Marshall Code 50 Modeling Combo Amplifier Review

#ModelRatingPowerWeight
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1Marshall Code 50 50W27 pounds1

2Marshall Code 25 25W7.36 pounds
2

Marshall Code 50
Rating
Power 50W
Weight
27 pounds
Our top1
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Marshall Code 25
Rating
Power25W
Weight
7.36 pounds
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Along with Fender and Vox, Marshall is a king when it comes to amplifiers. These guys have been delivering state-of-the-art gear for decades, perfecting their equipment with every new line-up. As for the Code series, it’s been a long way coming, but the company did a marvelous job of filling a gap that was begging to be filled.

Marshall Code 50 is considered to be one of the best investments for any guitar player out there that takes his/her music seriously. This is a digital amp with the now-famous modeling technology, and that gives the potential owners a lot of room to maneuver. Just imagine the amazing tones you can create with an amp like this one!

Now, while the 25-Watt sibling doesn’t have as much “anger” in it and is more suited for the practicing musicians, the 100-Watt brother might be a bit too big and expensive for comfort. And that is exactly why we decided to review Code 50:

it’s the golden middle and will make sure you get enough volume, gain, grit, and everything else in between without compromising on the sound quality and/or paying more than you necessarily have to. I mentioned Fender and Vox in the beginning. Rest assured that with this amplifier, you’ll get a “brother in arms” that will be there on every step of the way. No rig in this price range is better than Marshall Code 50, period.

What Can This Modeling Combo Offer To The Players?


So, with this gear, you’ll get 50 Watts of power, enough to fill out not only your rehearsal room but also small to medium venues. Keep that in mind if you’re planning on performing in the nearest future. It’s always better to have a “multitasking” amp than to cash in for a new one simply because you didn’t take gigs into consideration.

The 12-inch speaker is quite amazing and got more beef than most rivals on the market. Softube, one of the biggest names in software plug-in development, teamed up with Marshall to create some of the finest modeled power amps, preamps, and, of course, cabinets. There’s a lot to choose from, and they all sound damn good!
Tip:In total, with Code 50, you’ll get access to 14 preamps, 4 power amps, and 8 speaker cabinets. Don’t let the fact that Softube specializes in digital sound fool you: these guys know exactly how to duplicate those legendary “analog” vibes and they proved their worth in this digital combo amplifier. With this setup, the company covered all the buzz-worthy Marshall tones from the past 5 decades.
The fans of the classic American sounds will be happy to find the JTM45, JCM800, JCM2000, Super Lead, and even JVM410 among the available amps. Along with Blackstar and Line 6, Marshall is currently the leader in modeling iconic gear with exceptional precision.

Learning More About Marshall Code 50

Wait, that’s not all it has to offer! Along with the kings of tone, you’ll also get studio-quality effects, 24 in total. The amp allows the users to store as much as 100 presents, saving the best tone combinations they find for later use. One could say that this is the closest thing to a computer, and there’s actually a lot of truth to that. Modeling combos have always been one of the most versatile and flexible pieces of equipment in the industry. Still, with Marshall Code 50, the company is pushing the boundaries even further. The front panel is quite intuitive and user-friendly, but if you’re all about the digital age, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the Gateway app.

It works on Bluetooth and grants even more control over the combo. The dedicated USB interface means you can connect to your PC/Digital Audio Workstation with one single cable and achieve studio-level precision. Plus, it’s great for updating the firmware and making sure you’ve got all the recent patches on. The aforementioned Line 6 and Blackstar amps also come with a USB interface, as it’s slowly, but steadily becoming the new standard. The headphone output will allow you to practice in silence. The input for an MP3 player/phone can be used to play along with a funky beat to up your skills. Finally, you’ll find a tuner built into Marshall Code 50. Quite a collection, right?

Getting Down And Dirty With The Gear


Move to the right side of the control panel and you’ll find a fancy LED display and two golden knobs for scrolling through and editing the presets. Now, sometimes, the beginners don’t really understand the power of presets and forget about them after disliking the first ones. However, they are pretty amazing and open up doors that were otherwise closed. I installed the Gateway app on my iPhone and had absolutely no problem syncing it with the gear.

Tip:Note: Apple has never been famous for creating Bluetooth-ready phones/gadgets, which means you might need a series of tries before “locking into” Code 50. You’ll only have to do that once.

Any modeling amp is as good as its presets, and Marshall made sure this combo’s collection is impressive. Again, make sure to check out every single preset before complaining, ok? There are some jaw-droppingly good tones that don’t even require tweaking: just plug your electric guitar and get to business!

Personally, I don’t really like the sounds that make emphasis on ambiance and/or come with tons of reverb/delay, turning an otherwise focused guitar sound into something from the 70s era. Once I turned off all the effects, the pure tones of the amps poked through, turning my intermediate axe into a crowd-pleaser.

What You See Is What You Get

Sometimes, even the more expensive modeling amps take away some of the instrument’s original “charm”, transforming your favorite Strat into an entirely different thing. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. During my Marshall Code 50 review, I was happy to learn that my Les Paul sounded exactly how I wanted it to; same goes for all the other guitars in my collection (I’ve got a few). So, go ahead and see how your favorite guitars sound with this amplifier. It is very important to put your instruments through a new gear to see whether you “click” with it or not. In my case, it was love from first sight. I hope you’ll have the same experience.

Without a doubt, the tones of Marshall Code 50 are as good as the rivals, if not better. There’s a certain kind of precision about the sounds it generates which gives the resulting track a very “expensive” touch. The 12-inch speaker does its job like a pro and handles everything from clean blues to super-dirty hard rock and heavy metal. At the same time, don’t be surprised by the somewhat weird sound of your favorite tracks played through the Gateway amp, as this amplifier combo is intended for guitars only and might lack some low-end rumble and high-end sizzle. For practicing and jamming with your friends, that’s more than enough.

The Controls And The Features


As mentioned in the beginning, Softube is one of the most recognized and respected plugin developers, and they did their best to pack this beast with the finest sounds 300 dollars can buy. And while there was no doubt that the amp models would sound amazing (and they do), the effects grabbed my attention from the moment I started unpacking the box. There are 24 in total, and you’ve got all the essentials along with some “exotic” stuff.

Tip:This thing comes packed with Distortion, Overdrive, a Phaser, a Flanger, a Chorus, and even the famous Wah-Wah-effect, just to name a few. The more traditional Compressors, Reverbs, and Delays are also present.

With the Reverb, you can choose between Room, Hall, and Plate types. For the Delay, the rig offers Analogue, Digital, and Tape types. The LED display is pretty sleek and helps you make sense of the intuitive yet “piled up” panel in the blink of an eye. One of the finest things about Marshall Code 50 is that you can use up to 5 of these effects simultaneously, which gives you an opportunity to create some wonderful tones without any third-party equipment. For a touring musician, that’s very important.

Tip:Despite the fact that this rig costs only 300 dollars, the level of flexibility is simply outmatched.

There are 8 stylish soft-touch buttons right next to the Input, and they all come with LEDs. You’ve got PRE FX, AMP, MOD, DEL, REV, POWER, CAB, and EDIT/STORE. These are self-explanatory, and you’ll make sense of it all in no time Use CAB, AMP and POWER to choose between the available cabinets, pre-amps, and amps. The rest of the buttons are there for the effects (you’ll find the compressor in PRE FX, along with distortion, Auto Wah, and the Pitch Shifter). The one thing you gotta understand before getting your hands dirty with this amp is that experimentation is the key to achieving great sounds.

Checking Out The Front Panel

The front panel comes with the familiar Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble, Volume and Master controls that can be found on pretty much any other amp out there. The EQ is marvelous and gives you total control over the three frequency bands. Marshall Code 50 is well-built and will last for decades (the rubbery handle might get a bit old in 3 to 4 years, though). The controls are all very solid and feel great when you’re dialing them up and down. With a weight of just 27 pounds (12 kilograms), it will not only look good in your room but also serve as a great practice/rehearsal amp.

How Does Marshall Code 50 Feel Like In Real Life?

The most important thing when it comes to modeling amps is the fun factor. No matter how serious you are about your art, having fun with the controls and the available amps is always a huge part of the picture. And I’m happy to say that everything’s great in that department with Code 50. Every single thing it emulates sounds good, and you’ll instantly feel the difference between the various pre-amps even if you’re not a pro at this. In this case, less isn’t more, and while there are more tones than you can “consume” in a lifetime, they were all carefully modeled and will be of great help when you find yourself searching for that one and only sound.

The effects, in turn, are truly exceptional. I can say with certainty that Marshall managed to create some studio-quality effects and put them inside a highly affordable rig, which is a huge achievement. In 2011-2012, we could only dream of this level of precision in a low-budget “box.” The presets, as mentioned earlier, are very down-to-Earth and usable, as opposed to the ones that are just trying to show what the amp is capable of but don’t really sound musical at all. As a friend of mine said, Marshall nailed Code 50 and created one hell of a competitor for Fender and the rest of the big players out there. Quality, versatility, and affordability – that’s what you’ll get with it.

  • The Marshall CODE 50W 1×12 combo combines the Marshall legacy with state-of-the-art technology, culminating in a potent little amp that taps into all the tones you crave
  • The range offers a choice of digital amp models, power amps, cabinet simulations, FX and more allowing you to dial in every tonal possibility you need
  • Various choices of glistening cleans, vintage crunches and modern high gain options can be mixed and matched with classic Marshall 100W or British Class A power stage for example, and then run through a choice of various 1×12, 2×12 or 4×12 simulations
Pros
Incredible choice of tones
Clever USB interface
Cons
Maybe: some issues with the app and Bluetooth
Maybe: some issues with factory presets

One Of The Best Offers On The Market

So, what do we have with this rig? For 300 dollars, you get 24 effects and 14 pre-amps, 4 amps, and 8 cabinets. And while the 300-dollar price-tag might not be very affordable for the beginners looking for something basic, for a modeling combo amp, it’s worth every single penny you pay for it. This isn’t a huge monster that’s impossible to carry around. Twenty-seven pounds is nothing compared to the dinosaur-like beasts that you’ll find among the big amps. Thanks to the state-of-the-art tech, we get some of the finest Marshall tones wrapped in a box with a ribbon on it. Clean, crunchy, overdriven, ethereal, ambient, delayed, flanged – do whatever you want with your sound!

And the fact that one can achieve a clean, balanced, strong signal with the USB cable is a huge plus for the fans of studio recording. They even have a phone app for this rig, for God’s sake! By the way, in case you were wondering, Code 25 comes with the same number of “tone generators” and effects. But it’s got only 25 Watts under its belly and a 10-inch speaker instead of the 12-incher on Code 50. On the bright side, it only weighs 13.4 pounds (6 kilograms) and will cost you 250 dollars. It’s definitely worth paying those additional 50 bucks to get twice as much power and a bigger speaker if you’re planning on doing gigs in bigger venues.

Tip:On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a practice amp that will also back you up during small-venue gigs and fit in the studio, then Marshall Code 25 is exactly what you need. That’s the beauty of the Code series: the musicians are free to choose between the various offers and will always know exactly what they’re paying for.

Marshall Code 25

  • Authentic modelling of Marshall tones with pro quality FX
  • 14 MST preamps, 4 MST power amps, and 8 MST speaker cabinets
  • Connect via Bluetooth to stream music from your iOS or Android device
  • Connect via USB to use DAW interface to record and stream audio from your computer
Pros
Compact and very portable
A full selection of essential effects
Cons
Maybe: not enough power for live use
Maybe: need a footswitch

The Manual And The Footswitch


Code 50 comes with a great sound. For 300 dollars, it looks great, sounds great, and the tones packed inside of it will keep you entertained and inspired for years to come. Besides, even if you’re a beginner and have absolutely no idea how to work this thing, the super-intuitive control panel will help you make sense of it all.

Remember: To get started, you can check out the Marshall Code 50 manual on the official website. Here is the link – https://marshall.com/downloads/downloadfile/c9756f40-013b-42d3-8389-0f8439ba7e6d – use it to download the manual and learn everything you want about this amazing rig.

The USB interface, along with the headphone output and the incredible choice of modeled amps, preamps, and speaker cabinets turns this combo into a must-have. Important note: for live performances, you’ll definitely need a pedal to switch between the various presets. That is a common thing for touring musicians. The dedicated PEDL-91009 is an all-around solid footswitch with a cool design and lots of additional features. It will cost you 70 dollars, which might be a bit steep, but, again, this is money well-spent. It weighs 2.13 pounds (less than one kilogram) and won’t be a drag to carry around. With this equipment, you’ll get total control over the powerful Code 50.

The Verdict For Marshall’s Exceptional Modeling Combo Amp

Marshall is known for creating loud, crunchy, and tour-friendly gear, and Code 50 is definitely among the best modeling combo amps for 300 bucks. There’s enough headroom, especially once you turn those effects off (or, at least, turn them down to a minimum). Everything sounds exactly how you’d expect. During a live gig, you’ll be amazed by how powerful this thing is. It’s not a problem for it to keep up with the other instruments in the band, including a distorted bass and loud drums, which makes it a great choice for open-air performances. Again, you’ll definitely need Marshall’s foot controller to be able to flawlessly switch between various presets.

These days, pretty much every big-time name in the industry offers a line-up of amazing digital modeling amps/combos; so, it’s getting harder and harder to compete. For us, the players, that’s great news. In order to win over the customers, the moguls invest more money, time, and energy into perfecting their gear. There are more than a few outstanding products in this niche, but Marshall Code 50 is probably the finest pick for the newbies craving for the company’s trademark reliability, durability, tone quality, flexibility, and good looks.


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