Marshall Class 5 Review – 5W All-Tube Combo Amp

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Click to Buy at Long-McQuade.com: $480.00 CAD
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Marshall Class 5 Combo AmpThe Marshall Class 5 is a small 5 watt combo designed to put out vintage inspired Marshall tone, the likes of which was made famous by classic amps like the 1959 Plexi and the Bluesbreaker. A simple amp in design and functionality, the Class 5 delivers 5 Class A watts, just enough to play a small room and perfect for studio use. Home users be warned though, even at 5 watts, this amp is still very loud! Topping off the vintage inspired tone and simple vintage inspired design, is a fantastic vintage inspired look. All in all the Class 5 provides guitarists with a way to get the sound and look they crave without having to break the bank or the back with an actual vintage Marshall.

 

Sound Quality:

When you listen to the Class 5, what you hear is definitely a Marshall. Designed to produce vintage inspired Marshall sound in a small box and at manageable power levels, the Class 5 delivers on all accounts. With the volume knob at a low to low/medium setting, the Class 5 produces nice cleans that aren’t as shimmering or glassy as a Fender, but have a very nice, thick and responsive characteristic. Roll the volume knob up a bit and you get the vintage overdriven kind of sound that Marshall enthusiasts chase after. The crunchy, loose, natural overdrive you’ll get from pushing the Class 5 sounds fantastic. It can be a bit on the bassy side, but not overly, and the tone stack is more than adequate for compensating.

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You do have to push it to get there though, and if you’re looking for a more heavily driven sound, you’ll need to push it hard. We’re talking volume up near max hard. There is no gain knob on this amp, so the only way to get it to overdrive is to crank the volume up. Way up. This might not sound like a big deal since the amp is only 5 watts, but don’t be fooled, a 5 watt tube amp pushed to the brink is still quite loud. If you’re playing on stage, it won’t be a problem at all, but if you’re playing at home, you might have a hard time getting the Class 5 up high enough to really give you a nice thick crunch.

If you do get it way up though, the amp sounds fantastic, and the bluesy, classic rock-esque overdrive tones are fantastic. However, if you’re looking for an amp to put out a high-gain type sound, skip on the Class 5. Even when pushed to the max, the distortion isn’t over the top. This is definitely not a TSL! For those looking for an amp that’s comfortable putting out excellent cleans and crunchy, vintage rock tones, the Class 5 nails it. Power wise, it’s perfect for small stages and recording studios, making it great for those who want that classic Marshall sound without lugging around that classic Marshall size.

 

Features:

A feature-rich amp the Class 5 is not. Nor should it be, because that’s not what the boys at Marshall were trying to do. The name of the Class 5’s game is small and simple. There is no effects loop, no gain control, no built-in reverb. You get a volume knob, and a three band tone stack with treble, mid and bass. That’s it. There isn’t even a standby switch. It’s simplicity all the way. The basics you need and nothing more.  This back-to-basics approach helps in a number of ways, including size, weight and in helping shape the Class A tone, which benefits from simpler circuitry.

The speaker in the Class 5 is a Chinese made 10” Celestion G10F-15 and you have the option to attach an extension cab at 16 ohms. The preamp runs on 2 ECC83 tubes, and the power section is pushed by a single EL84. The vintage inspired looks include top mounted plexi-style control panel, black tolex with no corner guards, and an attractive grey grille cloth. The Class 5 is also available in a few limited colour options. Best of all, the Class 5 delivers all of its plexi-style vintage tone while coming in at just over 26lbs!

 

Overall:

If your dream Marshall is a TSL100, the Class 5 probably isn’t quite going to do it for you. But if your dream Marshall is an old Plexi or a 60’s Bluesbreaker, you’re probably going to love the Class 5. An homage to that early Marshall sound, the Class 5 provides exceptional vintage-styled Marshall tone and does it at a fraction of the cost and weight of its bigger brothers. A stripped down, back-to-basics approach provides all the elements a player needs to plug-in and go, and nothing more. At 5 watts, the amp is small, but still quite loud, and easily has enough power to cover a small room. For those looking for more volume, you have the option to plug it into an extension cab at 16 ohms. Overall, despite being a simple little amp, the Class 5 actually delivers quite a lot, and is definitely worth a look for anyone chasing that vintage Marshall tone.

 

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Marshall Class 5 Review – 5W All-Tube Combo Amp4.751


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One Response to “Marshall Class 5 Review – 5W All-Tube Combo Amp”

  1. Phillip Zich
    March 15, 2012 at 1:42 am #
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    Love mine. Its true that its a bit loud for the house, but for recording I love it. I use an extension cab for live when I use it live. Not sure itd be able to handle itself on its own. Great tone tho. Pure Marshall.

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