Best Guitar Preamp: Top 15 Picks To Put Power Under Your Foot!

If you want to give your rig extra gunpowder and sound outstanding, you have come to the right place. Welcome to my review of the 15 best guitar preamp pedals to put power under your foot.

Join me on this trip to discover a world of amazing devices made to supply more vigor to your tone. Let’s go now to the review of the 15 best guitar preamp pedals to take your sound to the next level!

Quick Overview

Our Top 5 Choices For Guitar Preamps

JHS Effects Colour Box V2

Overall Rating: 4.9/5

4.9/5

JHS Effects Colour Box V2

The JHS Effects Colour Box V2 is “Just what the doctor ordered.” Whether you want to re-create classic tones or produce unique signature sounds, this Box is an astounding preamplifier pedal that would be your secret vintage weapon.

Two Notes Le Lead Dual 2-Channel Tube Preamp

Overall Rating: 4.8/5

4.8/5

Two Notes Le Lead Dual 2-Channel Tube Preamp

When you purchase the Two Notes Le Lead 2, you get much more than only a guitar preamp pedal. This amazing stompbox was designed to take 2 tube preamps, compress them, and put them under your foot.

Xotic BB Preamp v 1.5 Guitar Pedal

Overall Rating: 4.7/5

4.7/5

Xotic BB Preamp v 1.5 Guitar Pedal

If you search for a guitar preamp pedal that delivers from clean boost to creamy overdrive, The Xotic BB Preamp v 1.5 Pedal is a tonal Swiss Army Knife and the best addition to your pedalboard.

Mooer PreAMP Live

Overall Rating: 4.6/5

4.6/5

Mooer PreAMP Live

If you want to go a step beyond and being able to personalize your tone, better give it a try to the Mooer PreAMP Live. It is a fabulous pedalboard-friendly and affordable preamp that comes with a bunch of benefits for you.

EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Pedal

Overall Rating: 4.6/5

4.6/5

EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Pedal

If you want to purchase the most easy-to-use preamp pedal on earth, I recommend you the Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Pedal from EarthQuaker Devices. This preamp booster pedal with true bypass soft switching has a single Level knob and a footswitch.

The 15 Best Guitar Preamp Pedals Review

#1 JHS Effects Colour Box V2 Review - Best Overall Guitar Preamp

The JHS Effects Colour Box V2 is “Just what the doctor ordered.” Whether you want to re-create classic tones or produce unique signature sounds, this Box is an astounding preamplifier pedal that would be your secret vintage weapon.

The Colour Box is the perfect choice for players that want that old fashion tones that make history in so many 60s and 70s albums. That effect was created by skipping the amp and plugging it right into a vintage recording console.

The JHS Colour Box V2 brings you that concept so that you can use it on your pedalboard. It would be a great addition, bringing vintage console sound to your tone, and it is undoubtedly one of the best guitar preamp pedals on the market right now.

You get an incredibly versatile box that will help you add personality to any recording by using this excellent sound quality studio tool.

Here’s what you’ll love

Here’s what you might not like

Conclusion

Colour Box is a creative tool for creative guitarists that you can use for direct recording or adjusting the response of a traditional amp.

You can achieve the sound of plugging a guitar directly into a mic preamplifier with powerful tone-shaping potential thanks to its 3-band EQ with a wide-ranging variable low-cut filter.

You receive a 100% analog signal path based on vintage mixing consoles’ design, preamp, and EQ pedal for guitars or line-level signal sources.

It can be a bit pricy, but in Colour Box’s defense, it is fair to state that it includes several relatively expensive parts seldom seen in stompboxes.

Overall Rating: 4.9/5
4.9/5

#2 Two Notes Le Lead Dual 2-Channel Tube Preamp Review - Best Value for Money Guitar Preamp

When you purchase the Two Notes Le Lead 2, you get much more than only a guitar preamp pedal. This amazing stompbox was designed to take 2 tube preamps, compress them, and put them under your foot.

The Two Notes Le Lead 2 is a tube-driven pedal that owns 2 independent preamps that are foot-switchable. And you can also blend the 2 signals to generate a much better sound to suit your taste.

Thanks to this high-gain, floor-based guitar preamp, you can obtain the sound of the most modern high-gain amps.

You can also obtain the excellent sound quality of a full rig by free downloading the Wall of Sound III speaker simulation software.

The Two Notes Le Lead 2 consists of a 2-channel tube guitar preamp with cabinet simulation that brings you two footswitches, MIDI, DI Output, Headphone Output, and Effects Loop.

Here’s what you’ll love

Here’s what you might not like

Conclusion

With the Two Notes Le Lead 2, you purchase a fully featured tube preamp pedal that was designed to let you obtain the sound of high-gain lead tones.

It is an amazingly complete tube guitar preamp with 2-channel, 2 fully foot-switchable and blendable preamps, and cabinet simulation.

Obtain enough room to put your creativity to work due to the complete set of Input/Output options and the powerful “Wall of Sound III” speaker-cab simulation software.

Overall Rating: 4.8/5
4.8/5

#3 Xotic BB Preamp v 1.5 Guitar Pedal Review ‎ - Best Budget Guitar Preamp

If you search for a guitar preamp pedal that delivers from clean boost to creamy overdrive, The Xotic BB Preamp v 1.5 Pedal is a tonal Swiss Army Knife and the best addition to your pedalboard.

Whether you want to produce creamy overdrive tones with great sustain, or you want to push the clean front end of an already driven amp, the BB Preamp can make great work on a budget.

Xotic did a great job with the BB Preamp pedals. They are among some of the most popular preamp pedals right now. Born in 1996 in a small Southern California garage, Xotic made a name due to its superior sound quality, boutique guitars, and bass preamps.

You can reach a wide variety of sounds within the Xotic BB Preamp. It can deliver a clean boost to a very smooth, overdriven sound thanks to the adjustable 2-band active EQ.

This little marvel brings you overdrive and preamp effects with Active 2-band EQ, True Bypass, 1/4-inch Input/Output, and Gain Control.

Here’s what you’ll love

Here’s what you might not like

Conclusion

The Xotic BB Preamp is a tiny but powerful overdrive/preamplifier tone-shaping pedal that brings you an active 2-band EQ that preserves your original tone. Thanks to this equalizer, you obtain up to 30dB+ clean boost for pushing your amp really high.

This tiny mighty pedal utilizes a pre-gain stage to perform pristine cleans and smooth overdriven tones. It has a true bypass switching, and you can control it with the four knobs layout that includes gain, volume, treble, and bass.

Overall Rating: 4.7/5
4.7/5

#4 Mooer PreAMP Live Review

If you want to go a step beyond and being able to personalize your tone, better give it a try to the Mooer PreAMP Live. It is a fabulous pedalboard-friendly and affordable preamp that comes with a bunch of benefits for you.

When you enter the amazing world of the PreAMP Live, you meet with a feature-laden digital modeler in stompbox form. Weighing no more than one kilogram and less big than a paperback, the PreAMP is a portable, top-notch preamplifier with a great range of customization.

You can reach more than 40 preamps based on a wide range of famous amplifiers thanks to the Mooer Studio software editor.

You can also load a dozen settings of different preamp pedals into the A, B, and C of the unit’s banks and access them at any time because each bank has four patches that can be accessed via the unit’s footswitches.

Here’s what you’ll love

Here’s what you might not like

Conclusion

Mooer Preamp Live is an outstanding guitar preamplifier that gives you great value for your money. It is the perfect tool for those guitar players trying to capture a huge range of gig-friendly amp tones on a budget.

This amp modeller has many features packaged in one gig-friendly unit that will surely transform your rig. In addition to this, the Mooer Preamp Live gives you 50 preamps that can be accessed from the Mooer Studio software editor and up to 12 preamps that can be stored onboard, with four accessible at any time via the footswitches.

Overall Rating: 4.6/5
4.6/5

#5 EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Pedal Review

If you want to purchase the most easy-to-use preamp pedal on earth, I recommend you the Arrows V2 Preamp Booster Pedal from EarthQuaker Devices. This preamp booster pedal with true bypass soft switching has a single Level knob and a footswitch.

Arrows V2 is an amazing preamplifier and booster pedal perfect for reaching from clean to boosting tones. Improve your definition and boosts your signal into the rest of your chain with the Arrows V2’s simple single knob.

You need to turn the knob clockwise to tighten up bass, boost mids, and add great clean tones. This new version comes with many advantages, such as top-mounted cable jacks and silent relay-based switching for greater comfort and longevity.

Arrows V2 is the perfect choice for those searching for a gain booster or a set-and-forget harmonic enhancer.

Here’s what you’ll love

Here’s what you might not like

Conclusion

The EarthQuaker Devices Arrows V2 is an amazing Preamp Booster Pedal with a new soft and silent switching system, True Bypass soft switching, and handbuilt for life by the pedal gurus at EarthQuaker Devices.

This small wonder will let you reach boost gain and definition while you enjoy bass, boost mids, and add great sparkle.

Overall Rating: 4.6/5
4.6/5

#6 Boss AD-2 Acoustic Preamp Guitar Pedal Review

With the Boss AD-2, you can obtain natural and woody tones from your acoustic guitar, whether recording or performing live. It is easy to use, powerful, and trusty acoustic guitar preamp pedal with controls for ambiance, acoustic resonance, notch, and instrument line-level outputs.

The Boss AD-2 Acoustic Preamp will let you get a natural acoustic tone through any system you use conveniently and easily. You’ll hear an increase in warmth and depth by just adjusting the Acoustic Resonance control to your desired line level. It is a valued benefit that most pickup systems often can’t produce.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5
4.5/5

#7 Tech 21 Q-Strip EQ and Preamp Pedal Review

The Tech 21 Q-Strip EQ and Preamp Pedal brings you the “vintage-style” of the legendary recording consoles of the ’60s and ’70s and puts it on your floor. These are hand-wired boards that deliver great warmth, power and punch to your tone.

The Tech 21 Q-Strip EQ brings you a complete set or equalization to enhance your guitar sound and give it unique characteristics. You can use the LPF together with the EQ section to re-create different speaker cabinet curves for speaker simulation that you can connect directly to your favorite FX pedals.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5
4.5/5

#8 JHS The Clover Preamp Pedal Review

The Clover Preamp pedal is ideal for guitar players who want a versatile preamp for electric, acoustic guitar, and bass. These preamplifier pedals are equipped with a 3-band EQ to shape your tone, 1/4-inch, or balanced XLR outputs.

The Clover’s rotary knob allows you to select from three operational modes. Full EQ mode offers traditional 3-band EQ operation. It is the perfect option whether you need to overdrive your favorite amplifier or easily boost your sound with its side-mounted Low-cut DIP switch.

Overall Rating: 4.4/5
4.4/5

#9 Dunlop EP101 Echoplex Preamp Pedal Review

With the Dunlop EP101 Echoplex Preamp pedal, you can obtain a vibrant boost for most of the gain range, and when you increase the gain to the maximum, you can get a remarkable warm overdrive.

This amazing preamplifier pedal was designed based on the legendary Echoplex EP-3 used by rock legends such as Eric Johnson and Eddie Van Halen.

When you purchase a Dunlop EP101 Echoplex, you obtain a remarkable preamplifier pedal that adds up to 11dB of gain to your sound while keeping your tone intact thanks to the True Bypass switching.

Overall Rating: 4.4/5
4.4/5

#10 Mooer Audio Micro PreAmp 001 Review

With the Mooer Audio Micro PreAmp 001, you get accurate digital recreations of popular tube amps’ preamplifier sections. Mooer has done a great job developed these preamp pedals by analyzing real tube amps to obtain the same sound’s dynamics and response.

When you purchase a Micro Preamp, you obtain a superior sound quality dual-channel preamp, independent 3 band EQ, Gain, and Volume controls for each channel.

These preamplifier pedals also include integrated speaker cabinet simulation and dual operating modes that will suit your needs. The Mooer Audio Micro PreAmp 001 has been designed to be used in the effects return of any standard guitar amplifier.

Overall Rating: 4.3/5
4.3/5

#11 Diezel Herbert Pedal 2-channel Overdrive and Preamp Review

With the Diezel Herbert Pedal 2-channel, you can reach the famous power, articulation, and gain that defined the Herbert, the famous Diezel’s all-tube amp head. Now you can have all Herbert’s performance in a stompbox enclosure.

The Diezel Herbert Pedal is an overdrive and preamplifier effect pedal for electric guitar with a complete controls’ layout that includes bass, middle, treble, deep, presence, and foot-switchable mid-cut circuit.

Overall Rating: 4.3/5
4.3/5

#12 Donner Green Land Mini Preamp Review

If you want a highly customizable preamplifier pedal with a strong and durable aluminum-alloy enclosure, then the Donner Green Land Mini Preamp will be a great choice for you.

This digital solid-state pedal is really versatile and was designed based on the sound of popular amps, such as the Fender Bassman and Marshall JTM45. It has 2-channel and delivers really organic tube amp sound.

The Green Land Mini is stable and strong and comes equipped with a heavy-duty metal footswitch. An on/off status LED, a digital circuit design, built-in reverb, and cab simulator functions.

Overall Rating: 4.2/5
4.2/5

#13 Mooer Regal Tone Micro Preamp Pedal Review

Add a sophisticated tone to your signal chain with the compact and board-friendly Mooer Regal Tone Micro. This low-end preamplifier pedal is one of Moore’s sonically accurate digital preamplifier sections’ emulation of popular tube amps.

You get a complete preamplifier with five knobs (Volume, Gain, Treble, Mid, and Bass) that bring you integrated speaker cabinet simulation, dual channels, and dual operating modes to suit your needs.

The speaker cab simulation lets you connect it directly to your soundcard, powered monitor, or P.A. without the need for a guitar amp or speaker cab at all.

Overall Rating: 4.1/5
4.1/5

#14 Donner Incredible V Mini Preamp Pedal Review

The Donner Incredible V Mini is a solid-state preamplifier that really rocks. It is a stable and strong pedal with a Heavy-duty metal footswitch, on/off status LED, digital circuit design, built-in reverb, and cab simulator functions.

Donner designed this whole Aluminium-alloy stompbox based on the sound of the mythical all-tube amps: Fender 65 Twin Reverb and Marshall Super Lead 1959.

The V Mini has a complete control layout that includes Level, Reverb, Gain, Low, Middle, High, and Cab Sim. You can control the effect output with Level and the effect boost amount with Gain.

Overall Rating: 4/5
4/5

#15 Mooer Audio Micro PreAmp 009 Review

The Mooer Audio Micro PreAmp 009 is a High-quality dual-channel preamplifier that brings a great set of features such as an Independent 3 band EQ, Speaker cabinet simulation, and Gain Volume controls for each channel.

If you want to get a huge tone from a board-friendly preamp, the Mooer Blacknight Micro preamplifier is a great choice. In the last few years, Mooer has been releasing a set of 10 models of these amazing preamp pedals. Each one of them was based on a different popular tube amplifier from different manufacturers.

Overall Rating: 3.9/5
3.9/5

What to Consider When Buying a Guitar Preamp Pedal

Preamp pedals are creative tools that you can use for direct recording or adjusting the response of a traditional amp. They function as ergonomic alternatives to traditional amplifiers specifically made for pedalboards.

They are viable options to conventional amps that can convincingly recreate their sounds despite their small size and being more affordable. Let’s see below some important tips about these useful devices.

What Does A Preamp Pedal Do?

It may seem obvious, but it will be useful to explain it to avoid falling into misconceptions. A preamp pedal can emulate the preamplifier section of a guitar amplifier.

Preamp pedals also boast gain circuits to produce overdriven tones. Many examples feature EQ controls so that users can familiarly shape their sounds. To ensure better reliability and longevity, most preamp pedals are solid-state audio equipment.

Some models come equipped with more comprehensive control sets, enabling you to really dial in the perfect tones. There’s plenty of diversity within the preamp pedal market. Some of them can own several channels, just like amplifiers that let you switch between different sounds.

Do You Need a Preamp and an Amp?

It would help if you always had a guitar amplifier to connect and hear your guitar. On the other hand, a guitar preamp pedal is a handy device, but it is optional, and you have to decide if you need it or not.

To decide this, you need to know that having an additional preamplifier is useful when you need extra help adapting your sound to the stage.

A good guitar preamplifier can fill in the gaps and work with your amp to get you the best possible sound. Some preamps come with built-in EQ that allows you to tweak your sound a little further if your amp doesn’t have parametric EQ.

Preamp vs. Power Amp – What’s The Difference?

All guitar amps are composed of 2 main sections called preamp and power amp. The preamp is responsible for giving your guitar amplifier its core “sound” and enables you to shape your amp’s overall voice and character.

The first stage of an amplifier is the preamp, which comes before the power amp. Your amplifier’s preamplifier section is the first thing that your guitar’s output signal interacts with unless you use several guitar pedals connected to your amp.

Can I Use an Amp as a Preamp?

No, an Amp can’t be used as a preamp. They do different jobs; a preamplifier boosts weak signals to line level, whereas an amp boosts the line-level to be heard through speakers. You couldn’t replace an amp with a preamp, although their jobs are similar.

Although a preamplifier is surely a class of amp, you cannot use a guitar amp as a replacement for it unless the amp happens to have inputs compatible with the type and level of signal the preamplifier was intended to deal with.

What’s More Important, Amp or Preamp?

Amps are more important than preamps or preamp pedals because most electric guitar amps have a built-in preamp that you are using when you connect your guitar, although you don’t know that.

A pure guitar signal typically sounds weak, so the principal function is to boost your electric guitar’s output signal up to ‘line level.’

It is particularly evident when you plug a guitar directly into something like a PA system. There you can experience the lack of strength in your sound due to the absence of a preamp.

Top Picks

I’ll show you my Top Picks below. Here you will know which preamp guitar pedals are the best overall, the best value for money, and the best budget options, so you can pick the best one for you.

JHS Effects Colour Box V2 - Best Overall Guitar Preamp

The JHS Effects Colour Box is the perfect choice for players that want to get old fashion guitar tones. This box is great for re-creating classic tones or producing unique signature sounds.
Overall Rating: 4.9/5
4.9/5

Two Notes Le Lead Dual 2-Channel Tube - Best Value for Money Guitar Preamp

The Two Notes Le Lead 2 is an amazing tube-driven pedal that owns 2 independent foot-switchable preamps. Thanks to this high-gain preamp, you can obtain the sound of the most modern high-gain amps.
Overall Rating: 4.8/5
4.8/5

Xotic BB Preamp v 1.5 Guitar Pedal‎ - Best Budget Guitar Preamp

The Xotic BB v 1.5 can deliver a clean boost to a very smooth, overdriven sound thanks to the adjustable 2-band active EQ.
Overall Rating: 4.7/5
4.7/5

Conclusion

We have come to the end of these reviews of the more astonishing preamps to put power under your feet and sound amazing.

With these reviews, I expected to show you which are the most trustful and friendly guitar preamps on the market so that you can purchase the one that suits best your taste and playing style.

I hope you have enjoyed this journey. I’m sure that you will surely make an excellent decision on your purchase with all the knowledge you now have about preamps pedals.

Damián Furfuro

Damián Furfuro

Damián is an author of All Stringed. He started playing with an electric guitar when he was 14 as a self-taught boy at home. He has almost 30 years of experience playing electric and acoustic guitar. You can find more about him here.

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