Valvestate VS30R Review

manufacturer: Marshall date: 04/21/2014 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Marshall: Valvestate VS30R
Solid state amplifier/speaker combo that emulates the sound of a valve-driven amp. 30 watts with a 10" Marshall (Celestion) speaker. The amp has two channels, clean and overdrive.
 Sound: 6
 Overall Impression: 7
 Reliability & Durability: 8.7
 Features: 7
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
reviews (3) pictures (1) 15 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 6.3
Valvestate VS30R Reviewed by: oneblackened, on september 01, 2008
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 153

Purchased from: Daddy's Junky Music

Features: Made in the late '90s in the UK. Two channels, clean and overdrive, with spring reverb. For what I play, which is mostly hard rock and metal, it's versatile enough. There is no effect loop, but there is a footswitch input. it's controls are basic-a two band EQ on the clean with a volume, 3 band EQ, gain, and volume on the OD side. I use it for practice alone, and it is more than loud enough. // 5

Sound: I'm using this amp mainly with an Epiphone Les Paul Standard with stock pickups, and it suits my music style well enough. It's a bit noisy with a bit of gain, but otherwise is relatively quiet. This amp can do anywhere from cleans to raging metal distortion, but it doesn't do gain too well at all, but if it's EQ'd right, then it's somewhat usable. The clean channel doesn't seem to be all that loud, and will start to clip if I hit the strings with much force if I use the bridge position. // 5

Reliability & Durability: This amp has broken down on me once. I don't know what exactly went wrong with it, but something started making a high pitched hum, but that went away after a while (and a service, but the repair guy couldn't find anything wrong with it). I wouldn't gig with it, not because of it's reliability, but because it's just too small. a 30 watt solid state 1x10" combo can't really do much. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing for nearly two years, and when I got this, the tone was just that much better than my little Fender frontman that came with my pack. Now I realize that there are better amps for the price-the Epiphone Valve Junior, and the Peavey Valveking royal 8, for example. If it were stolen, I'd get something else. I wouldn't even bother tracking the thief down. // 6

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overall: 7.8
Valvestate VS30R Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 29, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Online auction

Features: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 7

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 7.5
Valvestate VS30R Reviewed by: c64x8, on april 21, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 80

Purchased from: Classifieds

Features: - Made in the 1990s in the UK
- 30 W Combo amp w/ 10" Celestion speaker
- Clean and Overdrive channel
- Reverb (adjustable)

Clean channel:

- Volume
- Bass
- Treble

Overdrive channel:

- Gain
- Bass
- Contour
- Treble
- Volume

- Line Out
- Headphones
- Footswitch input

It can be damn loud, but though it still is somehow transistor powered it tends to push a little bit into overdrive when you turn up the clean channel too much, but not as much as other (transistor) amps in this price class do. Features are overall pretty good for a small practising combo, though I miss an effect loop. // 8

Sound: I'm using the amp with my Stratocaster mostly for Blues and Funk stuff; so it's pretty rare that I use it on high gain. Which is good, though the overdrive is only good/o.k. as long as you don't turn up the gain more than half. It gets worse the more you turn it up. But as long as you just want to crunch up your Strat neck pickup tone, it really is quite useable. The sound reminds a little bit of the Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal sound: earthy, discreet and expressive. Very controllable with the strings. When it's set up right, you can have a bandwidth from completely clean to pretty crunchy just by varying the force you put on the strings.

By turning the Contour poti completely up you can get a clear sparkling low gain funky sound out of your strat bridge pu, but I would not directly recommend it to people who only want to play funky rhythm guitar on it.

So overall it's actually quite versatile while on low gain, but the high gain sound is not useable for Hard Rock or even Metal - pretty much for every style that demands a modern overdrive sound. But if you want to use it for Classic Rock/Blues Rock stuff you might be comfortable with it, though it sounds a little bit like the old British amps on 2/3 gain.

It fits my style of music at least for practising well enough, so I'm quite comfortable with it, though I would not use it on a gig, because its not loud enough without pushing into slight transistor-caused overdrive. Oh yeah, I almost forgot the pretty decent reverb... It's not as good as a pedal reverb, but it's useable. // 6

Reliability & Durability: Reliability and durability - those are the two points which are the big plus of this amp. I've used it for two years by now and it never let me down. Its wooden case with the as usual robust Marshall corner covers looks like you could throw it down your stairway and it would not even get a scratch (even though I never tried it)... The knobs are made of what I think is brass or some kind of brass alloy and are solid as hell. So the material quality really is one of the good points of this amp. // 9

Overall Impression: So for me as mainly blues musician it works for practicing just fine, but if I lost it somehow, I'd get something else. Maybe a Vox AC4 or a Fender Ramparte - something which is completely valve-driven. It might be more expensive, but you get what you pay for, especially talking about the sound - real valve sound is only provided by valve amps, not by amps who pretend to do so.

But as long as you don't regularly play with high gain, and you get it for a good price, this is a good practicing combo which is pretty much super-durable and of fine quality. But if you demand a modern overdrive sound, this is not the right amp for you. // 7

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