Price paid: $ 70
Purchased from: Private Owner
Sound — 9
I use both an EC-1000 with EMGs and a Les Paul Custom with a PAF through this amplifier, and it sounds great with both. The channels all do their jobs very well, and there's plenty of gain on tap on both OD1 and 2. The sound of the amp itself is very tight and crunchy. Turning the treble up on the overdrive channels can quickly get harsh, but dialed properly this amp has a very cutting sound that is perfect for live playing. While this amp generates a lot of noise, I think this is more an issue with the fact that it hasn't been service in around fifteen years. The hum is present, but never unmanageable. This amp can definitely get almost any sound you could want out of it. The clean channel is very responsive, if lacking in headroom, but rolling back the volume on the guitar easily solves this problem. The Overdrive channels are phenomenal, and can go anywhere from a very mid heavy cutting tone to scooped rectifier sounds with the contour. As stated before, the contour switch is the real killer on this amp, it allows you to tweak your sound to get the exact scoop or boost of mids you want, and is a real life-saver in live situations. The distortion on this amp is very versatile, the sounds can vary from old AC/DC tones to death metal with almost the same level of gain applied, just based on the contour and mid knobs. This is definitely an amp for people who like a range of different British-influenced sounds. I personally use this amp in place of my 5150 at practices due to it's midrange cut.
Overall Impression — 9
I play metal and punk, and this things is great for them. It has both brutal and rocking distortion, and the clean channel is a nice touch for the live intros I do. I've been playing guitar three years, and instruments all my life, and this thing is a real Diamond in the rough. I compared this to my Peavey 5150 and my Marshall AVT 50, and it's more versatile than either, and I personally prefer the British voicing of this amp to the 5150. The only thing I wish this amp had would be a separate contour knob for the first overdrive channel, and a gain knob for the clean.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This map has been around a long time, and its seen a good amount of shows, so I would gig with it sans backup, but I would get it serviced first. Whenever an old amp like this comes into your possession, you should always have it looked over by a tech who knows what he's doing. This amp has never broken down since it was sold, and I credit that to the quality of old Marshall products.
Features — 8
I'm not quite sure when this amp was made, but I bought it from the original owner, and he has had it since the mid nineties. With three channels, this amp can cover everything from country and blues to death metal and grindcore. With three channels, clean, OD1, and OD2, it can switch between sounds quite quickly. I've run this thing through the gamut of at home, practice, and live settings, and it always sounds good. The fact that this amp is solid state doesn't detract one bit from it's tone, and it means it's about the third of the weight of my 5150 head. The clean channel has no gain knob, but with a mid boost tone shift and three band eq, it can go from super clean to clipping style blues tones. OD1 has a three band eq and a gain knob, and has plenty of gain to do metal. OD2 has the same eq controls as OD1, but it has a different gain knob and the addition of a contour knob in it's signal chain, which makes it extremely flexible. I personally use the clean channel for a bright, trebly clean, OD1 for a mid gain rhythm sound for punk and rock tones, and OD2 for a high gain metal tone. OD1 and 2 can be made to sound the same as well, so using OD2 as a gain or volume boost is also an option, but the real gold in this amp is definitely OD2's contour switch. Another nice feature is the power dimension switch, which provides a gain and bass boost while reducing the volume of the amp, prefect for playing your half stack late at night. The effects loop also has a switchable level, along with reverb for both clean and overdrive.