#1
I've been weighing up getting a new Marshall DSL 401. The price is tempting as it is and I LOVE the tone.

Does anyone know what brand of valves (or tubes for all you Yankees ) they come with as standard? Should I upgrade the stock valves or are they ok as they are?

Cheers

K
#2
I think they come with Marshall tubes, which are just rebranded Sovteks. Which are rubbish.
A dwarf might hear you. What then?

My Music
#3
^ Yup. Plus the speaker in the DSL401 is straight from an MG and needs changing even more urgently than the valves.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#4
Well that I didn't know!

The valves will be fine for a fair amount of time though.

And if he decides to change out the speakers he doesn't have to spend that much, I hear those Warehouse celestion clones on ebay are brilliant.
A dwarf might hear you. What then?

My Music
#5
^ I hear that too, thing is though for the price they charge to ship to the UK you may as well just get the celestion

Yeah, you can just leave the valves 'til they bust, and you won't feel you wasted money.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#6
The DSL 401 uses EL84 valves. Unless the dealer has decided to change them, or Marshall is facing a shortage of their own brand valves, it will probably come with Marshall branded valves. Or if they are being cheap, stock Sovteks.

In any case, don't worry about changing them just yet, there is quite a range of valves that you could put in, and they will all result in a different sound and feel of the amp. You need to know what you want, and what you can put in the amp, before you change, and the only way to know is for you to play the stock valves a lot (and loud) so you then know what you yearn for.

So, I suggest that you buy the amp, then play it lots, and as loud as you can. Purchase an attenuator if you can (weber mass I highly recommend), so you can hear it cranked.

Then decide what you want out of it, do you want more headroom, do you want it warmer, crisper, more power stage overdrive. Then look at a site such as watford valves and read reviews on valves before eventually deciding what to buy.

Another thing to check is what you can put in your amp. I can't remember from the top of my head whether the amp is fixed or adjustable bias (I have an ashdown fallen angel 40W which is a very similar amp and it's fixed), but if it's fixed then you will have a problem swapping to a new brand. The amp will need re-biasing, and this will cost a fair amount to be done, or to have the amp modified to adjustable bias. If it's adjustable bias then it's easy, still best to get a tech to do it unless you are very confident.
#7
^ Seeing as EL84 are noval power valves, you wouldn't really be able to put in a different enough valve that would make it need biasing. Plus, I hear it's self-biasing anyway.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#8
Timi: Oh lordy.

MrC: Oh lordy lordy.

Isotone: That's extremely helpful Yeah I guess I should stick with it before I go messing around.
#9
Quote by MrCarrot
^ I hear that too, thing is though for the price they charge to ship to the UK you may as well just get the celestion

Yeah, you can just leave the valves 'til they bust, and you won't feel you wasted money.


true. I need new speakers
A dwarf might hear you. What then?

My Music
#10
If you change the speaker, I would definitely recommend the celestion vintage 30 for the british sound.

The stock valves aren't rubbish, after all they are valves and will saturate and are warm. But relatively speaking better valves will make the amp sound very different, but they are a lot more expensive and it's good to play the amp and appreciate the things that you want to accentuate with a new set of valves.
#11
Quote by Kumanji
Timi: Oh lordy.

MrC: Oh lordy lordy.

Isotone: That's extremely helpful Yeah I guess I should stick with it before I go messing around.



But don't let that put you off it

Quote by timi_hendrix
true. I need new speakers
Are yours broke or just crap?
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#12
Quote by MrCarrot


But don't let that put you off it

Are yours broke or just crap?


Crap. But the rest of the amp's broken.

I'm not doing too well
A dwarf might hear you. What then?

My Music
#13


I see your logic though....

Your amp's broke and you have no hope of fixing it yourself, so why not fix the only working part remaining?

Is it broke in any specific way, or just kaputtage?
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#14
And a final thing, just for example, someone a few posts ago said that EL84's are noval (9-pin), so yes you can't put in anything 8-pin like EL34's, 6L6's, 5881's etc.

But there are lots of different types of EL84's. A recommendation from me is the Harma EL84 STR. I put these in my ashdown a couple of years ago (but they blew because the amp is fixed bias and it needed adjustment, lets say I didn't know as much about them back then), but they did run for 2 weeks (albeit a bit hot). And they sounded amazing, warm, bluesy, crunchy, and this was before I got an attenuator. These are the valves used by Brian May in his AC30's (I'm going to see a lecture given by him this Wednesday!).

If you want to be even more extravagant there are NOS (new old stock, things from the 60's and 70's that haven't been used), cryo (cooled down to about 70K and held for 24 hours, this restructures the metal lattice and removes impurities - apparently they sound amazing.
#15
Quote by MrCarrot


I see your logic though....

Your amp's broke and you have no hope of fixing it yourself, so why not fix the only working part remaining?

Is it broke in any specific way, or just kaputtage?


I think it's a cold solder joint based on what I've got out of some friends and my college tutor. It's being taken to a tech sometime before wednesday so I'll find out then.
A dwarf might hear you. What then?

My Music
#16
Haha I want some cryotubes just because they sound so damn cool...

What about the resiliance of the amp? I've got an old SS fender which is virtually bombproof, and obviously the Marshall will be more delicate, but how delicate are we talking?

*EDIT*

One more: is the amp fixed or adjustable bias? Would be a shame not to be able to change tube without serious messing around... and yes I would probably get a tech to do anything I do want done.
Last edited by Kumanji at Nov 11, 2007,
#17
Quote by isotone
And a final thing, just for example, someone a few posts ago said that EL84's are noval (9-pin), so yes you can't put in anything 8-pin like EL34's, 6L6's, 5881's etc.

But there are lots of different types of EL84's. A recommendation from me is the Harma EL84 STR. I put these in my ashdown a couple of years ago (but they blew because the amp is fixed bias and it needed adjustment, lets say I didn't know as much about them back then), but they did run for 2 weeks (albeit a bit hot). And they sounded amazing, warm, bluesy, crunchy, and this was before I got an attenuator. These are the valves used by Brian May in his AC30's (I'm going to see a lecture given by him this Wednesday!).

If you want to be even more extravagant there are NOS (new old stock, things from the 60's and 70's that haven't been used), cryo (cooled down to about 70K and held for 24 hours, this restructures the metal lattice and removes impurities - apparently they sound amazing.
Those EL84 are meant to be nice. JJ EL84 are also sweet as.

Quote by timi_hendrix
I think it's a cold solder joint based on what I've got out of some friends and my college tutor. It's being taken to a tech sometime before wednesday so I'll find out then.
I hope it doesn't end up costing an arm and a house for you man
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#18
I can't comment on EL84s, but I have a pair of JJE34L's in my Laney and they're brilliant.

Quote by MrCarrot
Those EL84 are meant to be nice. JJ EL84 are also sweet as.

I hope it doesn't end up costing an arm and a house for you man


Shouldn't cost too much methinks. I hope not anyway, I have to use money from my guitar fund.
A dwarf might hear you. What then?

My Music
#19
How resilient is the amp:

First point is it is valve. They are not something you can throw around like a solid state amp, so that is always something to bear in mind. They are a lot heavier due to transformers and other parts, and so can be very cumbersome if transporting them. In which case f you're taking them to lots of places a head and cab is always easier (providing you have a vehicle) because it's easier to carry a head, and a cab just rolls. If you must get a combo, fixing wheels on the bottom (heavy duty casters can make a big difference).

Second point is that it is a PCB design, not point to point. The reason old vintage amps still play, and sound so much better, and will probably keep lasting is that point to point stands up to a lot more than PCB. This is probably because point to point is hand soldered, whereas PCB is mass manufactured, possibly by machine. Things like dry solders can invariably happen, particularly because this is a 'budget' (using that term loosely, it's not a budget amp, but it's at the lower end of the valve amp spectrum) valve amp and QC isn't as meticulous.

My ashdown is similar in price and spec to the marshall, it's been back to them 3 times already so I'm probably not a good example because I think I've got a bad one, but it has survived going to uni and back for several years and being gigged with (the problems themselves were the footswitch, and an IC going, so not really anything to do with it being thrown about). So they are pretty rugged, just make sure you follow the standby guidelines for amps, don't run it without a load, and it's a marshall so for gods sake match the impedance!

I couldn't find out in the specs whether it's fixed or adjustable bias. Have a look online for a PDF manual, that might tell you (if it's adjustable then there will be some trim pots on the back of the amp that can be adjusted with a screwdriver) - and the DSL 50, 100 and the TSL's are certainly adjustable bias.