Pros: The clean sparkles and the overdrive "oozes vintage rock and roll authenticity!!!"
Cons: Its suggested to buy the Marshall 19604x12. The AVT50 can't produce heavy amounts of gain.
Well, here's my story on the purchase of this amp. It was the first day the new Guitar Center opened and I was first in line. I debated over what I should buy, a combo or a halfstack, tube or solid state? When the decision came I decided an all valve 2x12 combo. When the doors opened I was greeted as the first customer to ever walk in the Warwick, RI store, I was brought to a Sales Rep. He asked me if i was interested in anything in the store and i told him (by thinking pig headly with testosterone cycling throughout my body) "I want to by a Marshall Half Stack!" With the limited amount of cash $900.00. I was shortchanging myself for a head and cab. I saw the Marshall AVT50Head with the AVTCabinet. The Marshall AVT50Head was specifically designed to create rock guitar tones. I played through it with a Jackson DK and it was too hard to hear every nuance of tone, harmonics, and breakup to hear the amps true tone. Hundreds of people were in the store all playing on amps. I decided to purchase the Marshall 1/2 stack but, it was over my budget. So instead I got the AVT50Head with a Crate GX4x12. Bad Idea, it didn't sound good (months later). But later on I'll tell you that story. That night I brought it to my house and set it up and plugged it in through my Jackson Randy Rhoads with dual humbuckers. The clean channel sparkles at 5 with the vol and gain at 5. But, if u pass by it at 6 or higher, harmonic breakup occurs causing bluesy tones to be heard. The overdrive channel 'oozes vintage authenticity' but the overdrive channel cannot do Heavy Rock or Metal. The sound of the Gain cranked at 10 and the volume at 3 didn't give me that "oomph" that I wanted. I wondered what the problem was and i read the manual. The only evidence I found was the quote "oozes vintage authenticity" posted in the manual. The quote caused me to figure out that modern tones weren't capable on this amp. Although, the Overdrive channel creates great crunch tones, the AVT50H achieves the sounds of an AMAZING Ac/Dc crunch sound a.k.a. the Marshall MV, A JCM800 Crunch (Not the super heavy sound) and the Hendrix crunch brought on by the Marshall 1959. Well it oozes dirty deeds, brings you to highway to hell with your voodoo child but not enter sandman. Eventually, I sold the crate cab to a friend of mine. So I was not using the marshall at all. I sold the cab because it was weak and I've noticed that Marshall 1960s sound great. Honestly, I heard one day how the AVT50 sounded when paired with a Marshall 19604x12 and to add I felt intimitated by others because they had Marshall 1960s and I had a cheap Crate GLX. From the selling of the Crate cab, i eventually hooked the Marshall AVT50H through my 1x10 peavey practice amp. It sounded poor, even worse than that Crate cab but, its all that I had at the time for money and gear due to expensive car payments.
Then, when I had money I purchased the Holy Grail the father of rock and roll THE MARSHALL 1960A 4x12. Holy jesus it sounds amazing with The AVT50H, the clean was sparklinger and the overdrive was oozier and next I added a "third channel" with my stompbox an Ibanez Smash Box. I couldn't believe I found my METAL machine. When I set the clean channel at 6 and stomped the pedal with the Smash Box's gain, high, and low at 10,the volume at 5, with the void at 1 and tone at smooth. I was literally in heaven. The sound of that "third channel" was amazing. It was ear piercing highs with few mids and BEEFY bottom. I dare you to play the amp and the pedal at those settings it'll blow you away. My hybrid Marshall AVT50Head with one 12AX7 in the preamp and a solid state power amp that exactly nails the sound of two pairs of EL34s in conjunction with the Ibanez Smash Box. This "third channel" sound, sounds just like a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifer or a Hughes and Kettner MK-II tri amp. The stomp box gain with the amps valve sound is KILLER! It motivated me to play more. The sound that the "third channel" gives off sounds very professional too. Also, this amp is great for gigging (make sure you mic it cause its 50 watts)its just recommended you test each channel with the PA mixer techie to mic the cab because it lets the clean be clearly heard and the "third channel" to be set at its volume since it is external of the amp. The reverb is stunning too it doesn't overwhelm and it has great presence, warmth and dynamics to contribute to the sound.
In the end, if you need that METAL boost or "third channel get it with the stompbox. Also, if the amp goes a little down hill replace the tube (only one) it'll probably cost u $20-$30 to do it by parts and labor. So if your current all valve amp is costing too much to repair, you need something reliable or you need a new head because your 300 Watt Head is too damn loud for practice or gigging because it eats the sound of the other member's amps, well before your bandmates eat you i recommend that you by the Marshall AVT50 Head.
P.s. the stompbox isn't expensive but, the cab is ($600 or more) integral to achieve a really good sound period.