Background: I hang out at my Fiancés parents place once a week for dinner, and I have to stick around their place for hours afterwards otherwise they get offended (apparently an Italian custom). So I bring over my electric guitar to keep me occupied, however playing without any amplification isn’t any fun, so I’m after a little amp. I’ve done quite a bit of research and narrowed down my favorites.

Question: I’d appreciate any personal experience advice or opinions about my top 3 to help me come to a decision on which one to purchase. Unfortunately there are no local music stores in my city that stock my top 3 so I’m simply going to purchase by word of mouth.

Top Three:
Pignose HOG 20 – The most expensive out of my top 3. All the reviews and forums that I’ve read tend to get pretty excited over this amp. Apparently this amp is great for clean tone and blues which is cool but I’m more into rock and metal; however I have a Digitech “The Weapon” pedal which could resolve this issue by giving the Hog some nice distortion. Another apparent issue is that the rechargeable batteries die if not constantly depleted and recharged, which may be an issue if I only use it once a week.
Orange Micro Crush – According to the forums and reviews this has the best tone out of the little micro amps such as the Marshall MS2 etc. Although it is made of wood and metal rather than plastic, I’ve seen bad reviews stating that it’s pretty fragile. The fact that it has an inbuilt tuner is not a bonus for me as I already have a tuner.
amPlug + cabinet – I’ve listened to the sound samples and watched the reviews and the sound of these little things are awesome, I’ll be trying these plugs tonight but unfortunately there are no local music stores with the cabinet (damn Perth is an isolated place!).

Other’s considered but didn’t make the cut:
Marshall MS2 / MS4 – About the same price as the Orange Micro Crush except not as good build quality or tone.
Fender Hotrod Mini Deluxe – As above
Roland Microcube – After researching this amp I found that it has a lot of features and great reviews however it gave me the impression that it’s more fx driven rather than quality tone. More expensive than the Pignose yet the Pignose apparently has better tone?
Vox DA5 – Don’t know much about this one but I’m assuming that this is another amp similar the Microcube; great reviews but oriented more towards fx rather than good tone. Pignose has better tone?
Artec RX5 – Wasn’t impressed.
2005 ESP/LTD EC-2005 30th Anniversary Electric Guitar
Randall RX-75R
Digitech "The Weapon"
Last edited by edg3y at Jun 17, 2010,
Completely ignoring them to play with your fiddle won't offend them?
WTLTL 2011
What the guy above me said...

Maybe you should just start a conversation with them.
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@Mark & niels: No it doesn't offend them, we have conversations over dinner, and Italian dinners tend to go for a couple of hours with at least 3 courses and then everyone passes out on the lounge from overdosing on carbs. They're totally fine with me playing guitar while I digest LOL. I usually play on the couch and talk to them while I play anyway. Its more the fact that if we don't hang around after dinner, they think that we are just there for dinner and nothing else... that's what would offend them.

Hopefully my original post isn't a case of TL;DR. Just wanted to provide as much info as possible to get the best advice.

@Poglia: Any chance you could elaborate?
2005 ESP/LTD EC-2005 30th Anniversary Electric Guitar
Randall RX-75R
Digitech "The Weapon"
Last edited by edg3y at Jun 17, 2010,
Solid State or Tube? If it's Tube you want get a Peavey Valveking Royal 8, (5 W Tube Amp) It's even got a Headphone Jack.
@Major Bludd: Just took a look at the Peavey Valveking Royal 8. Its excellent, beats all the amps I've researched except for the $400 - $500 price tag (in Australia). I can't justify spending that much on a little practice amp that I'll use once per week. I'm leaning towards solid state as they're mostly cheaper... I want to spend under $200 AUD.
Cool. How about the Roland Microcube? I know others have (or will) already suggested this.
Honestly I would highly recommend the VOX da5. I only played with it for an hour or 2 but I got some sick tones out of it.
"Music is the only thing that makes sense anymore man, play it loud enough it keeps the demons at bay." - Jojo from ATU
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Johnson Acoustic JG 100
I've never played the Pignose, so can't comment on that but IMO the Microcube would slaughter the orange for metal, and gives you versatility that you can't get with an amplug. It's definitely worth the extra.

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I love my Tech 21 TM30:

1. It has all the voicings you might want: Fender, Marshall, Boogie analog emulations (NOT digital modelling) so it sounds great.

2. It is solid state so it is small & lightweight & cool running.

3. It has direct out for recording or slaving to a PA or another amp.

4. It can drive a set of headphones for "silent" practicing. It can also play loud and proud through its built-in 10" speaker.

5. It has a jack for an extension cab so you can easily make it sound "bigger" (it drives a 4x12 cab with no problem).

6. You can get a great padded "gig bag" for it that protects it during transport, has enough room for all your accessories and makes it ultra easy to sling over your shoulder.

7. It is reliable and made in the USA by Tech 21 in NYC.

I have owned literally hundreds of amplifiers over the last 40 years and the Tech 21 TM30 is my favorite practice amp out of all of them. It is a single channel design so don't expect channel switching but it gets some awesome tones so you learn to work the guitar's volume control.

Last edited by pacair at Jun 17, 2010,
uCube or DA5 for amplified, or Korg Pandora for headphones. That's my pick. Vox amPlug for headphones if you're cheap.