Seeking Advice for an Amp Conundrum

palethorn

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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.

View attachment 970231
My post i
Vox FTW. It has very sensitive controls and I love that. I love the range it has.

I finally pulled the trigger on Marshal Silver Jubilee Mini 2525C. Almost got a DSL40 head because Jubille was only available as a combo. DSL is too fizzy for my taste, so I went for the Jubilee. That said, you can get very good tones from the DSL, and I imagine that it cuts through the live mix better. There is a treble knob for a reason. And a presence knob. Very important.

EDIT
What you can do is add 5751 preamp tubes in the DSL which prevents it from going fizz-fest. But then again, there is a gain knob for that.
 
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Nicodemus1

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Another thought comes to mind, Transformers. We used to call it Ice pick.
Not having enough transformer to do the job correctly. INC. compromise for more profits. Example, Blues Deluxe amplifiers. I hated that amp with a passion. This is what i needed and finally own a 1993 and a few others.
00A0A_fc2b2EBYUgC_0gw0co_1200x900.jpg

Marshall, fender, Vox etc. got it right the first time around. Like Ford, quality was job #1 Not so much today unless you finally decide to cry once, $$$$
 
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Happy Enchilada

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Three ideas:

1. Keep the Champ. If you don't, you'll kick yourself until you go get another one, for probably twice the $$$. Plus, as so many have said, Champs are indeed cool. And most venues mic amps or run straight into the PA, so the fact that it's not a Wattage monster is kinda irrelevant.

2. Ditch the Marshall. IME, Marshalls are sorta one-trick ponies - and not everything needs "that sound." Plus, the one you have isn't scratching your itch, so dump away. You can use the $$$ you get to ...

3. Find a Roland Blues Cube Stage - great tone for an SS amp, and a switch that lets you practice at a reasonable volume with the SAME SOUND and then crank it up to uber loud for stage. Plus a line out to go direct to the PA. I love mine - almost as much as I love my QUILTER AVIATOR CUB, which has the same Wattage scalability and also delivers fantastic tone.

Both of these amps can be had for around $500, and they're relatively light to lug around (especially the Quilter). With the right pedals, they can do anything you would ever want. And if you miss the Marshall thing, get one of these:

1650118863408.png
 

DannyBigShots

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Update!

So I took the advice of @Tim S and decided to see if I could make the amp work for me. Started with the suggested v1 tube swap to an ECC823 and that definitely helped. Next, I checked the bias and low and behold, both were up around 40. So I took them down to 35, tested it and liked it. Then just for S&Gs, I took it down to 32 and liked it even more. Definitely getting closer at that point. Then I decided to take the plunge and commit, so I ordered a Creamback. Dropped it in today, turned it on and found the sound I was looking for instantly!

The Creamback combined with bias adjustment and tube swap tamed down that wash of high frequencies I was getting when gained up and allowed me to actually use the presence and treble knobs (I had to have them basically off and still had issues initially).

I have the Marshall dialed in as essentially a two channel amp. Edge of breakup on the crunch channel, and a little more aggressive on OD1. This setup takes my pedalboard into the front nicely so swapping amps is easy without having to manage 4 cables.

Now I can run the ODR or TS for different drive flavors, or stacked into OD1 for some serious mayhem.

Ultimately, I had to put some money into it to get it where I liked, but now I couldn’t be happier with my amps. The champ is tons of fun for what it is, and the Marshall just rips if I let it. They occupy completely different spaces and I’m happy playing both of them now.

Best of both worlds now as I can hang on to the V-type and throw it into an extension for the champ down the road.

Thanks for all of the suggestions and feedback folks, all much appreciated!
 

Tim S

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@DannyBigShots I’m glad you came around to my favorite solution for “Amp A or Amp B?” (which is “Amp A *and* Amp B”!) :p

I stand by my claim that the DSL40CR is the all-around best new combo you can buy for under $1,000. It worked for me out of the box (but the JJ ECC823 made it even better, increasing the range of useable OD-to-Distortion available), but for you it took a little more futzing — but you got there.

After decades of exposure to Fender cleans, it took a DSL40CR to teach me to love Marshall cleans. It’s not better than Fender’s — it’s its own, more articulate thing.

Just turn down the gain on the Marshall and it will sound great!
I think that’s the seldom talked about secret for modern Marshalls that get their overdrive/distortion from the pre-amp. They offer too much gain for most (but not all) players. And at volume, we all benefit from backing off the gain a bit (no matter what brand amp we use)
 

premiumplus

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I bought a Vox AC15 and didn't bond with it. Then I bought a Marshall DSL40CR and it went back to the store a couple of weeks later. I couldn't "bond" with either one. I had been a lifetime Fender guy before that, and I wanted more flexibility in my tone, so I started down the amp trail.
Then I discovered Dr.Z amplification. Hand made in Cleveland, and a wide variety of amps to choose from...and there was no "bonding" at all. I plugged in, dialed up the tone stack, and was smiling. I've been a convert ever since, and I recommend them highly. No affiliation, just a very satisfied user.
The Maz 18 combo would be well worth considering. It's kind of variable between Voxy and Marshally tone, with it's own great sound. Z builds great amps.
 

mwpv11

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Funny you should post this. I have the exact same issue. I have the Marshall DSL 40 and for some reason have yet to bond with it. It currently sits in my closet doing nothing and I windup using my Fender Champs, Twin Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, Hot Rod Deluxe, Blues Jr and a few others including my Boss Katana 50 which is now my go to amp. Clearly I think I have too many amps and it may be time to downsize the heard. I agree that the Marshall for some reason takes too much work to get a sound you like out of it. Or maybe it's just not for my style of music. I'm going to play around with it more because I hear many people say what a great clean sound they have. I have yet to find that sound.




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!
 

Telenator

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You guys going from Fender to Marshall need to turn the gain off.
Put the master volume on 10.
Use the gain knob as your master volume.
You will have a straight, clean tone to start with. The idea sound may end up something like, master volume on 8, Gain volume on 3.
That's about where I set my Rivera and the Fender-like tones are just beautiful.
 

Caffiend

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One of my favourite amps of all time was a SF Rivera Champ that had been further modded and was insane. My old mate used to play a Floyd/JB superstrat through it and it did everything and was plenty loud enough in rehearsal and small gigs unless you didn't want at least a dirty edge- but with a JB and FR thats not really a question...

For myself, I've chased the Marshall EL34's for decades and finally discovered i actually needed a Deluxe Reverb and TS all those years...
 

Tim S

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My dad is a 92 year old Jazz guitarist who still plays daily. In the 60s he gigged with a flip-top Ampeg and in the 70s he used Music Man HD130 15” combo.

Why am I mentioning all this? I loaned him my DSL40CR for a few months and he loved its clean sound. He came to this Marshall with no preconceived notions regarding what it’s supposed to “do”.

So in case anyone was wondering, yes you can play jazz on a DSL40CR. 😛
 

BSG1

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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.
Unless you need the cash and/or the floor space from the DSL, I never recommend selling an amp; or a guitar for that matter. You might check the thousands of forum threads here and elsewhere about "what's the best amp/guitar you should never have sold"
 

InstantCoffeeBlue

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Unless you need the cash and/or the floor space from the DSL, I never recommend selling an amp; or a guitar for that matter. You might check the thousands of forum threads here and elsewhere about "what's the best amp/guitar you should never have sold"
Oh, trust me, I’ve been there, but usually the regret comes after selling something I loved for financial or logistical reasons that seemed to make sense at the time - this was the case with both of the original BF Super Reverbs I’ve owned. There’s also been gear I never really bonded with that I have absolutely zero regrets about selling, though.
 

11 Gauge

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You guys going from Fender to Marshall need to turn the gain off.
Put the master volume on 10.
Use the gain knob as your master volume.
You will have a straight, clean tone to start with. The idea sound may end up something like, master volume on 8, Gain volume on 3.
That's about where I set my Rivera and the Fender-like tones are just beautiful.
As a long-time BF/SF Fender amp user, that's pretty much what I ended up doing with my Marshall Origin 20.

I started with the master all the way up, and then adjusted the gain to get the volume where I wanted it. The next step was to turn the boost on, and readjust the gain (boost on makes things fatter and fuller w/o necessarily being more distorted, unless the gain knob is set much beyond 12:30 or so). If you play with humbuckers, you might be able to get away with leaving the boost off. I mostly play single coils, so the boost is usually always on, for me.

The final step was then to back the master down, and just not end up lowering it beyond a point where things would lose the proper punch and dynamics. In my case, I just leave the master full up, and adjust the gain so that it's maybe not so pristine clean. Then I can get a super clean tone by just backing off the guitar's vol. knob a bit.

...If someone doesn't want to resort to using the guitar's volume knob to get 100% into the clean zone, then that IMO is what the Origin's master control is for - it's the last stop for getting the volume level right.
 

hepular

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skimmed, so i mighta missed: but with that champ: get the filter caps checked and probably changed.
 

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!
Well if the Marshall is not taking up to much space, it might be worth keeping. You won't get too much for it if you sell it and it may come in handy later for a backyard barbecue gig or something similar. The DSLs really sound better when they're turned up a little. You might be surprised at how good it sounds if you get a chance to crank it past bedroom volume.
 

Tim S

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If people aren’t going to read this entire thread, at least read posts #1 & #64. I think you’ll find a happy camper.

(but I guess sometimes a thread has to thread)
 

SeanMcCaw1969

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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!
Try swapping the preamp tube out for a 12at7 and it will smooth it out some. I had a Hot Rod Deluxe that was too much, It helped alot
 

mikecorey

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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!
Keep the Marshall. It takes time to get used to it and dialed in. Once you do, you'll love that amp.
 

JIMMY JAZZMAN

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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.

View attachment 970231
My post i
Vox amps do have a learning curve, but after awhile you'll have each guitar with it's own
adjustments to the Vox. Good Playing.
 




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