Valvestate VS265 review by Marshall

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 9.3 (48 votes)
Marshall: Valvestate VS265

Price paid: $ 120

Purchased from: A buddie.

Features — 8
This thing was made in the early to mid 90s I believe. The Marshall Valvestate VS265 is a 130 watt, solid state/valve hybrid combo amp. It contains 1x 12ax7 pre amp tube, driving 2 x 65 watt solid state power amps, each connected to a single 12 inch, 8 ohm Marshall Goldback 100 speaker. One clean channel, plus OD1, and OD2. There is a tone shift button for each channel. Built in adjustable reverb, and chorus with speed+debth controls. On board effects loop, head phone jack and speaker outs. Open back amplifier. Generally comes with a foot switch to go between channels, and turn on chorus. Rubber carrying handle on top.

Sound — 7
This amp has a really good clean tone, and can get some good gritty crunch. The OD1 channel gets a good classic rock sound The OD2 channel can sound good after adjusting the contour knob. Not the best all out, tight bass heavy metal amp, but it can do some semi-thrash metal tones if you tune it up just right. This amp has PLENTY of power. The 130 watts crank very well. Very loud amplifier. The amp can get muddy with the gain and volume up, and it will run away on you if your not careful. It has a pretty versatile sound. This thing produces over the top low end bass when you back it up towards a wall. I give it a 7/10 because it can do a lot of different styles of music, but more so on the clean side, which is not for me. Has a rubber handle on the top.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This amp is built very solid. Sturdy construction. It is built very much like a Marshall 1930 lead 2x12 cabinet without casters. Pretty much is a 2x12 cabinet, with a slanted top that is opened for an amp. It has re enforced corners, and some hard rubber feet. This amp is about 15-20 years old now and has been beat on. Still works great. I have lugged this heavy beast all around town and no issues. It has withstood the test of time. Only things I have ever had done, was changed out a bad speaker, and took it in to have the pots cleaned up once. In all honestly, it could probably take the fall down a few stairs if it were dropped.

Overall Impression — 7
I enjoy bluesy music, and some heavy stuff. Probably not the all out best amp for hard rock/metal. This amp does sound cool though. It has its own tone. Very adjustable and can do many different sounds like I said. The biggest issues I have with this thing is... Putting distortion pedals in front of it always sounded... Well HORRIBLE. Not sure why. Also it just does not quiiiite have the gain I want. Being open back it is a pain to always have to "tune" the amp to get the right bass response. If you like jazz/country this is just fine however. I mainly use it as my bedroom amp now days, or my clean amp. I use a Orange Dark Terror, on a Marshall 1960 4x12 for the heavy stuff, and this for clean. You can take this amp to gigs just fine, and it is loud enough to play in a small bar or somewhere with no PA. If you see one out there within the 200 dollar range, I would pick it up. It is a well built amp. Could definitely be worse. If it were stolen I would buy another one if I could get it for the deal I got. I bought it from a friend probably 6 years ago who really needed money. Got a good deal on it at the time. Wish this amp had a better gain channel.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    In Memphis...just picked up one from a guy for $200. This things sounds head and shoulders sweeter than my Marshall MG100HCFX half stack. No comparison, the VS265 completely slays the solid state.
    First review I of this I see states "Price paid: $ 176400". If it were not af Marshall I'd say the person was crazy if they really paid that much got it, but knowing that this is a Marshall I can totally understand ;D \m/
    First review I of this I see states "Price paid: $ 176400". If it were not af Marshall I'd say the person was crazy if they really paid that much to get it, but knowing that this is a Marshall I can totally understand ;D \m/
    I owned 2 of these amps at once. They both had the same problem were the right speaker wouldn't work. You can test this by unplugging one of the terminals on the left speaker. Bang on the the amp and you might get some noise but it'll fizzle out. The fix? Check all of the solder points on the power board, especially on the right side. Check the 2 big capacitors and the 4 white power blocks(they have wattage and ohms ratings printed on them) solder on the underside of the board. Resolder them if they look dull or have very little solder on them. My theory is they create heat and over time weakens their connection to the board.
    Something I noticed was the amp really comes alive when you turn up the Effect Loop knob, even if you don't have any plugged into the back. My theory was that cranking the effects loop runs more of your signal through the one preamp tube. So I checked the schematic and it does. Yay, more tube sound!
    I bought a used one with a modded tone stack from an amp repairer about 14 months ago. I've used it for everything ranging from practices and open mic jams at nightclubs, to open-air concerts. (Classic Rock, Southern Rock, Blues Rock, Fusion, Prog, and yes, Metal.) The repair guy says the OD2 channel with the 12AX7 preamp tube has more preamp gain than the Marshall 900 Series amps, and after my having rented JCM900 heads for out-of-town shows, I have to agree. The slight tweaks to the tone stack help it to stand out even more in the mix against a backline of boutique tube amps and digital emulator rigs. Supposedly, these kinds of tweaks are simple enough for most anyone to do, according to the guy who modded this amp. I also use high-gain tube head (Peavey 6505+), (2) 20-watt H&K Edition Tube combos, and a Fractal Audio Axe-FX, but I have to say that for a quick, no-hassle, awesome amp with an open back cab loaded with Celestions, these VS2655 amps are hard to beat. I don't use boost pedals in front of my amps, normally, and I don't with this Valvestate either. My main axes are modified 1985 Les Paul Custom, an ESP Viper (both loaded with Seymour Duncan JB pups in the bridge position), and a Fender Strat (MIM) SSS with active mid boost. Been playing guitar for forty years.
    What were your technicians mods to this amp, as I have the similar amp. he changed out the original Fender speakers to Celestions, but you also mentioned tweaks to the 'modded tone stacks'?
    I don't know a lot about amps, and I've only ever used a 20 watt. Is it possible to use an amp like this one with low volume settings at home, or will that take out all the gain and stuff?
    Oh yes this amp does low volume very well actually, and the valve still breaks up to give you a good tone. It is pretty much a solid state amp so volume does not directly affect the tone as much.