Price paid: $ 279
Purchased from: Coyle's Richboro Music
Sound — 8
I use a guitar with single coils, another with EMGs, and finally another two with standard passive PAF style humbuckers through this guitar, and they all sound great for what they're made to do. The clean channel on this amp is wonderful, utilizing a simple two-band eq a la Fender, and the single coils sound full and retain plenty of headroom for clean playing due to the solid state construction of this amp. The EMGs kick this thing real hard on the overdrive channel, and the PAFs really show the versatility of this amp, letting it go from crunchy clean to full bore metal all on the lead channel. This amp isn't very noisy, far quitter than my 5150's lead channel, and it has a wonderful sound to it. The Distortion is versatile, using a three band eq, and past seven it gets pretty brutal, albeit in the vein of the JCM style Marshalls that tis amp is modeled after. The overdrive channel can get you anywhere from AC/DC to old school death and black metal, but for those who prefer modern, post 1990 style distortion in the vein of super-high gains American amps like mEsas or Peavey, this amp will probably need a boost or a pedal, otherwise you're covered. I play blues, punk, and thrash with this amp, and it really lets me get some warm clean tones, and the overdrive lets me go from punk to extreme European style thrash and black metal. Beware though, this amp is distinctly British, it doesn't do super articulate, ultra gain chugga lugg tuned to drop-A, it's aimed more at those who want a dirty channel that sounds dirty rather than gainy. Some people looking at this amp may desire a presence or resonance control, but these can be emulated by throwing a Boss GE-7 eq in the effects loop and utilizing the 100hz and 6.4k knobs, although the top and bottom end are set very well already. Additionally, both channels take to pedals extremely well, as most solid states do. Thing loved both the Boss HM-2 I pu in front of it, and the Boss MT-2, a common weapon in most peoples arsenal, which will provide you with that articulate chugga lugg I was talking about previously.
Overall Impression — 9
This amp was a Diamond in the rough find for me. I was looking for a practice amp and found something I canuse both for practice and live! I've been playing guitar for three years, bass for eight, and classical instruments for 12, and I can tell you these little things are a great platform for pedals to change up your sound a bit. I own a Peavey 5150 II and a Marshall 1960A cab, along with a small batch of guitars. The only things I wish I had asked when I bought this would have been "where can I find more of these?" as I love the sound and I'd love to get my hands on some of the larger models with more options and channels, such as the 150h model. If this were lost or stolen I definitely try to replace it, but I think it would be a bit hard due to the relative rarity of these amps now. I'd have to studiously watch eBay and Craigslist. My favorite thing about this amp is how good it sounds for such a simple thing, with no presence control, it could have been a disaster, but instead the boys at Marshall found the perfect place to set the eq for both channels. I don't hate anything about this amp, only that I had to wait almost three months before I could bring it home! I compared this amp to a Peavey Vypr 60 solid state, a Marshall TSL 60 combo, and of course my 5150, and it outclassed both the combos as far as warmth and sound, but the 5150 easily this in terms of gain, but this little monster still has plenty. I wish it had some extra onboard effects like delay, flanger, and chorus, but for what it is, this amp is a certified Mega find for me!
Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing has already made the rounds for at least few years before I picked it up, so I'd rely on it. It hasn't broken down yet, although I haven't had it too long, the only thing I'd be worried about is buying a new 12ax7 or fixing a busted transistor if it happens, both cheap and easy fixes. I'd gig with this without a backup, solid states that actually have time put into them are great, and this one was made in the UK!
Features — 8
This little screamer was probably made around the turn of the century. I don't know, as I picked it up second hand. This amp is versatile enough to rock everything from squeaky clean jazz to thrash and black metal, and its 50 watts of solid state power, backed up by a 12ax7 tube in the preamp, are enough to move between bedroom playing and a live show with the appropriate 4x12. This Marshall comes with two channels, clean and dirty, and both are eq'ed very well. The addition of a great reverb just add to the charm. I play this amp in my room, where I need to take it between super low volume during the day to loud as hell when no one is home. The only things this amp doesn't have is built in effects other than reverb, but askign for that when you've got this is getting a little picky. This amo has an effects loop, a CD/aux in and a headphone jack, and my personal favorite, a jack for speakers, which gives the player the choice of using different cabs for different gigs. Overall, this amp has great features, but modern players who are used to lots of onboard effects may feel that more effects could have been added.