In the recording studio, you don’t always need a lot of power from a guitar amp. If anything, sometimes less is more when it comes to level, and many seasoned engineers will tell you that some of the biggest guitar sounds can come out of some of the smallest amps.
There are a lot of benefits to using small amps in the studio: They can give you more and better-sounding gain at a lower-level, they’re easier to swap in and out of a tight corner, they’re less expensive, so you can have more flavors on the same budget, and they’ll often have a uniquely memorable personality and tone.
Remember that in a literal and philosophical sense, recording itself is an illusion. Sounds – the vibrations of molecules in the air – cannot truly be captured and bottled up – only impersonated in another form. Your microphone doesn’t know how big your amp is, it just knows how good the tone sounds. And your VU meter doesn’t know how loud your signal is in absolute terms. It just knows how far you can make it move.
With that in mind, here are some small, classic tube amps that are best-suited for the recording studio. Turn ‘em up.