When you think of music, such as when you’re standing in the crowd of your favorite guitarist or band, looking up at them performing, the sound encasing your mind and body, captivating your very soul, the chances are that you’re listening to a Marshall system.
Marshall was founded by the respectively named Jim Marshall, who had over 20 years of experience gigging on the road around the UK and Europe before opening his first Marshall store in 1962. He sold a variety of musical instruments and started attracting young and upcoming talents, such as Richie Blackmore and Pete Townsend.
A common request was asking for an amplifier, a new kind that would blow the competition out of the water and take the music industry to the next level. Jim accepted the task as his own. The day the ‘Number One’ amplifier was released, it attracted 26 orders.
Due to popularity, Jim continued to design, plan and manufacture custom amps, creating such iconic amps as the 100-watt amplifier, the Super 100 Head and the gigantic Marshall 8×12 speaker cabinet. Marshall stacks were then created, towering on stage and giving the audience a volume of sound, they had never heard before.
If you’re looking to have a taste of this iconic amplifier brand yourself, whether you’re performing at home, in the studio or in front of a live audience, you’re in luck. There are plenty of models available, the question is, which one is right for you?
To help you make this all-important decision, we’ve searched the market to narrow down what’s available to just four of the best. We’ve considered everything from weight and functionality to the features and, of course, the price. So, let’s find you your next amp!
Marshall MG102CFX MG Series 100-Watt 2×12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
To kickstart our list, we’ve opted for an amp of pure power which has more than enough features to keep you busy, as well as being the Marshall standard in terms of sound quality and performance.
Since this amp measures it at 100-watt, you can already form an idea of the sound quality and volume this model can produce. It’s loud, even on a low setting, making it ideal for all kinds of practice, or even live performances. This is all thanks to the two built-in 12-inch speaker cabs. However, the function doesn’t stop there.
This particular amp comes with four unique customizable channels. This means you can play with your EQ settings and your channel setup, so you can create the exact sound that you’re looking to play. When you’re happy with it, simply save your settings so you can use it again effortlessly next time you want to play. Four settings are more than enough to hold all your favorite setups.
As you would expect from a premium amplifier, there are a range of effect settings to play with, such as Overdrive and Reverb, once again giving you full control when it comes to generating and playing the exact sounds that you’re looking for. Of course, this amp also comes with an included footswitch for full control over both your channels and your effects while you’re playing.
As you can see, this is one feature-rich amplifier. With an affordable mid-range price, an outstanding high-quality build and even an MP3 player input to play your tunes, this is one amp that’s got everything you need.
- Integrated MP3 player input
- A full range of EQ and tone settings, as well as custom guitar effects
- The incredible sound quality produced from 2x 12-inch speakers
- Capable of holding 4 custom profiles and setups
- The mid-range price tag
- May not come with a power cable (can be purchased online affordably)
Marshall JVM215C 1×12-Inch 50-Watt 2-Channel Tube Combo
If you’re looking for a powerful and professional amp that Marshall has been proud of for several years and is sure to give you all the features and functions you could ever need, this is the amp for you.
While this particular amp is by far one of the most expensive, it’s loaded with everything you need for the best audio experience for many years to come.
What really sets this amp apart from the rest is the fact that it’s a tube amp. Inside the amp, you’ll find an outstanding five 12AX7s and 2x EL34s. These are able to flawless amplifier your guitar sounds, providing you with an overall volume and clarity that you simply would not believe.
Once amplified, you’ll be able to broadcast your sounds on the independently fitted and powered 12-inch Celestion speakers. That’s right; there’s two built into this amp, making it easy to see why this is one of the loudest, clearest and ultimately most popular Marshall amps in their inventory.
As you can imagine, each speaker and channel work completely independently from one another, each one including three unique modes, so you can produce and play the type of sounds that you’re looking to play.
This, however, means you have six channels available in total, but control of these are easy thanks to the included footswitch that’s included with your amp. With a ton of built-in effects, such as a professional-level Reverb, Series/Parallel effects loop and two Master Volume controls, this is one of the most complete amps available ever.
- The two-channel amp that works independently from each other
- Two outstanding quality 12-inch Celestion speakers
- Built-in effects, including Reverb, Series/Parallel effects, and loop
- Seven-tube design for incredible sound quality, clarity, and volume
- Professional, premium price tag
- There are newer models out
Marshall CODE 100W 2×12 Guitar Combo Amp Black
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a Marshall amp that still provides you with an outstanding amount of power and a high quality of sound, yet remains affordable for all kinds of budget, regardless of what skill level you are or how committed to playing you are, this one is for you.
This powerful 100-watt amp uses all the tried-and-tested Marshall technology that comes together to ensure this is an amp you can trust. However, it’s also one of the most inexpensive, all thanks to the closed, solid state design, unlike a tube guitar amp like the one above.
With this particular model, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits that come with two 12-inch speakers, as well as all the controls you would expect a leading guitar amp to have. These include a three-band EQ, gain and volume control, pre-FX and mod control, reverb and cab 100 presets.
In fact, you’ll also be able to access over 24 integrated FX features, helping you to discover and perform the exact tones and sounds that you’re trying to play. However, this amp doesn’t stop there.
You’ll also take advantage of the Aux input for headphones or MP3 players (audio sources), a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, iOS and Android integration technology and a 2-way switch to control all these channels that you have under your control.
This means that in addition to all the high-quality Marshall sounds you’ll be able to produce, you’ll be able to change your source to play any music you want, and control those sound using any of the effects available to you. All in all, this amp is a lot of fun, and you’ll be left wondering what you ever did without it.
- 24 built-in custom effects and FX for creating your own unique sound
- A ton of input options, including smartphone, Bluetooth, USB and Aux
- Two 12-inch speaker design for volume and clarity of your sounds
- Three-band EQ with all controls such as gain, volume, and overdrive
- Solid state design (difficult to change tubes for different sound)
- Make require a bit of time to learning about all the settings and options and how they work
Marshall Code 50-50-Watt 1×12” Digital Combo Amp
To finish off our list, we’ve chosen one of the leading and most popular amps in the Marshall inventory that’s also the most affordable option on this list. If you’re looking for the quality that a Marshall amp provides but for a fraction of the typical price, this is an amp that will tick all the boxes.
This solid-state amp measures in with 50-watt of power, which is still loud enough to fill a room while maintaining its quality and clarity. There’s no risk of distortion or unwanted sounds here. However, in terms of features, this amp is very similar to the Code model we spoke about above.
Of course, this amp is smaller with only one 12-inch speaker, but you still have all the same effects and connectivity options, including USB, Android and iOS compatibility, Aux and Bluetooth. You’ll also still find an included footswitch to control all your channels and 24 FX options.
As you can see, this app is pretty much a smaller version of the one we’ve listed above, with half the power, all the features and all for a competitive price.
- Incredibly affordable Marshall amp
- All the leading Marshall features, including built-in FXs and included footswitch
- A ton of connectivity options, including USB, AUX, Bluetooth and more
- All settings such as three-band EQ, gain, volume control and overdrive
- Slightly less powerful than other amps on this list (still as loud)
- No effects pedal included
When it comes to choosing an amp, it’s safe to say that not many models come close to the vast inventory of amps that Marshall has been releasing over the years. There’s simply nothing like them.
Whether you’re trying Marshall for the first time, or simply upgrading your existing model, any of the four amps we’ve listed above are ideal for giving you the best experience; an audio experience that you’re never going to regret.