Price paid: $ 159.21
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 10
I'm a newb at guitar (have been playing for 2 1/2 months at the writing of this review). I use an ESP LTD M-50 with the stock ESP humbuckers. As stated above I play hard rock/grunge covers (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver, blur, Queens Of The Stone Age, nirvana)but also some pop-punk kinda stuff (Blink 182, Bloodhound Gang) and some nu-metal (Linkin Park). It plays all these styles really well. The amp doesn't suffer badly from any feedback or other humming noise of any sort, and when it is producing an unwanted noise it is usually solved by switching pickups or changing settings on my effects pedal. I can only describe the sounds I have attempted to play, which are stated above, but it does a good job on all the styles I have tried. Given a bit more practice I hope to be able to play more metal based genres, but from what I know of the amp I'm sure it will handle these sort of sounds perfectly well also. The clean channel can be slightly distorted at any volume is you use the crunch button, but if you desire clean tones at a high volume this amp can deliver. An example of this would be the intro section to "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters. The distortion can be pretty brutal if you turn the gain, bass and treble up full, middle at 50% on the boost channel, with OD2 selected. You can then adjust the contour to get pretty heavy distortion. It isn't capable of as much distortion as my effects pedal but it's still pretty good.
Overall Impression — 9
This amp definitely suits heavy hard rock genres, and I'd guess it would be useful for softer rock and other genres thanks to its many levels of boost and it's very good clean channel. I've been playing for approx 2 1/2 months and I own an ESP LTD M-50 and a Boss MT-2. It's impossible to lose something that weighs this much, but if it was stolen I would seriously consider getting another Marshall, either the same model or something similar to this. Maybe when I'm a better player I will get a Marshall tube stack, but this amp should last me several years. I love the fact that it's a Marshall and that it's much louder than I need it to be. I don't hate anything about it. My favourite feature is its seeming indestructability. The only way it could be better is if it was a tube amp and if it had a headphone jack.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This amp is fairly bullet proof and you'd have to drop it from a good height and be fairly unlucky in order for it to break. I have had no problems with it since I bought it, and the only problem the previous owner experienced is that the wires connecting the reverb unit to the rest of the amp came loose, and they are pretty easy to disconnect, but they can also be easily pushed back into place and soldering would solve the problem outright. Other than that this amp could take a beating. In addition it has very thick casing which makes it very heavy, but ensures that only superficial damage will occur if you bump it or smack it on something. I would definitely use it at a gig without backup, you are more likely to be killed by a stagelight dropping on you from above than for your Marshall to fail on stage.
Features — 9
The amp was made in 1999. I play hard rock, grunge style music and it seems to suit these styles well. Bands I cover: Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver etc. The amp has two channels. The first is a really warm, full sounding normal (clean) channel which allows the typical gain, treble, middle and bass adjustment knobs, but it also has a "crunch" button, which allows a slightly dirtier tone. The second is the boost (distortion) channel. This channel has the typical gain, treble, middle and bass adjustment knobs, but also has a contour knob and it's own volume knob so you can tailor the type of distortion you want. Also it has a button which switches between two different types of distortion (OD1 or OD2), and does for the boost channel what the "crunch" button does for the clean channel. Channel switching is available via footswitch or a button on the amp. There is also an effects loop but NO headphone jack. Another feature it has is the ability to link to a CD player via a jack on the rear of the amp, so that you can play CDs through it, and play along to them if desired. I would like it to have a headphone jack but I have another smaller practise amp with a headphone jack so it's not a big problem for me. I do not use the effects loop, and do not fully understand it's use, but that's because I will probably never use it. I use the amp at home and the venue where my band practices. It is 80 watts, so more than powerful enough to use at home obviously, and I use it in practice with the rest of my band, mainly with a Boss MT-2 metal zone pedal using the clean channel on the amp, although I occasionally plug directly into the distortion channel. The settings I use in practise are about %50 on my pedal, and about 30-40% on the master volume of the amp, nowhere near full power and still enough to be heard alongside the drums, a bass amp and our lead guitarist's Fender amp. I shudder to think of the potential full power of this amp. It's important to note that this is a transistor amp, not a tube amp.