3203 Artist Review

manufacturer: Marshall date: 08/12/2010 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Marshall: 3203 Artist
This amp was built in 1986. I play hard rock and metal. This amp fits in perfect. Great ballzy high gain sound.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Features: 8
 Overall rating:
 8.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.3 
 Users rating:
 7.4 
 Votes:
 13 
review (1) pictures (1) 14 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
3203 Artist Reviewed by: beno21, on august 12, 2010
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: Ok, this amp was built in 1986. Its 30 watts class a, with tube power amp ss preamp. Its 2 channels, clean and boost/gain, with footswitchable reverb. Effects loop in the back, 4 8, or 12 ohms. One flaw is the gain channel, it doesn't have a proper eq section, just one tone knob. This can be fixed with an eq pedal however. Its good for most kinds of music, doesn't get real good cleans, but with some tweaking you can get by. The gain channel is phenomenal. Gets everywhere from blues to ACDC to Metallica and harsher sounds. I know these amps came out in the eighties for a few years before being discontinued. Most of them had 2x El34 power tubes, some 2x KT88 tubes. This one has the KT88s. Apparently they don't sound so different, just KTs have better bass resposne. 8 out of 10 due to lack of gain channel eq, and average clean tone. // 8

Sound: Ok i have a few guitars, mainly play a Gibson LP Custom w EMG 81 85, stock Gibson LP Studio and an Ibanez JEM7v. Also a mex tele n a BC Rich. The stock Gibson sounds awesome - really chunky, plenty of bass response and crisp highs. The EMGs are a bit more versatile and I can get a spot on Metallica tone, generally doesn't sound as dark as the stock gibby, but still dark. Ibanez - a bit weak, lacks brightness. Suits any music style pretty easily. Not very noisy, slight buzz with high gain, not bad though, no shreeking feedback. Clean channel breaks up around 7 or 8, not the best clean tone though.If you want that distorted Marshall sound though this thing is pretty mean. I've played JCMs and the 3203 has just as good high gain tones, if not better. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've had it for 5 years or so now, never had any problems. I recall the transformer was replaced not long before I got it however. It is dependable, I gig with it a fair bit and never have a back up. // 10

Overall Impression: I play hard rock and metal. This amp fits in perfect. Great ballzy high gain sound. I've been playing for 8 years, the only other amp I have atm is a Fender frontman 15g, just for bedroom practise and thats all I need. Don't be fooled by the 30 watts though. This amp is loud. To mix in with a drumkit it only needs to be on 3 or 4, so theres plenty of headroom. The only possible improvements would be a better clean channel and full eq on the gain channel. This amp sounds like a JCM, not one of those cheap AVTs that have tube preamp and ss power. But a sweet amp. I'll definitely try to replace it if it were stolen. Fairly hard to find though. // 9

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