Price paid: £ 309
Purchased from: Local Music Store
Sound — 10
At present I use a stock Ibanez ATK300 and a Modified Squier Jazz Bass with Seymour Duncan Vintage Pickups. If I play with the dials long enough I can create any sound, from a double bass sounding noise wonderful for Jazz and playing with an Acoustic guitar, to a Vintage growl suitable for classic and hard rock, to a funky sound perfect for slapping. The only problem is it takes time to set up because of the vast number of knobs and buttons, but I feel it is worth it. The Modern channel gives wonderful cleans, even at high volumes, though I have not dared to go over volume 7 because of the sheer power this thing generates. The classic channel gives a wonderful warm tube sound, which will overdrive slightly at higher volumes, by turning the gain up, or can be made to overdrive more at low volumes by pushing the boost button.
Overall Impression — 9
I am I diverse musician, playing many different styles as I freelance with different bands and progress with my existing band, and I feel this amp reflects that. There are no limits to the sounds it can create, and can withstand a beating from being dragged from gig to gig. I tried lots of other amps around this price range before deciding on the Marshall, including Ampeg, Ashdown, Line 6, Fender and Behringer, but there was something about the Marshall that attracted me. I wish good luck to anyone Who tries to steal this amp, as the weight of it means they won't get far, but if they succeed I would buy from this range again without a doubt. I do find the long set up time for adjusting the vastly complicated settings annoying and not the most user-friendly (unlike the Ampeg Combos, which have 5 presets and a simple 3 band EQ), but the Manual provides you with some ideas to get you going, but I always carry a piece of paper with me, with some settings on it for certain tones. I also wish I could make more use of the compressor, but it is just too fierce to use for any meaningful purpose. The blend channel is the best idea I have ever seen, combining the warm sounds of tube with the sound definition and clarity of solid state. The boost button is a genius idea, as it gives the overdrive of a tube at its limit but as lower volumes, without the need for stompboxes, which in my opinion sound tinny.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I would gig with this amp without a backup no problem. As for ruggedness, I have dragged it through the streets of Liverpool and Stoke, it has had Leeds United fans jumping on it, and it still looks Brand New out the box. My amp tends to have a buzz for the first 5 minutes or so after turning it on, but that goes. I am unsure whether this is the nature of the tubes or a fault, but either way I would not expect that to happen to an amp which is only 4 months old. I have contacted Marshall and they can fix it and send it back to me in about a week, which I consider fairly quick.
Features — 9
This series of Marshall Bass Amps was brought in fairly recently, with mine being made in 2007, and this new and fresh feeling is in every aspect of this amp. This amp has 3 channels: a solid state "Modern" channel, with a compressor, a "Classic" channel with an ECC83 preamp tube, and a "Blend" channel which allows you to combine the two. You can Switch between them with a simple button or using the footswitch which is included in the price of the amp. Personally I find the compressor too ferocious and noisy so rarely play with it on, and if I do I rarely turn it above 1-2. The amp also has an effects loop, a DI out (post or pre), a headphone jack, a line in, a Switch to push depending on whether you're using a passive or active instrument and room to expand the amp to include another speaker cabinet, which when connected cracks the power up from 300W to a collossal 450W of chest pounding bass. I use this amp for everything. It was bought as a replacement amp when my previous amp (the smaller MB30) gave up the ghost. It has been with me to gigs and also is my practice amp. I chose this one over the larger 4410 because of lightness. At 33kg it isn't exactly portable but I wanted the power and it's bigger brother, which has 4x10" speakers instead of 2 weighs a mighty 51kg.