Marshall...but which one?

dehughes

Member
Messages
1,157
Hi all,

Looking to get a head for my 4x12s, settling on "Marshall". Looking at JCM 2000 DSL either 50 or 100w used, or a new DSL100H...heard pros and cons for both...seems like the JCM2000s have a good rep but are discontinued...found a few good used options around. DSL100H is made in Vietnam but seems to be relatively well received.

Goal is to get good low-gain AC/DC thing. High gain isn't really important, but I wouldn't say no to it if it happens. I'm a fan of less is more...don't need 4 channels though I'm sure the JVM series is cool. Not sure if I need 100w but heard they can sound "bigger" and deeper which would be good for the Malcolm Young thing. Had 50w Marshall-y heads in the past (Top Hat Emplexador) and a Marshall 6100 head back in the day....enjoyed them, but went Voxy then small Fender now coming back full circle.

Anyway, before I track down a used JCM 2000 DSL or opt for a new DSL100H head, I figured I'd ask around here as, while I've read reviews on the amps, I figure someone here might speak as to which would work best for my tonal needs. Gretsch, SG, Tele, few pedals, playing at home, don't need a ton of options, would prefer the amp to do "one thing well", specifically landing somewhere between the "High Voltage" and "For Those About To Rock" eras of AC/DC.

Thanks in advance!
 

dehughes

Member
Messages
1,157
Good advice thusfar. Thanks.

My thinking with either going with a used JCM 2000 or a new DSL100H was for the sake of not spending a ton of $$$ yet getting into the tonal ballpark. The Vintage JMPs or a 1959 or 2203 are great options, though. Hmm.

Plus, my tinkering mind says I can always replace caps and install Mercury Transformers and a choke if need be.

I'm TRYING to avoid building one as that's a rabbit hole I've fallen hard down in the past....
 
Last edited:

belcebu69

Member
Messages
237
Good advise thusfar. Thanks.

My thinking with either going with a used JCM 2000 or a new DSL100H was for the sake of not spending a ton of $$$ yet getting into the tonal ballpark. The Vintage JMPs or a 1959 or 2203 are great options, though. Hmm.

Plus, my tinkering mind says I can always replace caps and install Mercury Transformers and a choke if need be.

I'm TRYING to avoid building one as that's a rabbit hole I've fallen hard down in the past....

to be honest,nothing will get you there better than a plexi (jcm 800 2203 or jmp are good options as well..) but for home use I think you will not be able to truly get the magic
from them,...
I know we have attenuators and master volume mods (I use them) but....not the same at low volumes though, they work at rehearsals / 21st century gigs volume..
I've had jcm 800 and played many dsl (green channel with a decent
OD if needed and the dsl works quite well) but when the time to put some cash on the table came and after trying a bunch of different marshall models apart from the ones I mentioned,it was the 1959 all the way,specially if you are after the tones you mentioned..
just my opinion though..
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
14,246
I'd go 1959/1987 or JMP 2204/2203 as my first choice. They nail those tones. That said a 200 series DSL is a great choice as well. Especially the green channel. The red channel is always there if you want more gain.
 

dehughes

Member
Messages
1,157
Yeah, a 1959 would be sweet, but I'd need an attenuator at least.

I have an old, '80s Marshall 4x12B cab with a set of reissue G1265s, and a '90s Marshall 4x12B with a set of Heritage Greenbacks, so I have good cabs for my tonal goals, just need a head that'll get me there. I figure the G1265 cab for the more "modern" AC/DC tones, and the Heritage Greenback cab for the older tones.

Geez guys, don't make me build a 1959. Please. I swear, I'll do it.
 

BADHAK

Member
Messages
10,524
Yeah, a 1959 would be sweet, but I'd need an attenuator at least.

I have an old, '80s Marshall 4x12B cab with a set of reissue G1265s, and a '90s Marshall 4x12B with a set of Heritage Greenbacks, so I have good cabs for my tonal goals, just need a head that'll get me there. I figure the G1265 cab for the more "modern" AC/DC tones, and the Heritage Greenback cab for the older tones.

Geez guys, don't make me build a 1959. Please. I swear, I'll do it.



Just go straight to the real deal. If you're serious about THAT tone then you may as well get it sooner rather than later.

You won't do better than a vintage 2203 /4 or 1959/87 and a 2203/4 will be usable straight out of the gate. It will never not be a classic and you will never lose money on it.

You're cabs are good and will definitely work for the vintage sound. I quiet like the Chinese Greenbacks in my 1960ax,.... they compete really well against vintage specimens, but IME vintage 12-65's are alot better than Heritage reissues.
 

big mike

Fire Josh McDaniels!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,879
If it's gotta be Marshall used 2204 or 1987 reissue with a master
 
Messages
784
I have a DSL 50 and really like it. I'd recommend the newer DSL100H since it's switchable between 50 and 100 watts. And the 100H fixes some bias issues that some of the earlier DSL's had (I haven't had any problems). Might require a tube upgrade (JJ's smoothed out some of my DSL's rough edges).

You can absolutely get excellent low gain AC/DC tones from the DSL, and at reasonable volumes. You can also get good medium and high gain tones. DSL's are wonderfully versatile. Jack of all trades, master of none, perhaps. But the "masters" have plenty of their own draw backs.

1959 super leads are EXPENSIVE and ear damagingly loud. Attenuators are absolutely crucial. They're a classic, no doubt.

JCM 800's are also drastically more expensive than a DSL. Also ear splitting loud. Only sounds like a 800 (but granted, that's a really great sound!). 800's don't sound like plexi's.

The DSL will, without question, do the Malcolm Young thing (on the green crunch channel, no need to touch the red drive channels). It doesn't need an attenuator (though it wouldn't hurt to use one to let you juice the power tubes a bit).

Try to find an opportunity to play a DSL. Let your ears decide if it does what you want before dropping $$$$ on vintage gear.
 
Last edited:

Darkness

Member
Messages
2,429
Dunno if this helps, but I know a great amp tech in Houston who hates working on JCM2000's.

After looking inside the chassis, I understand where he's coming from.
 

dehughes

Member
Messages
1,157
Nice. Oh geez the 1959s sound sooo perfect when they get going, but yes, so loud. I'm not set on Marshall ONLY, but it seems like there are tons of used and inexpensive options in that brand that will get me in the ballpark. Actually, the amp that impressed me most in this search was that Fargen one...the '68 Lead and Bass, I believe it was called? That thing sounded great.
 

Braciola

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,453
Looking at JCM 2000 DSL either 50 or 100w used, or a new DSL100H..
would prefer the amp to do "one thing well", specifically landing somewhere between the "High Voltage" and "For Those About To Rock" eras of AC/DC.
I'm a fan of the DSL50, however there are much better choices for AC/DC tones.
Pick up a Rockitt Retro with a PPIMV or a good attenuator.
Nothing out there sounds better for the price, and it will excel at getting you the AC/DC tones you're after.
 

Dannyz

Member
Messages
2,724
Why no Vintage Modern love around here? The 2466 is a JTM 45/100 with an extra high gain channel, PPIMV Master volume, Plate Reverb, Loop and a great price. Its the perfect Malcolm Young amp at budget price. If the 2466 is too much for you, there´s the 38/50W version (aka 2266), which is warmer compared to the bigger head. Otherwise, i would go 1987x with mods (snip the bright cap, PPIMV, Super Bass tonestack, bla bla bla).
 

BADHAK

Member
Messages
10,524
I have a DSL 50 and really like it. I'd recommend the newer DSL100H since it's switchable between 50 and 100 watts. And the 100H fixes some bias issues that some of the earlier DSL's had (I haven't had any problems). Might require a tube upgrade (JJ's smoothed out some of my DSL's rough edges).

You can absolutely get excellent low gain AC/DC tones from the DSL, and at reasonable volumes. You can also get good medium and high gain tones. DSL's are wonderfully versatile. Jack of all trades, master of none, perhaps. But the "masters" have plenty of their own draw backs.

1959 super leads are EXPENSIVE and ear damagingly loud. Attenuators are absolutely crucial. They're a classic, no doubt.

JCM 800's are also drastically more expensive than a DSL. Also ear splitting loud. Only sounds like a 800 (but granted, that's a really great sound!). 800's don't sound like plexi's.

The DSL will, without question, do the Malcolm Young thing (on the green crunch channel, no need to touch the red drive channels). It doesn't need an attenuator (though it wouldn't hurt to use one to let you juice the power tubes a bit).

Try to find an opportunity to play a DSL. Let your ears decide if it does what you want before dropping $$$$ on vintage gear.


Totally disagree that a JCM800 2203/4 can't do Plexi. My 79,80,82 2203's and 82 4104 sound more vintage than the reissue and clone 1959/87 I have/had and set to crunch you would have a hard time telling vintage versions of each apart.

The only thing my 74 Superlead did that my 2203's can't quiet do was the spanky, totally clean tone.

Also totally disagree that a 800 2203/4 is a one trick pony. The sheer amount of music made on them attests to the versatility. There's a reason why Punk bands, Kieth Urban, Joe Perry, Slayer, etc,etc have used them.
 

Serenity

Member
Messages
3,508
Out of your two options, i prefer the JCM 2000.
2203 is one of my favorite amps, was my only amp for 20 years, but it's total overkill at home. Yeah, you can get an attenuator, but the good ones don't come cheap.
Vintage Modern is way more home friendly, it will get you the tones you're after, and you can get them for a good price.
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom