Friedman Dirty Shirley Mini vs Fargen Mini Plex...anyone played both?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by guitargeezer, May 7, 2016.

  1. guitargeezer

    guitargeezer Silver Supporting Member

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    i continue my quest for a small, lower volume 60's to 70s Marshall sound alternative. I recently picked up a Marshall JTM1 Offset head and cab and am really enjoying it, and now I'm looking for its big bigger...but not too much bigger...brother. Primarily an at home player, but jam occasionally with friends.

    I haven't had a chance to play either, but have watched enough YT videos of these two to have my interest piqued. They're both in the same ballpark price wise (used for the Fargen, though).

    Any thoughts on these two?
     
  2. guitargeezer

    guitargeezer Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm actually talking about the Mini Plex Mkii vs the DSM. I know they use different power tubes and the Mini Plex is 12-watts vs 20 on the DSM, but I like that they both apparently have a "decade" switch (borrowing from Ben Fargen's vernacular) to move between the 60s and 70s tones.

    I don't know of any Atlanta-area shops that would carry both lines, so I'm having to rely on the TGP experts to help me sort this out. I know that Fargen produced the Micro Plex for a while and there are Mini Plex MkI's out there, and Marshall will have the Jubilee Mini in stores in the next month or thereabouts, so I know there are these and other options. But I'd love your collective feedback.
     
  3. rippingrudy

    rippingrudy Member

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    I've only tried the DS and it sounds great. Playing it is like eating junk food.
     
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  4. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    Lol, this is a unique description. That's good, right?
     
  5. rippingrudy

    rippingrudy Member

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    Yes, I mean it's good.
     
  6. guitargeezer

    guitargeezer Silver Supporting Member

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  7. Corinthian

    Corinthian Member

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    Tones so fat they're fatally obese!
     
  8. metal_murf

    metal_murf Member

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    I haven't played the Fargen but own the DSM. I love the DSM. Many great tones can be found in it from bedroom to band levels. I'm glad it's so small because I refuse to leave it at our practice space so I can play it at home. Even if it's only to strum a couple chords.
     
  9. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    No Mini Plex but I have a DBC, and a customer left a DSM at my house for days so I've had more than a few hours on it. Similar concepts in terms of the gain channel on the DBC vs. DSM, but I give the tone nod to the DSM. Edge of breakup tones are great on both, higher gain tones start to favor the DSM pretty heavily.
     
  10. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

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    What's the difference between the DSM and the Pink Taco, I see they are both 20watts?
    I owned the Fargen for a while but never really bonded, hard to describe, it wasn't as creamy sounding as the DSM clips that I hear, those remind me quite a bit of my old JCM800 4010 combo. I don't recall the Fargen having that much gain. Mine was a version 2 and they have twice the gain of the version 1, yet it still didn't have the DSM levels.
    I do still own a Fargen 49/54 Tweed that is killer, but this thread is not about tweed.
     
  11. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    The main difference I think is tightness vs fatness. Both are of equal quality. While the PT is stunning I like the extra fatness of the DSM for a small amp, to make it sound bigger. I do think the PT gets less attention in not being as new.

    This is going to sound weird but I think I preferred the PT to the Smallbox as far as basic tone. That does not mean one is better. But I needed a fatter tone than either.
     
  12. critter74

    critter74 Supporting Member

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    Are the gain structures/levels the same between the PT & DSM?
     
  13. idnotbe

    idnotbe Member

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    I also think PT is far better amp than Small Box or BE100.
    More dynamic, more hi-fi.

    PT has more gain than DSM.
    I've never used the gain knob over 12 o'clock.
     
  14. guitargeezer

    guitargeezer Silver Supporting Member

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    Initially I was leaning more to the Fargen because of the tube mix and ability to use EL34 or KT66 tubes, but the DSM does sound great on the YT videos. The Mini Jubilee sounds interesting, too, although it'll be the summer before they start hitting the US shops.
     
  15. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    Yeah something like that. The Fargen gain channel has quite a bit of gain, more than I'd ever use, and it sounds very Marshall, but there is something about it that just isn't quite there for me, can't put my finger on it. If the DSM is like taking a nice hot shower, the Fargen is more like taking a shower in room temperature water. Gets the job done, but doesn't give me that 'ahhhhhh' feeling. At some point I'm going to get it on the bench and see if I can make it better in that respect.
     
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  16. guitargeezer

    guitargeezer Silver Supporting Member

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    Are either the DSM or the Mini Plex foot-awitchable for the various gain stages?
     
  17. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    I know the DSM is not; I think ditto on the Mini Plex, if it's like the DBC. That said, it wouldn't take me that long to put a couple relays in and make it so, so any good tech could do that. I don't recall if either/both have DC heaters already, which would make it even easier, but seems I recall one or both might. I'd be willing to bet that either builder would do it from the factory for an upcharge.
     
  18. guitargeezer

    guitargeezer Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't recall seeing a footswitch jack on either, come to think of it. I don't gig, so it wouldn't really be that big a deal, but you're probably right...it could probably be done after market. To keep from having to flip switches mid-set, I guess that a gigging musician would probably select the best middle ground and ride the guitar volume or use a boost to dirty up as needed.

    This is very helpful guys. Many thanks for your input.
     
  19. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    I'm sure it could be done aftermarket as I do that kind of thing routinely, but also sure it could be done at the factory. In the case of Friedman, they do various mods on request at the factory that require an extra hole on the back, doesn't seem to bother them. I'm guessing Fargen is the same way as he does a lot of custom work.
     

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