DSL5c - The Ultimate Lo-Power Amp

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by Micky, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Well, as promised it's finally here. December 9th, 2013.
    Must be I am the first guinea pig to get one of these, I haven't heard anyone else spouting off yet. It was a good price from MF, call them and ask for a discount.

    Now mind you, I haven't had a lot of time with this amp yet, so please realize there is a lot more to come in this thread. No photos as of yet, I will do that after dinner tonite when I get the big lights out so I can use the macro setup on the DSLR. I will tell you, that so far, I am impressed.

    Finish and trim are excellent, nothing I could see right away was crooked, scratched or out of place. Tolex and assembly are top-notch, everything was as I expected. The amp comes with an IEC power cord for your country and a single-button footswitch with attached cable.

    I turned it on, and looking thru the back grille, all the tubes seemed to light up, although a couple were pretty dim. Plugging in my Strat I started on the Clean/Crunch channel at the 5W setting. Everything works as expected, and I was pleasantly surprised at the depth and bass response of the 10" Celestion Ten 30 (G10R-30) speaker. I did need to turn the bass up higher than I expected (8 on the dial) but it sounded really nice with the mid and treble about 5 or so with the neck/middle pickup. I honestly could not tell if the tone shift (mid cut) button was in or out until the volume was turned up a bit. You can immediately tell if the deep switch is on, with the Strat I tend to favor this button engaged. Sounded pretty sweet really...

    With the volume at 2, it is Fender clean. At 4 or so, it starts to break-up a bit, kinda like Clapton blues. At 6 or so, you are starting to get crunchy like Aerosmith or early Led Zepplin, and at 8 it is getting loud and gainy like Def Leppard. All the way up at 10 you are just starting to get into the Metal Zone... Remember, this amp is a non-master volume on this channel.

    On the Ultra channel you have a volume control as well as a gain control, and this is much more controllable as far as the volume is concerned. Just as you would expect, it takes up right where the Classic channel leaves off.

    Marshall seems to have tamed the fizz of the Ultra channel, but at low volumes it seems to be a bit muddy or undefined. Get the volume at 4 or so, and the gain at 4 or so and this baby takes off! You lead players are gonna love this, you can cut some screaming leads at this setting, and turning up the gain only makes things better. This channel is more bright than the Classic channel, or to me, not necessarily MORE bright, but LESS bass.

    Time to take this baby apart! But first listen to Chris George's demo:
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  2. Steve Naples

    Steve Naples New Member

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    Very glad to hear this. It looks to be a worthwhile acquisition.... :D
     
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  3. Far Rider

    Far Rider Hendrixian VIP Member

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    Great news Micky. Any DSL is a good DSL.
     
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  4. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Awesome!! Congrats Micky and thanks for the first review. I called my local shop today and told them consider the first one they get in stock sold. That Chris George demo was very good, this amp already exceeds my expectations. :yesway:
     
  5. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    OK, so this thing comes apart just like any other Marshall combo, 4 screws on the top, unplug the power and speaker, and it slides right out. I used the footswitch on it's side to hold up one side of the chassis to get at the underside, sure wish I had a chassis holder...

    Upon first look, it seems pretty small in comparison to some other beasts I have worked on. Before I get to the underside, the topside looks pretty sparse. The PT is about 1/2 the size of a 100W amp, and the OT is about the size of a 3h choke. Tiny.

    3 preamp tubes and 1 12BH7, but wait! The output tube is a TAD! Sweet! The 3 preamp tubes are standard Marshall cheap Chinese issue, good sturdy tubes, shiny on the inside but nothing to write home about. Here are some photos of the topside:

    [​IMG]

    I don't know who this is...
    [​IMG]

    Standard preamp tubes...
    [​IMG]

    Tiny little OT:
    [​IMG]

    Here is the Power Transformer:
    [​IMG]

    Topside layout:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, nothing special here. Standard stuff.
    Here are some shots of the front and back:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yes, it is made in Vietnam:
    [​IMG]

    Next it is time to get into the belly of the beast!
     
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  6. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Great pics. Any cabinet rattles, buzzes or noises on certain notes, particularly on the clean channel? My worst experience was the Class 5 - that thing just could not be quiet.
     
  7. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    The underside of the chassis looks like any other DSL, filter caps soldered to the board, and some sort of goo or glue to hold them in place from the vibrations.

    Here is a shot of the bridge rectifier diodes and three fuses:
    [​IMG]

    What does this trimmer pot do?
    [​IMG]

    Here are two speaker load resistors, 27-ohm 5W:
    [​IMG]

    Overview of the underside:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, none of the tube sockets are visible because they are underneath the main PC board. The sockets are all chassis mounted. If I get adventurous I might pull the board just to get a look at them.

    Here is a shot of the FX jacks, there is no switch to turn on the loop. I don;t know if it works, I don't have any pedals to try there. I suppose I could jump the loop to see if it actually does work, bit personally I think it would be neat if someone sent me a reverb or delay unit, perhaps a graphic equalizer pedal. Anyone?
    (notice the shielded wire connecting the jacks to the board)
    [​IMG]

    Without a schematic it will be difficult to decode this amp, but I assure you, if anyone will get the schematic, I will. Here is a shot of the 2 relays in the amp:
    [​IMG]

    Gonna let this rest for a bit, gonna check out the line out and other back panel stuff after I read the instructions and see what Marshall has to say about things.

    Go ahead and shoot any questions, I will do what I can with my limited ability to answer every one to the best of my ability...
     
  8. Bloodrock

    Bloodrock Well-Known Member

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    I'm really liking the sound of this amp. I like the way the clean/crunch seems to get a lot crunchier than the classic gain of the 15c. Also the Ultra does seem to have the gain dialed back from the 15w. Mick have you played a DSL 15 that you can compare the tone to?
     
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  9. sidvicious

    sidvicious Active Member

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    mickey, how is the amp sensitivity? particularly at breakup to moderate gain levels?
     
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  10. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    None so far. As wifey was home, I couldn't unleash this too much.
    The back panel is solid, it has an extra brace glued on the back.
    The construction seems overkill for a small amp.
    Build and finish are just like the SL-5 & DSL40c.

    OH - the amp weighs approximately 28 pounds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
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  11. stickyfinger

    stickyfinger Active Member

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    Do you think you could cram a 12" speaker in there? Was hoping for a pic with the back off. A 12" greenback would make a world of a difference.
     
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  12. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Good question.

    I couldn't crank it too much, and I have yet to explore the 1W mode, but on the Classic channel the amp is really responsive to my playing. Notes were clean and clear, and as the volume went up (no gain control) it didn't get muddy or excessively harsh either, sounds typically like my Haze and similar to a C5 I played briefly at GC a while ago.

    With my Strat I have a MHD custom wind set, with an extreme range between the neck and bridge. The bridge is wicked hot, and this pup lites up this amp! Almost too bright really, but adds to the definition when up around 8 or so on the volume. Really shows off my mistakes and sloppy style. Forgot to mention that I kinda suck at the guitar...

    Can't wait to get this downstairs connected to the LP, probably won't need the deep switch...
     
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  13. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Yes. (cynical smirk on my face...)

    Measuring the inside dimensions, it is exactly 12" top to bottom. What are the actual dimensions of a 12" speaker anyway?

    One might need to remove the speaker mounting studs from a couple spots, but yes, I am thinking a Greenback or maybe similar Eminence speaker is gonna sound sweet. Even IF I need to grind a slot in the bottom to make it fit...
     
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  14. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    No, but you can send me one to try.

    I do have a Haze 15 that is strikingly similar as far as controls are concerned, but the Haze has a bunch of effects, and is a class A/B push-pull 6V6 design.

    It seems to break up quicker than the Haze, but is a slightly different sound.
    It only stays clean till about 3 on the dial, so if you were looking to get loads of ultra-clean volume from an amp, this is not the one to buy.

    The Ultra channel seems a bit bassy at lower volumes, (not muddy really) but comes alive when the gain and volume are up a bit.
     
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  15. stickyfinger

    stickyfinger Active Member

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    A 12 is actually a bit larger maybe 12.25 if I remember correctly. However I wonder if cuting a lil slit in the wood for the speaker to slid into or even trimming off the botom of the speaker frame a bit would be worth it.

    How bought the tubes would they touch the speaker? how close are they to the 10"?
     
  16. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Gonna examine that soon, depends on when I can get the other initial stuff outta the way. The tubes look like they will clear, but it will depend on the speaker...
     
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  17. Dizzyg12

    Dizzyg12 Active Member

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    How loud does the classic channel get? Is it useable as a mild crunch without being deafening loud?
     
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  18. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    It gets loud, for sure. But you gotta remember, this is a NMV type of amp, and on the Classic channel it works (and sounds a lot) like a #1959 Plexi. There is no real gain adjustment except for the volume, and the louder you get the more gain you get. Also be aware, things can clean up a bit with the guitar volume, and this is where things start to shine. Volume maxed, guitar vol rolled back to wherever you need, you can get everything from Clapton to Metalica.

    At a volume level that will keep up with the drummer...

    I can only imagine thru a 4X12 it will sound even more awesomer...
     
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  19. ibmorjamn

    ibmorjamn Well-Known Member

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    what are the dimensions of the chassis if you still have it apart ?
     
  20. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Not still apart, but I will measure it soon.
    Gonna try and fit a 12" speaker in there, and will measure things up then.

    I actually weighed the amp with my luggage scale, it comes in at 28 lbs.
     
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