Price paid: £ 300
Purchased from: Private ad
Sound — 4
This amp is in the medium-price range and this is reflected in the sound. It has more clarity and punch than cheaper valve combos, but really doesn't compare well to my old Marshall JMP; A-B ing the two reveals the DSL to be lacking in sparkle and punch, with an unpleasant gritty overdrive character which does NOT sound natural and loses a lot of treble when the guitar volume is backed off to clean. The high gain third channel is too saturated to maintain any note definition at volume. That said, it is a useable amp for most gigs, rock bands in particular. If this is your second or third amp, you shouldn't be disappointed. Where this amp really fails is the crap FX loop. The parallel design is becoming more popular among amp designers, but it's COMPLETELY USELESS! You can't put a tremolo pedal in the loop because the amp puts a dry signal over the top, meaning that when the tremolo cuts off, you can still hear the guitar. Phaser was weak and there were odd phasing issues with other pedals. I couldn't even mod it like I did on a Laney L5T, because of the cramped and complicated PCB inside. Bad design alert!
Overall Impression — 4
A decent amp with some fairly major flaws, the main ones for me being the effects loop and the uninspiring, raspy unpleasant overdrive. Not the worst amp I've used, but lacking in important areas. Buy one if you are upgrading from a practice amp and can find a cheap deal.
Reliability & Durability — 5
Sold it soon after buying, so I'm not sure about the reliability. I haven't heard good things.
Features — 6
The DSL has some good features. The 3 channels might be useful for some (not me), there's reverb, an FX loop and a decent speaker. The FX loop is parallel though, not series (see Sound). A welcome stripped-down version of the DSL head without the useless "Tone Shift" and "Deep" silly buttons.