Best JCM800?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by vendo, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. vendo

    vendo Member

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    Is there a general consensus that one version of the JCM800 is generally "better" than the rest? I ask because I hear comments like "a vertical input 2204 is better than a horizontal input 2204," etc.

    Having never played one, I'm thinking of searching one out and would like to know which version to keep my eye out for.

    Thanks!
     
  2. buchla300

    buchla300 Member

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    I adored my 50w 2x12" single channel non reverb master volume.
    Best, no idea! But it sounded amazing...
     
  3. archtop

    archtop Member

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    I think the style of construction changed from the vertical input to the horizintal input.
     
  4. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    A search will give you all the info you need with regard to verticl inputs, etc...but usually the consensus is early 80's 2204 (or 2205 if you play stadiums) verticle input. That's what I've got because that's what my research revealed. I fired her up for the first time in a while this weekend...one bad ass amp.
     
  5. hongsta

    hongsta Member

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    Most people would probably say vertical input 2203 or 2204 (depending on wattage you want) but you should look (or hear) into other models too. IIRC, Michael Doyle, author of "History of Marshall" says that his favorite JCM 800 is 2210, two channel version 100W head w/ reverb (yes the earlier models bled channels but not a big deal since most people buy it for the gain channel not the clean channel) and Slash liked 2555 too. I have all of them and they are different but all of them are in the same ballpark and have merit of their own.
     
  6. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Member

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    The vertical vs. horizontal thing really isn't much of an issue with the 2204, as the circuit didn't change one bit. The horizontal input 2203 has reduced filtering, which may or may not have an effect upon the amp's tone. I do love how many people think that the horizontal input 2204's are less desirable, as it makes them a great bargain. I scored a horizontal input 2204 for $500.
     
  7. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    +1 The 2204's didn't change much besides the pots being board mounted. Good? bad? I don't know for sure, I do know my horizontal 2204 is an incredible amp and yep, scored it 2 years ago for $525.00!!
     
  8. vendo

    vendo Member

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    That's interesting because I think a 50 watt would fit my needs just fine. I'm no electrician so I just want to be clear here, there's no difference in the circuit at all between the vertical and horizontal models other than cosmetics?

    Another thing... How does one date a Marshall?

    Thanks again
     
  9. Troser

    Troser Member

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    That's the fact, Jack! Early 80's 50-watter (or 100-watter) single-channel is "the" JCM-800 tone. The channel-switchers from the era don't sound nearly as good, and the difference is clear side-by-side. The early models with vertical inputs and chassis-mounted pots are definately of higher build quality, and almost without exception, the earlier verisions of any amp utilize better components, or at least tighter QC on acceptable component "drift" from spec.

    I've got two old ones; a white Anniversary edition, and another '81 2204. The early ones are keepers, and sound great by themselves, or with OD/Boost pedals.
     
  10. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    And the board mouted pots vs. the panel mounted pots on the earlier vertical models. I don't believe that to cause any kind of tonal difference. It's just tougher to replace the pots if they need to be changed out. FWIW, I had all my board mounted pots changed on my horizontal 2204, a complete retube and bias for around $200.00.

    The thing is, if resale value is a priority you may be better off finding a vertical JCM 800 2204 or a JMP 2204,(same as jcm 800 2204). Even if they are tonally equvilant, the perception leads to reality, making the JMP's and Vertical 800's more desirable even if the perception is invalid. I can't say with 100% accuracy that there is no tonal difference because I have only played my horizontal 800. I can say it's one hell of an amp and i'll never sell it.

    They can be dated by the serial number.
     
  11. Renardm

    Renardm Member

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    Yup, I got a JCM 800 4010 combo for about the same earlier this year. The thing is perfect for me with a boost in front of it.
     
  12. timgman

    timgman Member

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    I have 2 of these.. how do I tell if they are 2204's?
     
  13. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    I have had a 1981 2204, 1983 4104 with 2 Rola Celestion 12-65s, and now own a 1984 Canadian 2204 (still has vertical inputs). All are fantastic and I would find it hard to pick a favorite. I do like the fact that the Canadian 2204 has metal toggle switches rather than the plastic rocker switches and came with EL34s so that I didn't have to do a changeover mod form the US models that came with 6550s (even though I think 6550s sound great too).

    I don't think there has ever been a reliability issue with the horizontal input models but the wiring of the vertical input ones is easier to work with. These amps are bulletproof and I don't see any problems with horizontal input 2204s.

    I removed the bright cap on both the 1981 and 1983 models and have kept the Canadian 2204 untouched because it is near mint and I find that with some good pedals, including a RC Booster, I can eq the brightness out of it and I really like the way it sounds this way, even at low volume. Stock 2204 + RC Booster = great sound. Even though I am completely satisfied with my other amps, the 2204 would be the last amp I would ever sell.
     
  14. GrecoVee

    GrecoVee Member

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    You feel that the RC Booster is enough to boost the front end of a 2204? I had one a little while ago but it didn't seem to have enough drive for me. Just picked up a BB pre amp not too long ago and it had quite a bit more gain and the treble and bass controls just seem to work better on it than when I had the RC when I used it with the Marshall. Actually I've been wanting to try one of the AC Boosters lately. The only thing I don't like about the BB is that there is not very much play on the gain knob, it seem to kick in real quick (for the lack of a better word or description) That's why I'm wondering if the AC Booster might be the ticket for me.
    Have you ever tried a BB pre amp or AC Booster with your Marshalls?
     
  15. goodtone

    goodtone Member

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    Hey Vendo ! Go to the Legendary tones.com website and read this article . I bought my Marshall based on this information. You can't go wrong !

    The Marshall Shopper's Guide -
    Part II: Vintage "metal panel" through JCM 2000 series
    David Szabados
     
  16. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    I haven't tried the AC Booster or the BB Pre Amp. I got the RC Booster on the advice of a LA studio player I know. I'm not really using the RC Booster as a distortion device. I am using it to thicken up the sound, mostly at lower volume. I also like the extra eq that keeps me from having to remove the bright cap, which I wouldn't otherwise hesitate to do if the amp wasn't totally stock and in such good condition. The RC Booster has way more than enough bass and treble control for me. I really don't have to turn the knobs very much at all after setting the amp the way I like it.

    When I need added distortion, I use a slightly modified (Paul Trombetta) Bosstone, Zendrive 2 and neither or them is cranked in all that high. I'm also about to get a K R Gypsy Fuzz.
     
  17. BlindLemonPledg

    BlindLemonPledg Member

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    19080-83 vertical input 2203
     
  18. TheGrooveking

    TheGrooveking Member

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    There is a definite difference between the vertical and horizontal input models of the same model #. The vertical input models were the originals and the horizontal's were the reissues. Also the reissues have small transformers.

    TheGrooveking
     
  19. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    Horizontal models were just a continuation of the vertical models of the JCM 800s not a reissue. There were some 84 model year JCM 800s that still had vertical inputs but later that year (at least for the American marketed versions) they switched to horizontal inputs. There are reissues currently being made of the horizontal models though. I am not sure abut the change in transformer size but I think they are the same.
     
  20. Kapo_Polenton

    Kapo_Polenton Member

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    I second the comment made about the BB.. the gain I keep just cracked. It comes on soo quick and the whole thing gets thick and messy for me. I also find even with the treb and bass, the clipping too smooth and thick for what I want it for. I find with my JCM it does a good Jerry Cantrell tone with a humbucker in a strat but that it doesn't always cut enough for me. I was also thinking of an RC booster lately to be honest but I think i'll hold off on that after reading the above.
     

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