#1
Currently my home practice amp is a Marshall MG30FX. It's decent for what it is but after finally getting a JCM800 the MG just doesn't sound the same to me. Now I'm no "tone snob" or "tube only, 'F' solid-states" guy, in fact I LIKED the MG, a LOT, leading up to the 800 purchase. It did (or seemed to) what I wanted it too, especially when adding the Digitech RP500 to the mix. I felt I had the tone I was looking for which is that Slash, AC/DC, etc classic rock tone, mixed with a TINY bit more mid for a nice punk rock "punch" without being distorted. Like earlier Green Day, to use a punk rock example most everyone would know, as opposed to me naming obscure punk rock groups. Then I played the 800 and it felt like an epiphany. With the MG, and to be fair (because I'm not bashing the MG at all) with most other amps I've played, it seemed like I'd "settle" for the tone. Like "yeah, I THINK that's what I want" and basically convince myself. With the 800 it was instantly like "THAT'S my tone", I didnt have to talk myself into it being my tone, it just WAS.

That being said I now want an amp for home practice/demo recording that gets me as close to my 800 but at home volume. I'm in an apartment, and the 800 does not sound "like an 800" at apartment volume, which in my thin-walled case is like one half volume, as in .5 lol. I've got my mind set on 3 and would like some opinions if anyone doesn't mind. I'd like opinions strictly on these three please, as I've had the "just use a modeller and headphones" and stuff like that suggested. I have a modeller, and it's not what I'm looking for in this particular situation. I do use it for nighttime playing, but it's not an amp I can crank when neighbors are gone, or use as a backup to the 800 gigging. Also, I've narrowed it down to these 3 for a reason so other amp suggestions don't really do me much good here, I'm not interested in them for this application. So here they are:

1 - MOSFET Lead 100w. Has been called the SS 800 and it's damn close, to my ears anyway. A friend plays them in his band and I've jammed it before, it's a badass amp period, not just in the SS categorey. Most importantly, it sounds that way on LOW volume, which is my number one requirement. Plus it would be a good backup head for shows, and a WAY cheaper backup than a second 800. This is the only one I have hands-on experience with also, the next two I'm going on recommendations and reviews and demos.

2 - JCM800 Combo. Quite a few people have recommended this one because "if I want a backup 800 then buy an 800". The logic seems right on the surface, just buy the real thing instead of something that sounds like it. But given my requirements the 800 combo is still a tube amp, am I going to get that sound at almost 0 on the volume knob? The LOUDEST I ever play the MG is 1/2-way between 8 and 9 o'clock position, and the 800 is MUCH louder. The combos go for about $700-900 from what I've seen, which is still pretty steep for a practice/backup amp.

3 - The newly announced Marshall 50th Anniversay 1W heads. Obviously the 80s tribute 1 which is a 1w 800. Now, this is 3rd on my list for a reason. Mainly the $800 price tag for 1w, and because it's so new (are they even out yet?) I've yet to see detailed demos/reviews, or find one to demo myself. HOWEVER, they said they're specifically created to get that amps tone at "bedroom sound levels", and that's exactly what I want. I'm wondering if this really is an 800 with less power, or if it's a completely new amp made to sound like an 800. Like are these series amps using all the same circuitry and other components that gave the originals their characteristics, or are these just clones? If this amp would truely give me a 1w 800 thatsounds like an 800 at bedroom volume then I would spend $800, as it'd be exactly what I want. These really should be like $300-400 though. MAYBE $500 since they're limited. If they were I'd buy 2 different ones. I'm sure a LOT of people would buy multiples to try if they were cheaper, seems like they'd get MORE money that way.

ANYWAY, sorry for another book-length post haha.

TL;DR: which of the 3 amp choices should I buy to give me the 800 tone in a practice/demo recording/backup gig amp but at the "barely there" volume level of living in an apartment?
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#2
Very, very few tone people are tube snobs. It's just that once your ears develop, you start to look down on bad tone with disdain. What you described is just the truth - the MG sounds like shit. It just takes some time to realize it does.

Anyway, I'd probably recommend the MOSFET out of those three, due mostly to what you said, about sounding right at low volumes. In any case, I definitely would not recommend the 1W Marshall. Those are mostly gimmicks, moreso than legit amps.
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#3
The new 1 watt Marshalls sound awesome. Well, I played the JTM. It sounds really good. However, it only has one volume and one tone. It's very limited and a very one trick pony. The 0.1 watt setting on the other hand, would make it ideal. But when it comes down to it, I personally think they are very overpriced. You could easily get a much better, much more versatile amp for the same price if you went used.

I have a Hughes & Kettner Tubemiester 18 and that's a fantastic little amp. Fender cleans and Marshall crunch. You can bring it down to 1 watt. Has a shared EQ, a lead boost individual volume controls. And you can run the head straight through a PA without a cab. And you can shove it straight into a mixing desk and record silently without the cab. I would definitely consider it if I were you.
#4
Quote by WholeLottaIzzy
...I have a Hughes & Kettner Tubemiester 18 and that's a fantastic little amp. Fender cleans and Marshall crunch. You can bring it down to 1 watt. Has a shared EQ, a lead boost individual volume controls. And you can run the head straight through a PA without a cab. And you can shove it straight into a mixing desk and record silently without the cab. I would definitely consider it if I were you.



You can probably get JCM 800 tones out of a JVM and use the line out like WLI is talking about above. I get all the tone I want out of my JVM at any volume through the pre-amp. I can do it through the line out to PA/monitors, or I can choke down the volume through the 4x12 cab by dialing down the output on my MFX.

Otherwise the min volume with the good tone starts at around 85db.