Before i actually owned this amp, i'd tried the head version out on numerous occasions in my local guitar emporium, but i'd never pulled the trigger, i still don't really know why!
The 2525 arrived with me as part of a trade deal with another forum member, i was wanting to downsize, he was looking for something a little bigger so the deal was perfect, plus i got a few pennies in my wallet that i could spend on fast women and burgers.
The form factor of the amp is compact, its tubby in depth, but its only marginally wider and taller than the speaker itself, so straight away it fitted my criteria for both portability and footprint. I wanted an amp that was an easy lift into the boot of my little convertible,weight was never really a problem, but the weight saving over my old Mesa was a welcome change. Its what i'd call a ported/ semi closed back design, it has a full back panel that has a vent at the top and a small cutout at the bottom. Its all screwed together pretty well, telex looks nice and neat, the mirror front panel is an arse to keep clean but it does look really good!
Its a split channel design, giving you either clean/crunch or crunch/lead although i tend to use it more like a 1 channel amp, i think the designs simplicity lends itself to that more than being able to coax two different tones from one set of tone controls.
I chose to upgrade the speaker to a Celestion Creamback Neo, there is nothing wrong with the Greenback that came with it, i just prefer the slightly darker, smoother tones that the Creamback gives at higher gain. I did get a lot of cab/chassis rattle from the amp when playing at volume, i would guess its just because it really does kick out a lot of low end for such a small package, i cured this by making a rubber gasket to fit around the top of the chassis where it meats the cab, i think i was getting rattle from the shielding plate against the chassis of amp , but thats all gone now.
Cleans - This amp isn't really about the cleans, its starts breaking up pretty early on the gain control, but you can get some decent cleaner tones. they're classic JCM800 style cleans though rather than big bold plexi cleans. Pushing the gain up on the clean channel will give you all those big JMP/Superbass style tones, slightly saggy low end and plenty of sizzle on the top end.
Pulling the clean gain knob out engages the rhythm clip circuit, the amp then kind of feels much more like the JCM900 MkIII, great for 90's grunge or pop rock. It'll give you about as much gain as a JCM900 DR on maximum, its not metal amounts of gain but its enough. Flicking over to the Lead channel (by pushing the master volume pot back in) this is what the amp is really all about. Thick 800 style gain, insane amounts of low end and really easy to dial in and play through. This amp is 100% Marshall, don't expect it to be a Plexi, its much more 800/900 modern(ish) Marshall.
Its worth noting there is only one gain control for the whole amp, where you set it will determine the level of gain on both your clean and your drive, this is why i tend to use it as a single channel amp. The drive channel does also have its own master volume that you can wind up against the global master volume.
Theres a healthy difference between the 5w mode and the 20w mode, the 20w undoubtedly sounds much better but the 5w is great for home rehearsal. FX loop is nice and transparent, tried it with a few delays and verbs and it played nicely with all of them. The front end does like a boost, my favourite is always an SD1 type rather than TS, but either works great, surprising regardless of what channel the amp is on. I was really impressed with how quiet the amp is, even at full tilt. No buzzes or hum, just a very clear signal, i ended up having to adjust the pickups on my guitar because it was almost like i was getting too much clarity!
Overall, nearly 2 months of ownership and i'm still really enjoying it. Id recommend it to anyone looking for a lower wattage 800 style amp.