Price paid: £ 480
Purchased from: Sounds Live
Sound — 9
First, the clean channel on the DSL is great. Compared to older Marshalls, such as the JCM 800's and the JTM's, etc, the cleans are very bright. They aren't as bright as Fender cleans, but for a Marshall, they are indeed bright. With the right EQ'ing, you can get a range of clean sounds from mellow to bright. Also, if you crank the master volume, and turn up the gain on the clean amp, the valves start to break up, producing a nice fat overdrive, very good for blues. Now, the overdrive channel. OD1 is fantastic for classic rock and blues. It has a fair amount of gain and volume, and sounds great. I currently run an Epiphone Les Paul Standard (Plus-Top) into the amplifier, and with the neck pickup, I get a very fat rhythm sound. The bridge pickup is very bright, and works well for the sounds of bands such as Status Quo. Over to OD2, this channel has a 20Db volume boost, which helps the channel distort more. This channel is fantastic for leads, and is great for metal rhythm playing. I can get a nice chugging-riff style voicing from this channel (I.e. Battery, Master of Puppets, etc). The amp is a very modern voiced amplifier, so if you buy it, I wouldn't expect it to have the same lead sounds from bands such as Guns N' Roses. I play a lot of GN'R and can get a nice lead sound, but it isn't a patch on a Marshall JCM800 or Jubilee. Also, I find OD1 to be very thin when playing leads. For me to get a nice thick, yet not too distorted lead sound from this channel, I need to boost it with my Boss SD-1.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, I have to say this amplifier is fantastic for a modern hard rock/metal voicing, and nice sparkling cleans. I play a lot of hard rock and metal, with some classic rock and blues, and I have to admit, I am delighted that I choose this over a Peavey ValveKing. If this amp were stolen, I would track down whoever stole it in no time. Trying to run away with this beast would be harsh, it is a fairly heavy amp (about 20KG/3.2 stones).
Reliability & Durability — 10
So far the DSL has been very reliable. I have saw no problems with, and I would have no bother gigging with it without backup. I reccommend that to keep the valves life-span longer, let the valves warm up for a good 2-3 minutes (as with my valve amps). Also, the footswitch functions well, and is easy to use. I have no problem switching between channel or modes.
Features — 9
My DSL401 is a 2008 model. It has two channels, Clean and Overdrive. The OD channel has two modes. OD1 and OD2. OD2 is a 20Db boost. The DSL401 is a 40 watt 1x12 valve combo amp. Both channels have their own EQ (treble, mids, bass), there is a master volume, master reverb, FX mix, and the OD channel has it's own volume, whilst the clean channel has a gain knob. On the back of the amplifier, there is two footswitch slots. You can use the provided footswitch (PEDL 10013)to change channels and the OD/OD 2 modes (however, if you use the pedal for this, you cannot use the buttons on the amplifier), and the second footswitch slot is to turn the reverb on/off. There is also an FX loop, speaker emulated D.I Output, two slots to connect a cabinet, a switch to choose either 8/16 RMS, two fuse slots and the mains input.