NAD Marshall Origin 20c

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by whoanelly15, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. whoanelly15

    whoanelly15 Tele-Afflicted

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    Finally got to A/B this in the store next to the 50-watt. Props again to Dave’s Guitar Shop here in Milwaukee who were willing to bring them both in from the Lacrosse store for me to try. Really helpful folks there -very fair trade-in offers... they’re the best.

    First general impressions - both amps are brighter and cleaner in the room than expected. Plenty of bass on the floor, even from the 20. I knew that both would sound great with the volume up, but wanted to see how they did at lower levels. Realized very quickly that I needed gain all the way up on both. Boost on. I could not get the 50 to break up on low or mid output at all below 105 db, and I wasn’t going to go louder than that in the store. Became very clear very quickly that the 20 was for me.

    I went back and forth. Funny story here - I kept hearing a higher frequency rattle as I turned up the 20. It was really bothering me and I spent 10 minutes just tweaking but couldn’t EQ it out. I had nearly given up on it, thinking I’d need to try a different one, then realized that one of the tags was wedged in the vent on top and vibrating ever so slightly, causing it. Embarrassed, but with that problem solved, I felt like I found a sweet spot with it for me. Did everything I wanted it to do. Gain full. Tilt at noon. Bass 2 (up to 6 now playing at home with it off the floor). Mid about noon. Treble at 3. Presence at about 3. Master volume at 2.5.

    My one gripe would be to have a little more gain on tap at low wattage to break up the signal with master at 1.5-2 - seems like the breakup curve slopes sharply with the master volume over 2.5-3, but where it is at now is a comfortably practice volume for home, for me. I have the edge of breakup where I want it with Master at 2.5 (about 90db) un boosted, which allows the boost to give just the right amount on top when needed with the foot switch.
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    These are stunning, visually, in my opinion, but really sounds the part, too. Played it by itself, straight in for about an hour as soon as I got it home from the store with volume up a little more. Only mildly warm, not hot at all. Left it on sitting quiet for a couple hours after - same. I’m looking forward to breaking it in and trying it with the Orange cab and in stereo with my Katana.

    The way it’s set, it is VERY responsive to picking. Jimi Little Wing kind of clean with light picking and with the volume rolled off on the guitar, to 7-8, but overdrives quite a bit and sustains when you hit it. Most dynamic amp I have owned, certainly. In all honesty, I can get this sound from the Katana Artist, but it isn’t as responsive. That might be good or bad to someone else, it’s just different to me, and I’ll be using them differently.
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    Thanks again to everyone who lent helpful advice here. Much appreciated!

    I’m also nearing completion on a partscaster Strat, so will have some new family photos to share in the next few weeks. Until then! Cheers!!
     
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  2. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

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    Sweet! HNAD! You've tossed more fuel on my Marshall GAS fire;).
     
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  3. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I love those Origin 20c amps - probably the best 10” speaker combo I have ever tried. I don’t need another amp right now, but I’m sure I’ll end up with one sooner or later. I’ve played one in the store quite a bit - it’s become my go to there for trying pedals and guitars. I find a clean boost in front really makes the first stage drive well in a really good way at lower volumes.

    Happy new amp day!
     
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  4. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i gotta get me one of these!
     
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  5. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Afflicted

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    Very cool. Looks nice. Bet the sound is fantastic.
     
  6. Jason_

    Jason_ Tele-Meister

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    Congrats! I picked up the 20w head yesterday and am very impressed with it so far. I think Marshall could charge twice what they are for these, but I’m glad they’re not. What surprises me is how responsive *all the front panel controls are. Small tweaks can produce a whole different sound, I’m still getting a feel for it. But I tend to crank the master and tame the level with the gain knob, then use a pedal for dirt and to choke the level a bit. The clean tone is beautiful, incidentally. But with a pedal for dirt, it still sounds like a Marshall. With the master cranked I hear the EL34’s cooking, which is what I wanted. Hendrix-like tones for sure. Loving mine, hope you are as well!
     
  7. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yes I have an O20 too, and feel pretty much the same. Boost on all the time. It mostly boosts the bass, which IMO it needs otherwise it can be on the shrill side. It has A LOT of treble on tap, especially considering the tilt and presence options. But a well -balanced EQ is in there if you want it. I keep the tilt way down, boost on, remaining EQ flattish. Before I bought this I watched some YouTube videos that made it sound very thin and trebly. I am guessing they did not have the bass boosted. It can sound fat if that's what you want.

    In previous threads, some people have been worried the 20 does not have enough clean headroom. But I don't hear that. As OP notes, to get any natural breakup you need to crank the gain all the way up. If you did the reverse - dime the master volume, and control the level with the pregain - it stays clean up to very, very loud.

    It's my first Marshall, so I'm still getting a handle on it. I'm used to Fenders, and gravitate toward the tweed sounds. This Marshall is a very different thing altogether.
     
  8. Jason_

    Jason_ Tele-Meister

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    I’m gonna go try this, I’ve been diming the master which is what I do on any mv amp, then use the channel vol and guitar vol for control. But the interaction and sensitivity of the master, gain and boost on these is amazing.
     
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  9. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    Thank you for this in-person review (and to those who followed up here with their own reports).
     
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  10. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep. Yep. Yep…i got the head and play it through my 2x10 cab alnico/ceramic spkr mix……glorious…..the DI out is fantastic for gigs.
     
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  11. Jason_

    Jason_ Tele-Meister

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    I’m curious how y’all that have had this amp for a good while are using it for dirt. I’m getting all my distortion from pedals, which is just fine by me. I used to favor amp overdrive only, but the combination of the power tubes cranked and a pedal sounds great to me with this one.
     
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  12. jgmouton

    jgmouton Tele-Meister

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    It's been my amp for 3 years now, it's great. I use it with dirt pedals, the Master fully cranked, boost on and the Gain to adjust the volume.
     
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  13. Teletubbie

    Teletubbie Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    I got one second hand for a good price a couple of months ago and am very happy with it.
    Gain high, master low, tweak the rest to taste.
    Not touched my Vox VT40x since.
     
  14. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    Your assessment doesn't surprise me at all... and TBH I think its a fine testament to the sounds they were going after with this series. The 70's Marshalls... whether a Plexi or a MV (pre-cursor to the JCM800) did not have a lot of gain until they were pushed really hard - either through sheer volume, or by hitting the front end a lot harder.... or both :D

    If you want more gain at lower volume then hit the front end of the amp with a louder signal. A clean boost or overdrive with level up/gain down are two common routes to go.
     
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  15. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire

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    Boost on, gain maxed, and tilt at varying positions are all I need on the 50H for most of what I play. Pop a clean boost in front for a little more grunt when needed, otherwise it's plug and play for me.
     
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  16. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Holic

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    One thing I have learned about Marshalls. They always sound MUCH better in a band context and loud. I am never really impressed by them when playing by myself or at low volumes. Something to keep in mind.
     
  17. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Unless you want a lot of heavy amp distortion at lower volume levels, the Origin's design allows for almost everything else, sonically.

    And even though it's a lower gain Marshall, the combination of add'l controls - tilt, master, gain, boost, and the 3 power levels - they all provide a path to different tones that IMO you simply can't get with a JTM45, or an 18 watt TMB.

    For those who want a lot of distortion at lower volume levels, there are plenty of other amps to choose from, including some other models from Marshall. But the Origin is a fairly unique amp, especially from Marshall, and at the current price.

    I can only imagine how much a boutique version of a JTM45, with tilt, master, and boost controls added, with three power levels added (that isn't the typical pentode/triode switch thing), and with a tube-driven effects loop would cost. And if you want a 20 watt JTM45 the way the Origin 20 does it, then that will require a circuit-level change to cathode bias. I'd also think that at least some of the boutique builders don't care for relay switching, so implementing both the boost and effects loop switching via a footswitch might cost a premium, too.

    My biggest fear is that Marshall will discontinue the Origin line, and to do a comparable DIY build would be a huge PITA. If Marshall does discontinue them, I'll probably buy at least one spare immediately.

    I think my Origin 20H purchase last year is the best ~$400 I've spent on an amp. I'm 100% satisfied.
     
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  18. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The 20 combo retails now for $549. By some miracle I got one brand new last year for $399. No idea how I got so lucky, stuff like that never happens to me. Anyway, when you think about what other things cost $400-500 or more, the Origin20 is an insane bargain. This is a TON of amp for that price. Other amps in this general price ballpark would be:
    Fender Pro Junior/Blues Junior - $499/$599
    Fender Bassbreaker 15 - $649
    Peavey Classic 30 - $699
    Vox AC10/15 - $499/$699

    Now, it's a Marshall, so it doesn't sound like a Princeton Reverb, and may not be everyone's preference. But when you think about the very versatile range of tones, and the modern features, it's hard to think of a better amp for the money.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021 at 11:57 AM
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