The mother of all Marshall threads!
Yes, to answer alot of Marshall questions i thought i might as well do a thread. I haven't tried every Marshall avalbile, but ive tried many, so that will do. Anybody thinking about buying a Marshal should read this thread!
We'll start off with their solid state ones:
Marshall MG: These are as most people agree on very bad. Lifeless distortion, thin sound, horrible cleans and so on. They sound awful on louder volumes, but are ok practice amps, but they are horribly overpriced. They are also very unreliable. Park G series, Marshall Park series and the Marshall G series are MG's but with a different name.
Marshall AVT: These are hybrids, but the tube in the preamp do virtually nothing. They have a quite lifeless sound to, not as bad as the MG but still very bad. These are also very overpriced.
Marshall Mode Four: The most expensive Marshall hybrid, extremely overpriced, quite lifeless sound to.
Valvestate series one (Chorus ones): Ok solid state amps. The cleans and chorus is pretty good and the high gain too. But the crunch is pretty bad and they can have a problem cutting through the mix.
Valvestate series two Lifeless, dull sounding amps.
IMPORTANT!: Marshall's Solid States are very overpriced. All of the time you can get alot better amp for the price.
Now the modern day tube amps:
Marshall DSL: Can go from pretty decent clean, nice crunch to a nice high gain sound. Very versatile. Very clear in tone (atleast compared to the TSL.
Joel owns a DSL 401 and heres what he said about it to me:
It sounds best with lower tunings because it balance outs the amount of mids in the amp. like i've got my guitar tuned to drop c, settings are like Gain-10 pre vol- sweet spot (i'll never tell) Treble- 10 mids 3 (still sounds middy) bass 7. sounds sweet. theres a real sweet spot in the pre vol and master vol for bedroom gain.
Head sounds better according to Dave (could be the speaker though).
Marshall TSL: Alot of functions and features. Sound is quite similar to a DSL, but the amp is quite muddy and lacks in definition.
Marshall Vintage Modern: Well I hated the stack I tried the first time, but the 50 watt combo I tried was pretty good. The problem is that it's kind of hard to get a perfect sound, because the detail is so thin, but on the other hand the body easily gets way too muddy. So it's hard to get something that's nice. It also has a way of either being too clean or too distorted. This amp isn't bad, but the problem IMO is that yu can get so many better amps for the price. From what I hear though this amp sounds amazing when you crank it.
Who's using them: Paul Gilbert, Doug Aldrich from Whitesnake and the guitarists from Thunder.
Marshall JVM: This is a very versatile amp. Has pretty good cleans and nice high gain. However it never excelled for me. The crunch is ok, but in all departments a more specific amp will be better.
Marshall Haze: Often refered to as "The Mg with tubes". This isn't correct. The head is actually pretty good. It's got typical Marshall cleans, but a nice overdrive. The 6V6's fits the amp great and adds some nice bottom to it. The overdrive is classic JCM800 style Marshall, with fat, throaty mids. The effects are better than expected. They have an 80's flair to them, with that extremly clean digital tone that was all the craze then. Overall this is an amp that screams 80's! However the cab to them are AWFUL. Stay clear of them. Also the combo isn't as nice as the head. To start with you have an awful cab and the amp has a different tone which isn't as nice as the head.
The older tube amps:
A word on reissues Marshall does make reissues on many of these amps, but Marshall uses MANY incorrect parts and transformers that are nothing like the orignals. These are also very overpriced. There are many better choices if you want a modern version of it. Many of the amps here are also availble as a kit.
JTM-45 and Bluesbreaker's: The first Marshalls. These are more or less exact copies of the Fender Bassmans, but because of the different tubes and speakers they sound a bit different. They have a bit softer and bluesier sound compared to a Plexi. Since they have tube rectifiers they get some sag. They also have better cleans than the Plexis. I recommend to switch the 6L6 tubes stock in the reissues to KT-66.
Who has used them: Eric Clapton while in John Mayall & the BluesBreakers and on Fresh Cream. Jimi Hendrix used one for Are You Experienced? from what I've heard. Angus Young uses these for recording.
18- watters (1974X): My favourite Marshall, what I have. They have a tone similar to that of a JTM45, but a bot brighter and twangier, because of the EL84s. Very Plexi sounding, without being overly loud (still rather loud for a small amp). Comes in multiple of versions: The tremolo, which is what the original was. Then there is the TMB with treble, middle and bass and it has a bit more gain. The last is the Lite which is only the normal channel, which is what I have. I prefer this channel the most, it being a bit fatter in tone. Very popular among kitbuilders and not too hard to build (my first amp I built was the Lite and it isn't too hard). WARNING Marshall's reissue is known to have very bad transformers and these are prone to break. As with all amps, I'd recommend a clone instead (see the reissue vs. clone section). More info can be found at 18 Watt. Also have a listen to mine here
20 watter (2061X): Marshall started making these when they discontinued the 18 watters. These had a solid state recifier and more headroom. They also had a bit different tone, more similar to the later Super Leads. Not as sweet sounding OD, but a bit fatter in tone. Generally not as highly regarded as the 18watters, considering these were made with cost cuts in mind. Opinions are very mixed around them. Compared to an 18watter it's less dynamic and not as "musical".
Plexis (1959, 1987): These replaced the JTM-45's and these was extremely popular in the late 60's- 70's. These amps are very good for classic rock, because alot of classic rock band used them. Compared to a JTM-45 they have a bit more gain. Keep in mind these don't have a gain control and need to be EXTREMELY loud to get distortion. Had to sell mine because it was too loud.
Who has used them: almost any classic rock band, but Led Zeppelin, early AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Jimi Hendrix and Cream are good examples of what they sound like
Master volume JMP's/ one channel JCM800's (2203's/2204's): Another Marshall classic, sometimes regarded as their best amps. If the Plexi was the amp of the 60s and 70s, this is the amp of the 80's. They have a preamp very similar to a Plexi (the low input of a JCM800 is more or less identical to a Plexi) but have more gain and a master volume. They are not as loud (but still has alot of volume) and work great for classic rock and 80's rock. Many believe them to be high gain monsters, they aren't, at least on their own. Developed into the JCM900 Mk.3
Who has used them: AC/DC in the 80's, Zakk Wylde, Metallica (Ride The Lightning) and Kerry King.
Two channel JCM800's: (2205, 2210) These are a development of the JCM800, with two channels. The distortion has diodes that clips the signal (similar to that of a dsitortion or overdrive pedal) which means that some purists says its not a real tube amp. Well thats basically BS, is sounds like a JCM800, but with more gain and a bit more modern voicing. Though it doesn't have as nice vintage character as the 2203/2204s. These were developed into the JCM900 Dual Reverbs.
Who has used them: Tom Morrello
Silver Jubilees (2555's,2553's, 2550's): These have diode clipping and were first with the 25/50 or 50/100 watt feture (which the 900's has). Generally regarded as Marshall's best multi channel amp and are said to be some of their best!
Reissued as Slash sig
Tubadude says this:
amp has good cleans, no complaints on that, dirty channel is great for classic/glam rock and metal such as posion, GNR, and what not. has a push pull channel selector which is annoying. the plate is a mirror and is hard to read, so EQing is a low lit room is kinda difficult.
overall, good amp, and good luck finding one
Who has used them: John Frusciante and Slash
Dual Reverb JCM900's (4500, 4100): These were what Marshall released to meet the demands of the shredders modding their JCM800's with more gain. These means they have a more modern character. The Mk. 3's were made to get the more classic Marshall sounds, while these were made to get modern tones. They have nice cleans and nice high gain, but their crunch isn't as good as the JCM800's.
Who has used them: Dave Navaro while in Chilis, Noel Gallagher and Billy Gibbons.
JCM900 Mk. 3 and SL-X JCM900's (2500, 2100): The Mk.3 is a development of the one channel JCM800 and basically sounds like a hot rodded JCM800. They can achieve Plexi and JCM800 tones with ease (according to davedoom). The Mk. 3's are said to be one of Marshalls best amps. The SL-X are slighty more modern voiced and were aimed at metal players, but were developed from the Mk.3's but aren't considered as nice. They were made to compete with Mesas at the time new Rectifier series and can achieve alot of distortion. These unlike the Dual Reverbs uses an extra preamp tube for clipping. Both of these also have two gain controls and two masters and can be modded to two channels.
Who has used them: Kiss on their '96 reuinon tour
Newer JTM series (JTM30/ JTM60)/ JCM600's: Haven't treid these ones, but they are basically 30 or 60 watt versions of JCM900 Dual Reverb's. JCM600's are JTM 30's or JTM60's with different visuals.
Dave says this:
the clean channel was ok, the OD just sounded way too boomy and thrash metal, really. you couldn't get a nice classic rock od out of it.
Crimson_tornado says this:
I used to have a JTM30 and I didn't find it had anything like too much distortion, in fact I sold mine so I could get something that had more distortion and would therefore be more versatile. It had lovely cleans and bluesy/jazzy tones, and would go up to a nice light rock.
Reissue vs. Clone: As some of you migh tnow, I don't like the Marshall reissues. They do too many changes and use incorrect parts. For me that's a big NONO. Also reliabilty on these are often quite bad (on the 18Watt forum I constantly see people needing to change the transformers, even in the handwired ones!). I'm a big spokesperson for clones in general. They are much better, with better parts, higher quality and lower price. Some nice cloens are found here:
Brown Note (What I have)
Tube Amp Doctor
Here are also a pair of very good links:
A new section for another Marshall thing Marshall's are famous for:
1912: Haven't tried, loaded with a Celestion G12B- 150. Made as extension cabinet for combos.
1922: Haven't tried. Loaded with 2x Celestion G12- 75T. Made as an extension cabinet for combos.
1936: A slightly larger version of the 1922 which is made to fit heads. Loaded with Celestion G12- 75T's or Celestion Vintage 30's in the 1936V. Good cabinets if you can't use a 4x12. Works good with most heads and most styles.
1960A/B: The standard Marshall cab. Loaded with 4x Celestion G12- 75T's and they can push alot of air. This is a cab that can deliver. They have a kind of modern character with slightly scooped mids and high headroom. Good if you have a midheavy amp and need more bottom and a scooped tone.
1960AV/BV: A good alternative for the standard 1960A/B, if you prefer the sound of Vintage 30's, which have very strong mids and less headroom than the G12- 75's. Vintage 30s is a good idea if you have an amp with very scooped mids, so it works pretty well for the modern Marshalls if you plan to scoop the mids and need some extra punch.
1960AX/BX: Reissues of the old 60's- 70's Marshall cabinets. Loaded with Celestion G12- M (Greenbacks). These have a very classic sound character and very low headroom. Great for classic rock. Works the best with JTM-45's, 18 watters, Plexis and JCM800's.
425A/425B: While I'm not a big fan of the Vintage Modern head, I love this cab! It's got Celestion G12C which is a custom made speaker first made for the Jimi Hendrix cab. It's one of my favourite Greenback style speakers. This is worth cehcking out if you want a cab with that classic vintage tone.
1960TV: A larger version of the 1960AX/BX which means it has alot more bass. Haven't tried it.
Please give me more info on other cabs!
Raspy pots: This happens alot to the older ones, the pots get raspy and this is because Marshall uses cheap pots, this can be very annoying and you can get volume swells and similar things. Its very easy to solve though, just put some contact cleaner in the pots and screw them around. In some cases you may have to replace the pot entirely.
Volume swells: Can be caused by two things:
Old tubes: Just change them.
Raspy pots: Well put in some contact cleaner, screw them around and it should fix itself.
Thats wraps it up, if you feel something are missing PM me or take my MSN (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Also I must put in the Marshall tone sheet, property of Gutch220
Nice Gabe. Good job with the thread. Very good info. If I think of anything else, I will let you know.
Nice man, really liked this. :cheers:
Very Nice Gabe!!
I really needed the JTM info... (cause I'm thinking of that as a first tuber)
Nah the JTM60 but it's a Combo and an original...
for under (320 british pounds I guess...)
^Haven't tried it sorry. They have nice cleans from what i hear.
This is very helpful. Given me a lot of information on my infinitely long search for an amp. Cheers. :cheers:
that's alright Gabe...
when I look at it on Ebay.ph it wasn't there anymore so I'll prolly be looking for
other Marshalls for saving up and hey if you ever encounter some JTM's out there
give me a short review as Marshalls are famous here for they're "MG's"...
so I want to look for a way to show them how a really Marshall Gain is about...
anyways Nice Thread too... (The Mods should really Sticky this one cause every now and then there is this UG'ers that are asking questions about the DSL401...)
Meh, i didn't like the TSL I tried. The "Ultra" channel was useless.
Apart from that, nice thread! Yo could probably add this into the ultimate info sticky rather than giving it one to itself. We have too many stickies as it is.
Nice work man!!! very informative.
cheers for putting that one up mate
you revamped it yay!!!!
This is a good thread. If you want to could record a few clips of the dsl for this thread, providing clean/Bluesy clean/Bluesy Od/Rock od/Hard Rock od/Thrash Dist./Metal etc.
^Id love to, clips are very good!
Good thread. Im probably going to be picking up either a DSL or JCM 800 head sometime in the near future. Should be good fun!
The one thing I dont like about these amps is the single EQ. Kinda lame
Great thread Gabel, I was really looking into the JCM 900 Mk 3's.
Yeah, JCM 900s are great amps, I have the 50 watt combo- the 2501, I think Gabe actually owned one of these in the past.
^This is true, it was nice, back then i didn't know to mouch about amps. Id lvoe to get my hands on a Mk 3. though!
Holy crap gabel, thanks.
I was looking into the jcm 800/900 combos.
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