Price paid: £ 200
Purchased from: Private seller
Features — 7
Pretty straight forward two channel amp. 12AX7 preamp valves and EL34 power amp valves give it the classic Marshall setup. Clean has full band EQ and the gain has Gain balance and overall gain. Master spring reverb, presence resonance. Nothing spectacular in the features but plenty to be able to tailor you clean sound and overdrive. Would be nice to have the footswitch turn the reverb on and off. Two side handles help with transport. Has a special designed 75x speaker that's okay but nothing special
Sound — 8
Okay these amps get very mixed reviews. People either think their great and others thinks it's the worst Marshall ever made! I needed a cheap amp for a covers band I joined as didn't want to take my full rig. Like most working musician I have a very limited budget. I seen this amp advertised for a great price so decided to take the chance on it. I use pedals and I heard the clean channel is good so thought if the OD was rubbish I can just rely on my pedals. The first thing to note this amp is pretty light for a valve combo. The clean channel is great with a nice bright crisp tone. If you drive it with some humbuckers it breaks up nicely and it also takes pedals really well. The overdrive channel isn't instantly great, at low volume it's pretty much unusable. I decided to try adding a cheap volume attenuator in the FX Loop so I could crank the preamp without taking the windows out. What a difference! The amp really opens up when the pre amp I flat out, it's worth noting that these have a bright cap on the volume pot so at full volume the cap gets bypassed. I think the bright cap really causes these amps problems and should really be removed (something I may do!) the crunch balance control is pretty useful as it allows you to Find the right amount of drive you need. I play more indie/Britpop style so never enter the "metal" territory but this amp can do that if needed. With a Les Paul I was able to go from Clapton Cream era right up to '90s Oasis. The clean lets me to get a Johnny marr style tone (with a little chorus). The speaker is not the best and I recently heard one with a Vintage 30 Celestion and it made a huge difference. Unfortunately first impressions do count and a lot of people got put off these when they first heard them but the plus side is they can be picked up really cheap! With a little work you really can get some great tones out of this amp. I prefer the clean channel to the drive but that's just me.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Seems pretty well made and it's so far with stood a good few gigs and survived the back of the van! The valves could be housed a little better but I've so far had no problems. I bought it used so I have no idea what Marshall's customer service is like so can't comment on that. The finish seems good and all the pots seem okay. It has cheap valves in it from factory so I would suggest a re valve if it still have original tubes. I opened this up and everything seems well soldered nicely finished off
Overall Impression — 9
All in all this I good work horse valve amp. The clean channel is great and it takes pedals really well. The overdrive could be better but with a bit of work it can be excellent. You can pick these up really cheap and would be a huge step up from a modern day soildstate/digital amp. I get some great tones at gig volume so the amp seems to really open up when cranked. Dare I say it's almost JCM-900 like at high volume. If you just want this for home use I would suggest you get a cheap volume attenuator for the FX loop.