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Discussion Starter #1
I hate coming across like such a deluded consumer, but I don't think I can make excuses for myself any longer; I need a JCM800. It is the sound that I always wanted and aways was trying to get with my Traynor through buying pedals and the such.
I have now come to accept that my Traynor was designed for Fender Twin Reverb style sounds, and I do the appreciate it's sound now (finally). I will not sacrifice it to the knife to try and mod it into a JCM800.

So, now, to get that JCM800 sound, I will need to build a new amp. I feel no need to buy an amp actually manufactured by Marshall. I want the sound and not the name.
I'm leaning towards getting a kit from Nik at Ceriatone again, because I have confidence in the quality of all his parts, and for the complete kit without tubes it is $515 plus $100 shipping. I am too poor to waste money at this point in my life, so I am wondering if this is the best way to go. This is worth it if it's what it will cost, but is there a cheaper way that I should consider?

Is there any way to get close to his prices for things like his decent transformers for $160 for the set? I like the JTM45 style chassis that he uses as well.
I know half of you guys have probably built JCM800s from scratch (after all, everyone wants one don't they?), so I need your wisdom on this stuff.

Oh, are there other amps that nail that sound? Would I be disappointed if I went for a 18watt TMB instead? I know I would like the sound of an 18 Watt, but would that leave me still wanting a JCM800?
 

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My friend, i have researched this at length.. you could also look into building a mv JMP from 77-79 which kind of evolved into those 2203 and 2204 circuits if i am not mistaken but ceriatone gets great reviews so you can't go wrong with them. The only thing missing would be the head cab but you could build one yourself and get creative..make it look more modern rather than the vintage looking cabs. I have been looking at pricing chassis, turret board, components and transformers and honestly, the kits are still probably cheaper. Weber makes a few kits which you could mod to jcm800 specs - the 6m45p plexi 1987x circuit or their trainwreck clone which uses similar transformer to the 6m45p but would have the faceplates more accurate to a jcm800. These come with head cabinet as well for under 500$ U.S. The chassis are smaller and therefore you have less room to work. BUT if you are crafty and well organized and substitute a few parts here or there, you can get what you want. Overall though, i would say stick with Ceriatone. I just don't want to give them my credit card info via fax and one member here said this is what he had to do to get it cleared... sdsre
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Overall though, i would say stick with Ceriatone. I just don't want to give them my credit card info via fax and one member here said this is what he had to do to get it cleared... sdsre
Heheh, actually, I'm pretty sure that's me that you are referring to. I paid Nik for my DC30 with Paypal. The faxing of the credit card number was actually to the courier (DHL) for the customs clearance. I'm much more scared of customs these days than I would ever be of Nik. However, customs charged $21 that last time...I wouldn't mind it if I could predict it would be the same. (It's funny that it is always my nation that scares me the most in these matters, but it's not like our country collects feedback like on ebay or something, and people just choose a different Customs to go through-I wish! Not that I'm complaining or anything. I love my country...but mostly for other reasons)
Thanks for your thoughts. I'll take a look for those Weber Kits that you referred to, and see what I think of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, I took a look at the Weber kits. I hadn't been there before. They definitely are cheaper prices than Ceriatone; I was impressed. However,I think Nik does a bit more work I guess and there is more confidence in his components being quality. Nik is quite a bit more helpful for beginners too. I think I could handle a weber kit, but I have doubts about the quality of components. It seems weird that if you get it without the transformers, you only save $40. Are their transformers even close to that cheap? or is that just another rip-off scheme?
Even though I am a super cheapskate and would rather do more work then pay a bit more, it is the particular JCM800 sound that I am after, and I don't know if I can get that with any of the Webers or not.
 

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Its a trade off, you definitely aren't getting the same quality components and some of his layouts are god aweful from the perspective of being overcrowded but still you get the head cab lol. Anyway yeah, the transformers will be better in the ceriatone kits but they definitely don't sound bad in the Weber's.. Currently when pricing the whole thing out, here are some other options. Nobody will care about this but you and I but what the hell lol, i am jonesin to build one too so i have been looking at options.

You could:

1. Go to Weber and just buy a chassis for a bit over 100$. Get the 100 watt superlead chassis with faceplates. (more room to work , less crowded, allot of the weber chassis are the small ones)

2. Source some transformers, SRS webstore has output and power for under 100$ which are made for plexi/jcm800 type builds. http://cgi.ebay.com/MARSHALL-OUTPUT...ryZ43375QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem

3. Go to metro amps (look it up), metropoulos amplification makes one of the best 100 watt plexi/superlead clones around. Anyway, you can buy turret board kits for under 100$ as well as power switch, choke,pots and other misc stuff.

Still though, you are better off or coming in around the same with the stuff from Nick.
 

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If you want a JCM800 buy a JCM800... I wouldn't even bother making the amp and playing other ones. Seriously a used 800 head is only like $800-900... you can even find used 1x12 combos for $600 sometimes. Use the speaker out and run it through a 4x12! You say you don't want to waste your money, then why even take a gamble you know?

But if you're dead set on not buying the Marshall, try a Peavey Windsor head... like $400 and it's very 800-ish.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Peavey-Windsor-Tube-Amp-Head?sku=481331
 

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If you want a JCM800 buy a JCM800... I wouldn't even bother making the amp and playing other ones. Seriously a used 800 head is only like $800-900... you can even find used 1x12 combos for $600 sometimes. Use the speaker out and run it through a 4x12! You say you don't want to waste your money, then why even take a gamble you know?

But if you're dead set on not buying the Marshall, try a Peavey Windsor head... like $400 and it's very 800-ish.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Peavey-Windsor-Tube-Amp-Head?sku=481331
thing is... most people that make JCM800 clones make them better than the original. which is why it'd make sense to make it yourself. :banana:
 

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most people that make JCM800 clones make them better than the original.
IMPOSSIBLE! :tongue:

Alls I knows is I was all over that Gary Moore, Zakk Wylde, Ace Frehley, etc. style tones and I plugged into a Marshall and that was it. No major problems at all, has worked and sounded fantastic since I've had it... can't imagine it being better, lol now you've got me curious.

Maybe I'm a fool but if I want a Marshall, I save for a Marshall... I want a Mesa (barf), I save for a Mesa. I don't go for an alternative, if that makes sense.
 

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IMPOSSIBLE! :tongue:

Alls I knows is I was all over that Gary Moore, Zakk Wylde, Ace Frehley, etc. style tones and I plugged into a Marshall and that was it. No major problems at all, has worked and sounded fantastic since I've had it... can't imagine it being better, lol now you've got me curious.

Maybe I'm a fool but if I want a Marshall, I save for a Marshall... I want a Mesa (barf), I save for a Mesa. I don't go for an alternative, if that makes sense.
Well, as a tech I respectfully disagree, Mr. V!

There's no magic in an electronic circuit. Tubes are tubes and resistors are resistors. The schematics for a JCM800 have been all over the Net for years now. You can even get 3rd party output transformers that are reproduction copies of the original Marshall units, since modern Marshall transformers are no longer built the same.

Players don't usually know what I've done, 'cuz I don't usually bother to duplicate the cosmetic appearance of the original. What difference does it make to the sound if the knobs are a different style or the tolex a different colour? It's all how things are wired up. When you're not technical yourself you just think I made a great sounding amp. I don't try to fool anyone and cheerfully admit to where I've "stolen" my circuits but it doesn't matter. They just are happy with a Wild Bill "Busen" amp and as long as they're happy then so am I!:smile:

I've built all kinds of Plexi's and Fenders, Vox's and Ampegs. It's no big deal. I even built one JCM800 and added reverb to it. Took a little bit of research and design but it sounds fabulous! Learned enough that years later I modded a Traynor into a Plexi for Davetcan on this board and added reverb to his unit. He seems quite happy!:rockon2:

If you've never heard a tech make an "alternative" that sounds as good as the original (or better!) then I suggest that you haven't met any decent techs.

:food-smiley-004:
 

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If you've never heard a tech make an "alternative" that sounds as good as the original (or better!) then I suggest that you haven't met any decent techs.
That would be true but I've only had a couple experiences with amps that weren't by brands I know (like Peavey, Laney, Marshall, etc.).

The last experience I had was with a friends amp with what was supposed to be a copy of some high gain amp. Forget the model right now, I'm sure it'll come to me later but it was completely awful. Dude shelled out near $1200 I believe and it sounded insanely fizzy, hissing like crazy... the tone was awful.

I guess I shouldn't really categorize all of the 'alternative' amps together eh? Never even thought about factors like different techs, etc... my bad.

On a side note, if anyone is interested in schematics I downloaded for someone else I could upload 'em for you. Near 300 MB, says there's 801 of 'em (I can't make sense of any of that shit haha).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I love how this actually progressed into a good discussion.

I would have to agree with Bill, Budda, and Kapo about building what you want. I think particularly in regard to JCM800s.

I'm not against having a Marshall, but I want it to sound good and it seems that the 2204 (and 2203) are the ones that really nailed the tone with real consistency. (they changed the circuit since then maybe?). Anyways, I see a real advantage of having something hand-wired (like my other amps) that could be easy to make quick and easy mods with after as well. It makes me feel like it could last forever and always be useful.

At the same time, Violation, that Peavey Windsor did catch me off guard. I am interested to hear one. It's definitely an impressive price. The cheapskate in me demands that I go try one at a store and give it a chance. I'll see if I can find one at that store in Lethbridge that carries Peavey when I go there later this week. However, I think at this point I am starting to get afraid that anything but a JCM800 (good HW clone) might leave me out searching again in another few months or a year. I am happy with the amps I have and I am not looking for something else to tide me over for another little while, but rather; I want that particular (JCM800) tone that I feel my others aren't really designed to approach.
 

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I would suggest that you check out a DSL 50 or 100. These amps are unjustly reviled by most marshall afficinatos and can be bought for less than $600 in mint condition.

I have owned a 2203 and currently own a 2225 Jub and the DSL can cover both amps and more pretty well and at lower volumes. I have spent hours directly compared these amps with a Headbone and was shocked at how well the DSL stacked up.

Forget my opinion just use your ears and decide. The DSL is a bargain.
 

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The DSL's are great amps for a great bargain. The JCM 800 is my main amp and it was worth spending $1100 on. That being said, the Epiphone SoCal 50 is a great amp to consider too. It is the only new amp I've played that has the same warmth and punch of an 800. And for $600-650, it is the best bargain out there. But have a listen to a few different ones before you make a decision, you gotta play them to really get a feel for them
 

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Ha! Good call Budda... Splawn's are rather appealing in a George Lynch kind of way :banana:. At the end of a day, a circuit is a circuit.. and i would argue that in the case of the modern circuits, you can build your amp with caps like Sozos which sound awesome or orange drops and better filter caps than what you will get in the made in china PC board that comes with the JCM800's now. You could even use carbon comp resistors for the "mojo" (and added noise a tad) if you wanted... bottom line is that building is fun and i am jonesin to do another build. You can also build the JCM800 with the "mods" already in if you want to do the Peter Jackson thing..

another cool project i wanted to tackle was building a SLO clone.. that would be awesome.

Those Windsor's are ok but the only way to get good tone out of them is like with my Laney 5 knob AOR.. gotta dime the $hit out of em and go for all power tube distortion.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Robert, that JCM800 combo looks not bad.
I really like how this forum helps us to share the deals that we find around the country and online. I really appreciate the advice we get to give each other. Helps me feel like I can check with experts before I go and do something really stupid.

Pretty sure this combo's not the right one for me though.
A few reasons:
1) I'd like just a head (I have already bought some Eminence speakers and separate speaker cab being built for them)
2) I can still get the Ceriatone for a couple hundred dollars cheaper
3)This combo is likely not a 2204 (or hand-wired)
4)Getting one already completely assembled takes the fun building/bonding time with the amp away from me
5)It's on the other side of the country, so I wouldn't get to try it first, and then it would likely cost even more for shipping.
 

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I've owned two JCM 800's.
An 1983 4104 2x12 combo and an 1982 2204 head. IMHO the early JCM 800's are "the" ones to own. Many changes occured in the design but the early ones for the most part are awsome.


Since you do not seem to like marshall you may like what I have to say next.
Both JCm 800's came and went andwhat replaced them was a 1993 Soldano Hot Rod 50... this amp is the epitome of that JCM 800 tone... it's everything you would expect the best JCM 800 to be. Pick one up off of Ebay for under a 100 and never look back.
 
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