Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center - Denver
Sound — 7
I'm currently using a 2004 Gibson Les Paul Special through it and it sounds pretty good. Like I said before, this amp has a lot of additional noise regardless of pickup choice and setting. I can get a decent sound out of the humbuckers but only if used in conjunction of a noise gate. The clean channel stays mostly clear unless its turned up past six in which it starts to break up. This can be a good thing or a bad thing because the gain on the distortion channel is much louder than the clean channels. It's like night and day volume wise. The gain rivals my JCM in that once you go past seven its brutal. As with the EQ on this amp, it struggles to really deviate between tweaks, that is you can't really get much in between a 5 or a 10; its basically the same. As mention before the reverb doesn't hold up unless its maxed out at ten and then it sounds pretty good. It has a nice spring decay that can almost work for surf.
Overall Impression — 7
I've owned this amp for about four years and it's done the job. I wouldn't gig with it because of the excess noise it produces and the awkwardness of transporting it. It can however keep up with the rest of the band because it sounds much louder than fifteen watts. As far as looks go, it's dynamite. The checkered grille looks awesome and the additional graphics on the head look intimidating. It's limited edition and as far as I know Marshall doesn't make it anymore so it's becoming scarce. From that perspective, I'll hold on to it but from a strictly sound perspective, it simply can't keep up with larger model "more professional" models. The lack of footswitch is irritating. Marshall probably should have made a few minor tweaks to this before it released it as I've played the Dave Mustaine mini stack and it's got more features and it's similar in price. Overall though it does the job for what it is.
Reliability & Durability — 8
You can't really move this amp easily because it's in three awkward pieces. I haven't had any technical problems with it however. It's been pretty dependable as far as practice amps go. It's been through three house moves and it's still in really good shape.
Features — 6
This amp is like the MG micro stack on steriods, at least as far as the distortion is concerned. It has the two ten inch speaker cabs that sit beneath the 15 watt head. It's got two channels: a clean channel and a distortion push channel that offers a ton of gain even at low volume. The added spring reverb is a nice bonus but in my opinion has to be cranked to get anything out of it. It also has the Frequency Dampening switch that is designed to sound like a tube amp although this is a completely solid state amp. It has an "emulated line out" that doubles as a headphone jack. It has a three band EQ that works for both channels. I mainly bought this amp because although I don't really play metal, it at least gives the user the option to crank the gain on the distortion circuit. The amp is VERY loud for fifteen watts and before I moved into a house with a basement I rarely turned it up past four. You can achieve a wide variety of sounds from it and although it certainly isn't as diverse as my JCM 2000, one can go from a nice clean tone to a low gained distortion to a bone crushing metal sound easily. As far as practicing goes, this amp has the gain, the volume, and the cool look to satisfy most people. It doesn't have a footswitch input and that is the first obvious complaint. The second is the weak reverb followed immediately by the hum and hiss that this amp almost always has at higher volumes.