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As a hard rock and heavy metal guy, I love my music hard and with that grating sound
This is why I am a big fan of the Marshall amps and their combo amplifiers.
If you have ever been in the metal and hard rock genre space, then you must have heard about the legendary Marshall amp.
This is because they are well loved and liked by almost all guitarists irrespective of the kind of music they play.
If you are into heavy metal and that genres, then you are probably in the market for the best marshall amp to purchase.
One that fits your playing style and helps improve your kind of music and makes you sound better.
Note: I should point out here that Marshall amp are more expensive than your regular kind of amp but you can be sure of the quality that they bring to your sounds.
In this article, we will be looking at the the top 5 Marshall amps in the market today, a brief history of this amps and how they first started being produced, things to look out for before you make a purchase and how to connect and get the best out of your new purchase.
A Brief History of The Marshall Company
According to their site, Marshall Amplification is an English company that deals in the design and production of amplifiers, speakers cabinets, headphones, earphones and more recently drums and bongos.
It was founded by drummer Jim Marshall and it is based in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
As a successful drum and a teacher of how to play the drums with his own unique technique, Jim Marshall decided to set up shop selling drums, cymbals and related accessories.
After a while due to complaints from 3 popular guitarists (Ritchie Blackmore, Big Jim Sullivan and Pete townsend) Jim expanded into making guitar amplifiers.
The major problem these guys had was that the notable guitar amplifiers in the market then, didn't have enough volume and the right sound.
This prompted Jim to hire a couple of designers and delve into making guitar amplifiers to compete with the brands them.
As it’s publicity and fame began to grow, Marshall amplifiers and speakers were sought out by guitarists for their unique “crunch” sound and increased volume.
Here is a timeline of all the product that have been created by Marshall Amplification Company.
- The first amps ever created were the JTM 45
- The Early amp models include The Bluesbreaker, The Plexi and The Marshall Stack
- The Mid 1970s and 1980s models include the JMPs, JCM 800 and the Jubilee
- The 1990s series include the JCM 900 and the 6100 Series
- It modern series includes solid state amplifiers, bass series and some vintage series.
Marshall amps make some of the best and widely recognised amplifiers in the industry today.
Check out the large number of A-list artists and musicians that endorse their products here.
Things to consider before you make a purchase
Before we look at some things to consider before you make a purchase, let’s talk about something that is equally important.
Most people will rather go for a combo amp than a separate cabinet and an amp.
This is actually advisable because a combo amp is generally much more easier to use and it’s compact.
It is also very versatile meaning that it can be used for practice, for playing gigs and also for recording live performances.
So generally, it is better to go for a combo Marshall amp than for separate units.
1. What’s the price?
As stated earlier, most marshall amps are fairly pricey and expensive.
But this is to be expected because the quality is much better than most out there.
Simply put, the more expensive it is the more the volume and the sound quality.
So you want to make sure you get the best you can afford as this will give you a better chance of getting something that is loud enough and also something that will last for a long time.
2. What is the wattage and the volume?
You also want to know the wattage which determines how loud it can go.
Basically you want something that can deliver at least 50 watts volume.
This will ensure that your amp has enough volume and can be used in whatever situation you want.
3. Is it a solid state or a tube amp?
While this has been the topic of debate for a very long time, it comes down to personal preference and what you are comfortable with.
Tube amps are usually smoother and more comfortable than solid state amps.
They are also louder and you can easily add a gain chain to them to enhance the sounds.
The one downside is that the technology used is a bit old and archaic.
Solid state amps on the other hand are more reliable and easier to maintain.
They are more durable and are ideal for traveling around and for gigging.
They are also cheaper and will usually last for a very long time.
Whichever one you choose is down to your personal preference. There is no hard answer.
4. What features and effect does it come with?
Finally you want to make sure that your amp has some additional features and effects.
Things such as a footswitch and an overdrive are especially important and should be included.
Also reverbs, delays, flangers and harmonizers can also be included just to add some spice to your sound.
Our Top 5 Marshall Amps
1. Marshall DSL Series Amplifier Combo
The Marshall DSL40C combo is probably the best marshall amp for metal under a thousand bucks.
It has 40 watts of raw power, 1 by 12 inches celestion speakers and a 2 way footswitch which helps in ensuring that you get the best sound when using this.
It has two footswitchable channels which are the classic gain and the ultra gain which controls the loudness of your sounds.
It has a digital reverb and a rear panel series FX Loop which helps to enhance your sounds.
It comes with a rear panel pentode/triode which helps in regulating the power from 40 watts to 20 watts.
It has a shared 5 way EQ unit - Treble, Middle, Bass, Presence and Resonance which also helps in giving your sound that crisp and clear quality.
This is one Marshall amplifier that comes packed with a lot of features, it is very versatile and gives you the best value for your money.
1. Amazing overall sound quality
2. It is well built and designed to last
3. It is very portable and can be easily used to travel
1. Due to the power, you might experience a harsh sound. This can be corrected by simply toning down the volume
2. Marshall MG15CF Guitar Combo Amp
This is the least expensive marshall amp in the market today making it one of the best marshall amp for home use and small gigs.
It has a nice sounding and well balanced sound which allows it to maintain superb tonal quality.
It is a 15 watts combo amp which gives it enough power to deliver crunching sounds that you like.
It has a 3 band EQ for excellent tonal control
There is an Mp3 line in which allows you to play along to your favourite track and also a headphone output for practising without any interruptions
This is a very innovative and highly functional amp that delivers great tone and is ideal for use in small places and homes.
1. It is the best value for your money - less than a 100 bucks
2. It is very durable and will last for a long time
3. For a small amp it packs a lot of power and has great tones
1. It does not deliver a clean sound as this is purely a rock amplifier
3. Marshall Code 25 Digital Combo Amp
This is an all round amplifier with a 25 watts, 10 inch speakers and packs enough punch for recording and also for practicing.
It has 14 MST preamps, 4 MST power amps and 8 MST speaker cabinets which all helps in making sure that you get that awesome sound.
As an all round amp, this is one of the best marshall amp for beginners that you can get.
It has Bluetooth connectivity which you can use to connect and stream music from your iOS and Android device.
It also has USB connectivity that helps you easily interface with your DAW and then record and stream audio from your computer.
It has a unique footswitch (which is sold separately) that helps you control how you apply gain to your sounds.
It has 24 FX models and over a hundred presets giving you the freedom and versatility to choose your sounds
It comes with the Marshall Gateway Software which works with your iPhone and Android phones and lets you remotely control the amplifier.
This software also allows you to access an online community to share and get tips on what works
1. It has amazing features, sound and great value for your money
2. It has very cool, clean overdrive and reverb sounds
3. It’s Gateway app helps you stay connected with news and what’s happening in the community
1. The app might take a little fiddling to get used to it
4. Marshall AS50D Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
The Marshall AS50D is the favourite marshall amplifier for blues in the industry.
It is a 50 watts acoustic combo amplifier which means that it deliver pure and clean sounds that are favoured by most acoustic guitar players.
It has 2 combo channels which allow you easily manage multiple instruments
It has extra effects such as the digital reverb and chorus which helps in enhancing the quality of your sounds.
This is a simple retro styled acoustic guitar amplifier with a lot of useful features for getting that clean and crisp sounds.
1. It is well designed and built
2. It has a very warm and natural tone
3. It is very portable making it ideal for gigging and busking.
1. It has a little coloration in the sounds which can be easily corrected
5. Marshall DSL15C Guitar Combo Amp
This is a 15 watt Marshall combo amplifier that delivers awesome sounds
It is powered by two 6V6 power valves with a preamp that ensures that the sound quality is of optimum sound.
It has footswitch classic and ultra gain channels for controlling the amount of gain and volume your sound has.
It has a celestion speaker which helps enhance the sound
It has a back panel pentode/triode switch for maximum flexibility
This is one amplifier that combines performance and versatility making it the perfect choice guitarist looking for that clean tone.
1. It has an amazing sound with clean tones
2. It is well built and designed
3. It is very portable
1. It might have harsh sounding tones
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Marshall Plexi? This is simply a term that was used to reference old and early models of the Marshall amps. While it was not really the name of any model, it was called so because of the acrylic plastic material that was used for the front and back plates.
- Where are Marshall Guitar amps made? All Marshall amps are made in Britain at their production facility located at Bletchley, England. This is where they have been made since 1966.
- Who owns the Marshall Amp Company? It was founded by renowned drummer and drum tutor Jim Marshall. He founded the company after some complaints from some notable guitarists looking for that “crunch” sound.
- What is a valve guitar amp? This is simply a type of electronic amplifier that makes use of vacuum tubes to increase the amplitude or power of your signal.
- What is a guitar combo amp? This is an amp that includes both an amp and a speaker cabinet. This is different from the normal separate units and it is stress free.
When picking the best marshall amp, you want to ensure that you get something that will last for a long time.
Also the kind of music you play will determine the amp you get.