Four best guitar amps of NAMM 2020
From ‘smart amps’ to vintage-inspired Class A tube tones, these are our picks of the best amps from Winter NAMM 2020 in Anaheim.
NAMM 2020: Winter NAMM 2020 gave us a boatload of new gear to process, but we managed to narrow them down to the best of the best. Check out our picks of the most promising amps we spotted at the annual musical instruments show.
Boss Acoustic Singer Live LT
Boss has expanded on its Acoustic Singer Series with the new Acoustic Singer Live LT, a bi-amplification amp with dual channels for both a guitar and a microphone. Boss claims that the amp allows users “to achieve big, studio-quality vocals on stage” through the use of the one-touch Enhance function on the mic channel. Meanwhile, the guitar channel incorporates Boss’ Acoustic Resonance processing to help restore natural tone to stage guitars with piezo pickups. Other features include a custom woofer and dome tweeter driven by individual power amps.
Supro Blues King 10
The Blues King 10 sits nicely in between its siblings, the Blues King 12 and Blue King 8. Supro’s newest amp offers 5 watts of Class A tube tone, pushed through a single 10-inch custom Supro BK10 speaker. Taking cues from Supro amps from the 50s, the Blues King 10 is inspired by the original Supro Comet, sharing the same design considerations and single-ended power section, the latter of which comprises a single 6V6 tube.
The amp does come with a few solid state components, namely an integrated FET-powered boost and a CMOS overdrive circuit, both of which are footswitchable. Meanwhile, the top panel of the amp features controls for input and output volume, a two-band EQ and the analog spring reverb. The boost and overdrive can also be toggled from the top panel via two mini switches.
Positive Grid Spark
Positive Grid’s Spark is one of the few true ‘smart amps’ on the market right now. Aside from its 10,000 tone presets and various preamp and effects models, the Spark can also be paired with its companion app to provide bass and drum accompaniment while it tracks the user’s playing. It can also interface with popular streaming services like Spotify to display chord readouts as you practice to a track. The fact that the Spark brings all this in a handy tabletop-amp form factor is the cherry on top.
Touted as having “the most natural possible response”, Blackstar’s Sonnet is capable of handling up to four inputs simultaneously: instrument, microphone, MP3/Line in and Bluetooth playback. For guitarists who prefer a bit more flexibility in their tone, a Shape switch allows users to toggle between a flat EQ response and a mid-cut with a low- and high-frequency boost. Additional High Pass Filter and Brilliance controls allow for a greater fine-tuning, and the ported cabinetry of the Sonnet assists with low-end response. Other features include an integrated tilt-back stand for better projection, a low-latency USB audio out and a direct XLR output.