Digital Guitar Amplifier: What Is It And What Are The Types?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 23, 2022

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Digital guitar amplifiers are becoming more and more popular because they allow you to practice and play without making a lot of noise. But what exactly is a digital guitar amp?

A digital guitar amp is an amplifier that uses digital technology to produce sound. These are becoming more popular because they can produce high-quality sound even at low volume. They also allow for more features like built-in effects or even amplifier modeling.

In this guide, I’ll explain what they are and the different types.

What is a digital guitar amp

Is a digital amp the same as a modeling amp?

Digital and modeling amps both use digital technology to create their sounds. However, modeling amps typically aim to recreate the sound of specific analog amplifiers, while digital amps usually provide a more general range of sounds.

What are the advantages of a digital guitar amp?

Some of the advantages of a digital guitar amp include better sound quality, more features, and easier portability.

Digital amps often offer a wider range of sounds than analog amps, and they can be easier to transport since they typically weigh less.

Additionally, digital amps don’t require as much maintenance as analog amps, especially tube amps.


  • Digital amplifiers are reliable and come in a variety of options.
  • They are incredibly efficient and have great sound quality.
  • Sensitivity is key for these amplifiers.
  • They are plastic and come with two fans that make little noise.
  • You can get 800w RMS in a small footprint for a reasonable price.
  • They are more efficient and digital than traditional analog lines.


  • Digital amplifiers can be expensive, so do your research before buying.
  • Make sure you understand how much power is produced.
  • Pay attention to the speaker so they understand what’s going on.
  • Check that crosstalk is approved or disapproved.

Using a Digital Guitar Amp

Plugging In

  • Plugging your axe into the amp is like giving it a hug – it’s the best way to show it some love!
  • Use the amp as an effects processor – it’ll make your guitar sound like it’s been to the spa!
  • Preamp it up – plug your guitar into the amp, then run the amp’s output into another amplifier for a fuller sound.

Adding Speakers

  • Most stage and digital pianos don’t come with speakers, so if you want to add one, you’ll need an amp.
  • Get an inexpensive one with no effects to keep the piano’s sound from getting too negative.
  • Look for something with good mid-range and bass capabilities, and make sure it takes advantage of the low frequency.

Using a PC

  • If you’re a guitarist, you can use your PC to play guitar amp sims – it’s like having a mini-amp in your pocket!
  • Connect your guitar to an audio interface, then link the audio interface to the PC via the amplifier interface.
  • Modeling amps are great for gigging musicians – they provide a wide range of tones without needing a huge pedal board or multiple amps.

Comparing Tube Amps and Digital Amps

The Pros of Tube Amps

  • Tube amps are known for their warm, rich sound and versatility, making them great for a variety of genres.
  • They’re also a great investment, as they tend to hold their value over time.
  • Tube amps are also quite nostalgic, making them a great choice for those looking for a classic sound.

The Pros of Digital Amps

  • Digital amps are known for their clean, precise sound.
  • They’re lightweight and portable, perfect for gigging musicians.
  • Digital amps are also quite affordable, making them a great option for those on a budget.

The Cons of Tube Amps

  • Tube amps can be quite expensive, making them a less viable option for those on a budget.
  • They can also be quite bulky and difficult to transport.
  • Tube amps can also be quite finicky and require regular maintenance.

The Cons of Digital Amps

  • Digital amps can lack the warmth and character of tube amps.
  • They can also be quite limited in terms of sound options.
  • Digital amps can also be quite fragile and prone to damage.

The Invention of Early Transistor Amplifiers

The Inventors

  • Lee De Forest was the brains behind the triode vacuum tube, which was invented in 1906 and the first amplifiers were made around 1912.
  • John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, two American physicists working under William Shockley at Bell Labs, were the masterminds behind the transistor, which was invented in 1952.
  • The three of them received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 for their work.

The Challenges

  • Making transistors work together was a big challenge, since they were made from different materials and had different properties.
  • Making the amplifier sound good was a struggle, since transistors weren’t very linear and had a lot of distortion.
  • Engineers had to design special circuits to cancel out the distortion.
  • Replacing vacuum tubes with transistors was common practice, but it didn’t always result in the best sound.
  • Pacific Stereo was founded in the same building as William Shockley’s lab in Palo Alto.


In conclusion, digital guitar amplifiers are a great choice for anyone looking for a powerful and high-quality sound. With so many different types to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your needs. Just remember to do your research before making a purchase, as they can be quite expensive.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:

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