DSL15H review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7.5 Good
  • Users' score: 7.2 (22 votes)
Marshall: DSL15H

Sound — 8
Pickups: Used a bit of everything single coils, DiMarzio HBs, Seymour HB's, PRS HB's, Gibson 490R/498T And EMGs. The Gibson and PRS HB's are probably my favorite through this amp (may have more to do with the guitars themselves). Cabinet: Amp would benefit greatly through a larger cab. I am using a Marshall AVT112 closed back with a V30. Sounds tight and very loud, but would benefit from another driver. Clean Channel: VERY clean... Need to Dime out the master just to get a semi-plexi tone like a Class 5... No crunch here, you would need a pedal. OD Channel: This is where this amp shines in my opinion... Crushing amount of gain and sustain IMO could cover anything from 80s rock to full metal. Tone Switches: The "Deep" button works really well, particularly at lower volumes. The "Tone Shift" button is some sort of "auto" mid scoop that I am not fond of. Reverb/Effects Loop: Non-existent... We all know this already. I ran a reverb pedal and a DD-7 in front of the amp... Sounds fine.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall: I am VERY impressed with this amp and really don't care that is was not assembled in Bletchley or not. Stands toe to toe with my Mesa Mini-Rec on the Drive channel. While it would be nice to have a crunch channel, reverb and a loop. For less than $450...I LOVE IT!!

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Reliability & Durability — 8
Had the amp a week... Can't comment. Build quality appears good. Seems rugged, nice tolex. Switches - knobs are solid. I believe this is one of the first of the Vietnam amps, so I have my fingers crossed. I remember the first batch of C5's had issues, hoperfully not the case hear.

Features — 6
This is the new 15/7.5-watt all-valve, 4-ECC83, 2-6V6 amp head with two channels, pentode/triode switching, deep switch, tone shift, and footswitch. Four way shared EQ, (bass, treble, mid, presence). No effects loop or reverb on the head. Front input jack, rear footswitch.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'd love to try one of these with my Ibanez just to see how it takes high output pickups. It's definitely not a modern metal amp as it sits, but maybe with a tubescreamer?
    Spent an hour with the DSL 15 H at the local shop and I really wanted to like it and I was ready to buy it but there wasn't much to like. Even through as 4x12 the clean channel felt thin and harsh and the EQ was not much help. Sweeping through the 3 bands made things very harsh or muddy, not useable across it's sweep. Bass shift/boost wasn't a pleasant sounding bass punch, just thick without clarity. Lead channel was okay but couldn't seal the deal. It seemed too good to be true at 400 bucks and it was. Marshall's can be the best or worst sounding amps. This is not their best. Okay to jam around on but I wouldn't use this to record with or play for longer periods, very fatiguing on the ears even after an hour a moderate volume. Great tones just don't come cheap. Seemed well built, I guess vietnam is the go to place for cheap exploited labour.
    I like the combo version which I used to try out a LP Standard I wound up buying. I was so impressed by the DSL-15 combo that I just ordered one today. I think the crunch, sustain and general sound will go very well with all my guitars. The clean channel on it is not very impressive but, that is not what I'm buying it for. I feel the 6V6 power section has a nice warm tone to it as well. For those of you who don't like this amp all I can say is, don't buy it. For myself it will work just great. I like what Marshall has done with this circuit.