I have had a chance to spend a few days with the Marshall code 25 and I would like to share with you a few of my findings. I have played guitar professionally for over 30 years and have had all makes and models of guitars and amps in my time, but in general I would have killed for the equipment available to guitarist today.
This is the point where I look at the Code 25 and think “that looks like fun”. I have a few amps kicking about already, mostly gigging volume amps but I also have a Blackstar ID-Core 40, so this would be in reality what I would compare the Code 25 against.
Firstly my experience with the amp and a look around these forums makes one thing apparent. This amp is well named because it is a bit of an enigma.Out of the box I would consider the amplifier not fit for purpose this is really down to a few reasons.
Firstly, some of the presets are just absolutely terrible, I mean some of the worst patches I’ve ever heard on anything, “Small combo” and the “Brit” overdrive amps for instance are shockingly bad. You can make the excuse that all amp and effects units come with bad presets. However this is usually down to strange or weird effects to give bizarre sounds to show off effects but that nobody would ever use in a musical context. However some patches (such as Small Combo) are just basic amp modelling with no effects and are still absolutely terrible. Maybe these sound better on the 50 or 100, but if that’s the case remove them from the 25 it just gives a bad impression.
Secondly, the amp is stupidly loud. I don’t know if this is a marketing decision, but Marshall should look at its target demographic. This thing is a small bedroom practice amp, maybe at a push for some very small live situations, but that is it. Why make the thing so loud? If you need to use this amp near anything over half volume you have bought the wrong amp it’s as simple as that.
Thirdly, some of the modelling is not all it could be with digital artefacts (in the low end in particular), and a fizzy noise gate that for some reason is on patches where there is absolutely no need to have it as the patch is pretty quiet. Once again this is not a professional gigging or recording product and it should be judgged accordingly.
The last bad point I would say against this amp is the tuner, both onboard and on the app are two of the least responsive and wildly inaccurate tuners I have ever seen. Really not even close to tune! Put this down to another marketing tick box.
OK, now the good points.
It seems pretty well made and solid for what it is.
I like the size and weight, ideal for a bedroom practice amp.
I like the complete range of controls on the amp, and how you can do everything on the amp that you can do on the app, and it’s easy to do. Great user interface design work.
I like the Bluetooth features and the app. I know people have had problems with Bluetooth, but both my IOS and Android phones connected right away and are stable. I can stream music no problem from outside the house or in other rooms with no issues.
I like having 100 presets to store all the patches I could want (My Blackstar only had 6, and you can only have 1 for each model).
The headphone socket sounds OK, but if I wanted that as a primary feature I would have just bought headphone amp with effects.
I don’t use the recording over USB feature. If I did I wouldn’t expect something this cheap to be amazing. Once again if you want this you probably have bought the wrong product, and are in the wrong price bracket.
I like the cost, its amazing what it does for the money.
I like the sounds, now that I’ve got rid of the awful ones.
It looks pretty cool.
It’s a Marshall.
To make this amp useable, I basically had to do the following:
Overall I like the amp and doing just these 2 thing make it much more of a pleasure to use. The volume level are more what they should be for a product of this type and I don’t ever hear any of the awful patches (there are plenty of good ones).
Maybe other people can share their first experiences or tips with the Code 25?