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Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head   

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The all-valve JCM800 2203 is one of the most highly respected 100W Marshall heads in the company's long history. Evolving from the legendary Plexi he...Read More

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OVERVIEW

The all-valve JCM800 2203 is one of the most highly respected 100W Marshall heads in the company's long history. Evolving from the legendary Plexi head, it was one of the first Marshall amps to feature a master volume control. The essence of simplicity, the JCM800 is a one-channel, all-valve amp with no reverb or effects. Its easy control panel, distinctive roar, and larger-than-life edge immediately set the standard by which all other rock amps were judged and it remained the industry benchmark throughout the entire 16 years of its production life. Now it's back by popular demand and just like the 1959SLP and 1987X it has a Series Effects Loop with true bypass that takes the loop completely out of the circuit ensuring the original tone isn't compromised in any shape or form.

Classic tube tone from the days of huge guitar!

FEATURES
  • Four EL34s in the power stage
  • Three ECC83s in the preamp
  • True bypass series FX loop
  • 3-band EQ

Talent and a lot of hard work can get you far, but if you want to play like the big boys, you've got to play what the big boys play. Order today and get serious.

SPECIFICATIONS

JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head

  • 100W
  • 30"W x 9"H x 12"D
  • 41 lbs.
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
MarshallJCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head
 
4.4

(based on 61 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (43)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (6)
  • Excellent sound (6)
  • Good power output (6)
  • Warm / comfy (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Performances (4)
  • Outdoor events / games (3)
  • Professional recording (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (7)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great hard rocker for gigs

This amp is very impressive rocker but it is not a do it all amp for every style out there. I used it woth a 4x12 with vintage 30's which was a good...Read complete review

This amp is very impressive rocker but it is not a do it all amp for every style out there. I used it woth a 4x12 with vintage 30's which was a good combo.W
hen you crank it up, this baby has KILLER disortion tones. I find if you turn the master up, a low preamp gain setting gives an awesome raw, gritty rock n roll crunch (think ac dc, guns n roses). As you turn the preamp up you can get into some hard rock territory but not quite death metal insane gain stuff. Great for classic hard rock. The amp has one of the richest sounding crunch tones I have heard from an amp. However, it is very bright and while it does have a low sensitivity input that has come decent cleans, I find the plexi marshalls better for cleans and low gain bluesy style distotrtion. If you aren't looking for a hard rocker, this amp might suit your needs.

Also, it has to be played LOUD. as a single channel amp there aren't any features that allow to get a variety of tones at lower volumes. You won't get all the great dynamics of the tubes distorion at bedroom levels.

As such this amp is not reccomended unless you are playing regular gigs in fairly large rooms. It is much too loud for bedroom practice and isn't a very practical amp for rehearsing as you can't get great variety at low volumes. However, if you are a hard rocker looking for big sound for live shows, you can't do much better than the marshall jcm 800.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Try before you buy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Out of all the gear I've used this is the one I had the highest hopes for....I was let down BIG TIME. This amp is HORRIBLE and incredibly over-rated. It is...Read complete review

Out of all the gear I've used this is the one I had the highest hopes for....I was let down BIG TIME. This amp is HORRIBLE and incredibly over-rated. It is a single channel 100 watt tube head that simply can't perform. Don't believe the hype, this thing isnt a metal monster or rock royalty. The only thing you'll be able to do with this head is play AC/DC covers. Expect to pay BIG BUCKS on pedals if you intend on getting this head because you'll need them.

Reviewed by 61 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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4.0

80's rock big time

By 

from Pacific NW

About Me Experienced

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Limited Functions

Best Uses

  • big live gigs

Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

These are great amps. One of my favorite bands Scorpions used these in the 80's. If you like that lead sound this is it. People think they modded these but they didnt...Jabs only added an effects loop for a echoplex . His whole sound was a a dirty fingers and or Bill lawrence pickup into a cry baby wha straight into the amp. So they are not " too clean ". If you crank the gain and turn up the amp its a relatively high gain amp. And you can use the guitar volume to clean it up. Its not a metal amp though as in modern metal. I notice people mention Kerry King and Zakk Wylde but these are different then their sig heads that are out of production. Those amps used 6550 and kt88 output tubes and higher pre amp distortion. Way different sound . These use EL34's which break up quicker , have more midrange and really blends the preamp well . So if you are a thrasher or death metal guy , these would not be that great. But for classic hard rock and heavy metal they are perfect .

Its may just be a coincidence but i noticed all my favorite bands went down hill an album or two after they quit using marshalls . All that super high gain stuff is too sloppy or buzzy. Soldanos and Peavey 5150's came out with more gain but they lacked punch and definition . Even the new amps have definition but still fizzy distortion. Marshalls dont.

I have used one in the early 90's with a boss 7 band in the loop ( it had a custom loop put in ) . Best rock sound i ever had. If you are a serious rock player i would consider one.

Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

 
5.0

No better amp on the market!!!!!

By 

from El Centro, CA

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Good Warmth
  • Powerful

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

    Best Marshall ever. You can get great cleans and awesome overdrive sounds especially with an overdrive boost pedal like the Zakk Wylde dunlop pedal. With the use of your volume control you can coax many different sounds. I do not own this amp but after playing it and many others through the years this is the best tube amp on the market and very simple and easy to use single channel amp. Played through the 1960 BV cabinet you can't beat it. Also, it is very pedal friendly which is hard to find these days. I hope to own this amp one day and pray that marshall will keep this amp in their line for many years to come. Keep rocking.

    Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    More than enough

    By 

    from NYC

    About Me Experienced

    Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

    I own an older one from 1985, this amp sounds great broken up, and does not buzz or hiss when you're not playing. It has a simple single channel with very few knobs which I like as well. It's a rock solid amp great for loud rock and roll, but....

    It's way too loud! I have it running through an attenuator and then into the cabinet, which sounds great, but the attenuator then becomes an extra thing to worry about hitching up and breaking down on stage. It's also heavy, and in the road case it takes two people to move. I toured with this amp recently and it was way more than I needed. If you are playing through a full stack to a crowd of 400+ then go ahead and get this amp, you need it! but if you're playing to a smaller audience througha 2 or 4 speaker cabinet, consider getting a jtm style amp or something you can crank up instead of having to reign in.

    Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

    (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    the sound of rock

    By 

    from los angeles, ca

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Excellent Sound
    • Good Warmth
    • Powerful

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Performances

      Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

      The sound of Rock. Period.

      Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      The Hype

      By 

      from Nc

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Good Warmth
      • Powerful

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

        been playing for 30 years and had/played all kinds of amps but the JCM 800 definitely lives up to the hype!

        Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

        (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Great hard rocker for gigs

        By 

        from New Jersey

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Great Rock Distortion
        • Powerful

        Cons

        • Limited Functions
        • Must Be Played Loud
        • Not the best clean tones

        Best Uses

        • Events
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

        This amp is very impressive rocker but it is not a do it all amp for every style out there. I used it woth a 4x12 with vintage 30's which was a good combo.W
        hen you crank it up, this baby has KILLER disortion tones. I find if you turn the master up, a low preamp gain setting gives an awesome raw, gritty rock n roll crunch (think ac dc, guns n roses). As you turn the preamp up you can get into some hard rock territory but not quite death metal insane gain stuff. Great for classic hard rock. The amp has one of the richest sounding crunch tones I have heard from an amp. However, it is very bright and while it does have a low sensitivity input that has come decent cleans, I find the plexi marshalls better for cleans and low gain bluesy style distotrtion. If you aren't looking for a hard rocker, this amp might suit your needs.

        Also, it has to be played LOUD. as a single channel amp there aren't any features that allow to get a variety of tones at lower volumes. You won't get all the great dynamics of the tubes distorion at bedroom levels.

        As such this amp is not reccomended unless you are playing regular gigs in fairly large rooms. It is much too loud for bedroom practice and isn't a very practical amp for rehearsing as you can't get great variety at low volumes. However, if you are a hard rocker looking for big sound for live shows, you can't do much better than the marshall jcm 800.

        Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Rock n Roll Heaven

        By 

        from Parkersburg, WV

        About Me Experienced

        Ask me a question

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth
        • Powerful

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

            The JCM 800 is a fabulous amp. First, it is very simplistic in use. There are not a lot of fancy buttons or knobs. It is probably the purest valve sound on the market. With that being said, it is also a one channel amp that is made to do one thing and do it well. The amp is very loud and needs to be pushed to get the super sweet distortion pushing out. At lower volumes a good OD pedal can aid in getting to the better sounds. In regards to sound, this amp really does rock and blues really well. This amp will force you to play cleaner. As dirty as it is, it is very articulated. Simply put, when you hear that sound come from an amp you can only describe as fire, this amp delivers. I love it!

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

            (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            The BEST

            Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

            You wanna play with the Big Boys, You need what the Big Boys play. I have owned this amp in the past....Just the BEST.....Don't let others fool you. This is it!!!!!
            Simple, but the BEST!!!!
            Nothing is Better
            Always a good buy

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

            (3 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Marshall JCM800 100 Watt Head.

            By 

            from Sloan, Iowa.

            Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

            I like the simple interface. You will have to spend a little time to dial in the settings to get the tone you want. This is not a metal amp, you will have to use a distortion pedal. I use the MXR Fullbore Metal. I will try the Boss Metal Zone in the future. I don't have access to a music store nearby, so I had to rely on the videos on Youtube. Unfortunately, 99 percent of the videos don't do this amp any justice.
            I'm using this along with a 1960B straight cabinet. This amp is extremely loud even at low volume. You probably won't get away with playing this in an apartment building or a small cafe. Clean channel is bright, full, thick, and bell-like. The distortion is clear and crunchy. In order to get a metal sound out of this, you will have to use a distortion pedal.
            I haven't had any issues with the tubes or transformers yet.
            The price is certainly open to argument and debate. Of course it's expensive, but it's not as expensive as other amp heads and the tone is unmatched in my humble opinion. It's very well constructed and has a solid feel.

            Comment on this reviewHelp Icon

            (8 of 19 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            True Marshall tone

            Comments about Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head:

            This is it....a no nonsense stripped down Marshall. No reverb, no double rows of endless knobs, one channel, simple, straight forward and LOUD. I bought this amp used as a slightly older model (still the reissue though) and it's a mixed review. For one, it is everything you expect with nothing you don't need. Having said that, this amp definitely is not for everyone, admittedly, not even for me (even though i did decide to keep her). When people see stacks of Marshalls on stage and hear about the 'bone crushing gain', it simply is not true...unless you crank this thing up....and unless you are playing a 1000 seat venue, that ain't happening, most definitely not happening in your own house. It does have a preamp control which acts as a master volume but unless you run an attenuator or a distortion pedal, you really aren't getting that nasty tone at low volumes. And therin lies the 'problem' with high wattage Marshalls...they really aren't that high gain unless you crank this sucker up, and that is no easy task because it will be so loud. I personally use a Fulltone OCD pedal and that definitely sweetens the tone. Plugging directly into the amp, it does have a cool, raunchy tone, definitely better with humbucking pickups. Put in a good overdrive pedal and you have a nice AC/DC, 70s metal tone. This definitely isn't a metal amp without some mods done to it, although Kerry King has his own line based on this amp. One channel, and no reverb. The fact that it is such a simple circuit does mean that there isn't much to interfere with the tone. Built rock solid, and just looks so rock n roll. Also, very quiet with no mechanical issues. I'm not exactly sure what tubes are stock but mine has JJs in the preamp section. I'm sure you can definitely change the sound with different types of tubes.
            I'm astounded that this thing is $2300 brand new and honestly can't imagine shelling out that kind of dough for such a limited amp, but if you are looking to just rock out to classic rock or blues and have the means, than by all means. Just remember that if you play out, you probably won't go past 4 and at home, you won't go past 1 unless you like pissing off your neighbors. With an attenutator or good over drive, that will definitely help matters.
            I do have this hooked up to a 1936 2 X 12 with the crappy stock Celestions so i would venture to say this thing will make a lower wattage classic speaker scream. Hook this up to a 4 x 12 and it will come to life...and that i am positive of is what it trully needs. But than you run into the problem again of practicality and it's hard to justify unless once again you are playing places large enough to accomodate such massive amounts of wattage.
            So in short...you get what you see: True Marshall tone, super volume, and the real deal rock n roll package. Not great for metal, but oozes raunchy rock n roll.

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            Displaying reviews 1-10

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