Valvestate VS30R review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 5 (27 votes)
Marshall: Valvestate VS30R
1

Purchased from: Online auction

Sound — 7
The sound of this amp is surprisingly good. I have seen many negative reviews of this amp, but I suspect most people buy this expecting it to sound like a 100 watt Marshall stack and are disappointed when it doesn't. If you forget your unrealistic expectations, and compare this amp objectively against anything else in the 20 - 40 watt class, it stands up very well. One disappointment for me is the clean channel, which, the owners' manual advises, will "crunch up your sound" if taken past 5 on the volume dial. I'm sorry Jim, but if I wanted the amp to "crunch up" my sound, I'd use the lead channel. I'd like to be able to get a nice clean crisp acoustic-type sound beyond 5 on the dial, as I could on my Peavey. The lead channel is very good, but I am using the Marshall Guv'nor GV-2 pedal on the clean channel as it has better sustain. I am playing an Aria Pro II RS Deluxe-V (a 30 year old Japanese single-coil guitar), and have not tried it with a humbucking guitar. I'm not a rock player, more into easy-listening and pop, and all I really want is some nice clean sounds and some good fuzzy sustain for guitar solos. I appreciate that Marshall amps are primarily aimed at rock players, and I think most rock players would be happy with the sounds if they compared this objectively against other amps of similar wattage and spec.

Overall Impression — 8
I really like this amp. It compares very favorably with its predecessor, the Peavey Envoy, which, in addition to being noisy, had fiddly little knobs and poor visibility. To be sure, the amp could do with a better ergonomic layout (9 identical knobs in a row with no gap between channels isn't especially user-friendly) and I'd like it to be able to keep clean sounds to a louder level, but it seems well-built, is visually attractive, is nice and quiet, and for the most part, sounds great. Also, the brand name has "street cred" and it won't cause you any embarrassment at band practice. I consider this particular amp to have been excellent value for money (second hand), and I'd recommend this amp to anyone looking for a compromise unit that can be a bedroom practice amp but also a small-gig stage amp.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The amp seems well-built. There is some minor noise when using the volume control on the lead channel, but I will apply some CRC / WD40 to this and see what happens lol. I did buy it second hand, so all in all, am very happy with it. It's made in England, so it has a bit more "cred" than something made in China, although having driven English cars, I know this is not always a good thing lol.

Features — 8
This is a twin-channel guitar amp, with separate equalization for each channel, plus reverb. It has a 10 inch speaker. It has line out and headphone out sockets, and a single input. It is compatible with a channel-switching footswitch but this was not included. It says made in England, which seems astonishing in this day and age when everything involving a circuit-board seems to be made in China. I bought this amp second hand from an online auction site. I got it for the equivalent of US$155, but this price included a Marshall Guv'nor GV-2 distortion pedal. My intention had been to sell the pedal to off-set the cost of the amp (I would probably get half my money back), but I like the pedal so much I'll keep it lol. The amp is replacing a Peavey Envoy that is getting old and noisy. The name "Valvestate" implies that it is a valve / solid state hybrid but in fact only the 65 and 100 watt models in this series are hybrids, the 15 and 30 watt models are totally solid state. No big deal, and I'm happy with a solid state amp, but the name does seem a little misleading.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    MaggaraMarine
    DSchmitty wrote: Cabron1 wrote: FNGuitarGod wrote: Yea. This is like the MG series amps and they just suck balls. incorrect the VS series is way way different. my vs100 head is better than my jcm2000 tbh. Chuck from Death used them. lmao ur an idiot, this thing sounds like crap stop defending it.
    Yep and Death used the first Valvestates (8000 series), not the second (VS series). I hate it when everybody compares cheaper products to more expensive models. If you read some reviews about Epiphones, they say that Epis are better than Gibsons. Same with Marshalls. People say that MGs are better than JCMs. They are not even meant to sound better, that's why MGs are practice amps and JCMs are gig amps.
    umpdv5000
    There is a typical problem emerging here. These amps are small and not really a quite loud enough to do any serious gigging (exept in the likes of a small English Pub). But unfortunately, most inexperienced players haven't a clue how to mix the tones and gains to acheive a decent playing sound. I have quite a number of amps (big and small) that I have picked up from second hand sales and the like and I can confidently say that these amps can give a fair impression of a larger amp rig at lower levels if set correctly. I have a 100w Marshall 1959 model head, a 50w 1970's Park head and a 15w Laney LC15, all of which are completely valve. The VS30R is not in the same league volume wise as the first two heads that I have mentioned, but it does sound better than them at low volume. As for VS30R comparing against the Laney, well if you set the VS30R properly (as mentioned earlier), close your eyes and compare the two at similar levels, well you'd have to have a good ear to decide which was the all valve. One thing that does make a difference to both of these smaller amps, is the speaker. If you bypass the original speaker and plug the output into a 12" speaker cab of some good quality, you will not believe your ears. Unfortunately, I have not found any 10" speaker up to now that will give the depth of a good 12". Verdict of the VS30R... Great small amp.
    rv_phoenix
    MaggaraMarine wrote: Yep and Death used the first Valvestates (8000 series), not the second (VS series). I hate it when everybody compares cheaper products to more expensive models. If you read some reviews about Epiphones, they say that Epis are better than Gibsons. Same with Marshalls. People say that MGs are better than JCMs. They are not even meant to sound better, that's why MGs are practice amps and JCMs are gig amps.
    You took the words out of my mouth. People don't realize that only a handful of small custom shops still make professional equipment only. In order to have resources to keep on making JCMs, Marshall has to sell as much crap as it can, for such people who know little about playing and are ready to argue that a Solid State amp can be better than an all-tube. The lousiest all-tube on Earth (a Bugera, perhaps, if not a Behringer) sounds at least 5% better and louder than the most brilliant Solid State Marshall. Unfortunately... for those who aren't patient to save enough money for a decent all-tube.