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The Best Small Marshall Amp You Can Buy

Marshall is one of the most revered amp brands out there. If you were walking and suddenly came across a sign with the writing, “The Great Wall of Amps, 500m ahead,” there’s a good chance that the amps on that wall will be Marshall.

If not, there’s a slight chance that “The Great Wall of Amp” may just be some random stone wall, named after a hipster dude called “Amps.”

Known for their revolutionary loud amps and their distinct unique “Marshall sound,” the brand was made famous by some of rock's greatest guitarists such as Pete Townsend, Jimi Hendrix, Angus Young, and Eric Clapton, amongst many others.

Today, the iconic Marshall sound can be accessed by guitarists everywhere and anywhere. Whether you want something for practice or something for your performances, Marshall has an amp to meet your needs.

In the past, it seemed things were only going to get louder and larger in the amp world. However, Marshall has evolved to manufacture a range of smaller and less loud amps, shrinking down the iconic Marshall sounds into easy-to-carry, small packages.

Small Marshall amps offer the perfect solution for those looking for something smaller to fit in tiny spaces, something quieter, or something that can be easily carried around. Read on as we review Marshall's range of small amps to help you choose one that best suits your needs.

What to Look for When Buying a Small Marshall Amp

When it comes to small amps, the process of determining which one best suits one's needs can be a bit challenging. More than often, what makes one amp better than the other is hidden in the small details. Without the proper knowledge, you could make the wrong purchase.

So, first off, let's go through some of the things you should look for when purchasing a small amp.

Size and Weight

While this seems like the most obvious thing to look out for, it's likely an area one might make a mistake. This is often because the term small can be quite subjective, and pictures might not give a good representation of exactly how small an amp is.

Equally, some amps might look small but pack some serious weight. Be sure to compare the weights and sizes of different amps using the specs section, and if possible, make sure you see the amp to confirm your preferences are met.

Wattage

Wattage, along with speaker sensitivity, can be a good way of knowing exactly how much power your small amp is going to be packing. This information can then be used to estimate how loud an amp is going to be.

Notice we said “estimate” instead of “know.” That's because the wattage is often not a good way to know exact loudness, but it's a good way to estimate.

Generally, small amps pack between 1 and 5 watts. However, some amps that may be in the small amp category have more wattage.

Tone and Effects

If you’re going small, you don't want to be sacrificing tone for size. Some small amps may not sound good. It would be wise to try an amp out before purchasing to confirm the sound meets your preferences. If you’re unable to try the amp out in person, check out some reviews on the internet to get a feel of what the amp sounds like.

When it comes to effects, smaller amps are likely to be limited and have fewer features when compared to larger amps. However, good amps often have the possibility of various effects and basic overdrive channels.

Price

Smaller amps generally cost less than larger ones. Nonetheless, the prices are usually dependent on other factors too such as the brand, the technology involved in manufacturing, and the features of the amp. For this reason, a smaller amp might be more expensive than an amp that’s larger.

It’s important to note though that a higher price may not always be indicative of better quality. Make sure to peruse the various prices to confirm there’s value in your purchase.

Type of Amp

Typically, there are four types of amps: tube amps, solid-state amps, modeling amps, and hybrid amps. Small amps come in mostly either tube, solid-state, or modeling technology. Each category has its strengths and weaknesses, so make sure to check on the exact type of technology your amp uses.

To learn more about the types of amps, click here.

Best Small Marshall Amps

Marshall small amps act as the perfect solution for those looking for something that will help them avoid those constant noise complaints from their neighbors, or rather just something lightweight that can be carried everywhere.

A small amp is almost like a secret musical weapon that you could randomly pull out. They’re the perfect practice tools and serve as a great way to keep your musical creativity at a high wherever you are.

Giving short reviews of the products and general features/specifications of each amp, here’s a list of the best small amps you could get from each range of Marshall amps.

Marshall Micro Amps

Small Marshall Amp

Released in the early 2000s, the Marshall Micro amp series features the smallest types of amps in the entire Marshall collection. Aimed specifically for practice use, the amps make use of solid-state technology to emulate the iconic Marshall sounds.

Marshall MS-2

Small Marshall Amp

MARSHALL MS-2 (Image credits: Marshall)

As it has a total weight of just 1 pound and a belt clip on the back, you could easily carry this amp everywhere you go. The MS-2 comes packed with only 1 watt and can be purchased in a variety of colors like red, green, and silver jubilee.

Don't let the small size deceive you, though. The MS-2 packs a punch and is pretty audible. In the event you want to use it for an impromptu jam session or small serenade, this amp can be just the right tool. It also comes equipped with a clean and overdrive channel, which can come in handy when practicing.

In addition, the amps are battery-powered, making them usable in areas with no electricity.

Its features include the following:

  • Solid-state technology circuitry
  • 1-watt power output
  • 2 split channels (overdrive and clean)
  • Belt clip to increase portability
  • Volume and tone controls.
  • 1 x 1/4" jack headphone out
  • Powered by either a 9V battery or detachable power cable (not included)
  • Weighs 1 lb
  • 1 x 2” speaker configuration

Marshall MS-4

Small Marshall Amp

Figure Marshall MS-4 (Image credits: Marshall)

For those of you who are die-hard Marshall amp users, this can be a pretty cool addition to your Marshall amps collection. Designed as an upgraded full-stack version of the MS-2, the MS-4 comes with an added 2 x 2" speaker configuration that gives users more control over how loud or soft the amp can get.

As it’s equipped with a belt clip and with the possibility of using a battery, you could use the amp for practice or even for a jam session. Just like the MS-2, the MS-4 is given its strength by its impressive portability characteristics.

Its features include the following:

  • Solid-state technology circuitry
  • 2-watt power output
  • 2 split channels (overdrive and clean)
  • Belt clip to increase portability
  • Volume and tone controls
  • 1 x 1/4" jack headphone out that also acts as a preamp output
  • Powered by either a 9V battery or detachable power cable (not included)
  • Weighs 1 lb
  • 2 x 2” speaker configuration

Marshall DSL Series

Small Marshall Amp

The Dual Super Lead series features tube technology amps designed to maintain the awe-inspiring, crunchy, and loud Marshall tones.

The amps are equipped with power reduction technology, studio-quality reverb, and many more features that make them suitable for playing in a variety of different environments. Customer inspired, the DSL series features various sized amps, from the smallest DSL1 to DSL20.

Here is a review of the DSL1C:

Marshall DSL1C

Small Marshall Amp

Marshall DSL1C (Image credits: Marshall)

Although it’s slightly larger than Marshals Micro amps, the DSL1C comes with the most recent power reduction technology. This gives users the ability to reduce the amp’s wattage output from 1 watt to 0.1 watts.

It also features 2 channels and is foot-switchable, adding to the various tone possibilities that can be achieved. In addition to all this, it comes with a variety of inbuilt effects like reverb, chorus, phaser, flangers, and delay.

Its features include the following:

  • Tube amp technology circuitry
  • 1W with optional power reduction to 0.1W
  • 2 channels (ultra gain, and classic gain)
  • Volume and tone controls
  • Weighs 7.9 kg / 17 lbs
  • 1 x 8” Celestion speakers
  • Rear Effects loop
  • Footswitch enabled

Marshall MG Gold Series

Small Marshall Amp

The MG Gold series uses solid-state amp technology to feature modern Marshall sounds in small and robust portable amp packages. The series comes in a variety of ranges all equipped to suit a range of environments, from live outdoor performances to bedroom practice sessions.

Marshall MG10

Small Marshall Amp

Marshall MG10 (Image credits: Marshall)

With a 1 x 6.5" speaker configuration and packing 10 watts, the MG10 is ideal for both home use and small band practice sessions. At 11 lbs in total weight, the MG10 is still pretty small when compared to most of the amps in the Marshall collection.

This would be a good purchase for players who just want something that packs a louder volume than the micro amps while at the same time being portable. Equally, with its easy-to-use controls and affordable price, this is also a good amp for beginner guitarists.

Its features include the following:

  • Solid-state amp technology circuitry
  • 10-watt power output
  • 2 split channels (clean/contour)
  • Volume and tone controls
  • Weighs 4.8 kg / 11 lbs
  • 1 x 6.5" speaker configuration
  • Emulated headphone output that mutes the amp’s speaker (making silent practice easy)
  • Classic black & gold Marshall aesthetic

Are Mini Amps Loud Enough for Live Performances?

  • Most mini amps won’t be loud enough for live performances. This is because manufacturers often design mini amps as a solution to counter the many loud performance amps out there. Ideally, mini amps are practice session amps.

Do Mini Amps Come With Built-in Effects?

  • In most cases, smaller amps are likely to be limited in overall features when compared to larger amps. However, some small amps come with built-in effects.

Should I Go for an AC-Powered Amp or a Battery-Powered Amp?

  • A battery power option is more portable, while an AC-powered amp is more reliable because it won't suddenly go off on you while you use it. There are amps with both options.

How Many Watts Does a Mini Amp Have?

  • Typically, mini amps have between 1 and 5 watts.

Summary

Hopefully, you now possess the knowledge needed to make an informed purchase of a small amp. Small amps can serve as a good addition to any guitarist's amp collection—if for nothing at all, then for their portability. The concept of your music traveling with you everywhere and anywhere you go is certainly brought to life when you always have an amp you can pull out at any time.

Author

  • Small Marshall Amp

    My "day job" used to be teaching but I decided to give that up to play music full time. I have gigged all over the world playing in bands or as a solo act since then. I still have a passion for teaching others anything related to music. Writing content for InciteMusic.com gives me an opportunity to combine my love of music and education.

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