The Astoria idea was quite simple for Chris George who is the lead for new products for Marshall. The idea behind Astoria was to create a modern hand wired range that would compete with the high end and boutique guys in every way, both sonically and visually; it was important this range have its own identity. Although Marshall produces higher volume products like DSL, MG etc, Marshall wanted to prove it can still make ‘attention to detail’ products on a high end basis, they are Marshall after all. Chris believes that the current HW models still offered are time tested great amps, but still are 50 year old designs and not very practical for modern players. This is certainly not to knock those amps because they’re the ones that made Marshall great! But it's now 2015 and time to move on. So, the idea was to take the HW concept, and add some cool features for the modern day guy who wants a practical, versatile, high quality amp. It’s as much a perceptive thing about who Marshall is as a brand, particularly after the last few years. Marshall players will notice that Astoria went against the grain of a usual range layout (one amp in different power stages) to have three different amps with a consistent power stage, hoping that there’s something for everyone. From the simple one channel amp with headroom that takes pedals in the front really well (Astoria Classic AST1), to the tweaker type amp with boost, body, bright switches etc (Astoria Custom AST2) and the straight two channel amp (Astoria Dual AST3). Each amp truly has its own character and I’m sure people will have fun playing all three and deciding which one they like the most or suits their needs best. The power reduction feature makes them even more versatile, and Chris believes Steve and the guys did an amazing job as they’re possibly some of the best amps he has ever played. It was a lot of fun working with him on what was to be Steve's last project with Marshall before he retired., and we had fun along the way. Regarding the cosmetics, Chris always knew they we’re never going to please everyone. There’s always the guys who expect Marshall to be black white and gold, then there’s the guys who think our amps always look too similar. Again, it was an identity thing with Astoria, Marshall wanted it to stand apart visually from DSL, JVM or anything else it may be seen with on a shop floor, in a catalogue, online etc. Look at the attention Astoria has already got just on the looks, whether people like them or not. Of course, at some point it will be logical for Marshall to offer a black version Chris said, but he wants the range to be establish first so it won’t be anytime soon. Chris believes that the specs and tone alone on the Astoria will be the reason people buy them, just as they do with Divided By Thirteen or Dr Z. Chris told me regarding demos, yes they’ll be coming. But it’s important to note that in every official bit of marketing from us, we’ve said this is a*preview at Messe, and the range will be launching officially in summer, probably July, so we’ll be holding back on certain other promo things like demos, adverts etc until nearer the time and when the amps are fully in production and avialable. We didn’t want to go to Messe having nothing to show, so used it as a platform to preview the range. *Chris says, "There’s a lot more to come". With Chris at the helm we Marshall players can expect a refresh of products and some great things still to come.