Price paid: € 2000
Purchased from: MusicStore.de
Features — 9
Hand-wired Marshall 20 Watts head and 2x12 60 Watts cab. Made in England, 2013. Re-issue of the PA20 /Lead @ Bass 20 (model 2061), originele produced 1967-1973. The lunch-box sized head has 2 ECC83 preamp valves, 2 EL84 output valves. 4 channels (HI and LO Lead, and HI and LO Bass). Basic controls for both Lead and Bass channels: Volume & Tone. On-Off switch, no Standby switch. Switchable Impedance (4, 8, 16 Ohms). The 2x12 cab is loaded with a pair of G12H30 re-issue Celestion (8 Ohms), putting out 60 Watts between the pair of them. Very nicely made 3/4 size slanted cab, very manageable at only 24kgs.
Sound — 9
I play blues rock and classic rock. Main guitars include custom made T-style with P90's, S-style, Gibson SG Jr, LP style guitars as well. Most used effects include Kalamazoo (Lovepedal), BB Preamp (Xotic), Blue Sky (Strymon), TS808, Spacetime delay (Vahlbruch).
My other amps are Egnater Rebel 30 + extensions cab, Fender Blues Jr III.
About the Marshall 2061x:
While I have been very happy with both my Egnater and Fender combo amps, I was looking for a head / 2x12 cab combination. As far as my choice of output wattage goes: I have never understood the need for more than 40 Watts, at least not for guitarist playing in clubs and bars - the tribe to which most of us here belong. Being a classic rock aficionado, Marshall amps do of course hold a special, mythical place in my sonic heart :-) So when one day a very good deal on a used 2061XC cab presented itself, I found my perfect excuse to also purchase the matching 2061X head! The specs were perfect to me: 20 (LOUD!) Watts, no frills, the classic Marshall sound, and great looks to boot. Since no store in the wider area had a 2061X in stock, I took the chance of purchasing one online - without testing. Having read many a raving review, I was however quite assured it would be a fine amp. I already had the cab (purchased separately second-hand), which I had been playing both my Egnater Rebel 30 and Blues Jr III through. Both amps sounded absolutely brilliant through this cab! Once the head was delivered, I immediately put it through its paces. What a beauty this amp is! Brilliant warm tones, smooth to crunchy overdrives. The channel jumping option was new to me, but works like a charm: I connect the Lead LO channel to the Bass' HI channel, and mix both channels to my liking using the respective Volume knobs. Want more Bass? Turn up Bass channel volume knob. More Highs? Turn up Lead channels volume. To fine tune the tones of each channel, simply use the Tone knobs (higher value = more high freq's). Simple but very efficient system!
Up to about 4 you get warm, fairly clean tones. Between 4-6 sound start to mildly break up. 6-8: nice fat break-up, perfect for blues and classic rock tones. 8-10: Volume tops at 8, only breaking up even more towards 10, when you get a raunchy, fat typical Marshall crunch - at which point you are no longer able to wipe that grin off of your face ;-) All the while volume is very bearable indoors. Very usable at "bedroom level" up to 6, any further exploration of the volume and tones is entirely up to the goodwill of your neighbours or loved ones ;-)
Volume: using the amp at rehearsals and live!
Of course, when purchasing a low to medium powered amp, there's always a little concern whether it will hold its own in a band or live situation. Let me assure you straightaway: the Marshall 2061X does so indeed! At rehearsals (5 piece rock/blues band in my case) volume rarely needs to be higher than "3", coming along just nicely in the mix. I've played small (pub/bar) and mediums size (300 ppl) gigs with this amp. It's always un-miced, and volume levels, again, never need to go over 3 or 4. There you go, no need to worry about having enough juice with his amp! :-) The amp is also quite touch sensitive, which I like. So in other words: playing hard, will get you more volume, and vice versa (you can play at pretty bearable levels indoors, even with the amp cranked).
I use pedals sparingly, but consistently. Meaning that, in spite of having a very nice array of overdriven tones on this amp, I use both BB Preamp or, more often, Lovepedal's Kalamazoo to deliver rich drive tones. Which are obviously more easy to control and EQ than the overdrives from the amp. The 2061X takes these pedals absolutely graciously, even when the volume is cranked. Again, no worries.
Loaded with a pair of Celection G12H30's, the cab delivers warm, saturated tones. Because of the closed-back design, bass response is huge - which I love. Again, at 60 Watts I'm more than able to deliver all the volume that I might need for small to medium size gigs. Need more? Have the cab mic-ed, and you're all set for large venues. I also used the 2061X head through a vintage 1980's JCM800 Lead 2x12 cab. Sounds pretty good, although a bit too "mid-y", not like the wide range of frequencies you get with the 2061XC cab. So they really match up well!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Both head and cab are beautifully made, with great attention for detail. classic vintage Marshall style, what's not to like! The head is very portable at 10 Kgs, nicely balanced even - unlike it's larger brethren, who tends to lean to one side due to heavy transformers. Not so with the 2061X. Very worth mentioning: knobs are very well made, and are perfectly responsive: both Volume and Tone knobs respond very smoothly, not like the "On/Off" character of most cheaper amps. Hence the usability of the Volume knob even on setting 1 or 2. Inputs are also very well made, no rattling of any sort. A nice improvement to the original PA20 is the switchable impedance on the back of the 2061X. It let's you switch between different loads for different cabs (two output jacks present), just by turning the coin-slot switch. That, and the detachable poxer cord are also the only cosmetic difference between this re-issue and the original!
both head and cab are easily transportable. As I said, the head weighs in at 10kgs, is well balanced and has that very practical lunch box- format (rather large lunch box at that). The cab is 24kgs, has two sturdy side handles, and is very manageable for one person to carry up a flight of stairs. The pair of them will not kill your back, even if you're out gigging every weekend.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall impression is fantastic. It's not a cheap amp & cab, but given that it's hand-wired, and beautifully designed and assembled in the UK, I think it's well worth the money. They are very hard to find used - but if you can find one used, go for it, it's a no-brainer. Is it a typical Marshall one-trick pony? Perhaps it is, but it does the trick outstandingly. I might not be the amp to go for if you're a working session player, who needs a lot of headroom, and a neutral base for as many different tones as possible, but if you're a down-to earth kind of blues/rock player, looking for a great amp to use for the rest of your musical days, you can't go wrong with this bad boy!