Purchased from: Private trader
Features — 8
This amp was in brand new condition when I got it in a trade, and it seems to be holding up well! The reverb works fantastically and the Resonance knob is a nice touch. I enjoy both channels (though the green/clean channel is a bit more bassy than the red/dirty channel). With the option of Clean/Crunch and Classic/Ultra gain, you can really get a ton of styles out of this thing, from a modern metal style to a crunchy classic rock style, to anywhere in between. I was pleasantly surprised with this thing, given how cheap you can find them used.
Sound — 10
I play this amp through an Orange 212, and run an EQ pedal for the dirty channel. The sound of it is incredible, but dialing it in takes a little getting used to. It's a trick to these amps to keep the gain on the low side when using the dirty channel... anything incredibly high can sound "spongy" or inarticulate. It has a great pedal platform... I usually run all my pedals out front because I don't really care for the "fx loop" phenomenon. I had a 900 and this amp is quite a departure in terms of tone. No more diodes, and much, much fuller. I know Marshall's aren't typically known for their clean tones, but this amp gets pretty crystal.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The ONLY reason these amps go for under $1000 is because they are made in Vietnam. At first I was a little weary about this... it seemed odd not to have a Marshall that was made in the U.K. However, the amp seems to be holding up just fine. You wouldn't think anything about where it was made. One thing I really like is that the back panel seems incredibly neat, including the grate in front of the tubes (forgive me if this has a more accurate name) and all the outputs. I would 100% trust this thing at a gig without a backup.
The only tiny complaint I have is that, under scrutiny, the material seems just a bit more chintzy than older Marshalls. Perhaps this comes with it being made in Vietnam. However, it's still through and through a Marshall.
Overall Impression — 9
In my opinion, this new DSL model is a true diamond in the rough. I'm sure there are boutique amps out there that sound better, but are they truly worth the extra thousand(s) of dollars? I honestly don't believe so. The DSL100H can do almost anything, and it does it well, loud, and reliably. I love that it came with a footswitch so that I can easily toggle clean/dirty live. One thing I do wish it had was, on the green channel, a footswitch to toggle clean and crunch modes. The crunch mode is very, very usable and sounds like a JCM800, but I find myself hardly ever using it because there is no way to toggle it on and off live. Everything said and done, this is a fantastic amplifier, and I'm glad I traded for it.