you can make a world of difference in the type of output sound that is generated.