Has Marshall build quality gone down the toilet?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by alvagoldbook, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook New Member

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    I love Marshalls, but the one thing that's bugged me about them is that their build quality doesn't seem to be improving very much.

    One impressive thing that Mesa has done is that they've managed to become innovative while maintaining very high quality builds. Mesas are a different beast, of course, and I don't particularly like their distorted tones, but they're built very solidly.

    It seems like there's been a response to the poor Marshall build quality. A ton of small amp clone companies have sprung up, all based on classic Marshall designs. Ceriatone, Metropolis, Egnater, etc.

    It makes me wonder what modern Marshalls would sound like if they had better build qualities.
     
  2. Lespaulnmarshall

    Lespaulnmarshall Well-Known Member

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    Nothing wrong with modern marshalls IMHO.
    And those 'small companies didn't spring up because of marshalls 'infirior' build quality. Egnater is not based on Marshall, metro makes exact clones of vintage marshalls, ceriatone makes clones of many different amps and makes their own designs.
     
  3. Murmel

    Murmel Active Member

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    Mesas build quality is outstanding, no question.
    But there is nothing wrong with modern Marshalls. Talk to any Marshall dealer and they will tell you that the number of defects in Marshalls is extremly low.
    If all British products had Marshall quality the UK would still have a lot more industry.
     
  4. spacerocker

    spacerocker Well-Known Member

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    What exactly is wrong with Marshall's build quality? Examples?

    And how does Mesa stack up price-wise against Marshall, like for like spec?
     
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  5. Jason77

    Jason77 New Member

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    I would also like to know what you think is wrong with the build quality.
     
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  6. Lespaulnmarshall

    Lespaulnmarshall Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, mesa's build quality is and has always been great and much more expensive, but that doesen't mean marshalls are crap.
     
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  7. DSL100 Dude

    DSL100 Dude New Member

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    Trolling...
     
  8. twitchylizard

    twitchylizard New Member

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    There is one reason that all these small companies are building Marshall clones and that is because Marshall has THE sound of rock and they want to be like them..I'll take sound over build quality any day and I have still yet to play a Mesa that will replace my Marshall:headbanger:
     
  9. Söulcaster

    Söulcaster Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    My AFD seems very well built with a lot of attention to detail - no complaints here =)

    Seems as well built as any Marshall ive owned
     
  10. Blueslicks

    Blueslicks Well-Known Member

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    alvagoldbook is correct imo.

    The inside of both my HW 2061x head as well as matching 2061cx cab both had pretty shoddy workmanship for the cost of the gear. The center post in the cab looked like it had been shot with bullets several times at the base with failed attempts to drill it to the front baffle, post was way off center and screw was busting through the side of the wood base block. Took me all of 30 minutes to measure, correct and center it perfectly. Soldering inside both head and cab was pretty amature and had many cold looking joints needing redo for my own piece of mind. As well, the preamp tube slip on shields had to be replaced because they are some ulra thin cheapo crap that WILL NOT stay on the tubes. The fit and locking is so bad if you hit a power chord with any volume they would shoot right off the springs and then be audibly vibrating in the chasis. Just fucking awesome when paying for a studio session. The tube socket bases afixed to the chasis don't line up and on one it is actually buckled and wobbly from being poorly riveted. Easy fixes of course and I love the amp now but unacceptable coming out of the box at that price point.

    I do like the build quality of the Vintage RI series which appears to have been maintained over the years and I have always been confident with those for my live rig but other Marshalls being offered including high end Signature gear just appear cheap to me these days. Very run of the mill assembly line build quality and flimsy looking crappily constructed components. Plastic buttons and switches appear to have planned obsolescence. I'd say Marshall for me lost a lot of mojo after the early JCM 800 run. Early 90's as soon as the 900's came out shit just started looking cheap to me.

    However, it's still the sound in the end and the vintage circuit can always be replicated. Just a shame that to get a quality build and components one needs to go elsewhere. I will eventually switch to something like Germino when I can afford to do so as I require Vintage circuit with roadworthy build quality and he provides that in spades. Can't even imagine who you'd approach to repair or locate parts for some of the new "computer chip" gear being offered by Marshall if it went down on you while on the road. Marshall imo has lost touch with quality control and I doubt will be able to regain any due to all of the outsourcing and sheer size of the company now. And while yes there is always older "pre crappy build quality" vintage Marshall gear one can purchase, I personally don't like to rely on nor trust pushing old gear hard when in a live setting.
     
  11. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook New Member

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    Well, for instance, anyone ever taken a look at the guts of a JVM and compared it to the guts of a Roadster or a Mark V?

    Both amps are multi-channel beasts with a ton of diversity built under the hood. But as someone who builds pedals and beginning to work on simple amp designs, I know that quality components makes all the difference.

    For instance, here is a gut shot of a JVM.

    [​IMG]

    One might notice a certain lack of quality components. No orange drops in this guy. If you look really closely, and you know how to identify resistor values by their colors, you'll see that many of their resistors are at 5%
    tolerances.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of a where the controls meet the PCB on the JVM. A trained eye will notice that the controls are connected using a panel mount design, which is where modern electronics is going. But in an amp as complex as this, it means damaging a pot means possibly damaging or destroying it's PCB, making repairs quite costly.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of a Roadster's guts.

    [​IMG]

    You'll notice a ton of orange drop caps, flying leads from the pots, neat and tidy wiring, and that the caps are glued down to secure them from vibration.

    Here's a gut shot of a Mark V

    [​IMG]
     
  12. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook New Member

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    Now one might argue that panel mounting pots is a bit of a necessity with an amp as complex as a JVM. But here is a gut shot of the AFD100. You'll notice the same panel mounted PCB's.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yet, here is the guts of the Ceriatone 2555. One will notice that it's all point to point wiring.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. TwinACStacks

    TwinACStacks New Member

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    :) Problem is, Orange drops are for Fenders. They don't belong in British Amps. Give me a Sozo Vintage, or Real Phillips Mustard anyday.

    :):) TWIN
     
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  14. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    5 percent resistors in a guitar amp? OMG! That will never fly.

    It's a guitar amp, not a Hi Fi amp. You don't need one percent resistors.

    Some of your points are really without warrant. I want my guitar amp to sound like a guitar amp.

    Do you believe in a perfectly balanced phase inverter tube? I wonder.

    Those parts are plenty good. Marshall's have a good history of dependability as proven by the number of older amps still in use.

    There have been more groups and performers using Marshall amps on hit recordings than a Mesa. There is a reason for that. Must be the 5 percent resistors.
     
  15. TwinACStacks

    TwinACStacks New Member

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    :) 5 % will never do....

    *sniff, sniff*

    :):) TWIN
     
  16. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook New Member

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    Orange drops are for Fenders? Caps have an electronic function. Not a bias for a particular amp. They either function well, or they don't. A 5% or a 10% resistor tolerance will be off by their value by 5%-10%. Over a very long circuit, it means the amp will sound different from day to day, depending upon fluctuations in AC voltage. From an engineering stand point, it means it's less well designed.
     
  17. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    You know, I think your underwear is on too tight.
     
  18. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook New Member

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    So you're saying you would prefer a PCB panel mount amp over point to point wiring?
     
  19. Jason77

    Jason77 New Member

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    so, to recap... Marshall's build quality is crap because they don't always use 1% resistors, don't use orange drop caps and mount those crappy sealed pots onto a separate board.

    Excuse me while i go laugh my ass off...

    :lol:
     
  20. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    All the amps you posted pictures of couldn't be PTP. They all contain an immense amount of solid state devices. They have to have PCB its just the nature of the beast.

    So your point is?
     
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