Marshall MG15DFX

MG15DFX, Solid-State Combo Guitar Amp from Marshall in the MG 2nd Gen series.

wrgkmc 01/04/2017

Marshall MG15DFX : wrgkmc's user review

"Bought this because I also own a 15W valvastate and wanted a pair to run stereo effects."

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Value For Money : Excellent Audience: Anyone
This amp is nearly identical to the Valvestate series. I've owned a 15W combo and 100W head for about 10 years so I know them well. I found a great price on the MG so I bought it so I'd have a pair to run with my stereo effects units.

I play all types of music and also own many high end high power amps both tube and SS and have been playing for over 50 years so I'm not a beginner and this is not my first amp. I've used the Valvestate mostly for practicing. I've used it for some small rehearsals and only live once where I miced it up.

These amps can get fairly loud but barely keep up with a live acoustic drummer. The 8" speaker simply cant produce a large enough footprint. Knowing these amps, If I wanted something for live I'd get a 30 or 50W. A 15W tube amp is rated in clean watts and may have an additional 30% driven volume which makes a 15W tube amp louder then a SS amp. These will put out 15W at max volume with no reserve so they are more like a 10W tube amp.

Since I have two now I may be able to gig with them but I'd still likely use a larger amp. I'll use the two of these for recording or small acoustic gigs which I do occasionally.

The MG appears to have the same power amp as the Valvestate and the EQ seems to be about the same. The MG may have a little more treble but it may only be the amp has seen less use and the speaker is in better shape. The MG is also close backed and the Valvestate is open. I can match the EQ tones however so there cant be much difference

The differences are the Valvestate has two gain volumes and a master volume, no channel switching. The MG has a clean channel and a gain/lead channel. They share the same EQ and Effects. When I dial up the cleans they are nearly identical. The driven channel is similar to having the Valvestate gains cranked.

The gain on the MG is all or nothing however. There are no crunch tones on the amp. The gain goes from zero to heavy to overkill. Since I am an electronic tech I may attempt to remedy that problem at some point but its not that important. As I said I run a stereo effects pedal so I'll most likely run the clean channel only. I have plenty of Marshall pedals for drive tones like a Governor and Blues breaker I can use for drive tones as well. The amp does not have a pedal jack for switching channels either so switching channels when playing isn't possible unless you mod the amp and install a jack (which would be fairly simple too) that

The MG does have a couple of other features. Its got a button that emulates tube tone that works fairly well. I have something similar on my Valvestate 100.
The 15W Valvestate has a line out Headphone out and CD/line in. The Line out is not speaker emulated so it doesn't record very well direct.

On the MG they combined the CD in and line out with a toggle switch. The line out is speaker emulated so you can record direct with it - good option many newer amps have. The headphone also disconnects the internal speaker which the Valvestate doesn't, which is kind of dumb.

The Valvestate only has a cheap reverb spring and after 10 years is pretty weak. Again I don't use it much anyway. The MG does have some excellent quality effects built in. You can only run one at a time but they are very usable.

As far as some of the bad reviews I've read, Its obvious the people who bought the amps were either expecting too much from a small amp or simply don't know how to use the Marshall tones these amps produce. I read where many who complained had cheap guitars and hot wound pickups too.

Guitars with Vintage wound pickups are going to sound the best on these amps because you get a wide frequency response from vintage pickups. Hot wound pickups typically have a loss in Highs and lows and boosted mids in a trade off to get a stronger signal. You need an amp with allot of treble boost to make hot wound pickups sound decent and these Marshalls have traditional EQ's so I can see why many beginners got bad tones. They had the wrong guitar for the wrong amp.

With the right guitar these little amps cook. Bright and chippy sounding with typical Marshall tones. Good amp for the money simply don't expect them to be as big and robust as its big brothers.