Tsl 100 Mod Advice Wanted

Discussion in 'The Workbench' started by thunderstruck507, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. thunderstruck507

    thunderstruck507 Well-Known Member

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    So after owning my TSL for several months I find I keep tweaking it. Today I had a sudden realization as to how I feel the amp was intended to be used which makes a lot of sense....I've been dialing in a clean, an AC/DC sound on crunch, and a metal tone on the lead channel.

    It clicked today when I spent a lot of time with it I feel that Marshall intended the crunch to be a good heavy rhythm tone and the lead to be an extension of that as it seems to be voiced similar just with more upper mids/highs and more gain....like a solo boost. Crunch when dialed in well sounds like a mesa/marshall hybrid and I LOVE it but I don't need that solo boost sound on the lead which makes it useless to me.

    So my question is: are there any mods that would let the Lead channel sound more like the crunch so I could dial in my metal tone there and go back to using less gain on the crunch but have that nice full sound on both? The way the lead channel boosts it makes it sound thin even though it's not...the bass is still there it just gets buried under the higher end.


    As a follow up, the one sound I can't seem to get out of this otherwise very versatile amp is that epic Marshall growl tone. These are examples of the "growl" tone I am speaking of:

    at about 2:00 in






    I have been reading about chokes, output transformers, and the like...but get mixed results.

    I know this guy gets the sound about :25 into the demo:




    I'm open to trying things if it is certain to work....MXR 10 band eq, mods, choke, KT77 tubes...I just don't know how to get that growl? Is it just from driving the shit out of the power tubes at lower gain?
     
  2. soundboy57

    soundboy57 Well-Known Member

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    Where to start. I gigged with a TSL for years, and got it to sound decent with a few mods. Remove the bright/bypass caps on the gain pots for both crunch and lead. Then it won't thin out at lower gain settings. I actually had the crunch gain on about 5 or 6....same with the lead. WIthout removing the bright capacitors, this would be a thin and bright situation.
    The clean channel, ironically, is the best channel on the TSL. I liked it a lot.
    Use NOS tubes in V1 and V2 to add more grunt and less fizz.
    Install a Mercury Magnetics, or other aftermarket output transformer, and a choke.
    After you have done all that, it will sound better, but still won't have that lower mid, Marshall "growl".
    You need to do all these same mods to a DSL for that.
    Been there, did that on both. I ended up using the DSL the last few years that I gigged, and kept the TSL for backup.
    I have had many older JMP heads, and the DSL is similar voiced, where the TSL is not.

    The TSL is kinda like the "Vintage 30" of amp heads.

    No matter what mods you do, no matter how
    you EQ it, it still has that upper mid focused tone, and no "growl" or girth to it, compared to
    many other Marshall heads. Even a 900 series MKlll master has a ballsier, low mid, more balanced tone to it.

    I had a TSL for 10 years. Did everything to it. Actually had three of them. They all sounded different. Some better than others.
    I defended the TSL on here, as well. They aren't a bad amp.
    I finally sold it, but still have a DSL with all the mods, and it has great tone and balls.
    Not as nice in the growl/tone department as a Jubilee, or a JMP, or a 2203/4 800 series, but still nice for a modern amp.
    I am running it through 1960's vintage Marshall cabinets, so that helps a lot :)

    Trust me, you will never get the balls and growl out of a TSL. Sell it for $500 and start with a DSL until
    you find something else for more money that has channel switching.
    A JVM Satriani sounds killer, and makes the TSL sound like a upper mid focused and compressed Kazoo. Seriously, the Satriani is WAY
    more organic sounding, not as compressed, and the number of tones is endless.

    I remember the TSL had a real nice clean channel...I wish they had voiced the rest of the amp more like a DSL. It would have been a classic.

    That Balls to the Walls tone is classic, and a TSL will never sound like the raw, open organic tone of a 70s JMP cranked and boosted.

    That FJA clip sounds similar to what mine did. Still sounds like an upper mid focused TSL with no lower mid growl like many other Marshalls. Better than stock, but the TSL voice is still there.

    Above all, have fun with the journey...

    My two cents.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  3. thunderstruck507

    thunderstruck507 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input. The DSL isn't for me. The whole point of the TSL head over my DSL401 was the bigger amp but with 3 channels and 3 eqs.

    I'd like a JVM, that would be the main amp I would get rid of this one for.

    That said I got it for $430 shipped and it's a great amp, I'm just looking to tweak it if I can. If not, it's in a place where I can live with it. I'm not a pro or gigging guy, just messing around and annoying the neighbors.

    It may never get that old school growl, but if I could get channel 3 to sound more full like channel 2 I'd be stoked.And actually if I record it, it kinda gets more of that tone like here, just sounds different in person (iphone recording):



    What exactly does a choke do? I can't find a single comparison video. I found one for a combination of the Mercury output and choke but not separate. As far as that goes even on this site there are mixed reviews if the output transformer is worth doing, especially for the cost.

    I'm looking to learn and tinker.

    Right now it has Mullard EL34s and a mix of Sovtec and JJ preamps (JJ being V1 V2 but I have more Sovtecs, a Tung Sol, an Electro Harmonix, and a Marshall tube I think is a Svetlana).
     
  4. crossy67

    crossy67 Active Member

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    Sounds pretty good what are your settings?
     
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  5. thunderstruck507

    thunderstruck507 Well-Known Member

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    That was recorded a bit ago.

    Lead Channel, bass boost on, lows around 6, mids at 3.5-4ish, highs at 3ish, presence at 4.5-5, gain at close to 4. MXR classic OD in front with volume max and no gain.

    I can get a similar but more full tone from the crunch channel now and not have to use to bass boost...makes it sound more punchy and ballsy to me. Only down side is it needs volume to do it well. It sounds really good with VPR on and crank the volume to 5-6 (similar to VPR off and volume around 3.5).
     
  6. soundboy57

    soundboy57 Well-Known Member

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    The choke makes it a bit tighter, but mostly makes it feel different to play. Not as stiff, I guess.
    Not a bad recording at all :) Sounds good!
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  7. crossy67

    crossy67 Active Member

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    You shouldn’t need to boost that channel with a cheap od, it’ll only thin it out more! Try cranking the mids and backing off the treble and presence. Should get a much ballsier tone! Thing about most Marshall’s to me is that they are quite bright amps and need to be eq’d properly. Don’t worry so much about what number it says or whether you have to put something on 10 or 0, but just where the sweet spot is.

    That famous Marshall bark or growl is in the midrange! Every amps midrange pot varies. Some are more upper mids and others more lower. To me Marshall’s are more on the mid to lower mid range. Just keep fooling around with it the magic is there. I’ve heard too many of these amps sound good stock. Cheers
     
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  8. GT08

    GT08 Active Member

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    Don't do it.
    I have a stock TSL 100 head and 1960a cab, NEVER heard a better Marshall.
    Rock on.
     
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  9. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I use my TSL122 in exactly the fashion you are, using channel 2 mainly and 3 for solos. I would do that but put gain around 4 -5 on channel 2 and use an OD in front. So you now have crunchy channel 2, full out channel 2 with the OD, and channel 3 for solos.
     
  10. thunderstruck507

    thunderstruck507 Well-Known Member

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    I picked up an MXR 10 band EQ used for $60. I'll see where that gets me.

    It's not that I don't love the amp, I'm just always experimenting with tone. Overall the TSL is a fucking fantastic sounding amp and very underrated IMO.
     

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