Marshall Class5 5 Watt Tube Head - 5 Watt Head
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- 5 Watts, All-Valve Design with Class A Circuitry
- Powered by 2 x ECC83 Preamp and 1 x EL84 Power Tubes
- Single channel with volume control, Treble, Middle, Bass controls
- Plywood cabinet equipped with 1x10” Celestion G10F speaker
- Speaker Cabinet Power Handling: 15w
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You're probably wondering how big the Marshall Class5 HD amp head can actually sound with only 5-watts of power. Well, it sounds monstrous! Low-wattage amps are the secret key to epic tones whether you're on stage or in the studio. You'll immediately notice that the Class A design of the Class5 HD head makes it super responsive, and very hard to ignore! The all-tube design makes it easy to dial in growling overdrive, while backing off your guitar's volume control soothes the Class5 HD back into smooth and vibrant clean tones - just like a good tube amp should.
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If it had a master volume or two channels I would give it 5 stars. If it had an effects loop and a master then every guitar player in the world would own one!!
Having said that, it does take pedals well. It is pretty loud if you turn it beyond the 12 o'clock position to get max crunch. But there is a headphone jack trick to quiet it down to a reasonable level when it is maxxed ( Google it!).
So now I have a classic Marshall tube sound to go with my Vox and Fender tube sounds. Sweet!
- Simple design that is pedal-friendly. I'm not crazy about multi-channeled amps with built-in effects and a bazillion bells & whistles as I prefer to use pedals to achieve the tone I'm looking for. The Class 5 is about as basic as it gets: 1 channel, 3-band EQ, 1 volume. No, it does not have an effects loop but with a 5-watter, I'm not sure you really need one. The 3-band EQ does not seem all that responsive in my opinion (maybe it takes awhile to break-in??), but I have a Boss GE7 that I use to dial-in my tone.
- Sound. With the volume on 1-ish (what I would call a good bedroom volume) it has a great clean sound, not a bright/chimey Fender-clean, but one that I would best describe as pure; a great blank canvas to start from, if you will. It is kind of dark sounding through my thiele cab as expected but I also tried it through an old Peavey 12" Scorpion and it was beautiful. As you roll the volume up to 3, you start to get some break-up and it continues to growl until you end up with that uniquely-Marshall distortion around 7-8. Mind you, it is pretty loud at that volume! With the volume at 9-10 it is crunch-city. Obviously this is not a high-gain amp but you will be getting some nice 70's hard rock/metal tones without resorting to pedals though.
- Value. These have come way down in price over the last year. I picked mine up new from GC for just a little over three hundred. For a made in England all tube class A amp, that's a bargain in my opinion.
- Had to return my first one. My amp developed an annoying "staticky" noise coming thru the speaker on the first night of playing with it. It sounded like a bad speaker/instrument cable or a dirty pot. After trying everything from swapping cables, speakers, power outlets, guitars, and even attempting to reseat the tubes, I could not find the culprit so I am going to have to assume it's the amp and take it back for an exchange. I brought my own cab with me to the store to try the floor model out but did not open up the boxed class 5 until I got home. I will be sure to do that on the next one and will update this review with my findings.
- I would definitely bring a backup amp with me to a gig. As mentioned above, I tried reseating the tube during my troubleshooting. Getting to them is a pain in the A$$. You have to remove 4 screws securing a panel on the back (which, oh by the way is also glued to the chassis). This will let you touch the tubes but if you need to replace them, you have to remove 4 more screws on the bottom of the amp and remove the entire amp out of the chassis. I can only imagine the nightmare of having to do all that mid-gig.
I'm holding my final verdict until I get my replacement amp this weekend but if all goes well with that one I would give this a 4.5 stars. For now, I'm giving it a solid 4.
Is it good for metal? I don't think so, as this is classic mid-rangy drive and not scooped distortion. The tone controls also don't offer enough range to dial that in either.
It doesn't need an effects loop. I run a little bit of reverb from a Boss '63 reverb pedal and it sounds great.
Why not 5 stars? I don't think it sounds very good at all with a Strat and I wish it had just a touch more clean headroom on tap without having to dial back the volume on my guitar. But that's it. If you're looking for British blues tone at a volume level that you can use in the home, this is the Marshall for you.
I'm going to blend it with a '91 classic 50 4x10 and it is perfect.
Keep in mind I'm a Boogie Mark V guy...Right now it's turned off sitting under the little Class 5. LOL!
Traded a Mesa TA-15 for the Class 5 + 400 bucks cash. Win. I'm sure seller is happy too, just too much going on for me on the TA-15 with a MKV at my fingertips. Simple is best.
This 4x Gibson LP guy recently turned to the new Charvel 24 fret DS2's. They're putting value into their guitars.