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DSL5CR - First tube amp, lots of questions.

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by PaulHikeS2, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. PaulHikeS2

    PaulHikeS2 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Cheers! I'm a 50+ novice guitarist (<2 years) and I purchased a DSL5CR a few months ago, so it's well run in. It was an upgrade from my Vox Mini SuperBeetle (looks amazing, sounds good) and I'm very happy with it. It looks and sounds great. I play almost exclusively in 0.5 watt mode and am very happy with the tone I get at reasonable volume levels.

    As I'm improving as a player, and as my ears are becoming more attuned to tonal differences, I am starting to recognize that while very good, there is room for improvement in the overall sound. Today I removed the back for the first time, verified that I could disconnect the speaker leads easily, and I removed, examined, and took pictures of each tube. I was pleased that I was able to put everything back together and that everything worked the same. Having done that, I'm looking for some advice and recommendations.

    I need to buy a new set of tubes. I plan to replace all 3, with a goal of having a full set of known good replacements - the old ones - and a possible upgrade in tone. While I know there is room for improvement, I don't know enough to fully articulate what I'm looking for - sometimes I want a little more brightness, sometimes a little more warmth. Can anyone recommend a tube compliment that would achieve my goal of being subjectively "better" while not messing with the overall characteristics of the tone, which I like?

    Second, I'm considering a speaker replacement. I have 4 candidates with a goal of keeping this change under $100. The stock 10-30 sounds decent, but even my newly trained ear can hear limitations. The highs can be a bit tinny when I attack hard, and while I like the distorted tone, it can be a bit messy. Not sure if that's the right way to describe it, but it's the best I can come up with. I'm considering all Celestions, if only because the seem to be a general tonal match to Marshall circuits. I'm considering a VT-Jr for $60, a G10N-40 for about $70, a Greenback for $100, and a G10 Vintage for about $95. Is the VT-Jr a real upgrade? It's only $25 more than a new 10-30, so I'm a little hesitant. If it doesn't sound much better I could always throw it in the Vox and try something else.

    I look forward to any input. I've been reading the forums quite a bit and have learned a lot, but it was high time I signed up and put my questions out there. Thanks, all!
     
  2. Solid State

    Solid State Well-Known Member

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    There's a great thread about the DSL5C that includes a lot of tube swapping, speaker replacements, and I think one of the guys even put a Princeton Reverb Output Transformer in one. It's probably the best catalog of mods and changes you can make to an amp and I'm sure so much of it will apply to the DSL5CR as well. Some of the guys from that thread will surely see this one and give you some directions to go on tube replacements though but if you haven't read through it:

    https://www.marshallforum.com/threads/dsl5c-the-ultimate-lo-power-amp.63682/
     
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  3. Chris-in-LA

    Chris-in-LA Well-Known Member

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    I can’t imagine that a 5 watt amp sounds as good in 0.5 mode, that’s been my experience anyway. Crank that sucker, your newly trained ear will hear the difference.
     
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  4. PaulHikeS2

    PaulHikeS2 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Sadly, I have upstairs neighbors. But you're not wrong! Louder cures most ills. But diming the volume and adjusting the gain can get fairly loud.
     
  5. PaulHikeS2

    PaulHikeS2 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Thank you - I was searching for the 5CR, so that one didn't come up. It's a bit different, but there are more similarities that differences for sure.
     
  6. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    You've begun the Tone Quest. Fair warning: That can get expensive and cause you to go through a lot of amps and guitars.

    Some day you might end up like me: I've got four 100 watt Marshall heads from the 70s, at least six other amps, four 4x12 cabinets,
    more cabinets of various types, eight guitars....and thinking about what to buy next. And yet it'd do me a lot more good as a player to just pick one amp,
    put the others away, and practice for half an hour, every day, without fail. The Tone Quest is fun but really practicing and going on a Skill Quest is what makes you a better musician.
     
  7. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Maybe this will help,.... if you consider to replace the lone 12bh7 power tube to a different value tube. Like a 12au7 or 6cg7.

    Disclaimer: (I have no idea if the info in this link about vacuum tubes is correct or not)

    If you’re sure you want to keep your Dsl5cr power tube another 12bh7, you’ll find plenty of them at the Tube Store and the Tube Depot.

    http://oldstockaudio.blogspot.com/2010/02/12au7-12bh7-6cg7-whats-best.html
     
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  8. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    Changing tubes will not do much for the sound . The amp is voiced a certain way . You have to get the right speaker cab to go along with The speaker . Take your time test a lot of this stuff before you buy it and find what works for you
     
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  9. PaulHikeS2

    PaulHikeS2 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Thank you. When folks complain about cheap stock tubes, is it because they are unreliable or prone to failure, then?
     
  10. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    No two tubes are the same . So if you change the tubes and sounds a little bit different is it really better or just different . The thing that will make a difference is the bias on the power tube the factory will set them cold so the tubes will last longer . That is the problem not the preamp . When the power tubes are set right then start to try different cabs . The speaker is a power limiter for the tubes so you want full power
     
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  11. Guitar Rod

    Guitar Rod Well-Known Member

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    To me, I wouldn't get too hung up on tubes. The speaker makes the biggest impact and in the end is what you hear any change you make from guitar to amp to pedals out of. If you are into classic rock, go the Greenback. If you are into late 80s to 90s rock, maybe the Vintage.

    I (re)started playing guitar at a similar age. Played unseriously in my teens to early 20s, and then barely played until I was 48. THEN I got serious. heh
     
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  12. Freddy78

    Freddy78 Member

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    i have the same AMP and i really enjoy it , form my experience tubs make the less improvement and if you really want to hear the difference that they make you should play it loud on the 5W setting , i would go with JJ tubes.
    now for the speaker swap it will make more audible difference , for speaker i would go either with the Green back or WGS Green barret
     
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  13. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I have a Green Beret in my DSL5
     
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  14. dan46n2

    dan46n2 New Member

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    This guy got it... Tubes don't make that much difference in sound but the speaker will... something to consider as far as where to spend your money.
     
  15. SteelLucky

    SteelLucky Active Member

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    In the DSL line I have to agree that tubes do not make a tremendous difference. The speaker will. I don’t have a DSL5 but I have a Lead12 I have done some speaker swapping in. The VT-jr compared the the Ten-30 was night and day and I didn’t hate the Ten-30. Once broken in the VT-jr adds a ton more girth to the amp.
     
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  16. PaulHikeS2

    PaulHikeS2 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Thank you all for your excellent suggestions. I'm pricing Greenbacks now, and will also pick up a new preamp tube to try in the first position because I'm curious and it will afford me a spare.
     
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  17. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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  18. Ian Spry-Shute

    Ian Spry-Shute New Member

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    I just swapped the speaker on my DSL5CR today for a greenback G10 and I have to say I am very impressed at the difference, a slightly warmer sound with well rounded highs (no harshness like in the original speaker) it feels like I have put a 12" speaker in it! All this and the speaker is not even broken in yet, I have only put about 2 hours of low volume playing on it, can't wait to play it some more....a new speaker is a great excuse to dime it!!!
     
  19. GregM

    GregM Well-Known Member

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    This will sound really dumb, but the best tone I got out of my Lil dsl5cr came when I was using a ps1 ( bugera attenuator).
    I had a Lil Carl's speaker soak so I could play quiet and still crank the amp a Lil, and it was okay for what it did. I got the ps1 while waiting on my sc20h, so tried it on the Lil dsl, classics gain channel volume and gain dimed and volume on guitar dimed and it actually went into full on distortion, backed off the guitar volume a tad and it ( to me) was the best sound I ever got out of the Lil beast.
    Anyway, glad your speakers working out for you and happy playing!
     
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  20. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    EDIT: Just realized this is a year old post.
     
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