Recommend an amp similar to my Marshall JCM 800 but with a few changes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by texgrind, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. texgrind

    texgrind Member

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    Hello. I know that there are a million "recommend me an amp" threads where the person asking for advice isn't very specific so I hope to aviod that. First I tell you what I have now and then what I'm looking for. I currently have an '82 Marshall JCM 800 4010 (basically a 2204) using el34s that I use in a headbox thru a closedback 2x12 loaded with two Celestion G12-65s. It's a 50 watt single channel amp with no effects loop. I rarely use any pedals and either use a Fender Strat or Gibson '58 reissue Les Paul. I run into the high input jack and preamp volume is usually only around 4-5 so I'm not using all of the gain this amp has. I play/enjoy the sounds of basic hard rock & blues such as Zeppelin, Judas Priest (up to about '84), early ZZ Top, VH, early Def Leppard, AC/DC, SRV, etc.
    I'm looking for a head with a similar basic tone and gain level as my JCM 800 only with the following changes:
    • less volume - needs a great master volume and/or power scaling, less wattage is fine and probably preferred.
    • slightly "smoother" - currently can be a bit brittle sounding in the upper mids
    • better articulation or note definition/seperation
    That's about it...the volume is definitely a big deal as I don't play out much anymore and mainly play around the house or just jam with friends. "Sleeping baby in the next room" volumes would be a nice plus, but mainly looking not to shake stuff off the walls or get the neighbors across the street and 4 houses down staring at my house :D as happens now.
    Here are a few amps I was thinking of: Top Hat Emplexador, Fargen Miniplex Mk II, Suhr Badger 30 watt, Top Hat Vanderbilt, Reeves Custom Lead or Custom 10 HG, Aiken??? I'd like to keep it to a max of about $1700 and less is always better.
    I think I want to stay away from el84s as I have a older Budda Twinmaster head that while having some great Marshall grind and wonderful articulation has a "sizzly" top end that I just can't bond with or dial out. (Which is why mentioned the upcoming el34 Badger and not the current el84 based one.)
    Sorry this is so long...I figured giving a few details might help with the advice. Thanks.
     
  2. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    David Bray master volume or his complete mod.
     
  3. Senor Forum

    Senor Forum Gold Supporting Member

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    Voodooamps V-Rock

    You're welcome

    /thread
     
  4. Drowned Rabbit

    Drowned Rabbit Black Beauty Beats Burst

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    The TopHat Emplexador is a great, great amp.
    But the "modern" setting on it always seemed
    more Marshall 900 than 800 to me. The obvious
    recommendation would be a Fargen Olde 800.
    It's everything you're looking for except on the
    volume front. They're loud. I have two Aikens,
    both with attenuators, and they absolutely nail
    the perfect Marshall sound. If you can find one,
    give it a shot.

    That said, I'd go with the Mini-Plex II. I haven't
    played one but I've heard they do everything
    you want and do it well.
     
  5. Stormin

    Stormin Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You should seriously look into and EL-34 Bogner Shiva.

    Stormin!
     
  6. mcgriff420

    mcgriff420 Member

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    Reinhardt makes some JCM influenced amps (storm IIRC), + he's licenced to install the power scale feature.
     
  7. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Why not mod your current amp? JCM 800's can definitely be modded for a smoother tone with less treble. Ditto on the articulation.

    As for less volume there's a good chance you can stick JJ 6v6's in the amp and rebias and have a 25 watt JCM 800. I'm not sure what the plate voltage is on your amp but if its < 475 V the JJ's should be able to handle it as they are rated for 500 V.

    Other options include yellowjacket el-84 adapters which require no rebias. And another method is using an attenuator.

    You could also have power scaling installed which although expensive is much less than a new boutique marshall clone.
     
  8. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    To be honest, i'd say grab up an attenuator and an EQ pedal to shape things more. I know there are lots of great amps available but thats a classic and a great amp in it's own right. Also, if your not gonna run high volume, throw a pair of 25 watt greenbacks in it. Just pointing out that it seems you are 90% there as far as tones. A new amp will have another set of variables. There are also simple mods that can be done to improve tones at low volumes.
     
  9. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    Fargen Mini Plexi. Very versital amp.
     
  10. jamison162

    jamison162 Supporting Member

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    Orange Rockerverb 50
     
  11. bonchie123

    bonchie123 Supporting Member

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    Well, as far as having a good MV and having a smoother tone then a JCM800 you could go for a Jubilee. You could get an Olde 800, but they are 2 grand. Voodoo V-rock is about 2 grand also. As far as cheapear options you could get a Traynor Blue or YCS-50. Very JCM800 like in their voicing, but better at lower volumes and a little smoother.

    Just mod your JCM800 IMO though. FJA does some great mods, Bray does some (he keeps raising his prices though)...voodoo would mod it for you. Thats the best option. You could go spend 2 grand on a boutique amp chasing after JCM800 tone, but in the end you'll get closer with a modded JCM800 (if thats really the tone you want). For 500 bucks or less you could ship it off have it modded and have it shipped back to you. A PPIMV would solve your volume problems.
     
  12. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    Reinhardt Storm 33.
     
  13. bonchie123

    bonchie123 Supporting Member

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    Umm, thats a NMV head (plus its 200 dollars outa his price range). How exactly does that solve his volume problem? I'm sure he could pay to get it modded for even more money, but then he might as well just mod his JCM800.
     
  14. bonchie123

    bonchie123 Supporting Member

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    Those don't really sound like JCM800's to me. Much darker. The Traynor would probably get him closer if were talking mass produced current production amps.
     
  15. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    Powerscaling is optional, and it's around 30 watts or so vs the 50 or 100 watts from an 800. Didn't see anything about price range, just trying to be helpfull, and not confrontational.
     
  16. AnthonyL

    AnthonyL Silver Supporting Member

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  17. guitdlxe

    guitdlxe Member

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    Checkout the Reinhardt thread going on the forum. Mark Knopfler is using two Storm 33s on his new tour. Can't get a better recomendation than that. That's Rock Royalty playing. Check out the clips of his 2008 tour on Youtube.com
     
  18. frankencat

    frankencat Guitarded Gold Supporting Member

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  19. bonchie123

    bonchie123 Supporting Member

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    My bad. Yeah, his price range is 1700. Storm 33 with power scaling will run about about 2100 dollars so that probably wouldn't work for him.
     
  20. GregoryL

    GregoryL Supporting Member

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    +1 for using an attenuator. The Bad Cat Leash and Dr. Z Air Brake both work extremely well and are transparent.

    An 18-watt or 30-watt amp is still going to be extremely loud if you get the power amp section going.

    I also think going with an attenuator will allow you to smooth out the tone somewhat since 800's compress at higher volume (of course using the attenuator, the amp will be working hotter, but the volume going to your speakers will be less).

    If it's still not getting the sound you want, I'd swap the speakers.
     

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