I ordered my Tweed Bantam last September. I was lucky enough to speak to other owners of Martins 5e3 which put my mind at rest over ordering. Hopefully I can address some of the concerns that other readers of this review may have.
My main concern when buying the amp was not related in any way to quality, I already owned a Martamp Roadstar 18 and I had played several MJW amps prior to placing my order, so I knew I would be in safe hands quality wise. It was just how different would it be to the standard Roadstar 18 I already owned? I am happy to report very different.
The Tweed Bantam is a great middle ground between the Marshall flavoured Roadstar and a Fender Tweed deluxe. It is darker sounding than the standard Roadstar and more responsive to play. It's an amp that suits a player who likes to get dynamics via control of the guitar. You can go from a whisper to a roar just by controlling how you dig in to the strings.
I find this amp has a fuller sound that the Roastar, it seems more 3D.
Don't get me wrong here, the Roadstar is a fine amp and has its own plus points that the 5e3 does not have such as clarity and clean headroom. For all the 5e3 is a fuller sound on its own, in a band situation it does not cut through the mix like the Roadstar.
So here are a few areas of comparison.
Ease of use: Both very straight forward, single channel amps with essentially three controls (though the Roadstar has got a boost function). However the winner here is the Roadstar. This is mainly because I don't have to consider which guitar I use or which effects to use. It takes all pedals and guitars well where as the 5e3 is a little more picky.
Tone: tough one as it's subjective but I find them very different.
I'd say that the 5e3 sounds brilliant all the way round the volume, that lovely drive. The Roadstar is more clinical and direct but once the amp is pushed hard it's drive is really quite brilliant. However I will give this to the Tweed Bantam as its drive sound is really that good and full sounding. It's the best sounding amp I've owned.
If I could pick only one to gig with: I don't have to but I will say that in the band I'm in I would gig with the Roadstar alone but I wouldn't want to gig with just the 5e3. This is because I use a lot of delays and reverbs which do sound better through the Roadstar and as I have mentioned before the 5e3 does not cut through a twin guitar mix as well as the Roadstar. Lucky for me I use a wet dry set up with both amps so I get the best of both worlds.
If I had to pick a favourite: heart over head and it's the Tweed Bantam. Best amp I've owned.
If I was to order again I would in a heart beat but I would order the 36 watt version of the Tweed and get power scaling fitted. If you are a gigging band I'd suggest this as it would give you just a bit more room to manoeuvre (especially if you use humbuckers).
Last point, Martin: superb! A pleasure to deal with.