Submitted March 5, 2013 by Jim B in Hollywood, CA
"The sound you've been looking for"
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.
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!
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?
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 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.
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.
30+ year professional (PAID) musician.
Rock, classic rock, hard rock.
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