JCM2000 TSL100 Head review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (150 votes)
Marshall: JCM2000 TSL100 Head

Price paid: $ 1151.07

Purchased from: www.gak.co.uk

Sound — 10
It's amazing for rock, metal, punk, blues, probably most other styles but I've not tried it to the max outside of these genres. The clean channel is outstanding. You do not comprehend! I have the mid on 4, bass on 6, treble on 6.5, reverb on about 2 and gain on about 8.5 - then select my rhythm humbucker (Gibson. Not a Gibson guitar, but Gibson pickups) and it sends shivers up my spine. When if first used these settings and played the intro to 'Hey Joe' and felt like crying. The clean channel is this amps strongest feature. The crunch channel (rhythm) is probably the amps weakest channel. It is still pretty damn good; but not quietly. When playing loudly (over 3) the sound is pretty decent, but it is hard to manage when under vol. 3. This is quite impractical in the house, but I just use the lead channel instead. The crunch channel is very raw, gravely and dirty without the 'tone shift' button on. If the tone shift isn't on, these attributes are perfect for classic rock. It provides players with that signature Marshall growl. I usually play with the tone shift on because I like a precise, punchy tone. The crunch channel offers absolutely NO unwanted noise. If I Muse the strings, no hissing, no fuzz, no unwanted feedback. Regardless of what volume and settings I have, this remains the same. It's like a dream come true. It's alsmot as if a noise gate is present, yet it doesn't screw up additional effects like a noise gate normally would. My pickups have a very high output too, so sometimes it's hard to keep control of that unwanted noise, but the crunch channel is silent when I want it to be. Infact, I always think I've got it on standby if I'm talknig or something. Then go to turn the standby off, and realise it already is, and the whoel time my guitar has been on full voulme and my amp on normal settings. The lead channel is blinidng. Especially for shred guitarists. I wouldn't say the lead channel would be perfect if you were to do solos like, sorta, Jannis Joplin. Those dirty, messy rock/blues solos. The reason for this is mainly because the lead channel is so tight. The valves are very prominant in this channel. It's hard to get a solid state kind of tone on the lead channel, but I'm not really complaining, some players may though. I play through a 1960AV cab; so I've got more bottom end than the standard 1960A cab. I think this gives the TSL a more crisp clean tone, and more raw crunch tone; and makes the lead channel sound less tinny. I would strongly recomend the TSL & 1960AV. My band mate has a TSL & 1960A and the AV sounds a lot nicer. When comparing the two, it's clear that the 1960A sounds more tacky and the speakers seem less responsive.

Overall Impression — 10
This amp is pretty incredible. I must admit, I really didn't want a Marshall just because it seems everyone has them, and I didn't think they had much character. However, I just had to buy a TSL. I tried out more or less every amp I could think of. I had my heart set on a Hughes And Kettner triamp but the tone on the TSL blows the H&K away completely. I thought the Triamp was a bit of a pie in the sky dream, but I spent so long trying out amps before buying, I eventually had enough money to buy a Triamp. I just couldn't believe it, I had a Hughes And Kettner Triamp, Trilogy and Duotone next to a TSL. I was being biased towards the H&K becuase I wanted one so much, but the TSL beat them all for osund and features. I was trying to make up excuses to myself and the guy in the shop to defend the H&K, but in the end I realised that if I didn't get the TSL, I would really regret it. The TSL is about 500 cheaper too!. This is down to the fact that Marshall have such a high turn over, they can charge less for products, and the TSL is two years older than the Triamp (the latest of the H&K amps I tried out). A Mesa came the closest to 'beating' the Marshall. The Dual Rectifier was pretty good, but I'm not a fan of that signatre Mesa slude-tone. Also, the clean tone on the Marshall is so much better. I think the Mesa has better features, especially for recording, but nothing to justify about 1, 000 difference. It'd be nice if the Marshall came with a cover (the BC-40 I think it is). I've still not got around to buying one yet - even though they're only about 15.00. However, it must cost Marshall about 1 to make one of these, so they should shove one in. The footswitch is good, but my Crate had a way better footswtich. I hated the Crate I had a while ago, but the footswitch was fantastic! I think amp manufacturers could learn something form the design. Firstly, it had colour coded LEDs for clean, rhythm, lead and effects. I loved the way you could click on a channel, and then when you're done, click the same button and it'd go the the previous channel. However, with the Marshall, you have to click whatever channel you want to get on it. It's easy when you get used to it, but the practicllity compared to the Crate footswitch is noteable. The Marshall footswitch causes more 'tap dancing'. If the Marshall TSL adopted this design in the footswitch, it'd be perfect. Of if you'd like a review on any other amp head, because chances are, I've played it and analysed every little detail when I was looking for my TSL.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The amp is definately dependable. I intially had a few problems though because the first one I got developed an electrical problem after 2 weeks and wouldn't Switch channels. The place I got it from took it back though and sent me a replacement. After asking around; I'm convinced it was a 'one-off' on Marshall's behalf. The replacement that I got had buggered up tubes which could have happened on during delievery (but I'm pretty sure it was the supplier trying to fob me off an ex demo one). My third TSL is a charm though. The amp comes with a 3 year parts warrenty. This is quite impressive compared tovwhat other manufacturers offer (apart from Crate Who offer a 5 year warranty, I'm not even gonna go into that one). I've heard the Marshall TSL footswitches (PDL-50 I believe) can be a bit faulty for about 4 different sources.

Features — 10
Okay, firstly I must clear up that before buying this amp I tried out absolutely every amp I could think of. It took me a long time to save up for my stack, and I thought as soon as I'd have over 1, 000 I'd buy one; but I didn't end up getting one for a further 5 months because I wanted to make sure it was the right investment. The amp is incredibly diverse. 3 channels - clean, crunch and lead (plus reverb on all). The reverb has independant settings for the clean and the same settings for crunch/lead. The amp has a VPR button. In a nutshell; this means that thanks to the preamp, it can be cut to 25Watts. So if you're at a band practice, and you wanna demonstrate a new riff, you can press the button and it'll go to a nice quiet level (without sacrificing the tone) and therefore you don't have to adjust your master volume. Furthermore, the clean channel has a mid boost button. This obviously; well, boosts the mid. It's a great feature for blues players or if you're playing live, and need the clean channel to cut through the mix. I don't really play much Indie music, but I'd imagine it to be extremely helpful if I did. The output on the amp can be turned off too. This is an excellent feature for 'silent recording'. If you record at home, even if it's just via a line6 POD, and want your TSL tone, you can do it without anything ocming through the cab. You can record without plugging your cab in (but as you should know, it's not a good idea to swtich on any valve amp without a cab plugged in). This means that you can record the tone if the levels are high (because let's face it, playing loudly does affect the tone of all valve amps); then you can get the tone when recording at home without hearing your amp sing at level 5. The other reviews cover basic features so I'm not gonna repeat them (e.g. footswitch functions, effect loops, tube specs). The amp certainly has enough power for me. I play a lot live and it more than copes with all kinds of venues, even small clubs without a pa system. It is nicely laid out and user friendly. If I was really picky I'd like to see it have a built in tuner, but I'm not going to loose any sleep over that.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have One. its worth the money. les paul custom or dulex. boss compression. game over.
    hey guys...i live in new zealand and i was thinking about this head when i travel to the states...does anyone know how much this would cost in US$? cheers,
    PyroPlegic wrote: hey guys...i live in new zealand and i was thinking about this head when i travel to the states...does anyone know how much this would cost in US$? cheers,
    Well, it's usually 1200-1500 USD. So I'd assume it would be around 600-800 pounds.
    i have it. im 17 been playing for about 6 years, i run a les paul studio and it sounds amazing... i dont have any pedals or anything but i really recomend this... if you have the money go for. just make sure you let it warm up and cool down and it will award you everytime you turn it on.... it rules
    i seen the 100w head for like 580 or a bit less, BARGAIN! and the Tsl-122 ( 100W 2x12 Combo) for 700 ..... cheap amp for the quality :p i just ordered one of these bad boys
    hey guys, is there anyway of attatching headphones to this amp??? I would like to use at home sometimes as well as on stage and at practice but there will be occasions when the 25watts would still be too loud for home use!!! I couldn't have it sitting at home and not be able to play through it! If not i may just have to evict the girlfriend!!! Cheers
    Hey guys, can anyone tell me if there is any way to attach headphones to this amp? I would like to use it at home as well as practice and on stage but i fear the 25w is still gonna be too loud at times and i couldn't stand it seeing it sit there at home and not be able to play through it! Thanks
    Airole wrote: Hey guys, can anyone tell me if there is any way to attach headphones to this amp? I would like to use it at home as well as practice and on stage but i fear the 25w is still gonna be too loud at times and i couldn't stand it seeing it sit there at home and not be able to play through it! Thanks
    if u get an active DI with cabinet simulation like the Behringer Ultra-G GI100, plug it into the speaker output of ur amp, and then plug the DI into a mixer with headphone output and there u go!