JCM 900 reliability issues?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by seeker88, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. seeker88

    seeker88 New Member

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    Ok, I hate rumors!

    Again I heard someone saying the JCM 900 series are known to be the most unreliable Marshall ever made. They shut down on gigs, are always in the shop, a nightmare to work on, etc.. On the flip side I hear the complete opposite, most requested backline of the major acts. road worthy, proven work horse's, etc.. So I'm confused. What is it?

    I'm really not interested in their tone (good or bad), diodes/solid state guts. Or they are "not as good" as an 800. I would like to hear real life, true stories of people who have owned these amps, kept basic maintenance on them, used them on a regular basis and found them to be totally unreliable for the gigging musician/weekend warrior player.
     
  2. iron broadsword

    iron broadsword Well-Known Member

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    I've been running mine hard for something like 3 years now without issue whatsoever... Just new tubes once in a while. Historically they are very reliable. "Nightmare to work on" - techs complaining that it's not ptp.
     
  3. Blacque Jacque

    Blacque Jacque Well-Known Member

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    I have owned two 900's.

    First was a Mk.III which I bought when it was a year old. I gigged it for nearly 10 years as well as rehearsals & home use for longer. Apart from one, yes ONE new set of tubes & biasing it had no maintenance during that time. In all that time it never once let me down or even glitched.

    I currently own an SL-X which had the heater rectifier repaired by Marshall prior to me owning it. I gigged it regularly for four years, plus rehearsals. Apart from a bias check it has had no maintenance & has been 100% reliable.

    My gear is treated with respect, it doesn't get thrown in the back of a van of left in damp sheds / garages.

    Sorry, I cannot offer you any tales of unreliability.
     
  4. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    Start the reactor... Free Mars!
    Marshall amps are reliable, some of the most reliable and well built of the industry.
    Also good support.

    People who label 900 "unreliable"
    are probably abusing the amplifier. You could probably bet on it.

    Idiots who abuse Marshalls, then complain that they are "unreliable" are morons.
    but there's plenty of them...that's what keeps repair shops in business.

    Almost every major failure of a Marshall is caused by: User Stupidity.

    I "can" fix any Marshall amp...
    but I can't fix STUPID. :lol:
     
  5. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    900's are much more reliable than JCM 2000 DSL's although DSL issues once addressed are rock steady. No modern amp is easy to work on if there's a bad component on a PC board. I only had my 900 a short time but it always answered the bell.

    Ken
     
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  6. Rokinroller

    Rokinroller Well-Known Member

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    Never had one fail since owning them since the '90's . Stupido or ignorant user error / misuse will cause failure to ANY piece of gear. The 900's are built like tanks.Very solid. They contain CHASSIS MOUNTED TUBE SOCKETS which are all HANDWIRED. Just about "military grade" build quality.
    Its just so many were sold worldwide , so some of them may have ended up in the wrong hands. Possibly youngsters / novices getting their "first" tube amp and not knowing anything about tubes nor hooking up the amp to PROPER LOADS / SPEAKER CABLE and not respecting impedance issues.....AND OF COURSE ...spilling drinks into them and having them fall off cabs and possibly stages ?
     
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  7. iron broadsword

    iron broadsword Well-Known Member

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    There was also some confusion between the el34 and 6l6 models, and people running the wrong tubes made for some melty conditions. Then there was the fact that the combo and head shared the same rear plate, so the speaker out said 8ohms or (4) 16 ohms... as in 4 on the combo, 16 on the head. Lots of wrong impedance usage going on there... But all of that is user error.
     
  8. seeker88

    seeker88 New Member

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    Thanks to everyone who responded.

    I guess haters will hate then!

    I haven't owned my 900's long enough to give a valid opinion of their reliability but I bought two so I have a high level of confidence in them. I see enough of them still around so that's a good thing!

    Because they have an effects loop, are not so touchy on the dial (gradual sweep) and the fact I don't compare them sonically to an 800 - I find them very usable and a no brainer bargain.

    I know I'm on a Marshall forum asking this question but guys on here can be brutally honest which I respect.
     
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  9. dreyn77

    dreyn77 Well-Known Member

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    Hellyeah was touring with them before the amp deal with other brand, on the other side of the world so THEY were confident in them. the support band from LA had one in use as well.
     
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  10. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    900's are tough. I gigged my DR intensively without a peep. I used an S-LX for a while with no issues and i'll even include the 6100's in here as they were built at the same time, solid. Bought mine in 96 and i am still using it without any issues except tubes and routine maintenance.
     
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  11. charveldan

    charveldan Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]


    Ive had a 2009 DSL-100 for a year and i have no problems.

    What are these "issues" u speak of ... ?
     
  12. Adrian R

    Adrian R Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that's odd..where did you hear this?

    I used 4500s for years in a band...ZERO problems..done...
     
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  13. Blokkadeleider

    Blokkadeleider Well-Known Member

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    A good friend of mine has a 4100.
    He has had and used it since the early nineties and nothing ever went wrong with it except for the ocassional tube swap. That is regular maintenance.
    I don't really like the amp's sound but it is absolutely reliable.
    Excellent amp if you like the sound.


    Gr,

    Gerrit.
     
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  14. seeker88

    seeker88 New Member

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    A friend repeated what he read online.

    I guess just BS created by a hater. How do any rumors get going? We called it "the rumor mill" at my last job. Could never get to the bottom of it. Crazy. It was like the Bermuda Triangle or Bigfoot. Somebody was obviously getting off on it.

    Some people apparently can't find enough bad things (true) to say about the 900's so they fill in the blanks. You know, people just being people!
     
  15. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    You haven't read all the DSL threads? The speaker ground issue is the most important and also easiest to address. And all the jacks are suspect on old amps; they don't seem to last like older jacks do. I've replaced two and had to do the ground mod which is the result of a faulty jack.

    Also, it may not be just DSL's but I've had to resolder many physically stressed things, like the power recepticle, the input jack and a speaker jack. They all developed faults due to poor soldering at the factory.

    Ken
     
  16. JSJ900

    JSJ900 Active Member

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    The 100/50 Watt power switch on my 2100 went bad, so I had it bypassed for just 100 Watts. Other than that I'v had no problems.

    I bought it used, with an 8 Ohm 4x12 that I sold and repaced with a 1960. After I bought it, the guy told me that he liked to run it from the 16 ohm out into the 8 ohm cab because it sounded better! :facepalm: He had been doing this for years, but the deal was done and I had bought it for peanuts. I thought, "oh great, this things gonna crap out on me anytime." I DO NOT run it this way. Well, I guess it didn't do any damage, cause it's still running strong.
     
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  17. V-Type

    V-Type Active Member

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    Not a problem at all with my 2100 SL-X. Everytime I fire her up instant smiles.
    Most of the neg posts are from folks "reading,hearing,etc.." of some one who did have an issue or they just dont like the series,user error,etc...
    The whole 900 line is Marshall Flagship built. Did Not see anything cheap at all when inspecting the board and components in my 900 as well.
     
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  18. iron broadsword

    iron broadsword Well-Known Member

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    H&K has a pdf on their site explaining the tone benefits of impedance mismatches, and how safe it is. Crazy stuff!
     
  19. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    You got a link to that PDF?
     
  20. iron broadsword

    iron broadsword Well-Known Member

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