Price paid: A$ 500
Purchased from: Second hand
Features — 7
Got this in 2007 from second hand. I start recently to make most out of this amp. I put a Tung Sol 12AX7, and it rocks. I use emulated output to my mixer with my mp3 music in my phone. I can browse YouTube to listen to other Marshall JCM 800, JCM2000, JVM, and compare to my amp in the same headphone. The AVT is very competitive.
I will describe the features in my own way:
- Closed back cabinet (great for bass response)
- Speaker is beleived to be G12-T100, very good speaker
- Clean channel
- OD1 simulates JCM800 (and I verify it, very similar sound)
- OD2 simulates JCM2000 (and I verify it, very similar sound)
- Scoop button (using it correctly will cut through the mix with high mids)
- Emulated output (very high quality, I compare it with the built in speaker, very good sound, also good cable will do the trick, I use a bad cable before and ruin the sound quality)
- Speaker output (too low volume for my headphone, not used it)
- Digital reverb, (very good, does not sound digital sound)
- Scoop button should be changed to a knob
- Separate EQ for each channel
When I get it, it already got Electro-Harmonix 12AX7 tune.
Sound — 9
My guitar is a Les Paul, it matches the Marshall really well. It as designed to simulate the JCM 2000, JCM 800, and it nailed it. There are so many arguments about it being solid state. This is a big misconception. Most modern amp, such as JVM, and DSL. There is no such thing as power tube saturation. Most gain is coming from preamp tube (specifically, V1 tube), so based on that information. The sound difference argument is not coming from the power tubes, but is coming from the preamp tube, and the speaker of the amp.
Marshall Mosfet Lead 100 is complete solid state, and people love it, what does it tell us? I plug my phone to my mixer, plug my amp into the mixer, and compare the sound quality.
JCM800 = OD1
JCM2000 = OD2
Clean is very clean.
The speaker is highly likely to be a G12-T100 (I open it, check the magnet huge size, and also compare to some video about G12-T100). The speaker has very high bass response, plus with the closed back cabinet. The sound might be too muddy, due to the resonances inside the cab. The bass knob must be set to low for this amp. Nowadays, not many combos has closed back cabinet.
I play Metallica most of the sound. The scoop button is a very interesting thing, press it, and it will cut too much mids, Not press it, it will have too much mids. So the trick is to put a 6 bad eq before the amp to boost the mids, and remove the lows, here is my setting.
Amp (0 - 10):
- Bass - 3
- Middle - 10 (Max)
- Treble - 6
- Gain - 6.5
- Scoop button on
- Below 100Hz, -8db
- 200 Hz- not touch
- 400 Hz - 4fb
- 800 Hz - 8db
With the above settings, it will cut through the mix really well, bass guitar will come out, and the guitar has very obvious mids. I also compare the sound with Blackstar HT Metal box (by YouTube video), this amp has got serious gain, after changing to a Tung Sol tube. This amp is very loud, good for small venue performance.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Fan is the only concern for this amp. I have a can of air duster to remove the dust. The TDA2793 power amp chip is not subject to punish, I would not turn this amp pass 75% in volume. There are people reported with the power chip failure, and they said to keep the fan free of dust is the way to home. I only use it at home. If I gig with very loud volume, I will buy a tube amp and cab, not expensive for second hand. Neverthless, I play this amp for few years now, and no problems reported. This amp is very loud anyways, will be enough in small venue.
Overall Impression — 8
I play manly Metallica, I play 30 minutes per day average. For this price for a solid state amp, and tube sound, it is a great deal. If anything goes wrong, I will fix it within reasonable budget. This amp is a state of the art (except the power amp section). I will probably buy a spare fan for back up. Having said that, if I gig in a larger venue, I will buy a JCM2000 and a cab, or if PA is supplied, just plug the emulated output to the PA, the emulated output got very good sound quality. Very sad that this amp got bad reputation, as people has so many misconceptions about solid state. Especially people plug a solid state distortion pedal to a tube amp.