NAD: Marshall JVM205C

SirionSirion Posts: 3,115
edited July 2018 in Amplifier Discussion
So, my PhD is nearing completion, and as I've been far more enthusiastic about heavy metal than I have for years, I decided to get an amp as a gift for myself. I have played an ADA MP-1 system for years, and whilst I love the sound I think it is time to get something that does a more normal guitar sound, preferably something that was versatile enough to cover most dino bases in one box when necessary, and sized correctly for most venues where I am likely to play.

It just so happens that Joost has strongly recommend the Marshall JVM215C combo to me.* Whilst I would definitely have wanted to try before I bought anything, that is hardly an option around here; fortunately, return policies are excellent today. Whilst the 215C looked great, I decided to get its big brother, the 205C, but not so much for the two speakers as for an extra feature I would deem indispensable:


Yes! The JVM205C has side handles! I don't know why this isn't an industry standard. During my teenage years I hauled a 3x10 Crate Vintage Club (a good amp whose voicing I never liked) around by the top handle. I then swore never to get a combo unless the portability problems could be solved. No matter how philistine it might sound, it was a crucial reason why I got this exact model. Whilst I had planned to get it in September, I just found one on sale and decided to strike whilst the iron was hot.

So, here is the beast itself:



Unfortunately I will still have to wait a few days to try it, but based on my very limited use of it at home I can give a few first impressions:

*: There are two channels (clean/crunch and overdrive) with three modes, i.e. gain stages. I don't care particularly for the lowest-gain mode so far, but hey, its a Marshall! I will also have to try it with guitars more suited for dry cleans than my Kramers before making a final verdict. The second mode on the clean channel works far better for me, and should work well to do a lot of vintage tones. There should be more gain in this thing than I'll ever need.

* There are a ton of features on it, and a lot of them are very useful. One small but useful feature is the dual master volume, where the included footswitch can switch between the two. There are a number of situations where this could be useful, with solos being the most obvious.

*: There are two effects loops: one series and one series/parallel. Both of them, unfortunately, have been known to have problems: whilst the parallel loop has a blend knob, it has been claimed that it doesn't really do 100% wet, thus making it problematic with digital effects, which by their nature introduce a slight delay that may cause artefacts when combined with the dry signal; the series loop is said to be higher than line level, really only making it usable for using external pre-amps. I have a G-System I want to use as the heart of my rig, but neither loop seemed fit for the task on paper, but I nevertheless decided to make the jump, as it is possible to lower the signal level of the series loop externally. Fortunately, this doesn't seem like it will be necessary: I really have to crank the volume on the OD channels for it to start clipping. I will also have to try it in the other loop, and do some more testing before making a final verdict, but this bodes well. My amp was made this year, and might be that the loop has been improved on later models.

*: The built-in reverbs sound excellent. I will have to give it a go against the G-System, but I know it is there, should I need it.

*: The midi capabilities are excellent, and in practice I might be able to get away without using the included footswitch, which can be used to recall the positions of different switches, and thus be used to switch between channels, and turn the reverb, the second master volume and the serial/parallel fx loop on and off.

*: It seems to be an excellent platform for modding. Whether I'll ever go to the pains of doing so remains to be seen, but I do have a friend who is more than capable of making such operations, and there exist a ton of them that seem to have great appeal with other owners.

*: The speakers are a Vintage Club 30 and a Celestion Heritage model that doesn't seem to correspond to any of the normal models, and might be OEM. These are both excellent speakers, but it would be fun to experiment with some other ones… in time.

*: Unlike the 215C, this has an open back. I'm not sure why they went in that direction (surely it can't be producing that much more heat?), but whilst I believe I generally prefer closed backs, it is in no way a deal breaker.

All things considered, I think this bodes well. It will need to go through its honeymoon phase, be set up as part of a proper rig and actually be used in a band situation before I can give any final verdicts, though, but it wouldn't surprise me if this is enough Marshall for my demands for years to come.

For completion: Joost has stated a preference for one of the EVH models, but I try to keep my rig stripe free for now.




Post edited by Sirion on
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Comments

  • Gunner4LifeGunner4Life Posts: 6,315
    Congrats. I was curious about the JVM’s
  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    Congratulations :)
    While it's true I generally prefer the tone of the 5150III, the JVM does it when you're gunning for classic Marshall tones.
  • yngwie666yngwie666 Posts: 6,549
    Congrats !
    However for the parallel loop: you have to set your delay to "Kill Dry", meaning in a mode where only the repeats without the original signal are sent to the output. This has nothing to do with the dry signal being  delayed due to processing time: that time is very very small with today's effects.
    What is true is that some effects like phaser simply don't work with a parallel loop due to their nature.
  • Seven MoonsSeven Moons Posts: 8,700
    Nice! Congrats.
  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    The thing with the loop is there's a difference in volume when you switch it on. I have to say I gave up on the loop fairly quick because I don't really need it. But it's the one negative about this amp for me.
    It's a shame. The rest of the amp is bloody advanced and then the loop feels like an afterthought.
  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    You can also use the footswitch to trigger presets instead of turning amp functions on and off. That's how I run it.
  • cvansicklecvansickle Posts: 6,141
    Big iron! Congrats.
    Death Or Glory - Who Dares Wins!
  • mr_crowleymr_crowley Posts: 6,581
    Nothing like a Marshall! Congrats :) 
  • SirionSirion Posts: 3,115
    edited July 2018
    Just gave it a slightly better test run earlier today. Some scattered observations:

    * The JVM205 is a two-channel amp based on the four-channel JVM4. The JVM4 has a clean, a crunch and two different OD channels, with the option of using one to three gain stages being for each channel. This amp only has two channels: the green (one gain stage) channel from the clean channel has been combined with the orange and red (two and three gain stages) from the crunch channel. Switching between these on the fly is not a problem, but I find that there is too much difference in gain between these for them to be used together in a musical context, unless one uses some cunning workarounds.

    * The green clean channel sounds heinously anus with a JB superstrat. I have to try the channel with the Super Avianti before passing a final verdict, but I suspect it just doesn't sound all that good; I wonder if it would have been more useful to include the green crunch rather than the green clean channel from the JVM4 series.

    * The orange and red crunch channels sound excellent, and contain a ton of useful Marshall-type sounds, especially if combined with a strategically chosen overdrive or treble booster.

    * For my own, gain-modded Marshall type of thing, I rather like the yellow OD just over 9 o'clock when playing alone, so this thing has plenty more gain than I'll be likely to need. The green OD is useful with the gain a bit higher, and might be a good channel for actual band usage.

    * The amp is somewhat noisy, but not so noisy that it matters in practice.

    * The G-System works well with the Marshall for the most part. There is some tonal colouration, but you are either sniffing corks or smoking your socks if this is a deal-breaker for you. It did not generate any extra noise.

    * The reports of the loop overloading the G-System are exaggerated. I got it clipping when I ran the orange OD at full gain and around 3/4 volume, and there is no reason why I'd need this much power from the pre-amp section.

    * The effects loop, however, markedly decreased the output. I could probably live with this, but I might consider getting a buffer. I have still only tried the series loop; I'll run the parallel loop next time. Like Joost, I find the loops to be the most disappointing part of the amp, but it is probably nothing that can't be worked around.

    In general, the amp sounds very promising, and I suspect that it could serve me for a long time, as it has enough different tonal colour to work in the contexts that I could see being relevant. If I rack the G-System I might include the ADA in the system for fun.

    Sancho said:
    Congratulations :)
    While it's true I generally prefer the tone of the 5150III, the JVM does it when you're gunning for classic Marshall tones.
    Yes, this is correct, and something that might not have come across in the original post (I blame it on it being written at night): one of the appealing things with the JVM is the ability to get a range of historic Marshall tones, including late 60s and 70s tones that diverge markedly from the modded Marshall we have all come to love.

    yngwie666 said:
    Congrats !
    However for the parallel loop: you have to set your delay to "Kill Dry", meaning in a mode where only the repeats without the original signal are sent to the output. This has nothing to do with the dry signal being  delayed due to processing time: that time is very very small with today's effects.
    What is true is that some effects like phaser simply don't work with a parallel loop due to their nature.
    Thanks! The G-System does, however, place all time-based effects in the loop, so one would likely end up with anemic-sounding phasers and flangers with a faulty parallel loop like this. Fortunately, the series loop seems to work well. :)


    Post edited by Sirion on
  • inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,587
           Of current production Marshall amps I consider the JVM205C pretty much at the top of their line up. It may not equal Marshall's all time best production amps but neither Fender or Mesa are offering anything close to the amplifier product that made their name. If I were 25 to 30 rather than 63 years old and were looking to purchase a quality amplifier I could take on the road the Marshall JVM205C and Mesa Mark V would be the two I would choose from. The 5150III slides a bit to far toward modern over vintage tones. I'm not dissing it. It's just not my cup of tea.
           Congratulations on your purchase!
  • SirionSirion Posts: 3,115
    inmyhands said:
           Of current production Marshall amps I consider the JVM205C pretty much at the top of their line up. It may not equal Marshall's all time best production amps but neither Fender or Mesa are offering anything close to the amplifier product that made their name. If I were 25 to 30 rather than 63 years old and were looking to purchase a quality amplifier I could take on the road the Marshall JVM205C and Mesa Mark V would be the two I would choose from. The 5150III slides a bit to far toward modern over vintage tones. I'm not dissing it. It's just not my cup of tea.
           Congratulations on your purchase!

    Thanks! I am sure I will consult you at some time regarding speaker changes, as I doubt I can keep my fingers away from experimenting a little :)
  • inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,587
    Sirlion,
           Let me save you some time. There are only three speakers I would recommend for this application. Consider all  three speakers used as a pair in a Marshall 50 watt 2 X 12" configuration. Any of them would sound great. I'll list them from 3rd to 1st choice.

    #3   Two Celestion G12H30. Up until maybe 10 years ago this would have been my first choice. A classic Marshall tone with added girth in the middle. A Vintage 30 with added midrange and over tones.

    #2   Two Eminence Wizards. The Eminence Wizards are the King of Volume, Crunch and High Gain Lead tones. They're less expensive than Celestions and sound fantastic.

    #1   I never thought I would find a better speaker than the Eminence Wizard for this application but it happened and I have to share .....  I'm using these in a 2 X 12" configuration and have never before found a speaker that could deliver the equal crunch and lead tones of the Eminence Wizards with "clean" tones every bit as good. It's rare to find a speaker that can "Do It All". I'm talking about my favorite 12" speaker for amps 50 watts or more. I use mine with a 60 watt head. The speaker is the Celestion G12H-75 Cream back.

           Most of my tube amps are under 40 watts so I use other speakers or speaker combinations in their combo / cabs. On any head or combo rated at 50 watts or higher in a 1 X 12" or 2 X 12" configuration I use the Celestion G12H-75 Creamback.

          Note*   If clean tones aren't important to you save your bread and purchase Eminence Wizards. For the classic Marshall crunch / lead tones you won't beat them.

    Rick

           
  • Tatosh GuitarTatosh Guitar Posts: 1,693
    inmyhands said:
    Sirlion,
           Let me save you some time. There are only three speakers I would recommend for this application. Consider all  three speakers used as a pair in a Marshall 50 watt 2 X 12" configuration. Any of them would sound great. I'll list them from 3rd to 1st choice.

    #3   Two Celestion G12H30. Up until maybe 10 years ago this would have been my first choice. A classic Marshall tone with added girth in the middle. A Vintage 30 with added midrange and over tones.

    #2   Two Eminence Wizards. The Eminence Wizards are the King of Volume, Crunch and High Gain Lead tones. They're less expensive than Celestions and sound fantastic.

    #1   I never thought I would find a better speaker than the Eminence Wizard for this application but it happened and I have to share .....  I'm using these in a 2 X 12" configuration and have never before found a speaker that could deliver the equal crunch and lead tones of the Eminence Wizards with "clean" tones every bit as good. It's rare to find a speaker that can "Do It All". I'm talking about my favorite 12" speaker for amps 50 watts or more. I use mine with a 60 watt head. The speaker is the Celestion G12H-75 Cream back.

           Most of my tube amps are under 40 watts so I use other speakers or speaker combinations in their combo / cabs. On any head or combo rated at 50 watts or higher in a 1 X 12" or 2 X 12" configuration I use the Celestion G12H-75 Creamback.

          Note*   If clean tones aren't important to you save your bread and purchase Eminence Wizards. For the classic Marshall crunch / lead tones you won't beat them.

    Rick

           
    Awesome info that will come handy later... thanks!!!
  • VenomboyVenomboy Posts: 3,601
    I have 2 65 and 75 Creambacks in my KSR cabinet. I really like them and they go well with my KSR Head. I have a modded DSL100 slowly headed my way that I’ll use with that cabinet. Right now I play my KSR Artemis through it. 
  • SirionSirion Posts: 3,115
    inmyhands said:
    Sirlion,
           Let me save you some time. There are only three speakers I would recommend for this application. Consider all  three speakers used as a pair in a Marshall 50 watt 2 X 12" configuration. Any of them would sound great. I'll list them from 3rd to 1st choice.

    #3   Two Celestion G12H30. Up until maybe 10 years ago this would have been my first choice. A classic Marshall tone with added girth in the middle. A Vintage 30 with added midrange and over tones.

    #2   Two Eminence Wizards. The Eminence Wizards are the King of Volume, Crunch and High Gain Lead tones. They're less expensive than Celestions and sound fantastic.

    #1   I never thought I would find a better speaker than the Eminence Wizard for this application but it happened and I have to share .....  I'm using these in a 2 X 12" configuration and have never before found a speaker that could deliver the equal crunch and lead tones of the Eminence Wizards with "clean" tones every bit as good. It's rare to find a speaker that can "Do It All". I'm talking about my favorite 12" speaker for amps 50 watts or more. I use mine with a 60 watt head. The speaker is the Celestion G12H-75 Cream back.

           Most of my tube amps are under 40 watts so I use other speakers or speaker combinations in their combo / cabs. On any head or combo rated at 50 watts or higher in a 1 X 12" or 2 X 12" configuration I use the Celestion G12H-75 Creamback.

          Note*   If clean tones aren't important to you save your bread and purchase Eminence Wizards. For the classic Marshall crunch / lead tones you won't beat them.

    Rick

           
    I just wanted to post a small update to touch on this. I recently tried the amp out with a 4x12 – an early build from the now-famous Metropoulos Amplification – with 25 w Greenbacks in it, and I was expecting it to blow the combo away. It didn't. The 4x12 has its own cool thing going on in the upper mid-range, but the combo speakers, which are higher-wattage OEM versions of the Vintage 30 and Heritage G12H, had a more complex, interesting sound. Marshall and Celestion have obviously done a great job here. I am sure that I will try one or two Lynchbacks in there at some point – both because I'm a fanboi and because it sounds like a good concept – but I've definitely gained some respect for the work put into the speakers. Any speaker changes can now safely be set aside for a much later date.


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