In my best Synergy amps guide, I will provide full details and my own opinion of my chosen amps from the brand. I’ll also answer some of the most frequent questions I have found relating to Synergy amps.
Before I go into full details of the best Synergy amps (in my opinion), let’s explore a brief overview of my chosen four.
4 Best Synergy Amps – Overview
|Model||Color||Amp Type||Price Range|
|Synergy Steve Vai Signature 2-Channel Preamp Module||Green||2-Channel Preamp Module||$|
|Synergy SYN-1 Single Module Tube Preamp||Black||Single Module Tube Preamp||$$|
|Synergy SYN-30 Head||Black||Amp Head Inc Footswitch||$$$|
|SYN 30 COMBO||Black||Module 30-watt All-tube Combo||$$$$|
What Do We Know about Synergy Amps?
I believe that Synergy truly pushes the boundaries of amp design and technology, particularly the modern tube amp. Whether you prefer the utility of a direct-in preamp or the feel of a classic air-pushing amp, Synergy will provide it.
The idea behind their world-famous preamp module idea is the blend of tonal flexibility with the authenticity of classic valve amps. Synergy engineers work closely with expert amp designers to create their product, which results in truly ingenious amps, and a wide and varied choice for musicians.
I particularly like the range of boutique valve amps in a modular format that only Synergy truly makes work. The brand creates boutique American valve amp sounds with great affordability. Users can swap in and out the preamp section of an amp, which provides an amazing selection of tones without the need to purchase additional amps.
How Preamps Work
As this post includes more preamps by Synergy than any other amp type, and as we have covered other amp types many times over on our site, I thought I would write a little about what preamps actually are.
When looking at how to buy an amp, preamplifier Vs.amplifier will be familiar terms, but not everyone knows the differences between the two.
If you are setting up a music studio, whether at home for fun or professionally, it is highly likely you have come across the terms: preamp and amp. Naturally, you may wonder if the two devices perform different functions and whether you need one over the other, or both are required.
Good quality amps are not cheap products, so you certainly don’t want to end up spending more than you need to. The fundamental difference is that a preamp boosts a weaker signal to line level, whereas an amp boosts a line-level signal so that it can be sent to speakers.
A preamp can relate to two things. One: a preamp circuit in a device, and two: a dedicated external device that contains this circuit. The main point of a preamp is to amplify low-level signals to line level. A preamp cannot be used without an existing amp, so it will always be a secondary purchase.
Benefits of Preamps
Before you decide if a Synergy amp is best for you, it may help to know if a preamp is the right choice. Here I will outline the two main benefits of owning this amp type.
Improved Sound Quality
High-quality preamps are equipped with sophisticated circuitry that keeps the full transparency of sound, even at their highest gain setting. More simple preamp circuits generally sound good up to gains of around 50 dB. Most preamps will improve the overall sound quality.
By improving sound quality, I mean delivering a more accurate signal that is cleaner with less distortion.
The great thing about preamps for many musicians is the incredible range of configurations, meaning it is simple to find the perfect preamp for most situations. Suppose you’re a solo singer who plays the guitar. In that case, a more basic two-channel preamp should be adequate.
However, if you’re a serious recording artist or part of a band, then a preamp with more channels (between eight to thirty-two) would enable you to put together a range of rack-mount multi-channel preamps.
Benefits of Amps
Amps are needed before you can use a preamp.
The sole purpose of an amp is to increase the sound of the instrument, usually a guitar or microphone. Not all instruments need an amp to maximize the volume, but playing an electric guitar without an amp is as worthwhile as installing a chocolate fireguard.
To find out the difference between amps and their benefits, we have written a guide on how to find the best guitar amp for you. But, briefly, it is as follows:
A combo amp is both an amp and a speaker; within one product. There are significant benefits to some with this kind of amp, such as their portability, the fact they’re cost-effective (2-in-1 product), and the incredible range of designs that are out there. Here are some combo amps we recommend.
For most musicians, tube amps are the go-to amp. This is for many reasons, but predominantly because they’re more responsive, smoother, and fundamentally louder. Tube amps will be the best choice for those wanting to fill a large venue, but they can be pretty sensitive and are not as robust as a combo amp.
For reliability and longevity, solid-state amps are the best choice. They may not be the greatest for crystal clear volume, but to be depended on for decades to come, there isn’t another amp type that can live up to the solid-state.
To explain briefly why I have selected the Synergy amps I have for this article, here are the things I was looking for:
Not everyone wants a combo amp, nor is everyone interested in a preamp. So for fairness – and to ensure all readers found something useful – I looked for different amp types and what I believe to be the best in the range.
I wanted to ensure I found a Synergy amp that suited everyone’s budget, so I have chosen what I believe to be the best amps across the price points.
I don’t want you to just take my word for it, so I have only included amps with a good-to-excellent level of feedback online. In this case, those ratings and reviews may not be found on my product link, but I assure you I have well researched the amps and their reviews are accessible elsewhere.
4 Best Synergy Amps
A genius collaboration between Stevie Vai and Synergy birthed a pretty perfect product; the Synergy Steve Vai Signature 2-Channel Preamp Module. This is an all-tube module that works with Synergy hardware. It has an intuitive layout, two channels, and is simple to operate to get that desired tone quickly.
The two distinct channels are great features to tweak to achieve that perfect tone. The blue channel features dedicated gain, fat and bright switches, 3-band EQ controls, and caters for clean, crisp tones. The red channel features dedicated gain, bright and boost switches, 3-band EQ controls and is responsible for the overdriven tones.
What impressed me most about this preamp is that it is affordable, has such a simple control system, yet can genuinely achieve the distinctive signature tone of Steve Vai.
The Synergy Steve Vai Signature 2-Channel Preamp Module is not only compatible with Synergy heads, but due to it featuring a Dual/Single switch, the preamp will also work with some older single-channel Randall and Egnater amps.
- Made in the USA
- 2 x 12AX7 Preamp Tubes
- Dual/Single Switch
- Three-position Cathode Select Switch
- Channel Red: Overdrive
- Channel Blue: Clean
- Compatible with Synergy Hardware and Older Randall and Egnater Hardware.
- Able to Achieve the Signature Steve Vai Tone
- Easy to Use Layout
- Lots of Tone Options for Customised Sound
- Slightly Hollow in the Midrange
- Possibly a Little Boomy and Bass Heavy
The Synergy SYN-1 Single Module Tube Preamp is a portable device, perfect for a desktop. Similar to many Synergy all-tube preamp modules, you will be able to take advantage of the Friedman design, in addition to the unique features of Synergy, such as the effect loop.
I believe that for such a compact device, this preamp is one of the most powerful pieces of kit around. Simplicity is the key to the hardware here. This is a small, highly convenient, and unbelievably powerful preamp that easily meets the demands of the professional musician.
The SYN-1 is compatible with any interchangeable preamp modules by Synergy, so if you ever want to change the sound, you can easily achieve this by accessing a whole new array of tones.
I love how simple it is to directly record and perform through the SYN-1, enabling you to send the true sound of some of the most iconic amps right to your track. This is a mighty little device with a studio-grade tone.
This model is impressive from the moment you plug it in, and for those wanting great live sound without the inconvenience of lugging around heavy amps and speakers, the SYN-1 is an excellent choice.
- Intuitive and Speedy Way to Record
- Easily Footswitchable Channels
- Licensed Fryette Sag Control
- Controllable via MIDI, Plus Additional MIDI Function Switcher
- Ground Lift
- Lightweight and Portable
- Studio-grade Tone
- Compatible with Synergy Interchangeable Preamps
- Simple to Record and Perform
- Reviews are a little thin on the ground for this one; unable to find any negative reviews, which makes providing a balanced review complex.
You’d be forgiven for not expecting a lot from the Synergy SYN-30 Head, as the design does seem pretty simple, basic, even. However, this is a mighty little device that is sure to impress even the most dubious.
I believe this amp head to be the ideal solution for recording studios with no space for a plethora of valve amps.
The sound is transparent, crystal clear and the SYN-30 Head takes pedals well. It can fill a medium-sized venue with ease, and the guitar tone is pretty spectacular. There’s so much tonal power with an incredible range of onboard sonic options with the SYN-30 Head and two flexible ways to control it.
One issue I have found is the build quality. There are some complaints of loose knobs and knobs coming off, which isn’t a majorly costly issue but certainly an annoying one.
For the most part, this boutique-style amp head is highly responsive, has an excellent tone, and is well worth the money.
- Made in the USA
- 30 channels: 3EQ: Clean Channel Bass, Presence, Treble, Lead Channel
- Including Programmable Footswitch
- Transparent Effects Loop
- Can be Controlled Via Most MIDI Controllers
- Range of Valuable Features
- Highly Impressive Sound
- Spectacular Guitar Tone
- Substantial Investment
#4 SYN 30 COMBO
With the tag of “The World’s Most Versatile Tube Amp,” the SYN 30 COMBO is sure to impress any professional musician. But, whether all can afford it is another thing. This is one of the most expensive amps by the brand, and I wanted to check out whether it was worth its hefty price point.
My first challenge was finding the SYN-30 Combo in stock somewhere; although lots of places are offering to order in from ‘special suppliers,’ I found little information regarding time frames or even pricing for this. The good news is that (at the time of writing) the Syn 30 Combo can be ordered directly from Synergy.
The SYN-30 Combo packs the power of the brand’s module preamp system into an all-tube combo amp. This is certainly a powerful device and an incredible workhorse; the 6L6-loaded power section ensures plenty of clean headroom, making it an ideal platform for other modules.
There’s a built-in clean channel and preamp module dock with three foot-switchable channels. Users find this amp particularly simple to operate, and it’s easy to see why. Everything just works!
- 30-Watt Tube Combo
- 2 x 6L6s and 4 x 12AX7s
- Baltic Birch Construction
- Celestion Creamback Loaded
- Ideal for Professional Musicians or Passionate Enthusiasts
- Strong Construction
- Easy to Use
- Difficult to Get Hold of (at the time of writing)
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the Warranty Like With Synergy Amps?
Answer: The warranty with Synergy is a pretty standard 3-year policy. However, what isn’t standard is their vigorous testing procedures for each amp before it is dispatched, which really decreases the likelihood of receiving a faulty amp.
If you need to use the warranty, you must register your amp with the company here and retain proof of purchase.
Question: How Much Technology Do You Get With Synergy?
Answer: Like most long-standing amp manufacturers, Synergy has kept their design to a pretty basic one, with a simple-to-use operating system and construction. As the saying goes: ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,’ and Synergy amps are far from broken.
For the digitally-minded consumer, there are amps today that do feature a ton of tech. Here are our recommendations of the best amps with Bluetooth that may interest those looking for something in this category.
Question: Are Synergy Amps Good for Beginners?
Answer: Synergy targets the professional musician over the newbie and caters mainly to those with the right combination of experience and finances to justify their amps. These are not the cheapest amps on the markets. However, to many, they are among the best.
It would be my advice to consider starting out with a more affordable and more basic model such as a battery-powered amp or a mini amplifier (find our recommendations for the best mini amplifiers here).
The Bottom Line – Which Synergy Amp Should You Buy?
When it comes to choosing the right Synergy amp for you, there are so many things to think about; can you afford a higher-priced model? Do you want a top-end piece of equipment? Do you crave the technology from more modern brands over Synergy, and is this brand even the right one for you?
My recommendation for the most budget-friendly amp has to be the Synergy Steve Vai Signature 2-Channel Preamp Module. Stevie Vais’ input into this amp has not gone unrecognized, and his distinctive signature tone is easily achievable.
I love the easy-to-use layout of the Steve Vai Preamp and lots of tone options to create a customized sound. However, not everyone is on board with the somewhat bass heaviness with some genres.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Synergy SYN-1 Single Module Tube Preamp for those who want something compact yet still extremely powerful. This amp is incredible from the get-go. The SYN-1 is a desktop preamp that offers a studio-grade tone, and the price is well within the affordable bracket for this brand.
One thing that has concerned me about the SYN-1 is the lack of negative reviews. It is pretty unheard of to find any product that hasn’t disappointed a single consumer, but it does seem to be the case here.
I did find some criticism in the build quality with the Synergy SYN-30 Head, but I would still rate this highly for those who are short on space yet in need of great sound. Are there likely better options out there? Maybe. Will they be by Synergy? No.
I can’t recommend the SYN 30 COMBO as much as I’d like to because, from experience, I know just how difficult this amp is to get hold of at the minute. I can say that if this is a consideration for you, and you can justify the price point, you will believe this is worth its weight in gold.
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