Friedman Runt 20 vs Marshall DSL40C?

guitarman3001

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Still ruminating .... Anyone here played through both of these? On the long Runt thread I think one or two people mentioned the DSL40. If I recall right, one person thought the DSL40 sounded better, another thought the Runt sounded better.

If I have a DSL40 will the Runt 20 give me a significantly better sounding amp? I know the build quality of the Runt will definitely be better but what about the tone?
 

tmac

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I had a dsl40 a couple yrs ago, I now have a Runt 20 head and for me the Runt is way ahead in tone, and very much worth what they go for.
 

MattC

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I might've been the DSL vote you read in another thread. I'm sure many here will think I'm crazy, but I just love the DSL green channel on clean or crunch for most of my tones and found that I preferred it overall to the Runt 20.

I found the Runt 20 to be a bit congested and too modern sounding for me, esp on the gain channel. The Runt clean channel is probably "warmer" and richer than the DSL's base clean, but I think the DSL
more than held its own with pure cleans and would be pretty similar in a band mix.

I'm more of a classic rocker,, so that's probably why I didn't dig the gain channel on the Runt quite as much. Others here have posted some GREAT clips with the Runt 20, and it's definitely a seriously well-made amp. I just didn't hear a $500 improvement in my own sound (in fact, I don't think the Runt improved my sound at all, just the opposite). Still curious to hear the Runt 50 w EL34s in person.

Btw, my DSL40 is loaded with a Creamback 65.
 

guitarman3001

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12,187
I might've been the DSL vote you read in another thread. I'm sure many here will think I'm crazy, but I just love the DSL green channel on clean or crunch for most of my tones and found that I preferred it overall to the Runt 20.

I found the Runt 20 to be a bit congested and too modern sounding for me, esp on the gain channel. The Runt clean channel is probably "warmer" and richer than the DSL's base clean, but I think the DSL
more than held its own with pure cleans and would be pretty similar in a band mix.

I'm more of a classic rocker,, so that's probably why I didn't dig the gain channel on the Runt quite as much. Others here have posted some GREAT clips with the Runt 20, and it's definitely a seriously well-made amp. I just didn't hear a $500 improvement in my own sound (in fact, I don't think the Runt improved my sound at all, just the opposite). Still curious to hear the Runt 50 w EL34s in person.

Btw, my DSL40 is loaded with a Creamback 65.

I don't use the DSL's clean channel like that though. For me when I set the EQ so the dirt channel sounds good, the clean channel sounds way too bassy and muddy and the only way I can get around that is to set the gain on the clean channel very low. That's my biggest complaint about the DSL40. The stupid shared EQ.

And I do use the dirt channel quite a bit with the gain fairly high, so that's the tone I'd be comparing to the Runt's.
 

MattC

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I don't use the DSL's clean channel like that though. For me when I set the EQ so the dirt channel sounds good, the clean channel sounds way too bassy and muddy and the only way I can get around that is to set the gain on the clean channel very low. That's my biggest complaint about the DSL40. The stupid shared EQ.

And I do use the dirt channel quite a bit with the gain fairly high, so that's the tone I'd be comparing to the Runt's.

Sounds like we play different styles. I rarely use the red channel on my DSL.

I'd definitely give the Runt a try. It's a great amp, just didn't totally fit my style.

However, if the DSL shared EQ frustrates you, you might also be frustrated by the limited/shared EQ available on the clean channel of the Runt 20 (independent three position bright and the global presence control shared w the gain channel).

I was hoping I could use the Runt clean for cleans and crunch (with OD pedal/guitar volume knob) and the gain channel for heavy rhythms when I do play some harder stuff and get the delayed "singing leads" (lukather/Petrucci type sounds) I like for some soloing. I use the red channel on my DSL to try and get the singing leads, but it's not terribly convincing, which is the whole reason I tried the runt in the first place.

The problem for me was I had to really cut the global presence to nail the fat singing lead sound on the gain channel, and that made my clean/crunch work on the clean channel sound dead. The good news is, those tones are ALL in the Runt. Maybe someone more talented than I could dial them in all at once. I just couldn't.

Ultimately, I concluded that if I'm spending over 1k on a two-channel amp, I personally need it to have separate EQ for each channel.
 

guitarman3001

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I think I could pull that off by using a clean boost pedal that has eq options in the fx loop. For rhythms I set the presence bright enough then for leads I hit the clean boost which would be set to cut the highs and bump the mids. I already do that with all my amps and it works great.
 

MattC

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1,681
I think I could pull that off by using a clean boost pedal that has eq options in the fx loop. For rhythms I set the presence bright enough then for leads I hit the clean boost which would be set to cut the highs and bump the mids. I already do that with all my amps and it works great.

Well, if you pull
The trigger, I'm curious to hear how you think it compares to your DSL.
 

guitarman3001

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Well, if you pull
The trigger, I'm curious to hear how you think it compares to your DSL.

Yeah, I'm curious to find out. I agree that the red channel on the DSL doesn't do the singing lead stuff well without some help. To get those tones on my DSL what I do is use a clean boost in the loop, such as a Mooer Pure Boost or a full size TC Spark. If I EQ them to cut the highs and a little bit of bass, the net effect is boosting the mids while taking out the high end sizzle and does give it a nice singing lead tone. But without doing that, it's just way too bright, almost fizzy. In mine I have a WGS Vet30 and also a 5751 in the first gain stage of the red channel. Still needs the EQing via the boost pedal in the FX loop.

At least the Runt 20's clean channel has the three position bright switch. The DSL doesn't even have that.
 

tmac

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I'm a classic rock guy too and feel the runt is not modern sounding really, I think the issue is everyone turns the gain up to max. I run mine in nonboosted mode and gain at 1:00 to 3:00 with a humbucker. Rarely use the Brown Eye mode. Rich and creamy od voice with no harsh artifacts. I didn't find the dsl (any of them) to sound like a vintage Marshall and has kind of a grating od quality, a harsh edge to their sound that u can't dial out, it helps if you really turn the master volume up but its still there to an extent. People hear and perceive sounds differently I guess, but I find the runt to have a richer and higher quality voicing that really fits into what I do.
 

ken374

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7,339
I don't use the DSL's clean channel like that though. For me when I set the EQ so the dirt channel sounds good, the clean channel sounds way too bassy and muddy and the only way I can get around that is to set the gain on the clean channel very low. That's my biggest complaint about the DSL40. The stupid shared EQ.

And I do use the dirt channel quite a bit with the gain fairly high, so that's the tone I'd be comparing to the Runt's.
DSL's need a low bias! thats from my tech and he's been tuning amps for 35 years, only the preamp gives off the distortion and the power tubes just need to breakup enough to prevent cross over distortion. He put mine on a scope so you can see whats going on and man my cleans are so good and less bassy and crunch I can max the volume and gain now! still sounds good with my strat. More head room going on. I did go from a WSG British lead to a ET 65 speaker, the 65 is rated 4 on mids opposed to the BL is a 6 but the tones are more dynamic now
 

ken374

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Yeah, I'm curious to find out. I agree that the red channel on the DSL doesn't do the singing lead stuff well without some help. To get those tones on my DSL what I do is use a clean boost in the loop, such as a Mooer Pure Boost or a full size TC Spark. If I EQ them to cut the highs and a little bit of bass, the net effect is boosting the mids while taking out the high end sizzle and does give it a nice singing lead tone. But without doing that, it's just way too bright, almost fizzy. In mine I have a WGS Vet30 and also a 5751 in the first gain stage of the red channel. Still needs the EQing via the boost pedal in the FX loop.

At least the Runt 20's clean channel has the three position bright switch. The DSL doesn't even have that.
I tried a boost in the loop naa kinda sucks up front were its at, actually mxr dynacomp boost my strat quite well for adding dirt its even better with the proper bias It holds a note quite longer when bending.
 

guitarman3001

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I tried a boost in the loop naa kinda sucks up front were its at, actually mxr dynacomp boost my strat quite well for adding dirt its even better with the proper bias It holds a note quite longer when bending.

Cool, but for my needs a clean boost in the loop is a must. If I'm running the amp distorted, it's really the only way to get a volume boost for leads. I don't use it for more dirt or to push the amp harder, I use it only for a volume boost and a slight EQ change to reduce the highs and bass and bring out the mids a bit so the tone cuts through a live mix a little better.
 

ken374

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Cool, but for my needs a clean boost in the loop is a must. If I'm running the amp distorted, it's really the only way to get a volume boost for leads. I don't use it for more dirt or to push the amp harder, I use it only for a volume boost and a slight EQ change to reduce the highs and bass and bring out the mids a bit so the tone cuts through a live mix a little better.
I see for a volume boost yeah:)
 

AD1982

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Runt 20 owner here, they both get you to similar territories.

I played the DSL40C at least ten times previous to buying the Runt 20. I really like the classic gain channel, especially with a boost pushing it, but I could never bond with the ultra gain channel. It's overly bright and too gainy right off the bat. I'd rather have two classic gain channels. Plus, the reverb sucks.

Now for the Runt. I like that is has a clean channel, but I doubt I'll use it all that much (maybe with a Tube Screamer or other lower gain pedal). The gain channel is a bit drier, but when you add any reverb/delay efx to the loop and it becomes incredible. However, that drier feeling leads to note definition that far surpasses the DSL40C. You can hear the string-to-string sound of a full strummed E chord. Add a little bit (or a lot... I'm a junkie) of reverb thru the loop, then goose the front end for solos = :drool. I tend to run the gain at about 1-2 o' clock for a bluesy rhythm and boost from there -or- almost flat out (3-4 o' clock) for the 90's grunge in me. I always leave the boost on though. I feel you lose too much highs when turning it off.

In small ways, the Runt reminds me of my old Pro Junior. It just has that frequency that jumps out in front of the mix when you goose it. I usually attend a huge house blues jam in late spring/early summer, and that Pro Junior absolutely ate all of their Blues Juniors, Hot Rod Deluxes and Deluxe Reverbs up. They kept asking me to turn down... hehehehehe! I was on four on the volume knob... This Runt 20 seems like it's going to do the same thing.
 
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AD1982

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904
Cool, but for my needs a clean boost in the loop is a must. If I'm running the amp distorted, it's really the only way to get a volume boost for leads. I don't use it for more dirt or to push the amp harder, I use it only for a volume boost and a slight EQ change to reduce the highs and bass and bring out the mids a bit so the tone cuts through a live mix a little better.

Currently I'm running my HD500X in the loop only and I use a Vintage Pre EQ boosted a couple DBs in the loop. It does just that too, boosts volume and adds a bit of EQ to the tone. I'll eventually run it 4 cable method and set up one pedal to turn on the Vintage Pre EQ (I use it like I'd use a Fulltone Fat Boost) and a Tube Screamer on at the same time.
 

guitarman3001

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12,187
Cool. I do like my DSL40 but I just can't bond with the shared EQ. Like I've mentioned a few times on this and other threads, for my playing style and the tones I like (from very clean to Allman Brothers to ZZ Top to ACDC to blues-based hair metal), it's hard to use it as a channel switcher. I always have to sacrifice the tone on one of the channels. If I was OK with a single channel amp as a pedal platform, I could make it work but I really like having two completely usable channels.

I'm hoping the Runt 20 can give me a usable clean channel and the dirt channel gives me a combination of the DSL40s crunch mode and the red channel's higher gain sounds. I'm also not opposed to using a boost pedal in front of the amp to goose it for more gain if needed. I have plenty to pick from including an EP Booster and an SHO, and several overdrives, so I'm sure I'll be able to put something together that will hopefully give me the versatility and tones I feel I'm missing with the DSL40.

The lack of built in reverb is disappointing but the DSL40's reverb sucks so bad that it may as well not even have it. Already looking into a mini sized reverb pedal. The TC HOF Mini is at the top of the list.
 

AD1982

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904
Cool. I do like my DSL40 but I just can't bond with the shared EQ. Like I've mentioned a few times on this and other threads, for my playing style and the tones I like (from very clean to Allman Brothers to ZZ Top to ACDC to blues-based hair metal), it's hard to use it as a channel switcher. I always have to sacrifice the tone on one of the channels. If I was OK with a single channel amp as a pedal platform, I could make it work but I really like having two completely usable channels.

I'm hoping the Runt 20 can give me a usable clean channel and the dirt channel gives me a combination of the DSL40s crunch mode and the red channel's higher gain sounds. I'm also not opposed to using a boost pedal in front of the amp to goose it for more gain if needed. I have plenty to pick from including an EP Booster and an SHO, and several overdrives, so I'm sure I'll be able to put something together that will hopefully give me the versatility and tones I feel I'm missing with the DSL40.

The lack of built in reverb is disappointing but the DSL40's reverb sucks so bad that it may as well not even have it. Already looking into a mini sized reverb pedal. The TC HOF Mini is at the top of the list.

The TC HOF Mini is a kick ass pedal (my fav on the market right now), and cheap too. I does just about everything it's big bro does, but just through the app instead. Check out the Robben Ford toneprint, add a little longer decay to it, and you've got a really awesome tone for around $100.

I plan on moving on from the HD500X soon (too much work) and going with a EQ pedal and TC HOF Mini in the loop, and a Ibanez TS Mini and TC Spark Mini for gain boosts. Not sure which delay to go for at the moment though. The Alter Ego X4 for $149 at Pro Guitar Shop is super tempting right now.
 

ken374

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7,339
Cool. I do like my DSL40 but I just can't bond with the shared EQ. Like I've mentioned a few times on this and other threads, for my playing style and the tones I like (from very clean to Allman Brothers to ZZ Top to ACDC to blues-based hair metal), it's hard to use it as a channel switcher. I always have to sacrifice the tone on one of the channels. If I was OK with a single channel amp as a pedal platform, I could make it work but I really like having two completely usable channels.

I'm hoping the Runt 20 can give me a usable clean channel and the dirt channel gives me a combination of the DSL40s crunch mode and the red channel's higher gain sounds. I'm also not opposed to using a boost pedal in front of the amp to goose it for more gain if needed. I have plenty to pick from including an EP Booster and an SHO, and several overdrives, so I'm sure I'll be able to put something together that will hopefully give me the versatility and tones I feel I'm missing with the DSL40.

The lack of built in reverb is disappointing but the DSL40's reverb sucks so bad that it may as well not even have it. Already looking into a mini sized reverb pedal. The TC HOF Mini is at the top of the list.
bias it to 30 and get back with me, could always use a eq in the loop for the red to fatten it up
 




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