#1
I'm having a really hard time getting a usable tone from my head and it's stressing me out. It's not that it specifically sounds bad by any means it's just that it's very kind of, harsh on the ears all of the time. Like it's super ass pokey no matter what I do, and if I back off on the treble/middle I pretty much just get lost in my bands overall mix. For reference my band is a typical rock band, I play a heavy mix of rhythm and lead guitar in the band, with an occasional second guitarist (he primarily plays keyboard) playing rhythm/light melody.

I use this big Marshall cab and the other guitarist uses a Marshall MG30 - there shouldn't even be any fucking competition but for whatever reason his tone is just much more rounded and 'present' without being ear bursting. He has some off brand guitar too that has stock pickups, so it's not a tone monster by any means. It's just really frustrating that I can't find anything that fits what I want and with the band.

And when I add pedals to the mix I seem to lose a lot of definition in my tone; it becomes very harsh on the ears and it does that god awful 2k hz guitar hiss a lot. I describe the tone as 'brittle' almost because I seem to just lose the bass end when the pedals are on, and it gets even worse when I stack overdrive + distortion. My pedals aren't cheap ones either, and they work absolutely fine with my old Vox VT-40 combo.

It's so annoying and frustrating that I'm considering trading it for an Orange head and a 2x12 or something. I'm not getting that classic Marshall tone, I can get a nice clean channel but when I stack pedals on it just loses all of it's clarity. Even on the amps on Lead channel it's very pokey and ear splitting.

I'm looking for either advice on how to set the head up for actual use or suggestions on what to replace the head/cab with. I'd prefer a 2x12 and a head that strong vibrant cleans and can take pedals really well.


//


Here's my gear info:

Amps:
Marshall DSL50w Head
Marshall 1960A cab w/Celestion G12T-75s

Guitars:

Chapman ML-1 (basically a mid-to-high range Fender Strat)
Epi Les Paul Traditional Pro w/Seymour Duncan SH-6 Distortions pickups

Pedals:

Boss TU-3 Chromo Tuner
MXR Prime Distortion
Blackstar LT-1 Overdrive
Mooer Reecho Delay
Sony Wireless System
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#2
What cab/speakers are you playing through? A good amp will not make good sounds through crappy speakers

If not maybe your pre amp tubes are past their prime.

Someone should chime in before long who is more knowledgeable than me about Marshalls, but I wouldn't be so quick to throw in the towel on this amp!
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Last edited by Evilnine at May 4, 2016,
#3
Marshall 1960A cab w/Celestion G12T-75s as listed They're solid speakers in pretty much every good cab brand.

To be honest I'm aiming up some Hughes&Kettner was we speak, this Marshall has really turned me off, you know?
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#4
Quote by Anthony1991
Marshall 1960A cab w/Celestion G12T-75s as listed They're solid speakers in pretty much every good cab brand.

To be honest I'm aiming up some Hughes&Kettner was we speak, this Marshall has really turned me off, you know?


Gotcha with that cab you should be smoking the MG for sure, honestly I'm not a big Marshall fan I prefer Mesa, Peavey or Randall for metal, though I have not tried a huge amount of amp brands, I never really loved any of the Marshalls I have personally played not that they are bad amps but just not my preference

I have Vintage 30s in my 2X12 Mesa Roadster combo, they are great speakers but have a bit of a mid range honk that I am not fond of, I also have a 4X12 with Eminence Patriots 2 each Swamp Thang and Texas Heat that is an absolute beast.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
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Last edited by Evilnine at May 4, 2016,
#5
Are you on the Lead Channel? Lead can sound thin, but there is a super easy mod (just a clip) that can fix this. Have you used your amp and cab, just the guitar, and a short cable? See what it sounds like that way. Just the amp and guitar, nothing getting in the way. Honestly a DSL is a masterpiece of an amp and is a Jack of all Trades and a Master of Many of them.
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#6
Quote by Katsock
Are you on the Lead Channel? Lead can sound thin, but there is a super easy mod (just a clip) that can fix this. Have you used your amp and cab, just the guitar, and a short cable? See what it sounds like that way. Just the amp and guitar, nothing getting in the way. Honestly a DSL is a masterpiece of an amp and is a Jack of all Trades and a Master of Many of them.


I run mostly on the clean channel, but yeah I have messed around with the Lead (both voices) and I'm not a huge fan.

That's a good point though, I'll have a bash with a short cable and guitar + amp and see what it's like. I'll let you guys know how everything works out when I try it out on Friday
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#7
Buy a couple of JJ ecc83s tubes and try them in different positions.
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#8
Quote by Anthony1991
... For reference my band is a typical rock band, I play a heavy mix of rhythm and lead guitar in the band...
Quote by Anthony1991
I run mostly on the clean channel...
If you're running the amp clean and you're having the pedals do most the distortion work, that could be your issue. I don't have experience with either of them (the MXR is cheap though) but you may want to have the amp do more of the distortion and have the pedals "boost it" by setting their gain low and the volume/level high.

I think your DSL has 4 "channels". You don't have to use the ultra-high gain channel, you might like the crunch channel with the pedals boosting it. Run the EQ flat (all knobs pointing at 12 o' clock) and see where that gets you.

Also if the amp has stock tubes in, you might want to change them, for both precautionary reasons and you'll likely get a better sound if they are very worn.
Last edited by Will Lane at May 4, 2016,
#10
Quote by AcousticMirror
sounds like it needs new tubes and a biasing.



It could be that you're just more of a Mesa man, Marshall is not for everyone...but I think you need a total retube of bias on this amp before you can toss it under the bus.

That is the GO TO amp for most touring acts so it is most likely lifeless and dull as the tubes are worn out.
#11
I have the JCM DSL100 head and it needs decent tubes or it does sound harsh. But with a good tube swap mine sounds great Mullard (new)12ax7 in V1, JJ ECC83 in V2/V3 and a Sovtek 12ax7LPS V4 and all I run for power tubes are old SED =C= ELe4's. But JJ E34L (*that is correct not EL34) work pretty well.

I also am not a big fan of the G12T75 speakers with a marshall, they seem to add fizz. so I use Eminence V1216's in a 4x12 cab and Celestion G12h30's in a 2x12 cab and both speaker types sound good with it.
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#12
i also have been liking the JJ EL34L's.

tubes can make a HUGE difference. i would listen to rob on this. FWIW i like JJ ECC83's and i have heard nothing but good things about the sovtek 12AX7LPS.

maybe pick up a 5751 or a 12AT7 to throw in there. play around with them, they can be incredibly rewarding in some amps.
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#13
Yeah this screams "TUBES" to me. It is possible you just hate T75s as well, because I only ever liked them in one amp (my old RM100). I would definitely look into replacing tubes first and reevaluating. Hell, a full retube may not be a bad idea, but start with preamp and work your way from there.

I'd also recommend trying the crunch channel and boosting it with an overdrive (set the pedal level high and the distortion from the pedal low).
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#14
I would try these in the following order..

- New tubes/tube swap. Different tubes can have a bigger effect on your overall tone than you might think. If you think it sounds too harsh/bright, try some JJ 12AX7's. They helped smooth out my ENGL quite a bit! It might just be time for new tubes too.

- An EQ pedal in the loop. EQ's are relatively inexpensive for the amount of tone shaping they can provide, along other uses. MY ENGL has a different problem (lack of low mids), but this fixed it right up (Really helps it cut in a band situation).

- A speaker swap. You probably don't need to go this route anyway. But it's worth a consideration if the other two solutions don't work for you.
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#15
In addition to everything else that's been suggested, I'd like to throw in that you may need to rethink ho you EQ your amp. The Marshall DSL and JVM amps are best EQed with your eyes closed; forget what the numbers on the dials say, just listen out for what sounds good. This is more important for the JVM amps, but it does apply to the DSL amps, too. I know, 'cause I've had and use both.

The big thing with the DSL & JVM amps is to turn the presence knob down much further than you think you need. In the case of the DSL, you should also consider how you use the deep switch/resonance control vs the bass control, and the tone shift vs the mid control. Experiment. Turn everything to 5, then mess with one control at a time. Listen to what effect it has as you turn it both up and down. Then return it to 5 and move on to the next control.

I've found, compared to other Marshalls, I have to keep the controls on the DSL and JVM amps much more restrained, going to neither extreme. With a JCM800 I may think to totally push a control to 8 or 9 or roll back a control to 3 or even 2, but with the DSL and JVM I've always found myself hovering around 4-6 for everything. Their controls have much more range than on other Marshalls, so a little goes a long way. Having seen many pros' DSL settings, it seems most recording artists agree, as most famous players who use them seem to leave their controls all around 4-6.
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#16
^ good point I have the highs on 5-6, mids 6-7 and bass about 8. I have my presence at about 4-5, I leave the tone shift button out and the deep button depressed.

This gives me a good tone on all of the channels and are the settings I use a lot.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
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Morley Bad Horsie 2
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#17
Quote by Robbgnarly
^ good point I have the highs on 5-6, mids 6-7 and bass about 8. I have my presence at about 4-5, I leave the tone shift button out and the deep button depressed.

This gives me a good tone on all of the channels and are the settings I use a lot.


Ditto that.
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#18
I have played around with the deep switch but holy shit does that thing add a crap load of bass. I don't think it's something I'll use to be honest, combined with the 4x12 the bass is just overkill. I've used the tone shift a little bit to pull out of the pokeyness but it just kind of, reduced volume instead? I dunno anymore

Alright I'll definitely get a completely new tube set. I'd like some help picking them though because all of the terms are highly confusing for this first time tube buyer. I've done some reading on those JJ's and yeah, I would like a lusher/smoother tone as a whole; especially for cleans, cleans on break up, and a general less harshness. So the JJs sound like a good match to me, though other suggestions are welcome if there's something more fitting what i'm going for.

So i'm on EuroTubes (http://www.eurotubes.com/store/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=196) and I'm looking at the options and honestly i'm just lost. I see some familiar things that have been mentioned in the thread, but it seems like a lot of things share the same name? I was thinking of the Gold pin option as it's apparently 'very smooth and lush sounding with less grit' which is the magical sentence. But again I am effectively clueless here.

Seriously though guys, thanks for all the responses. I was getting super frustrated and it was getting me down, you know?
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#19
Just get teh basic package. I usually shop with these guys:
http://www.thetubestore.com/Shop-by-Amp/Marshall-JCM2000-DSL50-Amp/Marshall-JCM2000-DSL50-Value-Package

All JJ tubes, honestly at this point I won't suggest anything else, see how it is with JJs and if that doesn't rock your boat might as well unload the amp. If it almost gets there but not 100% we can experiement with a few things.

Too much bass? Try these in V1 but it will also boost your gain:
http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/Standard-Shuguang-Tubes/Shuguang-12AX7-B

or these (less bass more balanced):
http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/Electro-Harmonix/Electro-Harmonix-12AX7-EH

For power tubes I also use mostly Electro Harmonix EL34s as I find they have a bit more power grind which I am a fan of.

But in you case - a stock JJ set of each should take care of your issues, like I said maybe get 3 JJ 12ax7s and maybe one Shuguang or EH 12ax7 preamp tube to play around if you like to try to decrease the bass for that boost you mention.

For power tubes, either JJ or EH should be fine.
#20
I've had a good read of everything and had a listen to each of them in comparison videos, I think I'm going with for the pre-amp:

JJ ECC83S Balance Tested x 4

power tubes:

JJ EL34II Matched Pair

So i've gone for a complete tube replacement for everything, and JJ loaded. Would I be correct in thinking I would not need to bias test or do anything other than slot them in? Do i need all 4 balance tested? From other order pages and pre-made packages it seemed that one pre-amp tube is always balanced tested and the others aren't?
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Last edited by Anthony1991 at May 6, 2016,
#21
Quote by Anthony1991
I've had a good read of everything and had a listen to each of them in comparison videos, I think I'm going with for the pre-amp:

JJ ECC83S Balance Tested x 4

power tubes:

JJ EL34II Matched Pair

So i've gone for a complete tube replacement for everything, and JJ loaded. Would I be correct in thinking I would not need to bias test or do anything other than slot them in? Do i need all 4 balance tested? From other order pages and pre-made packages it seemed that one pre-amp tube is always balanced tested and the others aren't?



Only the PI needs to be balanced, the rest aren't critical.
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#22
Quote by Arby911
Only the PI needs to be balanced, the rest aren't critical.


So is that just one of those that needs it?

I take it everything will be labelled in the head, as well as the tube?
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#23
Quote by Anthony1991
So is that just one of those that needs it?

I take it everything will be labelled in the head, as well as the tube?


Yeah it's generally a good idea to get a balanced PI, though there is some debate if THAT is even necessary in all amps.

As far as labeling, it is possible that they will be labeled inside the amp, though I think that's pretty unlikely. You will most likely need to search Google for a tube layout to show what's what, or it may be covered in the manual.
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#24
The PI should be the one closest to the power tubes.
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#25
yep they go left to right (if your looking at the back of the amp) V1, V2, V3, V4 (Phase Inverter) then your power tubes

Having a balanced tube for the PI is not necessary at all
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Last edited by Robbgnarly at May 6, 2016,
#27
Quote by Robbgnarly

Having a balanced tube for the PI is not necessary at all


I agree with that, it's not.

But some amps do tend to appreciate them, and since it's a pretty inexpensive difference I figure what the hell.

But I do absolutely agree that they aren't necessary, nor do they automagically make your tone better.
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#28
Quote by diabolical


A few of the tricks like gold plated tubes and matched pair to squeeze a few $$$ from the public.

My favorite is the Cryogenically treated tubes they want stupid money for

Nothing like paying $88 each for a JJ EL34
www.tubedepot.com/products/black-sable-jj-el34
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#29
Quote by Robbgnarly
My favorite is the Cryogenically treated tubes they want stupid money for

Nothing like paying $88 each for a JJ EL34
www.tubedepot.com/products/black-sable-jj-el34


Lol yeah I saw those, the prices go all the way up to like $200? Fuck that

Alright thanks a lot guys, means a lot. I've got one balanced and the rest are just standard, I mean if there's a chance the amp will prefer it and it's like $5 more, meh it's worth it for the potential gains. If it's no different, well it's only like $5.

I'll let you know how the replacement works out!
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#31
Alright guys just had a full practice session and...

It's fucking awesome. Putting a full set of JJs in was perfect, and for me, going with the E34L Mark 2s was a great touch. I now had creamy fender cleans, a punchy crunch channel, and a really tight and robust ultra channel. Even the reverb is more pleasurable now. Also, holy crap dramatic volume difference.

I'm glad I held onto the amp now, and it's made a very frustrating experience into a really rewarding one. Thanks a lot guys, if you were looking for to make another advocate for full JJ's, you've got one!
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#32
Quote by Anthony1991
Alright guys just had a full practice session and...

It's fucking awesome. Putting a full set of JJs in was perfect, and for me, going with the E34L Mark 2s was a great touch. I now had creamy fender cleans, a punchy crunch channel, and a really tight and robust ultra channel. Even the reverb is more pleasurable now. Also, holy crap dramatic volume difference.

I'm glad I held onto the amp now, and it's made a very frustrating experience into a really rewarding one. Thanks a lot guys, if you were looking for to make another advocate for full JJ's, you've got one!


Glad to hear that you got it solved!
#33
Sweet! i am glad you are liking it better now.
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#34
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#35
nice.
I used to think I didn't like Marshall amps, but with the right tubes and speakers I love my JCM2000. come to think of it all I own these days are Marshall or marshall type amps.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate