Marshall Valvestate 8100, yay or nay?

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Rizzo, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Hey there, as a 90s metal tone nostalgic and long time Death super fan, I'm used to an ongoing GAS for the above mentioned valvestate 8100, always fading and coming back from year to year since forever. Which leads me to the compulsive search for one every time it strikes.

    Internet pic for reference.
    [​IMG]

    I know the series quite a bit from extensive research, demo clips and album tones (you know, it's what GAS does to you), but never heard one in person. A friend of mine has a VS AVT 2000, which everyone deems obscene but I think it can get pretty decent if dialed in with some common sense, at least I did it for him and it was not bad. Since everyone says the 8000 series is miles better, I can only expect better. Of course I won't be comparing it with something else entirely, as tube purists would do. I know what to expect overall, it's still what it is.

    Now to the story. Just randomly, while hanging out with a musical friend, I found an used 8100 in a pawn shop near me. It goes for 150 euros head only, or I think 400 euros with a 4x12 1960A cab if I remember correctly. It seems well kept. The head-only price seems below average to me, at least from the few listed 8100s here in Italy. So, the GAS came back full throttle and so did my confusion.

    That being said...
    This is the situation: I switched to all digital since years, straight Pod plus FRFR so nothing analog is sitting in the house anymore. Also, I don't play live anymore. So since I would need a cab as well, I would basically have to re-construct an analog rig just to enjoy the 8100 (Or would a *cheap* IR loader take the amp in, by the way? That would be a game changer).
    The only actual reason why I would hunt one down would be nostalgia (also since my first ever amp was a cheap Marshall), Death fanboyism and some plug-and-play solid state metal action in remembrance of the old times. I don't really *need* it. Because of that, my rational part is fighting with my GAS big time.
    On the other hand, the idea to own one has been bugging me since forever and soon the 8000 series will be too rare to be spotted again, in EU at least. Also lots of people say it's one of the best SS amps ever.

    That being said, I want you to be my rational counsellors.
    On one hand:
    1) Would you buy the amp if you were in my shoes, y/n and why? And at that price? Head only and waiting for a cheap cab down the road, or is head plus that Marshall cab a bargain? I forgot all average prices of anything analog since I've been out of that universe. Well I could still resell the 1960A if it proves too much to keep at home. Or again, does a cheap IR loader which takes amps in input exist? That would be great.
    2) As for build quality, how's that? Would it be advisable to buy it (of course after having tested it in place), or would I risk repaying it in maintenance over the long term? It is pretty old. It would still serve as a memorabilia in case, but it would suck to see it breaking down.

    On the other hand:
    3) For owners / past owners, and possibly metal fans. Honestly: how's that, is it actually a good amp for what it is? I do like Marshall, I do like solid state for its character, and I always thought the 8100 could not badly approximate a 5150 for tight, mid-heavy metal tones, which I love.. Well I also know it will probably be better for studio tones than as a live amp.

    Guys, I know I'm overthinking it but I really need help in this. I'm asking this as I don't want to get caught by the GAS/hype and squander my money, and then dwell in cognitive dissonance. Cheers to anyone willing to help!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  2. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    I say go for it personally. There is a reason you keep coming back to the idea of wanting one. At least to say you have owned one once and tick it off the list so to speak.

    Does it have an effects loop?. Could always use it to power some digital stuff into a real cabinet too if its core sound does disappoint.
    It seems to me though that you know what you are getting based off the research you have done. I heard one once (I believe it was this one - was 100% a Valve state and looked like this so)
    and it was pretty good. The player was some washed up "rocker" dad of an ex so not exactly a true reflection of its tone I imagine but still.

    The other plus is, based on their current "used prices". If you buy one, and in the end want rid, you will just be able to get your money back selling so all is not lost.
     
  3. Dineley

    Dineley SS.org Regular

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    If youve thought of it for years get it. Get cab too. Any good load box/IR loader will cost close to the same
     
  4. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    The price of the head versions is indeed going up. I bought the combo version (model 8080) and cut it down into a head, it cost I think £70 used. I don't really know what would be a fair price, but I was happy with the £70 I paid.

    I didn't use it for a few years as it was at my parents house, and when I did get it back, it wasn't as ballsy as I remember but that may be because I currently use an axe fx into a Fryette 2/50/2 which is very ballsy.

    You can run direct out of the fx send into an interface to record with impulses, I've done that before. I've also run the fx send into the input of my 2/50/2 and it sounds immense.

    Given the age of these amps (25+ years at this point) you'll start getting age-related issues like failing capacitors. Electrolytic capacitors only have a lifespan of like 20 or 30 years so it gets more likely by the day that something will need replacing.

    I've been meaning to open mine up and check the caps, I may just swap them all out just for fun, as it can't really hurt.

    If you can play it and you like the sound of it, and you have the spare cash, I say why not.
     
  5. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    That's interesting. So basically I could get just the head and route it through the Pod for recording, without frying anything up?
     
  6. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    As far as I know, yes.

    I recorded with it via fx send back when it was a combo so the speaker was always attached. I just turned the master to 0 (or fx mix to 100%, I forget) and there was no noise out of the speaker.

    It was a head when I ran it into my 2/50/2, I didn't connect a cab to the valvestate and it didn't die.

    I did look through the manual of both it, and the valvestate poweramps first, and it didn't mention needing a load attached like the manual of a tube amp would.

    Most solidstate poweramps are fine with infinite load, with the exception of some types (I think class D?).

    In fact most (stable) tube amps are fine with no load as long as there's no input signal to amplify.
     
  7. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    I know the feeling. I have considered picking one of those up for years. One of the main things that keeps me from it, is I used to collect a lot of gear like that. Gear I wanted because I loved some tone it was associated with. I had a huge collection at one point, but eventually sold much of it. A great example, is I had an old Randall Century for many years. It was a great sounding amp, but it didn't really suit "my" style. It was awesome playing Pantera or Crowbar riffs, but wasn't my preference just for my own jamming. I have a feeling the 8100 would be the same. I would love playing old Death and Prong tunes through it, but I think it would be too tight and thin for my own style. I have tried to quit buying gear like that, except for a couple cheap pedals since they are cheap and small to store.

    For me, unless you absolutely want that specific tone, it doesn't seem worth it if you don't have the cabs and other gear to go with it.
     
  8. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    ^Good and definitely rational point, I totally agree with you. It's a tough choice as it would be more of an impulse "nostalgic" buy than anything else really.
     
  9. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    You still need a speaker load attached... output transformers with no load are not a happy thing even though ss power sections handle it better than tube.

    The 8100 is a cool amp and fun to have around, and that price isn't bad at all. I'd say go for it even if you just use it occasionally for fun :2c: It is definitely more Marshall than 5150 though.
     
  10. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    I have one, all it required was a new 12AX7. I lent it to a buddy, cost me like 120€ in 2010.
     
  11. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Could you give me a more elaborate personal opinion? Would you play it again?
     
  12. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Back in the day it seems like at least a few guys you know had one of those. I never thought they were that great to be honest. I'd rather spend that money on a better modeler.
     
  13. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    This is pretty much why I bought, and still have my valvestate. It does really only get played every now and then, but it's real fun to bang out Death style sounds.
     
  14. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    Don't get me wrong, I have thought about buying an 8100 tons of times, lol. Usually after I listen to Prong's Cleansing, lol. I just don't know if it would get enough use. I thought about buying a Marshall Jackhammer pedal for the same reason.... to get me in that ballpark.
     
  15. wakjob

    wakjob SS.org Regular

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    I'll never part with mine.

    They do need a 4 ohm load min.
    At this age, it might need some TLC like spraying & cleaning all the pots and jacks.

    I went through mine and replaced every single electrolytic capacitor just because. Also bumped up the mains a couple thousand uF's, which is okay on SS amps. It now hits a bit harder on the low end and there's less hiss/hum overall, not that it was all that bad in the first place.

    Great amp with its own sound/tone.
    One of, if not my favorite Marshall. And I'm a fanboy.
     

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