Class 5 Review

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by Grandturk, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Grandturk

    Grandturk Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    NYC
    I usually don't like cross posting on different forums, but I thought you guys might like to hear my thoughts on the Marshall Class 5 I picked up this weekend (Black Friday discount at Sam Ash on 48th St). I also posted this on the JCF, so if you read it there, feel free to skip it.

    OK, so I had a couple hours to mess around with the Class 5 on Saturday. Played it with my Adrian Smith - alder strat, Super Distortion and two Fender single coils.

    This is a pretty simple amp - volume, treble, middle, bass. 5 watts through a 1x10 speaker. Size wise, I guess I was expecting it to be a heck of a lot smaller. Its about the same size as my Boogie 1x12 combo - width & depth are the same - but about 1.5" inches shorter. Top mounted panel with a wierd "Class 5" logo that, to me, looks very un-Marshall-like. Not sure who made the call on that. One input. Back panel's got a stereo 1/4" headphone out and a 16 Ohm speaker out with a switch to go from internal speaker to phones.

    Interesting to note, the speaker out defeats the internal speaker, which is kind of odd. Its not to be used for an extension speaker. You can either use the external or the internal - not both. I'd kind of like to have the option to run either extension only or internal + extension.

    Build quality seems good. No loose tolex or anything. It looks the business, as they say in Ol' Blighty (or at least in Guy Ritchie's Ol' Blighty). I dig the old style piping and grill cloth. Except for the aforementioned odd looking "Class 5" logo. I do hear little bit of rattle, but you can't hear it at decent volume - I'm not sure if its got the same rattle problem discussed on other forums.

    Sound wise, the combo kicks out some decent volume. At full whack, it put 105 dB on my SPL app on my iPhone. Don't know how accurate it is, but my little Marshall Kerry King practice amp did like 98 dB max, and my Boogie did 110 with the Master on 1. It's about as loud as its going to get around 5 on the volume. Hot single coils stayed clean up to about 2.5, Super Distortion was getting some breakup at the same.

    EQ controls feel typical Marshall to me - i.e. they don't do much. You've got one sound basically, and the control shape it appropriately. By way of example - not much difference in the overall sound with the Bass at 2.5 vs. 7.5. You can hear the difference, but the "sound" is the same? Make sense? Think of it as adding a little polish to the tone here and there rather than shaping it.

    Tone wise, this is a happening little amp. The clean sound is fat and chewy - lots of color and character to it. Its the kind of clean sound you actually like playing on - just noodling around. Sounds good. You can get some chime and sparkle, but to me it sounds typical Marshall clean, only not cardboardy and flat that you get from some Marshalls. Also, when cranked up, you can roll down the volume on the guitar and get back to the clean sound and it sounds good as opposed to just sounding like you rolled your volume down.

    At 5 on the volume, you're into crunch land. Its got a very pleasing break-up sound. Its not high-gain distortion. Its tube overdrive. At 5 it begs you to play AC/DC - seriously. Hells Bells sounds great on it. I would describe it as punchy and gutsy. Lots of balls for such a little amp. Not buzzy in tone at all. Not hissy. It sounds like it means business. So - punchy overdriven power chords sound great. Chugging on the low E or A is more thrumming than "chun-chun-chun" so no Ride the Lightning type riffing here.

    The lead sound is bluesy. Think old Aerosmith or Great White (I was listening to Great White on the way to Sam Ash - thus the comparison). Its got a good bit of sustain. Not thick, Santana sustain, but that thinner, Angus Young kind of sound. Again, it begs for quick pentatonic style licks. Eat note has a quick burst kind of sound. Each note is distinct - fast runs don't get compressed together the way they do on a high gain amp. Bends on the high E don't sounds sterile or weak, but they don't make you want to hold the bend and just wobble it back and forth, like, say, my Boogie does.

    Turning up the volume past 5 doesn't get much louder, but it does add more overdrive and grind to the sound. A little mushy compression at max volume, but it still retains that clangy crunch sound. I found the sweet spot at 5, or just below or above. Very dynamic - light picking cleans it and laying into it pops.

    I didn't try it with headphones, but I did try the headphone out to the 12" in my Boogie as demonstrated on some Youtube videos. In a word: "don't." Sounds like crap. Takes all the tube goodness and turns it to mush. Sounds like the emulated out you find on some Marshalls. Its also very low volume - at that point, to me - just play unplugged. I didn't try the extension out - my Boogie's speaker is 8 Ohm and its a 16 Ohm out - I don't know if that's compatible.

    Takes pedals very well. I tried my Tubescreamer, MXR Classic Distortion and BBE American Distortion. The Classic Distortion sounded the best - added a thick creamy "stack" kind of sound - fat, warm and round. The BBE is more of a Rat style distortion pedal - I was able to get that raw trebly sound Adrian Smith has on Live After Death. The Tubescreamer was a dud. Thickened the middle, sounded OK - but not "WOW!" I also ran my Plexitube through it, which added that high gain Marshall sound and still stayed very warm.

    Well, that's it for now. I'll try to record some videos, but my camera's mic is crap and sucks all the low end out. Maybe Satan Claws will bring me a better video camera. We'll see.
     
  2. crossroadsnyc

    crossroadsnyc Senior Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    21,352
    Likes Received:
    20,799
    Nice review, man ... very well thought out. Thanks for taking the time to do it!

    I was out of town for a lot of the past couple of weeks, and received a call from a friend of mine over at Sam Ash (yup, 48th St.) that they had just received the Class 5 (I asked him to give me a heads up when they came in). Under normal circumstances, it would have been a great call to receive, as I have/had been waiting somewhat impatiently for it's arrival here in the US. Unfortunately, the reported cases of rattling have dampened my desire to look into this amp in the slightest bit (and it's even more disappointing to hear they actually shipped over the faulty ones knowing full well they were faulty ... for shame!). While a great idea, and a needed product in the Marshall line (meaning a lower watt recording amp), from all accounts they really did this thing on the cheap ... and the reviews thus-far are showing the true cost of such an approach ... classic case of "grand plan & little execution" ... blah.

    What surprises me most, however, is the fact that this is an amp made in England. Call me naive, but I certainly expected more (better quality) despite the attractive price tag.

    That said, it sure is smoking looking!
     
  3. Grandturk

    Grandturk Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    NYC
    Thanks!

    Well, we'll see as time goes on how they hold up in terms of quality. Honestly - the rattling I hear - once you've got the thing humming pretty loud, you don't hear it - so who knows.

    I was a little put off by the mini pots and the PCB mounted tubes... but what are you going to do? Maybe Wilder can rebuild the Class 5 with a PTP turret board.
     
  4. poeman33

    poeman33 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10,609
    Likes Received:
    10,033
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I just got the email that mine is in too...I'll listen for rattling. It might be fixable even if it is there I hope...
     
  5. Webslinger

    Webslinger Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    574
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Sopranoland, NJ
    Just a quick side question? I havent been to Manhattan lately, but I heard that recently Sam Ash 48th St either closed or moved due to a problem with the building? Or did they buy-out Manny's and move in there? All those stores on 48th were ledgendary but were getting crazy expensive compared to the Island or Jersey.
     
  6. rich24a

    rich24a Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    Sandhurst, UK
    Does anybody know if you can get a good metal tone on a class 5, with or without pedals?
     
  7. crossroadsnyc

    crossroadsnyc Senior Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    21,352
    Likes Received:
    20,799
    Manny's was owned by Sam Ash for a while, but they are officially gone now. Sam Ash has most of the block at this point, as the only remaining store there is Rudy's (they also have a terrific amp shop around the corner). I like both stores a lot, as there are individuals in each one that I hold in high regard as being really good people.
     
  8. Rockbert

    Rockbert Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    California
    I was in NY week before last, and stopped by Sam Ash on 48th... they had a lot of guitars but the selection of amps was "disappointing" at best. Unless I missed some special amp room? I had intended to go to Manny's, I didn't know they had closed...

    Back on topic... Would it be possible to post some gut shots? Curious to see how it's constructed...
     
  9. crossroadsnyc

    crossroadsnyc Senior Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    21,352
    Likes Received:
    20,799
    No, you didn't miss an amp room ... you missed an entire store. I was referring to Rudy's as having the amp shop, not Sam Ash (yes, their selection is rather, um, standard.)
     
  10. Grandturk

    Grandturk Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    NYC
    If you remember what this sign used to say, this pic is pretty sad:

    [​IMG]

    But yeah, Sam Ash's amp selection is pretty depressing. Manny's was, too. Rudy's is the place to go - check their amp room around the corner, though they look at you funny if you're not carrying a briefcase full of money with you and just want to "check some amps out."
     
    crossroadsnyc likes this.
  11. Bret138

    Bret138 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    2
    sorry to keep this off topic..but thats the first time ive seen it in a picture since the change, what a sad sight. I've only been in a few times since the change and it just isn't the same..

    and about rudys, their guitar selection is decent (except i'm left handed and NO guitar store is decent in that aspect) I've never made it into their amp showroom around the corner..they told me about it..i walked by the building saw it was pretty much business class... looked at myself and thought i shouldn't even bother haha. guess i was right.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  12. poeman33

    poeman33 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10,609
    Likes Received:
    10,033
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    It is not a high gain amp. It is old school tone. I think you would really have to use an agressive pedal to get a metal tone. The tone it does have is fantastic though! I tried it out in the store before I brought it home to make sure it wasn't rattling, and a crowd gathered to hear what was making that sweet pure sound...
     
  13. Grandturk

    Grandturk Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    NYC
    Same here with me at the store. I've never gotten so many in-store compliments.

    I've run my plexitube through the class 5 and that will get you guns and roses style metal tones... There is the volume to consider however since you want the pedal to go into a relatively clean amp. At stage volume, the class 5 is fully saturated
     
  14. Badmo

    Badmo New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Durham, England
    WOW What a review, all i can say is. . . SOLD! :) Thx man:headbanger:
     
  15. baaasteven

    baaasteven New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    16 Ohm speaker out with a switch to go from internal speaker to phones.

    Interesting to note, the speaker out defeats the internal speaker, which is kind of odd. Its not to be used for an extension speaker. You can either use the external or the internal - not both. I'd kind of like to have the option to run either extension only or internal + extension.

    I'm really not sure what that means. The main reason I was going to buy this amp is to add a 4x12 1960 cabinet and get a really great sound out of it
    but i'm not sure now
    what does external and internal mean as in speaker wise?
     
  16. ssryan2

    ssryan2 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    All that means is that if you run your class 5 into a 4x12 the built in 10" speaker in the class 5 turns off. The external would be the 4x12, and the internal is the built in 10"speaker.
     
  17. Neaves The Wicked

    Neaves The Wicked Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    328
    Likes Received:
    41
    Hey Grandturk, I have to ask about that Adrian Smith guitar. How does it play and sound? I have wanted one of those ever since they were released!!!
     
  18. DSL100 Dude

    DSL100 Dude New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    688
    Short answer is with pedals yes. There are so many pedals out there and it seems like more are on the way.

    With that said, the C5 is built for more of that classic rock deal. I use my TS-9 or OCD to get more of an 80's hard rock/metal type of thing going.
     
  19. baaasteven

    baaasteven New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    so if i plugged it in the 4x12 I wouldnt get the great sound from the 10"?
    or will it just not add the extra 5 watts that it has?
     
  20. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    903
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    sitting on a surfin' board, when given a choice
    I've been thinking about getting this amp for a little while. At $400 new, it seems you can't really go wrong. I might have to pull the whole thing apart to fix all the notorious rattling though, from most accounts. I might wait until next year to see if Marshall fixes the problem themselves. Has anyone heard whether they are seriously addressing it?
     

Share This Page