Marshall are responsible for some of the most iconic amps in guitar history. JTM, JCM, Jubilee, Plexi -- the list goes on. For most people, Marshall are associated with louder, bigger gigging amps that can really move some air. Yes, there are some great nuances in the aforementioned amps, but typically they match the stereotype . Aiming to put some of their classic tones into smaller formats the Studio Series sees the introduction of 20 watt models that can be used for home, recording and gigs.
All coming in 20w (switchable down to 5w) the Studio Series lineup consists of the ‘Studio Classic’, ‘Studio Jubilee’ and ‘Studio Vintage’, available in both heads and combos. The idea behind the Studio line is that they can be utilised at lower wattages and volumes without the need for an attenuator, making them handy tools for home, practice and recording whilst still having enough juice for quieter rehearsals and gigs.
The Classic, based on the JCM800 2203, takes the heavier EL34 tones that the original was known for and drops them into a smaller unit. Controls for presence, bass, middle, treble while both preAmp and master volumes let you balance the amount of amp drive. The rear panel gives plenty of output speaker options as well as a series effects loop and DI Out – handy for recording and monitoring. The classic resembles a mini JCM800, and arrives in both head and combo format (with a Celestion V type speaker) with the option of matching 1x12 and 2x12 cabs.
1959 was a good year for Marshall and their much revered Super Lead Plexi. Based on this iconic amp, the Vintage model captures the original's aesthetic and features presence, bass, middle and treble controls alongside Loudness 1 (high treble) and Loudness 2 (normal). The two pairs of inputs are retained with the switchable power now letting you achieve the juicy plexi tones without having to crank the amp to the high heavens. The Vintage really looks cool and, like the rest of the line, it’s available as a head and combo (win!) with 1x12 and 2x12 cabs available to round out the rig.
Marking their 25th year anniversary, the Silver Jubilee instantly became a hit for its mix of tones, ranging from clean to big overdriven sounds. The 2525 covers that ground with typical EQ of presence, bass, middle and treble adding volume controls for both Output Master and Lead Master alongside an Input Gain control. There’s a pull control on the Output Master to change channels and a pull feature on the Input Gain to give you even more gain if needed. Again, Marshall have nailed the looks with the 2525, keeping the cool silver tolex and chrome type faceplate features. Model-wise, there’s both a head and combo but an added cab range of a 1x12, a straight and angled 4x12 loaded with Celestion G12 speakers and two 2x12 cabs (vertical and horizontal) gives you some space saving options. Or simply, it might allow for funky looking stacks, if that's your thing.
The Studio Series look great. Three solid choices with a range of options and additional cabs. The ability to drop the power and use in the studio with an array of outs really opens up new possibilities that were often not there with louder Marshalls). The mini factor will appeal to some and the fact these classic tones are available to a wider audience can only be a good thing. Definitely worth a closer look!
Hits and Misses
Classic models in smaller formats
Both combos and heads (and additional cabs)
Low power versions are not for everyone