We recently acquired a Marshall Class 5 amplifier that we are going to review for you today. So lets not waste any time and get right to it!
So we are looking at a 5 watt combo, which is the one we have, though it also comes in a head format. It would seem the intent is to be used as a practice amp/low volume jam rig as you definitely won’t be able to keep up with a drummer, thats for sure. The amp is all tube with a pair of 12AX7s in the preamp and a single EL84 in the power section. I have yet to experiment with different tubes, but I do have a NOS Mullard 12AX7 that I will try in it and update this post when I do. The speaker is a 10-inch Celestion G10F-15, and the controls are quite simple: Volume, Treble, Middle, and Bass.
When I first turned the Class 5 on, I was quite surprised by the tone. It sounded quite good and the cleans were not at all bad either. I used a Fender Stratocaster 1968 reissue. The sound is definitely more of a classic tone, rather than the high-gain Marshalls of today. Like most Marshall amps, the Class 5 definitely has a good midrange with fat-sounding notes in both the bass and treble strings. You can get some decent Hendrix and Clapton tones, though not incredibly authentic or anything. Once you reach about half open on the volume, that is about as loud as the amp gets. If you continue to raise the volume dial, the tone gets more distorted. I wasn’t too impressed with the distorted tone and found that with a fuzz pedal, the tone wasn’t very good sounding… a bit too ear-piercing and like a weird kind of noisy sound where it is tough to get clarity of notes. I found the best setting volume-wise was to have it between half open and a little above to get a sort of pushed-cleans kind of sound. I tried running a univibe and a wah pedal through it, both of which sounded pretty good. I could see this amp sounding much better if it were fed through a cab with great speakers.
If you are looking for an amp to have at home without being too loud to get a good tone, the Marshall Class 5 is definitely a great choice. As well, if you want more of a classic Marshall tone, the Class 5 is it. Great for nice low-volume jams at home with friends. Do not get this as a gigging amp, thats for sure, unless of course you are gonna mic it heavily. All in all, a good amp that I’ll be keeping with me.
View the Marshall Class 5 on Amazon.