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DSL20H or DSL100H? - Newbie help

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by Daniel9789, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. Daniel9789

    Daniel9789 New Member

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    Hi all,

    So I'm probably the most unknowledgable person and beginner and ill make no secret that I need a bit of help and guidance here ..

    I used to play the Guitar very badly and so stopped and ive never thrown myself back into it. I always owned cheap rubbish which never inspired me to play. Anyway, 15 years later, ive got myself some lessons booked in, im living on YouTube and im learning properly.

    Ive bought a Gibson Les Paul Standard 50s as I figured a good guitar would inspire me (and it has). And ive bought a DSL20H and MX212AR.

    Now my issue is that this is alot of sound and most UK homes (and wives) wont allow that sort of volume.

    I want that classic 70s/80s ACDC sort of rock sound, and from what I gather that means high volume, low gain. Obviously I cant do this ..

    So I did look at an attenuator to bring the volume down, wise choice or not? (Bugera Power Soak).

    Then I wondered if Id got the wrong amp. The DSL100H has 2 master volumes aswell as individual volumes on each clean/ultra gain channels. Can I achieve the same affect as an attenuator by turning my clean/ultra gain channels volume to 8 or 9 but then turning the master volumes down? (or have I misinterpreted how they work?).

    I need the high channel volume to get the tubey overdrive sound, but I need to reduce that volume.

    Completely unrelated I guess, but I want a stack. I don't want a small practise amp. Ive been longing for a Marshall stack for 15 years and so the look is almost as important as the sound (sorry).

    Thanks in advance, and sorry for my inexperienced newb question.

    Dan
     
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  2. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum!

    The DSL series gets their overdrive from the preamp section so you don't need a 100w to drive the amp for this tone. Have you looked at the DSL40CR? That has dual master volumes and the crunch channel can get pretty close to classic AC/DC. Granted it doesn't address you desire for a stack, but that seems way overkill considering your living arrangements.
     
  3. PelliX

    PelliX Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Nice amp, nice cab. I don't care much for the Seventy/80 speakers in there, but let's focus.

    To me the 'classic' AC/DC sound is a lot of gain at any volume. This is not quite how Angus got/gets his tone, but word is his amps are biased so hot that the output valves basically last around 50 hours. Even if you wanted that, you can't really do that with a cathode biased amp like yours. Cathode biasing has advantages, though, too - sustain for example. I'm going to assume that you also have some kind of dirt/crunch/OD/drive pedal or whatnot for a little spank when hitting the front of your amp. The red channel will do this, too but it's quite compressed by default.

    I have one of these that I use a dummy load from time to time. It does what it says on the tin, but the DSL20 doesn't really gain much IMHO from cranking the volume. The pre-amp is where the 'tone' is, to put it very simply.

    I wouldn't recommend this. The DSL100 is a fine head, but if 20W (or 10-ish when set to low power) is too much, you're not going to enjoy a 100 Watter. Also note that the PS1 is NOT capable of handling a dimed DSL100! On both you could technically also put a volume pedal in the FX loop to 'tame' the overal level before hitting the power amp, but again - I don't find this does much tone-wise.

    If anything, I would recommend looking at the signal going in to the amp and maybe replacing the speakers. I never managed to get anything decent sounding from them, at least. Each to their own, though.
     
  4. fitz288

    fitz288 Well, Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    +1 What @PelliX said.
    DSL20 will not benefit from attenuation, just use the channel volume and up the gain knob to taste.
    If you want a more "classic" overdrive tone than the DSL Ultra Gain channel, try a DS-1 (or similar) in the front end on the Classic channel.
    100w anything is not going to help.
     
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  5. colchar

    colchar Well-Known Member

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    The DSL40 or DSL100 will get more classic overdrive than the DSL20. I recently went from a DSL40 to a DSL100, but that hasn't arrived yet so I cannot comment on it. I did see a few comments online (TGP maybe?) stating that it works better at lower volumes than the DSL40 does.

    Or maybe you should consider a JHS Little Black Box? I haven't tried one but some people here give them very positive reviews. They only work with series effects loops, but that is what is in the DSL series so you're all good there.


    Edited - My DSL100HR came in today so I can pick it and the cab up any time. Once I've tried them, I will be able to comment more on how it is for home use.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  6. Daniel9789

    Daniel9789 New Member

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    Thanks all.

    So to answer some points.

    I don’t want a DSL40, as my heart is set on a stack.

    The AC/DC tone I’ve been told by multiple sources is very clean, very little gain, it’s just the tubes being driven very hard with high volume, so that’s what I’m searching for; high volume yet low impact on the room (hence attenuator suggestion).

    I suggested the 100 head as I wasn’t sure if I could have the main masters turned down; yet the channel volumes up thus working the tubes not not at huge volume. Unless the main masters are what control the tubes ..

    Just about everyone I speak too says the amp volume needs to be high to get the tubes singing, but I needed to find a way to reduce that volume once it sings.

    So I know an attenuator will work, but as I said, the DSL20 doesn’t have a master volume (only channel volume and gain), so with the addition of the extra master volumes I wondered if I could have them down with the channel volumes up :)
     
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  7. fitz288

    fitz288 Well, Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    The AC/DC tone that you speak of is not from a DSL.
    It is from a very loud SLP.
    Since volume is one of your concerns, I'd suggest a reasonably priced tube amp and a decent overdrive pedal.
    That'll get you close, but there is only one way to get the real thing, and that's with volume.
     
  8. PelliX

    PelliX Well-Known Member

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    Master volumes come before the output valves. ;)

    Here's a basic explanation of how this works: [amp input] -> pre-amp (multiple stages) -> [master vol on some amps] -> power stage (output valves) -> speaker/sound/tone/whatnot.

    So you can drive your pre-amp tubes as hard as you want with the gain (and pedals in front, etc) without affecting the volume. Master volume knobs on amps generally work between the final pre-amp stage and the output stage. If you want your output valves to sing/crunch/scream/etc you indeed have to drive them hard and attenuation and/or an iso-box are your options.

    Now, be aware that a high gain head (DSL100) will output in excess if 100W, so you will need an attenuator capable of, let's say, 200W to be on the safe side without it burning a hole. You can flip the DSL100 to 50W, that would get you by with PS1 or whatnot, but the reduction of voltage affects your tone, too. Something to keep in mind...
     
  9. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    By the time you attenuate a 100 watter down elow 10 watt levels, ypu will lose a great deal of the tone you are after. Honestly, the 40CR has the extra Crunch mode in channel 1 which will get you close to the tone you want that the 20 does not have. The 100 will as well but totallh overkill amd as mentioned, no, the 2 master volumes do NOT work like an attenuator.
    Face it, Angus recordings are subject to compression, all sorts ov stidio things plus a cranked up stack. You won't duplicate that. You can, however, get very close using preamp disstortion.
    Iv ypu really feel you need the overkill of a stack then get a 100 amd use it with preamp gain and forget attenuator. Use ut at like 3% of it's potential and the cab will be a waste for the most part.
    Just sayin....
    Learn to play amd get good at guitar befofe worrying too much about stacks. My opinion
    The red mode with low gain will get you 80s rock stuff reasonably. If you strive for the power tube saturation tone and attenuate it way down, you won't get it anymore and at low volumes the difference woild be very subtle.
     
  10. Silverburst

    Silverburst Well-Known Member

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    rather check out an sv20h or sc20h.
     
  11. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes an SC20 might be better for you. The SV will require an attenuator. Loid even in 5 watt setting. Relaive term.
     
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  12. PelliX

    PelliX Well-Known Member

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    @Jethro Rocker I agree with what you said, but it read as if you're missing a couple of teeth here and there :p

    You make a very valid point, though which is not clear to all beginners. The sound you hear on an album doesn't necessarily reflect the sound during recording. Mic'ing a cab is a mono signal, for example - it gets stereoised during production (or double tracked, etc, etc, etc).
     
  13. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Stupid tablet. I make rafts of typos on the tablet. Often couldn't be bothered correcting them as long as basic ideas come across. Maybe I should so I don't sound so inbred.

    Also with recordings, listen to the live recordings and see how different they are from the studio ones from whatever band. That also shows how the bands don't even cop their own tones live.
    No typos. Huh....:D
     
  14. Max Gahne

    Max Gahne Active Member

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    The names volume and master volume can be just semantic. On my 2021 DSL20HR the volume controls are after the tone stack which is after the last pre amp stage and before the phase inverter, right where the 2203/04 master volume is. So my volume could be called a master volume. The DSL 100 has the volume controls in the same place as my DSL20 and adds another volume control after the DFX module, called the master volume, and so it is also after the FX loop. All of the DSL volume and master volumes are after the last pre amp stage, after the tone stack, and before the phase inverter. In a lot of ways the volume and master volume on a 40/100 are redundant although I think there's some footswitch things you might can do with them that I'm not familiar with. And also the 40/100 master is after the FX loop which could be useful. But for the use you're describing, driving either the pre amp tubes or power tubes you'll be able to do equally with either amp regardless of whether it's called a volume or a master volume.

    Edit: I said all the DSL's volumes & masters are after the tone stack but that's not true of the DSL1 classic gain volume. It's where all the other's gain pots are. So you have 3 places for volume controls, the upstream one is usually called gain if there's a downstream volume control. If there's 3 volume controls the upstream is usually called gain, the middle is called volume and the last is called master. But again in the case of the DSLs the middle one on all of them is far enough downstream to do what you're trying to do
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  15. PelliX

    PelliX Well-Known Member

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    Yup, and ideally old (like 70's or earlier) when not all bands were on speaker simulators and/or using some unknown PA sauce. Still a lot goes on often that you don't see.

    Touchscreen keyboards just don't cut it for me. I need to feel where I am. Explains the issue though... :lol:
     
  16. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Yep. I sit in living room with the boss and tablet is easy. Although I do have a laptop out here too....hate to just hang out in the office on the PC.
    Typing on phone? Forget it.
     
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  17. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    Not very clean. But Malcolm's early sound rode just past the edge of clean into a killer crunchy dynamic breakup, and sounded big. See: Live Wire intro rhythm guitar. To me, that is THE rock n roll sound. I would call it a crunchy clean(ish) sound. And Angus's early sound was less big but with a little more gain, and still a very crunchy sort of breakup, not a smooth high gain one at all. It made for a great pairing. And later they transitioned into a little more gain, less crunchy but still a pushed power amp sound and with more preamp gain, which is creamier, smoother than the earlier sound. I really dig the shit out of their early sound, but the later sound is really good too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  18. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm sure we've all seen this but just in case someone on this forum has been living under a rock...

     
  19. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    This is great advice.
     
  20. Seventh Son

    Seventh Son Well-Known Member

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    Not that I would recommend it, but if you really must have a stack for home use, which seems to be what your heart wants, regardless of what we might say, the 6100LM is a very good option. It has a nice crunch channel and the volume is highly manageable, plus it sounds pretty good at low volumes.


    Personally, I would just use the Ultra Gain channel on the DSL20HR and lower the gain until you get in the ballpark. Your current gear is very nice and very capable of approximating the kind of tone that you’re after. No need to waste your money. But if you really must have a stack, consider the 6100LM.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021

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