Marshall has just introduced the all-new Studio JTM amp – although you'd be forgiven for thinking it's actually been stored in the eaves of a house in Pasadena since 1962 and has only just been rediscovered following a mammoth clear out.
As with the firm's retro-styled Emberton 2 (a Bluetooth speaker that looks so good, I ditched my JBL Flip 6 for it), the larger Stanmore Multi-room speaker and Major III headphones to name but a few, the name of the game here is iconic heritage aesthetics married with thoroughly modern innards.
We're right to think that the iconic audio brand is delving directly into its storied past this time around. Marshall’s latest design is inspired by the first ever model made in the brand’s original shop in Hanwell, London. It has been released to continue (and celebrate) the legacy of founder Jim Marshall as well as to coincide with what would have been his 100th birthday.
Style over substance? No – and it's important to make that point because Marshall amps have been endorsed by some of the world’s most revered artists, including Jimi Hendrix, and all of Marshall's amps are made in Milton Keynes (UK) by skilled craftspeople. Its makers promise that the Studio JTM amp is reminiscent of the same sound DNA (think smooth, warm tones) that dates back to the 60s, too. Cool.
Opinion: I don't even play guitar, but now I want to start
The new Studio JTM range has four unique but equally distinguished products in the form of a 20W head, 20W combo amp, 1 x 12-inch and 2 x 12-inch cabinets all adorned with period-correct aesthetics, such as the famous red enamel poured “coffin” logo and luxurious fawn fret.
The original JTM45, upon which it is based on, was heavily praised by the likes of Gary Moore, Richie Blackmore and Angus Young for granting more tone, more gain and more grit to their sound.
Terry Marshall, Jim Marshall’s son and creator of the original JTM45 said: “When I was demonstrated the Studio JTM and it took me back to my original JTM45, it was my sound... I feel like it is going to be something special.”
We should note that the new design is significantly smaller than the original model, but Marshall assures us that the scaling down has been done without compromising on the Marshall sound people know and love.
TechRadar doesn't even typically cover musician-specific amps, but here we couldn't resist. I mean, look at this thing. Obviously it's not about to become one of the best Bluetooth speakers we've tested because that's not what it is – although for a somewhat similar look, there's always the Orange Box, which is a Bluetooth retro-styled speaker.
The Studio JTM range will be available to purchase soon on Marshall's website, with prices starting at £565 / $1480, which is around AU$2,189, but this particular price quote is unofficial. And suffice to say, I really like it.
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.