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Headfirst Amplification Exposes Potential Flaw in Marshall’s JCM800

Headfirst Amplification Exposes Potential Flaw in Marshall's Latest High-End Amp
Headfirst Amplification Exposes Potential Flaw in Marshall's latest 2023 JCM 800 reissue model, the 2203X

Headfirst Amplification Exposes Potential Flaw in Marshall’s Latest High-End Amp. In a recent video revelation, Jason Tong of Headfirst Amplification, an Australian guitar amp manufacturer, has raised concerns about a significant issue in Marshall’s latest 2023 JCM 800 reissue model, the 2203X. Priced at around $3,500 in Australia, this high-end amplifier is expected to deliver flawless performance. However, Tong’s discovery suggests otherwise.

Potential Flaw in Marshall’s Latest High-End Amp?

Despite acknowledging the amp’s excellent sound quality, Tong highlighted a concerning flaw. He observed a distinct, high-pitched 1 kHz hum emanating from the power transformer, an anomaly for a brand-new unit. This issue becomes apparent at the 1:05 mark in his detailed video, where the hum ceases the moment he touches the transformer.

“This is not normal behavior for a new amplifier,” Tong commented, casting doubts on the product’s quality.

Vietnamese Transformers

Delving deeper, Tong noted a change in the amp’s components. The 2203X, historically known for its UK and Malta-based Dagnall transformers, now incorporates transformers made in Vietnam. While Tong doesn’t oppose the use of overseas components, he expressed dissatisfaction with the use of what he perceives as lower-quality parts in a high-end model.

2017 vs 2023

For those interested in the technical aspects, Tong’s video offers an in-depth analysis, comparing the 2023 model’s circuitry with its 2017 counterpart, which featured Dagnall transformers. He also explains how to distinguish between these transformer types.

The video culminates with Tong posing a crucial question: “Is this really a scandal?”

Marshall JCM800

Zound Industries

Marshall Amplification has been acquired by the Swedish company Zound Industries. Though it remains partially owned by the Marshall Family.

This development has sparked conversations among audiophiles and guitar enthusiasts, questioning the quality standards of renowned brands and the implications of global manufacturing practices on high-end audio equipment. As the story unfolds, the guitar community eagerly awaits Marshall’s response to these observations.

Marshall JCM800 reissue

Guitar Bomb Verdict

This could purely be down to what transformers Marshall can source that are the correct specifications for this amp circuit. Headfirst Amplification may have just got unlucky and purchased one with a sub-standard transformer. These things can occasionally happen, unfortunately.  Ideally, we would all prefer made-in-the-UK or made-in-the-USA hardware and components.

Just that isn’t always possible, especially when a company needs these components in volume and at a price point that makes sense to the end customer. Once a manufacturer starts using expensive components, then that cost will have to trickle down to the consumer.

Plus, Jason Tong clearly states during the video that he has ‘modded’ the amp head, and we don’t know what effect that could have on the original design. It all sounds like a clickbait-style YouTube video title in many ways. However, it is perhaps interesting to know that Marshall has started using Vietnamese transformers in the newer JCM800 reissues.

We would advise that if you are in the market for a Marshall JCM800 reissue you either try before you buy or use distance selling regulations to cover your purchase. Ideally, use a reputable company like Thomann or Andertons to order your new Marshall.

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