Price paid: $ 27.72
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 8
I own a cheapo Les Paul copy and an even cheaper cheapo Superstrat copy. My LP has quite a bit of a voice, while the output of the strat is way thinner, even on it's bridge humbucker. Both guitars will Drive the clean channel well into distortion. Both Strat and LP produce a nice bluesy sing on the neck pickups, while the LP will make it to a harsher distortion on the bridge humbucker. With the volumes on the guitar well turned back and gain around 50% it will give a slightly nasal yet nice clean sound. Turn up the guitar volume, and you'll be able to get some emphasised Strokes into distorting slightly while otherwise playing clean. The sound will allyways maintain a somewhat vintagelike nasal tendency, which I find rather charming. And it is loud enough to crack your shades when turning it up in your room.
Overall Impression — 6
As said, clean or overdriven, calm or madly distorted, it is probably the aged cheap speaker that has it soundings a bit nasal at every time. I think it would give a marvelous Vintage sound with a Telecaster or other first generation electric guitar designs. I think it's sound best matches country like styles, bluesy stuff up to classic rock 'n' roll and mid-seventies rock. Good musicians will surely be able to profit from it's characterfull sound in modern styles, too. Especialy as retro-sounds are in fassion with a lot of bands. I'd say it is not suitable for heavy metal at all. Please prove me wrong! I got to know the Marathon amp at a friend od mine, Who bought one together with an aged guitar back in 1988. When I was looking for a cheap amp myself I remembered it, searched it on ebay and was lucky. They turn up there every now and then, never get expensive as all of them seem to have the problem with their connectors. I am very happy to have got it. I love it for it's characteristic sound. When I got it a friend of mine Who is a way better guitar player than me was absorbed for an hour by this cheap box. I would definately try to get one again. Is there anything I wish it had? Yes. None of it's shortcommings. But then it would probably be an expensive collectors item, or Marshall, Engl, Crate or whatever. I like it the way it is, and I won't be the only one.
Reliability & Durability — 3
Well-can you depend on it? I never yet stood on a stage with my guitar. So I have no idea whether or not it is "airworthy". The features definately enable it to connect to a PA, and it's range of sound will make it interesting for quite a few people. Mine came with scratchy controlls and loose contacts on every in and out channel. Remember it is a twenty year old korean cheapy amp. What should one expect? Mine came for J22, a soldering iron may cost J15, the spares J10. That's 37? and a bit of work for a do-it-yourselfer to get a nice sounding amp. Right, Marshalls are solid as a rock and sound perfect. But there are people Who don't have the money to pay J150 for an amp yet are good enough guitarists to demand a somewhat distinguished Crate. They are the ones I'm writing this for. I consider the Marathon an insider's thing the qualities of which yet have to be discovered. Mine never failed yet, and at home I can still live with it's shortcommings, until I get around to fix them.
Features — 6
This is a mid-'80s korean cheapo-production amp, tweed covered with sturdy metal caps covering all corners. You won't find any new ones, I guess. It is an all mono single channel with Headphone out, line out, footswitch in for the overdrive. The three soundcontrolls (bass/middle/trebble) do exactactly what it says on the tin, giving this little no-name thingy a wide range to vary the sounds. The gain control is a push-pull style knob wich operates the overdrive (pulled out). The volume is controlled seperately. All you need for home use and the occasional gig with friends (by the way, it's handy to transport).