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Finding the Best Marshall Amp For Metal: Our Top 5 Picks

So the earth is suddenly attacked by an alien civilization that demands our top ten toughest music warriors step forward for an epic decider battle. Which genre of musicians are you sending?

We might not know much about aliens, but some heavy metal guitarists ought to get the job done. Equipped with an arsenal of epic heavily distorted guitar riffs, killer drum fills, and aggressive vocals, amongst many other unique attributes, metal music is without a doubt some of the best music the planet has to offer.

However, more than often, a musician is only as good as his equipment. Having the right equipment for the job can be the difference between an epic performance and a poor one. This is made even more evident for metal guitarists with the kind of amp they choose to use. With this in mind then, there are very few brands out there that can rival Marshall when it comes to making amps.

Even then, while Marshall makes some of the best amps, having to sort through all the amps in their collection to find a Marshall Amp for metal can be a daunting task. That’s why we went through Marshall's range of amps to find the ones that would be best for metal.

1. Marshall MG30FX

Marshall Amp For Metal

For beginner guitarists, or simply as a practice amp, the MG30FX is one of the best purchases you could make as a metal guitarist. Equipped with four programmable channels (clean, crunch, Overdrive1, and Overdrive2), this amp gives you multiple metal tone options. As its name suggests, the MG30FX also comes with multiple effects, including, reverb, chorus, phaser, flanger, delay, and octave. The controls are pretty straightforward, and as a bonus, the price is quite reasonable.

In addition, with 30 watts of output power and a 10” speaker, the MG30FX can get pretty loud should you want to use it for small live performances. This also ensures you can crank it up to achieve those popular distortion sounds found in metal music.

Its features include the following:

  • Solid-state technology
  • Four programmable channels (clean, crunch, OD1, and OD2)
  • Inbuilt effects (reverb, phaser, flanger, delay, chorus)
  • 1x10" speaker configuration
  • 30 watts power output
  • Classic black and gold aesthetic
  • Weighs 10.8 kg / 24 lbs.

2. Marshall DSL40 CR

Marshall Amp For Metal

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

Marshall’s DSL40 CR is an all-valve 12'' speaker configuration combo amp. At 40 watts, you have plenty of headroom to work with, and as it's a tube amp, it has the iconic smooth clipped Marshall distortion that can serve as a bonus for metal music players. With the latest power scaling technology, you could reduce the wattage from 40w to 20w, making it suitable for multiple environments.

With two split channels, ultra gain, and classic gain, you can adjust the settings to play most metal songs on the DSL40 quite easily. As a bonus, both channels feature a dedicated reverb control.

Its features include the following:

  • Tube amp technology
  • 40 watts power output with power scaling option to 20 watts
  • 2 split channels (classic gain and ultra-gain)
  • Dedicated reverb controls for each channel
  • 12" Celestion Seventy 80 Speaker
  • 4 ECC83 preamp valves
  • 2 EL34 power amp valves
  • Footswitchable
  • A comprehensive equalization channel
  • Weighs 22.9 kg / 50 lbs.
  • Classic black and gold Marshall Aesthetic

3. Marshall JCM 800 2203

Marshall Amp For Metal

Used by many artists around the world, this continues to be one of Marshall's greatest amps. The JCM 800 is a vintage reissue packed with 100 watts of power output. As you would expect with Marshall's reissues, this amp packs a mean punch and can be used for those iconic head-banging outdoor metal performances.

It comes updated with the latest FX loop technology so you can add all the FX in between the pre-amp section and the power amp, giving your FX that extra clarity. This works pretty well when the amp is cranked up. The highly versatile equalization settings mean that the amp can play multiple genres and is even more suited for heavy rock and metal.

While it is expensive, the JCM 800 lives up to every penny with its impeccable iconic tube amp tones. You’d be hard-pressed to find the sort of tone, volume, and reliability with an amp that falls into a lower price range

Its features include the following:

  • Tube amp technology
  • 100 watts power output
  • Series Effects loop
  • Weighs 20.5 kg / 45 lbs.
  • Classic black and gold aesthetic
  • Single-channel
  • 3 band EQ

4. Marshall Code 50

Marshall Amp For Metal

With recent technological developments, modeling amps are getting pretty accurate at emulating iconic sounds, and Marshalls Code50 is a good example of just how far modeling technology has come.

Equipped with 100 preset options, you can play almost every metal song on this baby. In addition, using the Gateway App, you can connect via Bluetooth to control CODE and stream metal music from your IOS or Android device. This can come in handy during practice sessions.

Packing 50 watts in output power and a 12'' configuration speaker, you could crank this up to pretty respectable volumes at a live performance and also turn it down low for a practice session.

The Code50 is a good choice if you dig Marshall tones but also want the convenience and power of a modern amp.

Its features include the following:

  • Digital technology
  • 50-watt power output
  • 1 x 12" speaker configuration
  • 24 adjustable effects (5 simultaneously)
  • 100 editable presets
  • Footswitchable
  • Weighs 13 kg / 29 lbs.
  • Built-in tuner
  • Compatible with Marshall Gateway mobile app
  • Classic black aesthetic with custom white Marshall logo

5. Marshall JVM 410 H

Marshall Amp For Metal

Designed as an all-around amp, the JVM410 is a multi-channel 100-watt amp. With four channels each featuring three gain modes, you can easily change from bell-like clarity to fully distorted overdrive and every possible notch between.

It has straightforward controls with a master volume control that can be used to adjust the overall loudness of any selected tone. Additionally, you can set these up as a lead volume boost control through either MIDI control or the supplied footswitch. This is a good amp for professional metal musicians.

Its features include the following:

  • Tube amp technology
  • 100-watt power output
  • 3-band EQ
  • Programmable parallel FX loop with hardware bypass
  • 2 FX loops series/parallel
  • Weighs 22 kg / 49 lbs.
  • 4 channels (multi)
  • Emulated line-out
  • 2-foot switchable master volumes
  • Classic black and gold aesthetic

What to Look For in a Metal Amp

The process of going through the features in various amps to determine which one is the best choice for metal music can be difficult. More than often, what makes one amp better than the other is hidden in the small details that are easy to miss.

This then means that knowing amp features and the characteristics of metal music can be a good way of ensuring you not only make a good purchase but also have fun in the process.

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

Wattage and Speaker Sensitivity

A key characteristic of metal music is that most of it will probably be heavy, loud, and have lots of distortion. This then means that you would need to carefully scour through each amp's features to find the best option.

Ideally, wattage, along with speaker sensitivity, can be a good way of knowing exactly how much power your small Marshall 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. Yeah, that's because the wattage is often not a good way to know exact loudness, but it's a good way to estimate.

It’s also common that amps with more wattage tend to be a lot heavier sounding. If you’re looking for a home practice amp, don’t go for anything beyond 20 watts if it's a tube amp or 50 watts if it's solid-state.

For the most accurate estimation, you should try out the amp in person before making a purchase. Alternatively, you could watch reviews of the specific amp online.

Type of Amp

Generally, there are four types of amps: tube amps, solid-state amps, modeling amps, and hybrid amps. More commonly, metal guitarists use either solid-state or tube amps. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses.

A good portion of guitarists prefers tube amps because of their smooth clipping abilities that result in better-sounding distortion. Even then, today, solid-state amps and modeling amps have developed to a point where the emulations of tube amps are pretty accurate. Ultimately, the choice often comes down to a matter of preference. Make sure to educate yourself on the various types before making a purchase.

Speaker Cabinet

Typically an amp can either be a combo or a head amp. A combo is where the amplifier and cabinet are combined into one package, while a head amp is where the two are separate.

Check the size and weight dimensions of a cab before you buy it. Each cabinet accentuates certain frequencies.

The key to achieving a good metal tone is a high gain, high sustain, and lots of low-end.

Tone and Effects

When purchasing a metal amp, you will want to look for an amp with a lot of tone-shaping options. While some amps are good at playing one style of music well, here you are much better off with an amp that has a good balance of features and tonal possibilities.

Inbuilt effects will also be a plus, as most metal music will require the use of effects.

How Do I Get Metal Tone on My Amp?

Set your amp to high for bass and gain, mid-low for the mids setting, and mid-high for the treble setting to get a good metal tone.

High gain, sustain, and a lot of low-end are the keys to a strong metal tone. Additionally, some guitars are designed specifically for metal. Investing in one can go a long way in ensuring your amp tone is on point.

How Can I Get Distortion on My Amp?

Most guitars have a gain knob that you could adjust to get distortion. Simply adjust the knobs until you get the tone you desire.

Which Is Better for Metal, Solid-State Amp or Tube Amp?

Today, solid-state amps have developed to the point where they can emulate tube amp sounds pretty well. Even then, some guitarists still prefer the vintage original sounds that tube amps produce. Ultimately, each type has its weaknesses and strengths. This then means that more than often, this is just a matter of preference.

Can Any Amp Be Used for Metal?

No, while there are ways in which you could modify amps to play different genres, some amps are just not equipped to achieve metal tones. If you want to get those epic metal tones, you should be ready to invest in a good amp.

Can You Play Metal Music Without Pedals?

Yes, you do not need pedals to be able to play metal music. Simply plugging into a good amp can be enough to get you going. However, having pedals can be an extra boost to achieving some tones.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the strongest asset you can have when it comes to choosing the right metal amp is a good understanding of the attributes that make up the music style. We hope that with this information you’re now able to make an informed purchase.

Author

  • Marshall Amp For Metal

    I have been a singer, songwriter, and guitarist since 2005. I has a bachelor's degree in music and has extensive experience in writing educative music material. In my free time, you can find me eating. Wherever there is music and food, Eugene is probably nearby!

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