So, I Bought A Dsl15c Afterall . . .

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by John BNY, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    I could have gotten the DSL40C—money was not an object—but I needed something that was easy to carry for jamming with friends and easy on my injured back. Plus, I already had a half stack and needed something different and apartment friendly. The DSL15C fit the bill best. Despite its compact size, it's no lightweight, either.

    I am not sure why people say that the DSL15C has too much gain on the Ultra Channel. While it does have a lot of gain on tap, all gain between 1 and 5 is useable. The two tracks I posted in my previous post were recorded with Gain on 5. Sounded great, in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  2. John BNY

    John BNY Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the thought that the 15 seems a little more portable, but the 15 is still pretty heavy, especially with the added extra pounds from the Greenback. I'm thinking about cutting into the sides to install side handles.
     
  3. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    I ran another test and played the two tracks back on my big home stereo, just to get a fuller picture. Aside from the obvious difference between the stock G12E-60 speaker in the DSL15C and the G12-T75 in the 1960A, where the former is a little darker and less defined, and the latter smother and more scooped—as is to be expected from a more refined premium speaker—I do not hear any significant difference due to the different cabinet sizes—almost all of the difference is simply due to the different speakers. In the room, however, the difference was huge; in comparison to the DSL15C+1960A combo, the DSL15C with the built-in speaker sounded like a cardboard box.

    Further, while I like the mid-scooped sound of the G12-T75 better, that is a result of personal preference, and not some objectively measurable quality difference. Also, even though the G12-T75 is a more premium speaker and the 1960A an obviously much bigger and nicer sounding cab in the room than the small DSL15C enclosure, on the close-miked recording, the bigger cabinet did not produce anything different that would compare to the sounds I hear on legendary professionally recorded albums. This suggests that one variable that separates the professional recordings from home recorded stuff might be ambient miking. And by the way, I am not comparing my recordings with modern bands that produce ultra heavy music with walls of guitars, but rather with early recordings by Maiden or Saxon, for example. I am very intimately familiar with Maiden's albums and have listened to many isolated tracks that suggest that only one guitar track was used on each channel, and there is also a big hint of room ambience, which is confirmed by interviews with the band that are available on the internet. So, the difference between home recorded stuff and professional recordings would have to be due to one or more of the following: (1) ambient miking, (2) clever use of EQ-ing in the postproduction, and (3) compression.

    My conclusions: Cabinet size seems to make no significant difference with close-miking. In a close-miking situation, different speakers will sound differently, but not necessarily better, just different. And finally, in close miking, almost all of what is heard on the recording, is the sound of the speaker. Brian Wampler did a really interesting video here, providing us more food for thought and reaching some similar conclusions to my work here.

    P.S.:I suspect that I could make the stock speaker sound very similar to the G12-T75 simply by moving the mic closer to the center of the speaker, where there's a higher high-frequency content. I'll have to run that experiment tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
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  4. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    Note. This post has been revised from its original contents to ensure that the most recent findings and reliable advice are contained therein.

    I did a quick recording with the DSL15C, with the exact same settings as those I used yesterday in the audio files I posted. Two findings. By putting the microphone on-axis, in the very center of the speaker, two-finger widths away from the cloth, the speaker sounds more like a G12-T75 miked up on-axis on the cone, just where the cone and dust cap meet, but there is still the DSL15C's character that is unmistakeable with its thick and dark lower mids. Second, many online articles and countless pros insist that placing a mic in the center of the speaker is a common choice. In this video, Andrew Scheps presents the argument that by placing the mic exactly in the center, you get a recording that sounds closest to how the amp sounds in the room. I disagree. The tone in the center of the speaker has one thing going for it in that it is bright, but it also has a big high frequency content, resulting in a fizzy sound. You can, of course, compensate by adding more mids by turning the Mid knob up, but then what you hear in the room and what you get on the recording will be two very different things, and you might also run out of mids, requiring a mid boost pedal. My advice is this: Get the tone right at the source. Stand in a room and listen to the amp and tweak it until you like it. Since the DSL15C has a ton of mids, most classic sounds will with the EQ buttons somewhere near the noon setting. Then use the microphone to capture something that comes close to what you are hearing in the room. If tones in the center of the speaker are too bright, and tones near the edge too dark, simple logic suggests that the position that sounds most what you hear in the room will be somewhere in the middle. If you start by listening to the amp in the room, then that also means that there is no such thing as a sweet spot, where the speaker sounds best—there's only a spot where the recorded tone sounds closest to the room sound. And by the way, I've found that moving the microphone about four finger widths from the grill cloth is already enough to capture more of a room sound, rather than just the speaker.

    Contrary to my previous beliefs, you should not use Bass to reduce treble, and use Treble to reduce bass. Even though this is how the two controls work, as they are interactive, it is counterproductive to conceive of them that way. Instead, think of them exactly as what the panel labels say. If you want more bass, turn the Bass knob up. If you want more treble, turn the Treble knob up. It's that simple. No need to overcomplicate it.

    The Deep switch does a very good job of making the amp sound like a 4x12" in the room. However, the Bass dial is very effective and the amp has more bass than I could wish for in recording, so I am not sure whether I will ever use the Deep switch in a recording situation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  5. emejia

    emejia Member

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    I bought the DSL 15C a few years ago and was never satisfied with the sound, especially the red channel which had, IMO, too much gain. After a few minor tweaks, I am very satisfied with it. Basically, I swapped the stock speaker for a Celestion G12 Century Vintage 30, which is much lighter and sounds like a V30. I had one on hand, so no cost there. Then I swapped the V1 tube for an ECC823 to tame the red channel. That was a brilliant idea that I found on this forum - it made a huge improvement. Finally, I pulled the chasis and biased the amp cooler - in fact at the bottom of the range for the stock TAD power tubes. Now the amp sounds like I wanted it to sound out of the box - essentially like a baby DSL50. I wanted the amp to sound like my DSL50 setup which sits on a slant 4x12 with V30s. Crazy as it may seem, one of the best Marshall sounding amps I've owned was an unmodified Traynor YCV 50 Blue - go figure.
     
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  6. John BNY

    John BNY Well-Known Member

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    Good to hear. I'm pretty satisfied with the Greenback speaker. Could you tell me which tube is V1, and which brand ECC823 tube you used? Thanks.
     
  7. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    I agree that there is a clear difference, but would you say that one sounds better than the other in an objective sense?
     
  8. John BNY

    John BNY Well-Known Member

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    The 1960 sounds tighter and clearer. The stock sounds OK, but a little muffled compared to the T75s.
     
  9. emejia

    emejia Member

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    I used a JJ ECC823 from Tube Depot, it was the only one I could find. I left the other tubes stock. V1 is the tube covered with a metal RF shield. As I understand it, the ECC823 drives the green channel with the same gain as a 12AX7, but drops the red channel gain significantly. The red channel still has plenty of gain, and at 12:00 will sustain for days (well, not really days, but a long time).
     
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  10. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    I like them both for different reasons. The G12-T75 sounds brighter and has more sizzle, and the G12E-60 (stock speaker) sounds darker, dirtier, and denser. I find the sound of the G12E-60 very interesting, because it is kind of complex with all the roughness around the edges. It adds to the tone in an interesting way. It's not as clear as a G12-T75, but it has character.

    By the way, I got a DSL20CR today, because I have outgrown the DSL15C and really needed a loop. I can't wait to play it tomorrow. I've put up my DSL15C for sale, but if it doesn't get sold, I'll just keep it. Especially if the two amps turn out to be very different, it'll be nice to have two different flavors for recording. This will be my first EL34-based amp. I'll let you guys know what I think of the DSL20CR.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  11. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    Here's a quick comparison of a stock DSL15C and a stock DSL20CR. All EQ, Reverb, and Volume settings were the same, both amps in pentode, reverb maxed out, Deep switch off, Resonance on 0. The only difference in the recording is that the DSL20CR was placed on top of the DSL15C. Since they have different amounts of gain, I dialed gain in by ear, but you may still notice a small difference. In the room, the DSL20CR is definitely louder and has a stronger reverb. The tone is very different. Take a listen for yourself.


    The Soundcloud files make the differences appear smaller due to compression, but listening to the raw tracks on my monitors, the DSL20CR is much more scooped, maybe smoother, if you will, and feels a little looser when playing. Both sound really cool. What do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
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  12. JAC

    JAC Well-Known Member

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    Yes the second sound byte does sound more scooped but still pretty good tone.
     
  13. John BNY

    John BNY Well-Known Member

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    emejia, I picked up a ECC823 from the Tube Depot as you suggested, and it significantly improved the red channel. The gain knob is now useable from 1-10 with little if any fizziness. Thank you for the tip.
     
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  14. emejia

    emejia Member

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    Glad it worked out for you!
     
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  15. Ikaros

    Ikaros Member

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    Do you happen to know any alternative to the jj ecc823 (that lowers the fizziness)? That particular tube seems to be very hard to find in europe :(
     
  16. Ikaros

    Ikaros Member

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  17. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know how the Deep switch on the DSL15C works? Does it work on the same principle as the Resonance dial on the DSL20CR? And, once engaged, is it basically the same as the Resonance on the DSL20CR set to max, or is it fixed at some other level?
     

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