Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review: Marshall 8008 power amp

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are going to review a solid state power amp, one of the cheapest and easiest to find in the used market: the Marshall 8008!

This unit, now discontinued but still very popular in the used market, is often referred as one of the safest "entry level" if you need a cheap (around 100$), light and very reliable rack power amp. 
The Valvestate 8008 has enough power (80w per channel) to be used both at home and on stage, and it can drive a stereo cab or two cabs at the same time, giving us a good flexibility. 

The technology used is Valvestate, the second, (after AVT) Marshall attempt in recreating with a solid state circuitry the response of a tube amp, and the switch in the back activates this feature or leaves the power amp linear; when the switch is on the power amp adds some extra harmonics in the mid range and tries to push the overall sound slightly to the "Marshall territory", but the difference is very subtle, so most of the people just leaves it on to have a final tone less hi-fi (unless you're using a digital modeling preamp, in which case it could create conflicts, since the modeling preamp will already have its internal tube emulation).
Considering how the technology evolved with Marshall amps (the Mg serie), it is safe to say that the Valvestate is the best version of tube emulation ever developed by the brand.

I have bought this unit used several years ago and it has been part of my rack for some year before switching to a tube head, and I must say the power amp did its job, it was worth the money and it was extremely solid and reliable, but the overall sound was very "transistor", and trying my preamp in a tube poweramp made me understand how important are tubes in a power amp: most of the tone characteristics I love in a tube amp comes from the tube power amp, rather then from the preamplifier (but this is just my personal opinion based on empyric tests, I will make a more scientific analysis in the future).

Would I suggest it today as a power amp for a main rig? Probably not, unless you need a very inexpensive 1 rack unit power amp, but if you have some specific need in terms of weight, hi-fi sound or space, this can still be an interesting choice to evaluate.


- 2 Channels Stereo, 80w each.

- 2 volume knobs

- on/off switch

- 2 input switch

- 2 output switch (4 Ohm)

- linear/valvestate switch

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