Marshall is one of the most recognizable brands in the world of amplifiers. That’s because Marshall amps and heads produce a powerful sound that’s ideal for bands of all sizes — whether they’re playing in small clubs or arenas.
Another reason why guitar players gravitate to Marshall is they always release new products. This is definitely the case with the Marshall Origin Amp Series. Released in 2018, Marshall aimed to bring things back to the earlier days with vintage-style heads and combos.
How does the Marshall Origin line compare to their other products as well as competitors? Here, we weigh out the pros and cons to determine if the Origin line is right for you.
- Great for low-power and high-power modes
- Produces old-fashion tones, yet they’re flexible enough for modern playing
- Ideal for performing and recording
- Lacks oomph in the low-end
One of the most striking qualities about this line is the vintage inspiration. The appearance of these amps, with the minimalist and bulky design, not only conveys a true classic but the tones they produce will also bring you back in time.
The amps in this line are tube amps (also called valve amps). This is essential because tube amps are the first amplifiers produced for modern musicians. To this day, they’re renowned for their simple circuitry yet still have stability and beautiful warm tones. If you’re a tube amp enthusiast, this is definitely the line of amps for you.
The amps in general are simple to use. They come with only the necessary controls to produce the sound you want. The controls have a vintage look and feel to them, ideal for bands who want to convey that retro image.
Keep in mind, these amps don’t have a headphone jack. If you practice in your home and don’t want your neighbors hearing you, be sure to use the low-power setting.
Marshall Origin amps are powerful, but they are lacking. You’ll be able to fill a small venue with your sound, but not a large arena. Fortunately, Marshall does make more powerful amps in the Origin series, which we will discuss later.
Old-school Marshall players will definitely experience some nostalgia playing the Origin series. These amps focus on giving you that mid-range sound that was famously heard in British rock bands back in the day.
The sound is best described as organic while also maintaining a raw and vibrant sound. It’s ideal for powerful tones for rhythm guitar, yet it sustains a smooth sound for solos. With all of this combined, they still maintain that classic Marshall sound.
What this amp won’t give you is an ultra-powerful sound or floor-shaking bass. But if you want to crank up the master level, you will get more crunch in your sound. The sound produced is definitely cleaner than modern Marshall amps, giving you an intense sound with more balance.
Because of these characteristics, the Marshall Origin series is not ideal if you’re playing metal. However, just about any guitarist or bassist in other genres will find use out of the Origin series, though it’s best for rock bands channeling classic rock music from the 60s and 70s as well as blues.
Amps and Heads in the Origin Line
There are three combos and two heads in the Marshall Origin line. Each product offers something different and this line is ideal for various musicians. Here’s a breakdown of each.
The Origin5 is all about producing classic tones while staying innovative. The nostalgic design will also look great on stage. This is a 5-watt combo amp that delivers two distinct sounds: normal and high-treble. Inspired by the legendary Marshall amps of the ‘60s, you’ll achieve a classic voice with your playing.
Some of the most notable features of this amp include:
- Switchable high and low output section
- Single-ended 5-watt all-valve (tube) combo
- Effects loop
- Tilt control
- 2 x ECC83 preamp, 1 x EL84 output section
- 8-inch Celestion Eight-15 speaker
- Classic design
If you need an amp that gives you plenty of power, consider choosing the 20C. The 20C amp has a three-way output switch that toggles between 20-watt, three-watt, and 0.5-watt. There is also an output for eight and 16-ohm external cabs.
On the signal path, the output valves are EL34S. This is commonly seen in powerful amps, giving this vintage-inspired amp some contemporary power.
Another interesting aspect of this amp is the “tilt” knob. This knob helps you balance between the normal and high-treble channels. You can also use this knob to adjust the levels of your tone.
Other defining features of this amp include:
- DI output
- Input for the included footswitch
- Effects loop
- 5 tubes in total: 3 ECC83 pre-amp tubes and 2EL34 power-amp tubes
- Gain boost feature
- 20.5”/52cm x 17.3”/44cm
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, the 50C should be the amp you choose. This amp runs at 50, 20, and 5 watts. The best part is you don’t lose power with each set. The 5-watt sound is just as crunchy as the 50-watt setting.
This is a single-channel amp that has neutral and wide-range tonal responses. Because of two EL34 power tubes and three ECC83 preamp tubes, you get plenty of roar out of this amp.
This amp is also dynamic. You can use distortion or you can clean it up by only adjusting a few knobs. But even at high volumes, this amp offers a lot of treble-rich tones.
Other features include:
- Push/pull gain switch
- Boost stage
- Foot pedal and second footswitch
- Effects loop
- Tilt knob
- Open-backed amp with a secondary baffle
- Made of composite material
- Components assembled on a circuit board
- 40 pounds/18 kilograms
With this head, you get high power at 20-watts, mid at 3-watts, and low at 0.5-watts. It’s an all-valve head with modern features. The head includes a footswitch to control the effects and a gain boost feature.
Other features include:
- 3 ¼ speaker outputs: 8-ohm cabs, 16-ohm cabs, and DI output
- ¼ input for footswitch
- Controls: boost, gain, bass, tilt, treble, middle, presence, master, power stem
- Three ECC83 preamp valves and two EL34 power amp valves
- 225 mm / 8.9″ tall and 520 mm / 20.5″ wide
- Weight: 21 pounds/9.4 kilograms
This head is a single-channel, all-tube, and is 50-watts. There are two EL34 tubes and three ECC83 tubes for the effects loop and preamp, as with the amps. This head has three settings: low (1-watt), mid (10-watt), and high output (50-watt).
The front panel controls are conveniently arranged in three sections: Output, EQ, and gain control sections. Presence and Master are in the Output sections and you’ll find the treble, middle, bass, and tilt in the EQ section. Even though there’s only one guitar input jack, the tilt toggle lets you choose between normal and classic channels (as well as a blend of both voices).
On the rear panel, you’ll find a footswitch jack, ¼ send and return jacks, three speaker jacks that can connect to 8 or 16-ohm speaker cabinets (or a pair of 16-ohm cabs), and a 14 inch DI output.
Breakdown of the features:
- Three wattages: 1, 10, and 50-watts
- Single-channel amp head
- Simple control panel
- Boost function
- Variable power output
- Effects loop
- 26 pounds/11.8 kilograms
Other Alternatives to Consider
Do you want a vintage-style amp but want to consider other options besides the Marshall Origin series? Here are a few other recommendations:
Fender Pawn Shop Special Greta Amplifier
If you’re looking for vintage amp authenticity and not a combination of retro and modern, you’ll want the Fender two-watt Greta tube amp. While you’ll get those old-school dirty tones, the amp also sounds clean. That’s thanks to the single 12AX7 and 12 AT7 valves.
Bogner Goldfinger 45 Amplifier
Bogner created this beautiful retro-inspired head. With gold accents, this amp offers a vintage sheen that will look awesome with your stage set-up. But it offers more than just beauty — this amp head can support a myriad of tones with its two-channel valve capabilities.
Yamaha took classic practice amps and reinvented them to be more powerful. With full-range speakers, a 10-watt output, and hi-fi functionality, this amp can achieve big sounds while having the appearance of your first practice amp.
Do you want to learn a bit more about the Marshall Origin Amp? Let’s take a closer look at some FAQs:
Answer: They’re made in Vietnam. Components are assembled on the circuit board.
Answer: Marshall was a breakthrough during its time. Rock musicians struggled to achieve the sound they wanted. This is where Marshall came in — they offered a high-powered amp with plenty of distortion while offering the flexibility that musicians could also find in the equipment of that time.
This legacy continues making Marshall a household name in the world of amplifiers. Not only that, but their products are reliable even for modern musicians.
Answer: Some of the most legendary guitar players preferred Marshall amps over the competition.
Some of Marshall’s most legendary players include Jimi Hendrix, Malcolm and Angus Young (AC/DC), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Jeff Beck, Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), Joe Satriani, Lita Ford, Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), and Phil Campbell (Motorhead, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons).
Marshall also has a whole roster of modern musicians under their endorsements.
Some notable names include Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper), Michael Amott (Arch Enemy), Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth), Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth), and Paul Gilbert.
Answer: Jim Marshall founded Marshall Amplification.
Answer: While the Origin amps produce a great sound, they’re only ideal for guitarists who play classic rock or blues. Therefore, they’re not the highest-rated amps in Marshall’s roster.
That’s where the Marshall DSL20 comes in. This amp is the classic choice because it’s versatile but has an extraordinary tone. It’s also ideal for musicians in all genres. Other great choices include Marshall DSL40C, Marshall JVM Combo, and Marshall JVM Head.
Answer: As stated in this Marshall Origin Amp Series Review, the amps in the Origin line are tube amps. Many guitar players prefer tube amps because they offer euphonic distortions. They also produce a more organic sound. However, all guitar players will have different opinions on this. The key thing is to choose the type of amps that works with your playing and the sound you want.
Answer: Marshall is one of the most renowned names in amplifiers and heads. They offer a variety of products for all types of players and they do offer great quality amps for a good price.
However, Marshall isn’t your only option. You should also consider trying these apps:
• Positive Grid
Answer: If you’re looking for a Marshall amp that gives you a cleaner sound, we recommend choosing the Marshall Amps M-DSL40CR-U Guitar Combo Amplifier. Other good options include:
• VOX AC30C2
• Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb 22-Watt 1×12-Inch
• Fender ’65 Twin Reverb 85-Watt 2×12-Inch
• Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus 120-Watt
Answer: For the price, you’re paying for the quality, many guitar players think you’re definitely getting your money’s worth when you buy Marshall amps. However, the competition is often cheaper than Marshall. This largely depends on where the amp is made and the retailer selling the amp.
Will You Use the Marshall Origin Amp Series?
The Marshall Origin amp series is popular among guitar players who want to achieve that true rock n’ roll sound. Marshall takes us back in time to their earliest amps while offering some modern features. However, this line isn’t ideal for heavy metal guitarists and won’t deliver the power needed to play a large venue or arena.
We also recommend looking at Marshall’s competitor Fender. The Fender Bassbreaker 15 is an all-tube combo amp that has a huge sound yet is versatile enough for all types of players. Read our review as well as our other amp recommendations.