- Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb
- Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus
- Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue
- Fender Hot Rod DeVille 212 IV
- Blackstar ARTIST15 Blackstar Amplifier
- Vox AC30C2 30-watt 2×12″ Tube Combo Amp
- Boss Katana 50
- Supro 1685RT Neptune Reverb
- Benefits Of Amp Headroom
- What Is A Pedal Platform Amp?
- Amplify Your Performance: Choosing the Perfect Pedal Platform Amp
Looking to enhance your guitar’s echo? You’ll want to check out pedal platform amps! As a guitarist, finding the best pedal platform amp is like discovering the ideal paint for your canvas. It lets you drown, drive, delay, or distort your music to your heart’s content, helping you shape your sound to perfection.
So, let’s buckle up and explore the world of pedal platform amps in 2023. We’re about to check out detailed reviews of the market’s top performers, which will breathe new life into your effect pedals and assist you in creating the perfect harmony between your guitar and pedals.
Get ready for a blend of stellar tones, impressive build quality, and breathtaking musical versatility. Let’s get amped up!
The Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb is a hand-wired amp, which is a recreation of the classic Deluxe Reverb from the 1960s. It features a solid pine cabinet, a departure from the birch plywood housings of the Reissue series.
The amp offers tonal flexibility and portability, making it suitable for a wide range of musical genres.
With a completely hand-wired circuit, Mylar-and-tinfoil Astron tone capacitors, and the ability for both channels to access the tube-driven spring reverb and tremolo circuits, the amp ensures stellar tones and dynamic response.
- Completely hand-wired circuit with Mylar-and-tinfoil Astron tone capacitors like the originals.
- Solid pine cabinet for more resonance in the low end.
- Both channels can access the tube-driven spring reverb and tremolo circuits.
- Stellar tones, dynamic response, and versatility in tones without the need for extra knobs or modifications.
- Build quality is impressive, with neat wiring and flawlessly applied tolex.
- Comes with a protective cover and a foot controller for reverb and tremolo.
The Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb is priced at $2,999.99 and is available for purchase for various retailers.
Pros & Cons
The Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb is a high-end amp that can compete with boutique amps in terms of sound quality. It offers a great clean tone and can handle tube-driven overdrive well. Versatility is a key feature, as it can work well with different genres of music. The 20-watt power is ideal for getting tube breakup and sag without being too loud, which is useful for creating warm vintage tones. Additionally, it’s noted that the amp takes pedals well and can be used as a pedal platform.
The build quality is impressive, with neat wiring, flawlessly applied tolex, and a solid pine cabinet. Furthermore, the tube-driven reverb and tremolo are available on both channels, which adds to the versatility of the amplifier. The reverb goes from subtle to lusciously deep, and the tremolo is captivating, although it can be difficult to discern at high volumes.
However, the amp is on the pricier side, which could be a deterrent for some. Also, while the amp is best matched with single-coil pickups, it can also work efficiently with humbuckers. There may be a greater touch response and earlier break up compared to vintage models, which may not appeal to everyone. Despite these, the product is a successful reissue, offering fantastic touch sensitivity and a lived-in feel. It delivers vintage-vibed goods and sensible modifications, making it a worthy investment for those seeking authentic vintage tone and upgraded components.
The Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus is a legendary guitar amplifier, having achieved iconic status since its introduction in the mid-1970s. Known for its clean sound and versatility, it’s been a staple of the music industry for decades.
The amp features twin 60W solid-state power amplifiers, powering two 12″ speakers. It has two channels with high and low inputs, with controls for volume, treble, middle, and bass. The second channel also includes controls for distortion and reverb. The amplifier is revered for its warm, thick, and round clean sounds, and its chorus effect adds a unique spatial quality.
- Exceptional clean tones
- Versatility in sound production
- Robust build quality
- Works well with effects pedals and multi-effects units
- Two channels with high and low inputs
- Master speed and depth controls for vibrato and chorus effects
Pricing information for the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus can vary. It is recommended to check with local or online music retailers for the most current pricing information.
The Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus is known for delivering an iconic clean tone and an immersive stereo-chorus effect. This amplifier is a versatile piece of equipment that consistently performs well with pedals, multi-effects, and amp modelers. This allows easy sound shaping and lets the natural sound of the guitar and effects shine through. Its variety of connectivity options, including an effects loop and line-out jacks, adds to its flexibility.
Its build quality is exceptional, with a solid-state design that can endure the rigors of live performances. This amplifier has proven to be a reliable piece of equipment for gigging musicians. Despite its impressive durability, the JC-120’s heavy and large construction may pose challenges for musicians who frequently transport their gear.
The second channel of this amplifier offers reverb, distortion, and that iconic chorus effect that the Jazz Chorus is named for. However, while the clean tones are highly regarded, the distortion sound is often considered less impressive. For many, it’s best to leave the distortion setting in the “off” position.
Additionally, the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus was the first amplifier to introduce the world to the chorus effect, which continues to offer a lush and immersive sound. This signature dimensional space chorus effect has remained a constant inspiration for musicians in various genres.
Overall, the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus is highly respected for its clean tones, iconic chorus effect, and time-tested design philosophy. Despite a few shortcomings, its incredible sound and versatility make it a favorite among guitarists of various genres.
The Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue is a classic amplifier renowned for its clean, electric guitar sound and timeless aesthetics. This amplifier is essentially a recreation of the original model, built using modern PCB techniques.
It’s an 85W all-tube amplifier that houses four 6L6 power amp tubes, four 12AX7 preamp tubes, and two 12AT7 tubes for reverb and vibrato. The amplifier is equipped with two 12″ Jensen C-12K speakers, dual channels (normal and vibrato), classic Fender reverb and vibrato, tilt-back legs, and black vinyl covering with silver grille cloth.
- Renowned for its loud, clean tone
- Dual 12″ Jensen C-12K speakers provide a marvelous sound, and the open-back design adds to the overall experience.
- Versatile with dual channels (normal and vibrato), including Fender reverb and tremolo effects.
- Features tilt-back legs to direct the sound towards the musician on stage.
- Known for its pedal-friendly versatility.
- Classic Fender look with black vinyl covering and silver grille cloth.
We recommend checking with official retailers for up-to-date pricing on the Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue.
The Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue is known for its loud, clean tones, which makes it suitable for various genres of music from Texas blues to rock. It provides plenty of clean headroom with 85 watts of power, perfect for playing in different venues, from small gigs to large stages. Its versatility also extends to its compatibility with pedals, which allows it to create various tones to match various genres.
While the normal channel is great for running pedals, providing a clean tone, the vibrato channel offers additional options such as reverb and vibrato, delivering a slightly dirtier sound when cranked up. The amplifier’s controls are set at 5 and do not need to be adjusted, offering a simple and easy-to-use interface for musicians. The amplifier’s tone controls respond well to bright guitars like a Fender Custom Shop 1967 Telecaster, but it can also handle high-output humbuckers.
One particular attribute of the Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue is the ability to maintain a clean tone even at high volumes, offering musicians the chance to play loud without any distortion. This is a defining feature, especially when it comes to genres that require a clean sound.
However, one potential downside to consider is the weight. Weighing in at 64 lbs, it is a heavy amplifier, and caution should be taken when moving it around. Despite this, the overall consensus is that the Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue is a powerful and versatile amplifier that offers both a classic look and sound that many guitarists appreciate.
The Fender Hot Rod DeVille 212 IV is a powerhouse among amplifiers. As part of Fender’s Blues and Hot Rod range, the amplifier has been a popular choice for musicians around the world for over 25 years.
The amplifier’s latest iteration brings an enhanced experience for users, combining classic aesthetics with modern features. The amplifier boasts a 60-watt power output, three switchable channels, and two 12″ Celestion speakers. Its preamp circuitry has been upgraded for better tonal clarity and note definition, providing an articulate tone even when playing on overdrive.
The DeVille’s cabinet is constructed from lightweight pine, which not only makes the amplifier lighter and easier to transport but also aids in improving cabinet resonance.
- 60-watt output for powerful performance
- Two 12″ Celestion A-Type speakers for improved tone
- Three switchable channels (Normal, Drive, More Drive) for tonal versatility
- Lightweight pine cabinet for better resonance
- 12AX7 preamp tubes and 6L6 power amp valves for classic Fender tone
- Improved spring reverb for a smoother, warmer sound
- Compatibility with pedals for expanded tonal options
The Fender Hot Rod DeVille 212 IV is considered a high-priced amplifier. However, its high cost is justified by its extensive features and exceptional performance, making it a worthwhile investment for professional musicians.
As a proud owner of the Fender Hot Rod DeVille 212 IV, I’ve found that it offers a multitude of benefits. The amplifier’s clean channel is particularly impressive. It has a rich clarity and a mid-range emphasis, delivering a sparkling treble and a punchy low-end. This makes it a great choice for guitarists who frequently use effect pedals.
The DeVille also features a spring reverb, which adds a beautiful warmth and depth to the sound, rivaling even the best analog reverb effects available in the market. Even when there’s a need for a bit more crunch for blues, surf rock, or classic rock genres, the amp’s drive channels step up and deliver.
However, as with all products, the DeVille has its limitations. The drive channels, despite being good, aren’t the highest quality. They function well enough but may need additional distortion pedals for optimal performance.
But overall, the amp offers a good balance between price, power, and performance. The DeVille IV is a versatile amplifier, delivering the classic Fender sound and then some.
The Blackstar ARTIST15 is a versatile and compact 15-watt, two-channel amplifier. It incorporates classic Vox and Fender attributes with two 6L6 power tubes and two ECC83 pre-amp tubes at its heart.
It delivers its sounds through a single 12″ Celestion V-Type speaker. The amplifier stands out with its faux-leather vinyl cabinet and silver-and-black weave grille cloth. It is designed to handle a variety of guitars and pedals, making it suitable for small gigs, home use, and recording. It’s also been tested extensively in both laboratory and live performance settings, ensuring its resilience in gig environments.
- Combines the tonal qualities of a 6L6 valve with the chime and shimmer of a classic British Class A amplifier, providing a wide range of classic tones.
- Two channels—each with its distinctive features—offer flexibility. The first channel is clean and transparent, while the second channel provides more tone-tailoring options.
- Includes professional features such as foot switching, reverb, master volume, and effects loop, catering to demanding performance requirements.
- Its patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) allows easy tone shaping to match personal preferences.
- Comes with a series effects loop, speaker-emulated line out, and options for speaker outlets for additional flexibility.
- The amp is visually elegant, enhancing its appeal.
The Blackstar ARTIST15 is priced at around $799. While this may seem relatively high for a 15-watt amp, it provides boutique-style tones without the hefty price tag.
Looking at the amplifier from a critical point, the ARTIST15 shines in versatility and dynamic range. It has a clean channel that offers a range from pristine clean to slightly breaking up. The gain channel, on the other hand, offers a crunchy tone that can push into crunch territory. The ISF control, a unique feature, provides the option to blend between American and British tones, expanding the tonal range considerably.
Despite its many strengths, the ARTIST15 does have a few potential drawbacks. Some may find a constant hiss in the amp, even when all volumes are turned down. Additionally, the sound quality at lower volumes on Channel 1 might not suit everyone’s taste. The amplifier’s quality has been questioned by some, with concerns about potential faults or the need for retubing. Also, despite its many tonal options, the ISF knob might require additional tweaking of the bass and mids controls for some to achieve their desired sound.
Overall, the Blackstar ARTIST15 is a versatile and dynamic amplifier that offers a wide range of tones. Its unique choice of power tubes and the inclusion of the ISF control make it a standout option. However, it might not be suitable for all settings, particularly those requiring low volumes or where noise is a concern.
The Vox AC30C2 30-watt 2×12″ tube combo amp, released in early 2010, is an iconic amplifier known for its versatility and remarkable tone.
It comes packed with four EL84 power tubes and a pair of 12″ Celestion Greenback or Alnico Blue speakers. Capable of delivering both enchanting clean, and raucous overdriven sounds, the AC30C2 is widely appreciated for its warm and lively tone. This amp has a classic look and is made with a well-constructed MDF cab.
- Both Normal and Top Boost channels for versatile sound options
- Remarkable 30 watts tone output
- Compatible with the VFS2A Foot Switch
- Controls for Master Volume, Master Tone Cut, Normal Volume, Top Boost Volume, Top Boost Bass, Top Boost Treble, Reverb Tone, Reverb Level, Tremolo Speed, and Tremolo Depth
- Production moved to China, resulting in a more affordable option compared to the handmade British Vox AC30s
- Built-in effects like reverb and tremolo
- Beautiful clean tone, ideal for pedal work
- Great for rock and indie genres
The Vox AC30C2 30-watt 2×12″ tube combo amp offers a classic sound with modern features at a more affordable price point compared to handmade British Vox AC30s.
The Vox AC30C2, with its 12AX7 preamp valves and EL84 power amp valves, is a gem that offers a classic sound with some modern upgrades. It has a traditional design with a control panel on the top and side handles for easy transportation, with a partially open back cabinet. It gives any musician ample options with its four inputs, including high and low inputs for the normal channel and top boost channel.
You can genuinely appreciate the variety of controls it offers, such as volume, bass, treble, reverb, and tremolo. The tone cut control to adjust the top-end frequencies, and a master volume control are to die for. An effects loop and an additional speaker output for extension cabinets are also included in the design.
The amp is capable of producing a range of tones, from clean and rich to overdriven and crunchy. It has been observed that the amp can replicate the sounds of artists like Hank Marvin and Link Wray, as well as Brian May’s distinctive tone.
However, it is crucial to note that some believe the quality of Vox products has diminished since the move to China. Others, however, view the changes made to the AC30C2 as improvements.
In terms of drawbacks, some may find the amp loud and heavy, but for those who need clean and loud tones, this aspect can be seen more as a positive. The amp’s weight may also be a consideration for those who need a portable option.
The Boss Katana 50 MKII is a highly versatile modeling amp packed with a range of high-quality sounds and effects. Known for its tube amp-like sound and response, it caters to guitarists of all levels.
It’s an upgraded version of one of the most popular modeling amps on the market that does an excellent job of emulating clean to distorted tones.
- Versatility: With five built-in amp models, including clean, crunch, lead, brown, and acoustic, the amp offers a variety of tones suitable for different music genres.
- High-Quality Effects: The amplifier comes with in-built modulation and ambiance effects that can be controlled independently.
- Ease of Use: The simple and intuitive control scheme allows users to easily dial in the desired sounds.
- Quality Sound: This amp is known for its tube-like sound and response, capable of producing clean, warm tones as well as heavy distortion.
- Connectivity Options: The amp has features like USB and headphone out for recording and silent practice and power amp input for use with modellers and profilers.
The Boss Katana 50 MKII is competitively priced. It offers great value for its features and sound quality, making it a suitable choice for beginners, intermediate players, and professionals alike.
Looking at the features in detail, the Boss Katana 50 MKII truly shines with its versatility. From clean, chimey tones to warm, full-bodied sounds, it covers a wide spectrum. It also handles high-gain tones well without sounding fizzy or harsh, which is a big plus for rock music enthusiasts.
The effects section, allowing up to five effects to be used simultaneously, is also worth mentioning. It provides a great deal of flexibility in tweaking the sounds to a guitarist’s preference.
For connectivity, the amp can be hooked up to a computer via USB, opening up further customization options using the Boss Tone Studio Software. This is a bonus point for those who like to experiment with their sounds.
However, there may be a few minor drawbacks. One of the noticeable ones is the lack of FX bypass buttons. This might make on-the-fly changes at gigs slightly challenging. Moreover, there is an opinion that it may not be loud enough for certain gigs, indicating that its performance might not live up to expectations in larger venues. Nevertheless, for its price point, the Boss Katana 50 MKII still offers exceptional value and a broad array of features that make it a worthy investment for any guitarist.
The Supro 1685RT Neptune Reverb is a unique blend of vintage and retro, not quite a re-creation of a specific vintage Supro model but rather a retro-tuned reinvention.
It was designed as a versatile backline amp comparable to the likes of the Fender Twin Reverb and Vox AC30. With its lower 25-watt power rating and 6973 output tubes, it boasts a unique voice, while its 2×12 combo amp design lends it a distinctive character. The Neptune Reverb is a well-constructed amp that promises clean, textured tones and a powerful, punchy sound ideal for a variety of music genres.
- Versatile Sound: The amp is capable of producing taut-yet-textured clean tones, beefy edge-of-breakup sounds, and thick vintage-voiced overdrive.
- Distinctive Voice: Its 6973 output tubes lend it a distinctive, powerful, and punchy sound with a rich and meaty midrange.
- Tube-Driven Effects: The amp features a single volume control with treble and bass pots in the tone stage, and controls for adjusting the depth of the tube-driven spring reverb signal and the speed and depth of the tremolo.
- Aesthetically Pleasing: It showcases a beautiful retro look with blue-gray “rhino hide” vinyl covering and silver-and-black grille cloth.
- Ideal Volume Levels: The Neptune Reverb is not as loud as a Fender Twin or Vox AC30, but it hits its sweet spots at more agreeable volume levels.
We recommend checking with official retailers for up-to-date piercing of the Supro 1685RT Neptune Reverb.
The Supro 1685RT Neptune Reverb is a versatile amp, combining old-school tube technology with modern features, setting it apart in the market. The power tubes have plenty of clean power and headroom, allowing it to retain its low-mid character even at lower volumes. Its ability to not start breaking up until around 6 or 7 on the volume knob makes it ideal for gigs or recording.
The amp’s solid-state rectification and a 17″ four-spring reverb tank contribute to its well-constructed quality. One of the best things about the Neptune Reverb is that it works well with pedals, accommodating various sources of pedal drive.
On the aesthetic front, the Neptune Reverb doesn’t disappoint. It is a manageable option for a 2×12 combo weighing 54 pounds. It sports a blue rhino hide tolex finish, and the vintage-inspired logo adds a touch of nostalgia.
However, the amp might not be as loud as some of its competitors in the market. Despite this, the Neptune Reverb shines by hitting its sweet spots at more tolerable volume levels, making it ideal for those who prefer a cooler and simpler amp with plenty of headroom and versatility.
In the guitar amplifier world, “headroom” is the amp’s ability to deliver power before the signal starts to distort. It’s like the extra power your car has that lets it go faster than its usual speed limit. This feature is key to keeping an amplifier’s performance smooth and producing effortless music. You’ll notice its importance during peaks and crescendos, as it ensures the music’s sonic qualities stay consistent.
More headroom means the amp can deliver a clean sound even at higher volumes. This is a feature you’d appreciate if you’re a jazz guitarist, bass player, keyboard player, drummer, or singer. On the other hand, amps with less headroom are designed to break up and distort at a certain point. This is a trait often loved by rock, pop, and blues guitarists who enjoy the specific type of distortion that comes from pushing their amps.
Take pedal platform amps as an example. These are used as a tonal foundation for pedals to color the sound and benefit greatly from high headroom. These high-wattage amps provide plenty of clean headroom for pedals to deliver open and dynamic tones. The right balance of headroom in these amps allows for the effective use of pedals, resulting in unique and nuanced tonal qualities. So, choosing between high and low headroom isn’t about one being universally better. It’s about what suits your unique needs and preferences as a musician.
A pedal platform amp is an amplifier that’s specifically designed to work well with effect pedals, especially drive or gain pedals. The goal of a pedal platform amp is to provide a neutral and clean tone, which acts as a canvas for the pedals to shape the sound. This lets you create crunchy rhythm tones and saturated lead tones. The amp’s clean tone quality is key to the overall sound, as a bright, clean tone might make dirt pedals sound thin or fizzy, while distorted tones could turn harsh or sterile if there’s too much upper mid-range.
The idea of headroom is significant in a pedal platform amp. An amp with high headroom can handle the hot output levels of pedals without distorting, making sure that the pedals stay consistent and punchy. Additionally, the amp should offer enough output power to keep up the volume from the pedals, no matter the overall volume level. You might prefer your clean tone to have a slight amount of grit, which can boost the performance of drive pedals.
Lastly, an effects loop can be useful for time-based effects if the amp is shaping the sound through EQ or tone controls. There’s a wide range of amps considered excellent pedal platforms, from vintage-style amps like Fender Deluxe and Princeton to purpose-built pedal platform amps like the JHS “Loud is More Good” and the Wampler Pedal Baby 102. So, a pedal platform amp acts as the bridge between your guitar and your pedals, enhancing the function and tone of both.
Pedal platform amps aren’t just an addition to your gear setup; they’re pivotal. They provide the perfect canvas for your pedals to unleash their full range of tonal colors. As a musician, you’ll find that the first step towards achieving your desired sound is knowing the role of headroom in preserving the nuances of your playing at any volume level.
The pedal platform amps we’re highlighting in this article aren’t just diverse in price. They also offer a wide range of tonal characters, structural designs, and inherent features. You’ll need to consider all these factors carefully when making your decision.
The Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb, Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus, Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue, Fender Hot Rod DeVille 212 IV, Blackstar ARTIST15 Blackstar Amplifier, Vox AC30C2 30-watt 2×12″ Tube Combo Amp, Boss Katana 50, and the Supro 1685RT Neptune Reverb all have unique strengths and potential limitations.
While some amps, like the Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb and the Vox AC30C2, are great at delivering stellar clean tones, others, like the Boss Katana 50 stand out for their versatility and modern features. But they all have one thing in common – they’re excellent as pedal platforms, letting the true potential of your pedals shine through.
In the end, the pedal platform amp you choose should resonate with your unique musical needs, tonal preferences, and budget constraints.