DSL20HR thoughts?

nickfox

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Going from DSL20HR Send into the DSL100HR Return or vice versa:
There's no big difference in sound. Feeling is different, with the DSL100HR power amp the sound is fuller, not a surprise.

So you don't think there is a difference in sound between cathode biased and fixed bias amps?
 

WiderGates

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Hello nickfox,

what shall I say more? Than what I have already written:
There's no big difference in sound. Feeling is different,.....

The difference may be bigger with other amps, especially with amps that relay on power amp distortion. The DSL's have so much (evtl. too much) distortion in the preamp, so power amp distortion has not much portion.

A cathode biased Plexi for example may be very different to a fixed biased Plexi.

....... past full tilt .......
Good night :cheers:
 
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tresmarshallz

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I really like the one I've had for a bout 6 months. My main amp is an Orange Rockerverb MKIII, but I had to have a Marshall sounding amp to run along the Orange and occassionally record with, and the DSL20 sounds perfect for that. I would definitely get a 50W Marshall if I had the budget as the 20 seems a bit underpowered, but for my use case it is perfect.
 

CVS

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Hi everyone,

What do you guys think of the DSL20HR? I've had mine for a year or so, got it in a trade. It's affordable and also quite popular I think, you hear people talk about this model a lot! What do you guys think of this amp?

My thoughts: it's a cool amp and I like the ultra gain channel especially. The classic gain channel is capable of some good tones but the gain pot taper on mine is pretty weird. It starts to overdrive very fast and then the sound doesn't change for a large part of the sweep. So to clean it up I have to set the gain very low and it's also a very bright channel. Still, useful but not as good as the ultra gain channel.

The high gain channel sounds cutting and nicely saturated with a fairly thick bottom end and nice raspy mids and highs that do a great job at cutting through the mix. I'm not a fan of the toneshift knob so I never use it, it's just waaayy too scooped.

The reverb is fine but very subtle imho, would have been more useful if you could make it sound more strong.

Overall it's a fine amp with some flaws as I mentioned. The tone is cool but not classic Marshall or comparable to a more expensive boutique amp. It's a great amp for beginners or folks who just need a simple rock amp but don't expect it to do classic rock well imho.

Here's a little review video along with some tone demos and such:



Love mine too !
With a SD-1 or MXR wylde overdrive in front of the amp you can make it a 4 channel amp ... i only use a boss DD-3 in the loop.
sounds great through celestion creamback G12H75 !!
 

Rumy73

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Hi everyone,

What do you guys think of the DSL20HR? I've had mine for a year or so, got it in a trade. It's affordable and also quite popular I think, you hear people talk about this model a lot! What do you guys think of this amp?

My thoughts: it's a cool amp and I like the ultra gain channel especially. The classic gain channel is capable of some good tones but the gain pot taper on mine is pretty weird. It starts to overdrive very fast and then the sound doesn't change for a large part of the sweep. So to clean it up I have to set the gain very low and it's also a very bright channel. Still, useful but not as good as the ultra gain channel.

The high gain channel sounds cutting and nicely saturated with a fairly thick bottom end and nice raspy mids and highs that do a great job at cutting through the mix. I'm not a fan of the toneshift knob so I never use it, it's just waaayy too scooped.

The reverb is fine but very subtle imho, would have been more useful if you could make it sound more strong.

Overall it's a fine amp with some flaws as I mentioned. The tone is cool but not classic Marshall or comparable to a more expensive boutique amp. It's a great amp for beginners or folks who just need a simple rock amp but don't expect it to do classic rock well imho.

Here's a little review video along with some tone demos and such:


Very nice work on the review of the DSL 20. I never could bond with that amp. The clean is too bright and has minimal variation. The gain is too over the top. The shared EQ, at least for me, makes channel switching tough because the voices of the green and red are so far apart. I agree with you that the reverb is too subtle. My suggestion to people in the market for a 20 watt Marshall head is to try the DSL 20 but also demo the mini jubilee or studio classic. The latter two when placed side by side with the DSL, one will hear a richer, rounder tone. I'm not saying the DSL 20 is trash, but honestly it is only OK. Good for a limited budget or beginners. I will add, that more not a lot more money one can buy the bigger DSL 40. It offers more tonal variety and it will work great at gig.
 
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I had one briefly, its too scooped for my liking even with the mids dimed. This is typical of all DSLs in my opinion, I had a DSL50 at one time that displayed the same tonality I dont like.

The DSL line isn't like the old plexis. I have tried a few and I definitely like the ORI much better. Of course the new vintage models are based on the real thing however, and compared to my early 70's head, the ORI20 combo fits the bill (not to mention budget). Quite a few older Marshall enthusiasts try the Origin series without realising these amps need an overdrive or distortion pedal to achieve classic sounds. But with a proper pedal, using the master volume, great sounds are available. I'd recommend the Danelectro Texas Trouble (not available anymore though) or the newer Billion Dollars version. They are well built, very affordable and great sounding. Other excellent options exists of course.

Danelectro Billion Dollar Boost Pedal | Long & McQuade (long-mcquade.com)
 

Max Gahne

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I've modded my DSL20HR half to death so it's hardly a DSL20 anymore. I got it new last year before the prices went up and with all the discounts I only had 370$ to my door in it. I'm an old boomer and play like one, the red channel with the gain dimed. I was hoping it would sound like my DSL1 which I love. But played like I do it had a sour tone to my ear and a sizzly metallic high end. I just wasn't playing it but for that cheap I decided to work on it and get it to my liking rather than get rid of it. I changed things in the pre amp, the tone stack, bypassed the buffer after the DFX IC and reconfigured the transistor gain stage that's after that. The buffer and transistor gain stage seemed to be the source of that sour taste I was getting. I've probably had the PCB out 20 times. Now I like it and think I'm almost done with it. At least I'm playing it a lot now. It's an odd DSL, the circuit very different from the DSL1 and 5 which are similar, and very different from the 40/100 which are similar. It sounds like it has a little more pre amp gain than the DSL1 even after I made their pre amps identical. It might run slightly higher voltage, I haven't checked that. Could just be the tolerances.
 

PelliX

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I changed things in the pre amp, the tone stack, bypassed the buffer after the DFX IC and reconfigured the transistor gain stage that's after that. The buffer and transistor gain stage seemed to be the source of that sour taste I was getting. I've probably had the PCB out 20 times.

Transistor gain stage? Are you using the emulated out...?
 

PelliX

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No @PelliX, TR3, TR2 is the buffer

Buffer - OK. But, without looking at the schematic, they should only play a role if the DFX board is actually processing sound (Reverb enabled), or is the FX loop also tied in to them?
 

Seventh Son

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The DSL20 is weird in that it isn’t scooped, but rather hollow sounding in the mids, especially at low volumes. It definitely benefits from more volume, and I can see how it could further benefit from a mid-humped clean boost, such as the TS9. On recordings, it still has that hollowness to it, but it is also very smooth and fits in the mix without calling attention to itself.

I don’t think the amount of gain it offers on the Ultra Gain channel is excessive. Gain is not really its main weakness. Nor is the reverb on it weak. It’s a Marshall; we don’t buy these amps for the reverb, but the reverb is O.K.
 

PelliX

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The DSL20 is weird in that it isn’t scooped, but rather hollow sounding in the mids, especially at low volumes. It definitely benefits from more volume, and I can see how it could further benefit from a mid-humped clean boost, such as the TS9. On recordings, it still has that hollowness to it, but it is also very smooth and fits in the mix without calling attention to itself.

I don’t think the amount of gain it offers on the Ultra Gain channel is excessive. Gain is not really its main weakness. Nor is the reverb on it weak. It’s a Marshall; we don’t buy these amps for the reverb, but the reverb is O.K.

Each to their own. It's one of the worst reverbs I've encountered - that is to say, the reverb itself is OK, but the noise floor it brings with it is just awful on mine.
 

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