Marshall Amplification is a British company with over 60 years of experience in manufacturing music equipment, including amps, speaker cabinets, headphones, earphones, drums, and others. It is one of the most reputed brands on the market and the number one choice of professional musicians from all fields.
With such a great history behind it, it’s no wonder the Marshall Code 50 amp is amongst the most popular available, even though the cost of a new one is significantly higher than those of other models and brands.
The greatest quality of Code 50 amp is the way it sounds, and this is the main reason why people continue buying the model. At just 50 watts of power, the Marshall Code 50 delivers enough volume on its own, so it can be used for small venues, halls, or practicing in your basement or garage. Connect it to your favorite electric guitar and the powerful 12-inch speaker will make enough noise without losing sound quality.
Combining over 50 years of glorious history and some of Marshall’s best sound delivery techniques, the Code 50 amp represents an excellent choice for Marshall fans and newbies alike. Allow yourself to explore new dimensions of your guitar and never again look back at the volume knob.
Since we are talking about one of Marshall’s budget tubes, the Code 50 amp mini version delivers enough power and volume for its price tag. However, if you’re looking for a professional amp that can make your guitar be heard from the stage of a stadium, perhaps you’re looking at the wrong model.
Although designed to meet the requirements of both acoustic and electric guitarists, if you’re mainly playing an acoustic guitar, Code 50 is not the model you should have in mind either. Luckily, the company has a special line of amps dedicated to acoustic guitar lovers, leaving Code 50 to those who want to experience the rich sounds and the vintage metal effects of an electric instrument.
Main features explained
The first thing that you need to take into account when choosing a new amp is the product’s overall construction. Opt for a product that will satisfy your playing needs, as there are various models specifically dedicated to practicing or live sessions in front of big crowds.
One thing that has always been a part of Marshall’s culture is delivering high-quality products, especially when it comes to its speaker cabinets. Code 50 is no exception and you can count on it to last you a long time from now on.
This particular cabinet is constructed from 11-ply Baltic birch wood, the same type of wood Marshall uses extensively for its products. However, the back of the amp is made of fiberboard to allow the electrical part to “breathe” and release all vibrations accumulated. Another reason why fiberboard is preferred to wood is that the latter was discovered to have a certain boom in the sound, as opposed to the deadened fiberboard.
Measuring 17.8×10.7×17 inches, the Marshall Code 50 is not particularly big. It weighs 27 pounds which may seem rather heavy for its size, especially when compared with other 50-watt cabinets from competitive brands. The reason why the case of Code 50 is big is that it has to cover the 12-inch speaker.
The rest of the design is nothing to get overly excited about, as with most other Marshall amps. The tough black vinyl finish covers the entire amp construction, while the only pop of color you can see is the fresh white paint used for the Marshall logo on the front. The controls are located on the top of the amp, convenient enough to be reached by all players.
What we liked about this particular amp is the sturdy handle that ensures convenient transportation, while the bottom feet are designed to resist wear and tear and ensure smooth carrying.
Speaker and controls
Moving back to the speaker, the single speaker represents a Marshall trademark design, especially for its Code series amps. It is designed to handle up to 50 watts of power without a problem, so there won’t be any hums or buzzes experienced, even at higher volumes. This is, probably, one of the main features that separate Marshall from other more affordable brands on the market.
As we previously mentioned, the 12-inch speaker is the main reason why this 50-watt amp is bigger than other similar models. It also appears larger and heavier than most other amps. However, the somewhat compact design saves space and makes Code 50 still a reliable choice when practicing at home or when you want a beginner’s amp with enough power and push.
And, since sound quality is the most important feature of an amp, you can rest assured Marshall’s Code 50 passes the test. The sound delivered is loud enough for small venues and live rehearsals, not to mention your parent’s garage or basement.
As for the controls, anyone familiar with Marshall products knows that the company doesn’t offer the usual layout you’ll get on most other control panels. While normally, controls are located straight across the front, Marshall prefers keeping them on top which adds convenience. This way, you won’t have to bend over to use them, saving some important seconds while playing or practicing.
The control board is divided into two sections, usually referred to as the upper and the lower. The upper section counts for the button controls used for the digital effects, presets, and amp simulations. The digital screen is a nice touch as it allows you to easily see what you are doing.
The lower section is where you’ll find the standard controls, including Mid and Treble, Bass, Gain, and the Master Volume.
The onboard effects
While most users will need an amp to raise the volume of their acoustic guitars, this doesn’t mean that they won’t benefit from the epic onboard effects delivered by most amps. Unlike other similar models, the Marshall Code 50 delivers so many choices that it will be hard to navigate through all of them in just a few jamming sessions.
There are 14 preamps and 14 power amps, as well as 8 speaker cabinets. They include the Bluesbreaker and the JCM800 amps.
The beauty of it is that you can mix and match your favorite sections and get exactly the sound and the effects you want. You can easily navigate from a sharp and clean sound to the famous Marshall 100 watt crunch.
This particular amp also represents a great choice for metal lovers. Take your time to navigate through the many metal effects provided and master any musical genre. The product is perfect for experimenting with various presets of amps and effects, so you’ll end up either recreating vintage metal sounds or making new music, suitable for the 21st-century generation.
Having decided which amp and cabinet you want to use, you can now switch to the wide array of effects provided. There are a total of 24 different effects you can use on the new Marshall Code 50, and you also have the possibility of mixing and matching any selection you want.
Some of the most popular include plain and simple distortion units, as well as Phasers, Choruses, Flangers, and Wah. You can note the vintage 60s style in the tremolo, pitch shifter, compressor, reverbs, or delays and, if you want more, you can always opt for the built-in tap tempo facility.
All in all, Code 50 provides a larger variety of effect combinations so you can experiment with all kinds of sounds and music genres.
There are many extras you can discover after purchasing the Marshall Code 50. For instance, the Bluetooth via USB feature will allow you to control the amp remotely, giving you more freedom both when playing live sessions or when you’re practicing.
The AUX input is perfect for when you want to play along with your favorite songs because it allows you to connect your smartphone or mp3 player to the amp. The feature is particularly cool for those looking to make covers, write new musical pieces, or simply enjoy a good time experimenting with their guitar solos while following the line of their favorite tune.
There is also a headphone socket that allows you to do all that without waking up the neighbors in the middle of the night or disturbing your parents, especially if your basement isn’t soundproof. Connect your guitar to this input and all the sound coming out will be heard directly in your headphones for more sound clarity.
If you think that this was all, you clearly forgot about one of the greatest upgrades from the former Marshall amp generations. Code 50 can be linked up to the Marshall Gateway software via USB to allow even further adjustments to your sound.
What’s even better, the Bluetooth pairing can be done both with iOS and Android devices, so that you won’t have to buy a new phone or tablet just to connect it to your Marshall amp. Once you connect your favorite smart device, you can use your own iTunes account, Spotify, or set of playlists to practice on your favorite songs.
All in all, the new Marshall Code 50 amp brings a modern touch thanks to its various connectivity methods. Despite its rather bulky and heavy design, it is still the perfect size to fit inside your house and allow you to experiment with new or old sounds.