courtjester, on april 22, 2004 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Features: Well, I haven't had it more than a couple months, so longevity I'm not able to answer. I can, however, say that I use it regularly gigging on the road and would depend on it fully without a back up (because even though I have a back up, I really don't want to have to use that piece of junk Laney). It's been through a lot so far...dropped by a venue roadie, bounced around in transportation, day-in & day-out use on stage...no problems. Marshall has also fixed their footswitch problem (I know the JCM2000TSL had the issue of the footswitch cable breaking/going bad) with the new footswitch for the MF350. They use a male/male serial-cable (like on a computer) that screws in to both the head and the footswitch. It keeps it tight in both and should something go wrong, you only need to replace a cable instead of a $150 footswitch.
I will give it a good rating though as I have had no issues thus far, but haven't had it long enough to say it's completely reliable and durable. // 8
Sound: I am mainly a rhythm player with the occasional lead Harmony, so all the extra ability to beef up my gain and OD is most excellent. Plus the added control of the solo button (which I use for boosting certain rhythm sections usually to make them punch more) and reverb. I also use BC Rich guitars and EMG pickups exclusively (mostly emg81/85), so my low-ends chug nicely, especially with the MF350's lean toward low-end power. The amp selection and tone matrix of the MF350 are exactly what I need in Court Jester, as our music is quite versatile. We go from hard rock styling to heavy metal, so when I can utilize a more traditional rock guitar crunch and in a matter of seconds be rockin' out my gallops and palm mute with a chug that you can feel, all out of the same amp and no array of pedals (so you don't lose tone), it makes for a great show.
The other beauty of this baby is that it actually kicks more the louder you get! Sound guys hate you (but there is an emulated line out if they were trained to use it), but the louder you get, you lose nothing; doesn't effect tone, doesn't add more distortion over anything (even cleans), and even feedback isn't an issue generally...obviously, the further away you stand the better off you are on that...white noise is also not been a problem while sitting on a distortion.
The distortion and crunch can be as brutal as you want really. This amp is versatile enough to be able to play a Buddy Guy tune back-to-back with a Napalm Death tune. // 10
Overall Impression: This is the perfect gigging amp for me and Court Jester's live sound. I have not yet taken it into the studio, but I may still be partial to using the JCM800 and JCM2000TSL in the studio as quick amp changes aren't needed and I have time to make all my settings just perfect. We'll see though. The only thing I hate about it is the weight...it's not too heavy, just unevenly balanced. One side weighs more than the other so when you lift it, it angles down and is just annoying to carry. But hey, that's what roadies are for right! I would also like more valve influence...it's not quite as warm and full as a traditional valve-state, but to get the amount of OD and tonality that this thing has, I don't see it happening. Overall, I'm quite happy and love to hear the MF350 roar on stage behind me. // 10
DavidAddison, on april 25, 2005 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 1679.94
Purchased from: Bedrock Music, Crawley
Features: Made in 2003 if I'm correct, this 4-channel, 350 watt solid state, tube preamp head was made in the UK. The band I'm currently in (www.redsear.com) play a variety of styles from The Cure to Godsmack, Amp1 provides a warm classic clean tone and a fantastic crunch which could easily be confused with a JCM 800, Amp2 kicks out a brutal distortion, and a great tone for shredding. It is also equiped with a very useful solo control, and resonance and presence controls for the power amplifier. It's packed full of conveniences like a balanced XLR and lack output, a load protection system and a tuner mute. The range of tones this amp can forge is practically endless, however in a live situation flexibility is restricted by having the same EQ for the clean and crunch channels and the OD1 and OD2 channels, so the footswitch can't really take advantage of the M4's true potential. Also I think speakon cables would have been better at dealing with the high loads of the M4 than jack leads. // 8
Sound: I'm currently using it waith a Jackson loaded with EMG's. The gigs we are plying at the moment are focused on the more mainstream stuff, and Amp1 handles these beautifully. If I got sick of playing simple riffs though the OD2 on Amp2 would easily give me all the heavy toneful distortion I would need for some downtuned monster riffs! You won't find your 'recto' sound on this amp, but the distortion is damn sweet and at a fraction of the cost, the mode four is a decent challenger to the Mesa/Boogie Rectifiers. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I have only giged this amp one at the time of writing, but I encountered no problems, Although this amp was designed for use on the road and isnt as fragile as some of its close relatives. I would happily use this without a backup. Regsitering your Marshall amp online also gives you a three year extended warranty. I would give it a 5 but I have not owned it long enough. // 8
Overall Impression: This is my first half stack and I'm very impressed with it. The mode four sounds great from being barely turned up in your bedroom, to trowing out a wall of sound at a gig for a extremely competitive price against its rivals. With this amp you'll never need to worry about headroom or not cutting through again. If there was more flexibily over tone controls in live situations this would be the perfect amp. // 10
M3AK, on july 18, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 400
Purchased from: Gumtree (Second-hand)
Features: After seeing Alex Skolnick using this amp I became really interested. Having said that, I'm sure you are very aware I am a metal guy (certainly not a jazzer, too much talent required) and this dishes out metal by the handful. There are 4 channels in this amp, an effects loop and an emulated line out (emulated in the sense that it emulates the tone of a cabinet being mic'ed up... Errrr or so the manual tells us). There are 2 pre-amps on this amp equipped with ECC83 tubes which is then combined with a solid-state power amp. The amp is a 350 watt beast and provides plenty of power for anyone and their mother. Where do I use this amp? Where don't I? I use it in the house, I use it live and I even chuck the head in the back of the car and use it at band practices (the guy who owns the rehearsal rooms has a mode 4 cab). I used the emulated line out ONCE recording will fail to do so ever again as you well receive much better tone mic'ing up this amp. The emulated line out tone is terrible! For features on this amp I love it however the knobs are very to read in terms of where you have set things too (especially when on stage and someone else has used your amp and changed some setting and you want to put them back). // 7
Sound: In terms of guitars there are 2 main stays. The Ibanez SAS32EX and an Epiphone Black Beauty Les Paul. The Epiphone... Well what the hell do you expect me to say, it's a Les Paul and a Marshall. It's such a classic tone you will instantly recognize. It works perfectly for my Groove Metal band Engines Of Vengeance (don't worry we don't take ourselves seriously, hense the name). I love the classic feel. The Ibanez reminds me of tones from earlier Mastodon releases such as "Remission" or "Leviathan". The amp is very noisy on amp 2(noise gate definitely required). However Amp 2 has a very crushing distortion. I think Death Metal fans would love this amp. The clean channel can get quite distorted when turned up really high however I do think you probably won't use the amp at the volume where it will begin to break up and distort. Based on this I will remove a point from the sound section. The noisy Amp 2 distortions might be an issue for some, however if your so stupid you haven't figured out that a noise gate is the no 1 piece of equipment in metal music then you probably won't buy this amp. Since that isn't a problem for me I see no reason to remove points. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This amp is very dependable. It has been thrown around in the back of vans, dropped at gigs and it wont die. It definitely has a gaurdian angel. I really can depend on this amp. Gig without a backup? I only bring this amp to gigs now (my combo looks really neglected) and will continue to do so until the amp does something to make me suggested that I need one. The amp has not once broken and I don't see it happening any time soon. The tolex however is another problem. The tolex seems quite cheap as it tears very easily and has become quite scuffed. Due to the cheap tolex this will definitely be marked down by a point. // 9
Overall Impression: In the metal world we love amps with crushing distortion. This definitely has it. With the booming clarity and the more then enjoyable mid-scooped distorted tones this is the perfect Groove Metal amp. In the 8 years I've been playing I've never loved a piece of gear as much as this (except the guitars). If it were stolen or lost I'd definitely buy it again. I love the fact that playing through this amp is just great fun. Even with cheap tolex, distorting cleans and knobs that are hard to read in low light, it's so much fun that none of that seems to matter. I'm glad that I chose this over the Randall RS100HS and it was definitely a really good choice. Over all I think an 8 is fair! // 8
Digideus, on july 10, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 300
Purchased from: Friends
Features: Not sure on the year of manufacture, but I believe it was around 2004 when Marshall tried to jump on the "Nu-Metal" bandwagon. Unsurprisingly, the Mode Four was a short lived product, however, during its time of availability, it has earned a reputation as being a Diamond in the rough and they are now sought after by many musicians, Alex Skolnik of Testament among them!
This amp is extremely versatile, having everything from clear ringing clean tones to fully saturated brutal distortion, and the versatility of a solid state power stage coupled with a tube driven preamp section means you have a LOT of headroom to mold your sound so it cuts through the live mix. It also means the Head doesn't weight like a ton of bricks!
The Mode four comes with two distinct amplification sections and works very much as two amps in one head. All in all, it has 4 channels with clean and classic crunch on one side for blues and classic rock, and then a side dedicated to distortion with OD1 and OD2 options for a true blend of sounds for live work Both amp sections have independently set reverb levels. Channel switching is operated by a foot switch which gives you additional access to a SOLO boost and a reverb button. The amp also has a standard effects loop, an emulated line out and 2 loudspeaker sockets that have dedicated ohmage output plus a dedicated Tuner out socket so you can have your tuner out of your tone loop in case it has an effect on the tone of the instrument. It also has a "resonance" dial which changes the voicing of the EQ so you can choose between the British tone or a more American sounding tone. The distortion stage also has a tonal response setting to add low end, mids and high end so you have an additional boost of those frequencies.
The most glaring problem with the features is the design oversight of not having a tuner mute on the foot switch. The head DOES have a tuner mute button, but you have to physically walk over to it and press the button on the head. If they had made it available from the foot switch, it would have been a lot more useful!
There is a quirk with the Mode Four range in that you can only use suitable cabs for it. The mode four range of cabs comes in a 280 watt 16 ohm version (designed to be used in duplicate for a full stack), and the 8 Ohm 400 watt monster cab that looks like a Marshall cab on steroids! Of the two, the 400 watt cab is a unbelievably good sounding cab with massive amounts of tight focused delivery thanks to the Celestion K100 drivers inside it. The amount of bottom end you get with this beast is scary and frankly, I wouldn't play through any other cab now. Compare it side by side to the 1960A and it blows it away! The 280 watt version has the standard Celestion G12-75 watt speakers, and frankly there is no comparison between the two. Go for a 400 watt cab with those speakers. Its worth it!
I use this amp in rehearsals and on stage. I have never turned the volume knob past 4 and I have had no end of compliments that the Cab alone sounds wonderful, and that the Head and Cab together is one of the most surprising features of my sound. // 9
Sound: Guitar wise, I tend to play Flying V's with the standard 24.75 scale lengths and active pickups. My main guitar is a home made V with one Guitarheads active pickup in the bridge. The neck is a Les Paul neck mated to the V body. Its what I like with a big chunky Les Paul style neck and large body that allows the guitar to really ring. I use a brass nut instead of the standard plastic/bone style nut because when playing open strings, it adds sustain and resonance to the tone of the guitar. It will sustain for ages!
Being active, the pickup distorts at a much lower volume level than passive pickups, but I still achieve a beautiful shimmering clean tone and then switch to the distortion sound which sounds amazing! there's a quality to the distortion I get that has an edge of "fuzz" about it in the break up. My band plays Epic Doom Metal, which relies on the ability to cut through a wall of distortion with masses of crunch and clarity for singing melodies and harmonies, plus there are a few clean sections in our songs. This amp handles them all in its stride.
The amp isn't too noisy but will feed back at the first opportunity. As I said before, its versatility is only matched by its ferocity but it does require you to have the right cab. My head has been upgraded with 2 x 12AX7 tubes as opposed to the ECC83s it comes with, but gain tubes are interchangeable and self biasing, so this small modification is all a part of the tonal delivery my head gives. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This head is YEARS old but has never let me down. I do gig without a backup and if I had to replace it, I would definitely buy another one. Reliability isn't a real issue with this range of amps because of the lack of output tubes. Being solid state does mean it doesn't generate as much heat as a valve amp and it doesn't weigh as much as one either, plus its less likely to be effected by transportation, EMF and micro-phonics. You don't see these for sale that often because they are that damn good! // 9
Overall Impression: It doesn't seem like a good amp to play Doom Metal with, but I find it compliments the sound of the band well. Uprating the gain tubes and using the 400 watt cab are essential for me. Its the only stack I own but is the 2nd Marshall I have had and this one beats all others hands down for me. If I wanted something for other styles of music, I would be hard pressed to find one that was this versatile.
My favourite feature is the sheer power it has. If you can't find a good tone on this amp, you are either far too picky or you're just not listening! As I said earlier, I got this from a friend after he bought a Blackstar Series one 200 watt head. I prefer the Marshall for my style of playing than the Blackstar and ended up building him a tube screamer to tighten up the Blackstar's sound. I don't need to do that on the Marshall.
I bought the cab separately but I had access to a 280 watt one in my local studio to test it on, and the difference between the two is quite frankly absurd! If you have the 280 watt cab, change the drivers to the K100's! You wont know what hit you! I wish this had a tuner mute on the foot switch apart from that, I have yet to find a limitation with this amp. I have no plans to change it unless I win the lottery and can buy a DAR FBM and custom cabs or perhaps an Egnater Armageddon or a Fender Machete, or a Fortin Satan... Silly money!
All in all, I can't praise this amp enough, but I scored it a 9 because its far from perfect for everyone's tastes, however, if you can, try one. You'd be surprised at what a difference the cab can make to this little beast! // 9
mazerfaka, on august 29, 2012 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 550
Purchased from: Second hand
Features: This amp is made in 2003. I play pop-punk, with some hardcore elements, I was using a JCM 2000 that was perfect for me, but I just borrowed it from my dad and he wanted it back and told me to get my own Marshall! And I did! This amp has four channels, a clean, crunch, OD1 and OD2 channel. You can switch from any of these channels. But it's built like this: CLEAN/CRUNCH and OD1/OD2, like two amps so the two channels on each amp share the same volume and gain. You also have a master volume knob. The amp also has a volume knob for the FX loop, and a volume knob for the solo mode. I don't use more than the Crunch channel, enough gain for anyone!
You can also scoop the mids, which gives you a darker more hi-gain feel. The OD1/OD2 channel also has a "tone matrix" witch is three preset EQ curves for the bottom, you can get some really nasty, dark and evil tones! A great thing with this amp is that I don't have any power tubes, only tubes in the first stage witch means you can use the XLR output without the need to connect it to a speaker cabinet. It is 300W so it has way more than you need, really absurd to have that much power. I use it on rehearsals and at gigs! // 10
Sound: I play a Hagstrm ultra swede with the James Hetfield EMG set. So it's on the high output side. It suits my Pop-punk style perfect on the Cruch channel (kind of a JCM 800). I have set the OD2 channel to some weird stuff that I use sometimes in certain parts of certain songs. I don't use the clean channel, it's to clean and it has too much headroom so I just pull back my volume knob on the guitar instead. It's a very quiet amp! Never had any buzzing or something like that. It is impossible to distort the clean channel!
How brutal is the distortion? Haha, you can get it really really brutal! As I explained above you can scoop the mids and use the "tone matrix" knob to get it evil as shit. It has great tones but I like simplicity and more of a straight one channel distortion amp! And in comparison to the JCM 2000 I borrowed for a couple of years it sounds kind of rancid. // 7
Reliability & Durability: It's solid like a rock, it's even better built than a Boss pedal! It would survive the nuclear test on the pacific proving grounds! I used it on gigs and at rehearsals and it have never failed me! Really good quality on this one! // 10
Overall Impression: I love the quality, the durability and the XLR output! I hate all the knobs and possibilities, I just want one channel with good sound. If it were stolen I would be sad, but I would take my money and try something new! // 7