I’ve just got back from a Marshall demo evening, put on by my local guitar store AStrings.co.uk. A huge thanks to them for putting on evenings like this, and to Marshall for coming out and demoing their amps.
Steve Smith from Marshall demoed three products: Marshall Code, the new DSL amps, and the new Origin amps. These are my personal thoughts and observations whilst they’re still fresh in my mind.
Some of the audience were very interested in Code, both for the flexibility it offered and for being a complete all-in-one (amp + effects) at an affordable price. I think it got the most questions on the night. Certainly felt that way.
Even more interestingly, it was the amp that most people played during the break.
This amp clearly fills a need for some people.
Next up was the newly revamped DSL. I think it was the 20W combo. First time I’ve heard one of the new ones in person. I thought it sounded fantastic.
I think I was the only person to play a DSL during the break. I tried the 5W version. Honestly, I thought it was the 20W version, it sounded that good for a small speaker combo. Great clean tone, the gain was easy to dial in, and the amp felt very responsive to pick dynamics.
I would be very very happy with the 5W DSL as a practice amp in the lounge, or as an amp to chuck in the car to take on holiday with. I will probably get one soon exactly for that.
I wish Marshall made a 40W or 50W DSL head. It would probably be the amp I’d recommend for pedals. Alas, there’s only a 20W or 100W head, with only combos in between. I don’t know how much headroom the 20W model has for pedals.
Last up was the new Marshall Origin line. It was what I was there to hear. We got to hear the 50W combo.
I’m interested in Origin to see if it can be a great amp for pedals. On paper, the 50W Origin head ticks all the boxes: head format amp and enough headroom to take a wide variety of drive pedals well.
There’s quite a gap in the market for an amp like that. Fender doesn’t really do amp heads, and their combos don’t play well at home volumes (although the new versions are a lot better at that than they used to be!)
How did Origin sound? For me, it was more of a mixed bag than I was hoping for.
That vintage mid-range was definitely there. But there was a sharpness to the top-end that I found physically difficult to listen to. I found it really piercing, and my ears are still ringing from it over an hour later.
Now, that might have been down to the speaker in the combo. The 50W combo ships with a Celestion Midnight 60. Celestion doesn’t have this speaker on their website, and there isn’t a tonne of information about it online. I’ve got a 1×12 with a very nice G12M-65 Creamback that’s already broken in. I’m hoping to hear the 50W head through this at the weekend.
The other reason it was a mixed bag? The Origin doesn’t clean up quite as much as I’d hoped. Some people love running a drive pedal into an amp that’s starting to break up – and it’s a great way to get fantastic tones. I prefer to run pedals into a totally clean amp, to hear as much of the pedal’s colour as possible.
Sadly, there wasn’t an opportunity to play the Origin on the night. But stock is due tomorrow (Friday), and I’m hoping to get down there with my cab, pedal board and a Les Paul to see if I’m adding an Origin 50W head to the Hermit’s Cave or not.