A few years ago I was looking for a cheap battery powered amplifier to take with me on the road so I could practice my electric guitar while travelling. I really just wanted a convenient way to stay in practice for when I gigged with my live band. I came across the Marshall MS-2 Micro Amplifier during my search and I decided to give it a try. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at how well this tiny amplifier filled my needs for a portable practice amp.
The Marshall MS-2 stands a mere 5-3/4″ high and looks like a classic Marshall half-stack. The amplifier is powered by a single 9-volt battery that fits into a slot on the back of the amp and is very easy to change. The MS-2 has the Marshall logo on the front of the amplifier with a gold colored control panel. The amp has a guitar input jack, volume, tone and power/overdrive switch on the front panel. On the side it has a headphone output and a power adapter input plug if you want to use an external power adapter. You can also use the headphone out to run to a larger amplifier if you want to use the MS-2 as a pre-amp distortion box.
My entire goal with the MS-2 was to be able to plug my guitar in, turn the amp on and play. I not only accomplished those goals with the MS-2 but I got excellent portability, long battery life and decent tone in the bargain. The MS-2 sounds surprisingly good, especially when you turn on the overdrive and crank it up. I guess that’s true of any Marshall amplifier.
The clean sounds do not clean up very well but you can get an okay clean sound if you turn your guitar’s volume knob down. The amp really excels at full on overdrive distortion. You can manipulate the distortion using the volume knob on the amplifier and your guitar. The actual volume knob on the Marshall MS-2 doesn’t change the volume a whole lot but it really affects the distortion the amp produces. Turn down the volume and the amp cleans up with a minor reduction in volume. Crank the volume up and the amp will get a bit louder and distort like crazy!
If you need a portable practice amplifier the Marshall MS-2 will definitely work for you. It’s loud enough that you can entertain a small number of friends or even put on a street show. It’s not loud enough to use in a live band unless you put it through another amplifier. The distortion it produces is musical enough that it’s not irritating. I can recommend the Marshall MS-2 micro amplifier if you’re looking for a way to quickly setup and practice your guitar. Marshall also makes a full micro-stack amplifier called the MS-4 that has an additional gain control for even more control over the distortion.