Opinions needed! Marshall Valvestate VS 100 or AVT50?

Which one would be the best choice for me?

  • Marshall Valvestate VS 100

    Votes: 5 62.5%
  • Marshall AVT 100

    Votes: 2 25.0%
  • Other (please comment and specify!)

    Votes: 1 12.5%

  • Total voters
    8

crazytrain513

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** The title is wrong -_- VS 100 vs AVT 100! **

Even if you don't feel like commenting, vote on the poll!

I need help deciding between these two amps:

Marshall Valvestate VS 100

Marshall AVT 100

Anyone have any experience between the two of them? I'm looking for a nice Marshall under $400 that can do anything from 38 Special and Boston to Ozzy, Iron Maiden, and Metallica. Although I would really like a tube amp...

a) I may sound stingy but I'm sort of already set on a Marshall (why buy something that sounds LIKE a Marshall when I could just get a Marshall?) and they're too expensive

b) Ideally, I'd go for the DSL series but living in a condo, I don't have the liberty of turning my amp up loud enough to take full advantage of all-valve amps, thus never would really attain saturation needed for some of these artists.

I'm thinking of picking one of these up next week and I'd like to hear your opinions. How's the sound for these particular tones I seek? Can I get the gain I need on the drive channels? How's the reliability? etc.

I've heard since the AVT's are closed-back, they sound a bit tighter but at the same time, this also makes them vulnerable to overheating. Some people say they're good, some people say they're not too much less dreadful than the MG series **shudder**.

I read on the Marshall forum that someone did a blind test with a JCM 800, a JCM 900, a VS 100 and a JVM with all the amps identically EQ'd at 6 and the winner that everyone picked was the VS 100 so I think it may have potential. I know some of the lower end Marshall's suffer from cheap speakers so how are the Marshall Goldbacks that are in these? I also hear the Valvestate 8100's are good. Thoughts?

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Although I'm mainly concerned with these two because they are easily attainable, feel free to make other valid suggestions. Also, I haven't had a chance to try either, reason being I can't find them anywhere so please don't just say that I have to try them both because that's true but not very possible at this time. I'm interested in YOUR opinions :dude:

Thanks!
 

LJGriggs

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I had the AVT100 a few years ago. It is a much better amp than you might think. The clean channel was really good. The 2 overdrive channels use a single 12AX7 in the circuit to provide a decent amount of tube "warmth". I removed the full back panel and replaced it with two pieces of wood (1x4) so that the back was about half open. That really opened up the sound of the amp. The main drawback to the AVT100 is the lack of a second speaker jack for connecting to an external cabinet. It's plenty loud enough for gigging even without running it through the PA, but it has an "emulated" output jack for connecting directly through the board. Overall, its a really good hybrid amp design. I paid less than $300 (used) and never had any issues with it.
 

crazytrain513

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Hm not bad. How long does the preamp tube typically last? Do you have to change it often? Reason I ask is because since its only one tube in the preamp, I feel like it would be a bit difficult to judge when it's dying and when it's time for a replacement and I don't want my tone to be compromised as a result.

That's another reason why I'm not going for an all-valve. I really like the DSL40C but I feel like it would be too much maintanence.
 

p90fool

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Don't worry about the 12ax7, they last for years.
The main concern with older AVTs is the main power transistors overheat and die, which is a far bigger deal.

If you can find a VS100 in good condition, go for it, it's a proper, tough gigging amp.
 

Ralff

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I had an AVT50. To be completely honest, I didn't like it much.

It was pretty loud though. Do you play with a band, or do you play only at home?
 

freddarl82

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I also had an AVT50. I put in a Celestion Silver 12" (little known, and underrated, IMO), changed the tube, and also modded it from closed-back to semi-open. It was a remarkably good sounding amp for the small coin invested. It seems to me, from what I remember reading on internet forums, a lot of people preferred the AVT50 to the AVT100 -- the thought being, the AVT100 had a bunch of bells and whistles, whereas the AVT50 was just a simpler, better-sounding, straightforward amp. I haven't priced them in awhile, but I would think you could get an AVT50 for less than $200 and have plenty of money left over for a new speaker...And, yes, it was a loud amp!

(I still have an AVT20 down in the basement. I keep it around just because I'd be lucky to get $80 for it. I did the same mods to it as the AVT50; that sucker is LOUD for 20W SS)
 

LenPaul

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The Valvestate amps are pretty good. It's Marshall sound.& much more forgiving than tubes.
You'd probably like em, ...until you plugged into tubes.
 

bondomnation

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I have had that exact valvestate for about 18 years. It's the first amp I ever bought! I used it for about 10 years before getting anything else. The 12AX7 never went out on me (I have replaced it though, just to do it, so I don't know for sure how long the original one would have lasted). It's been through hell man! It's fallen out of trailers and been knocked off the top of my stack and kept going. I have had to take it in twice for repairs, both times because it just quit working. The first time the fix was re-soldering a bunch of connections and the second time was because one of the speaker output jacks got AFU and needed to be replaced.

I like the sound of all the channels on it. The clean gets pretty clean. Tone Shift is basically a bright switch. OD 1 & 2 share EQ & Reverb. OD1 has a classic '80s overdrive sound while OD2 is more modern. The power dimension switch is reminds me of what you get if you run a tube amp through an attenuator. The volume decreases, the tone darkens up, but the drive increases, like when you attenuate your 100 watt tube amp to where it's bedroom volume even though you've got the volumes cranked to 11 on the amp.

The contour control is kind of like a mix between the presence and resonance controls on my Peavey 6505 (I think Marshalls just have presence? So maybe a mix between presence and a midrange parametric eq??)

If it includes a footswitch, one switch toggles clean / od and the second switch toggles OD1/OD2. There's not a toggle for the effects loop or reverb.

The gold back with the open back cabinet don't sound the greatest to me. It's a little thin sounding I think. BUT, the really nice thing about this amp is that it has 2 speaker outputs. The combo 12" is plugged in to one, but you can unplug it! I haven't really seen that on a lot of other combos. Usually you're lucky if you even get one speaker output, but even then the combo speaker is usually still always on. This thing has no problem powering 2 external speaker cabinets. Once I got my first 4x12, I just ran the amp through that and disconnected the internal speaker. I added a 1x15 bass cabinet to it after that and the sound killed! I still use this amp and the same 4x12 I bought years ago (don't have the 1x15 anymore though). That amp through the 4x12 marshall cabinet I have is still one of y favorite setups I own. (I have no clue what model it is. There's no markings on it other than the marshall logo. It's smaller than their normal cabinets though, about the size of the MG line they have now, but it's from the early '90s).

I haven't ever played through an AVT myself, but I've known people that have had them and I preferred my valvestate, so that's what I would recommend!
 

crazytrain513

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Thanks bodomnation! Exactly the kind of answer I was looking for! I met up with the guy for the VS100. No question about it, it sounded very good. It definitely destroyed my old Line 6 I used to have haha. Unfortunately, some of the knobs were funny and it wasn't in the best of shape (condition somewhat matters to me) so I ended up not picking it up. It seemed a bit mistreated. Btw, I LOVE Children of Bodom. People dismiss them because of the whole screamo hate crew image but Alexi Laiho is very, very talented.

The Valvestate amps are pretty good. It's Marshall sound.& much more forgiving than tubes.
You'd probably like em, ...until you plugged into tubes.
You're correct LenPaul... shortly after dismissing the VS100 mentioned above I went to Guitar Center and played a DSL 401. Picked it up for $400 out the door, no questions asked. Sounds fantastic for the money! Only thing I have to figure out now is how hot "too hot" is for a tube amp? I've heard that these had biases set too high up till 2003 causing overheating and mine IS a 2003...definitely gets pretty hot.
 

andreww

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I've got a VS 8080 and I'm quite pleased with it. I have a 12AX7 tube built in to my guitar processor as well, and I get a nice classic rock sound. My only complaint is that the overdrive sound is a little lacking.
 

bondomnation

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Hehe, actually my U/N has an 'n' in it: boNdomnation :D, but I do like CoB a lot! Alexi is definitely a rad guitarist (I prefer their stuff before Hatecrew though. After that it all started sounding the same to me).
 


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