- Aug 21, 2021
- Reaction score
The people that say Boss Katanas sound like/as good as tube amps are huffing glue. I've been fighting with one for 18 months, trying to get decent recordings.
Just got my 4th amp in 22 years, DSL20cr, first all-tube amp (2 were Valvestates) and I'm blown away. The Katana is a plastic toy next to this. It's so smooth. I can max out the presence and it doesn't get all harsh and shrill. Barely needs any EQ (got a 5 band parametric in the FX loop to balance out the mids and cut the typical problem frequencies in distortion, i.e. 1.4 and 2.5kHz, and it's perfect). I bet the total time I've spent fiddling with the parametric EQ in the Katana Tone Studio adds up to weeks. This is set where it's gonna be and I doubt I'll ever have to change it. I could never get the 12" Katana and the 12" VS to sound balanced as a stereo pair, even if just using the Kat as a power amp with the stereo FX returns. The VS always sounded much more present and articulate; at equal recording levels the VS always sounded louder, the Kat buried and muddy.
DSL FX loop to stereo pedals, VS 40V 8040 as the second power amp/speaker. Mics on front and back. Even with different mics they sound well-balanced as a stereo pair.
On disability, I didn't think I'd ever be able to afford it, but I was blessed with 15 months rent assistance. I didn't become aware of AMS until recently, though: payment plans without credit; the only way I could get something for this price. On sale for $800, 12 monthly payments.
Much Gratitude to the Universe and the Muses for making my Art possible.
I've always loved the Marshall crunch channel. I've had two Valvestates and they superceded my distortion pedals. This DSL is the best sounding distortion I've ever had. A lot of my dirt pedals are gritty, kinda like a broken speaker sound. The DSL Ultra Gain channel is so smooth. With a Precision Drive in front of it I get really nice chugs.
It is a little dark and it's hard to switch between the amp distortion and distortion pedals because the pedals are so much brighter.
People have suggested I replace the tubes and speaker. I'll probably end up doing that, eventually. But as it is, it's still by far the best sounding amp I've ever had.
Negatives: the knobs are very loose and turn very easily; when I press the Tone Shift button I can easily bump the volume knob.
The reverb is barely there, even when at max, but I don't care. I never use amp reverb and I have a nice stereo dual reverb pedal. Reverb is probably my least-used effect. But if amp reverb matters to you, know that this isn't much of anything. I tried the DSL40CR at a GC store and its reverb was the same.
My main complaint is the 1/8" emulated output. Why a 1/8" jack for that?! It's not like there isn't enough room for a standard 1/4" jack. The 40W version has a 1/4" emulated output jack. I hate when they skimp on things like this on the smaller models. I didn't get 20W because it costs less, I got it because 40W is way too much for my apartment. Now I have to find a 10' 1/8" to 1/4" cable.
I used a stereo adapter and mono cable to connect the emulated output to the interface and it sounds decent but it picks up a good amount of noise. I wonder if it would be less noisy if I had a proper cable for it… It doesn't sound good enough to be my only recording source but I do like what it adds when I mix it with the mic tracks.
I'm using the 10W setting in an apartment. My neighbors are more tolerant than most so I can use decent volume. I'm using large diaphragm condensers so it doesn't need to be very loud for them to get a solid signal.
The footswitch is solid and heavy. The cable has to be at least 20', very long. It would be nice if it could unplug from the pedal, but it's fixed on. I'm not gigging with it so I won't be moving it, but for those that are, a detachable cable would be a little more convenient.
I wish I could have gotten this a year ago, now I have several songs to redo. When I compare parts I've recorded with the DSL20CR to the old tracks recorded with the Katana, I'm like "wow, what a profound amazing difference".
4 stars because it's obviously not perfect, but it's the best amp I could ever dream to have.