#1
Hey guys, so I'm in a hard rock band with influences such as GN'R, Aerosmith, Led Zep etc. I'm looking at buying a new amp head for gigging, I have a budget of about £700 - I know the general consensus is that the 800 is better than the 2000, but is it a huge difference? Does the 2000 just flat out suck? Can you guys recommend me a decent amp head within this price range? (I'd do second hand, no problems)
#2
The 2000 doesn't suck, but if you are comparing those two, the 800 will always win.
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#4
JCM800 is much more similar in sound and feel to the amps those guys were using than the JCM2000. It would definitely need an overdrive pedal in front of it to get a heavier sound, but it's a perfect choice for that kind of music. Bear in mind there are also some bad sides you must consider. First, JCM800 is a very touch sensitive amp, and you really need to be in good playing shape to get the most out of it. Second, there is no channel switching or effects loop. JCM2000 has those modern features, but lacks in terms of tone. It's not a really bad amp as it's often said, but it definitely doesn't have the warmth, wideness, or punch of a JCM800.
#5
Is the 800 worth the pricetag, as opposed to the 2000, or would the 2000 do for what I need it for? (Gigging, recording)
#6
JCM800 is a classic amp, and it should always hold its price. It will probably even rise in the future so it's always a good investment to have one around. I hope you are considering to buy it used, because it's much cheaper that way, and people say the old models are better than the present reissues. I really don't know if that is true, but I have a 1978 JMP 2203, which is almost the same as a JCM800 2203 from the early 1980's, and it is really great. It takes some time to adapt to it, but once you get used to that amp you will not want to play on any other amp. Also, those amps are quite simple, and they have been around for ages so there are plenty of people who can help you with any possible problems you would have. My advice for you is to go and buy an used jcm800 from the early eighties, get it checked by an expert before and you're set than. My amp is more than 30 years old, and the only maintenance was changing the tube set.
#7
You can get the 800 with channel switching, but they can be tricky to find and it's really just switchable gain so not a proper second channel.

In my opinion, to put it simply, the 2000 is just a more modern sounding amp. The basic character is similar, typical Marshall really, sharp top end and a nice punchy midrange but the 800 is a much smoother, friendlier sounding amp (although as ivan987 alluded to, it does punish you if you're not up to scratch) whereas the 2000 is much angrier and noisier.

If I were playing classic rock, I'd take an 800 any day. But it's not always an option, so if you're forced into getting a 2000, it's not the end of the world, but it will be a bit trickier to get the tone you want.
#8
I've also had a JCM800 4212, a 2x12 50 watt channel switching combo. Channel switching heads (2205 & 2210) are also available. They also have a channel loop. It's quite different to 2203 & 2204 models. You have only one input, and a normal channel (which is clean) and a boost channel (which is overdrive).

Clean tone is quite fine, it's not fat and nice as a fender clean, but it's got a specific funky feel to it. The problem is that the clean channel breaks up into crunch quite easily, so it's not really usable for glassy cleans, unless you roll the guitar volume a bit down when you switch to that channel.

Boost, or overdrive channel is a pretty good sounding Marshall overdrive, but it's got a bit more modern character to it that the older models. Tone is a bit more compressed and you have more distortion available from the amp. You still need a overdrive to get to high gain. While the 2203 and 2204 heads have an all-tube circuit, 2205 and 2210 models use some silicone diodes for extra distortion. What I didn't like with these amps is that they don't stack well with boost or overdrive pedals in front of them. It's not bad but 2203&2204 sound much better with some kind of a boost in front of them.

There is also one more thing about the JCM2000 - they are not as reliable as the JCM800. I've heard many stories about the frequent issues with those amps. Half a year ago I was working at the mixing pult at a guitar festival, so we had a JCM2000 with a 4x12 cabinet for the contestants. In the middle of the show it just stopped working without any visible reason. It didn't work for more than a hour, and then it just started working again, with no apparent reason. I wouldn't like to depend on that amp for gigs.
#10
^ mos t people prefer the dsl. that's not to say the tsl is always the wrong choice, it might even be the right choice depending on the situation, but more people prefer the dsl. if you're concerned that the dsl might be too modern-sounding, the tsl is only going to be worse in that respect.

Quote by ivan987
JCM800 is much more similar in sound and feel to the amps those guys were using than the JCM2000. It would definitely need an overdrive pedal in front of it to get a heavier sound, but it's a perfect choice for that kind of music. Bear in mind there are also some bad sides you must consider. First, JCM800 is a very touch sensitive amp, and you really need to be in good playing shape to get the most out of it. Second, there is no channel switching or effects loop. JCM2000 has those modern features, but lacks in terms of tone. It's not a really bad amp as it's often said, but it definitely doesn't have the warmth, wideness, or punch of a JCM800.


+1

another option would be something like a laney gh50/100L or vh100r, for something in the vein of an 800 but with more modern features.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
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#11
A discussion on the different types of both and a small Marshall history lesson is appropriate.
The JCM800 2203/2204 is the pick of Master Volume Marshall amps. It has only one channel but what a channel! Rich, responsive and fat, it has a roar that very few amps can compete with.
The JCM800 2205/2210 added a second channel but that's not all they did. They also added diode clipping in an attempt to get more "gain". It totally ruined the amp. It was a taste of things to come, namely the abortive attempt at competing with the Soldano which was the JCM900 4100/4500. With a bit of modding the 2205/2210 can be made into a very good amp, first thing you do is rip out those godamn diodes. Stock they are nothing special at all.
The JCM900 SL/X was a taste of what was to come. They removed the clipping diodes of the 4100 and replaced it with a valve. The SL/X restored a lot of people's opinions of Marshall which had sufferred under the scandalous 4100 that had dressed up a hybrid as a valve amp.
The JCM2000 DSL was an attempt to get back to the glory days of the 2203. The DSL succeeded in most regards and removed the final vestiges of the hybrid mess that was still left behind in the SL/X. It's a bit like the movie Highlander. "Let's just forget that Highlander 2 was ever made and start again from the last place it worked." The 900 was Highlander 2. The DSL got them back on track, it's Highlander 3.
That brings us to the TSL. The TSL was an attempt at competing with Mesa. It tried to get a more modern sound and really didn't achieve what they were aiming at. Mesa wiped the floor with them. The DSL is a development of the 800, the TSL is a poor man's Mesa. If you want Mesa buy a Mesa, not a TSL.
So to sum up. If you can cope with a single channel amp, buy a JCM800 2203/2204. If you want more channels but still want something that sounds like a real Marshall with an 800 heritage (with the ability to get some more gain) buy a JCM2000 DSL. Don't buy a JCM800 2205/2210 unless you intend to mod it. Don't bother with a TSL at all.
So endeth the lesson.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Aug 29, 2011,
#12
Quote by Cathbard
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#13
yeah pretty much

i'd also add that there might be other makers who sound as close to that marshall sound, if not closer, than a lot of the marshall models (e.g. the laneys i suggested).
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#14
Splawn is a ponographic Marshall. Those transformers get me wet. If you've got the money buy a Quick Rod. So very, very tasty.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#15
I have a JCM 800 2203X and a JCM 2000 DSL 100.

I don't really hear a huge difference between the two. I get pretty much the same awesome tone no matter which one I'm playing.

The only difference I've noticed is that the DSL 100 is a little more compressed whereas the 800 is more open and immediate.

Both awesome amps in my opinion and if I never get another amp for the rest of my life, I'll be totally content with these.
#16
Quote by Cathbard
Splawn is a ponographic Marshall. Those transformers get me wet. If you've got the money buy a Quick Rod. So very, very tasty.


Not sure about the states, but because Marshalls are very affordable in the Netherlands there are a lot of techs who will do a large number of Marshall mods for pretty decent prices. Upgrading transformers for a JVM would be around 250 for example.

I'm personally looking for a used JVM410h, which would be around 800 euros. You can get a used JVM410H and upgrade the Transformers and mod the tonestack and still spend 200 less than a new JVM (1200-1300).
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Last edited by Mark G at Aug 29, 2011,
#17
Depending on my musical goal, I would rather take the SL-X. It hates organized religion more.
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#18
Quote by Mark G
Not sure about the states, but because Marshalls are very affordable in the Netherlands there are a lot of techs who will do a large number of Marshall mods for pretty decent prices. Upgrading transformers for a JVM would be around 250 for example.

I'm personally looking for a used JVM410h, which would be around 800 euros. You can get a used JVM410H and upgrade the Transformers and mod the tonestack and still spend 200 less than a new JVM (1200-1300).

Don't think I'd use a JVM as a base. Plenty of better Marshalls out there if your intention is to attack it with a soldering iron.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#19
Quote by Cathbard
Don't think I'd use a JVM as a base. Plenty of better Marshalls out there if your intention is to attack it with a soldering iron.


To each his own, I just need the versatility and marshall gain structure. A one or two channel amp without midi won't do it for me

My point is, Splawn is very difficult to get across the pond (would get one if it were a good value here). You could get reasonably close for less by getting a used Marshall modded.

Ofcourse there are plenty of other options. Laney, comes to mind.
WTLTL 2011
Last edited by Mark G at Aug 29, 2011,
#20
Laney's rock. Splawns are really rare over here too, I thought it was worth mentioning them though because they are just so well built.
The JVM isn't the greatest sounding Marshall and there's just so much jammed in there if you want to start modding it. I'd rather start with a classic Marshall like a plexi with turret boards and add some relays and extra components (or just make a whole new turret board). I use MIDI to switch my amp and it has no MIDI capabilities at all. I just use the relay outputs on my GP-8. I much prefer to keep all that guff outside the amp itself. Keep the amp simple and hang other devices off it. It has served me well for many years.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#21
Quote by Cathbard
Laney's rock. Splawns are really rare over here too, I thought it was worth mentioning them though because they are just so well built.
The JVM isn't the greatest sounding Marshall and there's just so much jammed in there if you want to start modding it. I'd rather start with a classic Marshall like a plexi with turret boards and add some relays and extra components (or just make a whole new turret board). I use MIDI to switch my amp and it has no MIDI capabilities at all. I just use the relay outputs on my GP-8. I much prefer to keep all that guff outside the amp itself. Keep the amp simple and hang other devices off it. It has served me well for many years.


Splawns are the titties, I'd love one. I guess we have different approaches, I prefer having as much as possible in the amp itself. I have no experience with modding myself (unlike you), so I'll gladly accept that classic Marshalls are easier to mod. Especially your remark about having more space makes a lot of sense.
WTLTL 2011
#22
The JCM2000 DSL is a GREAT amp. I use very dialed back gain and it suits me just fine. The cleans are also pretty good in comparison to my modded Deville. You won't be disappointed in the DSL.
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#23
I also have a DSL100 and I love it. Like grizzly said, the cleans are really good for a marshall. And It can get a pretty good classic rock sound when you crank the volume on channel one.

I boost mine one channel two with an overdrive. I dont use the boost on board. I feel like I have a lot of control going from a rhythm, lead, and clean sound without switching channels.
#24
Sadly, the 800 2204 is really your best bet. Never played a SL/X nor a Vintage Modern.

The last Marshalls ever made that I could really consider buying was the 2555 Silver Jube and the Class 5.

Finding a used Splawn may work but hard to find over there. I like the Laney idea too.
Quote by Cathbard
Splawn is a ponographic Marshall. Those transformers get me wet. If you've got the money buy a Quick Rod. So very, very tasty.



I'd be happy to post some pics of my transformers if you like
#25
Quote by nickdohle
I also have a DSL100 and I love it. Like grizzly said, the cleans are really good for a marshall. And It can get a pretty good classic rock sound when you crank the volume on channel one.

I boost mine one channel two with an overdrive. I dont use the boost on board. I feel like I have a lot of control going from a rhythm, lead, and clean sound without switching channels.


Yeah me too. I just set it for a medium crunch and hit it with a Tubescreamer when I need more gain...... or turn my guitar volume down when I need clean.

It works great for me on either the Green or Red channels.

Damn I love DSL 100s!!

I love 'em so much I have 3 of 'em.

I guess they're not for everyone.... but I play mostly Country, Classic Rock, 80s metal, R&B, Blues, and a little Jazz.... and it works great for all those styles.
#27
Too much for me to read through right now so if someone else has already said this then I suppose I'm just reiterating.

The JCM800 is pretty much the staple amp for 80s rock tones. IIRC Slash used an 800 and a modded 1959SL on AFD. They are solid amps and are great for anything from rock to metal (though you may need a boost for some genres). The 2000's don't suck at all, but have a much more modern sound to them. If you're looking for something for old rock to classic rock and you're choosing between the two then the 800 would be the one to go with.

However, have you looked outside of Marshall? They make some great amps, but there are great non-Marshall amps out there, too.