A fantastic amplifier, and a purchase I am very satisfied with. After playing for quite a few years with rather ordinary amplification, finally I feel that my passion for music is being effectively translated, with help from the Marshall Valvestate 2000 AVT, into music that is evocative and exciting.
This amp WILL inspire you to play!
Price: $1600.00 Australian Dollars (new)
Where Obtained: Stothers Music and Hi-Fi, Traralgon, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
The Marshall Valvestate 2000 AVT100 amplifier is a versatile unit with a hefty speaker cone for powerful output, the very popular pre-amp valve, and the Valvestate range's standard 3 channels, Clean, Overdrive 1 and Overdrive 2.
To make this review most effective, I shall make comparisons to Marshall's earlier Valvestate model. Compared to the earlier model, this amplifier offers several new features that are likely to be deemed quite valuable to any budding guitarist who wishes to sound good and record. Firstly, a big bonus is the addition of a DFX (Digital Effects) unit, built into the amplifier's circuitry. From a dial on the front of amplifier, the guitarist can select from 16 different "programs", ranging from Chorus, to Flange, to Delay, and not to mention the 9 different Reverb programs! Once a program has been selected, two accompanying dials allow the guitarist some control over the individual sounds. You can adjust the mix of signal to the DFX unit and also use the "Adjust" dial to determine the exact quantity of a certain element for each program. For instance, if you have the DFX set to any of the Reverb programs, the Adjust dial will correspond to adjusting the Decay Time of the reverberations.
Personally I believe the stand out feature of this amp, apart from the DFX unit, is the Emulated Line Output function. This is a jack at the rear of the amplifier supporting a standard guitar cable to be plugged from the amp directly to a recording input, which in my case is the microphone input on my PC's soundcard. Using the Emulated Line Output on the Marshall literally allows you to record directly what you hear coming out of the amp. The Emulated Line Output is modelled on actual sound behaviour observed by Marshall techs coming from a Speaker of a certain configuration (Please refer to manual for more in-depth information!). The summary is that you can forget about untidy arrays of cables, a big bulky microphone stand and having to play loud just to get your microphone to pick up the sound because the Emulated Line Output function solves those problems easily. Firstly, the big bonus of using this function over a standard microphone is the fact that interference from ambient noise is eliminated, as long as your guitar leads are well insulated, in theory you are only recording what you hear from the Marshall.
Secondly, and this is a big bonus for guitarists who play in the bedroom and may have family members also dwelling in the same house, some of whom are against loud guitars at 2 am in the morning... Listen to this... You can use the Emulated Line Output to record yourself, whilst wearing headphones, silent recording! Kick ass! Just roll the amp's Master volume to zero and have a set of headphones plugged in and away you go, you still record exactly what you hear from the Marshall, except in this case, you're hearing it thru the headphones and the other denizens of your household can sleep away peacefully, free of evil riffing...
I use my Marshall Valvestate 2000 AVT amplifier with two different guitars, my Seagull semi-acoustic, which has its own built-in EQ on the pickup, and my Ibanez Joe Satriani model JS-100 electric. Both guitars are quality instruments and truly come into their own when ran thru an equally impressive unit like the Valvestate 2000 AVT.
One of the most striking differences between the sound generated by this amp compared to my last amplifier, a Peavey Special 130 watt amp, is that this Valvestate amp handles the two most important tones in my musical vocabulary exceedingly well; clean channel, and high-gain overdrive.
I've experimented with using the Valvestate with my semi-acoustic on mellow stuff and plenty of shredding with my JS-100 electric with the very-powerful Overdrive 2 channel. Once a guitarist has fiddled with the EQ settings for the Clean and Overdrive channels to their satisfaction, you'll be in heaven, a blissful awareness that if it weren't for this amp, you'd sound worse than you do!
I personally use the AVT's built-in Delay a great deal, it is a fantastic sound. I do believe the design of the DFX unit is somewhat restrictive, in the sense that only one program can be selected at any one time, and that manipulating elements of the program is tedious and probably out of the question in a live performance situation, however Marshall is forgiven because the addition of the DFX in this model over earlier Valvestate amp's means value has only been added to the range, the amp itself, even minus DFX, is a great performer.
Is this amp programmable? See above statement. Basically this amplifier aims to be just that from what I can tell, it provides quality sound reproduction of even rather ordinary instruments and as a result, puts you, the player, on a pedestal where ya belong!
If I was after programmable, customizable effects, I would not rely on the DFX unit of the AVT100, i'd purchase a separate unit, such as a Xoom effects pedal board or something akin to that, theres lots on the market.
I haven't played live with this amplifier yet, as I have only had it for about 3 months as at the date of posting this review, but I get the impression it is made sturdy. (My model is British-manufactured, no sweat shops there I think!)
The construction of the amp itself is very solid, and the decision by Marshall to go with a solid back also reassures and suggests extra durability when compared to open back amps with the speaker cone showing.