Marshall is the most well-known guitar amp manufacturer in the world. And they introduced the CODE modeling amp series couple of years ago.
The CODE series consists of two models – a 25-watt and 50-watt combo amps. The difference is in speaker size and other minor features. In the past, the series included a bigger combo and amp heads but they are discontinued.
This is Marshall CODE 50 review which is a 12” speaker combo amp.
The design and looks of CODE 50 are nothing special. Like many other modeling amps, it has a very minimalistic and modern design. The front of the amp has only the Marshall logo. And it’s a closed-back combo amp.
Every input, output, and control is on the top of the amp. This makes it easier two work with the amp.
The colors are classic Marshall – black and gold. The whole amp is black and the control plate is gold.
There is nothing I can say about the design. It’s minimalistic, modern, and looks good. Classic Marshall aesthetics.
Marshall CODE 50 is full of amp models. All digital amps are based on famous real-life amplifiers and you can use clean, crunch, lead, and heavy tones.
In total, CODE 50 includes fourteen preamps, four power amps, and eight different guitar cabinets. I like how diverse the options are with this combo.
The thing I like the most about this amp is that it has a separate section for preamp and power amps section.
This means that you can choose a different preamp and amp. It gives you more control and flexibility.
Not many other amp has this feature and I can give the Marshall CODE 50 a plus for this feature.
Effects options are great with CODE modeling amps. In total, it comes with twenty-four different effects. And you can use five effects simultaneously which is a great feature. It works like a real pedalboard.
Marshall CODE 50 effects bundle is divided into four sections:
- Pre FX
In the first section, you can add pedals such as boost, compressor, and effects that go in front of the amp. The modulation section includes flangers, phasers, and other types of effects. Delay and reverb sections are dedicated to different types of delay and reverb pedals.
I like how they divided effects into different sections. You can use different effects at the same time which is very convenient and flexible.
Additionally, you have a preamp, power amp, and cabinet section. You can easily create an entire signal chain with Marshall CODE 50. I made a simple rock sound in just minutes.
I can’t say a bad thing regarding the effects. The effects library is big, the layout is great, and using them is very flexible.
How Does Marshall CODE Sound?
Now, the most important thing is the guitar amps – the sound. What can I say about it? Well, it’s a bit hard to explain how I feel about the sound quality. There are some things I like and also some things I don’t.
Let me start with the good stuff. And its effects. I like the sound of every effect. They sound very high quality. Boost, wah, modulation, delays, and reverbs sound good. I am satisfied. Marshall did a good job.
But I can’t say the same about the amp sounds. Of course, there are some good-sounding amplifiers, but some of them are not so good. Especially, heavy tones.
Clean and crunch tones sound good. And they have a very Marshall sound. When you play you can say that it’s a Marshall amp. Also, the speaker itself sounds good.
But as tones become more distorted they lose the realistic sound. It’s not too bad but I prefer the heavy tones of Boss Katana. I wouldn’t use this amp for heavy music. But it’s my opinion. Some of my friends like the heavy tones of Marshall CODE.
But for me, they sound too digital and they lack richness. Of course, you can dial decent tones with different amp and cabinet combinations but still, it’s not my favorite one.
So, I will give a point to the Marshall CODE for its effects and clean tones. But as for heavy tones go, I don’t like them.
CODE modeling amplifiers offer different features but they also lack some. For example, it doesn’t have an FX loop. I think that every modern amp should have an FX loop.
As for controls go, the layout and options are really good. You have switches for effects and amps. You can edit them with the dedicated knob. The amp has a standard preamp section with 3-band EQ, volume, gain, and master knobs.
In total, the CODE combo comes with 100 presets which can be edited with a separate knob. On the amp, you have I/O for USB, footswitch, aux, and headphones.
I like the LED screen where you can choose and edit amps and effects. It’s very convenient and easy to use. It’s very simple to choose your settings.
For more sound options you can use the app. It gives you more capabilities and also you can connect it to your smartphone and listen to music. The speaker sounds good.
The CODE combo doesn’t include a footswitch but you can buy it separately. It works with PEDL-91010 and PEDL-91009 footswitches. Unfortunately, I don’t have it and I can’t say how it works.
All in all, Marshall CODE 50 offers decent features. The app is great, you have a footswitch option, and an LED screen allows you to easily edit and create tones.
My opinion about Marshall CODE 50 is not strong. I like a few things but in general, I hoped for better sound. I think this is a decent amp with a generic sound and good features. The best thing in my opinion is the effects. Also, it cost more than Boss Katana which is one of the best modeling amps I have ever used. If you plan to buy a modeling amp, I wouldn’t recommend it. You will get better quality and features with Katana 50 or Peavey VYPYR X2.