Can I get a decent attenuator for a DSL40cr for under $300-400?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by ch324434, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. junk notes

    junk notes Well-Known Member

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    I've used the Weber's, THD's, and a couple others. Keep going back to the PB-100 with 1 wire mod. Least of the tone suck monsters. Scumback's DBL up for consideration.
     
  2. matttornado

    matttornado Well-Known Member

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    Agree 100%. Only really loud non master volume amps would benefit from an attenuator.

    Use the master Volumes -Thats' what they're for.
     
  3. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    Unlikely with my electronics knowledge. I can't see the 40CR being that much different to a 40C though.
    Need a schematic.

    But if I was forced to guess:

    Channel Gain - Preamp Tubes - Channel Volume - EQ & Tone Shift - FX Send - FX Return - Reverb - E/Out - Presence & Resonance - Master Volumes - Power Switching (High-Low-Standby) - Power Amp Tubes - Speakers

    *Edit* This is still all wrong!
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
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  4. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    Ok not that I know but it makes sense but wouldn't it make more sense to have the Master Volume after the Power Tubes?
    BP
     
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  5. tmingle

    tmingle Well-Known Member

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    I have the 1st gen 40C. I built 1 of John H's attenuator & am pleased with it. The DSL40C absolutely sounds its best between 2-4 on the MV. I previously used an MXR 10 band in the loop to EQ the fizz away & help control the volume. I also run a Helix into the FX return with the Cab impulses disabled. You still need a decent amount of current going thru the EL34s for them to sound their best IMO. I have recorded & normalized several stages of attenuation & cannot hear a big difference. I do hear a difference using only the MV.
     
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  6. ch324434

    ch324434 New Member

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    I'm still confused about how the master volume controls should help me. Should I be cranking the master volume and then starting the channel volume extremely low, or vice versa?

    But how? Some people in this thread are saying that the master volume does nothing to drive the power tubes, but then others are saying to use the master volume to help with good low volume tones. It seems like a lot of conflicting posts in this thread.
     
  7. ch324434

    ch324434 New Member

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    I've been thinking about this option too, but with the 5 watt (I need an effects loop). I've just always thought that anything smaller than a 1x12 sounds super boxy. Do the 1 watt and 5 watt DSLs offer a legitmate Marshall tube sound?
     
  8. Lukas

    Lukas Well-Known Member

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    A lot of the buzzy chainsaw type tone is from that V type speaker. I have a DSL 40CR and play mostly high gain on it. I set my masters both at noon to 1 o clock which is a must for great tone on these amps trust me and use the volume for volume. I play bedroom volumes a lot as I have a young family and it sounds great. I also boost it slightly with a TS9 tube screamer to shape the tone. Back to the speaker..... first I bought a Creamback and hated it. For rock or cleans I’m sure it’s great but higher gain no thanks. I had a spare G12T 75 speaker I removed from a 4x12 Marshall 1960B and tried it and it was high gain perfection in this amp. Got rid of that real chainsaw tone of the V type on high gain and I’d say thickened up the tone also.
     
  9. miyaru

    miyaru Member

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    The 1watt DSL1CR has an effects loop also!
     
  10. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    Ok, and I am probably wrong, but looking at the available schematics (attached) I have revised my interpretation of the basic circuit sequence. I have only basic schematic reading skills though!

    Input - V1:1 (all channels) - V1:2 (Ultra Gain channels only) - V2 - V3 - Tone Controls - Channel Volumes - THE CHIP? - Master Volumes - V4 - Presence & Resonance (bleed off circuits) - Power Tubes

    I think maybe the post-power tube voltages would be too high to run through Master Volume pots.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
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  11. Zeg1

    Zeg1 New Member

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    +1 on the Weber Mass attenuators !
     
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  12. Caffeinated

    Caffeinated New Member

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    I have a DSL1HR halfstack. I got a pair of MG15 1x10’s cheap on flea bay, stashed the straight cab and binned the cruddy speaker in the angle cab for a Greenback. It sounds great as a little bedroom practice amp.

    I do have an attenuator (Palmer PDI06) which I use on my Origin20c to let me cook the poweramp at room friendly levels and I’m very happy with that too.

    I’ve yet to come across a master volume that truly solves low volume practice, to my ears you always end up with a thin, fizzy mess that way- but ‘tone’ ain’t the same thing for everyone. I can see that maybe it actually works better at very high gain levels than you would normally get from a plexi or JCM800 type amp.
     
  13. Luc Tremblay

    Luc Tremblay New Member

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    I always thought a volume pedal in a serial fx loop would achieve just that. I take it the power tubes won't naturally saturate if they aren't fed with enough volume then, which is more or less the same result as a master volume?
     
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  14. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    A volume pedal will work but something with a knob will be far easier to reliably replicate a setting.
    I have a stereo setup using an MV DSL40CR that slaves a non-MV VS65R power amp.
    The DSL Masters are a doddle to use.
    For easy volume matching I have a JHS Little Black Amp Box on the pedalboard output to the VS65R.

    Works fine for me.

    256451-1513777478702-800.jpg
     
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  15. Robert Hughes

    Robert Hughes New Member

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    Get a weber mass 100, turn the master up to about 6 and a half, be amazed. They're under $300 US.

    And anyone that thinks the problem is the preamp circuit is simply wrong. There is no "problem", but like any piece of gear, there are limitations. These are Marshalls, and as such, need to be run hard to get a good tone out of them whether you're using the green or the red channel if you're just plugging straight into the amp. Running the master at < 3 doesn't push the power tubes at all and has a lot of bright cap in the sound. That's why you get crap tone, not because of "problems" in the preamp section.

    Alternatively, use the green channel, dial in a clean tone that's on the edge of breakup and run a good overdrive or distortion pedal into the front end and use the amp as a pedal platform. You can find decent tones that way as well. That's how Paul Gilbert gets his sound.
     
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  16. matttornado

    matttornado Well-Known Member

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    Getting power tube distortion on top of the amp's preamp is not going to make the amp sound any better with DSLs IMO. They are designed to get pre-amp distortion with gain and volume controls for each channel and then adjust your overall volume with the masters. Or, crank the masters and use the channel's volume.

    Just because you can theoretically use an attenuator with an amp, doesn't necessarily mean its makes any sense or will benefit you.
    Like I said, attenuators are for amps that are too loud when cranked enough to get distortion.

    save your money.
     
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  17. SpHj

    SpHj Well-Known Member

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    Not sure how handy you are with a Soldering iron, but schematics can be found to build a clone of a Dr.Z Air Brake. Right around $100 USD. And I have the schematics if needed.

    They work great if your just dialing back a bit on the volume.
    As with any attenuator, the more you attenuate, the more noticeable the tone change will be.
     
  18. Rumy73

    Rumy73 New Member

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    Yes, you can get an attenuator in that price range. Look on Reverb or Ebay for one, such as THD Hotplate, etc. However, before you spend your money, I hope that you understand that the DSL's Red channel has a unmistakable buzz-saw like gain. It is a unique Marshall sound that is modern and it cuts well in a band setting. While a cranked master volume will smooth it out to an extent, and an attenuator can bring down some volume, you're not going to move miles away from the amp's core vibe.

    As a cheap alternative and one that is proven to sound good, consider a good gain pedal and run it into the green channel, which is killer.
     
  19. Gaz67

    Gaz67 Member

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    I have a DSL401 (2009) which I attenuate for home use. Most of the time (95%) I use the Clean (green) channel and boost with pedals. Without the attenuator, with Clean gain on about 5, the highest I can get the MV is around 1.5/2. The amp sounds great at this level and I was happy with that for many years. But, I found it very peaky and edgy for home use when boosted with pedals and just couldn't get the full, smooth sound I was after.
    I bought a REACTIVE LOAD attenuator, turned the MV to 4+, clean gain on 4.5/ 5.5 and it sounds and feels great, same volume as before but feels like a different amp and takes pedals so much better at home volume. I tend to put the pedals (I use two, both on), to achieve the volume and gain required for lead when the guitar volume is on full, then just back it off for rhythm.
    Does it sound the same it as does with no attenuator, MV at 5+ and pushing the speaker ? .. No it doesn't.
    So do you need an attenuator on a master volume amp (40W)? is it a waste of money ?... Well that's for you to decide, and there's only one way to find out.
    For me, it wasn't a waste on money. I'm enjoying my amp much more now than I did before I had an attenuator and it feels and sounds great.
    Every now and then I disconnect the attenuator and try without just to compare. Still sounds good, lovely cleans. That last about 10mins then the attenuator goes back on.
    The other reason for my attenuator purchase is it offered Line out and XLR out. Another option for recording, sending through PA or listening with headphones via an audio interface, sound and tones vary.

    The gain channel on the DSL401, as well as gain control has it's own volume to boost that channel prior to going to the MV. With regards to overdrive channel volume Marshall states:
    "User Hint - When using the less gain/more level way of driving the power stage, keep the overdrive gain low and use this volume control (OD Volume) to drive the power amp."
     
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  20. Gunner64

    Gunner64 Emotional Support Animal Gold Supporting Member

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    In my experience Mv amps can absolutey benifit from using an attenuator, as some can be fizzy just using the preamp gain. They allow you to get the amp to its sweet spot, which with the 40c I had was very loud..(40w is not a low volume amp) with the preamp gain down. Lessening the fizziness, and maximizing crunch.
     
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