Seeking Advice for an Amp Conundrum

DannyBigShots

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Hey folks!

I'm having a bit of an amp crisis (probably hyperbole, but bare with me). About a month back, I moved on from my Blues Jr and picked up a Marshall DSL40CR. I play mostly bues, country and rock, but can get a little heavy from time to time as well. I'd say my relationship with the Marshall so far has been hot and cold. Sometimes I think it sounds great, sometimes it just feels like fizz-city, and likely too much amp for mostly basement use anyway. Not long after getting the Marshall (and after getting into the Truth About Vintage Amps podcast), I came across a 1978 silverface Champ locally and grabbed it up right away. I instantly fell in love with this amp, it sounds fantastic. I can plug straight in and get a great sound immediately, and it also takes pedals very well. I didn't think that you could get such great sounds through an 8 inch speaker (I now realize the naivete of that thought). It looks like it has been re-tubed and the original speaker has been replaced with a Weber (I haven't cracked open the chassis yet).

Now I am kicking around the idea of returning / selling the Marshall as it just doesn't bring a smile to my face like the Champ does.

So my question is this; is it worth keeping the Marshall to see if it grows on me? If not, should I pickup another amp as a backup to the Champ? The age of the Champ worries me a bit (I know it's not THAT old, but it's still my first vintage amp). Or maybe get rid of the Marshall and upgrade a few stomp boxes instead?

Any thoughts and advice from all of you cats who are wiser than I am are greatly appreciated!
 

uriah1

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Love my SF champ too. Funny. I have 5 other amps but I keep switching back to that one.
I have blackplate 6v6 and nos 5751 in there.
My backup is a Supro supreme , princeton, and then the others.
 

VintageSG

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Champs and Champ-a-like amps are rock'n'roll. The Joyo JTA-05, VHT Special 6 or the Monoprice 5W would give visiting buddies something to plug into too. I am biased toward them though.
If the Marshall isn't floating your boat now, chances are it never will. It is a lot of amp for basement playing. Do you bother with the gain channels?, if so, you may be better served just with the clean channel and a really good overdrive. My experience with the DSL40 ( not the CR ) was that it was meh -until- it was turned up. Then, the circuits came alive. I cared nought for the gain side. Too 'fizzy' for me.
Do you have a Joyo American Sound or British?. To my ears, and it may just be me, they sound better into a clean, flat amp at low volume than the amp itself can muster.

Before you decide though, try raising the amp off the ground on a beer crate or two and spend a few minutes finessing it.


ps I have too many amps ( it's a thing ) and my favourite?, my simple Champ-a-like.
 

InstantCoffeeBlue

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Now I am kicking around the idea of returning / selling the Marshall as it just doesn't bring a smile to my face like the Champ does.

So my question is this; is it worth keeping the Marshall to see if it grows on me? If not, should I pickup another amp as a backup to the Champ? The age of the Champ worries me a bit (I know it's not THAT old, but it's still my first vintage amp). Or maybe get rid of the Marshall and upgrade a few stomp boxes instead?

Any thoughts and advice from all of you cats who are wiser than I am are greatly appreciated!

Seems like you'll have no regrets about ditching the Marshall, so I'd say go ahead and do that.

Have you had the Champ looked over by a tech yet? There's really not very much in a Champ to go wrong assuming the electrolytics are healthy.
 

DannyBigShots

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Champs and Champ-a-like amps are rock'n'roll. The Joyo JTA-05, VHT Special 6 or the Monoprice 5W would give visiting buddies something to plug into too. I am biased toward them though.
If the Marshall isn't floating your boat now, chances are it never will. It is a lot of amp for basement playing. Do you bother with the gain channels?, if so, you may be better served just with the clean channel and a really good overdrive. My experience with the DSL40 ( not the CR ) was that it was meh -until- it was turned up. Then, the circuits came alive. I cared nought for the gain side. Too 'fizzy' for me.
Do you have a Joyo American Sound or British?. To my ears, and it may just be me, they sound better into a clean, flat amp at low volume than the amp itself can muster.

Before you decide though, try raising the amp off the ground on a beer crate or two and spend a few minutes finessing it.


ps I have too many amps ( it's a thing ) and my favourite?, my simple Champ-a-like.
I have found that I like the Crunch channel a lot, and Clean is OK, but OD1 and OD2 are fizzy to my ear. I guess I could get along with it as a one channel amp, but the minimalist in me is driven crazy by the fact that I'd have 2-3 essentially unusable channels.

I have not given the Joyo American or British a shot yet. My current drive section is centered around a TS mini into a Nobels ODR-1, both sound great with the Champ, but a little meh with the Marshall. The TS tends to make the fizz even worse in the OD channels, but sounds alright in the Crunch channel.

Maybe this will be an excuse to make a board for the Marshall and a board for the Champ...
 

Alex_C

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I'm not a fan of the DSL40 at sane volumes. It starts to sound good with the master and pre at noon, but my ears can't take that level without earplugs. Earplugs make everything sound like wool. The DSL15 hurts less...
 

11 Gauge

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I have found that I like the Crunch channel a lot, and Clean is OK, but OD1 and OD2 are fizzy to my ear. I guess I could get along with it as a one channel amp, but the minimalist in me is driven crazy by the fact that I'd have 2-3 essentially unusable channels.

I have not given the Joyo American or British a shot yet. My current drive section is centered around a TS mini into a Nobels ODR-1, both sound great with the Champ, but a little meh with the Marshall. The TS tends to make the fizz even worse in the OD channels, but sounds alright in the Crunch channel.

Maybe this will be an excuse to make a board for the Marshall and a board for the Champ...
Sounds to me like you might have the wrong Marshall.

I have an Origin 20 (head), and I'd venture a guess that it's possibly closer to what you might prefer.

All of this is so subjective though, because I've got a '67 Champ, and it's never really provided tones to my liking. Most of that has to do with my favorite all time amps being bigger BF/SF Fenders, like the VR, SR, and Bassman heads.

Anyway, if you can try an Origin, you might be surprised. I also use ODs and boosters with mine, and IMO they work pretty well. The amp also has its own boost function too, which also seems to work good for some stuff.
 

Red Ryder

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Champ is cool, but it’s a toy. No way it keeps up with any drummer that weighs more than 50 lbs.
Only way the champ works live is mic’d thru a pa and stage monitor. Horses for courses. You can own a horse AND a pony.
Got to agree. They're cute and give some good sound but you're limited. Keep the Champ and ditch the rest, take the bucks and get a 100 watt 2×12". Now you can piddle and pull out the big guns when you need to blow that irritating guy that always wants to keep cranking up his 22 watt runt cause he wants everyone to hear him, completely out of the water.
 

Moonraker5

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So my question is this; is it worth keeping the Marshall to see if it grows on me?

Amps do grow on you.
My post is a bit long but stay with me. I think it will help.

I got my Holy Grail VOX AC30. Hated it. Really did not like it. The controls were bizarre, the sound was horrid compared to my Fender Princeton amp... I spent a fortune on this amp and was not happy with it at all.

That feeling actually lasted a few months. Months. More than half a year. I really was soooo unhappy with my new amp. You know where I am at now? My VOX AC30 is the greatest piece of guitar gear I ever bought. Stupendous amp. Incredible piece of gear. Marvelous.

How did my opinion change so much? Two things:

1. My expectations of the amp were not realistic. I thought on day one I would plug my guitar into the amp and be blown away. This is the legendary VOX AC30. Blow me away! But it didn't. I had to work the amp (so many knobs and switches) to really get what I was looking for. That actually took a loooong time. Very finicky amp. It is not a just plug in and play amp which I thought it would be. It did not blow me away on my first strum. My initial expectations were unrealistic.

2. I went on an amp forum and complained about my new amp. A guy on that forum really helped. He asked me something that I hadn't thought of. He asked before I got the VOX, what amp was I playing and for how long? That question really opened my eyes. He hit the "problem" with my AC30 right on the head. Before I got my AC30 my amp for nearly twenty straight years was a Fender Princeton Chorus. Twenty years playing one amp. I LOVE that amp. And for twenty years that amp was the sound of my guitars and my playing. It's all I knew. So when the AC30 entered the family...I was turned off. "This ain't like my Fender Princeton, which I had twenty years worth of playing." My ears were so accustomed to the Fender that anything else was "wrong" to me. Once I realized that my ears were biased due to playing my Fender for twenty years, the VOX became right for me. There was nothing wrong with the VOX, there was something wrong with me. I wanted my new amp to be like my old amp. My ears were so used to my Fender, I hated my VOX. That was wrong.

My AC30 did grow on me. I suggest you stay with your Marshall for a while. It's a top amp you have there. The problem is not the amp...the problem is you. Not being nasty there. The problem was me and not my AC30. When I realized that, the amp became a gem. Most likely you'll grow into your amp. Keep it.

PS:
I grew to love my AC30 so much, I now have three VOX amps.

1649175801002.jpeg

My post i
 
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Peegoo

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Champ is cool, but it’s a toy. No way it keeps up with any drummer that weighs more than 50 lbs.

I gotta disagree with my esteemed colleague.

Return the Marshall and use a portion of the refund to buy a 2x12 cabinet. Plug the Champ into the cab when you want to really rattle the windows...or when you're playing with a drummer. It will be huge.

I have two Champs ('66 BF and a '72 SF) and they sound glorious through a 4x12!
 

Timbresmith1

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I gotta disagree with my esteemed colleague.

Return the Marshall and use a portion of the refund to buy a 2x12 cabinet. Plug the Champ into the cab when you want to really rattle the windows...or when you're playing with a drummer. It will be huge.

I have two Champs ('66 BF and a '72 SF) and they sound glorious through a 4x12!
Oh, sure. Go all 2-box on me.
 

Alcohen

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If you can still return it and get a full refund on an amp you're equivocal about, that's an easy call. Send it back. Play what you got. When (not if) you get the urge to try another amp, you can spend a bunch of time auditioning a replacement. You'll also have a better idea of what you like over time.
 

Chiogtr4x

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Champs and Champ-a-like amps are rock'n'roll. The Joyo JTA-05, VHT Special 6 or the Monoprice 5W would give visiting buddies something to plug into too. I am biased toward them though.
If the Marshall isn't floating your boat now, chances are it never will. It is a lot of amp for basement playing. Do you bother with the gain channels?, if so, you may be better served just with the clean channel and a really good overdrive. My experience with the DSL40 ( not the CR ) was that it was meh -until- it was turned up. Then, the circuits came alive. I cared nought for the gain side. Too 'fizzy' for me.
Do you have a Joyo American Sound or British?. To my ears, and it may just be me, they sound better into a clean, flat amp at low volume than the amp itself can muster.

Before you decide though, try raising the amp off the ground on a beer crate or two and spend a few minutes finessing it.


ps I have too many amps ( it's a thing ) and my favourite?, my simple Champ-a-like.
I'm absolutely loving the sound I get with new ( Christmas!) Monoprice 5-watt, with both volume and Tone knobs cranked.

This is ( I'm finding out, in one slightly louder R&R band - reunion!) , where those 2 knobs need to be ( w/o Boost or OD pedal) to hear things well- BUT the rockin' sound and dynamics ( clean> good crunch and decent sustain ) is just fantastic!
I intentionally wanted to hear what guitar>little tube 'fake Champ' amp sounded like with no toys and no mic. ( not that I won't use them, I will!)
And I was impressed!
- I have larger amps to use for gigs, but can definitely gig with this amp, really!
 

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Swirling Snow

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FWIW, I've never liked any DSL, so I'm not going to recommend you wait and see if it grows on you. I much prefer simpler Marshalls. Of the current models, I think you'd need a SC20H for the full experience. And a Klon or Guv'nor clone. Just like the Country recipe of a Fender amp for the tone and a compressor for the sustain.
 

PhredE

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I gotta disagree with my esteemed colleague.

Return the Marshall and use a portion of the refund to buy a 2x12 cabinet. Plug the Champ into the cab when you want to really rattle the windows...or when you're playing with a drummer. It will be huge.

I have two Champs ('66 BF and a '72 SF) and they sound glorious through a 4x12!
+1 Yup.
Two efficient 12"s can be pretty loud even if only powered by 5W.
Boost the input signal for more effect!
 

Tim S

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DO NOT DITCH THE DSL40CR until you at least try a JJ ECC823 in V1. One triode is 12ax7 and the other is 12au7. In the 823, the weaker triode is used by the Ultra voicings and it makes them much more usable. You can do some web searches on this.

(But I do have to agree that a 2x12 cabinet usually turns a “tiny amp” into a serious player)
 

DannyBigShots

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Really appreciate all of the feedback guys! I’m going to keep trying to get the Marshall to a spot that I like (I have another week or two to return), but I might have just been expecting a different sound ultimately. This decision has sent me down an existential rabbit hole of debating chasing someone else’s sound vs trying to find my own (but that’s probably for another thread!). At least I’ll have the Champ to fall back on in the meantime!
 

kookaburra

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Really appreciate all of the feedback guys! I’m going to keep trying to get the Marshall to a spot that I like (I have another week or two to return), but I might have just been expecting a different sound ultimately. This decision has sent me down an existential rabbit hole of debating chasing someone else’s sound vs trying to find my own (but that’s probably for another thread!). At least I’ll have the Champ to fall back on in the meantime!
Are you playing out, or jammimg with a group of people, including a drummer?

A Champ will only go so far in such a situation. Maybe a Fender that puts out a bit more would work in a band or band like situation. If not, return the Marshall and dig on the Champ!
 

Wallaby

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I don't even sell amps I HATE, they always end up useful in the end.

I'm kind of kidding but kind of serious. I feel like if I can't get a good sound from an amp, and especially a well-regarded amp, I've failed in some regard.

If it were mine? I'd keep it and keep trying. Or store it away for a while and try it with new ears later.

Good luck with your quest however you decide!
 




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