Not bad at all
By: Doc Steele from Lufkin, TX, USA
Your general opinion of this product.
With the exception of a single, minor hiccup (see "Quality" section), the Marshall MS-2 performs admirably and exceeds expectations.
Would you consider this product to be made well? How dependable?
Out of the box, I had an issue: the battery compartment was a few millimeters too long for the included 9v battery. Fortunately, with the help of the multilingual product diagram leaflet and some strategic folding, this was an easy obstacle to overcome. Apart from this design flaw, it's well-enough-made to stand alongside the rest of the Marshall product line as the ultimate beginner's gig bag/travel amp.
Playability and Feel
How does it feel, Heavy, Fast, Chunky? How was the neck? Are the controls easy to get to while playing?
The controls could hardly be simpler, and it takes minimal adjustment to coax one's preferred tones out of this diminutive package. On a table or desk, its stability belies its extremely light weight, and affixed to a belt via the integrated clip, it's easy to forget it's even there, being barely six inches high and weighing about as much as a good, windproof lighter. My only setback in this department is that the headphone port is for a 1/4" connection, whereas all my consumer headphones use a 1/8" plug, meaning I would need an adapter or different headphones for silent practice.
Bright and snappy? Dark and smooth? Were the pickups hot, mellow, thick, thin?
This little guy is definitely a Marshall. The clean/on setting has some dirt to it when dimed, but the treble and fuzz can be dialed out somewhat by turning down the tone on the amp and instrument. To be fair, my guitar is equipped with a single Duncan Distortion pickup, so "clean" isn't necessarily in its vocabulary to start with. The OD switch, on the other hand, lost it some points. Essentially, it's just a post-gain power boost that increases the headroom. This isn't to say it sounds bad; in fact, the overall headroom is really impressive for running 9 volts at 1 watt. It just doesn't add distortion, so the overdrive level maxes out at heavy blues level.
How was the action out of the box?
To reiterate, there was the issue of the battery compartment. Having that dealt with, though, it was very easy to get some great sounds out of it.
How did the stain or paint job look?
The aesthetic on the MS-2 is just plain gorgeous. It was ordered for me as a Christmas present by my fiancee, who saw the picture and assumed it would at least be the size of my 5-watt Maestro. Imagine her surprise when I unboxed an amp smaller than a typical sandwich. The knobs and faceplate have the beautiful brushed gold look that Marshall is known for, the grille emblem is dead on, and the texturing along the sides makes it look much like a shrunken-down version of a real, vinyl-covered Marshall half stack.
How has it stood up over time?
I haven't had the MS-2 very long, but the exhaustive amount of play I've put it through thus far hasn't managed to take it down, so I'm looking forward to many downtime-at-work jams and bedside practice sessions to come.