JCM 900 4100 vs 2100

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by tarznamps, May 17, 2009.

  1. tarznamps

    tarznamps Active Member

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    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.
     
  2. steelhorse

    steelhorse New Member

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    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.
     
  3. tarznamps

    tarznamps Active Member

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    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.
     
  4. steelhorse

    steelhorse New Member

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    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.
     
  5. Unknown3

    Unknown3 New Member

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    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).

    :confused:
     
  6. steelhorse

    steelhorse New Member

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    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.
     
  7. 5er driver

    5er driver New Member

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    I laugh everytime we say that :lol: 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.
     
  8. steelhorse

    steelhorse New Member

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    Exactly!
     
  9. tarznamps

    tarznamps Active Member

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    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?
     
  10. LesPaulopolis

    LesPaulopolis New Member

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    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.
     
  11. steelhorse

    steelhorse New Member

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    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.
     
  12. o3o0o

    o3o0o New Member

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    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.
     
  13. V-man

    V-man New Member

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    Idiocy.
     
  14. probes

    probes New Member

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    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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  15. kebek

    kebek Active Member

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    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...
     
  16. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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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.

    Ken
     
  17. quiksilver98

    quiksilver98 New Member

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    Signal is still going through a tube. Basically its akin to a fender with pedal in front of it....
     
  18. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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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
     
  19. quiksilver98

    quiksilver98 New Member

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    my 900 deffinatly comes close to my plexi, just without the hugeness
     
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  20. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    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

    Ken
     

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