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Terrible! - Avis Marshall MF350

The Marshall Mode 4 was hyped to be a great hybrid tube/solid state amplifier for the heavier metal styles that were popular at the time of the amp's introduction (mid 2000's). It features the following specs:

350W hybrid output
2-amps-in-one design
Dual independent preamp stages with separate ECC83 valves
Both amp types have 2 footswitchable modes
Amp 1 offers Clean and Crunch modes
Amp 2 delivers 2 distinct overdrives

It's claimed to have two separate amps built right in for the ultimate in "modern versatility." Amp one houses Clean and Crunch modes, so it's designed for more low gain, classic applications. Amp two is where things get heavy... this side houses the OD1 and OD2 modes. The amp also features a reverb for each channel, an effects loop and and separate EQ controls for each channel (bass, middle, treble), plus an additional presence and resonance to act as a master EQ control set.


The amp is not difficult to set up tones for by any means. It's easy enough to figure out how everything works and get tones going. However, getting GOOD tones won't happen easily. This amp, with the exception of the clean channel (and to a lesser extent, the crunch channel), was possibly the worst sounding Marshall I've ever used.

The clean channel was not too bad. It's honestly no better or worse than the cleans you would find on a DSL or JVM but compared to the atrocity that is "Amp 2" it sounds fine. There was a decent low end and that archetypal scooped sort of midrange tone, with a slightly glassy high end. Applying some reverb got some decent jazz or blues tones, especially with a Les Paul style guitar. The crunch channel had a decent vibe for seventies arena rock if you turned the gain up, or old school blues if you turned it down. It was a bit buzzy and compressed, but not nearly as much as the OD1/OD2 channels.

The OD1/OD2 channels were horrible. Definitely a "what were they thinking?" type of sound. OD1 had absolutely no definition or sustain, and the resulting tone was a buzzy, thin, flat sounding mess. Turning the EQ controls simply seemed to do very little. The amp's default texture seems to be a very piercing top end with a scooped mids... which is like nails on a chalkboard to me. OD2 was basically the same thing... but with even less midrange and even more gain. It had a bit more sustain which was nice for a nu-metal shred thing, but that's such a narrow focus for an amp that claims to be so versatile that I can't award it any points...


I tried the amplifier with a Strat, Les Paul, and Godin LG (Canadian made guitar that's very similar to an LP, but with 5-way selection like a Strat). It was being used through an Avatar 4x12 with Celestion speakers.

The clean tones were probably my favourite, since they were the only useable sound there. The crunch tones from the Crunch channel weren't too bad, but since I don't enjoy playing AC/DC riffs at arena volume, those types of sounds weren't very useful to me.

OD1/OD2 were a disgrace. They made a DSL401 (an amp I've claimed for years is my least favourite Marshall by a LONG shot) sound fairly good. Everything that was bad about an overdrive channel was present in this amp, sadly. It was buzzy, thin, lacked sustain and gain on OD1 and was FAR too compressed and scooped sounding in nature. It sounded like a can of bees were inside the amp, buzzing away angrily at what the tones were doing to their ears... Using the EQ controls only seemed to make it more compressed and/or piercing which didn't do anything to help.


Don't even consider this amp. It's one of biggest cases of "false advertising" I've ever seen. "Modern versatility?" Yeah... good luck with that Marshall. This amp does about three sounds total and only one of them is remotely adequate. It's VERY easy to see why this amp gets slammed online, and more importantly why Marshall discontinued it. High wattage "hybrid" amps designed for scooped metal tones never do sound good (this and the Fender Metalhead are top contenders for this award) for anything but bedroom metalcore played at arena volumes.

I give it a 2 because of the at least decent nature of the clean channel only. Otherwise... it's unusable. Stay away!