Price paid: € 28
Features — 9
I bought the MS-2R, to be precise. Same thing, red cover. Feeling pretty rock 'n' roll now and then. Not really sure when it was made, but it was in Taiwan. (There goes the pride in buying your first Marshall, that sticker on the bottom...).
- 1 Volume knob,1 Tone knob and a 3-position knob (Off/On(Clean)/Overdrive positions)
- one 1/4" jack input for your guitar (duh)
- one 1/4" jack output for headphones
- 0.8 watt speaker.
- belt clip. A little clip on the back of the amp that allow you to mount it on your belt/jeans. This means you can pretty much wear your amp and Slash up your house,the streets,your workplace (although I don't think your boss would appreciate that).
Sound — 9
Here comes the fun part. When you see it, you think "what a cute little amp this is", right? WRONG! This thing is a beast! It's pretty loud for its size, never saw that coming. It's not too noisy, only noise I've got is when I turn it waaay up, and my guitars are quite noisy *cough*crappy*cough* anyway, even when I plug them in Marsh-mallow's (yes, it's got a pet name now) full-sized big brothers.
Both the overdrive and the clean modes are awesome, however they do come with minor flaws. The clean channelmarginally goes into overdrive when tone and volume are up all the way, especially with hot pickups, while the overdrive channel (again, only when going all-in) is a bit too fuzzy for my taste. A whole-hearted 9 for this. Would be a 10, but if the amp settings can't give me a 10, neither will I.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Much as I'd love to, I don't think I would use it for live, unless the gig is in my living room. Loud as it is, it's still a micro amp. The exterior is plastic, although it does look quite sturdy, to be honest. Pots are not scratchy (at least not yet, only got it for a month). Jacks seem sturdy enough, as well. It doesn't devour battery as I thought it would, I've played for more than 20-25 hours and it's still going, not even a sign of low battery or anything. For a practice amp, I think it will keep going for a few years without any problem, provided your dog doesn't make it a chew toy and you don't throw it down the stairs. An 8, just because I haven't had it long enough.
Overall Impression — 9
Honestly, I think this cute little beast is a keeper. I play mostly rock/hard rock, alternative, sometimes even metal (Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Muse, even the occasional Metallica or Iron Maiden) on a Harley Benton LP, a heavily customised Harley Benton SG and an Epiphone Riviera. Surprisingly, it can do pretty much any of these kinds (well, metal is pretty weak, the amp's overdrive can only give you so much). Especially for the rock parts, it's phenomenal, you can lead it and it will loyally follow, whether you want a screaming solo, a nasty rhythm part or a nice clean chord sound.
If it were stolen, I'd track down the bastard who took it, beat him up, take it back and buy Marsh-mallow an identical twin, just to get over the shock. The only thing I'd like would be a gain control knob, which is a feature of the MS-4, it's older sibling and, given my experience with this baby, I'd give that one a go as well. Marshall, good job on this one. Keep it going!