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I’ve been using the Marshall MG15R amplifier for a little over a year. It has continued to climb upwards in price since I bought mine new for $129. I refer to this as my kitchen amplifier because that is where it usually resides, right next to me under the kitchen window. I never thought I’d say a little solid state amp made in Viet Nam was one of my favorite amplifiers but it is. Lets see why.
|IN THE KITCHEN|
I need a kitchen amp because this is where most pedals get their first demo run-through. This little Marshall gem looks and functions like any Marshall combo amp. It features two preamp channels, one is optimized for clean sounds and the other is for “Overdrive”, this second distortion channel features a separate “Gain” knob and “Volume” to control the overall level of distorted tones. A single front panel pushbutton is provided to switch between the two channels, there is no option for using a footswitch to change channels. Bass, Middle and Treble rotary controls are provided for adjusting the overall tone. The final BIG feature is the inbuilt spring reverb. A single eight-inch guitar speaker in a closed-back speaker cabinet provides the sound output.
ABUNDANT CLEAN SOUNDS, CLASSIC MARSHALL OVERDRIVE
The “Clean” channel has a pleasant full-range tone without distortion or breakup. This amp sounds best at lower volume outputs and I would not try to keep up with a band using this model. For testing pedals and rehearsing parts the MG15R has a pleasant sound using the clean channel. For rehearsing lead parts or general practice the inbuilt Overdrive distortion is capable of classic crunch with the Marshall tone-pedigre fully intact.
REAL SPRING REVERB
The online ad where I ordered my MG15R incorrectly stated this amp uses solid state digital reverb like its larger siblings when in fact, a mechanical spring reverb is responsible for the sound. I discovered this by accident when I moved the amp while it was ON and in the process, jostled the spring tank hard enough to ilicit the classic clang of springs banging together. Overall the reverb has a nice sound and extends the usefullness of the amp. A similar model is available without reverb if you want to save a couple of dollars. Personally I’m a huge fan of reverb and this effect for almost no additiional cost can be used or ignored, it has its own knob and is fully adjustable. Reverb affects both the Clean and Overdrive channels.
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OTHER INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
This amp is clearly intended to be a low cost entry into the world of Marshall amplification but that does not mean low performance. Besides all its other amenities this little amp features a headphone jack and aux input on the front panel next to the power button. A mini 1/8” TRS cable can connect an ipod or some other music player into the aux input, this sound will be mixed with the guitar amplifier preamp and output through the speaker or headphone jack if it is used.
|No controls or jacks on the rear, fixed power cord|
Delivers convincing Marshall tone
Instand ON, no warm up time required
Compact in size
Light in weight
Works with speaker or headphones
2-channels for instrument effects
Closed back speaker enclosure delivers full sound
No external speaker jack
Not much power without distortion
No option for channel switching remote
Fixed power cord
The Marshall MG15R is a bargain. At only $149 it is priced like a boutique stompbox but delivers the performance of a complete guitar amplifier with power, tone and speaker output. At under 18 pounds in weight this is a true light weight performer and an excellent amp for entry level or experienced players. The MG15R is compact and has the classic Marshall style that so many players love.
If you’re looking for a compact practice amp that sounds good, offers a ton of features and tone, all for a price that won’t empty your wallet, this little performer from Marshall is a real winner.
Good music to you!
©2022 by Mark King, it’s not ok to copy or quote without written permission.
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