Review of Marshall MS2 Micro Amp
In order to balance our practice amp reviews up we thought we'd better include this little fella in our roundup. Now, although it is a practice amp, this is technically referred to as a micro amp or battery powered guitar amp (even though this can be mains powered too).
As usual, we will take a look at some of the main features of the amp and list some of the pros and cons of the Marshall MS2.
In addition, we will look at some of the customer reviews and try to give you a balanced opinion on purchasing this little mini amp.
If you want a practice amp purely for practicing the guitar (that's a novel idea isn't it?!) and not for gigging or recording then this is probably ideal. The Marshall MS2 Mini Amp is extremely portable and, although the output power is only 1 watt, you will be pleasantly surprised at just how much volume you get from this miniature guitar combo.
If you take the Marshall MS2 for what it is (a low powered, low cost, good quality, highly portable, mini practice amp) you won't be disappointed.
With clean and over drive settings, a headphone socket and a belt clip, you can take this practice combo almost anywhere and crank out some authentic Marshall tones.
(Note: I actually own two of these little MS2's and I think they are great for their intended use. I owned one for about 10 years and then decided to purchase another one for my son, who loves it!)
Specification & Dimensions
- Circuitry: Solid-State
- Output: 1-Watt RMS
- Speakers: x 1
- Input: Input Jack
- Outputs: Headphone
- Effects: Overdrive
- Programmable: No
- Width: 110mm
- Height: 140mm
- Depth: 60mm
- Weight: 340g
As you would expect from the size of this micro amplifier, it isn't exactly feature packed. This is a simple to use portable mini amp that isn't meant to be full of gadgets and gizmos.
Front Panel - Starting left to right we have the input jack, volume control, tone control, Power Off/On/OD, and Power LED Indicator. (We told you it was simple!)
Input Jack - This is fairly self-explanatory.
Volume - Once again, pretty self-explanatory, although it is worth noting that you will need this turned up fairly high on the clean setting in order to get a decent volume (it does start to distort at higher levels though).
Tone - There are no individual controls for bass and treble but using this master tone control will adjust your sound from bass to treble.
Power (Off/On/OD) - The power control also switches between the clean and overdrive settings. It has to be said that this amp really comes into its own when switched to OD. You might struggle to get a high volume clean sound but once you are in overdrive, you get the Marshall sound you would expect.
Battery or Mains Power - The thing that will attract guitar players to this little combo is the fact that it is so portable. Not needing a mains power supply to plug into really means you can play this thing almost anywhere. Simply insert a 9v battery, clip the amp to your belt, and away you go. Obviously, as the battery starts to lose charge, the amp will lose power and the sound will degrade somewhat. The nice thing about this amp though is that you can purchase a separate 9 volt adapter and use mains power as an alternative, meaning you get the best of both worlds.
So, why would you buy this mini amp?
- Highly portable (great for busking!)
- Built in speaker
- Easy to use
- Great Marshall sound
- Low cost
The main pro of owning the MS2 is the sheer portability of the thing. It is so small and light you can just clip it to your belt, power it up, and jam away. Some of these micro amps don't actually have a speaker and only work with headphones so it is a real plus that you can use this with or without headphones. With only three buttons, you don't need to be a genius to figure out how to use it either. You are getting an authentic sounding Marshall amp for a relatively low cost.
Most of the guitarists out there seem to be happy with this little amp.
In the main, the majority of user reviews out there are very positive. The general view is that it is loud, well-built and has a surprisingly good Marshall tone. One even stated it was one of the loudest mini amps they have ever owned! (As I mentioned, I own two of these little amps and I couldn't agree more with all the positive reviews).
What might put you off purchasing this little Marshall mini amp?
- Low power (most mini amps are, that's kind of the point!)
- Clean channel distorts at higher volumes
- Can drain batteries rather quickly
You need to remember that this is only a 1 watt amplifier so it is never going to be as loud as some of the higher powered practice amps we have looked at. Having said that, considering the relatively low power output, you will be surprised at how loud it actually is (especially on overdrive).
The clean channel can distort at higher volumes and this seems to be what the majority of negative reviews out there suggest (I personally use the amp on the OD setting most of the time). It can also drain the batteries rather quickly under heavy use and cause the sound to drop off. These are all minor gripes and don't seem to be an issue for the majority (myself included).
If you take the Marshall MS2 for what it is (a low powered, low cost, good quality, highly portable, mini practice amp) you won't be disappointed. It is perfect for home practice, taking out and about or even busking.
Most of the guitarists out there seem to be happy with this little amp. As I have mentioned, we own two of these little beauties and I have had one for around 10 years. They are a fun little amp and, as with the Vox we reviewed , I wouldn't hesitate to buy another.