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Unread 02-23-2013, 11:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

Hi, I recently placed an order for a Marshall DSL 40C and wanted to share my perspective of why I did it and why I chose it over the Blackstar HT-40

BACKGROUND: (Skip this section if you are not interested) I am in my fourth year of learning guitar. Its taking me longer than some most probably because I am in my 40s and maybe because I am very much an engineer, used to left brain thinking. I have always had a creative bend but thinking in a structured and linear way initially inhibited me. I have had to let go of that a bit to bring out the music in me. I am now at the stage where I don't feel terribly embarrassed auditioning a bit of gear in a guitar store. I am telling you this so you take my review in the context of my skill level.

I was the happy owner of two really awesome sounding amps, a Jet City 2112RC and an Ibanez TSA15C (Tubescreamer). Before these I had Blackstar HT-1R, a Vox AC4TV and before that a Roland Cube 30X. I bought the Tubescreamer to replace the Blackstar because the Blackstar had no headroom on clean, the Blackstar replaced the Vox because the Vox was really a one trick pony. It had a nice sound but it was not ultimately me. The Vox in turn replaced the Roland, which was my first amp.

While I had the Ibanez the Jet City was released which gave me some serious GAS and I bought it to complement the Ibanez, thinking that I would have the whole tone spectrum from a sparkly Fender like clean on the Ibanez to the Marshally overdrive on the Jet City.

When considered objectively the Tubescreamer is probably a better amp than a Jet City and also more versatile if you take pedals into account because of the effects loop. However I ended up discovering that I was always using the Jet City rather than the Ibanez, mainly because of the type of music I played and also because it made a better connection with me at a visceral level.

It was during this stage that I realized that the tone that resonated the strongest with me the Marshall sound because even with the Ibanez I would invariably use a Marshall style pedal like an MI Audio Crunchbox. Some of the best tone I ever got was putting the MI Audio and a delay pedal in the effects loop of the Ibanez and then turning the Tubescreamer on. But the Jet City was also convenient, I did not have to use pedals and consider gain stacking and the like to get a good tone. I just switched it on turned a few knobs and bingo I was in tone heaven.

I began realizing that I had one amp too many. Both of the amps did great Marshall tone, but neither did everything. If there had just been an amp that combined the two. If the Jet City had an effects loop this post would never have been written. If the Ibanez had a gain knob this post also would not have been written. When I was buying the Tubescreamer amp the price of that elusive ideal amp was way outside my price range. But recently two things happened. Sellers have reduced prices of gear in Australia and Marshall and Blackstar released amps in a lower price bracket because of Asian manufacture. So suddenly I realised I could sell both my amps and buy that one ideal amp.

The specs I was looking at were an amp that could get me my tone, two switchable channels and a series effects loop.

So I started looking, in my journey I briefly considered the Vox AC15, the Vox AC30 but then narrowed it down to the Blackstar HT40 and Marshall DSL 40C

BLACKSTAR HT-40 vs MARSHALL DSL 40c:
This was going to be hard. I was determined to choose properly this time, audition it using my own guitar, and then think long and hard. This was something I had not done in the past. The reason why it was hard is because in Melbourne there is no single store that stocked both the Blackstar and the Marshall. Only two stores sold both. One was an online store and the other was so overstocked with other amps that they were not willing to get these in for me to audition.

Anyway I researched everywhere on the internet, watched all the youtube videos, read all the literature to understand the two amps a bit better. One average both are very popular amps, well respected and loved. Both have had good reviews in the press.

It was going to be down to my personal preference. I found the Marshall amp first and auditioned it first. I used my Schecter Synyster Gates Custom with Seymour Duncan Invader pickups.

The Marshall struck me as being very familiar. Its a nice looking amp with controls that are very logical. The two gain channels with two distinct voicings takes from clean all the way to the opposite end in a clear logical way. I was struck with how nice the clean sounded and how much more clean headroom there was, even with my pickups, than I was expecting. The crunch channel was great with those oh so lovely early Marshall tones. Lead 1 was pure heaven and Lead 2 even more so. I was impressed by the articulation, how I could get clear staccato notes without too much noise even on lead 2. Power chords on Lead 1 were the best I have ever heard. I actually got lost for a moment just playing a simple B to C to D sequence. The tone was magical. Then I tried some tapping and again it was awesome. The amp is very bright in a nice way but I could cut the brightness enough using the treble and mid knobs to give me the range of EQ that I would need. The reverb was OK but not out of this world. Maybe a nice pedal would do a better job. The tone shift made a big difference to the sound and together with reducing mids added up to a very scooped sound, something I dont really use. My overwhelming feeling after 30 minutes was happiness. I had a big smile on my face on my way to the Blackstar store.

The Blackstar immediately struck me as being more modern and nicer looking and slightly better made. Its layout was also less clear and a bit more unfamiliar. I started with the clean and was immediately struck by the greater clarity, the more bell like quality it had over the Marshall. It was Fender like. The second clean channel was dirtier and could be said to be Vox like but without the creaminess so I skipped that. It would have been better to have had volume and gain on the single voice and do it well rather than try to emulate the Vox sound, which is something I have never heard anyone copy very successfully. On the drive side, the distortions were much darker sounding than the Marshall with very tightly controlled, very British HiFi speaker like bass. It all sounded pretty good but it had this of a sound that seemed a bit constrained and a bit tight with a hard edge that was not as nice as the Marshall. It was very hard to put my finger on it. I was trying to like it because the amp looks so great and because it has a feature that would have really worked for me, the emulate out, but it bothered me that the distortion was not sounding the way the Marshall did. On the emulation thing the Blackstar has the nicest sounding sound through headphones of any device I have ever heard.

One big contrast with the Marshall's distortion is that on the Blackstar the intrinsic sound quality did not really change as I increased the gain, it just became grittier and dirtier. It still sounded like a very modern sound while on the Marshall it seemed to change far more, all the way from old Marshall to new Marshall, as I moved through the various stages of gain. The Blackstar also had this slight sterility to it. I tried moving the ISF knob but that only seemed to move the mids very much like the Tone Shift button on the Marshall does. I could hear Peavey on one side and Marshall on the extreme opposite but not truly authentic rather just a shadow of those sounds. At this point I was beginning to feel a bit underwhelmed. I could tell that on a rational level the sounds were awesome and the dynamics of the amp were really really good but it was just not connecting emotionally; almost as if it was a shade too perfect. I then discovered it had a great reverb. At that time the guitar store person showed me the Blackstar ID range. It was extremely hard and sounded really bad compared to the HT-40 but I realised that it had this overwhelmingly hard edged quality that would only really serve for something like death metal or Motorhead or the like. Strangely it made me realize what was bothering me with the HT-40. It had a degree of that same hardness, something completely absent in the Marshall.

Anyway my conclusion was that the difference between the Marshall and the Blackstar was like the difference between a beautiful woman and a sexy woman. You like looking at a beautiful woman but would rather be with a sexy one. The Marshall is like a great looking sexy woman, the Blackstar like a cold beauty. On the way home I put a deposit down for the Marshall and resolved to save some money to buy an HT-1R for that headphone sound.

Would I have bought the Blackstar if I hadn't auditioned the Marshall. Its a hard thing to answer and I am not sure. Did I choose the better amp ? I dont know but I know I chose the amp that connected better with me personally. Would I recommend the Marshall over the Blackstar to anyone. No I would not. I would recommend you go and find out which one resonates better with you and then buy that one regardless of what anyone else says.
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Unread 02-23-2013, 11:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I did my amp journey and ended up with a Blackstar HT 40. It was the amp that resonated with me. I bought mine used for 450, it was well broken in and it sounds great.

You are right about the distortion sound not changing that much with the gain knob, It just adds more saturation. But there's two voice modes on the OD channel the lower gain one will get you more of that older Marshall sound. And its very responsive to the volume knob even with the high gain channel.

My only issue with the amp is the voice option for each channel isn't foot switchable, because that would be great.

I Got it because i have a JCM 800 4210 combo and i wanted something that could go farther with the gain without needing pedals.

In my opinion the HT 40 is a great amp that can cover all grounds, as is the DSL. Im sure you'll be more than happy with your amp.

Im gassing for the DSL1 combo.
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Unread 02-23-2013, 11:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

Well written. Great job and congrats!
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Unread 02-24-2013, 12:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

As a Marshall and Blackstar owner, I think your findings are right on target. Very thorough and accurate review. The Blackstar Venue series is, compared to Marshall, dark and modern. Congrats on finding the amp that suits your tastes!
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Unread 02-24-2013, 01:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

Quote:
Originally Posted by Risamaru View Post
......:You are right about the distortion sound not changing that much with the gain knob, It just adds more saturation. But there's two voice modes on the OD channel the lower gain one will get you more of that older Marshall sound. And its very responsive to the volume knob even with the high gain channel. :.................
Thanks for the response, mate. I must have missed that button. I wonder if it would have made a difference to my choice. I guess I'll never know.
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Unread 02-24-2013, 01:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I've played Marshalls for over 30 years.
When the Blackstars came out they looked GREAT on paper.
I went to a store ready to buy.

I brought my guitar with me and tried out the HT40.
For someone whose used to the older classic Marshall tone it was a big disappointment.
There was something lacking in the gain dept. I couldn't put my finger on it but something didn't sound good to me .
I left empty handed.

Later I read someone else's review of the HT40 and he described exactly what I was hearing.
Lots of gain but no "Crunch".
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Unread 02-24-2013, 02:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

We burn Shitstar players at the stake where I come from !
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Unread 02-24-2013, 05:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by HoboMan View Post
I've played Marshalls for over 30 years.
When the Blackstars came out they looked GREAT on paper.
I went to a store ready to buy.

I brought my guitar with me and tried out the HT40.
For someone whose used to the older classic Marshall tone it was a big disappointment.
There was something lacking in the gain dept. I couldn't put my finger on it but something didn't sound good to me .
I left empty handed.

Later I read someone else's review of the HT40 and he described exactly what I was hearing.
Lots of gain but no "Crunch".
Nothing can beat a good Marshall "kick in the teeth" !!!
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Unread 02-24-2013, 09:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I have two Marshalls and a Blackstar HT-5 stack. The Marshalls have that snarl and bite to them that I love. The Blackstar is very modern and smooth sounding. I took the Sovtek pre tube out of the Blackstar and replaced it with a JJ. It warmed up the amp.
Enjoy your Marshall bro!!
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Unread 02-24-2013, 05:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by Vmodder View Post
I have two Marshalls and a Blackstar HT-5 stack. The Marshalls have that snarl and bite to them that I love. The Blackstar is very modern and smooth sounding. I took the Sovtek pre tube out of the Blackstar and replaced it with a JJ. It warmed up the amp.
Enjoy your Marshall bro!!
You are correct, there is a rawness to the Marshall. I find this rawness to be very musical to my ears. I guess it has a lot to do with how we are all programmed. My 17 year old son hates my Jet City, I love it. He loves the Ibanez Tubescreamer sound better. I wonder what he will make of the Marshall. I'll let you know if you are interested.
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Unread 02-24-2013, 05:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

Keep us posted. I had a JCA20H, and I just didn't bond with it. Enjoy your Marshall!
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Unread 02-24-2013, 08:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I've never played a Blackstar or Tubescreamer, but I do have the Jet City JCA20h and I'm about to sell it to get the JCA 20hv. As soon as I played the hv (darker, less gain, more open and vintage) I knew I had to have it. It just sounded more Marshall to me and had a more pleasant crunch to it to my ears.

Nothing wrong with going with your ears man. That's the best way to find your tone.
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Unread 02-24-2013, 09:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by Landshark View Post
I've never played a Blackstar or Tubescreamer, but I do have the Jet City JCA20h and I'm about to sell it to get the JCA 20hv. As soon as I played the hv (darker, less gain, more open and vintage) I knew I had to have it. It just sounded more Marshall to me and had a more pleasant crunch to it to my ears.

Nothing wrong with going with your ears man. That's the best way to find your tone.
I'd like to get a JCA20h and drive it over to BFG. I like his brown sound mods.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 01:30 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by Landshark View Post
I've never played a Blackstar or Tubescreamer, but I do have the Jet City JCA20h and I'm about to sell it to get the JCA 20hv. As soon as I played the hv (darker, less gain, more open and vintage) I knew I had to have it. It just sounded more Marshall to me and had a more pleasant crunch to it to my ears.

Nothing wrong with going with your ears man. That's the best way to find your tone.
The Jet City is one awesome amp. Probably the best value for money amp out there. I will miss it greatly when it is gone. The only consolation is that the DSL 40C has its tones somewhere within its broader spectrum.
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Unread 02-26-2013, 02:12 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I can't read all that. Who's the winner?
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Unread 02-26-2013, 03:29 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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I can't read all that. Who's the winner?
. I bought the Marshall.
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Unread 02-26-2013, 04:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

You should have made him read it.
You are just enabling him...
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Unread 02-27-2013, 06:07 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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You should have made him read it.
You are just enabling him...
Some people have very little time....
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Unread 02-27-2013, 11:25 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I have now owned both. First the Blackstar Ht-club 40. So excited for this amp. But I found the clean very stale and really with little to no character. Did not take OD pedals well at all to my ears. The drive channel was nice sounding, but at gig volumes, very flubby with little to no med range character with my Lonestar Strat.

Just got the Marshall DSL40c. First thing I noticed, the fit and finish to mine is much better than the blackstar. The cleans are much much more usable without destroying the lead channels with the global EQ. Push in the crunch.. and wham... heaven with my strat. In all 5 way positions, truly what I was looking for. Now the drive channel in both modes is something to my ears too harsh. Way to much treble, mine is set at 1 and pres at 2. It is almost unusable for blues rock to rock. I have been told to try a Scumback speaker or to do the C19 cap mod. Really thinking of both. I love the quality of the amp and channel 1 is to die for. so for me it is a keeper, just looking to ways to make both channels usable for my and my gear.

That is just my 2 cents.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 02:32 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I tried the Blackstar HT20 and HT40 in the store a few weeks ago.

They sounded really good... I liked the ifinite shape control all the way to the "British" setting.

But for me, the only way I'd know for sure is to play them on a gig. I just cant tell in a music store setting at low/moderate volume.

I just love my DSL 100 and JCM 800 2203X so much though... I really don't need anything else!
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Unread 02-27-2013, 03:42 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I had the 60 watt Blackstar HT60 2x12" sitting next to my 50 watt Marshall 1923 DSL 2x12" combo for months. I played with a loop station, so I had rhythm through one amp and simultaneous lead through the other amp. I had good opportunity to compare them.

I used the gain channels very little, but used the clean channels and a Tube Screamer for distortion.

If I set the tone knobs correctly, I could not tell the difference between the amps with my eyes closed.

At the same settings, the Blackstar was much fuller, the Marshall was cleaner and clearer.

The Marshall might have been a tiny bit louder, not much. Turned up to '8' or more, the Marshall remained more intelligible and more well-defined. (aka- mushier, not as mushy) (could have been the better speakers which could mean the amp sections are both about equal)

The Blackstar was more glassy, I think. The clean on those is pretty spectacular. Though I love Marshall clean a lot, also.

The Blackstar was mellow and not as in your face (a plus and a minus, both).

The Blackstar was in a way, more pleasant to listen to.

The Marshall cost more than double, maybe almost triple what the Blackstar cost new.

I got rid of the Blackstar and bought a Twin Reverb in its place just because I had a better feeling about it. Don't ask. But the Marshall and the BS are two of the best-sounding amps I've ever owned or played.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 07:59 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by SDMarshalldsl40c View Post
I have now owned both. First the Blackstar Ht-club 40. So excited for this amp. But I found the clean very stale and really with little to no character. Did not take OD pedals well at all to my ears. The drive channel was nice sounding, but at gig volumes, very flubby with little to no med range character with my Lonestar Strat.

Just got the Marshall DSL40c. First thing I noticed, the fit and finish to mine is much better than the blackstar. The cleans are much much more usable without destroying the lead channels with the global EQ. Push in the crunch.. and wham... heaven with my strat. In all 5 way positions, truly what I was looking for. Now the drive channel in both modes is something to my ears too harsh. Way to much treble, mine is set at 1 and pres at 2. It is almost unusable for blues rock to rock. I have been told to try a Scumback speaker or to do the C19 cap mod. Really thinking of both. I love the quality of the amp and channel 1 is to die for. so for me it is a keeper, just looking to ways to make both channels usable for my and my gear.

That is just my 2 cents.

Thats good information. I have so far only tried the Marshall with my twin humbucker Schecter. The humbuckers are apparently the highest powered non active humbuckers in the entire universe so that is probably why I was not bothered too much by the treble. It may also be what contributed to the BS sounding a bit too full and dark. Tonally the Marshall sounded in the ballpark of the Jet City that I use at the moment and love. I am waiting keenly to try the Marshall with my two Strats. One is a Squier Classic Vibe that has very low output and quite mellow Alnico 3 pickups. The other is a Fender Strat with American Alnico 5s. The latter has a brighter tone but is actually quite adjustable.

From what I heard the Lonestar Strat use Texas Specials and a Pearly Gates in the Bridge. The Texas Specials have quite a bright treble and sound very forward. They would contribute strongly to making any amp sound brighter. Have you tried turning the Guitar tone controls down a bit.


I cant wait till Saturday till I can pick my amp up.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 08:06 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by axuality View Post
I had the 60 watt Blackstar HT60 2x12" sitting next to my 50 watt Marshall 1923 DSL 2x12" combo for months. I played with a loop station, so I had rhythm through one amp and simultaneous lead through the other amp. I had good opportunity to compare them.

I used the gain channels very little, but used the clean channels and a Tube Screamer for distortion.

If I set the tone knobs correctly, I could not tell the difference between the amps with my eyes closed.

At the same settings, the Blackstar was much fuller, the Marshall was cleaner and clearer.

The Marshall might have been a tiny bit louder, not much. Turned up to '8' or more, the Marshall remained more intelligible and more well-defined. (aka- mushier, not as mushy) (could have been the better speakers which could mean the amp sections are both about equal)

The Blackstar was more glassy, I think. The clean on those is pretty spectacular. Though I love Marshall clean a lot, also.

The Blackstar was mellow and not as in your face (a plus and a minus, both).

The Blackstar was in a way, more pleasant to listen to.

The Marshall cost more than double, maybe almost triple what the Blackstar cost new.

I got rid of the Blackstar and bought a Twin Reverb in its place just because I had a better feeling about it. Don't ask. But the Marshall and the BS are two of the best-sounding amps I've ever owned or played.
I keep on swinging between appreciating pristine glassy cleans and dirtier more Vox/Marshall cleans. I can never quite make up my mind. However at home it is the clean amp that gets ignored and the dirty amp that is played so maybe I am not so unsure after all.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 08:13 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by dcooper830 View Post
I tried the Blackstar HT20 and HT40 in the store a few weeks ago.

They sounded really good... I liked the ifinite shape control all the way to the "British" setting.

But for me, the only way I'd know for sure is to play them on a gig. I just cant tell in a music store setting at low/moderate volume.

I just love my DSL 100 and JCM 800 2203X so much though... I really don't need anything else!
Were you able to make out any identifiable sounds using the ISF. I seemed to feel that it had really only 3 positions, extreme left where it sounded scooped and Peavey like, extreme right where it sounded kind of Marshall like and in the middle where it sounded like neither. In between those three positions it was hard for me to say this is a Fender, this is a Mesa and here we have Orange, HiWatt etc. When I reflect on this I feel the ISF was very much like the Tone Shift button on the Marshall with the exception that the Marshall did not have the inbetween sound. In other words it was like a three position tone shift.

I will add a disclaimer here that I was using a high output pickup guitar, a cleaner lower output Strat might have allowed me to hear a bigger range on the ISF knob.

What does everyone else think?
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Unread 02-27-2013, 09:24 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by snshami View Post
Were you able to make out any identifiable sounds using the ISF. I seemed to feel that it had really only 3 positions, extreme left where it sounded scooped and Peavey like, extreme right where it sounded kind of Marshall like and in the middle where it sounded like neither. In between those three positions it was hard for me to say this is a Fender, this is a Mesa and here we have Orange, HiWatt etc. When I reflect on this I feel the ISF was very much like the Tone Shift button on the Marshall with the exception that the Marshall did not have the inbetween sound. In other words it was like a three position tone shift.

I will add a disclaimer here that I was using a high output pickup guitar, a cleaner lower output Strat might have allowed me to hear a bigger range on the ISF knob.

What does everyone else think?
Lol it was so subtle I barely noticed a difference except that the extreme right had a little more growl.. which I liked better.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 09:47 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

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Originally Posted by dcooper830 View Post
Lol it was so subtle I barely noticed a difference except that the extreme right had a little more growl.. which I liked better.

I was trying to be diplomatic for the sake of our HT40 owning friends but I agree with how you characterised it. It was not a very big shift in tone. In fact I would say that the Tone Shift on the DSL has considerably more effect on the tone than the ISF knob does on the HT40. This is strange because I recall that it had quite a marked effect on the Blackstar HT-1R I used to own. I read somewhere that the HT-1R is more like a hybrid amp, maybe having more digital solid state circuitry enables better control of sound shaping than can be achieved on a proper tube amp like an HT40.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 09:56 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

The ISF range on my HT-5RH is quite discernible. For me, with my set up, the sweet spot is somewhere between 1 and 2 o'clock. Your mileage will most certainly vary.
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Unread 03-02-2013, 08:27 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

Hi, I got my DSL 40C today. The first thing I would say is that it is bigger than my Jet City 2112RC, which is already a big amp.



The first day I only got about 10 minutes and that was not enough time but the really big surprise was the fullness of the sound and the crispness and lushness of the clean. Also the clean has some headroom. This will be a very versatile amp.

It is also very sensitive to picking. Also the guitar makes a big different. On my twin humbucker Schecter there was no hint of too much treble but it seems bright on a Strat's bridge pickup. But then the bridge pickup of a single coild strat is always too shrill for my tastes although even that was able to be tamed by rolling the tone on the guitar down. I have one of those Delta Tone circuits on my guitar so it affects the bridge as well. Then with the treble to the 10 o'clock pickup that trebliness was gone.

I briefly tried the gain and its really good. Very quiet with not much noise or uncontrolled feedback. As you'd expect the gain on the Strat was not as high as on the Schecter. It was also nice at really low volumes.

Overall a great first impression. "This will be all the amp I will ever need." I told my wife as we were going to dinner at a friend's place.

"Haha", she said, "famous last words".



Need of course is not the same as want. I smiled to myself. Still I cannot visualise needing another amp, this one has got all the sounds I can conceivably need. Maybe one day I'll get an AC15 just for the sake of it but not for a long time and not because I'll need it.

On Sunday I got a longer chance to play it. This time I tried the ultra gain channel. This is where it gets much brighter but still easy to tame. The challenge will be to balance the treble on both channels while switching.

The great news is that it plays and sounds really great at very low volumes and completely eliminates the need for any extra pedals when I need to get some metal tones.

Another nice thing is the reverb which is actually pretty decent. I will not be needing an extra 'verb pedal.

All in all I am really stoked with this amp. There is a lot more to learn and I have barely scratched the surface but all in all its the best amp I have ever had. I am not an expert but I think it will be considered as one of Marshall's better efforts.

Last edited by snshami; 03-03-2013 at 06:05 AM.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 10:02 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I had my 19 year old son playing one of my strats in the garage with my 50 watt JCM800 model 4010(chassis out of the cabinet) while I cleaned-changed tubes-biased etc....no pedals in front just straight in with EMG SA pups. He and I were both floored at how amazing it sounded and felt! I had just a week or so ago bought a new Fender Hot Rod for gigging. Nice amp-beautiful nice girl but I agree the Marshall is always sexy! I almost bought the new DSL 40C instead of the Hot Rod but went with something tamer for most of what I do. I will get one before the year is out though. Enjoy and have fun!
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Unread 03-04-2013, 11:43 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Marshall DSL 40C vs Blackstar HT-40 - My perspective

I agree a Marshall is like a slightly wild animal. It needs taming.

Sometimes we forget though it is about the music and there are many paths to a great tone.

A comparison of the Fender Hot Rod and DSL 40c would be interesting if you ever get around to buying one.
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