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JCM800 2203x halfstack vs AXE FIII w/poweramp and cab

Budda

Fractal Fanatic
How did you use the 2203?
How do you use the Axe Fx III now?
Does the Axe gives you that same Marshall 'growl' and punch we all love? :)
Thanks!

It was my main touring amp for 3.5 years, and then we ran bi-amp setups with 2203s and twins. My back just twinged.

I ran the 2203 clean (preamp at 2) with the master at 8 prior to the twin - dirt came from a fulltone OCD. Everyone thought ir was the 2203 lol. When the twin arrived, the OCD left and an aby joined. The amp drive was a bit of an adjustment but still sounded great.

When i left the band, I sold most of my tour stuff to pay the band debt off (hurray diy) and went digital. The helix LT didnt do it for me with fuzz - Leons doom video and @Randalljax got me into a 3 mk1. I recreated my tour setup for fun, but I never use it. I didnt find the 2203 model lacking - pairing it with an Orange 412 IR sounded like when we'd get mic'd at the masquerade in Atlanta. I dont miss the 2203 and feel the axe gets the same sound.
 

cardinal

Inspired
My fav set up is an early '80s SD-1 into a bone stock '79 2204 and various 4x12s. Also have an AFXIII I use with a Crest CA9 into the same 4x12s. I use the Brit 800 and Super OD the most.

I hardly ever use the SD-1/2204 any more. The AFXIII is just really nice. I can't say they sound identical, but both sound really good, feel really good, and have That Tone.

My AFX set up isn't any lighter than the amp head and it cost about the same. You get all the FX and other amp models, of course. If I had to pick only one or the other, I'd pick the 2204 largely for nostalgic reasons, to be honest. I got the Fractal to keep mileage off something that's getting old and surprisingly valuable these days. Not sure which I'd pick between a 2203x and the Fractal.
 

Bruce Sokolovic

Experienced
You should get an amp and a modeler and have the best of both worlds.
Amp into cab when you want to rock out loud.
Amp into load box into FM3 for IR and effects for quiet headphone practice.
for added fun, run the amp into a load box then into the fractal. Pull up the same amp model and send both thru the same IRs. Then wonder why the hell you bought the amp. I've done this many times.
 

DaveO

Power User
Hey guys,

I played a Marshall JCM800 2203x with a 4x12 cab in a musicstore and i totally loved it.
The loudest I played was on volume 1 or 1,5 but I was in tone heaven :D
Help ... the JCM800 is one of the loudest amps out there but I totally dig it.
Boosting it with a SD-1 would even give me even better tones and i presume using an attenuator would make me able to push the amp further.
I tested the SC20 with matching cab a year ago but it felt boxy to me.
With the 2203x it just felt and sounded perfect!

I only play at home and don't even record.
Am I insane for wanting a 100 Watt amp just playing at home? :D

I'm torn between either getting a JCM800 and 4x12cab or an AXE FIII (or FM3) w/poweramp and 4x12cab.

What are your experiences with both setups? Is there a big difference in feel and sound between the 2?

Thanks!
I have two (2) 2203's two (2) 1960's cabs I always loved them after I purchased them in early 1990s however after teaching guitar in a local music store and being turned onto EVs Pro Line series speakers I quickly refitted both cabinets with EVM12L's and EV Black Labels, gigged for years with a Zoom 9030 back in the 90's and early 2000's with them playing in stereo, (man what a monster rig) it was a sound that I could never get from any modeler until I got a FM3 loaded with Cygnus. So I'd say that the FAS Brit800 amp is most defiantly my exclusive preset amp that comes soooo close to my beloved rig, I still struggle with some of the stock speaker IRs to get that EV retrofit but, I can honestly say that for me and the way I dial in my JCM800 2203 sound from my FM3 is on point and the real deal. I'd say you'd be safe to get a FM3 imo as long as you get a solid PA, monitors or FRFR system for it. Or get both, I still have not sold mine. ;)
 

stereotactic

Experienced
I almost exclusively run a Brit 800 Mod on the Axe and love it! Blows my real Jose-modded JCM800 out of the room.

Put a Super OD DRIVE in front. Adjust to taste. Set it to 6550 power tubes. I crank the AMP Grid Bias to 1.0; the variac to 150%; and crank your room volume ....

Won't be taking the real amp and cab out for some time, last had them out in April for comparison .... they lost!!
What exact gain settings and IR do you use with the Brit 800 Mod?

I can’t get anything like my Harry Kolbe modded JCM800 2204 out of the Axe, but it’s a very peculiar mod…
 
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VegasGuitar

Experienced
What exact gain settings and IR do you use with the Brit 800 Mod?

I can’t get anything like my Harry Kolbe modded JCM800 2204 out of the Axe, but it’s a very peculiar mod…
I run the Super OD level on 10, drive just above off.
On the Amp, Drive is 8.6 and Master is 4.
I use two Bogren Digital cabs; BD_LD_Valovirtuous and BD_LD_SexyTime.
I have a PEQ following that boosts at 200 and 4200. A scoop is at 1000
Rolling guitar volume down doesn't really get to clean, just cleaner, I also have a scene that kills the Super OD and lowers Amp drive.
 

TSJMajesty

Power User
Damn, that seems like a ton of money for that Marshall. I'd have no problem saving a bunch of money (USA) and buying a Mesa Boogie instead, and having a more versatile amp too. That's a huge price difference between what they sell for in the UK. Is it all just because of import costs? Crazy.
 

Sashman

Inspired
The only thing I can say is:
„I sold my Friedman BE 100 DLX with a matching cab and I never looked back!“
Together with my Red Sound Speakers, it’s the best and most versatile sound and setup that I ever had in more than 25 years of professional live and recording.
 

knwlnd

Member
for added fun, run the amp into a load box then into the fractal. Pull up the same amp model and send both thru the same IRs. Then wonder why the hell you bought the amp. I've done this many times.
I did this with the Jubilees a few days after having them and the AXE-FX III all in the same room.

Ran them together, dialled in the AXE-FX III with the 2555, checked it through a matrix power amp into a FRFR cab.

Heard the 2555 in the AXE-FX III could sound the same or better, then I just the looked at the Marshalls and I was like “you guys can go now”.
 

Thomas Obester

Inspired
I was tube amp freak for 15 years.

Had in my possesion : Friedman BE-100 deluxe, BE-50 deluxe, Friedman Modded Jerry Cantrel JJ 100, Diezel Herbert, Diezel VH4, Diezel VH2, Mesa Road King II.

Did extensive testing first with my ax8, I still kept some friedmans and diezels.

Then I bought AXE 3, maybe 2-3 weeks prior to official launch of Cygnus.

Did extensive testing again with all my amps.
Today I have no tube amps anymore.
I used all those money to help with financing a new house and my sound is better than ever, so Win-Win situation.
YMMV
 
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I did this with the Jubilees a few days after having them and the AXE-FX III all in the same room.

Ran them together, dialled in the AXE-FX III with the 2555, checked it through a matrix power amp into a FRFR cab.

Heard the 2555 in the AXE-FX III could sound the same or better, then I just the looked at the Marshalls and I was like “you guys can go now”.

Can i ask you why you prefer the model of fx3 over the original? In this moment i dont know if go with fx3 or with real 2555+Ox amp loadbox. I have tried fm3 last year and was really far from 2555, was like flat and muddy, the real one has more bottom more open.
In this video you can hear this:

I think fx3 is more flexible but the sound and the feel of the real one is better
 

FusionFanatic

Inspired
Being in a Def Leppard tribute band... Rock of Ages, my son encouraged me to try and nail the tone on many of their earlier albums. Makes sense. I use some Marshall models as I’ve always liked them for lots of stuff.
But the 800 was one I never really bonded with before. We did some research, which maybe helped a little? As there was so many different amps they used thru the years.
Okay... fair enough. I thought to try the 800. Gain on about 6... some small adjustments on the tone stack. Tried a couple of cabs, and made a choice. Put a TS in front... drive 0, crank the level. Eq 2db boost at 1k for the ‘honk’... wow! REAL close, near perfect. Took about 20 minutes.
 

knwlnd

Member
Can i ask you why you prefer the model of fx3 over the original? In this moment i dont know if go with fx3 or with real 2555+Ox amp loadbox. I have tried fm3 last year and was really far from 2555, was like flat and muddy, the real one has more bottom more open.
In this video you can hear this:

I think fx3 is more flexible but the sound and the feel of the real one is better

Of course, this is all entirely personal and subjective as I’m sure you are aware.

It’s interesting that you describe the AXE-FX III as flat and muddy, In that video I would have said that about the real 2555 and I’m pretty sure I had more than one moment saying that about the real amp when I had them.

For me with a very small amount of tweaking only on the authentic page I could get them to match (ignoring the physical knob positions and matching by ear) easily sounding more or less identical through the same IR or cabinet I had at the time.

There was also a little indescribable something I liked in the crunch from the AXE-FX III, like a crisp, clear but smooth crunch that was elusive with the real amps. One day I could get it then for the next few weeks I couldn’t.

The AXE-FX III 2555 also has a character that can easily be tightened (rock/metal) or loosened (blues) very easily. I found this hard to do with the real deal.

From that point on it was about what I could get out of the AXE-FX III 2555 that the Jubilee couldn’t do.

I was also able to dial it in at a more manageable volume without using an attenuator which always seems to compress and add noise as a part of its function.

Beyond that the ability to alter the valves, bias, variac, saturation and multitude of other settings to coax other more exaggerated sounds out of it made it a winner for me.

And this is all before considering the IR game, where you can use the voice of any cabinet you want without breaking your back, bank or filling up your house.

Don’t even get me started on the AXE-FX III effects… we are spoilt beyond belief with this thing.
 
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