Even with liberal settings of the Effect Depth
and Adjust knobs, it still seems to only affect
the upper registers of the tone. Marshall had
the foresight to include an effects loop in the
Haze 40 (another difference between it and
the Haze 15 head), so if the effects don’t gel
with you, external ones can be added.
Plugging back in with the Les Paul, I eagerly
moved to the overdrive channel, excited
to see what Marshall had cooked up in this
model. Starting with a basic low-gain tone
with the mids boosted to the 3 o’clock position, the Haze 40 poured forth a great ’70s
classic rock tone a’ la AC/DC. The classic
Marshall attack and upper-mid punch was all
there, as it should have been. However, as
I started to push the gain even higher, the
tone became more congested. I had hoped
it was because of my guitar’s hot pickups, so
I switched to a Gibson Les Paul Studio with
’ 57 Classics. While the congestion was lessened, it was still noticeable. The channel just
seems to lose some definition and bite as the
preamp gain is set higher. It really started to
exhibit this when set past 12 o’clock. Players
looking for a Marshall combo that can cover
higher-gain modern tones might want to look
at Marshall’s newer Vintage Modern series, or
the fantastic new JVM line. While those amps
can definitely be turned into fire-breathing
monsters, the Haze 40 really excels at low
gain tones, and it serves those up with ease.
I’m also a firm believer in the idea behind
the saying, “Don’t throw a riff away,” which I
would here I would modify to, “Don’t throw
a tone away.” One player’s throwaway tone
is another player’s Live At The Fillmore East.
With that in mind, I’ll say that the Haze’s
higher gain settings really lend themselves to
Billy Gibbons-esque double stops, with a lot
of meat and grind on single notes as well. In
retrospect, I can’t help but wonder how well
the Haze 40’s preamp would handle a first-stage preamp tube with a lower gain factor,
such as an ECC81. A simple preamp tube
change might’ve helped tame the higher preamp gain congestion I experienced.
The Final Mojo
The Haze 40 is a great low-gain amplifier.
For those players looking for a great gigging and recording tool that’s portable and
affordable, the Haze 40 is certainly a great
option. Some players might not feel that the
built-in effects are up to snuff, but they’re
definitely usable for a quick jam session
or pick-up gig. High-gain modern players
might want to look at other options, such as
the Marshall JVM215C or Vintage Modern
2266C, but for blues and old-school rockers,
the Haze is a future classic.
you’re looking for a smaller
Marshall with classy looks and great
you need a crisp, clear modern high-gain tone.
Click here to hear sound
clips of the amp in action at
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