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.
I bought this amp used off www.instrumentexchange.com for 80 bucks. I got it because, my first amp i had gotten with my guitar(it was a dean markley) was so terrible. I've played for over a year, and I am self taught. I play all kinds of styles from metal to rock to Klezmar to ballads. The amp comes with 4 digital effects, which i describe later in this review. My setup is a Ibanez GRX40 guitar with 1 humbucker and 2 single coils.
I love the distortion. My last amp was an extremely cheap dean markley 9 watt amp. This Marshall made my Ibanez GRX40(btw, a cheap guitar) sound like anything you hear in the studio. The distortion is rich, soulful, and crunchy. Now keep in mind that this is coming from a 160 dollar beginner guitar.
The digital effects are great. The reverb is incredible, the delay is to die for if you set it midway and use it with distortion. The chorus is good. An odd effect is that it really sharpens up the distortion, making it cutting. This can be a good thing or bad thing. If you're playing on the clean channel, it hurts the ears if you play the humbucker, but thats just the guitar. It is like an icepick sound without the chorus, but the chorus makes it more cutting.) However, if you play punk or the such, it is a great effect. If you play on the clean channel with the single coil, it is beautiful. Once again I can get the sound i hear on the radio all the time, even with my cheap single coils. The flange is okay, it doesn't really suit my need. It seems more like a gimmick, but it can sound really cool if the phase rate is set slow. Another great thing about this marshall is the bass. My previous amp had no bass. This Marshall really brings out the low end. It gives out as much bass as my friend's bass amp he plays through. Of course, some do not like the bass heaviness, but thats a matter of preference. This amp gets very loud too. I play it on a quarter of the volume on the distortion channel and 1/3 of the volume on the clean channel. Please note I play this in my bedroom, so it naturally will sound loud.
I do not like the fact that it buzzes at higher gain. It also takes a few seconds after you switch effects for the effects to kick on. I also do not like the fact that you can only have one effect on at any given time. But this IS a practice amp, so i really don't have a complaint.
The amp is built very ruggedly. It seems very tough, with metal knobs, and contruction.
This amp is a great amp, hands down. I have not played crates or peavey amps, but i can say I can see why Marshall is considered top brand. It makes a great 2nd (or first amp) for those who just play as a bedroom hobby, as well as practice amp.
Got this with a Yamaha Pacifica at Hooters, Watford: £299 for the set including other stuff as well, so the amp was probably £70ish if you deduct the rest of the kit (don't expect to get this price unless it's part of a pack).
This is a great amp. It's a really good size - not as small as the 10 watt model (which looks weedy) and about the right size for bedroom practice. I don't know about the sound though - I have turned the volume up to 2 (out of 10) and I don't really want to make it any louder in case I annoy the neighbours. It's pretty damn loud (hopefully)! It's really good having a headphone socket so you can practice silently, and the effects are great (although I don't use them much - this is Marshall's cheapest DFX amp). Overall a great amp, buy it!
The power plug is a bit short so it helps if you have a wall socket nearby or an extension lead. Apart frkom that it's great for the size and price.
It looks really tough and well made and I haven't had any problems.
A great amp, definitely for bedroom practice but it can probably play really loud as well so for any use really.
I purchased this amp new at Fletcher's in Big Flats, NY. I paid $220 with tax. I wanted a Marshall (solid state or not), and it sounded way better than the tiny Ibanez amp I was using at the time.
The tube emulation feature on this unit is fairly good, good enough that most non-anal-retentive guitar freaks couldn't tell the difference unless they were looking for it. Well, close. You can get some good rock tones going out of this baby, and still get a bit of sparkle clean. Also, for a 15 watter, it's pretty darn loud. The digital effects alone equal the cost of the amp. Also, it never hurts to be noticed lugging around a Marshall.
My only real gripe with this unit is in the digital effects' controls. One knob selected both the effect (reverb, delay, chorus, flange) and the rate, which made dialing in a specific sound (especially delay time) difficult to do quickly, and without bending over and studying it. The depth was selected with a different knob. Also, the clean channel has no gain knob, which is just a nice option to have, in my opinion.
I didn't find anything wrong at all with quality. The knobs didn't feel cheap when I turned them, which is something I'm very concerned with, for some reason. The amp got banged around a little bit, but no scratches or gashes. You start to forget that it was made in China.
For any non-band situations, this is a great-sounding little rocker at a fairly decent price, considering that it's one of the most respected names in rock. I'm pretty sure I'll hang on to this one for recording (I've moved on to a Peavey Transformer 212), because it can blast out great tones that are normally reserved for tubed members of the amp family. Keep in mind, it isn't a tube amp, but the majority of people (and even a lot of guitar players) couldn't hear the difference. I love it, tedious effects and all. Viva la Marshallution!