Is the Marshall TSL 122 combo unreliable?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by thelalimmey, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. thelalimmey

    thelalimmey New Member

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    Hey

    I was seriously considering buying this amp but then I read a few things about the amp being unreliable (the pedal too). Are people overstating these problems ? The amp sounds pretty great but i can't be bothered with hassle...Anyone?
     
  2. rob717

    rob717 New Member

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    I have a JCM200 TSL 122, I bought it back in 2002. It sounded great when it was working. But one time I was playing at my last gig, the T4A fuse blew. I tried replacing the fuse a few times with the same kind but kept on blowing. I tried replacing the ECC83 and EL34 tubes but the T4A fuse keeps on blowing. Something is shorting out the in circuitry for sure. I just don't know it yet until I start poking around with the rectifier circuit. Yikes, so far I have spent $48 for a 4 sets of EL34 and another $56 for ECC83 without having it fixed yet.

    In short, I definitely will not recommend to anyone buying this amp unless you got money to throw away. Oh BTW, I can attest to the foot switch that came with it is so unreliable. I have used it for about 2 years but it quit working. Someone have mentioned in one of the forums to replace the cable with a CAT5 but I haven't tried it yet. I will let you know if this works.
     
  3. stock_hippie

    stock_hippie Well-Known Member

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    doood...reliablity is the name of the game....in my opinion
     
  4. thelalimmey

    thelalimmey New Member

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    k guys ..thanks for the input. I'm gravitating towards a dsl now. Less stuff to wrong and I haven't read any bad reviews...cheers
     
  5. DaveAngel

    DaveAngel New Member

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    I've got a TSL122

    Been good upto about 6 months ago when i had to replace the power supply and power valves together - smelt like it was overheating then just started poping fuses. I guess a dodgy PSU can happen anywhere.

    Other than that its been pretty good. Takes a good 30-40 mins to warm up enough to get the really creamy tones. I've heard alot of complates about the cable to the foot switch being pulled and snapping the PCB inside (due to lack of connector on the foot switch itself, i can see its possible, but you have to be unlucky or treat it bad for that to happen.
     
  6. EL34

    EL34 New Member

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    I have owned a TSL122 since 2004. I am an authorized service tech for KORG/Marshall. The main problem with this amp is that the customers try to fix the amp on ther own. If you are not a trained and certified electronics technician then you have no business messing with this amp. It has lethal voltages and circuitry that you will not understand. The only problem that I had with mine is that one of the output tubes failed and blew the HT fuse. From my training I knew better than to start pumping fuses and tubes into the amp. I have worked on many of the TSL amps. The second problem is abuse. This is an expensive amp, the amp dose not like to have drinks poured into it, the foot controler dose not like to be drug across the floor and equipment racks rolled over the cord. I have found only few reoccurring problems that an authorized service center can easily repair for not allot of money.
     
  7. Webslinger

    Webslinger Member

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    Yes, no amp likes abuse, but the things you mentioned...arent those common mishaps for the environment a working Marshall lives in? Many other Marshall models suffer the same abuse & stand up to it much better.

    I like the TSL122 for its features and had wanted one, but after doing some web-research was scared off by the stories of component failures NOT due to abuse..... on amps that never left the home. Of all fairly-recent Marshall models, none seems to have as bad a reputation as the TSL122. Many times were mentioned replacement of transformers & PC boards. I wouldnt call those easy/inexpensive reapairs. I also read where the owners were told off-the-record by the techs that TSL122's were difficult to work on for some reason.

    How long was this model in production compared to other production-runs? When it was finally discontunued, weren't many suppliers selling them off seriously discounted. And I've seen many "one-owner" used ones on places like eBay & Craigslist a little more than a year old (just out of warranty?), for less than half of the new price. Not a good sign.

    I also seen more than a few for sale that had extensive upgrades and/or components replaced with aftermarket bands. It would seem those amps had to have had alot of parts thrown at the problem to finally get it right. And these were done by experienced techs. I think most owners of tube/transformer technology equip know the dangers, and whats beyond thier capability. These specimens would probably explain amount of the "hot-rodded" ones out there.

    So all that's why many people think there must be a design flaw with this particular model. Granted, there are some that work perfectly and I expect some owners to respond accordingly. But even at around $700 (US) used, thats too much of a gamble for me.
     
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  8. DragonSarc

    DragonSarc New Member

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    +1 --------^ thats why i got rid of mine since it started acting up I had it fixed and it wasnt the same after that, even the tech that i sent the amp to he said he gets TSL almost 3x a week for repair :hippie:
     
  9. pavs

    pavs Active Member

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    Funny then!! my TSL is the only one that has been reliable since 2003??? I dunno I guess I'm lucky.
    I've rehearsed and gigged it and is just the best amp I have ever owned...
    Cheers
     
  10. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    I have a basement full of Marshall amps. I bought a "used" TSL122 in 2003. All the knobs were there, but it was missing parts off of the rear grille. Someone had made their own holes in the bottom for casters. Appearance wise, this amp was about a 6 or 7, so it had seen it's share of abuse. (Definitely not a studio amp.)

    I took it home and it played perfectly. I've since put two Eminence Man O' War's in it (now runs an 8 Ohm load). I have a huge inventory of used and NOS tubes as I wheel and deal on Ebay. I put 4 Siemens (W. Germany) EL34's into it and a hand selected 12AX7 for the PI tube (V4). I put RCA and GE's into V1, V2 and V3. I also installed the special rubber rings on the tubes to reduce microphonics. This is a good idea when you run a combo and the amp is in the same space as speakers putting out 110dB. This amp is one of the best sounding Marshalls that I own. It has a super clean channel, thanks to the upgrade with the NOS U.S.A. tubes. The Siemens power tubes cost 140 for a used set, but they were a matched quartet and tested at 88 to 90 on my calibrated 707 tube tester. Much better sounding than any of the current EL34's (a whole topic on its own).

    Conclusion: This combo was abused before I got it. However, it still worked perfectly. I've done what could best be described as normal maintenance and the amp is still serving me well. I'm sorry to hear about all of these various TSL problems. I have (2) TSL602's (same treatment with tubes as the 122) and a TSL100 (like brand new...perfect). I did have a 1999 DSL401 that I never had any problems with and sold it on Ebay for $450 and bought a NOS DSL401 from a music store for $495 (ya, that was a smoking deal). I believe it was a 2006 model. The last year they were made?)

    My experience has made me stay clear of the DSL 50 and 100 watt heads. I have read more about their problems than any other Marshall amp. Especially the early DSL's. (Even the early DSL401's had a variety of maladies.) I buy 800's, 900's and TSL's. Some stay and some go. I only keep the amps that show the most potential. Like a beautiful girl, some Marshall amps just feel special when you are bending a G string through them...and others don't.
     
  11. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    I bought a DSL 50 head because here and other places the TSL's reliabilty was frequently mentioned as an issue. Prices on eBay and Craigs List bare that out: TSL's are often cheaper than DSL's.

    I have not seen a lot about problems mentioned with the DSL except the reverb. I bought mine used for $500 and the guy said the reverb was dodgy. Well, the thing rattled when I carried it!! I opened it up and saw one of the small springs holding the tank was broken at the end; all I had to do was reattch it. Reverb is now great.

    I've only had the amp a month, but so far it's been great. What kinds of other problems are common to the DSL 50 head?

    Ken
     
  12. GerryL98

    GerryL98 Member

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    Marty, PM me if you're interested in trading one of your TSL602's for my 2004 TSL122. Mine's mint...just way too loud for a practice amp.
     
  13. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    KEN-I just want you to know that what you have heard (especially on Ebay) is 180 degrees from what I have heard. That is, 50 and 100 watt DSL's have electronic problems, usually associated with heat. There was a guy in just the past few days that was selling his DSL100 and he made a point telling bidders that he had all the problems fixed and the head was ready to rock. Right here in this forum are players asking for help with their DSL's. I want to make something clear. I'm not a critic. For one thing, if any Marshall had a whole lot of problems we would all know it. I think each model has it's share of problem children. Thankfully, I have yet to buy a Marshall that didn't deliver night after night. However, we all know that not every Marshall is solid. It's the law of manufacturing. For every X amount you produce, there will be X amount that will fail.

    People tend to forget that tube amps were made in the 30's and reached their peak in the 60's. We are all lucky that certain tubes remain or they are being manufactured simply for us tube freaks. Quote: Today's tube amps are made to sound good with the currently available tubes. That's right, you can get a real fat sound using Russian or Chinese tubes. Now that's an engineering feat all by itself. However, tubes make heat and a lot of it. Combo's are by far harder on the electronics than a head. In a head, the heat naturally dissipates to the top and the tubes are mounted right-side up. Marshall provides openings in the head to allow cool air to come in and the hot air goes out. The metal chassis does not get hot and neither does the guts inside of the amp. A combo on the other hand has the chassis mounted upside down. The hot air builds up in the upper part of the cabinet. (Now Marshall tries to reduce this by having a three-piece back grille that has one solid piece and two dot matrix, perforated metal pieces.) However, the heat is still a problem and the chassis gets hot and by the third set the guts are up to 200 degrees. Heat destroys electrical components. It also affects the circuitry as the amp goes from start up to being on four hours. We all have heard that some Marshall have gotten so hot as to melt the PCB and cause the solder to melt. Now you're talking around 385 degrees.

    I bring all this up, because that's why the tube amps went away. They got too hot and people got hurt touching them. They are brutally heavy. (Oh they also had something called HIGH VOLTAGE!) When I set a combo on stage, I give it plenty of clearance on the backside. I use a whisper fan to keep air moving around through it. This keeps the killer heat monster away.

    In closing, I think most of the problems that people complain about regarding their Marshall amps were caused one way or the other by an overheating incident. I say this, because most owners complain of multiple problems. If you get a car motor hot, think about all the different things that you might have to replace. The same holds true for your Marshall amp. Treat it right and it will treat you right.
     
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  14. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    Gerry-Thanks for your interest. Right now I'm not interested in trading any of my 602's and I already have a tricked out 122. I will say that I use the 602's more than the 122, because they saturate quicker at lower volume levels. I do a lot of business on Ebay and a 602 in sharp condition is bringing between $650 and $725 (plus about $55 to ship). The first thing I do is take out the Wolverine speakers and put in JBL D123's. What a sound! A pair of them in good to mint condition will bring $170 to $260 dollars, but they are by far the best sounding guitar speaker. Maybe you can sell your 122 locally and then try and buy one on EBAY. Just a thought.

    Again, thanks for you interest and good hunting.

    For those of you that are interested, I have a web site. It is:

    MUSICIAN'S AUDIO EQUIPMENT-MAKERS OF VERSACAB
     
  15. joshuaaewallen

    joshuaaewallen Active Member

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    Speaking of the heat monster... Is it practical to install a fan of some sort to get air moving inside the combo? I have thought about this in the past because my TSL122 combo does seem to get pretty darn hot, but it always plays and sounds great so I haven't done anything about it yet. What are your thoughts?

    [​IMG]
     
  16. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    I have custom mounted fans in every tube amp "combo" that I have ever owned since 1976. Some of the older fans were not very quiet and they ran to fast (prop noise). Nowadays, you can get a small computer fan and they are very quiet. It only takes a little air movement to defeat heat build up. I have a 240 volt whisper fan on my 122 that is hooked up to 120 volts. This causes the fan to run at half speed and makes it even quieter. (Not all 240 volt fans will run on 120. Make sure it will if you go this route.)

    Love the split power section with the Yellow Jackets and EL-84's.
     
  17. joshuaaewallen

    joshuaaewallen Active Member

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    Re: can you give some advice

    Advice on what?
     
  18. joshuaaewallen

    joshuaaewallen Active Member

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    Hey there MartyStrat54! Thank for your input on the fan. Mind if I pick your brain a bit more on the subject? I would like to know if you have any specific suggestions on:

    1. What fan might be the best fan to select for this purpose?

    2. How best to mount the fan (ie. in the metal grill on the back of the amp? Top? Bottom? Side? Etc.)

    3. Can this be done utilizing the amps power supply, or would it be better to give the fan it's own, entirely separate power supply?

    Any suggestions, and especially illustrations and pictures, are most appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  19. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but I do not have any pictures at this time. However, on the Marshall combos, I mount a cooling fan onto the upper dot matrix grille. I use a Tubeaxial brand, model number 5912-5656S. They are expensive, around 80 bucks (cheap insurance). They are 240 volt fans that I run on 120 volt. This cuts the RPM in half and the fan noise is down to around 28dB and that is quiet. I mount the fan so it is pushing the hot air out and sucking cool air in from the bottom. On these fans, there are indicators that show the direction of the blade and the direction of the air flow. I hook the fan up to the power switch. The fan comes on when the amp is on. If you are handy with a soldering iron and heat shrink tubing, you can get this mod done in around three hours. You can use a 120 volt fan, but they usually are as loud as 60dB. A computer fan will work with 120 volts and is quiet, but you need to find one that pushes some CFM. Ask if you have any other questions.

    Marty

    MUSICIAN'S AUDIO EQUIPMENT-MAKERS OF VERSACAB
     
  20. joshuaaewallen

    joshuaaewallen Active Member

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    Yeah, I thought about using a computer fan, but it seems like it just wouldn't push enough air through for my thinking. I will have to do some homework and look into Tubeaxial fans. That may just be the way to go. I had not thoughts of directing the fan to push air out of the cab. That's good thinking. It makes sense to pull heat away and thus cycle cooler air to the area the heat is leaving. Thanks Marty! When I finally get around to tackling this I will definitely let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate your input!

    [​IMG]
     

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