2020 Top 4 Heads for a Marshall Half Stack
As Marshall is the business behind the first-ever stacks, their salt is well worth the majority of their heads on the market.
We could easily sit down and analyze the lot but we kept our picks short and simple, opting for a succinct analysis on only four of them. All are 100 watt options for a fair battle, and we have included versions for digital and valves.
View The Best 2020 Heads for a Marshall Half Stack Below
1. Marshall MG100HCFX MG Series Review 2020
First of all, we've got something from the scale's more affordable end. This is a very capable MG Gold 100-watt option which offers up to four channels and is able to power one cab or two 4x12 cabins.
It's structurally sound and offers some pretty compelling tube tones for the players. Channel choices are clean, crunch, and 1 or 2 overdrive.
Thanks to its simple layout, users can customize the gain, bass, mid, treble and reverb with complete ease. In addition to the dials, you also have volume control effects, an effect selector, and volume master.
If the effect selector is tweaked then you can control how pronounced the effect is within the tone. This gives users plenty of scope to create a wide array of classic effects.
+ 4 lines.
+ Tremendous tonal capacity.
+ Capable 1 cab or 2 4x12 cab power head.
Why We Liked It - The MG series has been the target of snobbery in some circles, but the newer CFX one brings a lot of sound to the table, and is comparable to the higher-end amps for the variety of opportunities they provide.
2. Marshall JVM410H Review 2020
The next option for discussion is a bit richer in taste; the Vintage model series JVM410H is truly a tube-driven dream amp that serves authentic vintage epochal sound.
These amps are well equipped as far as tones go, but navigating for someone completely new can be harder, as the dials are a bit overwhelming.
These amps are a pro-level choice with outstanding engineering that allows for true replication and tremendous versatility. It is fitted with five ECC83 preamps, four EL-34 control tubes, and again features players with four channels such as the above MG homage.
Each channel can be modified through three distinct modes, indicated as red, orange, and green LEDs-they sculpt the intensity.
In addition to the modes, which offer you 12 distinct flavours, you do have control dials for reverb, bass, treble and middle, as well as gain and volume. In red and orange post-equalization is added to the gain.
The clean, with great headroom, is awesome and the overdrives are free. The optical reverb is very impressive too.
+ Conventional head tube amp.
+ Versatility for the killers.
+ Intuitive rendering.
Why We Liked It - Looks like this amp head costs twice as much. It has some quintessential tonal characteristics, and is very versatile. It includes even a MIDI out that gives it additional applications.
3. Marshall DSL Series Review 2020
For most of us, the DSL is a go-to series, and while it pales in comparison to the superior sound of the JVM, it delivers what we want in a more realistic realm, in terms of price.
The DSL100H is a 2-channel option that includes a presence and resonance dial, with a 3-band equalization section. There are 2 modes, clean versus grit, one / two lead, and a cluster of reverb powered by the common classic and ultra gain. Basically the setup gives you a clean, and also 3 separate overdrives to perfectly tweak.
There's an wide selection of tones it can muster. Given its classic layout, it's well-manufactured and fairly straightforward to play with.
+ Priced according to reason.
+ Classic Tone range.
+ Engineering superb.
Why We Liked It - In terms of amplification it represents one of the staple solutions.
4. Marshall CODE 100W Guitar Amp Review 2020
Finally, for those with less savings to splurge, we show the CODE 100W ear. The code guitar amps series was created to recreate the brand's signature sounds for fifty years.
It is a very well-made modeling device, which offers users 14 pre-amp setting mix-and-match flexibility, four separate power-amp modes to run through, and eight different cabinet emulators.
There are 24 digital guitar effects to play with, adding great potential and versatility to that guitar amp. The Code 100 Guitar Amp looks modern, and is easy to use. Thanks to its digital design and cutting edge conveniences, the guitar amp can also be operated remotely via USB or Bluetooth.
+ Head of modeling.
+ Expensive choice.
+ Emulator at cabinet.
Why We Liked It - You'll find a fantastic collection of sounds on board with Code100 Guitar Amps. We like the cab emulators for some beefy overdrives that thicken and fatten the sound.
Marshall Half Stack Buyers Guide 2020
As we feel our reviews were fairly informative rather than spec-heavy, we have left our guide on the shorter side, keeping the emphasis basic.
What a Half Stack is?
A half stack is a name given to the combination of a head amp and an extension cab for those who haven't a clue. Usually a full-stack would have 2 different cabinets stacked vertically, with the top cab having an angled incline.
The full stack Marshall was created in an era where, thanks to the guitar, rock-and-roll was getting louder and heavier. This was when modern electric guitars were perfected and the players were looking for new volume that the systems in use simply couldn't deliver.
This grew at an uncontrollable pace until we finally got to see the cab walls of guitar artists like Blue Öyster Cult and Slayer that epitomized the early 70s as guitar artists evolved into the hall of fame giants and the venues evolved bigger and bigger overnight.
A full-stack these days is overkill for most casual circuit venues, as house P.A capabilities have grown. A half stack is a nice middle ground that puts the power behind you to hear yourself over the drummer, but it doesn't overpower the rest of the band, nor drown what you put directly from the main left and right out to the audience.
What To Look For In A Head To A Half Stack Marshall?
You need to determine whether you're attached to the walls, content with an homage or chasing retro vibes to keep it short. This can be installed in such a way that, of course, the budget will be crucial to your decision taking, and which product you will eventually get.
Once you are above the thousand-dollar mark, the manufacturing quality doesn't differ. Understandably, a cheaper one is built on cheaper, outsourced factory lines.
Once you know what kind of thing you're looking for, we believe you won't be disappointed with a new Marshall Head. When it comes to cabinet, you can always change brands if there is a specific speaker you'd prefer to get.
A modeling amp offers plenty of room for experimenting with your tone, but these amps will always sound synthetic to some.
If the tubes blow on you, an analog head will be much heavier and slightly harder to repair, but for many it's the safer option, and mechanical soundless than amps.
Conclusion: If you can't really go wrong with our buying guide and all the options we offered, once you've decided whether you're going to get digital or analog, your budget allocation really dictates the capabilities that our choices serve-up.
If you have to spend less, or you want to get the benefit of your money, you can also get a solid-state option that serves a reasonable amount of scope in the FX department. But note, when cash makes anyway, you can still add a pedalboard effect to the chain further down the track.
If you're after unforgettable retro vibes and think digital amps just don't cut it, then look for an all-tube amp head, but be prepared to part with considerable sums of money. We're sure that you can find the one you're searching for anyway.
Expert Tip: If money is of less importance to you, we recommend that you look at the JTM Plexi remakes that are fitted with the latest, genuine GZ34 valve rectifications as the original model and have the same symbolic harmonics.
Have you known: The Who is responsible for convincing Jim Marshall to build the half stack set-up that soon became what we're familiar with at festivals.
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