Best Guitar Amp Pedal for Amp Replacement? (our TOp Pick)
Line 6 HX Stomp
While there are more advanced multi-effects pedals than the Line 6 HX Stomp, it's at a price point that's a far better value. With amp models and balanced outputs, it can replace your amplifier entirely or simply run through an amplifier to just use the effects.
If you want an amp replacement pedal you have a couple different options to consider:
- Dedicated preamp pedal (more minimalist and often analog)
- Large scale multi-effects pedals (more expansive and digitized)
The multi-effects pedals that have amp models built into them can replace your amp and your pedalboard. Moreover, the newer models - particularly by Line 6, Boss, and Kemper - are very well-designed and far more powerful than the multi-effects pedals of years past.
Preamp pedals are getting better as well, with strong units from Strymon and Walrus Audio.
Our top pick is the Line 6 HX Stomp, but we'll list and compare some of these other options as well.
Recommendations like this are informed and based on real world experience from actual guitar players. That said, they're also opinion and based on a personal view, which should be taken into account. Also note that we use Sweetwater partner links (the orange buttons) to support ourselves, yet at no extra cost to you. If you click through and make a purchase, we might receive a commission, which helps keep this site running.
Compare other amp replacement pedals
We've included two additional multi-effects pedals with amp modeling, and two dedicated preamp pedals we'd recommend for amp replacement. You can use the comparison buttons below or add more products from our database which is linked beneath the table.
Line 6 HX Stomp
Line 6 HELIX
Walrus Audio ACS1
Compare More Pedals
Our database of gear is growing and you can search that database here, then add more pedals to your comparison table.
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Line 6 HX Stomp Price Tables
As I mentioned, the HX Stomp is a lot cheaper than the more advanced amp modeling/multi effects pedals. It's significantly cheaper than monsters like the Helix, Kemper, and even the GT-1000.
These pricing tables update in real time and give you the cost for most major retailers, assuming they sell the HX Stomp.
Price up-to-date as of Fri, September 29th, 2023.
Price Alert (tracks with lowest price among listed vendors)
Price History for Line 6 HX Stomp Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal (Black)
|Current Price||$599.99||December 6, 2022|
|Highest Price||$599.99||June 21, 2022|
|Lowest Price||$599.99||June 21, 2022|
Last price changes
|$599.99||June 21, 2022|
Features we like in the HX Stomp
The HX Stomp gives you a nice balance of price and quality. Onboard effects are extremely diverse (lots of cool ambient sounds), while the included amp models are convincing and provide you a broad scope of sounds to work with. You can then send the signal into an external combo amp, straight into a mixer, or straight into a recording interface.
An amplifier is entirely optional.
In total, there are over 300 sounds in the Stomp, with the ability to fine tune and customize each effect and amp model.
There are a 126 presets and balanced TRS outputs.
Here's my quick list of noteworthy features:
- 300-plus total onboard sounds
- Wide range of effects (lots of addictive ambient sounds)
- Balanced outputs
- Tons of adjustable parameters for just about everything
- Great price point
The Line 6 HELIX and Boss GT-1000 are more powerful, but also a lot more expensive. If you're looking for just a preamp pedal, we'll cover some more info on those as well.
There's definitely a learning curve with the HX Stomp's interface.
It's easy to scroll through the presets, but I had to do some research to figure out how to create my own and then assign different effects to specific buttons.
Here's the tutorial video I used:
Advantages of Dedicated Preamp Pedals
Preamp pedals like the Walrus Audio ACS1 are a lot simpler than the multi-effects pedals we've been talking about.
Here's a close look at the ACS1:
Read the full review: Walrus Audio ACS1
The controls on these pedals usually mirror that of an amplifier, with a preamp stage, EQ, and master volume. You'll usually see the following:
- Bass, mids, and treble
- Master volume
- Amp model selector
In some cases you'll also see onboard reverb, though it's not typical. These pedals are not meant to replace other pedals or effects. It's simply meant to mitigate the need for an amp.
While preamp pedals are far more limited than the multi-effects pedals we've mentioned, there are some advantages to the preamp-only route.
Advantages of Preamp-Only Pedals
First, they're usually cheaper because of being physically smaller and offering far less functionality.
It's not uncommon to see these in the $200 to $400 price range.
Second, they're far easier to control, essentially working like a regular amplifier.
So it just depends on what you value. Do you want flexibility and onboard effects? The HX Stomp will be a better option for you because it will literally handle everything.
But if you prefer a simpler solution and you're not worried about effects or varied amp models, a preamp pedal like the Iridium or ACS1 will be a better fit.
Can I still use an amp with these pedals?
Of the two pedal types, it'll more often make sense to use an amp with the multi-effects pedals. Because in that scenario, it can function with effects only and then let the amp do the work. In the HX Stomp, for example, you can put effects in your signal and just skip the amp model.
It becomes your pedalboard and no one is the wiser.
But with dedicated preamp pedals, they don't really do anything aside from what an amp does. Having the Strymon Iridium in front of your amp wouldn't really make sense because you would essentially have two amps in the same signal chain.
The Iridium might pass as an EQ pedal in that scenario, but even then, there are much better EQ pedal options.
So to summarize:
- Multi-effects pedals with amp models can still use an amp
- Preamp pedals are a no-go
How do I know if a multi-effects pedal can replace my amp?
Make sure the pedal you get has the following features:
- Amp modeling algorithms or analog circuit
- Balanced TRS or XLR outputs
Also just make sure to read the product descriptions. They'll almost always mention the amp models and their flexibility.
If you want to go without an amp sporadically or full time, I think the Line 6 HX Stomp is going to be your best bet. But there are certainly other options - good options - which means you'll have to take your own situation under advisement and figure out what will work for you.
The multi-effects pedals aren't cheap, so take your time.
It's the same deal with the preamp pedals. You're the only one that can really make the call.
Though if you have questions, leave them in the comments section so we can help out.
See you there.