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Reviews: Marshall MG15RCD Amplifier
Meet the MG-15RCD, the second smallest in Marshall's affordable MG line. The MG-15RCD is a powerhouse of a practice amp sporting single guitar input, twin gain controls, reverb, treble, bass and mid-contour, an independent CD input (great for practice and play along), a ¼" headphone jack, and a line out.
Marshall packed plenty of punch into this compact, lightweight solid-state practice combo. With the dual gain controls maxed, this little 15-watter screams and chunks much like its bigger brothers, providing an aggressive gain that should satisfy shredders and Metal Heads alike. Pull back the gains for warm rock and blues tones. For clean sounds, the gains should be set at half or lower. With the gains halfway up, you can go from clean to overdriven using the guitar's volume. I've found that for a distortion-free clean sound, the gains should be set at about 3, and the master raised to compensate for the lesser gain. A little knob-tweaking is necessary to get from clean to dirty.
The treble is nice and bright at low gain, and adds even more edge to the dirty signal. With its 8" speaker, the MG-15RCD needs the bass turned past 5 or 6 to deliver a full-bodied sound. The mid-contour is efficient in sculpting tones, from scooped-out (like a V shaped EQ setting-good for punchy attack at high gain), to nosey (offering more midrange presence right up front).
The reverb on the MG-15RCD sounds good, and most importantly-does not ring-back (reverb feedback-uncontrollable ringing incurred by simply turning up the reverb), as many reverbs on smaller practice amps do. Set at about midway, the reverb adds natural room ambience and depth. At 10, the reverb's decay hangs for almost two seconds, lending well to a more surf-like sound (especially with the bridge position pickup selected on my Strat).
The CD input acts independently from the panel controls, relying on the controls from the CD player itself. You'll need an RCA or Mini to ¼" cable to plug your CD into the amp. The addition of the CD signal does not interfere with the guitar signal, and provides a great way to practice and play along with your favorites.
The MG-15RCD is the perfect compact amp for the bedroom, practice, or teaching studio. Turn the Master towards 10, and the MG-15 could hang at lower-volume band practices or open-mike nights.
The MG-15RCD retails under $180. Students and guitarists on a budget should not miss this little amp, whose sound belies its size. --A.P.