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31 Jul 2020

Review: Marshall SC20C Studio Classic JCM800 guitar amp

instruments Review: Marshall SC20C Studio Classic JCM800 guitar amp

In collaboration with Algam Benelux we wrote the following review about the Marshall SC20C Studio Classic JCM 800 guitar amplifier.

The in London based company Marshall is bringing back the legendary amplifiers of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s in a small format. This Marshall studio line was announced at Winter NAMM 2019 and it features these relatively small studio amplifiers in which both a combo and head variant are available.

SC20C Studio Classic

This amplifier was built after the classic JCM 800 and the typical thing about this amplifier is the real crunchy sound. Like all amplifiers in this studio line, this amp is provided with a three-position standby switch for either 20W, 5W, or standby. It also has the usual controls such as: presence, bass, middle, treble, master volume, and preamp volume.

This amp is also consisting of a low sensitivity and high sensitivity input to switch between different pickups or just to get a different, cleaner sound on your guitar.

Specifications

  • High and low sensitivity input
  • 20W output (with power reduction option to 5W)
  • Celestion V-type 10” speaker (16Ω, 50W)
  • 2 x ECC83, 1 x ECC83 preamp valves (phase splitter)
  • DI-out
  • Weighs about 15 kg
  • Also available as head amplifier (SC20H)
  • EL34 power stage
SC20C Studio Classic
SC20C Studio Classic
SC20C Studio Classic
SC20C Studio Classic

The sound

To summarize, an authentic JCM800 sound in a compact size. The SC20 is really reactive amp with possibilities to play clean but also to add a lot of crunch. The treble response is on the bright side and the amp cleans up relatively nice when the guitar volume is rolled down. Check out the video above for a small sound fragment (02:07 - 02:34).

Tubes

This modern classic is built around the vacuum tubes responsible for the real '80s Marshall sound (ECC83 for the preamp and EL64 for the power stage) and intended for high-gain output. A real must in genres such as hard rock and heavy metal and, together with this model, a perfect fit for guitarists at home, studio, or on stage! This model replicates the sound of a JCM800 2203, which has become a big part of the rock scene due to its distinctive distortion/crunch sound.

SC20C Studio Classic
SC20C Studio Classic
SC20C Studio Classic
SC20C Studio Classic

Portability

Despite the use of vacuum tubes, heavy transformers, and analog sound which can be recorded directly (via DI output), this model is very portable. The less than 15 kg weighing amplifier has a sturdy handle that effortlessly handles the weight and provides a lot of grip. The fact that it is a lot more compact than its source of inspiration also makes loading and unloading a lot easier when you are on the road with your band.

Expandable

If you still need more decibels, you can connect external speakers and use the SC20C as a stack. Here there is room for up to 4 extra speakers, of which you can choose how many Ohm (Ω) speakers you want to use.

Speaker setups per connection that are possible:

  1. 1x16Ω (here the built-in speaker is already connected)
  2. 1x8Ω (if you use this together with 3, you can connect a single 16Ω speaker)
  3. 1x8Ω (if you use it together with 2, you can connect a single 16Ω speaker)
  4. 1x4Ω (if you use this together with 5, you can connect a single 8Ω speaker)
  5. 1x4Ω (if you use it together with 4, you can connect a single 8Ω speaker)

So in total, you could have connected 5 speakers:

1x16Ω + 2x8Ω + 2x4Ω

Conclusion

For those studio musicians who are looking for that real Marshall tone, this will be an amplifier you’ll love. Especially when you are playing with humbuckers you will get an awesome tone out of this amp. 

It is not for nothing that Marshall reintroduces the line to also get attention again among the newer generations of rock and metal musicians. If you look at where this series excels, it is not surprising that Zakk Wylde, The Scorpions, and Slayer all used these series because of the range and great sound. A typical example would be the album Master of Puppets by Metallica, which used the 1965 version. Here the JCM800 series is beautifully displayed by Jackson and Gibson guitars with active EMG 81 pickups:

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