How to use a digital guitar amp, part 2: integrating with mobile

The Marshall CODE is rammed with amp models and effects, which you can dial in using the amp’s main controls, but hooking it up with Marshall’s Gateway app and online portal will further enhance the experience of owning this versatile amp.

For starters, using Gateway you can control all the parameters of the CODE amplifier, as well as stream audio, for example a backing track, via Bluetooth.

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Beside the Gateway app, there's also a USB port on the CODE amp that allows it to be directly connected to your computer for recording, editing and updates.

Connecting to computer via USB

Use a USB cable to connect CODE to your computer, using the port on the amplifier marked 'USB'. Once connected, the amp can be used to directly record into your DAW, for example, Logic or Cubase, as well as be used for playback. You can also use MIDI to control all the parameters of the CODE amp remotely.

To use in your DAW, navigate to the input selection options and select the CODE amp. Depending on your operating system, you may also need to change the default audio input being used by the system as well. For example, on a Mac, this will be located in Sound, under System Preferences.

Getting started with Marshall Gateway

Marshall Gateway is available via the App Store for iOS and via the Google Play store for Android. It's free to download and should be easy to find by searching in the store that corresponds to your device.

Gateway requires Bluetooth to function, so make sure you’re using a mobile device that supports Bluetooth.

Connecting to Marshall Gateway

Turn on Bluetooth on your device, and then press the 'REV' and 'POWER' buttons on the signal chain row on the CODE amplifier. You should then see the CODE amplifier appear as a Bluetooth device. Connect to it, then open the Marshall Gateway application.

Pulling out the MENU tab on the right hand side reveals a simple menu containing login links to My Marshall, a utility option for a Tuner, a link to the Help site, and crucially, a Bluetooth settings tab.

The Bluetooth settings item should say 'Connected to CODE <amp-serial-number> via BTC'. If it doesn’t, you can tap this option then tap 'Scan for Amps' on the bottom-left to connect manually.

If for some reason the amp does not pair, you might need to turn it on and off again, or enable and disable Bluetooth on your device and reconnect.

Library mode and preset mode

There are two main modes to the Gateway application: Library mode and Preset mode. When all of the dials are blue, you are in Library mode. When all of the dials are gold, you’re in Preset mode. To switch between them, simply tap the icon on the bottom-left of the screen.

The Library mode allows you to create a bank of presets on your device that do not change the internal presets on the amplifier. That is, when you disconnect your device from the CODE amp, your settings will not be saved. This is a useful feature if you want to carry presets with you, to jam with friends or when using a borrowed CODE amplifier. You can save these to your My Marshall account, backing up and sharing them online.

Preset mode allows you to use your device as a direct remote control for your CODE amp. Any settings saved here will be stored on the amp, and will remain after you disconnect your mobile device. In this way, it can be seen as a better way of editing the internal presets the amp uses.

Using Marshall Gateway

On the main screen, in both Library and Preset mode, you'll see controls for the main front-panel features of the amp: Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle and Treble, as well as an additional option for Gate, a utility noise gate.

Changing any one of these is as simple as tapping and sliding your finger to alter the value. The original value before you changed it will be visible as a darker shade on the dial, and the value will be shown numerically in small letters to the top right of the indicator as well.

To change preset, either swipe left and right on the top bar, or pull out the PRESET menu on the right, which will display a scrollable list of presets. Similarly, the signal chain options of AMP and FX can be pulled out, activated, and their parameters edited.

The AMP tab contains the options for Pre-amp, Power-amp and Cabinet, while the FX tab contains the Pedal, or 'Pre-FX', as it is on the CODE amp, Modulation, Delay and Reverb options. These signal chain items can be toggled on and off on this screen and their parameters inspected, while tapping any one of them will open a dedicated editing screen.

The final tab of note is the PLAYBACK tab, which allows for a track to be loaded and played back through the CODE amp.

It's also worth noting that in most cases, devices paired to the CODE amp will automatically send audio from media played on the device to the CODE amp, so files and media not present in Gateway may well be playable by your device too, simply by opening the default media player.

Saving is as simple as hitting the 'Save' button on the top right of the screen. This will display the save screen. On here you can then choose a new name for the patch, if desired, as well as the number of the patch you wish to overwrite. Tap 'Save' again on this screen and your changes will be written to the CODE amp.

That’s it for the handy Gateway app - for more info on Marshall CODE’s enhanced connectivity, check out our tutorial on downloads, forums and community.

We also have an in-depth guide on dialling in tones and saving presets.