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Marshall JCM 800 2203 Amp : Review

Marshall JCM 800 2203 front Marshall JCM 800 2203 back
Marshall JCM 800 2203 controls

The JCM 800 2203 was launched in March of 1981. It was a 100 Watt head with a new feature: the Master Volume. To tell the truth, the real first model was introduced in 1975, while the 1981 version was just a cosmetic redesign. It became very popular between Rock guitarists and it was a must in the Marshall production line till the 1991, when the new 900 Series replaced the 800 models. The tone that it produced, in its original version, was crunch like no other in the world, so that it became a standard to evaluate the other amps quality. When in 1991 Marshall launched the JCM 900, it was deservedly but it continued to be a very much sought after instrument. It was used, for instance, by Zakk Wilde (Ozzy Osbourne) in the studio and on stage.
Now, Marshall reproposes the 2203 in the Vintage Reissue Series, with the promise to exactly reproduce the tone, the feel and, sure, also the look of the original version. On this new reissue, it added a Series Effects Loop, not included on the original version. Such as the original version, it has one channel, with no reverb or other built-in effects and the circuitry, like said, it's entirely all-valve.

For the adjustings

It adds high frequencies to the tone, so, turning it up (clockwise), it will make it more “cutting”.
Like always, It adds low frequencies .
Here you can control the mid-range.
It makes the tone brighter. More brilliant.
Obviously, the interactive nature must be considered. When you turn up one of the controls it influences the value of the others. Remember it!
Master Volume
The amount of the output volume.
Pre volume
It adjusts the drive pre valves. Turning it up creates an harmonically rich distortion.


It is equipped with a standby switch that, used in conjunction with the power, helps to warm up the amp before using it. This switch must be used during breaks in a performance, so to prolong tubes life.

Only for one context

It sounds great when played at a very high volume, even if the front-end gain amount is not so massive as i expected. I have put in to the 2203 my distortion pedal, so to boost the front end. Fatter and more dynamic. The output volume is a monster. It's impossible, if not in a very large area, tu wind up it without damaging your hearing. With no doubts, the genres to play with the 2203 are the Hard Rock, Metal or Grunge. The price (1350 Euros), i believe, is justified.

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