I think you’re too hung up on,.....“does this one sound better than that one”,......”is this one better than that one” Most Marshall sound great, but you know what?,......they don’t all sound the same. They have their tonal characteristics going on. That’s not to say one sounds better than the other. It’s an individual choice. Good tone or good sound is subjective. Only you can say if an amp sounds good to you, someone might tell you “this amp sounds good” but it’s up to you to decide if it sounds good to you! As far as which is better older Dsls or new ones? There are soooo many variablies that it difficult to say. I’ll say this,... some might prefer an older Dsl because it’s made in England, I get that. I’m that way in many regards, all things being equal except where it was manufactured, I’d choose the one made in England. But man this new line of Dsls are great amps, and they sound it. Marshall has its own factory in Vietnam and they have complete control over all aspects of manufacturing, including, and especially, quality. The Dsl amps I’ve see that were made in Vietnam are quality built amps, that look good, sound good, built good, and are a great value when considering price. If I were you,....I’d buy a new Dsl40cr. It checks all your boxes, and you’ll be able to go from dirty to glean on the fly with the foot switch. I know you don’t want a combo, ok fine. Then I would buy a Dsl100hr!