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Rating and Reviews: Marshall 1987XL Head

Plug into an icon. With 50 watts of power delivering that classic "Plexi" tone, the Marshall 1987XL is a faithful reproduction of the original.

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"The sound you've been looking for" submitted March 5, 2013

By Jim B in Hollywood, CA
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Musical Background: 30+ year professional (PAID) musician.
Music Style: Rock, classic rock, hard rock.
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: Plexis are known for three things only: 1. Great cleans 2. Super rich organic overdrive when cranked 3. Ear-splitting volumeThis 1987x provides just those three things. The cleans are the best in the Marshall family. Turn it up, and you have that coveted vintage drive everyone is trying to emulate. Just bring an attenuator or some nice earplugs! Feature: As simple as it gets, yet very versatile. three-band tone stack with presence control and two independent channels with their own volumes. Bridging the two channels opens an unlimited number of tones by mixing them together at your preferred levels. Add an attenuator or stand in another room and turn it up: you'll get the thickest, most harmonic-laden overdrive you've heard in years. Boost it with a drive pedal, and you're in new uncharted territory. Love the clean sound, but need more versatility? This amp takes drive pedals better than anything else I have tried. Even cheap Boss distortions can sound good through it because of its distinct EQ shelving. I was surprised at the way it handled pedals. I've frequently heard "this amp handles pedals well" and blew it off, as everyone says that about their amps. This is the first time I've actually experienced a SIGNIFICANT difference in drive or dirt pedal handling. You won't be disappointed. The effects loop on the xl version also adds a new versatility not usually found in these amps. FAR superior to the clones and the "simple interrupt" loops, this active, buffered loop retains the sound of the amp while bringing out the best in your pedals or rack gear. Selectable levels, and a true-bypass loop disconnect button for purists. Ease of Use: Easiest thing ever.1. Plug in guitar.2. Twiddle a coupla knobs3. Experience great toneHow much easier does it get? Quality: I alluded to this before. Removing the chassis for inspection showed a pleasant surprise. Pots were wired to the board, not connected directly. Same with the loop daughter board and the tubes. It's refreshing to see tube sockets that weren't mounted to the board. This cuts way down on any heat-issue-related failures, and makes maintenance a breeze. the main board is also true to the original simple design. Traces are thick and beefy. Layout is simplistic and unaltered. Built as well as you can ask for an amp like this. Sure, a handwired PTP turretboard model is always everyone's big dream, but with the way this one is built, I can't see the reliability being any less. Value: Value is good+. I'd say great if it were priced the same as the clones, but the value of it being a Marshall Plexi does carry enough weight that I would choose this over any small company clone. But value comes down to the end-user's needs. Your best bet if you're not sure is to try one first. But once you do, be prepared to whip out the plastic, because you'll be in love. Manufacturer Support: Being in the US, I've never tried to deal with Marshall support. They might be awesome, I don't know. However, if you're going to spend money on any good tube amp, you better either know how to maintain it, or know someone else who does. Tube amps will last lifetimes as long as they're properly maintained and serviced. But no man-made item is 100% foolproof. Don't kid yourself into thinking ANY amp will work forever when you plug in, play at 100% volume, drag to shows, don't change tubes, and don't maintain it. I've seen so many people put down quality of MANY different high-end tube amps because they aren't educated enough in the maintenance requirements of one. If you want a BMW, you need to know a mechanic. Get used to that idea or settle for cheap Line6 junk. The Wow Factor: The actual question to fill out this section says: "Is there something about this gear that makes you want it even if you could make good music without it?"Answer: Yes. I own other amps. I have boutique amps. I have production amps. I have vintage amps. But this is the closest I have found to that Holy Grail vintage Marshall sound. It's not a high-gain flash amp. If you're into that, get a cheaper amp. This is the real deal vintage tone. There are too many people out there buying super high gain boutique stuff because they want that "vintage tone". Sorry guys... unless by "vintage" you mean "Metal Church", you're not getting what you SAY you're getting. Overall: This is the best sounding Marshall, hands-down. While not a "handwired" head, the inside yields a well-constructed and extremely simple main PCB. Its quality rivals a good turretboard construction. The overall build quality is excellent, and at the price point, is a great way to get the sound you've been looking for. If you want a cheap knock-off clone, go for it. But be forewarned, this one is the REAL deal.
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"The Marshall Lovers' Pot Of Gold" submitted March 26, 2006

By a customer from aol.com
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Musical Background: studio guitarist
Music Style: classic rock
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Sound: really smooth warm marshall sound, especially when cranked really loud. could use a marshall power brake. it breaks up real nicely. Feature: the amp by itself is good enough for me. Ease of Use: it's a lot easier than the old ones to get distortion from.as i said.... the marshall power brake u may need. Quality: -good quality- Value: it's good, but a vox ac30 is about $600 cheaper with about the same quality Manufacturer Support: pretty easy 2 reach- The Wow Factor: it's prctically the amp of the 70's- u can't resist it Overall: it's tha only amp u'll ever need
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"It's the tone, no lie, no fake." submitted June 10, 2005

By a customer from ispwest.com
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Musical Background: extensive
Music Style: whatever sells
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: I don't think a bad sound can get through this amp. (I don't mean it will help bad playing or cover up bad playing.) It loves effects pedals and they do NOT come through fuzzy/buzzy. Don't try this if you love the amp you have, it will break up that relationship. It sounds so nice you won't miss reverb, it doesn't have it remember. It really is all that people say it is and it is good to have so I don't go thinking my transistor amps sound so hot. Be careful, this amp will change your ears. Feature: I don't know what to say here. It's best feature is it doesn't have many. It's just a pure old time tube amp. The effects send/return can be switched out of the circuit and that is a new feature for this model. Quality: I don't really know, I'm not an electronics engineer. It probably isn't the very best in the world, but it sounds great, looks great, and people recognize this amp as a true ICON in the business. Value: The price didn't go up in the US, the US dollar was devalued by about 40%. Manufacturer Support: The support in the UK is incredible, don't know about the States. I hear bad things about support in the States, but no experience there. The Wow Factor: It's like knowing you have a proper foundation to build upon. It's an amp everyone should have the opportunity to play to measure the sound of their own amp. I bought it for it's sound. Overall: I'll never sell it. If lost, stolen, or wrecked, I'd have to look for a used one, I got this for $500 less than the usual discounted price.
17 of 18 people (94.44%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Speechless" submitted June 21, 2003

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Sound: Awsome tone, i love it and i'll never part with it and, not to mention, it's LOUD for being a 50 watt head. Ahh the sound of an all tube head... it's music to my ears! Feature: It's simple, plug and play, there aren't a bazillion knobs to mess with so you'll hear the true tone and not a generic one. Quality: It's a marshall.. need i say more? Value: You get what you pay for... The Wow Factor: Vintage = Sexy Overall: Its great!!! If you are looking for a great, rocking head that is simple to use... this is it!!! you can experiment with patching the inputs to get different tones...
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"1987X The best head out there." submitted September 28, 2005

By a customer from Yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician, Recording Engineer
Music Style: British Rock
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Sound: If you just cant live without that classic rock and B.B. King sound then this is a must have. Combined with a Gibson 59 Standard Reissue there is nothing you cant do. The 1987X and the 1959SLP are basicly the same just more power. I like the 50 watts because you get the famous crunch at lower volumes. Feature: Like another person said this head's best feature is that it has little. No knobs to get in the way of the sound you want. I would recomend using a good Reverb pedal though. Quality: This head will last you a life time. Value: For the sound it gives you its a steal. Manufacturer Support: Marshall or your dealer will do what ever it takes to fix anything. Not that it will ever break to begin with. The Wow Factor: Marshall Plexi's in low light or concert lighting. Thats the end of other wanna be stacks. We all know what the women say when they see a Plexi. Overall: I am going to buy the one ive been playing for months. Trust me when I say if you want "The Tone" the search stops here.
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Marshall 1987XL Head Customer Review submitted August 11, 2010

By a customer from yahoo.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Active Musician
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Sound: There is & will be a debate whether they sound as good as vintage plexis. The bottom line is that this is a great sounding amp on it's own. for me this is what Marshall is all about. It's loud as ****, but it sounds amazing. It's probably worth to mention that this amp needs a really good cabinet to sound its best. Feature: Well, not much that this amp has. If you like switching through 100 different sound when you play live, it's probably not for you. The Wow Factor: Looks like a Marshall. Overall: This is probably the most transparent overdrive & distortion I've heard from any amp. Mixing the 2 channels gives you ability to make it sound unreal. The only downside is that it's too loud!! http://bipolar-music.com/
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"get the ceriatone plexi clone..." submitted January 5, 2010

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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: classic rock
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Overall: http://ceriatone.com/productSubPages/BSPlexi50Lead/BSPlexi50Cabinet.htm i recently fell in love with the thick creamy sound a good plexi makes. but 1800 is a little out of my league for an amp with mixed reviews. i tried it and loved the sound but i heard a lot of talk about ceriatone marshall clones. i listened to the on youtube and for 840 plus shipping i went for a 50 watt plexi lead. compared to the marshall i would say it is incredibly similar when overdriven, but the clean tones are even better and with good headroom. do yourself a favor and email ceriatone about a built to order, handwired marshall clone that best suits you. the only downside is "if" your amp is breaks from some sort of defect, you have to pay the hefty shipping fee back to malaysia. but ive heard bad things about marshalls warranties too. the people at ceriatone are very nice and helpful and answered all 30 emails i have sent them even when i asked questions that were somewhat irrelevant to my amp.iend
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