Pros: Signature Marshall tone from classic to modern with three channel versatility.
Cons: Wolverine Speakers are subpar and recessed handles should have been provided.
I'm so sick of reading the undeserved bad press on the JCM2000 line that my supper is going to make a curtain call. Just so you'll know the truth, Here's a snippet of Vintage Guitar's review: ..."We compared the TSL100 to a 100-watt early-?70s Super Lead and a 100-watt 800 Series model JCM2203. The TSL sounds excellent through the old 4 X 12s and basically does everything the old Marshalls do ? and more. The TSL brings the best elements of the older and newer Marshalls together, retaining all the classic Marshall tone and feel. The TSL?s tonal spectrum is far more versatile than any other Marshall out there, offering the widest range of clean-and-sweet to loud-and-nasty sounds. With more features and options for controlling the sound, this new design provides the ultimate in flexibility for the player. The new TSL is truly a winner."... I concur wholeheartedly. I'm not going to go into the features because you can read them at a million sites. Rest assured that the Plexi and JCM800 snobs are just plain jealous that you can leave your pedal board home when you have this amp. I've got two complaints. First, at 80lbs, this amp should have been provided with recessed side handles. Do yourself a favor and buy some good metal recessed handles (Philly Forge), grab your Rotozip, and carve in some handles on this baby. Your back will thank you. Second and most significant are the Celestion Wolverines which were a bad move on Marshall's part and I'm sure it's a major reason for all the bad press on the combos. For the first few months I just got the feeling that something was holding this amp back. My suspicions were confirmed when I snagged a TSL 2x12 cab on Ebay. You know, the one with the original JCM2000 lineup of a Celestion Vintage 30 and a Celestion Heritage speaker. The amp sounded much sweeter and clearer with the original speaker brace. On a hunch and looking for some edge, I found a used Celestion Modern Lead speaker at a local guitar shop. Once I switched it for one of the Wolverines the 602 came alive and acquired an edge and clarity that it lacked before. Now I've got the best of all worlds. If I need that edgy tone, I stick with the combo. If I need to smooth it out a bit, I just run through the cab and combo together. If I just want smooth tone with minimal edge, I run through the cab. If you have a 602 replace one of the speakers. I would suggest Celestion's Modern Lead, Classic Lead, or Vintage 30 to match with the remaining Wolverine. If you have a 601 replace the Wolverine with the recommended speakers. In both cases buy a new or used TSL 2x12 cab. You won't regret it. For tone comparisons and variety I have a THD Univalve, Fender Deluxe Reverb RI, Tech 21 TM10/PE60. Now, for those players who don't understand the term "lead" and the number three channel on this amp, listen up. "Lead" in my book means single notes or intervals, not chords. The lead channel on this amp is there to make your solos leap out without a boost pedal. The clean and crunch channels are there if you want to play chords or a lead run without piercing the audience's collective heart. There is a purpose for this channel if you use it properly so quit whining about all the useless distortion afforded by this channel and use it the way it's supposed to be used. FWIW, I play primarily through the 602 and practice through the TM10. The Univalve, which sounds as good as any Boutique amp gets alot of attention too. I have 14 guitars, mostly Fenders and Gibsons, so I've got some gear to rotate and I know what I'm looking for in tone. The 602 has it. There, now I feel better. Don't buy into the bad press, check out this amp or the other JMC2000 line if you're into Marshall tone with maximum verstility. With the suggested mods, you'll be one happy camper. One more thing; I witnessed a good guitar player with bad tone in a little bar in Phoenix recently and luckily survived to tell about it. He had a JCM800 head, 1960B cab, so he had it, the Holy Grail right? Wrong, he sounded awful despite being a decent guitarist and much better than me for that matter. His problem, he was stuck on the bridge pickup on both his Les Paul and Strat. In other words, he was so busy admiring his talent that he neglected the safety and well being of the audience and his band mates. All the great gear in the world won't make up for a lack of restraint and no ear for timing and tone. If you've got a pickup selector switch, use it!