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Unread 05-17-2009, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

I've just started studying the JCM 900 series. Don' know much about the 900 series except that I see a lot of bad things about them.

What is the difference between the 4100 and 2100?
I see that the 2100 is called an SL-X.
Looks like the 4100 was re-issued so it must be more popular?

I just came across a broken 2100 real cheap and wonder if it's worth $200-$300 as-is.
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Unread 05-17-2009, 11:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

Depends on what the issue and you capabilities are with regards to the 2100.

Here's some reference info for the 900:

Previous Marshall Products

Second section down.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 12:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

Thanks for the info link.

I see the SL-X has an extra pre tube for more gain - sounds like it cascades with 2 pre volumes 1-10 and 1-20.

Is one prefered over the other? In general why are the 900's looked down on.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 12:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

The issue with the 900 with some is that the non SLX models use a clipping diode for the added gain and as you discovered the SLX actually has an additional pre amp tube.

Personally I prefer the SLX having owned a few over the years. Great vintage hard rock and old school metal amp.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 01:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

Quote:
Originally Posted by steelhorse View Post
The issue with the 900 with some is that the non SLX models use a clipping diode for the added gain and as you discovered the SLX actually has an additional pre amp tube.

Personally I prefer the SLX having owned a few over the years. Great vintage hard rock and old school metal amp.
Wait, so the non SLX models could still be run through pure dist alone? Or did the amps always utilize diode clipping for distortion on the overdrive channel (I'm assuming the JCM 900 has two channels).

Wouldn't it just be a matter of removing the diode clipping? Of course that may not be simple, but... why would diode clipping necessarily be a bad thing? Aren't many overdrive pedals some sort of artificial gain feed anyway?

I never really fully understood who the JCM 900 got so much crap from people. I always just assumed it was because it was made of components that weren't as good and that the quality was generally less than a JCM 800 (and so the sound was different for the worse).

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Unread 05-18-2009, 03:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

Oh yeah the SLX doesn't need any pedals imo, even sounds wicked at lower volumes.

You make an excellent observation about the clipping diode comparison between the amp and a pedal! A few others have made the same statement along the lines of; "here we are arguing about a clipping diode, and these same players will stick a dozen pedals in front of the amp!" (or words to that effect).

Yeah another amp that get a bum rap and there are lots of players who enjoy the heck out of them and gig with them. It's just a bum rap as they are good amps, I just prefer the punch of the SLX but there's nothing wrong with the rest of the series imo.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 03:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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"here we are arguing about a clipping diode, and these same players will stick a dozen pedals in front of the amp!"
I laugh everytime we say that because its true. There are a lot of "purists" who would never think of even looking at a 900 because of the clipping diodes in them, and they are the ones with 10+ clipping diodes under their feet.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 03:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

Exactly!
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Unread 05-18-2009, 09:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

So do ALL or SOME 4100's have clipping diods?
None of the 2100's (SL-X) have clipping diods - they have an extra tube?

Is it true that Marshall did a re-issue of the 4100? If so - why that one and not the one with more tubes (SL-X).

I have a 2205 (diod clipping) - is the 4100 similar to that - or is there enough difference to justify having both?
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Unread 05-18-2009, 12:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

I gig w/a 4100 half stack and it sounds great. At low volumes it can sound a little dry/thin on the gain channel...but there IS a sweet spot to be found. The clean channel is really top-notch. Also, you can go "one channel style" with it and crank the clean channel gain and roll down your guitar volume to get "cleans" similarly to how you'd rock a single channel 800. 4100 is definitely a project to get "perfect" but then again, making what gear you've got sound as bomb as it can is half the fun of being a guitarist.
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Unread 05-18-2009, 03:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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Originally Posted by tarznamps View Post
So do ALL or SOME 4100's have clipping diods?
None of the 2100's (SL-X) have clipping diods - they have an extra tube?

Is it true that Marshall did a re-issue of the 4100? If so - why that one and not the one with more tubes (SL-X).

I have a 2205 (diod clipping) - is the 4100 similar to that - or is there enough difference to justify having both?
Correct, the SLX has an extra tube no diodes

I'd keep the 2205 and get the SLX-2100 if you have access and ability to get one, great amps and they're beginning to gain notoriety (finally) and should only increase in value over time.
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Unread 06-20-2011, 05:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

I own a JCM900 2100 SL-X for 21 years. Today, I renewed all of the 8 tubes. Now, I got my Yngwie Malmsteen tones back! If you are up to a chewy tone with all the mids and bass freqs from your guitar, you should think of a JCM900 SLX.
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Unread 06-20-2011, 06:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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Originally Posted by tarznamps;4152l
In general why are the 900's looked down on.
Idiocy.
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Unread 06-21-2011, 05:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

Let that 4100 breath and it will give you heaven.

Get rid of the spikey G12t 75, stick something smoother in.

Eq can help in the loop. Attenuation helps if you need quieter. If it sounds shit, remember the settings and dont do it again!

Gotta get them masters up in the past 7!

A frustrating amp at times, but then so are woman, have patience and tickle them right and you will see the true path.
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Unread 06-21-2011, 09:50 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

I compared the JCM 900 and I prefer the 4100 series over SLX and MK3 hands down... sold the others and kept the 4100 series amps... but need to run this 4100 series under V30...
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Unread 06-21-2011, 10:59 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

For the record, using a pedal into an all tube preamp is NOTHING like a solid state preamp. The former is taking a signal and processing through several tubes in the amp before the power amp section. The latter is using the diodes (with one preamp tube in the 4100 case) to send a signal to the power amp.

This is a FUNDEMNTAL difference in approach.

To imply that the people who don't like clipping diode tone are being hypocrites when they use pedals shows a lack of understand of how things work and what they sound like. This has been discussed in many other threads.

Some Marshall amps use clipping diodes in addition to preamp tube gain; these are very popular amps: the Jube, 1988 and later JCM 800's to name two. This is a FUNDEMNETALLY different approach than the DR which does not generate preamp distortion from the one tube that's actually in the signal/tone path.

This is NOT to say clipping diodes are "bad" as the 900 DR usrers will tell you. Lots of SS amps make really good sounds with clipping diode distortion generation. But to say using a pedal in front of a tube preamp is the same as a clipping diode preamp stage to generate the overdrive is ignorant.

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Unread 06-21-2011, 11:27 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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For the record, using a pedal into an all tube preamp is NOTHING like a solid state preamp. The former is taking a signal and processing through several tubes in the amp before the power amp section. The latter is using the diodes (with one preamp tube in the 4100 case) to send a signal to the power amp.

This is a FUNDEMNTAL difference in approach.

To imply that the people who don't like clipping diode tone are being hypocrites when they use pedals shows a lack of understand of how things work and what they sound like. This has been discussed in many other threads.

Some Marshall amps use clipping diodes in addition to preamp tube gain; these are very popular amps: the Jube, 1988 and later JCM 800's to name two. This is a FUNDEMNETALLY different approach than the DR which does not generate preamp distortion from the one tube that's actually in the signal/tone path.

This is NOT to say clipping diodes are "bad" as the 900 DR usrers will tell you. Lots of SS amps make really good sounds with clipping diode distortion generation. But to say using a pedal in front of a tube preamp is the same as a clipping diode preamp stage to generate the overdrive is ignorant.

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Signal is still going through a tube. Basically its akin to a fender with pedal in front of it....
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Unread 06-21-2011, 11:36 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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Signal is still going through a tube. Basically its akin to a fender with pedal in front of it....
The one tube in the DR doesn't generate much gain at all so without the diodes you have a 'Fender at low volume'...yeah add a pedal and the Fender wakes up.

The signal goes through the tube as you say, but it's preamp TUBE distortion that the DR's design won't do. That's why these amps are great on 10: like a plexi the power tubes add the tone. This is fundementally opposite of the 2000 series designs.

On a high gain amp, turning the gain to 1 and the volume to 10 doesn't sound very plexi-like at all; it sounds like crap as the power tubes are designed to just be loud. On the DR the power tubes contribute a lot more to the tone.

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Unread 06-21-2011, 12:03 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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The one tube in the DR doesn't generate much gain at all so without the diodes you have a 'Fender at low volume'...yeah add a pedal and the Fender wakes up.

The signal goes through the tube as you say, but it's preamp TUBE distortion that the DR's design won't do. That's why these amps are great on 10: like a plexi the power tubes add the tone. This is fundementally opposite of the 2000 series designs.

On a high gain amp, turning the gain to 1 and the volume to 10 doesn't sound very plexi-like at all; it sounds like crap as the power tubes are designed to just be loud. On the DR the power tubes contribute a lot more to the tone.

Ken
my 900 deffinatly comes close to my plexi, just without the hugeness
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Unread 06-21-2011, 12:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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my 900 deffinatly comes close to my plexi, just without the hugeness
Yeah, same with the DSL. You can come close with the green channel and minimal gain, but it's not even power tube distortion like on the DR, and it ain't no plexi! LOL

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Unread 06-21-2011, 12:48 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

One thing I can say is that the 4100's and 2100's are very nice sounding amps BUT they don't sound like my Superlead .......I haven't been able to dial it in to get it to sound like one.
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Unread 06-21-2011, 01:50 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

all the dual reverbs use clipping diodes and power tube saturation, the MKIII's all have the OPTION of using diodes for ADDED gain but, can be run without it. SL-X's are all tube distortion.


All can sound great. I prefer the SL-X, then the MKIII THEN the DR's out of the bunch but, i got some awesome tones out of the 4500 DR i owned. It is a very bright amp though an as such a proper EQ (in this case dial out the treb and pres no higher than 2) to sound good and a speaker setup that's darker and fuller helps but, i used 75's and dialed out all the highes and upped the mids and lows and it sounded great. I also didn't use a boost for it. Most amps i do but, that one i didn't. If you do though you can roll off the gain on the lead channel and push the preamp tube a bit to get a warmer tone.

There's nothing wrong with any of them though, just personal preference and some people are more opinionated than others is all.
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Unread 06-27-2011, 12:10 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

Don't let the bad reviews fool you; they are great amps. Oh, I know, we'd all love an 800, JMP or a plexi; but you can't tell me the 900 doesn't get the job done. Would you rather have a peavey reknown? LOL My P90 equipped gibson les paul sounds fantastic through my 900, although it sounds great through my 800 as well, LOL...
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Unread 06-27-2011, 05:31 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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One thing I can say is that the 4100's and 2100's are very nice sounding amps BUT they don't sound like my Superlead .......I haven't been able to dial it in to get it to sound like one.
...cuz your Superlead is a Zeus-like lightning bolt throwing God and the 4100 is like one of those half-man half-goat satyrs that plays the flute.
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Unread 06-28-2011, 01:54 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

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Originally Posted by tarznamps View Post
Thanks for the info link.

In general why are the 900's looked down on.
Well.....

A lot of Marshall users, and I am sometimes one of them, are often resistant to change, and this amp was different, so the first reaction is often NOOOOOO! I remember the SAME reaction in the early 80's to the JCM 800, and you now see how revered those amps are (and rightly so...

Many of the JCM 900 DR's came with 5881 power tubes (close cousin to the 6L6, the tube closely associated with FENDERS!!! NOOOOO! Everyone knows that all Marshalls have el 34's! (Except those with 6550's, or el84's, or kt 88's or 6l6's)

Many do not take the time to tweak and learn how to set up the amp properly...I gotta spend time tweaking this thing? NOOOO! There are 4 eq knobs on this thing!

Many buy what they think they want but don't realize it is not suitable for their intended purpose...."I paid $2500 for this jcm 900 full stack to use as a practice amp in my tiny apartment's bedroom and I got ripped off!" Hard to get the benefit of a cranked full stack in a 10 x 9 box.

Or, maybe a combo of these....

I myself, am not really a fan of 5881 tubes in a Marshall. I like el34's. I had a JTM 30 once with the 5881's. I had them changed to el 34's and to my ears it was a huge improvement. But if you research a little before you buy, spend some time with the amp and learn to adjust and tweak it to your liking, they can sound great and be very rewarding amps. I love my mkiii, and I was somewhat skeptical as after all, it was a 900...but it is a great amp!

So, I actually like it when people bash the 900's so much because it keeps the prices low for me to try and cherry pick another one or two before everyone catches on.
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