DSL40C Review

manufacturer: Marshall date: 08/01/2014 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Marshall: DSL40C
I love Ritchie Blackmore, Malmsteen, Satriani, Slash and Synyster Gates as well as Mark Knopfler, Gilmour and Santana. I am comfortable that this amp will do all these tones and more.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
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reviews (2) pictures (2) 12 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
DSL40C Reviewed by: snshami, on february 27, 2013
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 769

Purchased from: Manny's

Features: This tube amp was released in October 2012 and my amp was built in 2013. To people familiar with Marshall amps it has a straightforward layout with two channels, classic gain and ultra gain with two voicings per channel. The classic gain channel has clean and crunch and the ultra gain channel has lead 1 and lead 2. Each of the four voices across the two channels makes up the gain spectrum from sparkling clean to massive modern metal gain. The overall EQ section has the standard Treble, Mid and Bass, Tone Shift, Presence and Resonance. Tone shift scoops the mid. Presence pushes the higher frequencies higher, Resonance works the same on the low notes and seems to add more low frequency gain. Two reverbs, one for each channel completes the front panel. On the rear there is a switch to cut the power by half by moving from Pentode to Triode mode. Then there is a footswitch out and a send and return for the series loop accompanied by a switch to turn this on or off. There are also three speaker outs. The only feature I wish it had was an emulated out but that was not a deal breaker for me. For the price this amp has got all the features I need hence the full marks. // 10

Sound: I have so far used it with a Schecter Synyster Gates Custom and a Fender Strat. I love playing rock of all types and am trying to get into neoclassical. The clean tones are really nice without being glassy. In isolation they are really really nice but obviously not Fender like but more a clean warm tone well suited to arpeggios or rhythm guitar. The crunch and gain channels are really awesome and span a very broad spectrum of tones. I have not explored everything on it but its so easy to dial in a great tone that one is tempted not to spend that much time tweaking it. I have on occasion gotten quite carried away with this amp and lost track of time. Certainly the hallmark of a great sounding amp. As far as the other questions, it is not noisy at all. The clean channel has a huge amount of headroom. You could not get it to distort with a Strat. On the other end of the scale the distortion is truly brutal. You do not really need any distortion or overdrive pedals with this amp. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I used it mainly for playing at home. So it has not been subjected to a durability test. Having said that I expect it to work very well. I would certainly take it to a gig without backup. Everything about the amp is extremely solid and well built. The knobs feel like they can last forever. Anyway I am going to rate it based on the features that Marshall built into it. The material is MDF, a strong enough substance. The greatest thing that will contribute to its long life is that the fact that the power tubes are not mounted to the PCB but rather mounted to the chassis with hand wiring. // 10

Overall Impression: I have played for over three years now and still consider myself a beginner. Not a beginner beginner but still very much in the learning stage. I am at least now somewhat comfortable auditioning gear in a guitar store. This was something I was unable to do before. I love Ritchie Blackmore, Malmsteen, Satriani, Slash and Synyster Gates as well as Mark Knopfler, Gilmour and Santana. I am comfortable that this amp will do all these tones and more. So this is the first amp I have bought that I tried out before buying. Out of interest the other amp I tried was the Blackstar HT-40. I did not get the Blackstar in the end because it was a bit more complex to use and is a bit darker with a more sterile sound. I could easily find Marshall and other sounds like a Peavey 6505 using some of the controls on that amp but I am really only interested in the Marshall side so it did not make sense for me to not get a Marshall. This amp replaces a Jet City 2112RC, a lovely amp but does not have an FX loop and an Ibanez Tubescreamer amp that has an FX loop but needs a pedal to get the best Out of it. The Jet City sounds are a subset of these Marshall tones. The Marshall is far broader. Truth be told I would have kept the Jet City if it had an FX loop and would never have gotten another amp because the sounds contained within it and the Marshall are my sounds. The only thing missing is an emulated out but Marshall does not do emulated outs very well. For that I'll probably get a Blackstar HT-1R. Talk about a foot in each camp :)

// 10

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overall: 9.3
DSL40C Reviewed by: rr690, on august 01, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 399

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: This is the new line of DSL amps that were discontinued years ago. It is a 1 X 12 combo two channel amp powered by EL 34s instead of the EL 84s as the older DSL lines were. It has a shared EQ, Dual reverb control, presence resonance and tone shift. It is the most feature packed 1 X 12 on the market right now. I also forgot about the distortion switch on channel two and a mid shift button that scoops the mids. And it also has a switch to drop the output wattage to 20 watts. The effects loop takes pedals well. // 10

Sound: First off the clean channel is very good on this amp. It has an AWESOME bottom end and a slight break up similar to an early Marshall amp. I am surprised being a metalhead that I play more this channel, which does have crunch feature, than the distortion channel. There is a huge volume jump when you do kick in the crunch so adjust your volume. As far at the distortion goes Im on the fence. It kills that '80s metal sound. It is flawless on that setting. With the voice switch out and the gain on about 7 its like 1987 all over again. If you are looking for an extreme distortion this amp may not do it for you. I am used to the American sounding high gain amps so to my ears when the gain is cranked on this amp it is very loose and mid heavy. While that is not a bad thing many may be disappointing. It nails Zakk Wylde's type of heavy distortion but that Metallica type Mesa tone that a lot of metalheads equate with heavy sounds is nonexistent. You would need some sort of boost to nail that. The bottom end on this amp is actually not bad for an open back design. And the wattage switch does not effect the tone at all. The EQ, presence and resonance are very responsive and great assets to the amp. I do not like the mid shift of the amp as I feel as it kills that "Marshall Sound." The amp is very bright sounding, but many YouTube videos illustrate that a speaker swap will solve this. Now on to the reverb. It is non existent and the fact that some genius at Marshall thought it would be cool to place a reverb control for both channels you now have two useless dials instead of one. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This thing is built like a tank and it is definitely road ready. The construction on the dials, tolex and grill feel just like the high priced models. I think that if maintained this thing could last a lifetime. I do give Marshall that they do build things to last and even though this thing was not made in England I could not tell a difference. I can see this thing taking a beating with no problem and it will hold up just fine with out letting you down. It does not have a cheap feeling to it at all. // 10

Overall Impression: This amps features alone are far ahead of anything on the market. It is the most versatile amp out there right now. Versatile in a way that it is not awesome in one area, but OK in alot of areas. Its build feels sturdy and I have no doubts that it will hold up over the years. It is lacking in a lot of areas, but the price tag does make up for that. It is nice to see that Marshall is finally getting out of the habit of charging an arm and a leg for an amp. Often times in the past you were just paying for the Marshall name (as in with the Haze and MA series). It feels like Marshall is back now and I like it. // 9

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