Review of Marshall MG30CFX 30 Watt Guitar Amp
So, maybe you are after a little practice amp and you liked our review of the Vox PATHFINDER 10 but you really want built in effects. If that's the case then this could be just the piece of equipment you are looking for.
Once again, we'll be looking closer at some of the main features and running through some of the advantages and disadvantages of the guitar amp.
We will also be looking at the thoughts of people who have already purchased the Marshall MG30CFX and seeing what they think of it.
Here we go...
If you are looking for a small practice amp with built in effects (chorus, phaser, flanger and delay) then the Marshall MG30CFX 30w Combo with Effects and Carbon Fibre Finish could be right up your street. The 30 Watt output means this amplifier is ideal for the bedroom guitarist whilst also being able to hold its own for small and medium sized gigs. It certainly packs a punch!
Most people reckon this sweet sounding little amp is a great all-rounder which has fantastic distortion and is very loud!
Not only that, but there are also 4 programmable channels available to you so you're bound to find the sound you like (clean, crunch, overdrive1 and overdrive2).
The classic Marshall tone is certainly present and this feature packed little combo comes wrapped in a classic carbon fibre-clad look so the amp is very robust and really catches the eye.
Specification & Dimensions
- Circuitry: Solid-State
- Output: 30-Watts RMS
- Speakers: x 1 (10", 4 ohm)
- Input: Input Jack MP3 / CD
- Outputs: Headphone/Line Out Jack
- Effects: Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Delay and Octave
- Programmable: Yes
- Width: 480mm
- Height: 420mm
- Depth: 225mm
- Weight: 10.8Kg
Where do we start? For the price, this combo really does come with all sorts of little goodies! Let's take a look at just some of the great features this amplifier has to offer you as a guitar player.
Front Panel - Starting left to right we have the input jack, gain, bass, middle, treble, reverb, volume, FX, master, line in (MP3 etc.), headphone, foot controller socket (the controller is not included by the way) and power switch. You also have the toggle buttons for clean / crunch and overdrive1 / overdrive 2 along with the tuner buttons.
The bass, middle, treble and volume controls are all self-explanatory and come as standard on most amps whereas some of the other features deserve a closer look.
Clean / Crunch - Instead of your standard clean channel, this combo comes with a clean / crunch channel which basically adds a bit more gain to the clean channel so you still get the warm Marshall tone but with slightly more distortion.
Overdrive 1 / Overdrive 2 - You also get two overdrive channels which progressively increase the gain to distort the sound.
Split Digital Reverb - Sitting next to the controls for bass, middle and treble you will also find a rotary control for reverb which gives you the option of a spring (actual spring reverb uses a transducer at the end of a spring) or studio emulation. Both types sound great and you can control the amount used.
Effects (FX) - One of the main features of this Marshall combo are the built in effects. There are four in total consisting of chorus, phaser, flanger and delay. There is also the octave option which will duplicate the guitar part and place it, along with the original, an octave lower. They are all accessed and dialled in via the FX control so you can have hours of fun playing with all the different settings!
But what happens after you do spend hours altering all the settings to get the perfect tone only for someone (a young child for example) to come along and turn all the dials? Don't worry, the nice people at Marshall have thought of that!
Programmability - Segueing nicely from our previous feature, you can store every setting you have dialled in (other than the volume) for each available channel. You can then retrieve these at the touch of a button until you decide to overwrite them with new settings. This really opens up the amplifier and gives you a superb range of tones to play with.
You can purchase a separate footswitch (Stompware footswitch - PEDL-90008) to quickly select between different tones (useful for live gigs) which also has the added benefit of expanding the programmability of the amp.
What are some of the main advantages to purchasing this amplifier?
- Four channels
- Built in FX
- Authentic Marshall tone (that you have a great deal of control over) and superb sound
- Loud enough for home practice, studio use or small to medium sized gigs
if you are looking for a small but powerful practice amp with built in effects ... this could well be the amplifier for you.
Most people reckon this sweet sounding little amp is a great all-rounder which has fantastic distortion and is very loud! Having said that, loudness doesn't mean quality, but apparently this amp has the balance just right. It is also very sturdy and although the controls are plastic, they certainly don't feel cheap. The digital effects add to the versatility of the amp and the tones available do a great job of emulating the classic Marshall tone. The crunch seems to be a particular favourite as it delivers that typical Hendrix bluesy quality.
So, does this amplifier have any less appealing traits?
- Small controls
- Hard wired power lead
- Foot pedal isn't included
- It doesn't sound like a tube amp (because it isn't and doesn't cost anywhere near as much)
At the time of writing, there are very few negative user reviews on Amazon, but we've included a roundup of some of the less favourable aspects of the amp anyway.
Some users have mentioned the controls are a bit small and can be confusing but, for most people, this doesn't seem to be an issue. The hard wired power lead is something to take note of. It isn't really a problem as such but if the lead breaks, it isn't simply a case of ordering a replacement.
Ideally the amp would also come with the foot pedal included, but you can always purchase one at a later date.
A few owners have also pointed out that it doesn't sound like a tube amp, which is very observant of them, as it isn't a tube amp! Seriously though, this combo does a pretty good job of emulating a Marshall valve amp, but it is still solid state, so it will never have the exact tube amp tone (or price)!
What's the verdict then? Well, by and large, this is a great feature packed practice amp that is ideal for guitarists of all levels. As we said in our introduction, it is perfect for home practice or playing small gigs in pubs and clubs.
The overall majority don't have a bad word to say about this piece of kit and, if you are looking for a small but powerful practice amp with built in effects, but also want that lovely crunchy authentic Marshall tone on a budget, then this could well be the amplifier for you.