Marshall Code 50 Guitar Amp Review
Marshall Code 50 Overview
The Marshall Code 50 is a DSP based modeling amplifier that can easily emulate over 14 classic Marshall Sounds. This combo amplifier has a 12″ speaker built in as well as headphone and auxiliary jacks to expand its versatility.
Built in digital power amps, cab emulation and effects make this amp one powerful tool for guitar players!
Code 50 External Hardware
Firstly, the Marshall Code 50 is a 28.6 pound combo amplifier measuring in at 20.8" wide, 17.3" high and 11" deep. It is equipped with 1 - 12" speaker in a wooden closed back enclosure, finished in classic Marshall tolex and grill cloth.
All controls are accessible from the top of the amplifier and are pretty sturdy mechanically with modern Marshall style knobs throughout.
Buttons and an LCD screen open up the settings and functions of the Code 50 which allow the user to easily configure the amplifier and adjust to taste. All hardware feel like quality parts and respond very well when toggled.
The headphone jack and Aux IN jack are both 1/8" and are located on the top of the amplifier for ease of use.
There is also a USB connector on the top of the amplifier to access the software through a computer or other device, as well as record or control the amp with MIDI.
Overall the amplifier is quite light for a combo with a 12" speaker and carries nicely with the top mounted strap handle.
Code 50 Channels and Controls
The Code 50 has a pretty standard control scheme that is intuitive and easy to use. If you have ever owned a modeling amplifier, the layout will be familiar to you.
Because the amplifier comes with a built in LCD screen, all selections are made with buttons and a rotary edit control. This keeps things pretty simple and clean on top which is great if lots of controls overwhelms you.
Effects on the Code 50 consist of Modulation effects, Delay, reverb, Wah plus stompbox distortion emulations.
These can also be controlled and edited using the Marshall gateway app which can also be used via Bluetooth which is a really slick control scheme!
The USB connection on the top of the amplifier will allow you to connect to a computer to do a few different things.
This connection will allow you to use the Marshall gateway app, but it will also allow you to connect to a DAW and record direct!
This is a great feature as the amplifier already has built in power amp and cab emulations. the USB connection also lets you update the firmware or control with MIDI.
Code Output Power
The Marshall Code 50 is rated at 50 watts of output power and man does it deliver! The power is right on with a heavy hitting drummer and cuts through the mix very well.
Nice thing about this amp is that there is plenty of power on tap and you don’t have to dime it. I find that when it is dimed, it gets a bit flubby in the bass.
But thanks to the power output, it sounds good in a band setting and has plenty of headroom!
Our choice of software this time around was Reaper, and to my surprise we got a pretty good guitar sound when recorded direct from the USB.
To be honest, of all the modelers we review this is one of the better units in terms of sound and responsiveness.
I also tried using the headphone jack out to Reaper but it wasn’t quite as nice sounding as the USB.
Over all this amp records direct really well!
Built In Tuner
The Marshall Code 50 has a built in tuner which is a great little feature. Its LCD display makes it one of the easier tuners to use.
Simply hold the PRE FX and AMP buttons and the display will change to its tuner.
From there simply pluck a string and the display will let you know if it needs to be adjusted or not.
I am also happy to report that the tuner is accurate!
One of the really cool features of the amp that often gets overlooked is a built in noise gate!
Most of the factory presets have this feature enabled, but depending on the setting this might make it sound funny.
So make sure to access and set this feature to taste as it can either be a powerful feature, or a deal breaker if not set right.
Code 50 Sound
Marshall has been around for a long time, and they know how to keep that Marshall sound in tact! The Code 50 is no exception, the sounds are top notch for an amp at this price point!
When taking it out of the box it feels like it might not have the goods, but after plugging it in, its got all the jam you would expect a Marshall to have.
The Models are all popular Marshall preamps and man do they sound good! The 800, the Jubilee, The JTM45 all just fantastic!
The ability to essentially build your amp makes this thing a lot of fun. Selecting and matching preamps, to power amps and cab emulations really makes this a powerful platform.
Its very easy to use and will potentially deliver no matter what you use it for. The clean sounds are really nice, especially with some effects added. And the headroom is perfect thanks to 50 watts of power.
The effects on board are really nice sounding for an amplifier under $500 and are a great way to fine tune your sound! The controls are easy to understand and will become a cinch to use as you become familiar to the modeler.
The sounds from the Code 50 are quite good and are very close to a Marshall tube amp sound!
Conclusion And Final Thoughts
There are many great electric guitar amplifiers on the market for under $500 and the Marshall Code 50 is one of the better amplifiers you can get.
It is very easy to get a great sound as soon as you plug in which makes it a better choice than other amp modelers at this price point.
The included Gateway software allows you to edit the effects and set up amp patches for many different types of sounds.
The use of Bluetooth is a huge advantage and makes using this amp easy! So if you are looking for an amplifier that can fill many roles, the Code is what you need.
Marshall has also designed a foot switch to work with their Code line of amplifiers. It is sold separately, so should you need the versatility of switching the amp while performing, the foot switch is affordable and easy to use!
If 50 watts is not enough, or perhaps too much power, Marshall also makes a Code 25 and a Code 100! You are sure to find what you need in the Code line of amplifiers!