Marshall MA50c

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I swapped one of my better guitars for this 50 watt valve combo recently, having always fancied a Marshall valve combo.

Fairly simple on the face of it; 2 channels with separate EQ and volumes, reverb, presence and resonance controls. Also a boost function to give you a bit more for solos. A 2 button footswitch allows you to switch channels and turn the boost on and off.

Physically, it's quite weighty at over 20kgs, but it has additional carry handles on the sides. It has the usual FX loop sockets etc on the rear, and has a closed back cabinet.

Using it live, there's some good volume available in both clean and drive settings. It goes without saying that it sounds great in both clean and driven modes.

What complicates it and lets it down somewhat, is the boost mode and 'crunch balance' control. The boost is just as much of a gain boost as it is volume, and the crunch balance control regulates how much of a leap in volume and gain there is when you hit the boost control.

I'm finding that in general, the drive mode on its own doesn't give me enough crunch. When you hit the boost, it goes into insane metal territory. You can faff about with the crunch balance and gain to try and make up the difference, but you still end up with not enough baseline gain and too much boosted gain - like Keith Richards to Kerry King in the same song!

This means that depending on what music you play, you either end up keeping the boost on for more gain, or employing another pedal to give you more OD in standard drive mode - which defeats the object in having a boost mode in the first place... I think it would have been better having a gain control on the clean channel to add some light crunch, and just having a volume boost.

Otherwise not a bad little amp, and it does at least behave like a proper valve amp should.
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  • gubblegubble Frets: 1063

    Can I be 100% honest?

    This is the first positive review of this amplifier I've heard.

    Having had a Marshall MA50 for a very short period of time I personally thought it sounded dreadful  (which of course is all subject to one's own opinion and taste). Plus it redplated a valve the first time I tried to gig it.

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