It seems that the guitar amplifier is something that comes in the electric guitar pack. By tradition, we see no other options than to buy an amplifier to play. Today there are several cheaper alternatives. Among these alternatives are: the PC used as virtual sound equipment and the effects processors with amplifier modeling.
Let's see an outline of the possible objectives that we can pursue with our guitar, and the options that are offered to us in terms of equipment:
Solo Learning It includes people who start learning electric guitar and those who play for personal enjoyment. Recording. In this case they are guitarists, beginners or advanced, with an interest in the recording and production of songs using appropriate software for this purpose. In a group. This is the case of those who play in groups, whether for fun in a rehearsal room, or at a more professional level with live performances. Now we will indicate the most recommended minimum equipment, not the only one or the best, for each of the indicated profiles. But first we will talk about the element common to all of them: the guitar cable. The wire. It is the element that will carry the signal produced on the guitar to the rest of the team. We should give this element its importance, a poor quality cable will create noises that will interfere with the sound of the guitar. Its length should be adequate for use (usually 3 or 6 meters), an excess of cable will affect the signal. 1. LONELY LEARNING This option consists of connecting your guitar to the PC , and using software, process the signal to modify its sound. Once processed, the signal may sound through a PC speaker system, powered speakers etc. The adapter will be used to connect the guitar cable to the PC (6.3mm to 3.5mm jack). This is the simplest and most economical connection option, although, in some PCs we will have 'latency' problems (delay produced between the input signal and the processed signal). The virtual equipment consists of software that simulates most of the effects that are used with the electric guitar, in addition to including some known battery amplifiers (digital signal processing imitating the characteristic sound of a specific guitar amplifier ) with very good results. Among the most professional we have 'Guitar Rig', 'Amplitube' and 'Overloud TH1' all have similar options, and are quite expensive. In the opinion of many users and my own, Guitar Rig outperforms its competitors. Especially in sounds for metal. The listening speakers must have a built-in or external amplifier and will be connected to the line-out or headphone output of the PC. It is enough with 2.1 speakers of medium power. We could also connect the output of the PC to the line-in input of a stereo system and sound through its speakers. 2. RECORDING The difference between this guitarist profile and the previous one is the present or future interest in the recording and production of his own music. For this purpose, in addition to needing higher sound quality, multitrack recording software is required. The Usb interface is the element that will avoid headaches due to problems with high latencies, noise produced by poor quality sound cards and interference generated by the PC power supply. It is actually an external sound card with its own drivers and USB connection that digitizes the guitar signal. There are from very simple and economic, a connection for the guitar and the Usb connector, even with several channels for microphones and lines. To use them without more external equipment than the guitar and the cable, they must have an input dedicated to the guitar, or micro with option to connect guitar. Otherwise, if you only have line inputs, we need a preamp (pre-amplifier, effects processor, pedal board ...) between the guitar and the interface. The preamp will raise the signal level of the guitar to the one suitable for line input. The DAW is the software responsible for recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering audio in a multitrack environment. DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, or Digital Audio Workstation), there are very famous: Cubase, Protools, Sonar ... (quite expensive).
Here we will use Reaper, although they are all for the same purpose. Reaper is more logical, intuitive and simple to handle than others (and of course, more economical). Monitors are the substitute for speakers for sound engineers during mastering.
With the use of monitors, faithful reproduction is attempted during the mixing, equalization and mastering process. Otherwise we would find surprises when reproducing the result in a HiFi device, having a different frequency response to the desired one.