Price paid: $ 321.82
Purchased from: GO Music
Sound — 8
I use an Epiphone Les Paul Standard/Classic of the same year as this stack (2003) loaded with Ernie Ball Not Even Slinky.12 gauge strings, which suits what I play and my playing style quite well. I also keep an '02 Fender Strat close at hand as well, loaded with.11 gauge strings also from Ernie Ball, for some playing with a clean channel, blues, or leads. The only time you can get "negative feedback" (or just a lot of static-type noise when you're not playing anything) is when you use a single-coil equipped guitar, but that has to do with the single-coil pickups and not the amp itself. However, the fan that keeps the head cool on mine does tend to be very noisy when you first Switch the amp on. It's a mere niggling complaint though, albeit very annoying. As I said earlier, the amp has great tone on the clean channel which doesn't really distort any any volume and acceptable tone using the OD2 overdrive channel. The Crunch and OD1 channels have less than acceptable, muddy, can I say "cheap" tone and they are best not used. Overall, the distortion has backbone, but no balls, if I make any sense. However, if you really want a nice, distorted, crunchy tone, buy a Boss DS-1, Metal Core, EHX Metal Muff or any other distortion-type pedal and click it on through the clean channel. That should provide a nice, clear, distorted sound suitable for whatever you want to play, depending on the settings. For the price I paid though, the tone overall is nice.
Overall Impression — 7
For playing metal, hardcore, alt., and the other styles of rock I play, this amp tends to be a good match. I've been playing for almost six years now so I'm not terribly experienced, but I'm not exactly a beginner either. I also own a garden variety of what you would call cheap guitars, I have a Squier Strat and a Telecaster Special which are my back-up guitars to my Les Paul and Fender Strat. When I bought my amp I just wish I could have listened to the cooling fan and asked what was up with it (I think it's just a quirk, though, since I've heard that MG just have noisy cooling fans in different reviews on different sites). If this amp vanished, were stolen, set on fire, hit by a Mack truck, shot in a Drive-by, blown up by Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass crew, or mauled in some freak accident featured on Scarred, I don't know if I would go for another MG half-stack, as I wouldn't pay the price for one of these puppies brand-new. These amps are better off purchased as used equipment or in blowout sale where the price is brought down to the three-hundred dollar and below mark. I love the clean tone, however, it's not as bad as most people make it out to be and is much better than other MGs I've had the (dis)honor of playing. Whoever had this half-stack before me must have a good ear and played a few others MGs before settling on it. As I said before, I loathe the Crunch and OD1 channels, as well as the noisy cooling fan. The effects are a nice feature, although I fail to find a favorite feature on this amp. I played my used MG stack against a Randall half-stack and a Line6 Spider II half-stack. The MG was the better amp out of the three hands down (for those Who hate the MG half-stack, play a Spider II: they're probably the worst half-stack out there). This amp is going to have to last me a pretty damn long time until I can get a Mesa Boogie Rectifier.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Could I depend on my MG half-stack? Why of course. This amp is sturdy as a lead brick and I could use this at any upcoming gig without a backup. A plus to the MG-Series, or any other solid state-type amp as far as that goes, is that they can hold up to extreme amounts of punishment. My MG hasn't broken down so far and it probably won't if I hold up my end and take good care of my equipment.
Features — 7
I purchased my Marshall MG100 Half-Stack used, badly needing an upgrade from the small, practice-level Fender amp I was soldiering on with. Both the MG412 cab and the head were made in early 2003. The MG Half-Stack comes with a clean/crunch channel and another OD1/OD2 channel, as well as built-in effects (delay/chorus, delay, chorus, and flanger, as well as reverb). There is also Valvestate-type emulation with the FDD button on this amp, which gives just a little more "ooomph" to the clean channel. I find that this half-stack has the power I'm looking for as a guitarist Who plays mostly metal, hardcore, progressive, and alternative and also as a guitarist in a band preparing to enter gigs, etc. This particular MG100 stack has a great tone when you play it clean and acceptable tone with the OD2 channel, both channels actually being much better than the few MGs I've played in the past in shops. However, as with those other MGs, I find the Crunch and OD1 channels are useless nevertheless, providing horrible, muddy tone not much better than the Frontman amp I had to use previously to my purchase of this used amp. Use of these channels are best avoided entirely. The built-in effects are very nice, though I'm partial to the delay effect myself. The effects aren't actually half bad. As with the entire MG-Series line, though, the sound tends to be less authentic Marshall. Put any MG in front of a AVT or JCM, or even the VS that the MG-Series replaced, and you'll savor the chance to buy at least the head unit from any of those other series. The Marshall patina is there, just not in the very high doses that you'd expect.