Seeking Advice for an Amp Conundrum

timbovee

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I will second the remarks that the Marshall sounds best loud, and that you can go some ways toward taming the fizz by putting a lower gain preamp tube in there somewhere. There are various threads on this topic on various forums with lots of different opinions. If you’ve got some lower gain (5751, 12au7, 12at7) tubes to try out, it’s a cheap and easy way to get things sounding different.

I went so far as to also change the power tubes out for a nicer, vintage pair (ANOS Siemens/Telefunken). The DSL40CR is easy to bias by the consumer because it has terminals for hooking up a multimeter, so trying out new power tubes is a cinch. Tube swaps went a long ways toward getting it less fizzy at lower volumes, but I also really improved things by ditching the stock speaker and throwing a Creamback in there. I went with an M65, which I picked up used figuring I could sell it for about the same if it didn’t make a difference. It certainly did. There’s not a hint of fizz at any volume now, and the higher gain channels are much more usable across the sweep. I believe I went with the 12AU7 in V2 but I experimented a lot and forget at the moment. Do your own research and experimenting before you give up on the Marshall.

Incidentally, I say all of this as a diehard blackface fender guy, but there’s just something about the crunch you can get from a Marshall circuit that a stomp box can’t give you.

Speaking of pedals—the other thing you should really try if you aren’t loving the tone is a tube screamer or some other time-honored classic boost pedal before the drive channels. I hate tube screamers into a clean amp. But there is something magical about using them to push a dirty Marshall.
 

Full-Tilt-Tele

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When it comes to 'Rhythm & Blues'... Everyone needs a little 'Tweed & Twang' in your life...
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That Fender 1993-95 'Blues Deluxe' tube combo, really does the job, with the addition of a 'Pre-Amp' incorporated. That amp is also the same guts as the original 50-60's 'Bassman' unit and today, you've got the 'Hot-Rod Deluxe' and has all the basically same [PR-246] interns inside. The 'Bassman' was retooled into the 'Blues Deluxe' with that tweed skin on both, then the 'Hot-Rod Deluxe' took over with a black vinyl skin and controls on the top face.

Simple and Sophisticated as they come to reproduce those pure 'Blue Notes'...

So, you have three options here on 'Fender' Amplify with your guitar venture to consider.

Good luck with your selection.
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pbenn

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Interesting thread. Two ideas.
1. Chris Stapleton brown P ri. Sort of an early Marshall in disguise.
2. When I tried extension speaker (2 x 10 4 ohm) with a healthy '77 Champ at a donut shop a long time ago... I still couldn't hear it. Champ 8 was disconnected. Ended up realizing I was only getting half volume from each speaker, so no real improvement. Was impressive in the apartment, though.
 

The Lisbon Plane

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I've had over 50 amps, all kinds. Ditch the DSL, I had one, will never sound like a "Marshall". It's ok for some stuff, not your main amp. I have a 1958X, which is awesome but pricey, but I've been using a Mesa Fillmore 25 w/1x12 cab lately, really digging it.
 

Full-Tilt-Tele

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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!
Now, just where are those 'Ear Replacements' available, again?...
 

Tim S

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Good point on the speaker. Stock is pretty crap.
Bad point. The OP is referring to the DSL40CR, NOT the DSL40C. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME AMP

The CR has a revised circuit that addressed issues owners of the DSL40C complained about. The DSL40CR comes with a Celestion V-Type speaker which is sounds good and over-performs given its price compared to other Celestions. (The DSL40C came with the Celestion Seventy/80 —- big difference)
 
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Maguchi

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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!
Marshall DSL-40s are great amps. I gigged with one for 20 years and it always worked and sounded good. However "modern" Marshall's can sound fizzy with single coils at lower volumes and until you really dial them in. Champs can sound amazing. If you've got the room and the budget, I'd keep the Marshall for occasions when you may need a higher powered amp and keep the Champ for quieter playing.
 
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Redraider66

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I love my DSL40CR. It really is amazing and I think one of the best home amps ever. The dual master gives you so much control. Now, the cleans are decent, but crunch and the two ODs are amazing. Plug in a PRS or LP and it just sings. Work on the settings. I admit, I play my Princeton when I go totally clean. But I play the DSL40CR way more. It has amazing classic rock tone in it. You will get it there !
 

SoCal-Alan

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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.

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I agree. I bought a AC15C1 and it always sounded off. Would try here a there. I decided to YouTube it on dialing in Vox settings. I watch as someone create samples and write them down with comments and then saw the Pedal Show doing AC15C1 and found way more. Suddenly I realized how to dial out the sounds I didn't like. I can't believe I've always had a great amp that I never learned to use.
 

DannyBigShots

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I agree. I bought a AC15C1 and it always sounded off. Would try here a there. I decided to YouTube it on dialing in Vox settings. I watch as someone create samples and write them down with comments and then saw the Pedal Show doing AC15C1 and found way more. Suddenly I realized how to dial out the sounds I didn't like. I can't believe I've always had a great amp that I never learned to use.
Yeah I think it’s becoming clear that I need to adjust my expectations and put a little more work into this amp. I also need to get right with the fact that I might not like EVERY sound it makes, and that’s fine too.

I have an ECC823 for V1 on the way per Tim S’s suggestion, gonna start there and then consider biasing and a possible speaker change down the road (I don’t want to over react to a speaker that isn’t broken in yet!)
 

guitfiddles

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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.

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I think you’re exactly right. I bought a Fender 57 custom champ last June so I’ve had it now for right at 10 months. I really was upset at myself for spending so much money on it because I really didn’t like the sound at all. I had to move and just took my champ and a tele. For several months it was all I played until getting my other gear out of storage. When I got my other gear my ears had adjusted to the champ and I don’t really enjoy the sound of my former favorite amp.
 

JeffBlue

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I have a 68 silverface Vibro Champ that I modded with a 10 inch speaker and a Mercury Magnetics 57 Champ OT. It sounded fantastic before, but now sounds huge.
 

Moonraker5

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I agree. I bought a AC15C1 and it always sounded off. Would try here a there. I decided to YouTube it on dialing in Vox settings. I watch as someone create samples and write them down with comments and then saw the Pedal Show doing AC15C1 and found way more. Suddenly I realized how to dial out the sounds I didn't like. I can't believe I've always had a great amp that I never learned to use.

Yup, that seems to be the case with high end VOX ends.

And here's something else I discovered in my first months with my AC30. Not only is it difficult to find the right tone from the amp, but I had to do it for all my 12 electric guitars! I'd have a perfect setting for my Tele. Plug in my Casino and blah! All dials and knobs had to be changed.

It took months, but I finally stumbled upon a setting where all my electric guitars do sound great in the amp. It really was a matter of dealing with the amps "interactive" tone controls. Plus the amp is very fickle. It's like a VOX amp is a living thing and has a mind of its own. You plug one guitar in it and the amp loves it; you plug another in and the amp rejects it. You twist one knob an eighth of an inch, the other knobs aren't happy. Crazy amp...but once you really work things out the amp is unbelievable.
 

Moonraker5

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For several months the champ was all I played until getting my other gear out of storage. When I got my other gear my ears had adjusted to the champ and I don’t really enjoy the sound of my former favorite amp.

That ultimately happened to me, too. Twenty years only playing my Fender Princeton. Boy, did I love that amp. Would never look at another girl, so to speak.

But when, after many months, I did get my new AC30 sorted out...sadly my beloved Princeton lost some favor with me. It isn't as mighty as my VOX.

I do fully love both amps now because I've come to fully understand them. My VOX has a certain bite that my Fender does not. And my Fender delivers a warmth and body to the clean tones that my VOX does not. I realize I love both amps and need both.
 

Sharp

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Maybe the OP just has too much amp. I rehearse and gig with a 10 or 15 watt amp, full on rock band. And we are loud. I feel like an amp runs best when it’s near its limit, or at least >50%. I don’t really use any distortion pedals, but I like a little break up. Maybe a class 5 would get you there.
 

Tim S

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Maybe the OP just has too much amp. I rehearse and gig with a 10 or 15 watt amp, full on rock band. And we are loud. I feel like an amp runs best when it’s near its limit, or at least >50%. I don’t really use any distortion pedals, but I like a little break up. Maybe a class 5 would get you there.
Actually the DSL40 is known for sounding good at low volume.

Some amps are designed to make a lot of their magic in the pre-amp, others require the power tubes to be driven hard before sounding good (at least that’s what I find with my amps)
 

Nicodemus1

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I remember when Marshall and others used to make really good guitar amplifiers. That said, the same goes for tubes / valves. Most modern EL84 powered guitar amps today, can't use NOS power tubes depending on pin 1. But you can swap preamp tubes. A Mullard 1962 or earlier in V1 can change the character of the amp, better mids, overdrive etc.

I don't care much for amps with built in overdrive / distortion because you can't tweak them to your ear. Everyone sounds the same. You can try a EQ pedal too, but I'd try a good strong Mullard ECC83 in V1 first with a good pedal. Hm, what is a good pedal?
With SMT / SMD and greed, it gets difficult. Know what you're buying before you shell out the cash. Did I say cash? 😎
 
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kookaburra

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I haven’t had a gig in a few years, and not really looking for one currently (I’m a new father so time is very limited). But I do jam with friends occasionally, rarely with a drummer. Not ruling out gigging again in the future though!
Then I'd ditch the Marshall that you don't like, and get another Fender that can handle what you may do in the future. Something bigger than the Champ, but not overkill. I'm guessing that starting at about 15 watts would be about right. Blues Jr, Pro Jr, maybe a Dekuxe Reverb if you think 22 watts would work....or more!

I know there's a lot of love for that DSL here, and, for good reason. I've a friend who uses one in a cover band, and it sounds great. But all that doesn't mean it's right for you.

Best wishes on the search!
 

Old Verle Miller

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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)
Remember, sound is vibrations moving through the air. As Tim S so correctly pointed out, a 2x12 cabinet is going to completely change how the air is distributed and how it reaches your ears.
 




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