Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Alto Music
Sound — 9
I usually stick to my Epiphone G-400 with Gibson Burstbuckers, my PRS knockoff with Seymour Duncan P-Rails, or my Epiphone Casino and it handles them all nicely. It can go from Blues to Rock and Funk to Country and a little bit of Jazz and some early Metal depending on how you tweak the EQ and the volume/tone on your guitar. I usually keep the Amp Volume at 12 O'clock and that's more than enough to crank the tubes into a sweet sweet overdrive. Keeping it here I get everything from Clapton tones on my G-400 to RHCP on the Casino (I have Californication nailed). I bring it up to 3 O'clock for Sabbath and it's epic. I roll off the volume on the guitar and the cleans come back, tweak the EQ right and anything's possible. Throw in some pedals and the sky's the limit. You're not gonna need a fuzz or od pedal but a good high gain pedal like a Metal Zone or Fullbore Metal can really bring out the potential if that's the sound you're after. I also run a DigiTech Expression Factory 7 and a Boss RC-20 Loop Station and they sound crisp and clear. But my favorite part of this thing, hands down, is how responsive it is to your touch and feel and the dynamics of your playing. If you tickle your strings, its going to sound warm and fuzzy, if you pluck them softly, it'll be round lucid and crisp, if you really hammer them the power of the resulting bark will knock the wind out of you. It's just really really REALLY responsive.
Overall Impression — 10
Honestly, this amp is the shit. It's awesome. I've had it up and running for 7 months and it really is the perfect match for me. I tested it against a Vox AC4TV and an Orange Tiny Terror and it just has this beautiful midrange bark versus more piercing highs of the others and that just suits me better. I've been playing a little over 3 years and mostly stick to Blues, Rock and Funk and I couldn't find a better amp. Occasionally I'll play some Metal, but that's where pedals come in, but that said the natural distortion it already has is oh so musically rich and dynamic. I'd definitely buy it again and again should anything happen to it and just pray that it's not a floor model. Again, a Gain knob and some Reverb would be nice and I could have waited for a Haze, but honestly, not a big deal for me. I just gotta go out and get a Holy Grail to put in front of my holy grail of tone. The tone and dynamics of this beast far outweigh any potential faults in it's simplicity or construction.
Reliability & Durability — 5
Meh, here's where I'm not to sure. A few days after Christmas '09 I go in to the store to check it out and it sounds great but they only have the one floor model for demonstration with God knows how many hours are on the tubes. But I like it a lot, so I buy it on the spot. I get it home and within a few minutes it sounds like ass and I smell smoke. I take it back and they take a week to change the tubes. I come back to pick it up and again, it sounds great in the store but when I get it home it doesn't even make a sound. I take it back again and they ship it out to the factory for a replacement. 4 months later I get a brand spanking new one and I haven't had a problem with it since. I've gigged with it, I've dropped it, I've walked with it for short distances in the rain and it still sounds amazing. Morel of the story? Don't buy floor models, but warning's a warning and I'm warning you; be careful and make sure what you get is what you pay for.
Features — 4
The Marshall Class 5 is a 5 Watt 1 Channel Tube Amp with the bare minimum for setting you up with Killer tone. It's got a Volume Knob and 3 Band EQ, Bass Middle and Treble, Speaker out for an extra 16 ohm cabinet and Headphones out. That's it. But that's all you really need to just set up and play. The only thing this doesn't have that I think it should is a Gain knob to get clean tones at a higher volume, but honestly you don't get a Marshall for its cleans. Reverb would be nice too, but again, Marshall isn't known for it's 'verb tanks. I use it for practice and open mic nights in small bars mostly. Since it's small and light, it's easy to store in my room and in the front seat of my car and it doesn't kill my arm or hinder my ability to move while walking with it. It's also surprisingly loud for only 5 Watts and can easily cut it's way through the mix in a crowded bar. Long story short, it doesn't have much, but what it does have it does exceptionally well.