is an interesting combination of a 12˝
Vintage series speaker and a 12˝ Heritage
speaker, both 8 ohms and wired in series for
a total of 16 ohms.
Straightfowardness is the name of the game on
the front panel: two sets of controls, each with
Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, and finally Volume.
The channels are designated Overdrive and
Clean/Crunch; each is governed by a small rectangular button equipped with a three-colored
LED in the center. The colors indicate the mode
that comes into play when that LED is lighted:
green is the least gain, orange is medium gain,
and red is the high gain selection.
Of course, the Clean/Crunch channel selections are for the cleaner side of things. When
the green LED is selected on this channel, the
volume is bypassed effectively, putting it on 10
for the most clean headroom (like a JTM- 45).
This is the only selection in which this volume
control is bypassed. The orange selection is a
great Super Lead/plexi tone, and can be overdriven very well with higher gain settings—
though it probably has a bit more available
gain than a real Plexi or Super Lead. I took the
liberty of putting a BSM Rangemaster pedal in
line here to see about producing the Clapton
“Beano” tone. There it was! I didn’t need a
very high gain setting to produce it—maybe
about 4 or 5. The red selection yielded the
JCM 800 tone; I felt it was a bit smoother and
bluesier on the low end than the JCM 800 setting on the other channel. Marshall wants you
to be able to overlap the JCM 800 settings, so
that two different types of gain structure are
available, making the transition between the
two channels quite seamless.
The Overdrive channel starts where the Clean/
Crunch channel ends, with its green LED setting at another JCM 800 type of sound. This
version has a bit tighter bass, and more gain is
certainly available if needed. The orange LED
setting (which was my favorite) was a high-gain Super Lead or plexi, reminiscent of the
older, modified Marshall amps I have owned.
Finally, the red LED setting of this channel has
all the gain anyone would ever need, but with
a tightly focused low end. It preserved pick
dynamics and had incredible harmonics. There
was sustain for days, and the overtones were
musically pure, so octave sustain was easy.
There was so much gain I felt guilty playing it.
On the right of the control panel are the master
volume controls. These two controls may be
assigned to adjust the overall loudness of any
selected tone. It’s possible to set these up as a
lead volume boost control through either MIDI
control or the supplied foot switch—a very
convenient feature. Just to the left of these two
controls are the Presence and Resonance controls. The resonance enables adjustment of the
low frequencies to compliment the speakers
used. The Presence, as on all other Marshalls,
sets the upper high harmonics and brightness.
Both of the controls operate in the power section, so their function is global.
The amp is equipped with two separate controls for the onboard digital reverb. One controls the reverb level on the Overdrive channel, and the other controls it on the Clean/
Crunch channel. This is a pretty good idea
because there are many instances when differing amounts of reverb are needed.
And speaking of control: all reverb, effects
loop and master volume settings are stored in
memory after each use. This means that if you
have dialed in a pounding, heavy rhythm tone
with no reverb on the orange LED setting on
the Overdrive channel, it will be remembered
when you leave and return to that channel.
Setting up a lead tone elsewhere, such as on
the red LED Overdrive channel with reverb, and
perhaps a delay in the effects loop, will also be
remembered. You can now toggle back and
forth between the settings. Unfortunately, it will
only store reverb, effects loop, and master volume settings, not changes to the gain and tone
settings. However, having a total of six settings
available (with three-per-channel availability)
makes many different tone settings possible.
The effect loop is also very versatile; it can be
configured either in series or parallel. When
using effects such as delay, it’s cool to be
able to blend in the echoes without actually
interrupting the signal and degrading it by
passing the whole sound through the pedal.
And there’s no need for true bypass; when the
delay is no longer needed, just turn off the
loop! This is an example of the parallel loop.
If for some reason you wanted the whole tone
to be changed by a device in the loop such as
an equalizer, the series loop directs the whole
thing through the loop. This is also the setting
that you would use if you were accessing the
power amp for use with an external preamp
such as a JMP- 1.
The back panel features include a MIDI-thru/
MIDI-in jack combination, as well as an XLR
speaker-emulated line out and a quarter-inch
footswitch jack. Five speaker output jacks allow
for the amp to be used with any type of speaker load you may wish to use. The two types of
effect loops have their own separate jacks for
send and return, and the parallel loop has a
level matching switch with mix knob. A bypass
switch is located near the series loop jacks.
The effect loop on/off switch can be accessed
through the front panel as well, and as I mentioned earlier, can be programmed into the settings selected on any given channel.
The Final Mojo
The Marshall JVM 210C is a powerful package. It would only make a small footprint on
the stage, but it would be able to handle
about any size venue. It’s fairly heavy—nearly
60 lbs—but its tone more than makes up
for the weight. It has side handles, which do
help with the weight. Because of the speaker
selection it seems to have a fairly convincing big-speaker, almost 4x12-type tonality.
There would certainly be gigs when a 4x12
would be better (such as outdoor shows)
but for most club dates, this would be more
than adequate. The reverb is transparent and
does not conflict with the tone of the amp (as
some do). Even on its highest gain settings I
was able to clean it up very nicely using the
guitar’s volume control. The amp responded
equally well to single coil and double coil
pickups and produced some really nice Strat
notch tones on the JTM- 45 settings.
you are looking for a reliable,
powerful, versatile stage amp for
clubs to moderately big venues.
you are looking for something
lighter in weight.
Head online to hear sound
samples of the amp in action at
MSRP $3199 Street $2300