Thoughts on the Marshall JCM2000 DSL401?

scozz

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I’m pretty sure @SkyMonkey had a 401 and swapped it out for a Dsl40cr, a few years ago. I’m sure he’ll check in here with some info.
 

Leonard Neemoil

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The 401 has heat issues with the rectifier I believe. I've heard that people prefer the DSL 40 C or cR models. I've never played a 401 but I love my 40 C. At around $500 used it can't be beat.
 

JohnH

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I still have one and I like it very much. But they are notorious for heat-related issues that build up over time, and they are hard to work on. Mines from 2005 and needed a serious do-over a few years ago, and now it's got some new issues. A given 401 could be more than 20 years old. I don't recommend it unless you want a project! Plus in any case, the stock speaker sounded very harsh.

But mine does sound really good! driving hard on green channel, with a V30 in it and an extension cab under it. It was my main amp for rehearsals and gigs for 10 years.
 

RCM 800

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I really liked mine. Was my main grab and go for a couple years back around '08ish. Traded it to a friend who needed an amp and it broke down soon after. I actually never knew they were known for it.
 

SkyMonkey

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I was admittedly fairly ignorant of how to use a tube amp properly when I had my 401.
I never tried an out front OD, and never used the FX loop until near the end.
So I was using it for the most part with a GT-10 out front of the clean channel because the 401 preamp couldn't really do thrash to my liking.
It did get quite hot, but being one of the later 'Fixed' ones, it never actually failed.

Then I found out about 4CM and it all went wrong!

I wired the GT-10 up to the 401 and it was awful.
All the TBEs were weak as £uck.
Then I found out about Series vs Parallel loops and realised the 401 had the wrong one (Parallel).
The parallel loop on the 401 is a TBE killer.
I tried everything, including 'kill dry' settings on the GT-10, but it didn't work.

So I chopped the 401 in for a 40CR and have never looked back.

The 40CR gain is far better for my uses.
The loop is series.
The extra footswitch does everything.
I can use MIDI to control it with my new GT-100.
The 5 speaker jacks allow me to run a load mismatch (but I don't).

If Made In England and 'old skool kudos' is important to you, get a 401.
If not, find a good example of a 40CR.
There are some dodgy ones (chip-wise) out there, but I think the newer ones have that pretty much sorted now.

Even the 'Fixed' 401s have excessive heat issues still.
 
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Georgiatec

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Looking for something I don't remember what.
My 401 is a 2009 made model that I picked up for £200. The stock speaker is a Celestion G12T-100 (Marshall Gold Back) which isn't great. I had a 1980 G12-65 that I dropped in mine and that is night and day better. The amp has the same set up as the old Valvestate amps....clean, OD1 &OD2. Switchable between clean and OD then between OD 1&2. You can also switch Reverb via a separate foot switch.
 

Leonard Neemoil

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find a good example of a 40CR.
There are some dodgy ones (chip-wise) out there, but I think the newer ones have that pretty much sorted now.

Those dodgy chips are one of the main reasons that I prefer the non R version of the DSL amps.
 

jchrisf

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If not, find a good example of a 40CR.
There are some dodgy ones (chip-wise) out there, but I think the newer ones have that pretty much sorted now.
Those dodgy chips are one of the main reasons that I prefer the non R version of the DSL amps.
Didn't realize there was issues with the CRs.. but the new ones are good?

I sure wish I would have gotten that 40C Sweetwater was selling with the creamback in it back when I was looking. I ended up getting the Laney IRT studio which is a really great amp but I wish I had a combo 1x12 in a Marshall flavor. Prices on these have sky rocketed... I'm hoping the used prices come down soon. I've noticed used gear is not selling as fast.
 

Leonard Neemoil

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Didn't realize there was issues with the CRs.. but the new ones are good?

I sure wish I would have gotten that 40C Sweetwater was selling with the creamback in it back when I was looking. I ended up getting the Laney IRT studio which is a really great amp but I wish I had a combo 1x12 in a Marshall flavor. Prices on these have sky rocketed... I'm hoping the used prices come down soon. I've noticed used gear is not selling as fast.

You can get good examples of either version for around 5 or 6 hundred bucks in the US. I paid a little over $500 last November or so for my 40 C. It was listed as good or great, I forget, but it was mint when it arrived. I was stoked.
 

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