Price paid: A$ 3000
Purchased from: Cranbourne Music
Sound — 8
In my personal opinion, this amp is the finest amp Marshall have built since the JCM800. The cleans stay clean, which is a nice change from the JCM2000 series and it ramps up from there to a completely experimental level of gain. I'm running my Les Paul Custom into this with come toys in the effects loop and it delivers exactly the sound I was looking for. Sparkling cleans, dirty crunch, raunchy overdrive and ripping lead tones, everything I need from an amp. The midrange is simply magnificent, the snap and growl in the upper mids on the overdrive settings meshed beautifully with the percussive lower mids and although the top end can get a bit razory, it's easy to rein in with the channel EQs. The clean channel is reminiscent of a Vintage plexi, but with more headroom on green mode so you can wind the volume up but stay clean. Clean and crunch channels will take you from that sparkling heyday, up to a sound very similar to a JCM800 being pushed hard at the front end with a touch of power amp distortion. The 2 overdrive channels go above and beyond anything I've heard from Marshall. great modern hardcore and metal tones but the ability to dial in some nice Vintage style lead tones or even step into the future if you're creative enough. It is however, very much a Marshall in tone. The bottom end is big, but extremely tight, great for fast palm muting riffs and big chords but if you wanna chug, it's not quite loose enough. Don't expect the sort of buzzsaw grind you can get from a 5150, or the massive chug of a Mesa, Marshall amps have never been built for that. For me, the tone on this amp is exactly what I want and does everything I can imagine ever needing. I play mostly post-hardcore, hard rock and the Marshall tone is great for that. But since I'm trying to be objective, I'm giving it an 8 because this amp is not going to suit everyone's complete needs.
Overall Impression — 9
For the type of music I play (post-hardcore, hard rock, screamo) this amp delivers on all fronts. I've tinkered with it a lot in my own time and managed to pull some great, versatile, Vintage style tones from it. It is however, definitely geared towards ultra modern crunch and high gain tones. Which is great for someone like me Who likes thinking forward when it comes to tone, but might leave Vintage addicts a little wanting. I've been playing for 11 years and this is my 3rd valve amp (previous being a Peavey Valveking and a Peavey 5150 (borrowed)) and it's most definitely the most versatile amp I've played. It can easily go toe to toe with other feature heavy amps such as the Hughes And Kettner TriAmp and Engl Screamer or Fireball amps and edges both out in the price race, but as always, it's a matter of what gets YOU hard (or wet). Lost or stolen? If you can make it away with this 25kg beast, then you've earned it (yes, it's damn heavy). I would definitely buy it again, mostly because it's my voice, this is the amp that makes me sound like me. The JVM410H is perfect for me, but at the end of the day, the best way to know if it's right for you is to play it for yourself.
Reliability & Durability — 6
This is the one area where my particular amp let me down unfortunately, The first gig I used it at, there was a switching problem on the overdrive channels and I had to play the whole show with just my clean and crunch channels available. This was only about 2 weeks after I bought it. To their credit though Marshall fixed it promptly and replaced the Valve PCB and since then it's worked like a dream (they even kept all the knobs in the same positions). As for gigging without a backup though, I would ideally have a backup for everything, even the amp, but it's not really practical to buy another JVM and it's just plain impractical to have a backup amp head. The problem here is, first impressions laugh, and I'm always a little on edge over whether it's going to break down again. Although I'm confident it will keep working, it's always in the back of my mind, which isn't a great thing and doesn't do the amps tone justice. So for my own personal experience, it loses marks here.
Features — 9
This is one feature packed machine. As their new flagship amp, Marshall have really pulled out all the stops and built this amp with a similar mentality to the features of The Hughes & Kettner TriAmp. 4 channels, each with independent EQ, volume and gain controls run through separate, footswitchable master volumes driven by 4 ECC83 valves in the pramp, and one ECC83 and 4 EL34 power amp valves. Each channel is also equipped with three separate gain 'modes', green, Orange and red, with each one actually reconfigures the gain structure of the channel to offer gradually increasing levels of gain. Also included is an individual reverb level control for each channel which is also footswitchable. The amp also comes with a 6 button footswitch which can operate in it's standard switching mode, or in preset mode which allows you to store 6 different sets of control settings including channel, gain mode, reverb on/off, master volume 1/2. The amp is also MIDI programmable with the capability to have 128 presets saved for recall via a MIDI controller. It also features a send style effects loop with level control and a power amp insert effects loop along with the usual outputs for all types of cabs.