Price paid: $ 1000
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 10
This amp sounds great. Really, really, really great. I use an Epiphone SG with Alinco IIs in the neck and Pearly Gates in the bridge. I also use an Ibanez Artcore AG-75 with stock pickups for some songs. I bought this amp because I didn't want an amp that was very genre limited. The 800 has played loads of styles for loads of different artists. And that's why I made my choice. If I had to put my finger on a particular style, it would be Muse meets Radiohead meets the Silversun Pickups, with Slash as the solo guitarist. And this amp meets that very well. It has a little hum to it, but it's not bad enough, not even bad enough to warrant a 100USD investment in a ISP Decimator. Sometimes, it might pickup radio stations, but that's rare and it's really faint. My pedal rig is an Ibanez Weeping Demon>ZVex Fuzz Factory> Ibanez TubeKing TK99> EHX Metal Muff. It handles all the pedals very well. So, my pedals paired with this amp, allow me to cover loads of genres very well. The distortion will get almost to Megadeth/Slayer levels. But I would recommend a boost, just because it tightens it up. The clean isn't anything to get ecstatic about. It's good, but it's kinda lacking because of no middle frequency to control. All in all, its the sound that defined the 80s and 90s and even today's sound scape.
Overall Impression — 9
As I said, my Muse/indie-rock style is complimented very well by my amp. I've been playing for about 10 years or so, and this is by far the best amp that I have owned, and possibly played. I would only wish that I could get a proper middle frequency control in the clean channel. I also wish that I had a proper footswitch for cosmetic purposes, plus so I could switch the reverb. If this was stolen (or lost, not sure how that would work) I would defiantly get another one. It would also make me very side, because my amp actually has a personality to it. I love the distortion, the feel, the response, the features, the 2 channels. The appeal and the image it gives me is a nice feature as well. I just wished I had a middle frequency control. I chose this amp head over a Bugera 333XL, a JCM-900 SLX, a Plexi, a DSL and a TSL 2000, an 800 2203, and several other amps of the sort and I don't regret it at all.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This amp weighs about 50lbs or so. And that's a lot. It's in a very, very sturdy wood casing with tightly fitting tolex. The actual knobs and chasis is recessed into the wood, so you won't knock the knobs or pots off when moving. So it feels very, very sturdy. I haven't had a problem with it. It took out a wall in my friends house and the amp took no damage. The reverb, however, rattles a lot. So when I first heard that I thought that something was wrong, but that's just the nature of the reverb. I've never had the amp break down. The tubes in it are about to die, but money is an issue, so I'm just postponing getting a new set. I give it an 8 because while I've never had a problem, it wouldn't be an act of god for something to go wrong.
Features — 9
I purchased my first tube amp, which happened to be a Marshall JCM-800 2210 from 1987 on eBay during late June of this year (2009). It had always been my amp of dreams, and I was quite happy when I finally bought it with my own money. I named her Llewellyn. This Marshall JCM-800 is different from the 2203/04 series of 800, and akin to its little sister, the 05. What sets the 04 from from the 10 series 800 is the addition of a master reverb, and dedicated clean channel. The 10 series also has an increase in available gain through the use of diodes. The outcome is an amp that can handle higher gain at punchier and tighter levels than the earlier 04 series. This comes at the price of losing a little bit of the more classic blues crunch that made some of the earlier Marshalls famous. So to recap, this amp comes with 2 channels, clean and overdrive. The overdrive has a Bass, Middle, Treble, Gain, and Volume. The clean channel has a Volume, Treble, and Bass control. The amp also has a Master Volume, a Master Presence, and a Master Presence. The channels are switched by foot switch only, and most amps don't come with the footswitch. I just used a Fender footswitch that was lying around and it allows me to switch the channels only, but you can get a proper switch that allows for reverb and channel switching. This amp also has an effects loop and comes in 4, 8, or 16 to fit all cabs. It also has a knob to allow for a direct line out gain control. All of this is in the back. I really like the fact that this has a dedicated clean channel, and that's why I chose this model over the earlier 800 models. However, it lacks a middle control, which often leaves my both too trebely and too bassy at the same time because I can't balance it out properly. This amp has 100W RMS output. And that's all tube driven. It comes with 4 EL-34 power tubes, and 5 12AX7 preamp tubes. I play fairly large shows on a fairly regular basis, and I have never had to turn this amp past 7 (and that was only once) and that was also unmiced. So, it's really loud. REALLY loud. I actually cranked my amp for the first time last week. I had my friend over who doesn't play guitar, and had him go outside my house and I talked to him between my playing to gauge how loud it was. I would play a chord or two and let it ring and call him and ask him how loud it was. He said he could hear the individual chords and said it was very audible. Inside, it actually Hurt; I could feel the wind and the pressure around me move as I played notes. So, to recap, for an amp of the 80s, it's actually got a lot of features. So I'm going to give it a 9, because, while it doesn't have DSP effects or anything, it has more features then lots of contemporary amps of its time.