5 Best Guitar Amps for Small Apartments in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Best Guitar Amp for Small Apartment

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Best Overall

Yamaha THR10II WL

My Rating:

4.6/5

Runner-Up

Line 6 Spider V 20 MKII

My Rating:

4.5/5

Best Budget

Fender Champion 20

My Rating:

4.3/5

I think you can take my word for it that, no matter how awesome a guitarist you are, your roommate doesn’t want to hear you practicing the same arpeggio for 2 hours straight. 

If you’re one of the millions who live in close quarters with others, you probably want the best guitar amp for small apartment. The one that fits your needs, gives you versatile tones and sounds great.

These I’m about to reveal are sweet-sounding amplifiers that can make your guitar sing with an “indoor voice” that you AND your neighbors will love.

In this post, we’ll look closer at the following guitar amplifiers:

Yamaha THR10II WL Wireless Desktop Amp
  • Realistic tube-amp tones and feel plus essential…
  • 15 Guitar amps, 3 bass amps, 3 mic models for…
  • Bluetooth support for audio playback, editing via THR…
  • Built-in wireless receiver compatible with optional…
  • Built-in rechargeable battery lets you play anywhere

Line 6 watt (Spider V 20 MKII)
  • New classic speaker Mode for Enhanced sound and feel
  • 16 presets with 3 simultaneous effects and independent…
  • Easy-to-use tone and effects controls
  • Built-in Tuner and tap-tempo function
  • 200+ Amps and effects available via free spider V…

Sale
BUGERA V5 5-Watt Class Amplifier Combo with Infinium Tube Life…
  • Hand-built 5-Watt Class-A amplifier driven by 1 x EL84…
  • Revolutionary INFINIUM Tube Life Multiplier technology:
  • Way cool vintage look and feel
  • World-famous, British engineered 8” TURBOSOUND speaker
  • Authentic preamp design from the ’60s featuring 1 x…

Vox Adio Air GT 50W 2×3 Bluetooth Modeling Guitar Combo Amplifier
  • Adio Air GT 50W 2×3 Bluetooth Modeling Guitar Combo…
  • The VOX Adio Air GT is the ultimate practice,…
  • With a full complement of impressive amp models and…
  • Beyond being an incredible 50-watt amplifier, the Adio…
  • stereo speakers and a uniquely designed cabinet to…

Fender Champion 20 – 20-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
  • Shape your sound with the EQ section (Bass + Treble) as…
  • Jam along with your favorite tracks by simply plugging…
  • With a turn of a knob, choose from clean to mean tones…
  • Store extra cables or other small accessories with the…
  • Enjoy the peace of mind that this amp is backed by…

Every one of these amps is here based on extensive research and 27+ years of experience on our team.

Let’s first look at these fine amplifiers, and at the end of the post, you can find the FAQ section that helps you to make the best choice possible.

Use the table of content to jump to the section you want:

Best Guitar Amp for Small Apartments

Best Overall – Yamaha THR10II WL Wireless Desktop Amp

Sound

Yamaha’s line of desktop amps has some of the most uniquely modern amplifiers of our time.

The THR10 II WL is perhaps the most high-tech of them all.

Stuffing 15 digital amp emulations along with 8 effects and 3 instrument modes in a box barely more than a foot wide, the THR10II gives you literally thousands of sound choices.

With amp modes ranging from the clean and shimmery to the crunchy and mean, this is an amp that covers every genre you could want to play in.

Hear how this amp sounds:

Features

Best of all, if you don’t like the way one of the presets sounds, you can change it however you want using the THR Editor. 

This is software available for both your phone and PC that lets you adjust the settings for all the preloaded amps and effects of this line of Yamaha amps.

The THR10IIWL, the wireless edition of these THR amps, lets you do all this via Bluetooth. However, if you don’t need this cable-free tech and want to save a chunk of cash, there is a less expensive THR10II without these futuristic features. It’s got all the same amp models and editability, you’ve just gotta plug in to use it.

Usability

Once you’ve got your settings how you like them, you can take this amp anywhere with you thanks to its rechargeable battery.

Staying at home? Well, then you can run off wall power using the included AC adapter.

If you really want to explore what cord-free playing means, you can even pair your guitar with a Line 6 G10 Transmitter to eschew the instrument cable itself.

So at home or on the go, cordless or plugged in, you get an easy-to-use interface that lets you pump out beautiful tunes in any style you please.

Summary

Pros

  • Wirelessly connects for several different uses
  • Works well with acoustic and bass guitars
  • 20-watts of high-quality stereo audio
  • Many different amp emulations and effects
     

Cons

  • High price for low power(if you need extra power, you can buy a slightly more expensive 30W version)

Although it’s a bit pricey for only 20 watts of power, the Yamaha THR10IIWL gives you studio-quality tones and all the latest in wireless technology.

It’s a hi-tech amp with high fidelity stereo sound that you can tweak just about any way you want, making it a great choice for tone connoisseurs.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Runner-Up – Line 6 20-watt (Spider V 20 MKII)

Sound

Looks can be deceiving. For instance, looking at the Line 6 Spider V 20, it’s easy to assume it’s a run-of-the-mill practice amp. 

You’d probably never guess that hidden within its simple black exterior are 9 preset amp models with an additional 200+ waiting to be used once you hook this amp up to some software.

That’s no exaggeration. The Line 6 Spider Remote App can be used on your phone, Mac, or PC to access a huge library of amp and effects presets. It’s a little overwhelming.

But then again, looks can tell you a lot about something. The Spider V 20 looks like a basic practice amp, despite its offer of hundreds of models, it sounds basic too.

It’s the combo amp equivalent of a budget multi-effects processor.

Basically, it’s a lot of fun to jam around with and write songs with in private, but I probably would not play show with this kind of audio quality.

Hear how this amp sounds:

Features

Unlike the other amps that pair with this kind of editing software, the Spider V 20 MKII lacks the modernized slanted chassis and compact design. 

It’s a straightforward yet sturdy plywood box housing a quality 8-inch speaker. There are no wireless anythings, and power is your traditional plug-in-to-the-wall style. 

So although everything is pretty basic but your tone selection, I’ll say again that this kind of amp is a lot of fun to play with. 

If you’re a beginner totally unsure of what direction you want to head musically, the Spider V has any sound you could dream of and will let you explore all the possibilities ahead of you. 

Usability

This is all pretty easy to do, too.

I can’t personally speak for the software, but no one seems to complain about it.

As far as onboard controls though, you can do a lot with a simple layout, and Line 6 packed it in. 

There are actually 3 independent effects sections so you can have many different combos of effects running at the same time. 

3-band EQ is replaced in this amp by a Tone control, keeping the user-interface on the simple side.

Finally, you’ve got a 1/8-inch headphone jack for when you want to keep your jams to yourself. 

Summary

Pros

  • 200+ amp and effects presets available with matching software
  • Low cost
  • Sturdy cabinet construction

Cons

  • Low-quality tone

HiFi pro-grade amps like the Yamaha THR are nice to have, but they’re not really necessary if you’re only playing for yourself.

If I were to buy an amp tomorrow, I’d probably get something like this Line 6 Spider V 20 MKII. It’s in my budget and has more effects than I’ll ever need, so I’d have years worth of tonal exploration to do in my bedroom.

For songwriting, experimenting, or simply learning what kind of styles you like to play, the Spider V’s a great choice of quiet apartment amp.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Best Small Tube Amp – BUGERA V5 5-Watt Class Amplifier Combo

Sound

BUGERA’s V5 is one of the best sounding small tube amps around.

Using a combination of EL84 and 12AX7 tubes plus a vintage-inspired Turbosound speaker, the V5 is a kicking little valve amp that sings like the 60s.

There’s not an awful lot of clean headroom in this model, so things get gritty pretty fast when you crank the gain. This makes it a great small tube amp for blues and rock.

Hear how this amp sounds:

Features

Though it’s a simple-looking amp, the V5 packs all the basic features you need in a quality amplifier—and then some.

The front panel’s got your tone controls laid out clear to see, so setting up your sound is as simple as it gets.

Among these controls is a nice digital Reverb effect that adds a lot of character to leads and a depth of ambiance to rhythm work.

Usability

I’m not a huge fan of a Master Tone control in place of a 3-band EQ, but BUGERA’S got this amp set up to sound good no matter what your settings. So, it’s not a big deal, all things considered.

One of my favorite things about this amp is the power attenuation switch on the back. 

At full power, you’re blasting with a hearty 5 watts that I’d say could fill up a coffee shop style of show.

From there, you can scale down to 1-watt and even 0.5-watts using this power switch on the back. At this lowest setting, you’ll be at perfect bedroom levels to let you rock out freely no matter the size of your flat.

Summary

Pros

  • Tube amp tonality in a low-watt combo
  • 3 power settings to take you from practice to mini gigs
  • Basic controls and on-board Reverb

Cons

  • Single tone control limits versatility

If you’re looking for an authentic tube amp to help you sharpen your blues skills and really get in touch with the nuance of your playing style, BUGERA’s V5 is a great small valve option.

It’s got a voice with plenty of character that doesn’t have to scream to sound good, so your low-volume apartment jams will satisfy all your tube tone desires without blowing off the roof.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Best for Performing – Vox Adio Air GT 50W 2×3 Bluetooth Modeling Guitar Combo Amplifier

Sound

Vox’s Adio Air GT is a mini but mighty modeling amp loaded with nearly a dozen different amplifier models.

There are a few different clean settings like the Boutique and Deluxe, along with a variety of rock’n’roller models like the Brit 1959 and the Double Rec.

The grit in these dirtier models ranges from a light buzz ideal for rockabilly to some serious fuzz made for headbanging.

While there’s a lot to choose from, I’ve gotta say I’m not in awe of the overall sound of these models. Especially in the more distorted models, the tone seems a bit boxy or far away, leaving something to be desired.

Hear how this amp sounds:

Features

In addition to its amp models, the Adio Air GT also has two effects banks. 

The first section’s got your modulation effects like Phaser, Tremolo, and Chorus, while the second section offers a selection of 4 different reverbs.

And although this amp is only 8 inches tall, it’s actually rated at 50-watts and can get pretty loud! But there’s a handy master volume control you can use to cut the power while keeping your tone the same.

So though you might get it mainly for your flat, you’ve got 50-watts and battery power on standby in case you decide to start busking.

Usability

As one of the modern class of amplifiers, the Vox Adio Air GT comes with wireless capabilities that let you do many things cable-free.

This includes cord-free guitar connection, wireless audio playback, and even controlling the amp from an app on your phone.

With the ToneRoom software, you can switch between models and effects all from your phone or PC.

However, many people report problems with this software. It can be glitchy and buggy and unresponsive at times, leaving your settings up to what you can change manually.

Summary

Pros

  • Versatile modeling amp with many presets and effects
  • Bluetooth-enabled for wireless playing and playback
  • Master volume leaves gain and dynamics untouched

Cons

  • Can be prone to temporary failures
  • Hard-to-use software

The Vox Adio Air GT offers just about all the same features as the Yamaha THR10II and at a significantly lower price. It’s also 5 times more powerful!

But what you don’t get with this portable Vox amp is the reliability and fidelity of the Yamaha model. Despite its volume, the Adio barely compares in sound quality.

Because it can get so much louder than the usual small apartment amp, this is a nice choice if you think you’ll ever want to showcase your jams out in the open using all the many sounds of this little rig.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Best for Beginners/Budget – Fender Champion 20

Sound

Fender knows tone, and they do a great job of providing an excellent sampling of the most popular electric guitar voices in their Champion 20.

At only 20 watts, this is an amp that works just as well in a small flat as it would a small coffee shop, pumping out sweet-sounding tunes in any genre.

For jazz, soul, and country, there are softer models like the Tweed Deluxe, but you can get nasty easily just by cranking that Voice knob to Metal. 

All in all, you’ve got 12 amp models to choose from that are all delivered as authentically as a budget digital amp can.

Hear how this amp sounds:

Features

Once you’ve picked your amp model, you can sauce it up with any one of 12 different effects ranging from Reverb to Tremolo and many more in between. Even better, the delay time and tremolo speed can be set with the TAP button!

There’s even a Wah effect, which is a real rarity on these lower-cost modeling amps.

Now, aside from that, this amp is as simple as they come really. There’s no hi-tech Bluetooth or software compatibility.

Fortunately, the preset amp models all sound really good, so there’s not a lot of need to change anything in-app.

Usability

Not all of us want or need the ability to access or edit 200+ amp models anyway. Sometimes simplicity is best, and that’s what you get with the Fender Champion 20.

All told, there are only 8 controls on this amp, and they’re all clearly laid out on the front panel.

Using it is as simple as plugging in and hitting the power, really. From there, you can twist a few knobs and maybe push that TAP button a couple times, and you’ll have the majority of the most popular guitar tones right at your fingertips.

Summary

Pros

  • Simple layout that is very easy to use
  • Large spectrum of selectable amp voicings
  • Uncommon effects like Wah and Flange

Cons

  • Unreliable electronics

So what’s not to love about this amp?

Well, for starters, it’s all in all pretty average sounding. The clarity and definition of its single speaker aren’t going to blow any minds.

It sounds great for practice and songwriting, and I’d even say you could do some minor gigging with it, but it’s not exactly reliable. People complain of weak wiring connections leading to lots of hiss and hum, sometimes ending in total amp failure.

If you won’t be clunking it around on the road, that probably won’t be a problem. And at its low cost, it won’t be the end of the world to replace anyway.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Verdict

Unless you’re really a tube amp fanatic, I’d recommend the Bugera last among these great small apartment amps.

It really is a wonderful tube amp, but it could be argued that tube amps are made to be played loud. Personally, I can’t justify the price of the Bugera for its lack of power and versatility.

So it may be a surprise that I’m suggesting the Yamaha THR10II WL as the best guitar amp for small apartments.

It sounds awesome and has so many different ways you can change its tones, there’s no chance of getting bored with this little amp.

Since it doubles as an acoustic and bass amp, it may be the only home amp you need to cover your entire musical arsenal.

 

FAQ

What Makes a Great Guitar Amp for Small Apartments?

The key to finding a great guitar amp for your flat is to keep the power down and the fidelity high.

You might be fretting about your options when searching for an apartment-appropriate amp, but the truth is that small amps don’t have to sound bad!

As more and more of us are cohabitating from both choice and necessity, amp makers have decided to meet our needs. So now we have a pretty nice selection of quality-sounding guitar amps that won’t rattle the walls. 

Options for apartment-friendly amplifiers include models for all skill levels.

On the beginner end of the spectrum are simple, affordable amps. They’re somewhat basic, but they give you the tone you need to learn the fundamentals.

Players with more experience (or money) will find many amps that sound good enough to track. And, as a matter of fact, they often do come set up for the studio, sometimes even including recording software.

And when these top-rated amps pack around 20 watts of power, they’ll likely be all you need to hit up some small-sized gigs.

Among the other perks of the higher class amps are funky effects, wireless connectivity, multiple channels, and useful portability.

All these features come bundled in relatively compact packages made to pump out practice-level volume, allowing you to jam away without driving your roommate mad.

How to Pick the Right Guitar Amplifier for Me?

If you’re a beginner musician, going with the lower-cost options on this list is what I’d recommend 9 times out of 10.

It’s likely your interests will change the more you play, both stylistically and even instrumentally. 

For instance, I started out on electric bass before switching to almost full-time acoustic a few years later. I actually did buy a lot of expensive bass gear that I ended up not wanting much afterward and would have been just as well off with a simpler rig.

Among the affordable amps, you’ll be able to choose, for example, the more portable or the more effects-driven models based on your preferences and needs.

In general for beginners, I’d recommend a clear-sounding, affordable but reliable amp with maybe a couple different effects. 

Once you’ve been playing for a while and have a solid idea of what your musical niche is, the first thing I’d suggest is looking for amps that suit your sound and style.

You might not be so down with a Fender Tweed-inspired amp if you’re into grindcore, and likewise, you might not dig the high-gain of heavy metal amps if you’re a jazz aficionado.

Take a minute to listen to different sound samples of the amps that first catch your eye, check their specs to make sure the power and controls are right for you, and you’ve got a high chance of finding an apartment-ready guitar amp you’ll love.

Conclusion

From the basic low-volume practice amps to scaled-down tube combos for those who need true valve-tones, there are many great options for finding the best guitar amp for your small apartment.

No matter your budget and no matter how high your audio fidelity standards, there’s an amp here that you’ll rock and that your neighbor will appreciate.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Author: Tommy Tompkins
Author: Tommy Tompkins

Playing guitar since 2004. Primarily an acoustic guitarist who plays and writes traditional American folk music, with a background in melodic metal and a solid foundation as a bassist.

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