• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Don't Understand the JCM800

jw3571

Inspired
Nearly every one of the bands I play used a JCM800. However, I can never seem to make one sound great with the Axe. The default preset sounds really weak, no balls to it. I've tried throwing a OD pedal in front and that certainly helps doesn't really nail that Motley Crue, Ratt, and other 80's bands that all used the JCM800. Any other hints? I am a bedroom player so I'm not really cranking it, is that some of the problem?
 

rsf1977_again

Power User
Nearly every one of the bands I play used a JCM800. However, I can never seem to make one sound great with the Axe. The default preset sounds really weak, no balls to it. I've tried throwing a OD pedal in front and that certainly helps doesn't really nail that Motley Crue, Ratt, and other 80's bands that all used the JCM800. Any other hints? I am a bedroom player so I'm not really cranking it, is that some of the problem?
I have the same feeling. But I also have the same feeling about the real world ones when I try to use them
 

USMC_Trev

Fractal Fanatic
As many times as I've heard the JCM800, I've never liked it. It always comes off as harsh and raspy. My roommate in college had his half stack in our dorm room, and as phenomenal a player as he was (he was my first guitar teacher in 1993), even he could not dial that out.
 

RDeraz

Experienced
Nearly every one of the bands I play used a JCM800. However, I can never seem to make one sound great with the Axe. The default preset sounds really weak, no balls to it. I've tried throwing a OD pedal in front and that certainly helps doesn't really nail that Motley Crue, Ratt, and other 80's bands that all used the JCM800. Any other hints? I am a bedroom player so I'm not really cranking it, is that some of the problem?
That just shows how accurate the Axe is. ;)
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
JCM800's don't have a ton of gain, their tone usually comes from being cranked, and sometimes with a pedal in front. The Axe one sounds great to me and captures the tone/feel of my 2203 and 2204 head nicely

That said, there are 199 other amps, so no point spending time with one you don't hit it off with, just because someone else used one.

Just pick a model that sounds to your liking, perhaps the Friedman or AFD, and rock out
 

shasha

Fractal Fanatic
I've always thought that JCM800's were kind of brittle and harsh; at least compared to a plexi or something like that. I love those recordings on all of those albums in the 80's, but listening to isolated tracks they sound the same way to me. I mean one thing that I'd never equate with those tones is ballsy. Maybe I'm just saying it wrong, but they fit in the mix and sound bigger than they really are to my ears. They cut like a mofo though.
 

Jan Geerts

Inspired
When we recorded in the 80's, there was something that looked like a jcm800 in the studio. Inside it was modded extensively. It sounded nothing like the jcm's every 80's guitarist had back then. And those modded jcm's are what you hear on those albums.
 

vAmp

Fractal Fanatic
As a matter of speaking, one of my "Top 10 sounds ever played" on the Axe was smilefan's JCM800 version on firmware 5 (the typical hardrock sound).
Of course, that's a while ago and may not hold up anymore (but I'm sure I'd still enjoy it).
You could still study that preset, because he used a lot of other settings (IRs, compressor, ...) besides the now changed and improved amp sound / algorithms.

AE 1.0.304 opens those presets well, so I'm not gonna take 15 screenshots ;)



Some more tidbits:

- http://forum.fractalaudio.com/axe-fx-ii-reviews/63107-cliff-how-can-i-ever-have-doubted-you.html

- JJ, 9/2013: I believe the JCM800 in the Axe-Fx is based off the 2204. That's the one I own. It is not a channel switching amp.
> Cliff, 9/2013: Correct. It's actually an export model and sounds amazing (but incredibly loud).
http://forum.fractalaudio.com/axe-f...-clean-sound-out-marshall-silver-jubilee.html

- [v11b] clarky, 7/2013: Try turning on the cut, brt, sat and boost switches and drop the input-drive a little lower than you'd normally have it in the amp:eq page, kill a little 500 Hz, throw the amp through the 4x12 basket AX then… play anything from Unleashed in the East [Judas Priest].
http://forum.fractalaudio.com/axe-fx-ii-discussion/72503-just-took-tour-thru-my-amps-11-a.html

- Cliff: It is a very bright model. However, it sounds exactly like the amp it was based on. If it is too bright, you can adjust the various tone controls and parameters to reduce the brightness to your tastes. They are designed to be run loud and the brightness decreases as the MV is increased. The sound of 80's hair metal for sure.

- Adam Cook: I also wasn't happy with the JCM 800 sounds I was getting from the Axe-Fx II when I first started using it. Esp. since it was a go to amp for me in the Ultra, so I was surprised and disappointed. I then discovered that the depth control and built-in amp block GEQ work wonders for this model. If you take the stock JCM 800 settings, turn the bright cap almost all the way down, turn up depth, and then fine[tune] with the amp block GEQ [and] it really starts cooking. [fw 2, 3 or 4?]

- Severed, 9/2013: I own a 1978 JMP 2203 [ACDC]. Love it to death. Paired with a 1981 JCM800 Lead Series 4x12 with G12-65's @ 8 ohms, it takes pedals in front like no other amp. It has more balls than the entire Hells Angels bike club. 25 years I've gigged it and it never quits. I actually found the Brit 800 to be really close. Key is the cab and MV settings.
http://forum.fractalaudio.com/axe-fx-ii-wish-list/74696-jmp-master-volume-marshall.html

smilefan preset fw5:

View attachment 50W JCM800 Rock Rig.syx
 
Last edited:

tallcoolone

Inspired
I've always thought that JCM800's were kind of brittle and harsh; at least compared to a plexi or something like that. I love those recordings on all of those albums in the 80's, but listening to isolated tracks they sound the same way to me. I mean one thing that I'd never equate with those tones is ballsy. Maybe I'm just saying it wrong, but they fit in the mix and sound bigger than they really are to my ears. They cut like a mofo though.
This. Take a listen to the iso guitar tracks from AFD that are up on YouTube. Not the most fun amp to rock out by yourself with.
 

VegaBaby

Fractal Fanatic
...because all of the artists you mentioned most likely used modded 800s. also, stock 800s could vary quite a bit in tone. I've played stock ones that totally sucked and others were a lot better. but still, mods were kind of a necessary thing.
you could start with the simple Saturation switch (Jose Mod) and see where it takes you...
 

Satch4u3

Experienced
Real world JCM800's need to be cranked! Period. Only then will they live up to the recorded tones. Also as the above fractilite said, alot of those great JCM800 tones come from amps that have been extensively modded. Probably worth noting that JCM800s are known to sound different from amp to amp as well. Some are jems, others aren't worth pissing on. I for one like the Axe's JCM800 model. Doesn't take much to dial in a good sound. I find it sounds best with Bass, Middle and Treble above 7 o'clock. Also, no need to fool with advanced parameters to get a good sound.
 

dpeterson

Axe-Master
Had a half stack single channel 100 watter as my first real amp back when they came out (loudest amp still I've ever heard). It had NO gain, very little. I had to boost with an EQ pedal, first was an old DOD plug in (AC) that worked great, later was a boss eq pedal.
 

profusion

Inspired
On those hair band albums, the rhythm guitars are double tracked and of course have the bass guitar supporting them. Most of those tracks had surprisingly little gain or low end. Even the leads aren't real gainy. And don't forget the EQ and compression that were applied in the mix.

Even with all that, I find the Marshalls in the Axe to be fun to jam on if you crank up the master and throw a drive and delay on.
 

jakel

Experienced
The JCM800 is one of my main amps for church use these days; with volume and tone knob changes I can cover a lot of ground. The high end folds over very nicely (with a Strat) for rhythm work. For lead I switch in a tube screamer in front of the amp to thicken the high notes up a bit. I think the key is finding the proper IRs that control the excessive highs the amp can produce.
 

luke

Fractal Fanatic
While a JCM 800 in real life had to be cranked to sound half way decent, in the virtual world, you can crank it and still have it be whisper quiet. Perhaps you are not running the preamp and power amp hot enough? FWIW, all the complaints and modding of 800s resulted in the 900.
 

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
I've always thought that JCM800's were kind of brittle and harsh; at least compared to a plexi or something like that. I love those recordings on all of those albums in the 80's, but listening to isolated tracks they sound the same way to me. I mean one thing that I'd never equate with those tones is ballsy. Maybe I'm just saying it wrong, but they fit in the mix and sound bigger than they really are to my ears. They cut like a mofo though.
Yup.

Part of a JCM800's *charm* is that it just sounds pissed off. It's not supposed to do warm, or forgiving, or say anything nice about the tone. It's all about 'I'm mad at the Gov't, sh!tty people, my dad'...whatever. The JCM800 MOD is probably what most are looking for with extra gain...

That being said, I do like this model for old skool metal, but as others mention. But you have to crank up the preamp and master. Yeah, this one is BRIGHT, but you can dial most of that out. The thing I do like about it is that you get surprisingly pretty clean sounds by using pup/vol (I drop to my LP neck pup, vol on about 3...) But flip to my bridge at 10, and BOOM...instant channel switching.

There are so many other Marshall models, that I surprised that people are worried about whether this model sounds like what they *thought* a JCM800 sounds like. The JCM MOD, JVM's, even Fractal's 'Brit Brown' (yes, I know this is a plexi variant, but it has a nice 'tweener' feel to it.)

R
 
Top Bottom