BigAndyW, on march 03, 2004 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Purchased from: Second Hand - Birmingham
Features: This is one of the famous JCM 800 series, more specifically the 2205 model, the features include 50-watt (2x EL34 power tubes), 2 channel (footswitchable only), master volume, effects loop, and master reverb (also footswitchable). This all-tube head was made in 1987, and has survived well up to this point, however time had taken it's toll in a few ways. When I got it, it still had all the original power tubes and preamp tubes, which had pretty much used up their life, and needed to be replaced. Also I had to take it back to the tech again to replace some caps and a resistor or two, the values had drifted with age. When I got it back the second time however, it was great! I run it through a Marshall 1960AC 4x12 cabinet (4x25 watt Celestion Greenback speakers). It does have a few minor shortcomings, the biggest of which is the lack of a midrange EQ control on the clean channel. It also lacks seperate reverb controls for each channel, which is sometimes annoying. // 8
Sound: I use an Aria Pro II (copy of a Ibanez SA-120) which has an H-S-S pick up configuration. I have a Seymour Duncan SH-5 Custom in the bridge position, a Hotrails in the middle, and a JB Jr in the neck. It suits my music style very well (Rock/Metal mainly, and also I play in a cover band that plays all sorts of music, and I can rely on it to reproduce these tones, with the help of a multi-fx pedal) On the negative side, the effects loop is very noisy, but I don't use it (although I don't have much to put through it yet), the overdrive channel isn't as gainy as it's made out to be either, it pretty much stays clean-ish until you turn the master volume, channel volume and channel gain up to at least 5, the distortion isn't suited to metal or heavy rock, unless you have a pedal to boost it, there's also not a lot of sustain even when you can get some distortion out of it. The gain also gets noisy (lots of hiss) after about 8 on the dial. There isn't very much variety of sound (without a pedal) but the sound that does come out of it is brilliant. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I would depend on it, and gig without a backup if I didn't have one, however seeing as I do have a backup, I won't! I mentioned earlier that the amp needed servicing once or twice for different reasons, however these services were done for sound quality, and the amp worked fine before they were done. The amp has never broken down on me and sounded ok even before the replacement parts. // 10
Overall Impression: I play Rock/metal music, and this amp is well suited to this music, as long as it's used with a pedal. I have been playing for roughly 2 and a half years, and this is my first tube amp. I also own a Fender Champion 30 SS amp, a MXR Distortion+ pedal, and a Zoom 606 guitar effects pedal. I would definately buy another one if it were stolen, I would also maim the theif responsible. I compared it to some more modern Marshalls, (JCM900 series, DSL series) and found the gain on those models, while higher in general, was also of a much lower quality soundwise, and preferred to boost the lower gain on this amp (which stays good even after it's boosted). I wish it had a better quality effects loop, and a mid EQ control on the clean channel. Famous guitarists who used/use this amp or one of it's close counterparts include all 3 current guitarists of Iron Maiden (Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers) and Slash of Guns N' Roses fame. // 10
CaptDin, on january 11, 2010 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 700
Purchased from: used (craigslist)
Features: I obtained my 05 about a week ago through craigslist for $700. It was made in 1987. Supposedly, the split channel 800s from 1987 and later are better than the earlier ones, but I wouldn't know, this is the only one I've ever played to be honest. As far as versatility goes, there's not much to brag about, but you can adjust the gain and and get tones from the late 60s to modern day. Turn the gain knob to about noon, and you get a nice Plexi-sounding crunch, and on 10, you get a great thrashy Anthrax-type sound (especially boosted with an overdrive). The style of music I play doesn't require a lot of versatility, so I'm satisfied with what it has.
It has a "Normal" channel and a "Boost" channel, but the original footswitch is long gone, and I haven't bothered replacing it yet (I haven't had it that long) because the Boost channel is so good, so I haven't even used the Normal channel yet. It's a loud sucker, but also sounds really good on low volume levels. Of course it won't sound as good as it does cranked, but let's just say, since I got this amp I haven't found a need for my Spider 3.
There is an effects loop, but I haven't gotten a chance to use it yet. Right now the only pedal I'm using is a TS9 up front. // 7
Sound: My main guitar is an Epiphone Tony Iommi G-400. I plug it through a TS9 as a boost, usually. But it sounds great without the TS9 too.
The Music I play is 70s hard rock like Kiss, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Van Halen, and especially 80s metal like Priest, Maiden, Scorpions, Motley Crue, Whitesnake and so on, as well as thrash like Anthrax, Slayer, Overkill, Megaeth, Metallica, and Testament. It's perfect for that kind of stuff.
So far the best sound I've found out of it is to run my TS9 with the gain on 0 and the level on 10, and the tone at noon, and put the gain on the amp at about 8. I keep the preamp volume, bass, treble, and mid knobs on 10, and the presence knob around 6 or so. For more modern sounds, I'll turn the gain up to 10, and it can handle thrash and even metalcore level gain really well.
Like I said, I haven't used the clean channel yet because I don't have a footswitch, but I have heard that the clean channel isn't really very clean. The YouTube videos I've heard of it show a more dirty clean.
There is a little bit of noise, but not that bad. Sometimes it picks up AM radio, but it's so faint I don't really think it matters. The noise isn't that bad, but I'm considering a Decimator or something just in case. Keep it away from windows, I had mine right next to a window in my room, and the radio interference was coming through really bad. But I moved it to the opposite corner of my room, and it's fine now. I think there might be a grounding problem, I'm gonna get it checked out soon. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I haven't gigged with it yet, but I look forward to it. It seems really well taken care of, so I wouldn't worry about it breaking down. I give it a 5 because it hasn't given me any problems thusfar, but I haven't gigged with it, so I don't know how reliable it would be in a gigging situation. // 5
Overall Impression: I'm 18 years old, been playing for about 3 years, this is my first tube amp. Before this, all I had was my Spider 3. This was a heck of an upgrade. I really like it so far, it's perfect for the kind of music that I play. It's gotten me really close to my ultimate tone. Tom Morello uses the 05, as does Michael Schenker. Matthias Jabs from the Scorpions uses it's 100w counterpart, the 2210. If it were stolen, I'd be crushed, and I would try to find another one, or at least another JCM800.
This really is a great amp, and I love it. You hear tube nazis bashing it because of the diode clipping thing, but don't listen to them. The diode clipping gives the sound that extra edge. If you see one, snatch it up quickly. You can get great deals on the split channel 800s because of all the bad hype about them. // 9