Price paid: $ 399
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
Sound of the amp is amazing. I own two boutique Dr. Z amps. But for $400 I have to say the sound quality is what made this purchase an "impulse purchase". I wanted a small 5 watter because my 18 watt and 38 watt amps, are just way too loud (especially the Dr.Z MAZ 38). This amp will be perfect for adult contemporary pop, blues, rock and alt rock. This amp has a very bluesy, pop to it. It's very ballsy and has all the characteristics of the old Bluesbreaker, especially when you dime it. The new Celestion 10" speaker is like like a "blue" and has a Killer tone with loads of breakup and harmonic overtones. I love it! Clean is not happening too much with this amp. All that has to come from your guitar volume and how you play. She's like a plexi with that constant bite. The distortion is amazing - harmonic, rich, who needs a pedal! Perfect for a two amp setup, one higher watt amp to handle cleans, then do an a/b Switch to this box for your leads... Killer tone!
Overall Impression — 8
Overall impressions are: For $400 this is one of the best sounding amps I've ever played. Like I said above, I have Dr. Z Maz38 and Dr.Z Carmen Ghia - all hand wired, point to point, built like tanks and sound like Mother f'ers... But... I paid a lot of dinero for them. For $400 this amp sounds amazing and Marshall really got it right with this amp. I'd like to see this same amp in an 18 Watt, or even 40watt model some day. Very killer. What I love is how light it is... Fits on the floor in the back seat of my car. It's very clean, easy to carry - 12lbs, and for an old man, that's cool! What I hate is the poor layout of how one can get at the tubes. No gigging musician or studio musician can take an hour to change a tube!
Reliability & Durability — 2
Reliability and Durability: This is where the Class 5 starts to fall apart. No pun intended. EL84's usually get 100 to 300 hours of life on them. Changing the tubes in this amp, especially at a gig, might as well be like changing the lens on the Hubble Telescope. On most amps, the tubes are exposed, from the back and can easily be changed. On the Class 5, you have to literally remove the 3 PIECE back, 4 chassis screws (back and top), remove the chassis before you can get to the tubes. Then, good luck getting it all back together. The Chassis bolts and nuts must be made of slag because on my first day of ownership, I stripped them. Bad! Luckily the chassis bolts and their threads they screw into are standard rack mount hardware, so it is easily replaceable, just painful! Also, one thing to keep in mind. EL84's rattle! All of them! So, you'll want to put some kind of dampener on these (herbies dampeners), but you'll have to go through my pains. One Other Thing - Do Not use a powered drill/screw driver to remove the chassis bolts. Since they are slag, the heads will strip easily. Made that mistake too.
Features — 7
Amp was delivered to GC new on 5/25/2010. I purchased 6/11/2010. Class 5 is perfect for blues, rock, or just about anything. I have some awesome pedals before it, (Fulltone Supa Trem, Maxon Delay, BB, AC, Zen Drive, etc...) Takes them all very well. Class 5 is a single channel amp, which is basically the perfect amp for me. I scale everything from the guitar and when I need to take a rocketship, I stomp on the BB. This amp will be used at home and live gigs where I am the "session" guitarist backlining for a vocalist. I'll have all "juice" for a full blown solo, but, she (the vocalist) remains in the spot light. Meaning, I'm not hogging the sonic tone of the stage and blowing away the first 8 rows! Perfect for the genre of blues, or blues with a twist. Features: Simple! Love it! Volume, treble, mid and bass. Two ECC83's and one EL84. Does have a circuit board.