JCM2000 DSL50 review by Marshall

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.1 (58 votes)
Marshall: JCM2000 DSL50

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Private Seller

Sound — 9
I play with a Gibson SG Standard. Humbuckers in the guitar. A Burstbucker Pro in the bridge and a 490R in the neck. This amp does distorted tones FANTASTICALLY. Great midrange bite, kinda bright but I like that. The low end is tight but not overly prominent. Tightens up real nice with a tubescreamer. Best of all its a 50w amp with EL34 tubes. The amp will break up relatively early and give you some nice powertube distortion to add to the preamp distortion that this amp heavily relies on. The clean tones leave a little to be desired. You can get a nice clean tone out of it, but you will be playing with the volume/tone knobs on your guitar and the volume/gain on the amp for quite some time. Certainly no fender. The amp is only noisy if you use an incredible and unusable amount of gain or are using active pups. I have my amp on 4 with a tubescreamer in front and the gain on 6... Except for some expected hiss the amp is pretty quiet. That being said the Lead 2 channel is unusable for the fact that it contains too much gain for my taste and gets very noisy when being boosted. I suppose this mode was meant for those without boosts before the preamp. The reverb is great. Spring reverb... Good tank in there too. The sounds of the amp are pretty damn good. I just wish you could navigate through them more easily as I discussed in the features section of this review.

Overall Impression — 8
The amp does what I need it to very well. Distorted tones with a lot of mid range and bite. I've been playing for 8 years. I own a Gibson SG, a Gibson Les Paul, and quite a number of other guitars. If I lose this thing, or it was stolen, I might cry but I would probably buy another if I could get it as cheaply as the first one. I love the distorted tones on it, and that's what Marshall are for. Wish the 2 channels had seperate EQs or were voiced a little more similarly to make channel switching doable. Overall, I'd say the amp gets an 8. It would be higher but the somewhat lackluster clean channel, and the other issues I have discussed make it fall short of the perfect amp.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The amp has an issue with the grounding of the 4/8 ohm jacks. This is well known by those who own the DSL50 and the DSL100. If you buy one, you will want to have these jacks properly grounded to avoid failure. I use the 16ohm output so I don't worry so much. Amps need to be kept up. I don't see this amp failing on me. With the exception of the ground issue on the 4/8 ohm jacks the amp is pretty solid.

Features — 8
This amp was made in 2000. Its a 2 channel amplifier. The first channel is a clean/crunch channel. The second is a lead channel. The Clean/Crunch channel has an independent gain/volume control with a button to switch between clean and crunch modes, but both the clean/crunch channel and the lead channel share an EQ which may be troublesome for some. The lead channel has two modes. Lead 1 and Lead 2. Lead 1 is described by Marshall as a hot-rodded JCM800 2203 with Lead 2 simply adding more gain and a mid boost as well. The amp has a universal "Tone Shift" button and a "Deep Switch" button. The tone shift scoops the mids, and the Deep Switch adds a tuned low-end boost. Each channel has its own reverb. I wish the amplifier had a resonance knob instead of the deep switch which I find just as useless as the toneshift button. Both remain disengaged for me at all times. The crunch channel is voiced noticeably differently from the lead channel which makes switching between them useless without adjusting the EQ. This leads me to my next complaint. I wish this amp had a seperate EQ for each channel. The amp really limits you to using one channel per song in a live situation which may or may not be useful for some people. I don't need channel switching. Just one blistering distorted tone for my alt rock/modern punk band. Lead 1 does that mighty fine.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    First of all, I hate Marshall amps. They always seem to make amps that sound exactly like what famous guitarists (such as Slash, Hendrix, Paige, Kiss etc.) like and not putting out anything unique.
    Nooo... Marshalls have the tone and the artists just buy Marshalls. They didn't make any signature series back in the 70s and 80s, their signature series are newer, the artists didn't use them in the 80s. And why did you buy a Marshall if you don't like its tone? Like don't people buy tube amps because of their overdrive sounds so they don't have to use their Metal Zone pedals? Because for Metal Zone I think the best solution would be an SS amp with as clean sound as it can be. And the Marshall tone is famous because all the famous artists use Marshalls. And why do they use Marshalls? Because Marshall sounds great when playing hard rock! And I like the Marshall sound too. And why should Marshall make an amp that doesn't sound like Marshall because people buy Marshalls because they have the Marshall sound? And Marshall was unique back in the 60s (and still is, no other brand makes similar sounding amps because that would be copying).
    Boss Metal Zone through a JCM? Cutting mids and you gig? How the hell is your guitar even heard in a band? The most uber metal thing to do - quintessential 'metal' amp > clean channel > metal zone > scooped mids br00tal