I played a DSL for the first time today...

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by Maggot Brain, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Maggot Brain

    Maggot Brain Well-Known Member

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    I have to admit I hadn't played a DSL until today, specifically a DSL40C....


    it's SAH-WEET!!!

    Ok, so I have had a slightly negative view towareds the DSL line of amps until today. I also admit it is stupid to form an opinion on something you havent experienced. My reasoning was because in any videos or clips I have viewed/listened to, the amp had a very "modern" voicing. I absolutley love the early Marshall tones ala JTM45, 1959 Superlead, JMP and JCM800.

    The DSL's voicing to my ears is almost an exaggeration of the signiture "Marshall sound" and again I admit it is pretty fking sweet! Now I only played it for maybe 2 hours but I was able to dime it and experience it as intended. I found all the features both useful and pleasing, an incredible range of "Marshall" tones, from bluesy cleans all the way to high gain metal. While I still stand by it being voiced more "modern", I do find it capable of getting in near the ballpark of some vintage sounds but it definitley wouldnt be my first choice for vintage Marshall tones. I found myself as I experimented with all the channels thinking "no doubt this sounds like pure Marshall bliss, If my eyes were closed and I heard any of the channels and settings I'd instantly say Marshall"... I hear a lot of JCM800 in it.

    Overall.... I would love to own one, it's no way a priority to me but if I had some extra cash I would have no problem pulling the trigger on one.


    The DSL is pretty sweet, I am impressed.
     
  2. Mitchell Pearrow

    Mitchell Pearrow Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Congratulations on finding tones that you enjoy from a great little amp.
    I have 2 of them, and as you said, it is definitely a Marshall.
    Cheers
    Mitch
     
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  3. clutch71

    clutch71 Well-Known Member

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    I was skeptical and unimpressed with he DSL40 CR...until I played one with the Vtype speaker. If I was in the market for a new Marshall....that's what I would get. Unfortunately I have my Marshall tones all covered!
     
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  4. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to admit. The only one I've played showed up in a backline a couple years ago. I wasn't a fan.
     
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  5. Chrome

    Chrome Well-Known Member

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    I love my '76 JMP but it is impractical in small venues. I bought a DSL 40C used for like 300 bucks. it was one sold by Sweetwater so it has a Creamback in it. It does a really good job, of getting me very close to the tones and gain structure I have become accustom to. very useful combo amp in my opinion.
     
  6. Maggot Brain

    Maggot Brain Well-Known Member

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    That's cool to hear, I will keep an eye out on the used market. The more I think about it the more I would like to own one. I currently dont own any combos and the DSL40c sounds like a nice contrast to my VM.
     
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  7. jeffb

    jeffb Well-Known Member

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    It's a jack of all trades Marshall. It doesn't do old Marshalls nearly as well as old Marshalls, but it gets you in the ballpark. It's probably not the best high gainer either- but it does fairly well.

    Tubes, speakers, and a high quality signal going into the front of the amp make all the difference in the world.

    I think it's practicality is what shines most- easy to get decent sounds at manageable volumes for a fair price. It's Marshall's answer to the HRD/Blues Junior.


    If you are a stickler for a particular Marshall sound of old, it will likely disappoint. The DSL has it's own modded 800-ish thing going on. The people who hate it are the people who probably just can't accept that it's different and feel it should be something else. I have come to terms with the DSL, but it took a few years.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  8. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    Congrats! Although I'm not a DSL fan, the folks that are can get an decent little amp for low $ and be able to move it around. If you get one, try putting it on another 1-12" closed cab, the best I heard so far was a V30 in the combo and a 65w CB in the cab. That seem to make the little DSL sound bigger, throatier and smoother. I always start getting a "modern" sound out of them and JVM's and I'm more of a Plexi / older 800 guy. I would love a smaller lighter combo with around 40w in my style as well.
     
  9. Tonz

    Tonz New Member

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    Hey, I see you have the VM. How would you compare the DSL to the VM? I've tried both and like both, but haven't owned either (Yet). I was really wondering how the VM took pedals, to get a hard rock/80's tone. I really liked the Low gain side of that amp, thought it had the classic marshall tone, didn't really care for the higher gain side. I also thought the crunch channel on the DSL was a pretty convincing ACDC-ish tone. I probably need to own both as well. \m/ Thanks.
     
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  10. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    A few years ago when I was looking for a new amp, and wanted to stay in the <$1K price range - preferably around $750, I looked at a bunch of different amps (Blackstar, Laney, H&K, Peavey, Jet City, Egnator, Marshall, etc.). On paper the DSL40C was probably middle of the pack for me. Then I went out a tried a bunch of amps and as soon as I played the Marshall I was sold. I even went back a tried a few others to make sure, but kept wanting to play the Marshall again.

    I have the G12M-65 Creamback in mine and I also have a 1x12 closed back cab with a G12T-75 - what a great combination (IMO). The Creamback gives the nice mids (but not over the top like a V30) and makes up for the mid-scooped T-75, and the T-75 being closed back and on the floor provides great bottom end.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  11. Musicmaniac

    Musicmaniac Active Member

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    Glad you were able to see the light! :dude:
     
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  12. jchrisf

    jchrisf Well-Known Member

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    I was in the same place at about the same time. I didn't have a place to try all these near me though so I went with the Laney IRT Studio. It is a great amp in so many ways and so versatile but even though it does ACDC tones so well and hard rock 80s and everything in between it is missing something with the Marshall tone I desire. If I would have just gotten the DSL40 I'm sure I would have been happy. This was back when Sweetwater was selling them with the Creamback for the same price. I did get the DSL20 and though it sounded good, it was missing the Marshall channels I want. My Laney covers more ground than the 20 and does all the 20 tones.

    Basically, I think you made a great choice and I wish I would have bought one back then. Now I am after a true Plexi and JCM tone.
     
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  13. Kinkless Tetrode

    Kinkless Tetrode Well-Known Member

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    I think the key to the DSL is to look at it as four single channel amps, but not as a channel switching amp. You choose one of the four modes, dial it in and play that one channel through out. You can get great tones this way.

    Classic Clean=Clean Clean tone w/ reverb and very good platform for pedals.
    Classic Crunch= Edge of breakup and edge of breakup plus pedals. Edge of break up clean boosted.
    Ultra 1= Playing straight into the amp with some dynamics but at the venue required volume level.
    Ultra 2 = high gain.
     
  14. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    The IRT Studio was the Laney I was looking at. I liked all the options it had and was leaning toward a head vs combo at the time. The problem with the Laney was nobody carried them by me but I happen to see a used one at Guitar Center when I was there trying other amps. When I tried it I was underwhelmed and to be honest I was really disappointed because I really liked what I heard online. Looking back I should have taken into account that it was used and who knows what condition the tubes were in etc., because I still don't think that particular amp was representative of what the IRT Studio is capable of.

    In addition to you I talked to a few others that have the IRT Studio and they all have positive things to say about it. I'm still glad I chose the DSL and I also bought mine from Sweetweater with the Creamback.
     
  15. Mitchell Pearrow

    Mitchell Pearrow Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    That is how I use mine, and I am quite happy with it, plus I am still using the stock 70/80 internal speaker, but I also have the MG cabs ..
    Cheers
     
  16. lespaul339

    lespaul339 Well-Known Member

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    I think you hit the nail on the head. Probably why I've never bonded with DSL's. Back when I was in a thrash band, one of my other guitarists had a DSL. I didn't mind it on the green channel. On the green channel it sounded close to my 800 2203, but I hated that red channel sound. I've since even moved past my 2203, so DSL's are still not for me. Now, I'm more into the classic Marshall tones. JTM 45, 1974X, 1987, 1959. Basically the plexi sound.

    That being said, I don't think DSL's are bad amps and they're great bang for your buck if that's the tone you're looking for.
     
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  17. WellBurnTheSky

    WellBurnTheSky Well-Known Member

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    It's a great amp, especially at the price you find it here in Europe (400-ish for the DSL100). There's a reason why it's a mainstay of backline companies all over the world.
    It can do a wide range of Marshall tones, in the ballpark of the Superlead on Classic/clean and Classic/Crunch and of the 2203 on Lead 1, up to modern tones on Lead 2. Takes pedals well, good usable FX loop, even a built-in reverb if needed.
    Does it sound exactly like the real thing ? No, but it' pretty close, and definitely usable. I've gigged my DSL100 for years and wouldn't hesitate to do so again. Do I prefer my SV20H ? Definitely. But for the price, the DSL is a damn good amp. I've said it many times and I'll say it again: if you can't find a good tone in the amp, the problem's definitely not with the amp. I've seen firsthand some world-class players sound absolutely incredible on a DSL (Reb Beach even played mine and sounded amazing). You could take a guitar, a DSL, an overdrive and a delay and play almost any possible genre without a hiccup. Great amp.
     
  18. Georgiatec

    Georgiatec Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Looking for something I don't remember what.
    If I could only have one Marshall amp it would be a DSL40cr. Big enough to do most gigs, versatile enough to do most classic Marshall tones and cheap enough to not bust the budget.
    Ironically, I don't own one, although I do have a late model DSL401 combo.
     
  19. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Tastes vary. I had a DSL100H for a while and never warmed up to it. Its modern voicing made its treble response too buzzy for me. I'm much more a fan of my 2203 and my Superleads. Less gain, but better tone. Yes, I tried multiple tube swaps to get a tone out of it that worked for me, without success.

    For very high gain so far I've only gotten good results out of Mesa Mark II and III amps. Sure, there are lots of amps out there I haven't tried yet. There may be a high gain Marshall that really works for me. But it appears not to be a DSL100H.
     
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  20. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    I use mine close to this - but use it as a 2 channel amp. I run the Classic Gain clean and I only use Lead 1 on the Ultra Gain channel. I don't think I've really ever used Lead 2. As much as I love the Crunch of the Classic Gain channel, I get get the same result putting a Tube Screamer in front (from my Helix) so it's not worth it to me to change the Clean/Crunch button and mess with the Gain and Volume control.

    I use my Helix to change the amp channels so when I go from Clean to Crunch it stays on Green and I add the Tube Screamer, then when I want heavier I change to Red/Lead 1 and drop the gain on the TS to 0 to tighten it up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020

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