JCM2000 DSL401 review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 8.3 (110 votes)
Marshall: JCM2000 DSL401

Price paid: £ 400

Purchased from: Reverb

Sound — 6
I use the amp alongside a Fender Telecaster which is kitted out with two Seymour Duncan Humbuckers. The amp is quite versatile and is able to deliver sparkly cleans, to a dirty ragged clean sound when pushing the gain up on the clean channel. While the clean sound is quite versatile it lacks any real 'vibe' or magic that you could expect from a more expensive tube amp. The overdrive channels can get you by, with OD1 providing a crunchy ac/dc sound at best and OD2 a fizzy mess. For me the overdrive channels are a big let down, lacking in tone and any real bite. I find myself continually cranking the amp up to get more out of it tonally and in terms of distortion but I am left unsatisfied. There are however moments of rock n'roll glory in which solo's do raw through the amp in the style of some of Marshall's most iconic users, this amp is able to provide some sweet creamy tones which is great for Classic Rock/Blues but if you play Punk/hardcore players should be weary because it's hard to get spiky brutal riffs out of this. There are no real noise issues with the amp.

Overall Impression — 6
I play all types of music including blues, hard rock, jazz, pop etc. But I found that this amp doesn't work with punk/metal music and have been tempted to look to Orange for the answer in a similar price range or a hi-gain specialist such as ENGL. I have been playing for five years and so I've 'been around' gear wise, this was my first tube amp and I got it relatively cheap so it is not a bad move for first-time tube amp buyers because of it's low-maintenance. If it was stolen/lost I would definitely not buy another one because since buying it I have been subject too many other amps which give me the kind of tone I am looking for such as the aforementioned Orange, or Engl or even Mesa Boogie if you have the cash. I love the cool green finish because you can stand out from the crowd but amp-to-amp in comparison with a tube amp a little more expensive it stands no chance.

Reliability & Durability — 10
One great thing with this amp is that it is completely dependable I've played many shows with it and done quite a bit of recording with it, It isn't fragile and is relatively durable. The amp has never needed servicing and so is relatively low-maintenance compared to more expensive valve amps which seem to be in constant need of servicing.

Features — 7
This tube combo features three different channels; Clean, Overdrive 1 and Overdrive 2 which are foot switchable. It also has built-in reverb and an effects loop. The clean and overdrive channels consist of there own EQs which are made up of treble, middle and bass. I have played with this amp live in a variety of venues and it is probably loud enough for most pubs/clubs however It definitely needs mic'ing up if you don't want to get lost on stage and depending on what kind of music you are playing. I often use the combo alongside a 4x12 Marshall cabinet which does sound a lot bigger, perhaps better and helps with projection. I don't really think this amp needs any other features as I am not an effects junkie but just seeking fine tone. This amp is also part of the special edition green series which is a nice touch in my opinion.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I've had this amp for about five years now; I use it everyday at stupid volumes because my bedroom is a garage (god bless university accommodation), and also lug it halfway across the country every couple of months between my home, and my student digs. I've gigged it in a small/medium sized hall - un-mic'd. The first set of tubes are still going strong, and it rarely gets that hot, so that's those parts out of the way. The sound - I have to admit - is limited, but for only one reason. The standard speaker they give you is arse-biscuits. Its a 'special for marshall' model by celestion, and it aint great. I put in a celestion V30 a while ago, and suddenly that lack of clean headroom, any EQ problems with the mids/bass, producing a MUCH tighter response on bothe of the OD settings, and any cone-distortion present at high-volumes buggers right off. Yeah, it aint a twin reverb - but that isn't WHY you buy a marshall. The OD improves no end, OD1 can get you a lovely tone for old-school rock'n'roll (zepplin, for example, while OD2 can NAIL fall of troy whatever else you need. The clean channel, if you're gonna obsess over what else it sounds like, is basically an Vox-AC30 - which, considering Marshall's track record for cleans, is bloody good. So for those of you who have already made your minds up about marshall, whatever I can't be bothered. But you should know this is a completely different beast to that which they usually offer.
    plus, I'd have posted a review if it didn't take days to appear. Couldn't be bothered though, I'd have lost interest in a few hours. So those that asked know, it handles pedals great. I use an OD3 to boost, a CS3 compressor for tapping and floyd-esque stuff. I also have a big muff, which is great (marshall is made for fuzz) and a small-stone (which is hard to get wrong on any amp) with a dd-7 in the loop (the loop is parallel, which is odd to use at first, but you get used to it - the knack's in blending). I also use a vox-wah through it, but, again, any amp worth its salt'd be able to make a wah sound alright.
    how does this thing handle effects? i tend to use quite a lot eg zvex fuzz factory and digitech whammy
    has enough distortion for even death metal
    WTH?? No way. It's enough for classic heavy metal but not for anything heavier.
    As I said, I only got the amp today so I can't really comment on its reliability.
    Then why do you review the amp today if you just bought it!!