DSL 20 into audio interface

JuniorG

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Hi all, new to the forum. Just bought my first Marshall amp, a DSL 20 I’m going to be mostly for at home recording. Haven’t been able to find much info, and want to start engaging in this awesome community, on connecting to an audio interface. I understand emulated out can go 1/8” to 1/4” and seemingly only in standby, but my question is about hooking a regular 1/4” cable from one of the speaker outputs. Is that possible/will it be too much for the interface? TIA!
 

iron broadsword

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but my question is about hooking a regular 1/4” cable from one of the speaker outputs. Is that possible/will it be too much for the interface? TIA!

If you run a cable from a speaker out into anything other than a speaker, you're probably going to blow up the amp and whatever you're sending it into. Never run an amp without a proper speaker load, or risk losing the amp and other gear

As far as i understand the emu out works in standby mode, so your guitar signal is only going through (at best) the amp's preamp and then bypassing the power tubes and phase inverter.. meaning the whole power amp and speaker assembly is not in use.. meaning it likely won't sound awesome but is worth trying. If you're recording via an interface, you can pick up an sm57, mic it up, throw a blanket over the whole thing, and record at very low volumes with great success. I spent years doing it like that at living room volume or less and had great results.. much better than anything emulated that I've heard. Nowadays there are some great expensive options but for quick & dirty I'd do that
 

fitz288

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If you run a cable from a speaker out into anything other than a speaker, you're probably going to blow up the amp and whatever you're sending it into. Never run an amp without a proper speaker load, or risk losing the amp and other gear
That depends on the interface.
Some have a full "dummy" speaker load for the amp, and convert the signal to line level DI out.
As far as i understand the emu out works in standby mode, so your guitar signal is only going through (at best) the amp's preamp and then bypassing the power tubes and phase inverter.. meaning the whole power amp and speaker assembly is not in use.. meaning it likely won't sound awesome but is worth trying.
Yes, the emulated out just plain sucks.
 

PelliX

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Coming from an owner of one, I'm going to agree with @iron broadsword - mic'in it up is the best way to get (record) a great sound from it. An SM57 or SM58 will work great, I use an SM58. I've tried other mic's but I always come back to the 58. A blanket is a good start. If you need more, see about an iso-box. I don't find that I have to push it much more than 'living room volumes' to get decent recordings, honestly. As you probably already own a blanket, give it a shot. After all, cranking a DSL doesn't change the tone much in my opinion, they get their tone from the pre-amp section.

Yes, the emulated out just plain sucks.

That's almost an understatement. You basically use the pre-amp and then push that through a very poor audio circuit driving a TL072 transistor.. with a load of noise. Ugh. I've never encountered a Marshall amp with a usable e-out.

Some have a full "dummy" speaker load for the amp, and convert the signal to line level DI out.

This is probably one of the 'best' ways to go, but it costs more than the blanket and I prefer to record what I'm actually getting out of the speaker. You also get the luxury of pointing and placing the mic how you like it or putting it in front of another cab, etc.
 

Max Gahne

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I use an AKG P420 to record mine. If your interface has 48V phantom power a cheap large diaphragm condenser mic like the 420 would be my choice. The DSLs make their tone with the preamp so I've never needed to use a blanket.
 

OriginOfTheSpecies

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You might be able to run the amp without a load/speaker (check with Marshall, Origin 20 can), but plugging a speaker out into a regular interface line input will probaby wreck both amp and interface.

One way to record silently that's probably going to be better than the emulated out is to run the amps effects loop send to your interface, then use something like twonotes wall of sound (free) that includes power amp simulation and cab/mic IR's. Doing this you could leave your cab plugged in for safety with the master volume right down/standby.

If you've go the budget you could also buy something like a two notes captor which provides a safe load for the speaker out and allows you to feed it to your interface/IR's. This way you're also capturing what your real amp's PI and power tubes are doing to your tone rather than using a power amp sim (or none at all).

One of the advantages of both of these approaches is you can easily and cheaply switch virtual cabs and mics around after tracking - you're not stuck with your original recording.
 
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sunflower

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You might be able to run the amp without a load/speaker (check with Marshall, Origin 20 can), but plugging a speaker out into a regular interface line input will probaby wreck both amp and interface.
You can't use dsl20 without speaker load in any situation.

From manual

"Important: Using EMULATED OUT does not omit the need for a speaker load to be connected (See Rear Panel Function #22)."

"WARNING - Although the amplifier has three speaker outputs, never attempt to connect more speaker cabinets than rated. The safe combinations are: 1 x 8 Ohm speaker cabinet, 2 x16 Ohm speaker cabinets or 1 x 16 Ohm speaker cabinet. Any other speaker cabinet configuration may stress the power amplifier section and in extreme cases may lead to valve and/ or output transformer failure. NEVER use DSL20HR or DSL20CR without a speaker load."
 

scozz

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If you run a cable from a speaker out into anything other than a speaker, you're probably going to blow up the amp and whatever you're sending it into. Never run an amp without a proper speaker load, or risk losing the amp and other gear

As far as i understand the emu out works in standby mode, so your guitar signal is only going through (at best) the amp's preamp and then bypassing the power tubes and phase inverter.. meaning the whole power amp and speaker assembly is not in use.. meaning it likely won't sound awesome but is worth trying. If you're recording via an interface, you can pick up an sm57, mic it up, throw a blanket over the whole thing, and record at very low volumes with great success. I spent years doing it like that at living room volume or less and had great results.. much better than anything emulated that I've heard. Nowadays there are some great expensive options but for quick & dirty I'd do that
This ^
 

Seventh Son

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The Emulated Out somehow dumps everything past 5kHz, resulting in a low-mids heavy and muddy sound. Like others, I recommend mic’ing it up with an SM57. Note also that the amp pairs much better with a G12T-75 than a Vintage 30. The Vintage 30 sounds thin and fizzy at low volumes and is difficult to dial in to where it doesn’t sound fizzy but is still present.
 
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JuniorG

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Thanks for all the response fellas (and gals)! Seems the consensus is mic’ing, which I’ll agree with. I tried both the emulated out and speaker outs and both were pretty lackluster, couldn’t get anything without a considerable coating of noise. Not disappointed though, I’ve got an sm58 setup now and will get a blanket to start. Looking also at a Sennheiser 609 or 906 if anyone’s got opinions on them, or for someone who has never mic’ed before if I’ll even notice a difference.

Couple questions on mic’ing. Just tried running sm58 with an xlr to 1/4” adapter straight into a sampler with an 8 track looper that also functions as an interface (Isla instruments s2400). I don’t have the midi pedal setup to control looper or a mic stand yet , also not sure how close to place the mic (had it pretty close though), so just for this test I started the looper by hand then held the mic up. I had to max out the input gain on the sampler/interface to get even a reasonable level, and was still very quiet. Amp level roughly 9 o’clock, gain 12 o’clock. Is the low volume level something to do with the cable adapter, mic placement, and/or lack of cover/blanket? Obviously want to try to record without pissing off neighbors cranking the amp so trying to eliminate other factors first.
 

PelliX

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You want something with a decent pre-amp for a/the mic. Sounds to me (without hearing any of it...) like the Isla isn't intended to work with that type of mic attached directly. There are plenty of options, including cheap little Behringer mixers and so on. They're not half bad at that, to be honest.

Looking also at a Sennheiser 609 or 906 if anyone’s got opinions on them, or for someone who has never mic’ed before if I’ll even notice a difference.

I'm not a big fan of Sennheiser mics for this sort of thing. Taste varies, but the SM57/58 is/are an industry standard. If you want to spend some cash, sure, as mentioned - an AKG is a solid investment. Save some dosh and get a decent pre-amp for the mic first, though. Most Behringers (and yes, there are plenty of other brands if that gives you the shivers) have the 48V phantom power option if you decide to go condenser later on. I use a Xenyx 2442FX for these purposes in my home studio.

Put the mic close to the cone, generally not centered. The rest is taste, really... You shouldn't need to crank it to get a decent recording.

EDIT: The Isla doesn't appear to have a Mic input at all, or is my Google-fu weak?

EDIT #2: Just checking, is this a DSL20C(R)? If so, don't pop a blanket over it. Not only should you not really need it, but a blanket over one of those heads/combos going to cook the innards and maybe even become a fire hazard ...
 
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Seventh Son

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An SM57/58 is fine. The Sennheiser e906 and e609 will sound a bit more open. I prefer the inherent compression of an SM57/58. I’d put the mic about an inch off the grille cloth, just to tame the proximity effect. If you get too much low end in the recording, a high-pass filter as high as 130-150 Hz can do wonders to tame the volatile low end and help sit the track nicely in the mix.

As far as the horizontal placement of the mic, avoid the center. The sweet spot is somewhere between dust cap edge and surround, depending on the speaker. You can zero in on the best spot by focusing on the fizz and moving the mic away from the center until the high end is just right. For me, it’s around an inch from the cap edge.

In smaller rooms, you might not need much bass dialed in at the amp at all. Maybe around 2–3 on the knob. The Resonance knob can also make a big difference. For a tight low end, use it very conservatively in small rooms. Raising the amp off the ground and rotating it away from facing walls directly also helps clean up the low end.

You don’t need much volume at all to get decent results. Conversation volume can work, but you will get the best results when the volume knob is around 5-7, although I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary, but rather a luxury.
 

PelliX

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In smaller rooms, you might not need much bass dialed in at the amp at all. Maybe around 2–3 on the knob. The Resonance knob can also make a big difference. For a tight low end, use it very conservatively in small rooms. Raising the amp off the ground and rotating it away from facing walls directly also helps clean up the low end.

Very true, but OP should keep in mind that the resonance (and presence) controls become more pronounced as the volume on the amp is dialed up due to the way the circuit is designed.
 

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