Connecting amps to external devices and software

When searching for a new combo amp, does anyone else like the simplicity of “all-in-one” amps. I’ve not owned an amp that connects to a PC or phone and am not sure I’d want an amp that offers that. Sometimes less is more. What are your thoughts?

I am a proud owner of Boss Katana 50 and I think it’s great, lot simpler to set up and less space consuming than micing up your amp. All depends on your preference really not one good answer here :wink:

Well it depends what you want? And what the point of connecting your amp to your computer is.

If its to record and it saves you from buying a separate AI, surely less is less?

If its to control the (modeling) amp with new settings/sounds surely less would be less?

If its cheaper to buy an amp you like without this feature and you wont use it then yes ,less is indeed less.


Conversely, I wouldn’t want an amp that doesn’t connect to my PC. It’s my recording device, which won’t change anytime soon since I don’t want to spend money on mics. I also really like the idea of an amp that can be fully customised and updated over time via PC, rather than having to splash out on new equipment to get new tones.

But of course, everyone is different. I do see the appeal of going “old school” and doing it all with physical equipment. It’s an approach which I’d happily follow myself, if I had the cash for it.

There is room for all kinds of amps. Go get you some. Nobody says you can only have one amp, no one should recommend that you only get one.

I like my tube amp a lot, which does not connect to a computer, and use a lot less the Mustang that does connect. Lately I’m playing my little Joyo portable amp (which does not connect to a computer) more than any of them. Portable is pretty cool too! Yeah, get a couple or more amps. Amps are good for you. :slight_smile:

I’m largely the same.

Mics and AIs are a bit of a rabbit hole and an additional hassle. Also, setting them up optimally and dealing with things like room acoustics and background noise issues range from a hassle to a complete show-stopper depending on your recording environment. For instance, where I live at the moment, there is no way I could record a guitar amp with a mic.

An all-in-one amp with built in USB recording solves those issues and, IMO, with modern IR capability, most people will get superior results from such a set up compared to recording the same amp with a microphone and an AI.

Of course, if you have an amp with a decent emulated analogue output, you can plug that into an AI and record it that way. If that’s all you have then it’s an option but it still depends on the amp having a decent emulated output.

Frankly, in most situations (dollar for dollar) a built-in USB interface will give you at least as good, and often a better result than going analog into an AI.

There are some advantages of going analogue into an AI, especially if you have a multi-channel AI and are recording other instruments at the same time: this approach is often far easier than dealing with multiple USB interfaces.

But if you are recording track at a time, I would tend to go direct USB every time, if it’s an option.

Of course, some people like the approach of setting up mics and doing gain staging, etc. and have an environment they can do this in.

The one thing I would say about all-in-one amps like the Katana, is if you want to use them for looping using the onboard effects, get one with an FX loop. The Katana 50 (for instance) does not have an FX loop and that severely limits it’s use with a looper.

Of course, that doesn’t stop you using an external FX pedalboard/processor with it, which would then work fine with a looper, but then you kind of lose the “all-in one” nature of it, as you aren’t using the built-in effects on the amp.




I think it depends what you are after.

It’s hard to beat the capabilities and sheer versatility of modern modelling amps. However, there’s a learning curve to using them, and if you want to learn how to fully utilise all their features, you may have to spend a fair bit of time learning a PC editor of some sort.

That’s not for everyone.

However, you will also have a similar learning curve when it comes to external pedals, if you go that route. Of course, you may prefer that style of learning.

On the other hand, make the right choice of amp and the initial learning curve is not that great, and many will work in a similar way to a more simple amp.

Personally I like amps like the Katana and the Yamaha THR series because they have relatively simple control knobs on the top which are functionally similar to a traditional analogue guitar amp, and if that’s all you ever want to use then you can still get a lot out of it.

But some people like very simple amps. I have a couple and enjoy using them. However, if I ever wanted to record something seriously (beyond a simple AVOYP type smartphone recording), where I wanted high quality audio, I would use one of my modelling amps.



Personally I’m investing in a Nux MP-3 modelling amp for silent practice but does recording and live streaming too.Lots of amps, or cabs and effects built in. Totally portable :grin: