The Marshall AVT150 amp utilises 'Advanced Valvestate Technology' which basically means it's a combination of a valve/tube amp and a solid state amp. It delivers 150watts of power and has connections for an external footswitch, 2 external speaker inputs, a line in and an FX send and return insert section. In terms of controls, effects and settings, this amp head gives you plenty boosting 2 rows of 12 knobs controlling 4 different channels which are selectable via the footswitch. These range from the usual bass, middle and treble through to DFX mix and adjust for the digital effects section. The 4 different channels to choose from are Acoustic Simulator, Clean, Overdrive 1 and overdrive 2, these are also available on the footswitch as well as are 2 buttons to switch the FX section for Acoustic simulator/Clean on and FX section on/off for Overdrive1/overdrive 2. Along the top row of knobs/controls are the OD1 and OD2 section which are controlled by the same EQ knobs. (bass, middle, treble) and along the bottom row of knobs/controls is the acoustic simulator/clean channels which is controlled by the same (but separate from OD1 and OD2) EQ knobs.
The manual is very detailed but not overwhelming for this amplifier. Marshall know guitarists as good as anybody having been created amps for legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townsend and Slash, so they know how to put a decent manual together without making things difficult to figure out like some other companies do from time to time. It clearly explains how to set up the amp for any situation, using the FX send and return section, adding additional cabinets, how each channel works and about the built in digital effects section. It is very easy to get a good sound from this amp in fact it's harder to get a bad sound from the amp in all honesty, the manual even explains the inspiration for each channel and some recommended settings to dial in to achieve certain tones from famous bands/guitarists.
This Marshall can produce a really good tone, especially the overdrive/distortion 1 and 2 channels. The acoustic simulator is very impressive, the only thing i have heard that beats it is the Boss acoustic simulator pedal but the avt150's is very close indeed, especially convincing on single coil pickups on guitars like the Fender Stratocaster, plus there are controls for the 'top end' and 'body' so you can dial in your perfect setting for the Acoustic simulator. The clean channel in my opinion doesn't quite live up to the other channels, it is still perfectly usable but i've found on Les Paul and Gibson guitars it can sound quite muddy and not cut through the mix well live, however if combined with certain effects such as the chorus effect then it can be more flexible, but a better option for a clean sound from this amp would be to use the overdrive 1 channel and have a very low setting on your guitar's volume pot as in 1 or 2.
Moving onto the Overdrive channels, OD1 is more of an 'old school' crunchy type of distortion with more of a high mid range bite to it. Very flexible when used in combination with your guitars volume and pickup selectors. You will achieve a nice smooth bluesy tone with the neck pick up, and a driving rock sound from the bridge pick up as you might expect. On the gain control, as a rough guide - a quarter will give you a jangly indie rock tone, half way will give you AC/DC, about 3/4 of gain will give you Guns N Roses and up full will present you with a 'Ride the Lightning' style Metallica sound as described in the manual preset, and to go along with this you will need to press the 'scoop' button in which takes out the mids of the tone leaving you with more bass and treble and an overall aggressive sound that actually reminds me more of the 'And Justice for All' album guitar sound also by Metallica.
The OD2 channel was designed with modern metal in mind, mostly aimed at the Nu-Metal crowd of the early 2000's, and when combined with the scoop switch button (separate from the OD1 channel scoop switch) can produce heavy and brutal sounding results that suggest Slipknot, Korn, Hatebreed and nowadays Slayer. Although with that said it is definitely not pigeon-holed in that genre, having the scoop switch unpressed and the gain set at a nice halfway-3/4 point will give you a great solo tone that has a dominating, thick mid range punch that can bully it's way through the mix to shine through. This setting on a dual humbucker guitar always reminds me of the guitar solo in Crazy Train by Randy Rhodes. When combined with the footswitch and the OD1 channel, you can use this to great effect when playing live, dial the OD1 for crunchy rhythm and then set the OD2 to have more gain and volume to switch to for blistering lead parts or even a louder 'Chorus' distortion setting is a lot less hassle than having a load of pedals with power adaptors and cables etc on the floor to have to switch to.
The digital FX section is a highlight of this amp, and it is utilised very well with no 'cheap' sounds to be found anywhere. It has a lot of different reverb settings to choose from such as hall, room, gated and plate, which can all be tweaked with using the 'adjust control' and then subtly or not-so-subtly blended in with the dry signal using the DFX mix control knob. This method can be used for the other FX such as chorus, flanger, modulation, and delay. Set right, the flanger can be very effective for a 'Hotel California' type effect, the delay also sounds great and is a personal favourite for the overdrive channels along with chorus on the clean channels. The FX do not have the same degree of options as say a dedicated pedal would do, but you would need a spend a great deal on each pedal to get the same basic quality as the FX on this Marshall, a fantastic addition and big selling point for this amp.
To sum up, The Marshall AVT150 amp head and AVT150A cabinet are a great combination of quality, flexibility and value for money. The tone is very good, although a true Marshall valve amp will better it in this sense but at more of a cost and with much less built-in digital effects. Compare to other manufacturers take on the same type of amp with built in effects such as Crate etc, the Marshall AVT150 wins hands down. So if you have the cash and a large guitar pedal board already and need the best Marshall valve/tube sound possible then i would probably recommend you look at some of Marshall's more expensive 'All valve' offerings. However, if you can live with a valve pre-amp and flexibility for playing live and budget are part of the equation when choosing your next amp, then i would strongly recommend you look no further and definitely try this out.
I got this head from guitar center for 700 dollars.
The thing i like about it is the effects. The reverbs on it are sensational. If you want those leads from the 80s this reverb is perfect for em.
This amp is not bright at all the sound on it is so damp and terrible. The accoustic channel tweaks out when your treb is up. The clean channel is ok. The two distortion amps are terrible. They dont have enough gain. And the od 2 is way way way tooooo muddy.
The construction of this amp is encredible.
Im not saying this is a bad amp, its good for differnt kinds of music this is more for like alternative and im a lead player that plays in a 80s metal band so i need all that gain for the sustain and what not.
I bought this almost new - the unit was orignally purchased at Christmas 2003, and was hardly used by a guitarist who decided to emigrate to Australia shortly after his purchase. I bargained with him and paid £180 sterling. Price new in the UK is £395. He was desperate to sell, and I was very nervous as there could be no comeback. I read all the reviews I could get, but none really revealed some important facts - but here they are!
This amplifier is marketed on the basis of its ability to emulate the best of Marshalls all-valve amps. However, the most obvious feature when you use it is its ability to generate a wide range of guitar sounds, many not available on all-valve models. It is built with four channels and a set of digital effects that are organised into 16 separate programmes. The channels are 'Acoustic Simulator', 'Clean', OD1 and OD2 (Overdrive channels giving different levels of signal modulation). The Acoustic Simulator is excellent and in my opinion transforms the signal from my Fender Stratocaster into a sound that is indistinguishable from my electro-acoustic (a Tanglewood TW45N-DLX) played through the clean channel of most guitar amplifiers. The clean channel is variable in its own right and reproduces a range of sounds from pop to blues, according to level of gain used. There is a Bright setting that is said to reproduce the characteristics of Marshall all-valve amplifiers. It sounds pretty good to me clearly you must be the judge. The overdrive channels seem to differ most markedly in the degree of distortion, although the more obviously distorted OD2 channel gives unbelievable sustain even at low gain settings, without sounding excessively dirty. You can get dirt if you need it at higher gain levels. The digital effects are set separately for pairs of channels, and apply to the Acoustic Simulator and Clean channels, or OD1 and OD2. Even so, the range of effect is enormous.
It has to be appreciated that the differences between some settings are subtle! For example, there are 6 Hall and Room settings - all are discernibly different when you hear them next to one another in your own home, but I am doubtful whether an audience would detect much difference between them during a gig. The differences between effects such as Chorus, Flange, and Delay are much more audible, and some effects themselves can be drastically modified. The decay time in the Delay effect can be varied with radical results. All things considered, the 16 options give tremendous flexibility. Like many digital effects modules, there are more than you will ever use, but you are sure to use some. Even a limited selection of channels coupled with some effects will produce a fantastic palette of sounds. You will need to spend time experimenting with the various combinations, but a little patience will yield results.
These sound features are very easily controlled from the footswitch, which in my view is one of the best things about this amplifier package. It goes without saying that you need to be familiar with the initial set-up of the effects section and the channel settings first, but once this is achieved, the footswitch permits great flexibility of musical tone during a live performance. The footswitch is clearly laid out and allows you to select any of the 4 channels, plus your pre-selected digital effects. Whilst playing any piece of music, you can easily switch between channels, and turn your digital effects on and off. The layout of the switches is so clear that you are unlikely to hit the wrong button, and they respond sweetly to a tap of your toe. They also work if you are heavy-footed!
Somebody should tell you that it is good to buy the additonal speaker cabinet! Here's why:The most important features of this amplifier are its tone and power. It is after all a system that is supposed to emulate the best of the all-valve Marshall amplifiers. But I have to say that in my opinion, these qualities were not really evident until the amplifier was used in conjunction with its additional speaker. This has to be purchased separately. On its own the amplifier is rich and loud, but if you really want to move some air, wait till you hook it up to the matching speaker cabinet! The volume seems to increase to more than twice that of the basic unit, and the tones seem to be much more 3-dimensional and powerful. It then gives evidence of its real Marshall pedigree. I do not know whether this is a real electrical/physical change, or whether it is subjective, due perhaps to something simple like the height of the speaker. But believe me it is very noticeable. It improves the sound a quantum leap, and who cares how it works, it just does!
It looks great with its simple Marshall lines, and is very solid and compact. I haven't had it long enough to know whether it is as robust as it looks, but I have no reason to doubt that it will withstand the rigours of transport to and from gigs, like its Marshall relatives. It feels very strong.
This amplifier is a very good value, and do not take it for an 'entry level' piece of equipment. However, note the importance of the extension speaker cabinet(AVTC112)which enhances the sound considerably, for a price in UK of about £180. It's still good value for such a monster which is a serious piece of kit.
There are other good features such as a headphone socket which will keep your neighbours from throwing missiles through your window, and external effects sockets so that additional modules can be used, such as those you may already employ. This is a serious contender with a lot of features and excellent musical output.
I bought my smoking Marshall at Guitar Center in Lakewood. I spent $679.00 when it was on sale.
When you turn on 1 of the overdriven channels and you play your guitar you bite your toung at the pure energy and power in the AVT150. The clean channel is nice and the acoustic simulater is very realistic. There is two seprate digital effects sections. One for the overdrive channels the other for the acoustic simulator and the clean channel. There are some really cool effects in that section. There is also a headphone jack which I find useful. The tone is a little better than a solid state amp. All in all, this amp really screams!!!!!
The only thing I don't like about it is that the tubes get really hot and sometimes heat up a transiters enough for them to blow. Luckily that hasn't happened to me yet.
NOTE:This only happens to combos with tubes in the in either the poweramp or the preamp, and transiters in the other...
This amp is built like a brick. I dropped it a couple times lugging it around and it held up fine... I haven't had had any trouble with this amp since i bought it.
All in all its a kick ass amp. I'm am very happy with it. It gives me the wattage, effects, tone, and looks ive always needed.