3203 Mosfet Lead 100 Review

manufacturer: Marshall date: 08/15/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Marshall: 3203 Mosfet Lead 100
I am honestly surprised no one praises, or seeks this head out as much as they should and it is still relatively unknown. The sound and overall quality of this amp is, in my opinion, the best solid state Marshall has ever produced.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Features: 7
 Overall rating:
 8.7 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.8 
 Users rating:
 9.6 
 Votes:
 9 
review (1) pictures (1) 15 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.8
3203 Mosfet Lead 100 Reviewed by: GrizzlyFnAdams6, on august 15, 2011
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Features: The Marshall Mosfet head was developed in the mid 80s in an effort to create a solid state head that could sound on par with it's tube driven brother, the JCM800. I know most people get into the mind set of: "Solid states NEVER sound good", the Mosfet actually manages to sound very tube like. The amp has 100 watts that can be fed into a 16ohm or 4ohm cab. The amp features an FX loop and direct line out on the back for plugging directly into a board/recording interface. The Mosfet features two channels: a clean and gain. These are foot-switchable along with the reverb. Both channels share a common EQ (Bass, Treble, Mids) which can be somewhat of a hindrance for those who want ultimate versatility with EQs for both clean and gain channels and is the only feature I wish it had. The gain channel has a gain, tone, and level knob. The gain knob is also push-pull. While pulled, it gives a scooped tone and while pressed in, a nice mid range boost is enabled. After becoming familiar with this amp, I have fallen in love with it and use it on the road as a back up for my JCM2000 and always use it for at home/practice use. For an older amp, I think it has great features, better looks than the MG series and very sturdy as well. // 7

Sound: I run this head into a Carvin 4x12 with Vintage 30s and use a Gibson SG Special almost exclusively. Where this head is the strongest is the great sounds you can get out of this head that sound surprisingly very tube like. In my band we play mainly post-hardcore music (UnderOath, Oceana) and this amp with the gain knob pulled out and set on 2 o'clock, the tone knob (another name for presence on this amp) set at 5 o'clock and EQ set to personal preference, it achieves it easily. When I'm looking to play something more classic (Zep, ZZ Top) I push the gain knob in to get a nice midrange boost, and adjust the EQ slightly to compensate. I've also found the treble knob to be very sensitive and usually sounds best dialed back more than the other parameters in most cases. The clean channel is what one would expect from a solid state; being very pristine and clear. I usually run an EQ pedal in the loop to give the amp a little extra bass as I find that it can lack a little punch/tightness for the music I play. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Considering it's solid state, and has been working fine and has been gigged with since 1985, I feel pretty confident in it's road worthiness. I've never had any problems with it and I have no worries of it breaking down on me anytime soon. Although I believe if it did break down, I would at least see how much it would cost to fix. It's the only thing I do not like about solid states in comparison to their tube counterparts, is there are less things one can try and fix themselves before paying a lot of money for a Tech/Shop/Dealer to look at it. // 8

Overall Impression: I am honestly surprised no one praises, or seeks this head out as much as they should and it is still relatively unknown. The sound and overall quality of this amp is, in my opinion, the best solid state Marshall has ever produced. While it does have some minor shortcomings in terms of it's shared EQ, this amp easily outperforms the MG/Valvestate series of amps and comes awfully close to capturing the tube warmth and JCM800 sound. I suggest this amp for someone who has the extra money laying around or a beginner who wishes to get a cheaper amp that actually sounds good. // 8

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