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  1. #1
    Eruption LeftyVanHalen's Avatar
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    08.05.17 @ 01:41 PM
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    Default What is the best head for Marshall metal tones?

    Hey guys,

    Well my saga continues regarding my quest for an amp for my upcoming 40th birthday (in September).

    I have been going back and forth on what to get. Here are my most recent choices:

    1. JCM 800 2203 (original from 80's) - Does this have enough gain on tap without a pedal to get me in 80s metal territory?

    2. JCM 800 2205 (original from 80's) - I hear this one has more gain but is not as desireable. I have a local guy who will sell me one for $900-$1,000

    3. 1959 SuperLead - either reissue or Metro - Does this have enough natural gain for metal?

    4. Randy Rhoads Signature Head - This was just released and I am a huge Randy fan...Worth the money? Not sure but the clips sound great!

    5. New JVM 2 channel head - It sounded pretty sweet in the store but I am a simple guy and dont feel I need all the other bells and whistles...Plus is it the type of sound I am seeking?

    6. Splawn Quick Rod - I like the clips but is it too much gain for my applications?

    The tone I am after is Ratt, Ozzy, Judas Priest, VH, etc.

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 03:41 PM
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    I'd go with the JCM 800 myself.
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  3. #3
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    11.04.17 @ 06:01 AM
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    The very best source for Marshall metal tones... would have to be a Marshall.

    Seriously... you need to take your number one guitar and go play through all those heads to find the one that has your desired tone and range.
    Woke up this mornin, got Blue Moon in your eyes...
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  4. #4
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Gain wise, you are not going to get what you want from any of the superleads (except maybe the Randy Rhoads model because it has a gain mod) unless you have the ability to crank them. If you don't have a good attenuator, or you just don't want to run the things dimed all the time, you probably won't get the gain you need. The 2203 Preamp circuit is very similar to the non-master volume circuit, but if I remember correctly it has one more gain stage... either way, the 2203 is pretty much the same preamp circuit with an added master volume knob after the tone stack.

    As for the 2205, I'm not familiar with it so I just pulled up the schematics, and it has 5 preamp tubes -- like a 5150. It initially appears to have much more gain, but then I figured out that there are 2 ENTIRE preamp tubes being used ONLY to power the reverb. Yes, you might get some more gain from the whole reverb circuit, but it is NOT a cascaded gain stage design like it appears to be!

    Hope that helps...

  5. #5
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    12.03.10 @ 03:16 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    Gain wise, you are not going to get what you want from any of the superleads (except maybe the Randy Rhoads model because it has a gain mod) unless you have the ability to crank them. If you don't have a good attenuator, or you just don't want to run the things dimed all the time, you probably won't get the gain you need. The 2203 Preamp circuit is very similar to the non-master volume circuit, but if I remember correctly it has one more gain stage... either way, the 2203 is pretty much the same preamp circuit with an added master volume knob after the tone stack.

    As for the 2205, I'm not familiar with it so I just pulled up the schematics, and it has 5 preamp tubes -- like a 5150. It initially appears to have much more gain, but then I figured out that there are 2 ENTIRE preamp tubes being used ONLY to power the reverb. Yes, you might get some more gain from the whole reverb circuit, but it is NOT a cascaded gain stage design like it appears to be!

    Hope that helps...
    I'd also say that a stock 800 is not going to come close to what you are most likely chasing for gain at practical volumes. It is basically like an updated master volumed mark II JMP Superlead in it's tone, it's quite bright. Have you tried a 900? They have more gain at lower levels and are considerably warmer sounding. They were the choice of metal guitarists in the early '90's for Marshall amps especially for the drop D chugging riffs.
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  6. #6
    Baluchitherium
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    04.02.15 @ 07:26 AM
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    Default

    you could always opt for the marshall jcm 800 kerry king "the beast" its pretty much a standard jcm 800 (2203) with a switch that activates kerry's sound, basically (from what i've read) it just alters the amps eq as kerry used an mxr eq pedal infront of his to achieve his tone.
    or you could just buy a jcm 800 2203 and stick an eq pedal upfront, i use one and get all i need from it....well a/b'd with a 5150 and a few pedals.

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  7. #7
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    04.11.13 @ 12:43 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeftyVanHalen View Post
    Hey guys,

    Well my saga continues regarding my quest for an amp for my upcoming 40th birthday (in September).

    I have been going back and forth on what to get. Here are my most recent choices:

    1. JCM 800 2203 (original from 80's) - Does this have enough gain on tap without a pedal to get me in 80s metal territory?

    2. JCM 800 2205 (original from 80's) - I hear this one has more gain but is not as desireable. I have a local guy who will sell me one for $900-$1,000

    3. 1959 SuperLead - either reissue or Metro - Does this have enough natural gain for metal?

    4. Randy Rhoads Signature Head - This was just released and I am a huge Randy fan...Worth the money? Not sure but the clips sound great!

    5. New JVM 2 channel head - It sounded pretty sweet in the store but I am a simple guy and dont feel I need all the other bells and whistles...Plus is it the type of sound I am seeking?

    6. Splawn Quick Rod - I like the clips but is it too much gain for my applications?

    The tone I am after is Ratt, Ozzy, Judas Priest, VH, etc.

    Thanks guys.
    TRY AND LOOK FOR A WIZARD!!!!!!!! www.wizardamplification.com

  8. #8
    Eruption LeftyVanHalen's Avatar
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    08.05.17 @ 01:41 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLEEPER5150 View Post
    I'd also say that a stock 800 is not going to come close to what you are most likely chasing for gain at practical volumes. It is basically like an updated master volumed mark II JMP Superlead in it's tone, it's quite bright. Have you tried a 900? They have more gain at lower levels and are considerably warmer sounding. They were the choice of metal guitarists in the early '90's for Marshall amps especially for the drop D chugging riffs.
    hi guys, thanks. I have an attenuator so he volume isn't an issue. I'm leaning towards the JCM 800

  9. #9
    Eruption mk5's Avatar
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    04.30.16 @ 03:52 PM
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    Default

    I have owned a Splawn Pro Mod and a 2205 two channel Marshall head.

    Actually, I've had three 2205s.

    For Ratt, Priest, etc., you would LOVE the Splawn Quick Rod. Love it.
    It's basically a modded SLP circuit.

    The 2205s vary by year--you have to get the RIGHT one. There were three eras: 1981-1983 (low gain, not desirable) 1984-1986ish (good gain) and 1987-1990 (lots of gain on tap).

    I had one from 87 and one from 88 and the one from 87 was stellar. The 88 had noticeably more gain.

    If I were you, I'd try to pick up a used Quick Rod off of eBay. Try it out. I bet it will fit the bill nicely. If not, you can most likely get what you paid for it (if you buy used) and pick up a JCM 800 2203-or 2204 or whatever. But the Quick Rod is a pretty solid made amp and has a bypassable effects loop, half power switch, solo control, etc. Stuff that can be handy and give a nice advantage over the others.

    You really can't go wrong with any of the ones you mentioned, it's just flavor differences.
    How open-minded do I have to be before my brains start spilling out?

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    12.03.10 @ 03:16 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeftyVanHalen View Post
    hi guys, thanks. I have an attenuator so he volume isn't an issue. I'm leaning towards the JCM 800
    Well that's another story. They do sound awesome dimed!
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  12. #12
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 03:16 PM
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    If you get this amp, you will not be disappointed.

    http://www.straubamps.com/cantus.html

    I can personally vouch for this amp.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  13. #13
    Little Dreamer
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    07.14.08 @ 08:10 PM
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    +1 on the Straub. For what you are looking for, this thing fits the bill. Marshall tones, with high gain/metal setting, hand built(like a tank) and reasonable.
    I have one of his Cantus 50 watters and for classic plexi/EVH type tones it is awesome, really full and versatile. I play a lot of classic stuff with my one band and more 80's/90's metal in another project. The classic stuff sounds right, and it take pedals great.
    The main reason I bought it was the boost switch, it takes the gain levels up to metal land and keeps the great plexi type tones. I probably play in boost mode 80% of the time(but then, I like metal).
    When I got it a few years ago, I had the builder do some mods to make the boost push the mids more to give it a more modern sound in boost. He was cool and did them no charge and fast. I have replaced tubes twice and other than that, this amp has held up great gigging twice a week.
    NOBOZOS, do you have one? We should compare notes....
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  14. #14
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    No, I don't have one, but the lead guitar player in my old band does. He got it, and dialed in his tone, which is like a Ritchie Blackmore tone. I didn't realize how versitile it was until he let me tweak the knobs one day. I plugged in and discovered the Boost mode. Holy Shit! I was blown away. I was immediately able to dial in an early VH tone that put my 5150 to shame.
    It is extremely transparent, but still very rich with tone. I love the fact that it is very touch responsive without losing any tone. You roll the volume back on your guitar, and it cleans up well without losing alot of responsiveness.

    The amp is extremely well built also. His has the cold cathode lights on the plexiglass behind the knobs. Looks cool as shit. For around $1300 for it, you can't go wrong.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  15. #15
    Little Dreamer
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    No, I don't have one, but the lead guitar player in my old band does. He got it, and dialed in his tone, which is like a Ritchie Blackmore tone. I didn't realize how versitile it was until he let me tweak the knobs one day. I plugged in and discovered the Boost mode. Holy Shit! I was blown away. I was immediately able to dial in an early VH tone that put my 5150 to shame.
    It is extremely transparent, but still very rich with tone. I love the fact that it is very touch responsive without losing any tone. You roll the volume back on your guitar, and it cleans up well without losing alot of responsiveness.

    The amp is extremely well built also. His has the cold cathode lights on the plexiglass behind the knobs. Looks cool as shit. For around $1300 for it, you can't go wrong.
    I won't ever part with mine.....after owning 6 different Marshall's, a 5150, a Budda and Germino, I finally found what I wanted. Mine has the LED lightup plexi face, so I think it must be a newer one. I bought a case to protect the cab and so far(2 years) it hasn't gotten dinged.
    I don't think they are $1300 any more, but the owner, Harry, was cool to work with so I bet if you contacted him direct he would hook you up. There was one on EBay last week for $1800, but it was serial #001. It looked a lot bigger than mine but had a customer cabinet too.
    His new 12 watt version looks cool too, it has the same boost switch.
    Anyway, for the starter of this thread, you should at least check them out if they are in your budget. The standard repros(Metro, Germino....) won't have enough gain for what you want and the JCM800s are cool, but not road worthy(IMO) and sound fuzzy. I have never played a Splawn or the RR Signatures, so I can't comment.
    Good luck on your search.

 

 

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