HomeIn SeriesReviewsReview: Marshall Origin Amps for Guitar by Alex

Review: Marshall Origin Amps for Guitar by Alex

Some deliveries open with a shrug and put them out like washing on a line. Others make you feel like a kid at Christmas. When several boxes with Marshall logos on them arrive, as a guitar specialist, you definitely feel the latter. Unpackaging the five and fifty-watt combos, you realise just how iconic these amps look. If you asked me to draw a vintage amplifier from memory, I would probably receive a copyright complaint from the Origin design team. These amps couldn’t look more stereotypical if they tried. But that is it- it isn’t trying to look new, just add more user and wallet friendly options for their signature sound pioneered by the Marshalls of old: and they’ve done it wonderfully.

My favourite feature on these amplifiers is the new Powerstem technology. Having gigged extensively with Marshalls, like many others I was a firm believer that a valve Marshall is best heard flat-out. Sadly, although I enjoy irreparable hearing damage, disgruntled sound engineers and letters from the council, it apparently isn’t socially acceptable. The joy with Origin is that you have the option to lower the wattage of the amp, losing no tonality in doing so – which is almost unheard of in traditional half-power settings or secondary attenuators.  Being able to take a fifty-watt amp down to one-watt with no loss in tonality is stunning. You can reduce the wattage on all the amps in the range, making the tones of those vintage amps accessible to bedroom players and professionals alike.

If you’ve ever wanted to get the perfect blend between a richer or a more cutting sound, then ‘jumping’ the normal and bright channels on vintage amps was the way to do it. Origin however, lets you use a knob to find the sweet spot you really need and dial it in with the Tilt control. Similarly, the boost function which can be activated through pulling the gain control knob or using the footswitch gives you a little extra ‘oomph’ when you need it. It isn’t anything extreme, so don’t expect the change to go from sounding like Eric Clapton one moment and then Pantera at the push of the footswitch. If you want a mild sustain and distortion increase, then this is one of the best around.
Although the amp includes an effects loop and an emulated output, so do a number of their competitor’s products. Its closest rival being the Blackstar Artist series and the Artisan 10AE. These are brilliant if you want that vintage tone, while offering exceptional emulated output, digital reverb and 12-inch Celestion speakers.

Having said that, if you want that exception clean-breakup to warm distorted tone from the late sixties and seventies, an Origin 50 Combo or a 20 Head with a 12-inch extension cab and it is nothing short of sonic perfection.
Order now at Musicroom.com

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Alex Eardley-Scott
Lincoln Musicroom
Guitar Specialist

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