In the music world, there are several reasons why someone wants to get a battery-powered alternative to their hardware. In this article, we will be reviewing the different varieties of battery-powered guitar amplifiers. The player might need more space and a smaller amp, the ability to play unplugged on the street without any plug-in powered option available. Several amplifier varieties exist on today’s market that don’t require the player to compromise with the quality of sound; these battery-powered versions provide satisfaction in tone and power. The companies that produce battery-powered amplification for guitars are the same companies that produce the non-battery versions. It means that if you are already familiar with a specific amplifier, there is sure to be a battery-powered version with the same core abilities.
Playing on the go or performing is a significant benefit of battery amplifiers. Inspiration can be very fleeting, come and go as it will. Having the ability to plug in and play at any given time might make the player able to capture those moments of inspiration before they go away. Let us look through some of the options of battery-powered guitar amps. There is a great benefit to knowing what type of sound you want your amplifier to produce before reading through these.
Super tiny amplifier, like all of them. Marshall is known for producing top-quality headphones, speakers and amplifiers. This brand is legitimate, and this amplifier is an excellent tool if you are looking for just a small bedroom or on the go boost. The MS-2 has the iconic black, slick marshall look and is an extremely affordable amplifier. Excellent for practicing at home without disturbing the neighbors. It has a headphone output and a knob to control if the tone output should be clean or overdriven. The amplifier has a 9v input jack for a power supply, which is not included in this amplifier’s core price.
In such a case, an adapter would cost almost as much as the amplifier itself. The knob controlling overdrive has an on/off switch, selecting whether you want a clean or distorted channel. The final third step on the knob boosts that distortion even further, making this amp better suited for any practice that requires a heavier sound.
This Blackstar amplifier is slightly more expensive than the previous one and 3W instead of 1W. It means it has the ability to go slightly louder, maybe disturbing the neighbors just a bit.
The Blackstar has an AUX-input, Headphone and Recording output. This neat little box also packs a sweet and lush delay into it. If you are looking to spice up practicing and play around with a more diverse sound, this might be a good option. There is an ability to switch between clean and distorted channels as well as a patented “ISF” knob, which controls Blackstar’s very own EQ. This amplifier is a bump up in price but will make practicing even more enjoyable. If you are playing on a 1W amplifier and want to perform on the streets, it might be hard to hear you. But this 3W Blackstar Fly is very capable of making itself heard through commuters and rumble, even though it is so small. A viable amplifier with a few more options than the previous.
Orange Micro Crush Pix 3
Orange produce iconic amplifiers for distorted music. These amplifiers are small and colorful, but still, giving out a very mean and distinct tone. So why not make it even smaller? Although the manufacturers discontinue this amplifier, if you manage to snag one from a secondhand, it is undoubtedly a worthy piece. This tiny box features a built-in tuner perfect for practicing—three buttons on the marshall control power, tuner and overdrive.
It means that you can access the overdrive that is legendary to the Orange amplifiers but in a quieter format. The two knobs are for tone and volume. Equalization on the micro crush makes you get a distinct, sharp tone or a more muffled tone by just adjusting this one knob. This amplifier will do the trick if you want to practice punk rock without going too loud.
Roland Micro Cube
The Micro Cube is the most iconic amplifier when it comes to battery-driven guitar amps. The Micro Cube is quite pricey, and for a player with a bedroom-practice budget, it might be too expensive. The bigger version of this amplifier is commonly seen hand in hand with street performers because it is such a sturdy little piece with excellent sound quality and many options for tone shaping to play around with. The Micro Cube lets you choose among different amp types, effects and even has its’ own knob for delay/reverb. Despite being so small, these effects shine through in the cube and make themselves duly noted.
The player will have access to a built-in tuner along with knobs that control gain, volume, tone, and master. This tiny combo-amplifier has incredible tone-shaping abilities and has versions with a higher power output that pretty much feature the same exact sound. It means that if you buy a cube and you like it, there is a bigger cube out there waiting for you that will sound the same but louder. Just like most battery-powered amplifiers, it has a power adapter which is not included. It is suitable for experienced players and for those who do not quite know what kind of sound they are looking for in their amplifier.
The Roland Micro Cube will allow a player to play around with a wide variety of effects/preset combinations, which can be a very inspiring process. The danger of a new player purchasing an amplifier like this is that you can get lost in fiddling with the presets/knobs and forget to play or feel overwhelmed by so many options.
Vox Mini3 G2CL
This Voxbox has a huge variety of different presets to choose from. The presets are very distinct in their way of shaping the tone output and going from high-end heavy distortion to standard clean. There is a great benefit of having presets within the amplifier. The player does not have to spend time fiddling around with knobs, and the presets are shaped after the unique sound of 11 different amplifiers in the VOX Mini3. This box is a little pricey, but not the priciest on this list. It is a mid-high tier pricy. It has a built-in tuner, the ability to switch between clean and distortion, and a strap if the player wants to carry. The Vox Mini3 also has many effects, such as a compressor, flanger, and reverb/delay.
Having all these effects is a great way to simulate what an experienced player’s larger pedalboard rig sounds like or a great way for a new player to learn the sounds of different effects and how they shape the instrument’s sound. The downside to these effects is that they do not function like a pedalboard and can only be enabled one at a time. The reverb/delay knob is separate, which means that the maximum ability the Vox Mini3 has to add effects to your sound is to have a delay/reverb at the same time as either of the effects on the other knob. This one is the most diverse amplifier along with the Roland Micro Cube that we have featured on this list so far. Certainly, a fun little piece that is viable for bedroom playing and general carrying around playing.
All amplifier manufacturers have to display in their product how much they value looks. There are quite a few beauties on this list, but this one is subjectively one of the top ones. It is the most expensive amplifier on this list. With an increase in price comes an increase in sound quality. This amplifier is no exception from that rule, and when it comes to tonal output, the Yamaha THR5 has it down. Modern, brit hi, lead, crunch, and clean, there are five presets which give the amplifier everything it needs to play every genre of music ever.
It allows just like the previous listing to blend between an effect and a delay/reverb that is controlled via a knob separate to the effects knob. There is nothing too complicated about this amplifier. It has a very easy to understand layout which allows it to be more inviting to newer players than, for example, the Roland Micro Cube.
Fender Mini Deluxe
The Fender Mini Deluxe or MD20 is a 1.5 W amplifier with a minimalistic layout and low price. We are back to the beginning of this list, where the Marshall MS2 has a similar level of complex configuration and sits in the same price range. It is a beginner, bedroom practice kind of amplifier. The difference with this amp is that Fender amplifiers have always been famous for sticking to clean tone more than distortion.
This amplifier is no different, and while it does have a gain knob, it won’t give the player a super heavy distortion that could be utilized for genres such as punk and metal. It is the smallest amplifier that Fender has produced. This amplifier has a sound suited for blues, jazz, and funk players looking to practice.
Danelectro Honey Tone Mini
Just like the previous amplifier, this is an amp with an output wattage of 1.5 W. It has an output jack for earphones and an instrument cable jack for input. It has a basic layout with knobs controlling volume, tone and overdrive. There is nothing special about this amplifier in terms of tonal shaping abilities or quality of sound output.
But man, it’s a looker.
This amplifier has a delightful vintage look that takes a player back to the 60s. The tone is shaped for rock ‘n’ roll riffs, and it is pocket-sized, ready to be played whenever inspiration strikes—average price, average sound, but above average vibes.
Boss Katana Mini
Finishing up, we have a Katana. This model is slightly smaller than the other Katanas, but it can do the work almost just the same. The Boss Katana Mini features three amplifiers presets. These are brown, crunch and clean. The downset of having fewer presets is that there is not as much room to play around. But having just a few presets could allow you to find a sound that suits you quicker.
The Boss Katana gives the ability via knobs to control a delay, EQ and gain/volume. The EQ on the Boss Katana Mini is controlled by three separate knobs, which gives a player the ability for more tonal combinations since they can control bass, mid and treb individually. This amplifier is in the mid-price range of this list, and it is a perfect box for the bedroom practicer.
In this final piece, we are going to sum up what has been talked about in the article by awarding listed amplifiers that are, in some ways, extraordinary compared to one another. We will be rewarding prizes based on specific categories that are believed to be important for the bedroom player looking for a battery-powered guitar amplifier.
The first category is the overall usability and price. Here, there is a tie between two amplifiers on this list. Both the Fender Mini Deluxe and the Marshall MS2 feature a simple, easy to use layout at an affordable price. These two amplifiers are your plug ‘n’ play options that take no time to get used to and are equally simple to use. The difference between these two would be that they output slightly different sounds when their distortion is pushed to the extreme. The Fender Mini Deluxe is suited for genres that don’t need as much distortion and the Marshall being capable of delivering a satisfying distortion for the heavier styles. In the Marshall, you will lose some clean tone sound quality.
This list’s loudest amplifier is a tie between the Orange Micro Crush and the Blackstar FLY 3, both having 3 W wattage output. In this case, the availability of the Blackstar FLY 3 will, however, cause it to be more relevant when choosing on the criteria of loudness from this list. The Orange Micro Crush has been discontinued, and when looking at a recently manufactured product that has been discontinued, that is sort of a red flag. The Blackstar FLY 3 is the loudest amp on this list and would be suitable for a player looking to slightly disturb their neighbors or blend in with the rumble of pedestrian city noises.
In the final category of this award ceremony, we will be looking at the best overall amplifier when considering the price, sound quality and user-friendliness. Here, the winner is the Boss Katana Mini. The cost of this unit is remarkably low for the quality of output that it has. What makes this amplifier stand out is the three-knob equalization that allows control of low, mid and high separately. It is an excellent function that will both help the new and the experienced player tailor their sound. The Katana Mini is shaped after the bigger versions of it, which also means that if somebody is already comfortable with the bigger version, here is a smaller one that has the same core abilities. It has 1.5 W output, which puts it in a position to produce average volume output for this list. It would not be suited for street performance but allows the player to practice at a satisfying volume.
In addition to that, having three amplifiers presets seems to be the perfect amount. There are enough options to make the Boss Katana feel exciting and new, but at the same time, it remains effortless to understand and not seem daunting. In this particular list, the focus is not on looks. Although there are battery-driven amplifiers that undoubtedly look cool, the final sound quality has been valued over that. The Katana does not stand out in terms of look, but it is quite slick looking. Overall the Boss Katana Mini is an affordable piece with enough options to choose from without getting dizzy.