Battle of LOUD: comparing a 2204 with a 2203

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1,119
Absolutely nothing (guitar related) beats cranking a big amp through a 4x12 or two.
Yeah I'll bet. I have a Laney solid state linebacker 30 amp, and I took it out to the family farm to see what it sounded like cranked. . . took it into the barn and put it in the loft, and I ran a cable to the floor. Standing there (with earmuffs and earplugs) was absolutely incredible. It sounded amazingly good and it was SO LOUD. The whole barn was vibrating. . . I don't know if most of the volume came from sound reflection in the barn or what but it was still pretty loud from 200 yards away when I recorded something with my looper. Such great tone and I wouldn't have known it was solid state. Great marshall tone for days. . . ACDC, Van Halen for days. It made me wonder how much better and how much louder a marshall stack would have been than this little 1x12 solid state amp.
 

MrTAteMyBalls

Member
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4,694
Absolutely nothing (guitar related) beats cranking a big amp through a 4x12 or two.


This is completely true. I am glad I got to do it for a while but those days are over. I have a much better gigging sound and more consistency with many Katana at the volumes that venues want today. Not to mention the ease of carrying it around.

Small tube amp plus load box could be possible for me at some point. A captor X or something with a 1x12 on stage for me. Those new Marshall 20 watt plexis and 800s sound pretty damned good.


Any way, OP next time you are home alone turn all the knobs to 10 and report back if your house doesn't cave in.
 

BadAssBill

Gold Supporting Member
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7,722
Interesting findings Hef.....thanks for doing it. I gigged with a 83 2204 vertical input (I did all the cork sniffing research on TGP) for years and just got tired of having the thing on 3 in large bars when I know what it could sound like cranked. I felt I was choking it every gig. Some of our gigs were the outdoor trailer bed ones and 4 was about as loud as I could get it.
Thanks again...
 

Hefalump

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10,434
Interesting findings Hef.....thanks for doing it. I gigged with a 83 2204 vertical input (I did all the cork sniffing research on TGP) for years and just got tired of having the thing on 3 in large bars when I know what it could sound like cranked. I felt I was choking it every gig. Some of our gigs were the outdoor trailer bed ones and 4 was about as loud as I could get it.
Thanks again...

We went to a benefit concert after Christmas that featured a great Canadian band from the 80s and 90s.....called Honeymoon Suite......anyway it was in a building similar to a hockey arena......the band was friggen amazing.....both guitarists wete using Marshall halfstacks and sounded incredible.....I actually had the chance to buy the SLX that the lead guitarist used......

Anyway, my point is.....these amps do sound incredible, and they still can be used in performance....keeping my fingers crossed to see the day soon that avacodo toast and skinny jean and tiny lunchbox fad blows away......lol
 

kafka

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1,879
50W vs 100W isn't about volume. It's about clean headroom. Full sized amps are for playing cleaner at louder volumes. It's so you can have the power to support a deep bass while doing that big clean scoop. Half sized amps are tighter for more controlled bass when distorting more heavily. Typically the 50W amp is pushed harder, which negates the at best 3db difference that doubling the power gives you.

For Marshall lead and crunch tones, I've always preferred the 50W. For big clean, get me a hefty full sized amp with a less shrill top end.
 

Hefalump

Member
Messages
10,434
50W vs 100W isn't about volume. It's about clean headroom. Full sized amps are for playing cleaner at louder volumes. It's so you can have the power to support a deep bass while doing that big clean scoop. Half sized amps are tighter for more controlled bass when distorting more heavily. Typically the 50W amp is pushed harder, which negates the at best 3db difference that doubling the power gives you.

For Marshall lead and crunch tones, I've always preferred the 50W. For big clean, get me a hefty full sized amp.

Ummm, dont really see that applying to any big iron Marshall. Ymmv. To put it another way, I havent heard anyone complain their jcm 800 didnt have enough headroom.....lol
 

kafka

Member
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1,879
Ummm, dont really see that applying to any big iron Marshall. Ymmv. To put it another way, I havent heard anyone complain their jcm 800 didnt have enough headroom.....lol

So, people buy the right tool for the job? Not sure what your point is.
 

pickdropper

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Just curious, which sound level meter are you using? It’s an interesting experiment, but it’s important to know that the meter not only has the ability to measure high SPL levels but also that it’s linear in the measured range as it scales. Even if it’s got a max of 130dB SPL, it could be compressing as it gets towards the maximum it can measure. Ideally, you’d want to quantify it at the various steps with a known signal.
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
10,316
50W vs 100W isn't about volume. It's about clean headroom. Full sized amps are for playing cleaner at louder volumes. It's so you can have the power to support a deep bass while doing that big clean scoop. Half sized amps are tighter for more controlled bass when distorting more heavily. Typically the 50W amp is pushed harder, which negates the at best 3db difference that doubling the power gives you.
For Marshall lead and crunch tones, I've always preferred the 50W. For big clean, get me a hefty full sized amp with a less shrill top end.
exactly. :aok
to further enhance the different vibes, I run the usual i6x in the 50W PIs, and Telefunken or EI long plates in the PI of the big guys.
punchy, compact 50W crunch vs larger than life Hendrix style 100W cleans - that's how each one shines best.
make no mistake, the 100W will ultimately crunch just as much as the 50W, but the usable clean range on the volumes will be bigger, less cramped.
just saying,
Rhino
 

Hefalump

Member
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10,434
Just curious, which sound level meter are you using? It’s an interesting experiment, but it’s important to know that the meter not only has the ability to measure high SPL levels but also that it’s linear in the measured range as it scales. Even if it’s got a max of 130dB SPL, it could be compressing as it gets towards the maximum it can measure. Ideally, you’d want to quantify it at the various steps with a known signal.

It is an inexpensive db meter.

If you wish to loan me a certified multi thousand dollar db meter, I would be more than happy to redo the test in a more scientific manner.

This was just done as a curiousity, with the equipment I have at my disposal.

I fully admit there are tons of flaws from a scientific standpoint, but that was not my intention from the start.

Take it for what it is.......or ignore it.
 
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pickdropper

I am Soldering Iron Man
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It is an inexpensive db meter.

If you wish to loan me a certified multi thousand dollar db meter, I would be more than happy to redo the test in a more scientific manner.

I'm not bagging on the attempt. I think it's a fun experiment. I would just be wary of coming to any conclusions based on a cheap SPL meter, particularly when the measurements are pretty close to its top end. I would actually be somewhat surprised if the mic input wasn't saturating to some degree. Again, it's not bad to do the experiment, but it's important to understand the results may or may not be valid.
 

pickdropper

I am Soldering Iron Man
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Messages
7,686
50W vs 100W isn't about volume. It's about clean headroom. Full sized amps are for playing cleaner at louder volumes. It's so you can have the power to support a deep bass while doing that big clean scoop. Half sized amps are tighter for more controlled bass when distorting more heavily. Typically the 50W amp is pushed harder, which negates the at best 3db difference that doubling the power gives you.

For Marshall lead and crunch tones, I've always preferred the 50W. For big clean, get me a hefty full sized amp with a less shrill top end.

I tend to agree with most of this. My '69 JMP 50 has almost no clean headroom. It starts out a bit dirty and gets progressively dirtier. The only way to get a clean tone is to roll the guitar's volume down.

My '72 Super Lead has some clean'ish headroom before it starts getting dirty. It also has tighter low end. It's also the loudest amp I've ever used. It's brutal.

I typically prefer the 50 as it's a sweeter sounding amp, but I appreciate having both.
 

npappas

Member
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1,248
Well, my thought was it hit its peak volume and gets into saturated power tube gain after that, which would make it no louder, but gainier??......also you can get variation on db due to hitting strings with different force......0.3 db difference on a reading of 121+db isn't real far off in my books......doing the math it is a miniscle 0.2% difference.

My db meter reads up to 130db.......so I think I hit their peak volumes.

This is way more likely than your dB meter suddenly maxing out at 121. The amps are probably biased on the hot side and have run out of gain headroom at ~121-122 dB. The rest as you've stated is going to be tube saturation. Which, btw, will sound awesome.
 

pickdropper

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someone who compared a club 40/jtm50 and monterey/jtm45/100 measured a 1db difference (between the respective amps' sweet spots)

Since it's a theoretical difference of 3dB, it's not shocking that it could be a few dB more or less than that when you consider the other variables involved.
 

Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,251
Too loud to play anywhere. Nice gear to take pictures of though!
Agree on the cymbals as well... they kind of sneak up on you because they of course are a "necessary evil".
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
30,109
Thanks for doing the test, OP.

Just to address the meter problems, it'd be pretty simple to retest the amps in a larger room, or mount the dB meter outside the door, to prevent room coupling and meter "near overload" from complicating the results.

As to volume. I'm perfectly happy hearing that the volumes of a 2203 and a 2204 are nearly identical, that agrees with my basic impressions. What's different is the attack! The 2204 gets crunchy and sustains. The 2203 beats you over the head, then gets crunchy and sustains. I had a very early 2203 from a friend that bought it new-in other words a great amp to collect. And I just couldn't stand turning it up, I only need one amp that punishes me so bad I don't want to turn it up, and the Sound City 200 does that for me just fine. The 2203 went on down the road the the 2204 stayed!
 

Hefalump

Member
Messages
10,434
Thanks for doing the test, OP.

Just to address the meter problems, it'd be pretty simple to retest the amps in a larger room, or mount the dB meter outside the door, to prevent room coupling and meter "near overload" from complicating the results.

As to volume. I'm perfectly happy hearing that the volumes of a 2203 and a 2204 are nearly identical, that agrees with my basic impressions. What's different is the attack! The 2204 gets crunchy and sustains. The 2203 beats you over the head, then gets crunchy and sustains. I had a very early 2203 from a friend that bought it new-in other words a great amp to collect. And I just couldn't stand turning it up, I only need one amp that punishes me so bad I don't want to turn it up, and the Sound City 200 does that for me just fine. The 2203 went on down the road the the 2204 stayed!

My 2203 has a wonderfull lar mar ppimv..it can be taken out of the circuit or quiet the mighty beast to a whisper...so the 2203 stays, and can play anywhere.
 

andyk

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,143
Interesting test! Clearly shows how BAD 2203/2204 JCM800's are for home use!
 




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