Sound — 6
The sound. I will say this, it sounds great at mid to high volume, at lower volumes it sounds pretty pathetic to be honest. I play jazzy blues most of the time, a few extoic notes here and there, it plays well like most amps to this, the distortion (like most cheap marhalls) sounds pretty fake, and really cant be eumlatyed by any amp unless it has a tube power amp section, 2 6LV's or whatever they use, cant remember. I will comment that there is an utter lack of bass, and the EQ controls dont do much to the sound coming out of the amps 12" speaker. The amp shines best when you simply hit the strings harder and get that "spank" sound you get from hitting a guitar hard, its just boosting the voltage going into the 12ax7 pre amp valve, and distoring nicely. Id say this amp would be great for the rhythm player with a strat or similar single coil pickup, as the bass frequencies cant be heard, which are more suited to humbucking guitars. If this amp was more bassey, id give it an 7. Also, like many other marshalls, the 50Hz mains hum on this beast is rediculous!, you need to be about 5 feet away from it if you plan on recording, and make sure you have no fluresent lights running.
Overall Impression — 7
For a Marshall amp, there is not comparison with the old jT45's, and even the JCM 900. Upon opening up, you realise theyre not built for the road inside, recording in your bedroom, and a few small gigs, yes. Nearly every Marshall I've come across has had a fault / needed work to get it going again. Unfortunately, like everything else, things are getting cheaper, and marshalls are made in india now (I think), the cheaper ones anyway, shipped back to england for the enclosure to be made. My general impression is this amp is one of the last to b made in the UK, and I think it's time we saw another Iconic amp like the AC30 or a JTM45 with the same craftmasnship and longevity to be made. You can still but AC30's off ebay!, theyre like classic cars and pretty user servicible! Will this amp be around for another 30 years?.. nah.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I bought it from a friend who was a music teacher at my school, he sold it to me on the basis it needed reapiring as the clean channel cut out randomly, and overall it was quite unreliable. I finished repairing it last night, after taking it apart with the help of my father, and my neighbour Who used to work for Marconi eletronics, we checked all the capacitors, and resoldered a few dry joints, and a pathetic repair someone had made to some of the resistors which had gotten hot. It looked like crow shit. Plugged it in and found all the channels are working great. Its been well abused in the past, as the PCS was covered in salt water residue, so its probably been to the sea side at one point. That was probably its cause of faliure last time due to short circuiting, and general neglect, and probably many spilt pints of beer. I'll say it will probably last well enough if you look after it.
Features — 7
This amp was made around 92? Its pretty old. It shows on the PCB as it uses larger resistors and capacitors and found on older amps (more on that later). The ususal Marshall setup, 2 channels, 2 boots on each channel, reverb, eq. The novelty of this amp is that it uses a valve or tube as you americans call it, to provide power from the pre amp stage, stepping it down again with a small black transform (about the size of a jewelery ring box) to a managable volatge for the transistor powered amplifier section. As far as I can make out, there is 3 transistor power amps on the heat sink block.