Price paid: £ 200
Sound — 5
I'm using a Les Paul copy by Rally (GL-400) with some generic covered humbuckers. When trying to do punk rock etc on the overdrive channel this amp reaches somewhere from O.K to Good. Once you try a style that needs a clean sound, you're out of luck. By default the amp puts a chorus effect on the clean channel which in my opinion ruins it (a bad chorus effect but it may appeal to some). Effects can be disabled by hitting the FX button but you're still left with a lacking and honestly unacceptable tone. Perhaps if you've got enough time to tweak the hell out of this thing you might get a slightly better result. The crunch channel is ok but lacks the diversity that you would get from a tube amp which leaves it feeling somewhat redundant. Ticking over on clean on even a low volume, this thing emits a loud buzz worsened only by the effects that always seem to turn themselves back on. Overdrive 2 at loud levels is something you want to stay far away from. Distortion is ok on this amp but lacks the depth and soul that you'd get from a tube amp. However, for a solid state amp, it's passable.
Overall Impression — 5
I bought this naively thinking that I'd get some kind of tone reminiscent of the more pricey Marshall amps. I was wrong. I mainly play punk and general rock where I need a good overdriven tone but that's something I've yet to find with this amp. I've been playing for around 5 years now but have only been really getting into playing over the last 2 years which is when I started to become aware about equipment and how it influenced your tone. When I purchased this, I did so on the hope that the brand name would provide which I'm sad to say it didn't. If this were stolen I would definitely not get another. There are plenty of options out there that provide much more versatility and can get you closer to that Marshall tone than this can. If you're looking at buying this amp and/or are looking for a 50 watt combo around 200 I'd recommend you check out the Vox Valvetronix instead of this. Clearly, brand name is not everything.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Though it feels cheap to the touch, it's fairly heavy and seems quite well built. I've had no problems with the amp so far apart from an issue with the footswitch which was simply a contact problem and was likely a one-off. Right now I've got nothing else to gig with so I'd have no choice but to use it. However, given the circumstances, I think I'd be safe gigging with it and not needing a backup.
Features — 4
I don't know the exact date the amp was made but it seems to be fairly recent. Versatility? I wouldn't say that's one of this amp's strong points. I'm experimenting with a number of different styles at the moment and this amp has been a real struggle to get the tone I needed. It does put out an ok crunch/overdrive type sound with some tweaking but otherwise you'll be lucky to get the tone you want. The amp comes with 4 channels, fully customisable and footswitchable which are by default: Clean, Crunch, Overdrive and Overdrive 2. It includes a feature Marshall calls Frequency Dependant Damping which is supposed to make the amp behave more as if it were a tube amp but its still blatantly solid state. The output to the speaker can be easily detached to allow you to hook this thing up to a different cabinet should you wish to. Also included is an MP3 in, good for playing along and an emulated 1/8' headphone jack which ends up sounding dramatically different to what you'd hear coming from the amp normally. There are some built in effects including Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Reverb etc but I tend to stay away from those as they are pretty poor and sacrifice tone too much. One thing I will say is that this thing is loud and could be used for gigging. Much over 1/4 on the Master volume and the neighbours start complaining. That being said, it doesn't exactly sound great at high volume.