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Hi:

I swear on my fretted girls this post is not a troll. I was reading the JCM 900 thread and this came to mind.

What is the reason why the JCM 800 is a sought after amp and the 900 is not as much? What is the mystique?

I own a JCM 800 2x12 combo and I love it. Wouldn't trade it for the world. But I didn't buy it because it said 800 on it. I bought it because I was looking for something Marshall, something in a manageable package, and this was available at what I thought was a good price.

So what is it about the 800 that others seek, and how does it compare to other famous Marshalls, like the Plexi or the DSL/TSL?

FWIW, I also have a Mesa Recto Head and I am in the market for a Bassman head (getting harder to find!). I am a firm believer in the right tool for the job...

Bry:smilie_flagge17:
 

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Time for Wild Bill to chime in.
 

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I'd like the hear why too.

My step dad has a 50 watt JCM 900 SLX and it's amazing... I'm constantly using it over my 800. If I can ever find the same amp I'm definetly buying it and ditchin' the 800.
 

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I'd like the hear why too.

My step dad has a 50 watt JCM 900 SLX and it's amazing... I'm constantly using it over my 800. If I can ever find the same amp I'm definetly buying it and ditchin' the 800.
They are quite different circuits. It depends on what you play.

The JCM800 has both a HIGH and a LOW input jack. The HIGH adds an extra stage of gain. This means a great clean tone is easily accomplished and a reasonable amount of preamp "crunch" is available. The 50 watt version is always more in demand 'cuz you can run it at higher volume settings. This allows power amp distortion in the mix. If a master volume is set on the low side then the power section stays clean and the only distortion comes from the preamp, which tends to be "fizzy". A 50watt head on 8 will always sound much better than a 100 watter on 4.

The 900 is simply a gain monster. It has no LOW input but just fires straight into a bunch of tube preamp stages. These stages have a lot of solid state clipping diodes that add some "fuzz box" style distortion. Then the preamp is fed into some ICs, for more solidstate preamp boost. There's even a fullwave diode bridge in the circuit to clip the signal into distortion even more.

The 900 seems to many users a late 80's amp that is more of a one-trick pony. If you wanna play nothing but hardcore then it's a good amp. If you try to play a lot of other styles you'll be disappointed. Hardcore tends to be a lot of gain and a lot of pedals/processing, which means the best features of a tube amp are largely irrelevant. That's why such players often like solidstate amps like some of the Randalls. Their sound has so much shaping that tube tone just doesn't really matter.

The 800 on the other hand is much more versatile and if you do want to play hardcore then a pedal or two can make the amp sound just fine.

A different hammer for a different job. Every guitarist should have a couple of different amps and guitars to cover a wide range of sounds.

:rockon2::food-smiley-004:
 

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I remember reading on TGP that the SLX 900's don't have clipping diodes and have an extra preamp tube? 900 is versatile enough, I play hard rock / metal / thrash on it and my step dad plays blues and classic rock... great tone all around.

I liked the Randall comment, I have one of them too. Oh why must we be so predictable, lol.
 

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I've had a few of 'em.

Bought them new in the eighties. Think about that for a second. Bought new.

I am old.

My main amp at the time was a new Mesa MKIIB.

Worked very well. Fender cleans and screaming high gain. Nothing quite like it in those days.

I wanted to run an A/B rig...was running short on cash so I bought a solid state channel switching Marshall combo...I forget the model number.

That sounded pretty good....but the damn thing died after owing it for just two weeks....right in the middle of recording a radio special...............I finished up with the Mesa so no real harm done.

I returned the faulty amp to the dealer....played the failure during recording session/pissed off customer card and was offered a JCM800 4210 in exchange for the solid state amp.

Seemed like a good deal.

An all tube/channel switching Marshall......just what I needed.

Problem was, a JCM800 Marshall 4210 sounds like ass.

Pure and simple.

I was using a generic 4x12 with the Mesa. A friend liked the cab so he offered me a Marshall 4010 combo in trade. This was a special edition/white tolex one.

Now that's an amp.

Sounded very good a low volumes with a pedal....sounded better the louder it got.

A very good sounding amp.

In fact I really should pick one up sometime.

There are others who claim they can make a 4210 sound good.

That skill eludes me.

As always YMMV.

Best regards,

Brian
 

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I never owned a JCM 800, but on my bands last recording we used one for most of the sessions. It was an 80's model run into a 4 x 12 with Greenbacks and cranked. The sound was just incredible. Not even remotely practical for any of my gigging or jamming needs due to the size and volume though so I never really looked into getting one. My only experiences with Marshalls are the ones I have played, but out of those the JCM800 was my favourite by far.
 

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A few thinks leading to the mystique of the JCM 800.

1.) A new generation of players for whom the 1980s is "old school" or "roots music." The JCM 800 was the sound of 80 hard rock and metal and is now an archetype.

2.) A bunch of players who, now in their 30s and 40s, want to recapture their youth or buy the amp they couldn't afford back in the day.

I've owned a JCM 800 2x12 combo. 50 ungodly loud watts. Sounds great but even at '1' the thing was LOUD. The guitar player in my old band (I was a drummer) had a Marshall Jubille 2x12 combo in gray tolex. We didn't really like it and he sold it in the early 90s for $500!

JCM 800s are nice amps, but like any amp, there is a reason they stopped making them; tastes change, needs shift. But if you dig that sound and can handle the volume go for it. Save some money and get an attenutator at the same time :food-smiley-004:

TG
 

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I've never played an 800, but I remember how dissappointed I was by the 900. I was expecting it to be a bassman with a master volume and 2 channels; not so
 

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the sound

I find the 800 has the sound that in my head says MARSHALL. Even the one I built had that sound.
It is very distinct and clear. No other amp sounds like it does.
I beleive it may be Marshalls answer to another amazing contraption: the 60's blackface "Twin".
A whole whack of great tunes were recorded with the JCM 800, something about that midrange makes it very freindly with technology.

Thats probably what lends it all that "mystique".

I wonder just how many songs were made with that amp? ...perhaps thousands?

Lots of phenomenological identity there, thats for sure.

sincerely

Soupbone
 
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