DSL15: sounds better than Jubilee and JCM 800?

the passenger

Member
Messages
3
I'm still dumbfounded and confused by the recent events. It seems that a ten-year-long amp searching journey ended for me two days ago when my new Marshall DSL15 head landed at my doorstep. I have owned many great amps before, including a split channel Marshall JCM800, 2554 Jubilee combo, Orange TT, Laney Pro Tube, VOX Night train, old DSL, etc. I have played extensively on late 70’s JMP heads and combos and an early 80's 2203. In the previous years, my holy grail has been the Jubilee combo because of its incredible tone and its capability to cover the characteristics of other legendary Marshall amps – I have been able to tweak really close late JMP and 2203 type tones out of it.

Lately I needed a smaller backup amp for a new project so, after doing my homework, I pulled the trigger on the small DSL head (I've been also considering the Jet City JCA20). I haven’t really expected anything special, I only needed a workhorse for a basic usable rock tone. When the amp arrived, I’ve done the basic mods firstly (snipped C34 and C75) before even plugging it in. Took about 10 minutes, than I fired up the bad boy and started to compare it with my good old Jubilee, both on full power mode. And I couldn't believe my ears... with some basic adjustments I was able to get the exact same tone that my Jubilee produces, even a little better (more organic and tubey). I could describe the DSL15 as a mix of a 2203 with its robust, incredibly percussive attack, combined with the fatness of the Silver Jubilee...

Granted, I only used it with the master turned above '6' (1 o’clock). I can’t comment on its bedroom tones, I only use it fully cranked. I can’t believe what’s happening here... To be honest, this little beast sounds as good or even better to me than the legendary Marshall amps I’ve owned or tried in the past. Have any of you had similar experiences with the DSL15H?
The other surprise: cranked to full blast, the 15 watt DSL had the exact same volume as the 50 watt Jubilee, I couldn't perceive any difference. My 15w Orange TT on a 4x14 V30 cab was far less loud than this DSL on my oversized 1x12 Cannabis Rex cab...

I think that those who gave a bad review to this amp haven’t really cranked it, haven't done the basic mods, or maybe the combo version has bad speaker choice, I can't think any other reason. With the volume above '6' and the gain just below '3', this is a totally classic, old-school JCM800-esque monster amp. You just don’t need to turn the gain above '3'. You can simply leave the gain knob at quarter and use the guitar’s volume pot. The clean channel is also there if you need it, which is also magic in itself.

I recorded a riff with the Jubilee and the DSL15 side-by-side on the same speaker (a really bright, harsh one unfortunately) just to show you guys what I’m talking about. Listening back the recording confirmed what I heard in person, the Jubilee sounds almost lifeless compared to this tiny monster. Also, on the Jubilee the bass was set on '10' (max), while only '2' on the DSL with the 'deep' switch off...


 
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GT100

Member
Messages
3,821
For me it kinda varied depending on what you were playing.
The DSL seems to sound a bit muddy in the bass notes -otherwise I think the DSL has the edge.

Lloyd
 

FF71

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,509
I've played a DSL15 and 40 in the store. The 15 sounds..well..boxy and tiny compared to the 40C.

To be honest I like the Jubilee clip better, but it's damn close.
 

Boink!

Member
Messages
298
That thing about smaller amp outputting same volume as bigger amp is something my tech told me, but I didn't quite understand it. He was building an amp for me, and as we were discussing lower wattage vs higher, at one point he popped something along the lines of 30w is going to create the same amount of volume/loudness on distortion channel as 60w, while the only difference is when the 60w starts to break up... Or something along those lines.
 
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Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,676
The Jube sounds like it has more gain dialed in to me which could add to the muddiness. Did you have the diodes engaged on the jube?

I did prefer the DSL tone vs the Jube, but if you stacked the DSL up against a 2203/2204 I would bet I'd have a different reaction. I prefer the 2203/2204 circuit over the Jube.

I'm also wondering how the Jube would sound with the gain dialed back a bit. Based on your recording I certainly wouldn't kick the DSL out of bed, and if faced with the choice I would probably opt for DSL over one of the new Jube reissues.

I think I did also hear some 6V6 in the DSL where the Jube sounded more EL34. I'd love to hear the EL34 DSL40 compared to the 6V6 15.

I love these comparison threads when someone does the leg work to record. Always very interesting. Thanks for posting.
 

TTHX

Member
Messages
501
I was always curious about the DSL15. I've read a lot of bad reviews but haven't had the chance to play one or even see one in store to try it out.
I've got a mini-rec right now and that marshall sound has been tickling my fancy lately. Not sure if it'd be worth it to have both.
 

PaisleyWookie

Member
Messages
8,448
I preferred the jubilee but the dsl sounded great.

I agree about the gain thing. It sounds pretty bad at high gain, lower its a mean sounding little amp.
Agree on both counts. They're both great amps, but I wouldn't say one's better than the other. Just different. The DSL5C with a 10" Greenback is a really, really fun little amp too.
 

Millo 3.1

Member
Messages
869
Me too: I'd be very curious to see how your already-modded DSL15 stacks up to a stock DSL40, and whether it's necessary to do similar mods to the DSL40 to get it to compare fairly to your modded DSL15 tone.

I don't know anything about electronics so knowing that "snipping C34 and C75" gives me as much information as "overcharging the flux capacitors with melodium" or any other nonsense. ;-) I only know I heard more definition, less apparent distortion buy with body. I liked your modded amp over the Jube.

I'm also glad you got what you were looking for. Cheers.
 

ken374

Member
Messages
6,878
The 15 has the gain of lead 2 on the dsl 40 and the 100 watter from what I read. Lead 2 is thicker because it has more gain so I would run it as 3 opposed 5 or so on the lead 1
 

vr6pilot

Member
Messages
1,418
Anyone who has gone over to Eurotubes and read about an ECC823 tube - have you wondered how it actually works?
The right up for this tube basically says that, when placed in the V1 position, you get the same 12AX7 tone that the amp came with on the green channel - which it seems everyone is happy with - but you get a lower gain signal path when Channel 2 is switched on thus solving the #1 complaint folks have with this amp. Win/Win!

So I just swapped one of them in and am very impressed with the result. It did lower the excessive gain from the Ch.2 but not so much that you'd wish you hadn't done it. Plus, where some of my guitar pickups would squeal microphonically with the original tube, this was eliminated with the 823....and I could even run the gain all the way to 10. It was the perfect solution and an absolutely wonderful mod for someone who is afraid (me) to cut capacitors and such. I paid 18 and change to have the one tube shipped to me.

When I bought this amp, the prev owner had already retubed the whole thing. It had JJs in the preamp and a pair of Tung Sol 6V6s in the power section so...apples to apples: I swapped a JJ for a JJ keeping the "this brand vs. that" variance out of the equation.

I really should do some audio clips - I'm really impressed.
 

JPIndustrie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,357
I prefer the Jubi clip, but really only slightly. nit picking, but I'd ultimately pick the Jubi's tone for the actual CD. But still...

All I know after listening to your clips is: why haven't I picked up a DSL15h yet ?
 

ken374

Member
Messages
6,878
Think just the c19 applies to the dsl40 only bright cap and the dsl 15 is a diff bright cap number not sure what the other one is though
 




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