Marshall Code 25 Review

Marshall Code 25
Marshall Code 25

The Marshall Code 25 is the smallest offering in the new modelling amp series. The Code line-up features fully-programmable digital amps. The series was launched in January and caused some big waves in the industry at the time. The Code 25 is a 25-watt 1ร—10 combo. There are four other models in the series: the Marshall Code 50 (50w, 1ร—12 combo), Code 100 (100w, 2ร—12 combo), Code 100H (100w head) and Code 412 (4ร—12 cabinet). All the amps are closed-back designs, providing a focused, modern sound. For half the wattage, you might want to check out the Laney LX12 review.

Marshall Code 25 feature set

The Code 25 has a smaller screen than the other models in the series. The control panel combines the Edit and Preset knobs, while the larger amps have dedicated knobs for each function. Apart from that, the models are really quite similar to one another. The main difference between each one is the power amp and speaker set-up. The 10-inch speaker on the Code 25 means it lacks some of the grunt of the 12-inch speakers in the larger amps. The amp weighs in at just 6.1k and measures 350mm x 340mm x 215mm (W x H x D). That makes the amp nice and portable, although it’s more in practice amp territory than anything more serious. The Code 50 and upwards could be used more effectively onstage.

Marshall Code 25
Marshall Code 25

Modelling amps don’t always have the finest reputation among guitarists. There’s certainly a fair share of rubbish digital amps on the market. However, it would be a mistake to lump the Code amps in with these digital pretenders. The new amps may be deceptively affordable, but Marshall have clearly put an enormous amount of expertise and fine-tuning into these amplifiers to make them very appealing prospect.

Code modelling amps developed with Softube

Marshall Code 25 Control Panel
Marshall Code 25 Amplifier Control Panel

The Marshall Code power amp, preamp and speaker cabinet modelling sounds were developed in collaboration with Swedish company Softube. The modelling system is quite advanced and runs the gamut of classic and contemporary Marshall tones, as well as innovations made by other influential amp manufacturers. The modelling options include 24 effects, 14 preamps, 4 power amps and 8 speaker cabinets. The modelling options can be mixed together in any combination, enabling the creation of some unconventional and creative set-ups. All of the Marshall Code amps have the full complement of digital modelling effects and amps. Each amp has the ability to store 100 customisable presets.

24 effects on offer

Marshall Code 25
Marshall Code 25

The available effects include: Compression, auto wah, tremolo, chorus, flanger, phaser, pitch shifter, delays with tap tempo, reverbs and stompbox distortions. A maximum of five effects can be engaged at any one time. The included effects sound quite good. Naturally they can’t touch the quality of dedicated effects units, but as far as on-board digital amp effects go, they are pretty impressive. The modelling stompboxes work in a similar manner to an external stompbox, adding some extra thickness, sustain and presence to your playing. Adding an external boost/overdrive pedal to the amplifier is another possibility if you aren’t happy with the onboard options. It will react to the Code amp in a surprisingly convincing way, presenting similar results to what you get when you pair an overdrive pedal with a tube amp. Presumably to keep the cost down, Marshall didn’t include an effects loop for the Code amps, which will disappoint some players.

Marshall Gateway App
Marshall Gateway App Effects Screen

Related: Boss SD1-W Waza Overdrive Review

The amps have an understated, almost vintage look to them. It’s a bit of a mix of past and present Marshall designs. As mentioned guitarists can be suspicious of modelling amps or anything too newfangled so it was probably a smart move. The controls on each of the combo amps are located in a recessed area to the rear of the top panel. The controls on the Marshall Code 100H are recessed located on the front panel of the head. The amps don’t have hard protectors located on the corners or anything special in the construction department. However they are reasonably sturdy and the controls are out of harm’s way.

Optional footswitch for on-stage use

If you want to use the amp onstage, you may want to consider picking up the optional foot-controller, the PEDL-91009. It’ll set you back $69.99 though. The controller has four footswitches and an LED read-out to keep track of things. It’s fully-programmable and can be used to control 30 presets or control panel functions.

Marshall PEDL-91009
Marshall PEDL-91009 Code Foot Controller

If you aren’t gigging the amp control panel or the Gateway app should fulfil all your needs. The app is quite powerful and is free to use. It communicates with the amp though Bluetooth. If your friend has a Code amp and you drop by, you’ll even be able to load up your app presets on their amp. All the amp functions can be controlled via the physical control panel, so you won’t be missing out if you’re not running the app. However, users of the Marshall Code 25 will benefit more from the app than those who pick up the larger amps. This is because of the smaller screen and less generous control scheme on the Code 25. Hence the Gateway app will help you navigate the modelling system a lot faster.

Marshall Gateway App
Marshall Gateway App Modelling Options

The app is very user-friendly. It’s laid-out in a logical and clear fashion that makes quick tweaks quite easy. The Bluetooth functionality also allows you to stream music from iOS or Android devices and play along to the tracks. There’s also a dedicated mini-jack socket to connect such a device. Unsurprisingly, the Code amps are tailored sonically as guitar amps, not as hi-fi speakers. However, it’s still a nice touch.

USB connectivity for use in the studio

In addition to Bluetooth, the Code amps have USB connectivity. You can use this to play music from your computer or use your Code amp as a DAW interface for recording. The latter function is a great inclusion. The modelling amps and effects are so in-depth that the Code amps would immediately lend themselves to use in the home studio. The USB connection can also send and receive MIDI data. There’s no dedicated line out but Marshall state the headphone jack can be used for that purpose.

The Marshall Code 25 is a great digital amp that is both affordable and portable. It’s not easy to get modelling amps right on a budget but Marshall have definitely done it with the Code series. The Code 25 does have a slightly limited control scheme compared to the bigger amps. However for the price, you get a huge amount of sonic options. The free Gateway app and USB connectivity for recording are excellent inclusions as well.

United States: Musicansfriend
United Kingdom: Gearsformusic
International: Thomann, Guitarcenter, BHphotovideo


    • Model: 25C
    • Range: Code
    • Technology: Digital


    • Presets: 100
    • Wattage: 25w
    • Inputs: 1
    • Controls: Bass, middle, treble, gain, volume, pre fx, amp, mod, del, rev, power, cab
    • Pre amp models: 14
    • Power amp models: 4
    • Speaker cabinet models: 8
    • FX: 24 (5 simultaneously)


    • Size: 10″


    • Footswitch: PEDL-91009 (available separately)
    • Cables: Power


  • Weight (kg): 6.1
  • Dimensions (mm): 350 x 340 x 215 (w x h x d)

Marshall listing
Marshall Youtube demo

The Marshall Code 25 is a great digital amp that is both affordable and portable. For the price, you get a huge amount of sonic options.
Sound quality84
Worth it?92
Reader Rating179 Votes68
Great value for money
Light enough for portability
Huge variety of customisable tones
Effects and modelling implemented well
User-friendly Gateway app
USB recording option
Optional footswitch isn't cheap
Code 25 control scheme is cut down compared to bigger amps
No effects loop
  1. Positives: Great value and hours of fun with the presets and mixing up your own.

    Negatives: gateway software should have a favourites section to store your most commonly used presets.


    I am blown away by the code 25. Easy to use, lightweight and plenty loud enough for practice.

    Sound quality user100
    Appearance user100
    Worth it? user100
    Features user85
  2. 72

    Fantastic value for the price.

    Sound quality user92
    Appearance user80
    Worth it? user100
    Features user90
  3. Positives: Accurate Marshall tones. Some are even a bit farty on the low end like a real Marshall.Negatives: Some weird "cocked wah" type sounds in some settings that just sound weird.


    Overall, some great tones, but I think the 50 watt may be better for me. Fun to play with, though, and much better Marshall models than other modeling amps. I would have absolutely LOVED this as a beginner!! I would have practiced so much more if I had this as a teenager instead of crappy Crate practice amps!

    Sound quality user80
    Appearance user93
    Worth it? user85
    Features user85
    1. I reckon the Code 50 is at a good medium, where you get the larger interface and beefier speaker, without getting too costly. Yeah practice amps have come a long, long way since I was a kid. The features you can get for minimal outlay are getting more and more extensive.

  4. Positives: Sounds great throught headphones and the usb recording is great. I love the look of it and nice and simple to operate. Negatives: Ive tried both the 25 and 50 and both sound pretty poor using the speaker. It gets flabby in the lows and brittle in the highs. I believe its down to the cheap mdf construction and not much weight.


    For the money its excelent value and great for home recording but i would like to use it like as it sounds very thin through the speaker.

    Sound quality user70
    Appearance user100
    Worth it? user85
    Features user85
    1. Yeah they didn’t list the model of the speaker. It indicates they went pretty cheap on that part of the amp. I guess with such a huge amount of features they had to cut corners somewhere to keep it affordable.

  5. Positives: Very cool looking amp, price is great. Lots of fun to be had by making your own amp combos. The gateway app works well and is very convenient. Love the small size and light weight of the 25. Negatives: Sound quality is terrible on this amp. It sounds absolutely horrible through the speaker and the nasty harshness cannot be dialed out. There is a screech noise when recording with the USB and sounds flat and scratchy through the headphone out, so it's no good for recording either.

    Gateway app freezes and many times when you try to save a preset it doesn't and resets to stock so you have to start over with your adjustments. Marshall missed the mark on this one big time.


    All in all very disappointed with the amp and will be returning it to the store.

    Sound quality user61
    Appearance user95
    Worth it? user80
    Features user85
  6. 71

    I have this amp and just started playing about half a year ago but I wanna use this for a talent show but i don’t know if it will be loud enough help?!?!

    Sound quality user94
    Appearance user83
    Worth it? user87
    Features user92
    1. Hey Luke, I think it should do the trick for a talent show. If you aren’t playing with drums, then there’s no doubt: it’ll be fine. If you’re playing with drums, then I suggest trying it out in a jam beforehand to see if it holds up OK. If it struggles, then check if the venue has an instrument mic at the event. If they can mic up the amp, then the sound guy should be able to crank it through the PA to whatever volume is required. Good luck!

  7. Positives: bluetooth, 100 presets, fun to play withNegatives: sound quality sometimes good, some fuzz occasionally, some effects bleeding,


    Amp is fun to play with with all the effects, bluetooth works great with an iphone and all the presets can be seen in a library on the phone. Out of the 100 preset, you get 30 on the foot pedal.

    Bad news? tone isn’t that good, it has a full voice loudspeaker (looks cheap). Thinking of replacing the speaker with a Celestion, either a ebay 4 0hm or the 8 ohm G10N-40. There is occasional static when more than one guitar string is plucked. Also, there is unwanted “bleeding” of effects on occasion even though those effects are turned off. I would not use this amp at a gig for that reason. Both of these problems occur with the speaker and professional earphones, so it is not the speaker. . Glad I bought the cheapest of the code amps as I don’t expect any different from the more expensive code models. Maybe those problems can be fixed with a firmware update. For the $200 I’ll keep it for the fun to play around with.

    Sound quality user60
    Appearance user90
    Worth it? user74
    Features user94
    1. Wow the effects bleeding is not good, I wonder if that’s a common glitch. The speaker is definitely where Marshall tried to save some money. Swapping it over would beef up the amp a fair bit I reckon. Let us know how it goes if you do the mod! – Stephen.

  8. 76

    Play a Gibson Les Paul with closed Humbucking pickups using the Marshall JCM 800 drive setting….crank it! Enough said…

    Sound quality user95
    Appearance user95
    Worth it? user95
    Features user95
    1. I can’t disagree with you there haha, although that would set you back a little more than the Code 25 ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Positives: lots of options and they all sound pretty decent. i downloaded a great santana patch from marshall's website. there's another benefit. Negatives: granted, i only spent $200, and it's only a 25 watt amp, but it does tend toward tinny unless you tweak it.


    i just bought one and i’m running a hot rodded tele through it and it sounds really good. the guitar decays just where i want it to. i set up three patches and that’s probably all i’ll need gigging, and if i want to just goof around i can monkey with the presets. sometimes i think i should have spent the extra $50 and got the code 50, but all in all i’m really glad i bought the amp.

    Sound quality user80
    Appearance user95
    Worth it? user100
    Features user90
  10. Positives: Price, variety of sound optionsNegatives: Only 4 effects at a time in 4 specific groups of effectsI think it sounds good for the money. The Gateway app is a definite plus. Never need to use the onboard controls. Sounds great through good headphones. Iโ€™m thinking of changing the speaker to a Celestion as that is the downfall at low volumes. I donโ€™t have a place to really crank it up and get the speaker moving, so it might be better than I have heard. The pitfalls of apartment living ๐Ÿ˜‰ Great Marshall tone and amp and speaker cabinet variety without spending the $$ on a tube amp. A great value.

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