The Truth About Marshall Stacks (there, I said it)

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by Kevy Nova, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Sadly enough, the guarantees of all the quality ingredients needed to replicate the sound & feel of a stack can't be counted on unless you are playing at a professional level & have contacts (riders) that stipulate such. I don't get gigs like that & must always count on myself to know the venue & bring my own sound, meaning, the right amplifier for the job.

    I would love to play / use the 1 watt Marshall I have (JMP1 & JVM1) but most PA systems I come in contact with just can't bring the tone to the level of quality that a stack bring to the immediate playing stage. Things usually sound airy (like they're miced!) and the frequencies are different in a way EQ-ing can't correct or compensate for.

    It not only takes money but knowledge & skill to get a little amp to satisfactorily replace a stack. I havent been fortunate enough to play gigs with the capable & knowledgeable tech that knows how to adequately do that & has the proper equipment to do that.

    Till that day comes I will continue to count on myself to sound right.

    Truth be told, I have a great sounding 6V6 powered Supersonic that does a great Marshall impersonation that I bring to jobs that can't handle a stack. But thats not really what this is about right?? It's about the stack being needed or being replaced or outdated. I don't ever see that happening as long as playing guitar stays cool & rocking out remains fun. Nothing beats what having a stack at your back feels like or sounds like in the room. Small amps n PA's only imitate, some way better than others.

    Sonically, it's just tough to replace the simplicity of rolling them 4x12's in the room, plugging in your head and having the perfect sound, presence & feel that a stack loving Marshall toting aficionado is after.

    By the way, How much PA, quality mic & amp does it take & who's bringing it to 'every' gig? That's an important & multi leveled question that opens up other avenues of thought & discussion as well. Not ever job comes with adequate gear for this & I know I'm not buying it all so I can cart it & set it all up instead of simply bringing the real deal along. Nah, taint hap'nin.

    Serious question now, If you are not playing or using a stack or Marshall type amp with a stack, wouldn't it honestly be just a wee bit hard to know exactly whats missing / lacking in most small amp into PA setups and understand why such a Marshall stack lovin player wouldn't be happy with the small amp deal? This isn't simply about a small amp sounding good or cool through a PA, it's about the need for a stack being over. Dat'sa not gonna happen. Ever.

    It's shark week tomorrow & the waters have been sufficiently chummed & baited.

    Luv yous guys.
     
  2. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    Relic,

    All great points. As with most things in life, this isn't an either/or proposition. There is the matter of balance. I can't speak to the ability of a PA to replicate the "sonic footprint" of your stack. I have no reason to doubt you. In fact, I can envision the very sound/feel you describe! I also completely see your point about the absolute necessity of a quality PA and technician. No argument, there!

    What I can speak to, though, is how even a modestly decent PA can multiply the sonic footprint of a small amp. It may not be able to replicate the footprint of a JMP stack or half-stack for the on-stage talent, but it can make my little 6 watt Fender Champ sound much larger. The PA enables a small amp with an otherwise good sound, to pump to the front of the house with all the energy necessary for the audience. Would this give you that glorious, driving feel on stage that you describe? Well, no. But, it does increase the footprint of a small amp, especially if hard rock or metal is not on the list.

    I think of it like this. Imagine rock bands who have played to huge crowds in stadiums...AC/DC, KISS, Metallica...the list goes on. In many cases, bands such as these do have the big Marshall stack on stage with them. So, yes, they are getting that glorious smack from the on-stage stack (BTW, "Smack from a Stack" would be a good song title). In some cases, these bands aren't even using stage wedges...they are just using in-ear monitors. But, even if they have a nice 100 watt monster on stage, is that stack being heard by the entire football stadium filled with people? No. By comparison, that 100 watt stack is a tiny amp in the context of a large sports arena. That stack is mic'ed and run through a PA...a very massive PA. So, the only real operational difference between them and me is that I have a 5-6 watt amp mic'ed to a room that holds 200. They have a 100 watt amp mic'ed to a stadium of 30,000. So, the idea of mic'ing an amp to the crowd is standard operating procedure.

    Now, I know that you are aware of all this. I don't pretend to think I'm educating you. I say all this more for the benefit of others.

    Having said all this, if I were in your shoes, I'd probably do things the way you do. If I had an amp that could handle all the duties of single-handedly projecting sound to the entire crowd, and I was uncertain of the capabilities of the PA and/or technician, I'd do things the same way.

    EDIT: I do have to admit, I would love to have a 50 watt Marshall half-stack!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
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  3. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Ya, you'd enjoy the smack from the stack.

    Sadly enough for me Smitty, I just don't get too many big jobs that come staffed with a smokin PA & a pro or even semi-pro sound engineer. My biggest show for the year is usually the Saugerties Garlic festival. For which last year I played the Fender SuperSonic 22 MICED THROUGH THE BOARD! Yes even though I've been corralled into the roll of ''Marshall's advocate" & raising points to ponder (thanks Smitty) I'm not a die-hard Marshall stack or nothing kinda guy by any stretch. Truth be told I a big "bring the right amp for the job" person.

    That said, I have 4 different band projects that play out, only one has a big enough PA & enough channels to actually mic a guitar amp &....sound halfway decent when micing an amp. I get a $#itload of good paying gigs with these other groups (good gigs, fun gigs) that have the all too common 8 channel PA heads that don't have the room for a guitar and... even when I have run guitar through these systems the guitar sounds like ass because 1, the systems are really meant for semi-pro / entry level vocal reproduction & sound reinforcement. 2, the guitar gets mixed in with everything else in the monitor, that=$#!t. 3, eq just don't cut it & the speakers aren't geared or designed for quality guitar reproduction. Basically, I can never get these types of PA's to sound as good as or close to the guitar amp as I need it to go small & mic up. Just different & tiresome to the ears. A far far cry from the set up Tony described playing through. And like I said, I sure as hell ain't buying & hauling a 'good enough' PA myself so I can leave a bigger amp at home n go small. You guys that got it like that I'm happy for ya. But don't feel bad for ol BarryBob, I'm still having a blast all these years, totally diggin my sound & not complaining or signing da blues, unless I'm literally 'singing the blues'. (over a $#!tty PA!!)

    Thus my brotha, I depend on myself. I don't mind being miced but I have come to love having my own amp sounding just the way I want it at my feet. When The situation allows for a stack, I truly am happiest as a guitar player. Too me, that sound, feeling, response, interaction & sonic footprint is as close to ideal & as Rock n Roll as I can get & when it's right, it is always a really good time. On the other hand, it's a crappy day when that stack is too much and you should have brought a smaller amp!

    I always bring a back up plan.

    Hey, I was a boy scout.

    Anytime anybody here needs some sonic stack smack therapy feel at ease to pm me & we can hook up some JMP time in the amp room. Live drums included. Free as can be my friends. Just bring da luv.
     
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  4. lunchbox

    lunchbox Active Member

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    I've been playing in bands consistently since 1991. During that time a 50 watt amp with a 4x12" was more than sufficient. Besides, I neither wanted to carry around a second 4x12", nor did the clubs I played in L.A. like guys bringing full stacks. They tend to get too loud and take too long to get on and off the stage.

    Last December I decided to downsize. I sold my Laney GH50L and Laney 4x12" and got an Orange OR15 and a Marshall 1965A 4x10" (with Eminence Ramrods; super efficient 75 watt speakers). It's plenty for the clubs I play in my area w/o being mic'd. And I play loud hard rock/stoner rock.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. jojo68

    jojo68 Active Member

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    My OR 15 wouldn't keep up with my drummer
     
  6. lunchbox

    lunchbox Active Member

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    That's what I used to think as well.

    Switch out the ECC81 for the EQ to an ECC83. Instantly makes it louder and ballsier. And patch the FX loop; seems to give it a little boost as well.

    I also use super efficient speakers (Eminence Ramrod 10"s; 75 watts, 100.2db sensitivity, 80hz - 4.0 khz).

    Our drummer hits hard and I'm plenty loud. :dunno:
     
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  7. jojo68

    jojo68 Active Member

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    Interesting. That's good to know. I may try the effects loop trick. I only use this amp at home so I really don't need to have it get any louder.
     
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  8. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Well-Known Member

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    Hell, I use a 100 watt JMP 2203 as my BEDROOM AMP!!
    [​IMG]
    And there's a couple of "Norlins" just because..FTW!
     
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  9. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    My Hero Kris Ford !!!!!
    Say Kris what model is the one with the one pickup ? Is that a 70s Norlan era JR or special
     
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  10. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Well-Known Member

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    It's a '72 SGI. Gibson did away with the Junior and Melody Maker in mid/late '71, the SGI and SGII (2 pickup version, also there was the SGIII, a SGII in cherry sunburst) took their place..only lasted about a year and a half. Cool guitars for what they are..mini humbucker, maple body and neck, with a super skinny nut width..for those that liked the old style Juniors, they probably won't like these, but with serious high gain, they are doom metal MONSTERS! This SG nails Sabbath very nicely.
     
  11. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Thanx for the info Kris.always interesting
     
  12. AngusMadeMeDoIt

    AngusMadeMeDoIt Well-Known Member

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    Hell yeah I just joined the Orange club (dual terror). I cant wait to try her out at a gig!
     
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  13. alexander paul

    alexander paul Well-Known Member

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    agreed but more of a recording thing, i've never seen a mic 10' away @ a gig. most but not all of my amps... :dude:
     

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  14. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    In the immortal words of Slim Pickins..
    [​IMG]
    No! Not those words! These!!!



    "What in the World of Wide Wide Sports is a goin on hear!?!??"

    [​IMG]

    How ya liking those 10s after being surrounded by all those 12s??
     
  15. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Man all the pics of these fabulous tube amps got me slobberin
     
  16. Zagnut

    Zagnut Active Member

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    Certainly a thought provoking thread. I just picked up a 1979 Princeton Reverb with a 12" Celestion speaker in it that sounds glorious, but it won't replace these, only adds to the din. :thumb: (Please excuse the clutter.) It's great that we all have choices.

    [​IMG])
     
  17. flyswatter

    flyswatter Member

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    I get where the OP is coming from as far as a Marshall stack being overkill for most gigging applications and a testosterone-driven fantasy for some.

    However, I often use a Marshall 4X12 cabinet with either a Fender SuperReverb head or a Fender Blues Junior -- yep, a 15-watt Junior can run a Marshall cab as long as the cab runs at 8ohms.

    With the lower wattage amp running the cab you get the advantages of breakup/ good tube tone at reasonable volume, while retaining the "oomph" of a Marshall 4X12. Same thing goes with any of the smaller 15-30 watt heads/ combos out there today.

    So it isn't a Marshall-yes/ Marshall-no dilemma -- there's other way to take advantage of Marshall's air-moving capacity without going for the whole-hog 100watts into two 4X12s thing.
     
  18. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Do any of you Marshall fans use their combo amps and smaller gear ever?

    Or is it all about 4x12 cabinets and moving lots of air?
     
  19. DFLCC

    DFLCC Well-Known Member

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    I do use'em both. I know this is redundant but I have a DSL 40C and a DSL 100H with a MX4X12.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  20. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Do you choose them by the size of the venue?
     

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