MG100HDFX review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.5 Good
  • Users' score: 7.2 (290 votes)
Marshall: MG100HDFX
0

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.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    HelpComputah
    The above comment that there are better, cheaper half stacks is BS. The only (New)half stacks cheaper than the MG100hdfx are from Crate. They're not bad, but Crate's gain channels tend to be very sterile IMO. That's not necessarily bad for extreme metal, but if your looking for more of an crunchy Marshall tone, then get the freakin' Marshall! As far as other competitors, there's Randall with the RX120, but that's no cheaper than the Marshall and again, doesn't have the Marshall vibe. There's Carvin, which you have to buy on faith because you can't try it out before hand. There's Peavey but they no longer make a halfstack in the MG100's price range (the Supreme XL is discontinued). Line 6? I can't stand the Spider III's, personally. Of course, I've yet to play one that didn't have serious bugs in the FX sections. I don't own an MG myself, but in over a decade of playing I've come across plenty of SS Marshalls. Most of them have been OK. The MG series are easily their best S.S. designs since the 1980's. They are about on part with the pre-AVT Valvestates IMO. They deliver a good approximation of the crunchy Marshall tone many guitarists crave (including myself) for not a lot of $$. They are definitely transistory sounding when compared to their big brothers in the JCM series. Nonetheless, it's more than possible to get a nice tone out of the MG with the Marshall flavor that other amps just don't do as well (including modeling amps). Is the MG100HDFX as good as a JCM2000 DSL? Of course not! Is a DSL halfstack worth $1500 more than the MG half stack! Hell no! No one buys an all-tube stack out of necessity anymore. They buy them because they CHOOSE to and can afford to. Guitarists love to delude themselve into thinking they NEED this or that, and this board is full of those delusional types IMO. Tube amps are not worth starving one's self over. Choose with your ears, and buy what you can afford. Take all written opinions (including the naysayers) with a grain of salt.
    maca-venagas
    most of these reviewers say that they have been playing for like 2 months, and so many people here who have also been playing for two months believe them in all that they say. to all those beginners out there, ask yourself, would u be able to truthfully recommend a good amp, for whatever type of music, for whatever type of place. Could u do that? no. hell no. because your only starting out,uve played on two amps in ur lifetime and only owned one. everyones first amp sounds good to them. dont go reviewing it here on UG. talk to veteran guitar players, read their reviews.they have been around, played heaps of amps, heard heaps of bands and been around the scene, they not whats good for practice, gigging, the lot. dont listen to someone who just got a guitar and amp and thinks " wow what i play on this horizontal music majigy goes to this amp where is comes out all loud and distoted, WOW THIS AMP IS THE BEST!! im going to go to UG and give it a ten, without visiting the forums or asking anyone else about it" beginners most likely havent tuned their ears to good tones and such, they just hear clean and distortion, bass and treble. you can trust someone who has heard hundreds of amps and knows the very intricacys of the tones, and the different types. so please if u have been playing guitar for anywhere up to a year, dont review things here, you are destroying the young guitar community and making them buy crappy amps, which may make them get sick of guitar and alternative music, and they go back to buying to buying black eyed peas and panic at the disco albums. Just dont listen to beginners.
    webbtje
    jessejames1414 wrote: This amp makes me sad ;-;. I was like "yay Marshall " than I felt like I was dating the sexy football captain until I realized he likes to do it in the ass and is abusive.
    Lovin' it. got one of these in the music room in school, i basically use it as a speaker, with my own distortion and effects. no ****ing way would i even dream of buying this as an amp.
    last_biscuit
    To all the people on here claiming this amp sounds amazing and better than any other even near the price: Crank this amp past half master volume, and come back and say what you think. This amp can sound fine, like most other solid-state amps at low volumes, but once you put the thing into gigging volume, you lose the thickness and just end up with a really trebley sound. This amp is fine for bedroom use, though if you have a stack for bedroom use i don't see the point, but try gigging a decent-sized venue with this and by the look on the soundguys face you'll know how this amp truly sounds. All down to opinion though of course
    nik_I
    last_biscuit wrote: To all the people on here claiming this amp sounds amazing and better than any other even near the price: Crank this amp past half master volume, and come back and say what you think. This amp can sound fine, like most other solid-state amps at low volumes, but once you put the thing into gigging volume, you lose the thickness and just end up with a really trebley sound. This amp is fine for bedroom use, though if you have a stack for bedroom use i don't see the point, but try gigging a decent-sized venue with this and by the look on the soundguys face you'll know how this amp truly sounds. All down to opinion though of course
    ditto. and i actually have an mg series amp
    shredder_666
    Hart_Attack : shredder_666 wrote: rockdude_2008 : i was gonna buy this but everyone told me it sucked, wow differnces in opinions on ultimate-guitar.com whoever told you that is a moron, this amp is one of the best issued by marshall. dont let the cheap price fool you man...go out and get it. Ive had this amp for six months and it has never let me down unlike the tube amps ive used forever. you sir, are an idiot. a shit solid state over a tube? Man you must be like 13 or something Dude....chill. Im just saying it like it is. I used the fender hot rod deluxe for a few years and the tubes kept going microphonic. Then i checked out the peavey valveking 100, not really a bad amp but still there is a reason that it is only about $530. The JVM410 head is really good though and ill probably invest into that. Get a grip on yourselves. Just because an amp is a solid state does not mean that it is a shitty amp. The good tube amps are the ones that are $2000 a piece and not many of us can afford that. There are some solid states that are better than tubes out there. This is not a bad amp. Im in a band, i have done many shows with it, cranked it to its full potential and if you actually know how to work it youll hear that it sounds really great. You can crank this amp and get great sounds out of it. So go ahead and get this but take some time to see how it works in order to run it properly. Thats what i do and i havent had one bad show yet with the amp. We played with another band that had this amp and they sounded good too. Its obviously not comparable to the JVM or anything from the JCM or Vintage Modern series but its not a bad amp. For a solid state, its really quite good.
    High_o
    Get a grip on yourselves. Just because an amp is a solid state does not mean that it is a shitty amp. The good tube amps are the ones that are $2000 a piece and not many of us can afford that. There are some solid states that are better than tubes out there. This is not a bad amp. Im in a band, i have done many shows with it, cranked it to its full potential and if you actually know how to work it youll hear that it sounds really great. You can crank this amp and get great sounds out of it. So go ahead and get this but take some time to see how it works in order to run it properly. Thats what i do and i havent had one bad show yet with the amp. We played with another band that had this amp and they sounded good too. Its obviously not comparable to the JVM or anything from the JCM or Vintage Modern series but its not a bad amp. For a solid state, its really quite good.
    whilst it is true that it isn;t that bad of an amp, there are cheaper, better solid state amps out there (such as the cubes and vox valvstates)
    last_biscuit
    High_o wrote: whilst it is true that it isn;t that bad of an amp, there are cheaper, better solid state amps out there (such as the cubes and vox valvstates)
    Vox Valvtronix you mean? Marshall make the Valvestate :p:
    Kirenjob
    MG's don't suck. People reckon that just cause they are a solid state amp they are pathetic. For a solid state they are brilliant.
    High_o
    Vox Valvtronix you mean? Marshall make the Valvestate :p:
    oops, yeah that one
    High_o
    MG's don't suck. People reckon that just cause they are a solid state amp they are pathetic. For a solid state they are brilliant.
    no they're not. you can get better one's for a cheaper price.
    High_o
    The above comment that there are better, cheaper half stacks is BS
    you talking about me? because i said there are better ss amps for the same price (or less), not better half stacks. roland cubes and vox valvetronix's are better (and you can get a valvetronix head anyways, so there are better halfstacks) you talk about people deluding themselves, saying they need a tube amp. well, the biggest delusion of a ll is that you need a ****ing halfstack. combo+mic=just as good as a halfstack, with none of the hassle of buying and transporting a cab.
    maca-venagas
    ALSO_ i can bet that zakk wylde gets paid a shit load to endorse MG amps, but look at his collection and he wont have one. hes one of the best guitarists around, why the **** would he take an MG over a Mesa, Engl or orange? or any high class marshall for that matter. think about it you ****s its the world of advertising and greed. MGs cost shit all to make and still cost a bit. so if u get someone like zakk to endorse it, mindless newbs like these reviewers are gunna flock to them and make marshall an absolute shitload. Personnally i havent played this amp, or any MG. but ive been told by many guitar veterans to stay away from them. And i will. If i get the opportunity to play it at a store i will. but anyything that is loved by begginers and hated by pros really is worth my time. Im no begginer, and next amp will be a VOX Valvetronix AD50VT. great sounding and great value. its a much loved amp too.
    fingers62887
    MG Series is a big let down played this at guitar center and thought i was playing through a no-name brand i have A JCM900 Marshall Head And A Krankenstein Head And play both through A krankenstein CAB. If You dont have the money for an actual Marshall I would Recommend Trying this amp and many others at this price range NOT A GOOD PRODUCT.
    SG_Man_1810
    do you need to buy the cab as well or can you just use the head? Im not using it for gigging but just bedroom practise really...I know this is loud for practising but Im hoping one day to be gigging with it, at which point I will buy a cab, but Im not sure if both are required straight away!?
    High_o
    Zakk doesnt use this model. Marshall just came out with a Zakk Wylde signature mini stack MG. He just uses it as a practice amp. I think the mini stack MG is the only decent one outta the whole bunch.
    do you realise that the ZW micro stack is just a crappy mg15 head with tiny cabs, and the signature part is just some bullseyes drawn on? he is paid to say that he uses these amps. why would he use an unweildly micro stack as a practice amp when there are so many better practice amps that would give better tone, are more veratile, and would be so much easier to movearound (as htey are combos)?
    EiDF202
    People who are saying '...solids are crap, but a tube...' should realise that tubes don't suit everyone. I have this amp, go it with the MG cab and was contented, not blown away. I then plugged it in to an AVT cab and with the added lower end response of the AVT it's probably the baest amp i've played. I play proggy/post rock stuff ad if you're going to run a tonne of effects through an amp, like I do, the this is the one fo you.
    jessejames1414
    This amp makes me sad ;-;. I was like "yay Marshall " than I felt like I was dating the sexy football captain until I realized he likes to do it in the ass and is abusive.
    High_o
    best amp for the price? no ****ing way. fairly decent tone? maybe. people are complete ****s for buyin a solid state stack. buy a smaller tube combo, not this. you dont really ever need a 100watt stack
    bierstier
    Shredlet wrote: Ive heard that the MG's are meant to be really crap is this a lie or does it have some truth to it?
    I have one and i think that's really crap idd
    CORT noob
    gibsonlespaul44 wrote: i also own this amp. if your into punk music like fallout boy, greenday, ect. youll love this amp. also corle is right. they reason they are lying is to get u to buy a different one like one in the jcm series. this is the best solid state amp for the price and sound
    They are not punk bands, and there are solid states equally as crappy as this for a lot less than the price.
    StuC
    thunderinblack wrote: zakk wylde sometimes uses it
    No he doesn't, that would be daft. Why would he play an MG over his old JCM800's? Oh and just because marshall say he uses mg's doesn't mean he does.
    CORT noob
    shaunems wrote: i have been playing for 6 years and im in a band is this the right amp for me?
    If you have been playing that long, you deserve a better amp, for $600 you could go tubes.
    DaBlackE
    StuC wrote: thunderinblack wrote: zakk wylde sometimes uses it No he doesn't, that would be daft. Why would he play an MG over his old JCM800's? Oh and just because marshall say he uses mg's doesn't mean he does.
    Zakk doesnt use this model. Marshall just came out with a Zakk Wylde signature mini stack MG. He just uses it as a practice amp. I think the mini stack MG is the only decent one outta the whole bunch.
    Jimmy_Page1944
    I think the mini stack MG is the only decent one outta the whole bunch.
    Then you are obviously a bad thinker.
    stephen_rettie
    i wouldnt pisson this amp guys seriously not jusrt sayen that cause theres better amps ouyt there but the mg seies is just shit in general some ppl would say they cant afford a mesa or a tube amp or whatever im saving up i dont want to settle for shite which is what this is im saving up for a DSL401, ya it will take a while but man is it gonna be worth it
    llanafreak44
    Wow. I can't believe how many people are going to buy this amp because of these reviews by gear noobs.
    Doodleface
    go to the forum. go to the "Guitar Gear and Accesories" forum, then click on the "The Ultimate Gear Information Sticky:Incorporating Info on Amps, FX and Pickups" and the "Amps Q and A thread and ONLY "Which Amp?" Thread" read up. you will find better amps for the price and more useful information
    pub hero
    Hahaha. People LIKE the MG series? I guess if you're running a Yamaha Pacifica or a Squier you'll like anything.
    DaBlackE
    Jimmy_Page1944 wrote: I think the mini stack MG is the only decent one outta the whole bunch. Then you are obviously a bad thinker.
    Why? Do you think all the MGs are good or you think they're all crap? I said the mini stack MG was DECENT, not good, not okay, not great but DECENT for a practice amp. Maybe you should explain what ya meant instead of just typing in one ****ing sentence.
    68_SG
    worst Marshall ever... period i hope they stop that line and get back and stick with the hybrids and tubes
    Chinomaster182
    I want to cry after reading all this newbness. Best amp in the price range? This is easily at the bottom right next to the spider, under no circumstances would i consider buying this pos.
    people_hate_me
    i play an epi sg and i find the mg alright with that....has a good distortion channel but very shitty clean channel unless ya use sum reverb and chorus, then its not as bad
    the_dogs_master
    It's good to see that snobbery is alive and kicking! My son has just got an MG100hdfx, he's more than happy with it, and I've been impressed by its sound and versitility for the money. He's got it to replace his ageing Marshall valve amp, which isn't always reliable for gigging. I've found that the MG sounds best on od2, with the fdd button in. This way the amp produces a warm valve-like tone, but this is just personal preference. So far, we've tried it with a Gibson Les Paul Studio, a Les Paul Custom, a Tele and a custom built rosewood and maple Lawsuit, with hand wound pickups, made to my spec, which make EMGs sound like single coils (sensible offers over 12,000 only), and this amp has sounded great. Alright, it's not a JCM or a Mode Four, but with the built in effects and it's output, it strikes a good balance between home use and live work, on a sixteen year olds budget. Bear in mind also that rock and roll is not all about playing Stairway To Heaven note for note, it's 80% image. In all the years that I've been playing, one name is synonymous with rock music, Marshall. A Vox is great if you're in a sixties cover band (I've even got an old AC myself), Krankenstein are awesome amps, especially if you don't mind being seen as a metalhead and can put up with the sniggers behind your back. When all is said and done, if you're looking for a new 100 watt head and 4X12 cab for less than 350, than I personally would like to see a better deal.