Marshall DSL JCM 2000 50w vs JCM 800 2204

Crikey

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Well, when you crank the volume on a 100-watt tube Marshall, I hope the people in the next county over don't mind. Yeah, I know about cleaning it up by turning the guitar volume down, but the JCM 2000 will give me a very lush, pristine, sparkling clean with very little effort. The 800 just didn't have that.
On my 2210 i dont need a lot of volume for it to sound good. With the clean channel volume on 10 and mv on .7 its plentyh of volume to sound good. But if i want a fender or vox “clean” im gonna AB to a vox
 

dro

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It's all subjective. Myself, I'm in the 2204 camp. Then again, I only used mine for certain O/D's in the studio. That said I sold my 2204 last year.
I like single channels, I put fx in the front. Used an fx loop amp for years. I guess times and preferences change.
 

abkeller1

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It's all subjective. Myself, I'm in the 2204 camp. Then again, I only used mine for certain O/D's in the studio. That said I sold my 2204 last year.
I like single channels, I put fx in the front. Used an fx loop amp for years. I guess times and preferences change.
Your last sentene is so true.!
 

Neptical

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JCM 2000 will give me a very lush, pristine, sparkling clean with very little effort.

100% this. My JCM 2000 DSL 50 and DSL 100 heads have SUPER nice cleans. Very Bassman-ish type spank to them. I use those heads very often just for that.

Those amps are UNDERRATED for their cleans. I use the Green channel 100% dedicated for cleans while I use the Red channel with an SD-1 for the grind.
 

PowerTube44

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It's true about the clean. I have Vox and Fender, but the clean on the DSL 50 is what I go to. Prefer it with pedals as well.

I fired up the Carvin X100B half stack yesterday for the first time in months. I always loved the clean channel on it. But I realized something: it has nothing on the clean channel of the JCM 2000, and I actually think the JCM is a slight bit better.
 

David Rivers

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Tested positive yesterday so I'm quarantined with some time to kill. I've got a 2004 JCM 2000 50 watt with a replacement OT and a Choke, plus a 1982 JCM 800 2204 that I was comparing tones with. After some tweaking on both heads, I can say that they sound very similar to each other. But the JCM 2000 offers more features.

The effects loop is a plus and a second channel is nice to have. I clipped the C19 to have the EQ balanced out between channels. (I recommend doing this) Crunch green with the gain maxed and a Tube Screamer in front is very meaty.

Both amps have their distinct characteristic tones, but I would have to say from initial testing, the JCM has a slight edge over the 2204.

I always thought the 2204 was the holy grail of amps, but I'm starting to think that's not totally accurate.
Just my opinion though....
i to love the jcm as i previously owned one, the 2204 amps is a holy grail amp..but to me each has it's own place in rock n roll history...hail to marshall....i'm not worthy..i'm not worthy
 

atstrother

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for me there is no doubt that a stock 2204 has a punchier better sounding crunch than the stock dsl if you can get the volume up some.
The dsl's red channel is closest to that tone for me, and i prefer to have c19 reduced to 100pf iirc for channel balancing. The dsl , as mentioned,
has a nicer clean, and excels at being a do it all well amp at any reasonable volume, including low volume practice. I have my dsl50 set to edge of breakup on the green channel for cleanish,
(crunch mode) and push it with a Wampler Equator parametric eq to add those upper mids and more gain to get closer to a 2204 sound and use the red channel
as either a gainier rhythm or as a fat lead (od1). As mentioned, lower preamp gain and higher masters tend to give you nice punch and clarity. I prefer the Dsl100 to the 50 slightly (bigger and tighter)
but the 50 is just an economical workhorse that works for me, and I could do a classic pop/rock gig without pedals , in a pinch, using my strat's lower and higher output pickups to vary gain. Greenbacks sounds better to me than t75s, with the strat but both work well.
 

scozz

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100% this. My JCM 2000 DSL 50 and DSL 100 heads have SUPER nice cleans. Very Bassman-ish type spank to them. I use those heads very often just for that.

Those amps are UNDERRATED for their cleans. I use the Green channel 100% dedicated for cleans while I use the Red channel with an SD-1 for the grind.
I think most Marshalls are “underrated for their cleans”, I like and prefer Marshall cleans compared to say, Fender cleans. I’ve owned as many Fenders as I have Marshalls, it’s just a personal preference I guess.
 
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Dean Swindell

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Tested positive yesterday so I'm quarantined with some time to kill. I've got a 2004 JCM 2000 50 watt with a replacement OT and a Choke, plus a 1982 JCM 800 2204 that I was comparing tones with. After some tweaking on both heads, I can say that they sound very similar to each other. But the JCM 2000 offers more features.

The effects loop is a plus and a second channel is nice to have. I clipped the C19 to have the EQ balanced out between channels. (I recommend doing this) Crunch green with the gain maxed and a Tube Screamer in front is very meaty.

Both amps have their distinct characteristic tones, but I would have to say from initial testing, the JCM has a slight edge over the 2204.

I always thought the 2204 was the holy grail of amps, but I'm starting to think that's not totally accurate.
Just my opinion though....
In all fairness you said you did some tweaking to the 800 as well. If you hadn't that would be a fair comparison. Everybody's holy grail isn't the same but comparing these amps when they've both been altered doesn't really tell you anything on that matter.
 

TXOldRedRocker

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I think most Marshalls are “underrated for their cleans”, I like and prefer Marshall cleans compared to day Fender cleans. I’ve owned as many Fenders as I have Marshalls, it’s just a personal preference I guess.

I've sold every Fender amp I've ever owned. Currently don't own a Fender amp, with no plans to purchase one again.
 

67mike

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If you want Marshall cleans......the Vintage Modern has probably the best on earth.
 

LeverAction Gypsy

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The bottom line is everyone will have 'that sound' in their head they are trying to get, so everyone's 'best sounding' amp will be based on that, the style they play, guitar pickups -TUBES - ect. I do have some points to bring up -

"I've got a 2004 JCM 2000 50 watt with a replacement OT and a Choke, I clipped the C19 to have the EQ balanced out between channels. "
So first off you are comparing a modified Marshall with a stock one, so you are not really comparing the models you state. I'm guessing the mods were done to 'improve' the tone? You dont list the make of OT and choke, if they were factory stock parts from an identical model or aftermarket like Mercury ect. You also dont list the tube types, or the exact versions and manufacturers - it can make a night and day difference depending.
An easy way to 'mod' the tone is old stock tubes. not all old stock tubes have a huge sonic effect but the ones that do - go look them up on ebay and see why people would pay hundreds of dollars or in some cases over a thousand in the cost of tubes to deck out their amp. They dont make them the same anymore hence why Telefunken, GEC,Tung Sol (6550 or 5881s) or other high end old stock tubes are off the price charts. If you want that 'modded' tone - tubes can get you almost the whole way there if not completely. I used to have a side business based on this and would be commissioned to find the right old stock tubes after listening to the player on their rig, then talking with the player on what they like and dont like and what they are trying to get that they cant. Thats a whole side story so thats enough for this discussion.I will list my setup below, but its based on my sound that I like.
I also thought it was interesting people call a single channel JCM 800 a 'one trick pony'...???... Its probably one of the greatest blues-rock amps ever designed - if you know how to set them up.
I have two JCM 800s bone stock besides the tubes - a 1983 4104 (2x12 combo) and a 1983 4010 (1x12 combo) and these are basically 2204s in combos.I used to have a 1984 Canadian issue (square light on the front panel and no 4 ohm output tap) 2204 that sounded good but the combos just sounded better. All the amps have original 'black filter caps' and while im not an amp builder, every black cap (instead of the light blue ones or small capped amps) amp I've every heard or played just sounded better where I wanted to buy it.
I've never been a fan of the JCM 2000 series whether DSL or TSL. They sound good, but my amps simply sound noticibly better. I used to work for a Marshall dealer in the late 90s and early 2000s and find most of the JCM 2000s can improve greatly with new 'old' tubes, but like some others mentioned, I found them thinner and more nasal than the vertical input JCM 800s and earlier amps.
So some people may know how to set up a two input JCM 800 but this is what I've been doing since the late 90s -
I use an old style Alesis Nanoverb for reverb and the DRIVE the LOW input. This will be a Fender amp clean tone or if you drive it with the Alesis inputs hard enough an overdriven clean amp tone. From the nanoverb, it goes to a Butler Real Tube OD (Genz Benz model but any works well) and that is my distortion 'channel' switch. I never use the HIGH input - the place so many get stuck in the 'one trick pony' syndrome. For tubes, both of my 1983 combos were made for USA, so they shipped with 6550s which is the way they stayed. The Canadian 2204 head shipped with EL34s, so I went through all of the high end NOS EL34s I could find and I just didnt like them. They all will compress quickly and sound somewhat nasaly compared to the big headroom sound of 6550s - which is the sound I like. I converted the 2204 to 6550's (otherwise completely stock) and when I sold the head in 2007, I was offered $1500 cash (alot in 2007!)on the spot after a gig to sell the head as is with the tubes I had in it. The tubes that were in it is what I do to all my JCM 800s. I kind of shoot for a 'Band Of Gypsys' tone with the ability to dial back the Alesis to get skeaky Fender clean if needed or full grind, not to mention even MORE grind if I run all the settings the same and use the HIGH input. The tubes are 1960s USA Tung Sol 6550s 3-holes in the plate version. Telefunken 12AX7/ECC83 smooth plates, except occasionally I like an RFT ECC83 in the middle preamp slot as thats the main tone driver slot. Quicker to breakup but also a little different of a tone to it. Thats it though. Heres a youtube link, most are setup dirty blues tone, but its what I was playing. It can easily go Fender country clean if need be -
 

Dirty-D

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everyone loves the 2204's and the other 50 watt Marshals. l hate all over them. Different iron in the old 2203's. I have a 4 hole non master vol 50 watt JCM800 from'85 or'86 l play it every month to keep the caps from drying up but you know l am a stuck up when it comes to Marshalls
 

Neptical

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I think most Marshalls are “underrated for their cleans”, I like and prefer Marshall cleans compared to say, Fender cleans. I’ve owned as many Fenders as I have Marshalls, it’s just a personal preference I guess.

Absolutely agree. Don't see a lot of people buying Marshalls for cleans - but as previously mentioned, those DSL green channels are fantastic. Clean channel is worth the price alone.

OTOH - I truly love my Fenders as much as I'm very partial to blackface cleans with my Tele or Strat. I dig a lot of beautiful glassy, fat cleans with 'verb and delay....but put a Boss SD-1 and RAT in front and they are very competitive to any other amp I own. 🤟🤟
 

racerxrated

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DSLs sound good, are very affordable and are everywhere. This is why many pros will tour with them-breakdown? Go grab another. Cheap. I’ve seen Iron Maiden with al DSLs, about 8 years ago. Back lines are full of them.
But, in a straight up comparison the 2203/4, 2205/10 and any JMP NMV will crush it all day every day. Played them, green channel boosted and while it sounds good enough it’s just not on the same level as any 800 or JMP. Now, modded maybe they will hang better but those vintage transformers take those amps to another level.
 

SuperFleeky

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I think it all comes down to one's definition of "close enough". My DSL 100H will never sound, or feel "close enough" to my 2203x or 1959 SLP for me to feel like I don't need them. DSL's have a different tonality and distortion character than those amps. My Axe Fx actually sounds and feels closer to those amps than my DSL, but still not the same. However, in a band setting, no one listening cares what amp you're using, or how it "feels" to the guitarist.
I have to agree with Marshallmellowed on this one. My first Marshall was a DSL, and oh yeah, I rocked the heck out of that amp for a couple years; volume up, gain down, and boosted. Then I stumbled across a plexi setting on my Fractal; my hunt for THAT sound was on! I got a 1987, then a 2203, then a JTM45! Let's just say that the DSL has been in storage for years, and I don't miss it... but that's just me.

Who knows... had I never got the single channel Marshalls, I'm sure I'd still be very happy with the DSL as it still has that Marshall bite unlike any other brands out there.
 

paul-e-mann

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I just played my friend's JCM2000 DSL100 this past weekend and all the memories of why I dont like DSLs came flooding back to me in an avalanche! Yeah its a jack of all trades master of none amp but I did get a convincing Pantera tone out of it but had lots of trouble dialing in anything else...:facepalm:

I'll keep my 2204 thank you! :yesway:
 

Smokie 54

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Tested positive yesterday so I'm quarantined with some time to kill. I've got a 2004 JCM 2000 50 watt with a replacement OT and a Choke, plus a 1982 JCM 800 2204 that I was comparing tones with. After some tweaking on both heads, I can say that they sound very similar to each other. But the JCM 2000 offers more features.

The effects loop is a plus and a second channel is nice to have. I clipped the C19 to have the EQ balanced out between channels. (I recommend doing this) Crunch green with the gain maxed and a Tube Screamer in front is very meaty.

Both amps have their distinct characteristic tones, but I would have to say from initial testing, the JCM has a slight edge over the 2204.

I always thought the 2204 was the holy grail of amps, but I'm starting to think that's not totally accurate.
Just my opinion though....
Good for you. I respect the guys who use their own ears and form their own conclusions and aren't afraid to break away from the monkey parade.

I went down a similar path. I still have my 2204, bought new in 1989 that was the workhorse for decades but the Vintage Modern has replaced it. Way more versatile and dynamic. I've had several other Marshalls in the interim but none of them was able to oust the 2204. I'm a better player now and I've gradually eased into the VM. It took time to let go of that security blanket. I can get a lot more sounds now. An effects loop is nice.

I'll sell the JCM 800 for more than it cost new when I get around to it because I'm not a collector. Nah, I won't regret it. It's a classic one trick pony and a good one but really there are many great amps and no rules except what sounds and feels the best.
 

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