Marshall 2555 silver debutted back in 1987 to celebrate 25 years of the company for being in the industry and Jim Marshall for being in the business for 50 years.
It was reissued in 1996 with only 3000 units available for sale and they called it the Marshall 2555L. This limited supply was even more responsible for the hype around this amplifier. This year, they are reissuing it again but this time it is called the Marshall 2555X with a few changes here and there. The tonal flexibility, the power and the silver colour for which this amp was so popular are staying. Also, this time, the amp will not be limited in supply and is here to stay forever! For something lighter weight, we also have the Orange Tiny Terror review.
Just like the original design!
From afar, the edges looks like metal, but looking at it upclose you will find it to be made from silver coloured vinyl. The carry handle end brackets are now made from chrome. The chassis is made from welded steel which is heavy and feels extremely sturdy. Another reason for the amp head to feel heavy is due to the large transformers on the inside which are responsible for generating high voltages for exciting the tubes.
The box appears to be identical to the classic Marshall design. The control knobs on the front are neatly placed and they also happen to be made from chrome and black coloured plastic grip.
On the front you also have a power switch to turn the amp on and off. This is where it gets exciting, there is another switch that allows you to halve the output power down to 50 watts. This feature will now allow guitarists to use a lower wattage speaker with this amplifier as you may have guessed. In order to lower the output power, internally, this switch turns on the Triode which is designed to deliver half the maximum power of the amp. We first saw this type of design in JCM800, 2203 and the 2204. While the triode is off, the Pentode is in action and it is capable of delivering a 100 Watts of power.
On the backside we have effects loop jacks, push pull foot switchable controls that switches between rhythm, lead settings and lead master control. The original 2555 had a dial knob to select the speaker impedance setting. That is gone and instead we have multiple output jacks for 4 Ohms, 8 Ohms and 16 Ohms speakers.
SweetWaterSound’s review on YouTube indicates that the circuit board is double sided in comparison to being single sided on the original amp. It also comes with an all black solder mask with white silk screen. Overall, the circuit design remains to be left unchanged from the original. Thus, the sound characteristics remain unchanged as well, if not, improved because of the modern components. The internal wiring has also been improved and now comes with heat resistant insulation.
The original Marshall 2555 had a mains selector to switch between 110V and 230V. That is gone with the reissued version and the amp comes with a fixed mains setting according to the country it is being sold in.
Marshall 2555x = Untouched, classic sound.
The three gain channels “Clean”, “Rhythm clip” and “Lead” are left pretty much untouched from the original version. You will find the tones to be slightly warmer which is of course a good thing. The ECC83s and the EL34s tubes are being used inside this amp and they are ranked to be some of the best audio tubes out there. These tubes will instantly take you back to those good old 80s.
The best thing about the Marshall 2555 were the noise free channel switching which allowed the guitarist to switch between Clean and Rhythm clip channel with no audible distortion. In addition to that, there was an internal stompbox that came in built for more drive while other amps on the market required an external one. Marshall also used a unique LED based clipping circuit which gave controlled distortion. The diode clips at a much lower voltage in comparison to LEDs. Using different coloured LEDs will clip your audio at different voltage levels. To see this in action, simply pull the top cover of the head and you will see the LEDs I am talking about.
The LED clipper only comes in action when the Lead channel is turned on. For Rhythm clip channel, we have 2 regular PN-junction diodes doing all the clipping.
Once, you turn on the Lead channel, you are in the zone of extreme roughness. Even then, the different harmonics and frequencies are clearly audible. Unlike most other amps, the Marshall 2555X feels a lot quieter even in the Lead channel. The hissing sound is at a much lower level indicating usage of good quality components inside the head.
The Marshall 2555X comes with a more effective and responsive EQ with a far more audible effect on the output. Changing the knobs by a few notches has a noticeable effect on the output so watch out for that.
The modern music such as metal and rock are more bass centric. The Marshall 2555X coming with a design from 80s, does not put too much emphasis on bass but that does not mean that the bass is non-existent. It is deep and makes itself known to the listener. Not being too strong, the bass does not leak into the mids at all. The mids are balanced perfectly and feel warm while the treble region offers a nice sparkle. Using the 3 EQ knobs, you can adjust the response of the three frequency regions to achieve the desired feel. Apart from the EQ, there is master volume knob and a pre-amp gain knob.
Whether using the amp in half power mode or full power mode, there is no difference in the frequency response. The sound is loud and punchy even when the volume is kept down low. Half power mode comes handy for bedroom playing when you need a lower volume. Be careful while playing with the volume knob because the volume does not change linearly. Pointing specifically at wine connoisseurs, the volume could shoot up and cause your glasses to shatter. Although if you’ve seen mythbusters, this is very unlikely as it would need to be the perfect frequency with directed sound.
To make the most of this amp, you need to have an equally good cabinet to handle all this power. The blackstar Artisan series cab will easily handle 100W without introducing any kind of distortion. The Marshall 2551AV & 2551BV cabinets which were released along with this amp will also work equally great. We have reviewed a bunch of cabinets in the past, make sure you check them out.
The Marshall 2555X allows you produce classic tones. It is the head in which Marshall has got 100% right, but it does not come cheap. With the Christmas on the horizon the Marshall 2555X Silver Jubilee amp is going at discounted rates on many online stores. The original 2555 was indeed a great amp but the 2555X comes with several hardware improvements while maintaining all those classic features which made it famous among guitarists. Marshall 2555X is an amp that will stay with you for ages to come.