I see all of the marketing hype surrounding the 1959 SL(?) RI. I would have to say, that the era of creating "that" sound certainly started around 1968 through 1971. Those are some intense years in comparison to earliers years of "gainy" sound. I know that more recent recording artist have had a lot of success with more recent era Marshalls. I had a 1969 100W Plexi (not a RI) with an era 4x12 cabinet. Like an idiot, I sold the rig for roughly $800 back in '87. It was not really for sale, but someone suckered me right out of it. My reason for selling it, was that it was WAY TOO LOUD!!!!!!!! I ended up getting a '82 50W JCM 800 and cabinet for around $800. I sold it too back in '89. The JCM was no as loud (which pleased me), but it did not have the throaty character of the Plexi. I tried to help the Plexi by using a Tom Schultz Power Soak. It was OK, but I considered it a hassle to deal with. Now days, the Hotplate, Weber and Power Brake Technologies seem to be a better way to go these days for pushing your amp with less volume. Having said all of that, what is your opinion of what Marshall amp will give you the BEST overall tone at a pushed volume? I want to know your experience with an original Plexi and a RI as well. There seems to be a missing era of the '70s for Marshall. I don't hear a lot of talk about the mid to late '70s. Tone reference? Early Billy Gibbons, Blue Oyster Cult, Trapeeze, Richie Blackmore, Foghat, Cheap Trick (remember, I'm stuck in the '70s).