JMD-1 review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (106 votes)
Marshall: JMD-1
0

Price paid: $ 999

Purchased from: AMS - Internet

Sound — 10
The unit comes with many patches already programed at Marshall and most are usable examples of many of the Iconic Amps they have produced over the years. A list of all the amps and patches can be located at the Marshall Official Web Site. How does it sound, lets forget the digital thing and once you do it sounds really nice on every patch and for those who refuse to play it because of the digital connection your making a poor decision not allowing yourself to play through this amp. Of all the effects (which are usable) I found the Reverb and Noise Gate to be the most usable on this head. The gate is a welcomed feature that all higher gain amps should have. The only real issue with the modulation is that you really can not fine tune your settings like many really want to do; the ability to control modulation is delegated to two rotary dials. One dial controls the type of modulation and the other controls the level of the effect; since only one modulation can be used at a time. I personally try to run dry but many may find they need to use the effects loop for their off-board effects which this amp has built into it and it also has a variable gain controller in the rear of the amp.

Overall Impression — 10
Over all I am very impressed with the amp; and one would have to ask Jim why it took his company so long to finally get into this niche of guitar amps. If I was to purchase only one amp and had to cover music styles from Jazz, Country, Rock and Metal this amp would be able to cover all that and so much more. The effects while are OK they are very usable if you do not have pedals or rack mount effects units. What I would consider a design flaw with the unit has to do with the pedal or foot controller, to change to one of the two modes it operates in you have to remove the 1/4 cable from the unit and plug it back in (while the amp is turned on) and hold down the #1 button. With technology as advanced as it is I find it hard to believe that the unit was unable to be programmed to switch functions by holding down a button for a few seconds or even holding down two buttons at the same time. I do gig and I do see this as a issue that could cause issues at a gig if you need to switch between modes at a show. I would easily compare this to any other modeling amp on the market today that also has tubes as preamp and the power stages. Other amps out there in this niche come from Line6, Peavey, Fender, and many others. I have owned the Line6 150HD Spider 3 and I sold it within a month due to its difficulty in programming and moving patches around. The Marshall shares the same trait although the tones are (IMO) better sounding since it only tried to copy their own equipment rather than copy other companies. The supplied foot controller is also a nice thing to have since other companies like Line6, and Peavey have controllers but they have to be purchased in addition to the amp. I would highly recommend those reading this to at the very least test Drive the amp; go to your local Marshall dealer and bring your guitar with ya and plug into the JMD. IMO its a amp thats worth playing through at the very least or you might end up being like me and taking one home and putting it next to your other half stacks. Sadly I think the 5150 (First edition) might not get as much gig time this year once I do become more knowledgeable about this unit and its abilities.

Reliability & Durability — 5
This amp is British designed (with Softtube assistance) but actually constructed in China with the MA Series along with many of their offerings now. A easy way to tell where the new releases are being made is a British made Marshall still has the red led rocker switch; the Chinese amps do not. Of course this does not include the Vintage re-issue amps thats are also made in the UK; only new offerings. So as for the durability its to be scene but there is visible differences in construction. I have observed very small gaps between joints and other areas of attachments and other minor flaws but I am really picky and thats just me; being picky and most would not notice this unless really looking for the flaws. I rated only a 5 because I just do not know the future of this product

Features — 9
Mfg in 2010 and this is a new venture from Marshall; tired of others basically modeling their maps they have partnered with Softtube and now have their own modeling amp. Softtube is not new to this line of work and have actually done a real good job with the models in this amp. Covering amps from 1959 to the latest releases like the Haze; so there are 16 different Pre-Amp to choose from. There is a 12ax7 inside the amp and good ole EL34's are also stuffed inside. I purchased the 50 watt head so I do not have any knowledge about the combo's except they are the same sans the speakers. From the 16 different preamps you have a 4 channel amp that can store up to 128 total patches. There is also modulation abilities with chorus, phaser, flanger and tremolo. This unit also has a built in Noise gate; delay and reverb and everything is switchable via the supplied foot controller to a extent.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    LPDave
    guitarest99 wrote: Too sad, yes I think it has more options than the 5150 that I still own. The 5150 is a American sounding amp and this is British sounding. The multipul pre-amps are what sells this amp. Any one can go to a guitar shop sit down and play a amp the real test is using your own guitars and playing it a few days in a row at your leisure. But what do you expect most of you are children who have no idea what a real good amp tone sounds like. For the mature people here, give it a try; I stand behind my review and it played at my gig this weekend and it went over really well. Grow up children. If you dont have any thing nice to say stay off your mothers computer.
    It's called an opinion. Calm down "big guy"
    Vavoom2011
    I have owned the JMD 100 watt head and 1960A cab for about a week now. After reading posts, I had to register just to chime in. Okay here is my review: First off when I went to check out the JMD at the local G.C. I first went on youTube and listened to at least 30 or so demo/reviews. So I kinda knew how to work the thing upon demo'ing it. I plugged first of into a 100 watt JMD head. This has a 12AX7 and 4 El34's, yes 4. So with 5 tubes, yer gonna get a a pretty decent tube sound and I did. However, I went the 4x12 M412A cab that is mated with this if you buy it as a half stack option. It sounded kinda crappy. I played it for 2 minutes and immediately plugged into a 1960A 4x12 cab. Joila! MUCH better. More crunch better harmonic quality etc. So then I cruised through all the presets and was getting comfortable with the amp and was pretty dang pleased. I then A/B'd it with a JVM 50 watt 2 channel head through the SAME cab. Comparing the JMD1's JVM model preamp to the real thing was pretty amazing.....close....real close. The all tube amp sounded more tubey but not by much. I would say the JMD was about 80% realistic compared to the REAL deal. Remember, I A/B'd the amps within 10 seconds of each other. And it was still pretty dang close!! All the other preamps were pretty great. I like 90% of them. With the progamability and price, I think this amp is a definite winner. The JCM 800 and Plexi models are spot on. This thing shines at slightly higher than bedroom volumes but even bedroom volumes are not bad. I have owned: JCM 900, TSL, 30th anniversary, JVM 100, and played through Plexi's, JCM 800's and a 1/2 dozen Marshall combo's and this thing sounds as much like an all tube amp without the hassles of owning 10 different ones. Let's just say close enough to gig and record with. The perfect solution? Have the JMD for convenience and a few ALL TUBERS for those times when you want to hear every tiny detail of analog tube gravy. Lastly, someone said the Tiny Terror was a better purchase value/sound wise. No way. The one trick pony amps are okay for what they are but their limitiations are more of a downside expendeture than the JMD IMO. So summing it up: Cleans: Shimmering and very realistic Crunches: spot on with the Marshall CRUNCH Leads: Great with good sustain Effects: Mostly good...I give them a 7.5 out of 10
    guitarest99
    Too sad, yes I think it has more options than the 5150 that I still own. The 5150 is a American sounding amp and this is British sounding. The multipul pre-amps are what sells this amp. Any one can go to a guitar shop sit down and play a amp the real test is using your own guitars and playing it a few days in a row at your leisure. But what do you expect most of you are children who have no idea what a real good amp tone sounds like. For the mature people here, give it a try; I stand behind my review and it played at my gig this weekend and it went over really well. Grow up children. If you dont have any thing nice to say stay off your mothers computer.
    col50
    I've tried the JMD-1 and it was nothing impressive. Some of the patches are decent but most are dull and thin sounding. This amp sounds alot like the MA series. Definitely not worth a grand.
    JayLacelle
    col50 wrote: I've tried the JMD-1 and it was nothing impressive. Some of the patches are decent but most are dull and thin sounding. This amp sounds alot like the MA series. Definitely not worth a grand.
    I agree. You can get a much better amp for that price.
    col50
    guitarest99 wrote: Too sad, yes I think it has more options than the 5150 that I still own. The 5150 is a American sounding amp and this is British sounding. The multipul pre-amps are what sells this amp. Any one can go to a guitar shop sit down and play a amp the real test is using your own guitars and playing it a few days in a row at your leisure. But what do you expect most of you are children who have no idea what a real good amp tone sounds like.
    Im fairly sure that lots of UG users know what "real good amp tone" sounds like. Calling people "children" does not make your opinion better than anyone elses. The problem isn't that the JMD-1 sounds bad, it can sounds good after playing with the EQ for a while to dial in a good tone. The real problem is that there are many better amps in the price range of the JMD that sound way better and can deliver a more full, thick tone (ENGL Thunder, Orange Dual Terror, Tiny Terror, Carvin Legacy, Carvin V3, X100B, Peavey JSX.....the list goes on)
    guitarest99 wrote: For the mature people here, give it a try; I stand behind my review and it played at my gig this weekend and it went over really well. Grow up children. If you dont have any thing nice to say stay off your mothers computer.
    That's great that it went well for you at your gig. Tone can come down to personal preference and it sounds like the JMD-1 works well for you.
    pol2711
    Bought the jmd-50 head also and i'm very impressed. Some pre-amps are indeed thin and digital but within the others i dialed in my holy grail tone. Found it very quickly! (Vetta, POX X3, Spider Valve I had: tooked me years and still searching before I finally sold those) The only thing with this JMD is that you have to play it loud to get that thick marshall JCM800 tone
    sheguitarplayer
    I bought a JMD 1 50 watt head about 3 months ago. Ive used it live at 20 odd gigs ranging from pubs to outdoor gigs where I get to really wind it up. This is a truly great amp, dead easy to use, very flexible and above all sounds fantastic in a band context, which is much more than I can say for most other modelling amps Ive tried. It feels right to me and I dont even think of it as a modeller, just a geat valve amp.
    guitarest99
    I'm glad a few of you actually have looked at and purchased this amp. My 5150 still is collecting dust and those who refuse to even give this amp a try are doing themselves a serious dis-service IMO. I have dialed in my favorite tones and saved them to pre-sets and have a dead on Angus Young tone (without any outboard devices at all just amp), ZZ Top, Ted Nugent, and so many others. This amp is now almost 6 months old and it gets played everyday here and it goes to gigs also.