Mod Dsl5c, Get An Origin Or Something Else?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by Gabbi, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Gabbi

    Gabbi New Member

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    I have a DSL5C and overall it's quite nice and the features are killer, but parts of the sound and I have a bit of trouble getting along. I live in an apartment (but old office building so nicely isolated) and I can crank it up on the 1W mode without problems and mostly play at home now, but I'm looking into starting up a new band soon. But the headphone option is nice, especially during the evenings and playing later, plus the line-in is very practical to play with backing tracks through headphones (even if the sound can feel kind of different).

    So far, so good. The problem for me is the sound, especially out of the Ultra Gain-channel. I play quite New Wave-inspired stuff (so LOTS of effects), old school punk (The Clash/Ramones) to classic AC/DC. My ultimate tone is pretty much Billy Duffy of The Cult's Love-album: Pushed enough to get a bit of gain and "power", but clean enough to get note separation. The Classic Gain does a lot of what I want of the cleaner to pushed sounds with a Tube Screamer. It's just that the Ultra Gain really is "too gainy", but also "too different". Even with the gain low it get a bit too muddy for me and sort of lacks the separation I want. It just sounds too different from the Classic Gain and I sort of lack a mode "between" the two. I tried using a Lovepedal Jubilee and a Fulltone OCD as a main gain sound, but they both end up sounding "shrill" through it (Marshall-type OD into a Marshall seems to just be just "too much").

    The Origin 20 is tempting, with it's focus being more along the lines of classic Marshalls, perfect for me to get a cleaner tone and then work with it's inbuilt boost just too push it where I need to. The demos I've heard so far get's me REALLY good impression of it. Plus having the option to go up to 20 watts is nice. I pretty much feel like it's worth trading my DSL for… But there is one problem: No silent option.
    While not as good as playing the amp through the speaker – the option is still nice to have, especially if I feel creative late at night. One option would be to get an Origin and possibly get a small amp (like a Katana) for headphone use if I need it, or possibly a load box (but that seems like quite an expensive option, unless there is a cheap one that could work). It also feels kind of boring to have an amp that costs more than my current one but then end up using a modeler a lot of the time (plus not sure how well it plays with my pedals).

    Sorry for a loooong rant, but it's kind of conflicting. Here are a few of the thoughts I've had:
    1. Mod the DSL. I've understood people have modded the Ultra Gain into Gain 1 of the DSL40C, which is very close to a JCM800. This sounds quite like it could be a possible solution (I'm quite used to soldering, so getting the handiwork shouldn't be a problem). I've been scouring the forum, but is there any direct reference on exactly how to do this mod?

    2. Get an Origin. This seems tempting, but like mentioned it would mean dumping a few features I use. Seeing as the line-out, perhaps a straight loadbox would work to use the Line-signal?

    3. Just get something else? Maybe there would be an even better option.
     
  2. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Seeing that the Oigin20 switches from 20 watts to 3 watts to .05 watts I don't think you'll miss the silent play feature .05 watts is pretty quiet, and if you really do need the silent play I'm sure you could adapt the DI-Out for that. What might interest you is to look at the new DSL range that was also released, they fixed the Ultra Gain channel and a lot more. The new DSL line comes in head and combo form in 1 watt, 5 watt, 20 watt, 40 watt and 100 watt, and has the silent play feature on all of them.

    And welcome to the forum!
     
  3. Gabbi

    Gabbi New Member

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    Thank you for the welcome!

    0,5w isn’t too loud like you say, but I might not miss the silent option, but my neighbors might (and by extension, me). But as you say, perhaps I’d do fine without it.

    And yeah, I’ve been looking into the new DSL-line as well. How different is the new Ultra Gain compared to the old one? Plus having a Gain control on the Classic Gain channel would be rather nice...
     
  4. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    The demos I heard and everyone thats gotten the new DSL love the ultra channel now, plus they've EQ'd both channels to utilize the EQ better. If silent play is important which I think it is since you live in an apartment I'd trade in your DSL5C for a DSL20HR and cab or DSL20CR combo.
     
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  5. Gabbi

    Gabbi New Member

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    Sort of gathered that myself… Suppose I should head over and try one!
     
  6. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Yes you should, good luck and let us know how you make out! I have yet to try the new DSLs, my local store hasn't gotten them in yet.
     
  7. ty220

    ty220 New Member

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    I'm in a situation similiar. I just got the DSL1HR. Little attention I payed to the lone 16 ohm input prior to ordering. I have a DSL40c I purchased right before they launched the new ones. I changed speaker to a 75 watt Creamback. I live on the green channel in crunch mode gain set to noon. At night I use a blues driver as a boost if needed. The red channel is unusable on the 40c for me. The crazy hiss/buzz is too much, just do not care for it. I don't want to void the warranty by doing the c19 mod. The DSL1HR is a red channel machine. I had planned to just wait and get an Origin 20H and use it on my 2x12. I also considered both new 5 watt amps. The Origin 5's lack of features and no El34 and only hi/low mode I pass. If the DSL CR came with 3 power option attenuation, like the Origins it would make the 20 and 5 watt models more appealing.

    I think I am going to send the head back and try the combo. I need an amp that screams at a little lower volume. If the combo don't do it, I will probably just wait on the Origin 20.
     
  8. Crunchifyable

    Crunchifyable Well-Known Member

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    I modded my class 5 and finally was happy with the amp. You might have a similar reaction to modding the DSL.

    Ultimately you just have to find the right amp that works for you. So try a lot of amps.
     
  9. AlanH

    AlanH Well-Known Member

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    Hi Gabbi

    If you're forming a new band soon you'll need to prioritise headroom and cutting through the mix. Unless you're going to play with a reasonable amount of gain all the time I would definitely go with more than 20 watts valve. A DSL40C or DSL40CR would be ideal for what you want to play IMO. Even the (now) old DSL40C would do what you want it to because of the two modes per channel. Think of it as two amps in one rather than a channel switcher for solos, and use a boost pedal instead for that purpose. Despite having no headphone output the DSL40C can be set incredibly quiet for late night practice. If preferred you could also use that DSL40C as a clean platform for a variety of dirt pedals.

    Trust me though, if you're in a band, you'll care less and less about cranking tube amps at home when you can get your fix at rehearsals and gigs. To that end keep your little DSL for home practice where you don't need to be a tone purist. In fact, practicing clean is better for your technique.

    So, if your intention is to play with others you do need to get something that is up to the job like the DSL40C. Other good options if you want to use pedals would be the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe or the Peavey Classic 30. For me, the DSL40C shades it because it's two amps for the price of one and it cuts through with those Marshall mids and the 70/80 speaker. What's more, if you want to buy used, the online auction sites are littered with ads for these three amps; up for sale by home players who are unwittingly unsatisfied because they rarely used their amp as it was intended to be played.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

    Edit: P.S. For your band amp you could also consider the Fender Bassbreaker 45 or wait for the Origin 5O.

    Cheers
    Alan
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  10. grimlyflick

    grimlyflick Active Member

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    Looking at your influences and tone you want to achieve, especially Billy Duffy, I’d ditch the DSL and get an Origin or even look for a 2525H.

    If you want to keep the DSL run the clean channel hot and put a Lovepedal Kalamazoo in front of it (Duffy has one on his board), with a clean boost behind it. Duffy uses a Whirlwind but I had good results with a Spark Boost mini.
     
  11. Gabbi

    Gabbi New Member

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    So, I spent some time this weekend trying the DSL20. Sounded good – but I noticed the headphone sound of the DSL5C were almost better – if not the same (plus it allows me to use the power amp controls). The rest of the sound it was nice, not to different from the 5C to be honest. But, what I really noticed was just how it came alive when I got to plug it in through different speakers at the store. Through a Creamback it was suddenly much closer to the tone I was looking for. As such, my current plan is to get myself a nice new speaker! I might wait out and get an Origin down the line, but the 20W Origin is 10", so even a speaker upgrade would be worthwhile.

    But not only that, I picked up a pedal which REALLY made a lot of my sound come alive! I picked up a used MXR Custom Comp (a premium version of the DynaComp) and it really did do some wonders for the sound I was going for. It gave my cleans a nice punch and tamed the worst shrillness of my highs.

    Could of course be something. If I get rid of the DSL an Origin might work well… And of course the 2525 is sort of a dream, though a bit out of my price range, but who knows if they drop some in price.

    Do you know if it will run quietly on standby using the DI? Recently tried a Mooer Radar and was quite impressed, could pair up well with that.

    And yeah – I've considered a Spark Booster as well!

    I used to gig A LOT back in the day and my mainstay gigging amp was an 18watter with a power scale, running roughly at 1/4 of full wattage, but before that I had 50 watt Marshalls, Orange Rocker 30 and the like… But all of them were overkill. While I might look for more headroom now compared to then, somewhere along the lines of 20 watt is still more around where I want… But it remains to be seen.
     
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  12. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    Given the tubes it uses, the Origin 5 is likely a glorified Class 5, upgraded with a switchable gain boost function and effects loop. A schematic would likely confirm my guess. This is not a bad thing as I really love my Class 5 head and the upgrades make sense. On the other hand, if the whole "Origin" line had on-board reverb available, they would likely sell like hot cakes!

    I also have a first series DSL5C that I modified the Ultra channel to mostly 2203 specs and that channel is now much more closely related to and compatible with the Classic channel, but still just a little too much character difference, when all I'm really looking for is a little gain bump!

    5 watts is usually plenty for my needs and even needs a little attenuation, on occasion, but it's really hard to get reverb to sound natural the the typical series loop. The other typical Marshall mentality is that those who want less watts also want fewer features! NOT!

    Just Sayin'
    Gene
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  13. Antmax

    Antmax Well-Known Member

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    Maybe switch out the speaker for a 12" which is a common mod in the DSL5c. Was night and day for me when I put a $60 12" WGS Veteran 30 in. Needs a 1/4 inch deep groove cut into the floor of the cab for the 12 inch to shoehorn in.

    Stock speaker always seemed a bit shrill. My Ultra Gain is usually at 12 o'clock with a small amount of gain EQ knobs between 5 and 8. Sounds pretty good through the larger speaker.

    Someone from Marshall said on these boards that the 1w mode in the 5c was actually closer to 0.5w
     
  14. Gabbi

    Gabbi New Member

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    Do you have anywhere where one could find those 2203 spec mods?
     
  15. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Finally tried a DSL40CR and what a huge difference compared to the old DSL40. The ultra gain channel is light years better, matter fact all modes are light years better, everything about this amp is improved.
     

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