TC Electronic’s first guitar amp modeler pedals package classic Fender, Marshall and Vox tones with Celestion IRs – for under $150

TC Electronic Ampworx Vintage Series preamp pedals
(Image credit: TC Electronic / YouTube)

Danish effects firm TC Electronic has debuted three new affordable amp modelling/preamp guitar pedals as part of a new range, dubbed Ampworx. 

The range includes the Combo Deluxe ’65, DC30 and JIMS45 – each of which has been carefully designed to emulate a vintage ’60s tube amp (namely a black panel Fender Deluxe Reverb, a Vox AC30 and a Marshall JTM45).

All of the Ampworx preamps feature a two channel design, Celestion IR cab sim, headphone output, USB connection and 1/4" DI output. They also share similar control formats, with a distinctive six-dial top panel (with three-band EQ) and two footswitches.

Moving between the pedals, the differences reflect the model emulated. So, the Fender-style Combo Deluxe ‘65 offers a built-in spring reverb effect, while the Plexi-style JIMS45 and Vox-aping DC30 both have boost circuits. These can be tweaked with a mini-toggle and dial positioned on the I/O panel.

The inclusion of brand-specific control knobs – gold for the JIMS45, chickenhead for the DC30 and witch’s hat for the Combo Deluxe ‘65 – is also highly appealing to our inner geek.

It’s a simple offering, but is actually exciting news for several reasons. Firstly, aside from a few forays into preamp territory with some bass pedals and the Impulse IR Loader, this appears to be TC Electronic’s first concerted step into amp modeling. 

The firm has a well-established reputation for offering high-quality digital effects in compact, highly usable pedal formats, so we’re very interested to see it has to offer on the amp side of things.

Secondly, as with the Impulse, the brand has again teamed up with the digital wing of legendary speaker brand Celestion on the IR cab-sims, which should prove second to none.

Thirdly – and, perhaps, most importantly during these challenging times – at $149 the price is highly tempting and accessible. 

Whether you’re after a backup amp, a fly rig option, or a simple preamp you can use as a pedal platform, the AmpWorx range looks like it could be both affordable and flexible enough for a huge range of guitarists.

We’ve seen plenty of preamp pedals hit the market in recent years, but if you compare it to something like Blackstar’s AMPED 1 at $499, or even Tech 21’s enduringly popular SansAmps (from $249), there is significant daylight between them and the Ampworx on price. 

Yes, TC Electronic’s offering may lack the features of those models, but could well prove ideal for anyone after a simpler option. Check out some of the tones available in the demos above and below.

Interestingly, we note this trio is pitched as the Ampworx ‘Vintage’ series – branding that suggests a wider range of Ampworx models could be in the pipeline.

Who knows when they will show, though – the Ampworx seems based on the firm’s SpectraDrive Bass preamp format and that arrived in 2018, so these first three have likely been a long time in development. 

“We spent years engineering these models, capturing everything we love about these amps,” comments TC Electronic Product Manager Michael Engl. “By putting each model into a precise ‘what you see is what you get’ package, we made it possible for you to grab an incredibly authentic and easy to use amp modeler.”

The TC Electronic Ampworx Vintage Series is available now for $149. For more information, head to TC Electronic.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.