Marshall promotes the Marshall Code 50 Amp as a grab-and-go kind of guitar amp that a guitarist can easily use for performing and recording purposes. It’s considerably portable and light to carry around. Furthermore, it can be synced to your mobile phone, allowing you to record your ideas whenever inspiration strikes. Marshall took its time to develop a digital amp series. Nevertheless, this turned out to be a smart move. The dramatic improvement in digital amp technology meant that Marshall was able to create a line with innovative features that pleases digital fanatics and controversially tries to convert analogue traditionalists.
Wattage – 50 Watts electric guitar amp.
Controls – 100 Marshall Code presents, treble, middle, bass, volume, pre-FX, Marshall guitar amps such as Plexi and Bluesbraker, modulation effects, delay & reverb built-in effects, power amp models, speaker cabinets and access to the Marshall Gateway app (iOs & Android) for additional controls.
Outputs – 1 x 3.5mm jack headphone out.
Input – 1 instrument jack & 1 3.5mm aux in.
Effects – 24 built-in effects (5 can be switched on at the same time).
Effects Loop – Not available.
Speaker – 12-inch, custom model.
Footswitch – PEDL-91019 or PEDL-91009 which can be purchased separately.
Weight – 13kg.
Includes – 14 preamps (such as Marshall JTM45 2245, JCM 2555, JCM800 2203, Silver Jubilee, JCM22000 DSL100, & 1962 Bluesbreaker), 8 Marshall speaker cabinets (1960, 1960V, 1960AX, 1960HW, 1936, 1936V, 1912, and 1974X) & 24 inbuilt effects (compressor, auto wah, pitch shifter, chorus, phaser, tremolo, flangers, delays, a tonne of reverbs, classic stompbox distortions, and the like).
Apprehensions – No extension speaker jack; a desktop editor has not been released by Marshall, limiting you to the mobile app
This Marshall Code amp is a 50-watt combo amp with a 12-inch speaker, and separate Preset and Edit control knobs. Furthermore, it’s equipped with 4 power amp models, 14 preamp models, 8 speaker models, 24 effects and 100 presets. The front panel controls include Volume, Master, Gain, and Bass, Middle and Treble. It’s furnished with built-in Modulation, Delay & Reverb buttons, a mini USB jack, an MP3 player mini-jack input, mini headphone output as well as a single ¼-inch instrument input. Marshall’s most popular tones have been used as preamp and power amp models, including Silver Jubilee, Plexi and Bluesbreaker, to name but a few.
The Marshall Gateway app is super efficient since it allows you to edit and tweak your sound to the max. Furthermore, the app has a playback feature that will enable you to listen to the songs that you may need to learn. Moreover, the app allows you to load sounds directly into any Marshall Code amp without overwriting the current presets. This feature is super handy since it enables you to carry your signature sound and tone with you.
Additionally, this Marshall amplifier is loaded with classic Marshall tones that will please any Marshall aficionado. The effects cover the essentials: the American clean authentic sounds, the crunchy overdrive and the EQ delivers the signature Marshall sparkly and trebly sound.
Testing the Marshall Code 50 Amp
We tried out this Marshall amp without using any effects. The primary sounds are impressive and authentically Marshall. We were also relieved to find out that it doesn’t take away from the guitar’s original tone (bonus points!)
The Code 50 is quite loud (Heck! We even had to turn down the volume). It’s safe to say that it holds its own in a band setting. However if you intend to use this amp for live gigs, we suggest that you buy the PEDL-91009 foot 4-button footswitch. This controller allows you to save effects and instantly recall them…which, let’s face it, is vital in a performance setting.
We also tried installing the Gateway app on our phones. Unfortunately, it’s a bit challenging to pair the iPhone with the amp (blame Apple’s faulty Bluetooth function). However, once this was done, the app did not disappoint. It’s safe to say that both the in-built effects, and the downloadable effects sound authentic, and they can be used onto a track without a lot of hassles and adjustments. This characteristic is a big plus since it saves you a lot of time, money and energy. For example, a demo recording we did, sounded decent enough without using any additional effect pedals. Now that’s what we call a great bargain!
Furthermore, this Marshall combo amp replicates the compression and harmonic textures usually associated with valve amps, and fashions a decent response when it comes to picking dynamics. It’s accurate to say that we were pleasantly surprised when we were testing out this amp!
Our Verdict – Best Small Guitar Amp
Marshall’s Code 50 is hands down one of the best budget amps around. We are obsessed with the Marshall Gateway app. It allows users to fine tune their very own signature sound, and carry that very sound with them wherever they may go. This characteristic is particularly useful for DIY touring and intermediate musicians who require a small but high-quality amp to lug around.
Being typically Marshall, the Code 50 holds its own in a band since it’s loud and ideal for gigs. It’s got a lot of clean headroom too, and the effects can be mixed in a way that the overall outcome is still crisp and clean sound. We can honestly say that we would use this small guitar amp in a band with a powerful drum kit and a full volume bass amp, since you’ll still be able to hear your awesome guitar lines, cutting through the main mix.
On the effects front, there are a couple of delays that we’re not super crazy about. These are mainly there to show the DSP’s processing power. However, it’s also fair to mention that alongside these, there are tens of sound effects that can be used in the recording room if you experiment and tweak them a bit.
We can highly recommend the EL34 Heaven patch…it’s amazing! We’re also incredibly impressed with the Plexi Classic, which is a lot of people’s favourite. We can (hands down) say that it will take even the most classic Super Lead fanatic to differentiate between the Plexi Classic simulation, and the aforementioned Super Lead. So props to Marshall for that!
With this series, Marshall managed to show that they’re masters of their craft. They combined versatility and technology without compromising any of their values.