Marshall JCM 2000 DSL50 Opinions?

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Messages
9,070
I'm thinking about buying a DSL50 for $500 in good cosmetic shape with fresh tubes. What do you think? I am concerned with the quality of tone offered by the DSL50 for a variety of music, ranging from clean finger-picking to edge-of-breakup country/blues rhythm and lead to hard rockin/heavy metal. Think Pink Floyd, Petty, SRV, early Megadeth/Metallica, Machine Head. I might purchase the Marshall 1960a cab with Celestion GL-60s (never heard of these speakers), or just use my Avatar OS 2x12 with V30s

I've tried the DSL 100 and 50 watt heads at lower volumes in music stores and have mixed feelings about them. There seemed to be a variety of decent tones to be had, but the shared eq didn't work so well. What worked well on one channel hindered the other. The clean and crunch modes were nice, the lead 1 and especially lead 2 left me unsatisfied, kind of muddy and fizzy, not so articulate. But, this was at lower volumes and I'm guessing the amp would even out on the eq and fill out on the drive channels at higher volumes? I did like the DSLs better than Peavey 5150/6505 and Mesa anything (except Electradyne).

I have a Soldano Hot Rod 50 Plus with a shared eq for the 2 channels that works well. I'm looking at the DSL50 to add a different color for recording at home - more of the raw Marshall, EL34 British-flavored rock tone. Playing loud is not a problem. I might even consider flipping the Soldano if the DSL50 can cover the same sonic ground adequately.

I realize that the Soldano is a boutique amp that is hand-made in the USA out of top-quality parts, and that the Marshall is an amp made with less care using lower-quality parts, that has it's fair share of reliability issues reported on the internet. I'm not too concerned with reliability considering that I'll mostly be using the amp at home for fun and recording, not subjecting it to any abuse.

Thoughts?
 
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JStizz

Member
Messages
1,122
for $500 its worth it. they usually go for a bit more. if you dont like it, flip it for a few bucks profit.

in terms of tone... Hell, Jeff Beck used them for quite a few years (maybe he still is). I like the tone cranked on the DSL50s, but the whole JCM 2000 series lacks quality tone at low volumes. if you ask me, the DSL50 is only JCM2000 thats any good.

My experience with the DSL50 is that it is surprisingly versatile (meaning, all kinds of rock/metal/blues/country). They love V30s, however, I'm sure a solid Marshall cab with most any Celestions will do just fine as well.
 

mattoo31287

Member
Messages
861
If it were me I'd get it, if its in good shape like you say. If it doesn't work out maybe you can flip it for a little on eBay who knows. I've played a DSL50 and 100 and they were both great from what I remember. You can get a good array of tones out of it and should be able to cover the bands you listed to problem. Go for it man :dude
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Messages
9,070
Cool, 2 votes to grab it. Thanks! Sounds like a versatile amp, and a good deal for the money. I'll probably stick with my 2x12 cab. I really have no need for a 4x12.

Any more thoughts or experiences?
 

M@tt C

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,092
Used, they're a great bang for the buck Marshall amp......I had borrowed one for several weeks, and got some really good tones out of it. You can definitely cop a classic Marshall vibe, or dial up a more modern feel. Nice FX loop too.
 

paulscape

Member
Messages
3,528
They are great. Ch2 is not as bad as people make out although I only use lead 1 and not 2(high gain). Cleans wonderful. You may need a boost pedal for solo's. The switching pedal is not perfect but hardly noticeable playing live. I've also been able get good low volume tone. Pm if you want to hear. Cheers
 

Hackubus

Member
Messages
1,903
Very good bang for the buck used amp. The green channel works with pedals very well.
And a fellow can use the red channel for his solo boost.
 

paulscape

Member
Messages
3,528
And a fellow can use the red channel for his solo boost.
Yes correct, although I used ch2 for drive tones and ch 1 for clean. If I end up using it more often live I might try get that modded pedal that can switch within the two channels (clean to crunch etc).
 

Guitar_Dude

Member
Messages
289
I've had my Marshall DSL since 1997 and I've owned and sold many amps since then. The DSL is the only amp that I still use on an almost daily basis and for gigs.

I've added a Clean/Crunch footswitch mod for the green channel and its made the amp extremely versatile. Its simple and cheap.

I love the clean channel. Very rich sounding and a lot of clarity. It sounds great with a Strat on the neck pickup. This is the best Marshall clean I've ever had the pleasure of playing through.

The crunch mode of the green channel is where I spend most of my time. Either straight up or with a boost pedal in front, this mode absolutely shines. Its definitely ealry master volume territory, but smoother. I found that adding a choke ($25.00 upgrade) make a positive difference. It seems to add a little more grunt to the sound when cranked.
The Red channel is singing leads. Great for soloing. Tons of sustain. I don't care much for the over the top Lead II mode but Lead I is where its at. Much better than the Mesa lead tones I had.

If you already have a Soldano, you'll find that the Marshall DSL will be a very nice complement to it.
 

YETI

Member
Messages
757
Grab it..
The DSLs sound great when you get a little volume behind them and get those speakers to start moving air.
I got a used 50 a couple of weeks ago and spent a more than your deal. I would do it again.
 

okie

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,543
I use to gig with a DSL50 into a 1960a cab, really like the clean channel, not so much the lead channel, I couldn't eq or adjust out a nasally sound in the lead channel and it was still fizzy even at high volumes, seemed like the more volume you use on the lead channel the worse it got.

I also had problems with the shared eq. If you use both channels then you have to set the eq as a compromise between both channels. Seemed to be too much bass in the clean channel then too little in the lead.

As someone mentioned, there is a slight pause when you use the footswitch to change channels. Another known issue that I had was the channels cutting out and it's a simple fix of cleaning out the channel switch input with some contact cleaner and ramming a 1/4" jack back and forth, other than that it was very reliable.

I still have the DSL50 and keep it around as a backup and it's decent enough that I probably won't get rid of it.
 

Killcrop

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,519
The lead channel for some reason thins out. It's not as much of an eq thing as it is a design flaw. Solid amps for the clean and crunch mode alone though. Should be better clean edge of breakup tones than the HR50. The HR50 have killer lead tones but I don't care for the clean/edgy tones.
 

ronmail65

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,364
Sounds like a good deal. If the amp doesn't work for you, then you should be able to sell for same money or maybe better.

IME, the 100W DSLs sound better than the 50W DSLs ("better" being a completely subjective term -- maybe I should say "noticeably different"). If money isn't an issue, I'd give a 100W a real good listen just to make sure the 50W is what you want.
 

Phil M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,601
I would not hesitate to use one. Especially for the $500-$600 I see the heads go for.

And for whatever reason, I prefer the 50 to the 100.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Messages
9,070
Thanks for all of the replies and info!!

I brought the amp home yesterday afternoon. Like many of you mentioned, it will be easy to flip if it's not my thing.

I didn't get to spend much time with it yesterday, but here are my first impressions comparing it to the Soldano HR50+ thru an Avatar OS 2x12 with V30s, using a G&L Legacy HB. Note that these are based on mostly house-friendly volumes below 4 on the volume knobs:

Clean - nice clean channel that stays clean well up the volume and gain knobs. A bit brittle in the single coil settings unless the gain is cranked.

Crunch - I was dissapointed in this channel. The breakup was not as much as I expected, and was unpleasant/harsh. I was shooting for SRV to ACDC type tones where I could do clean to crunch with the guitars volume. It didn't work out so well. The Soldano's clean channel is based on the SLO's crunch setting, and does clean to crunch with guitar volume, nicely. I could live on that channel and a couple of drive pedals to get everything from clean to metal. I look forward to experimenting with pedals, preamp tubes and biasing to warm up this channel and increase the gain a tad.

Lead 1 - Love it. It is the hard rock/old-metal rhythm tone. Power chord heaven. It's more raw and trashy than the Soldano. Where the Soldano is refined, articulate and clear, the DSL50 is nasty, spitty and unpolite. Love it. I can see using this for rock rhythms and the Soldano for leads. Reminds me of the tones I got out of the Slash signature head. A criticism I have is that fast runs on the bass strings were muddy. The tone mushed out when trying to chug and rip on the upper two strings. I cranked the volume hoping this would tighten things up. Suprisingly, I found the tone to thin out and become harsh at higher volumes. Again, I look forward to making eq adjustments, tubes and biasing to tighen this channel up and keep it ballsy at higher volumes.

Lead 2 - ugh. Mush. Lack of definition. Bassy. This is with bass and tone shift switches unengaged. Maybe an overdrive in front will tighten things up and make it useable. Dunno that I would use it for much other than the occasional singing, high-gain solo, kind of like a Big Muff tone.

Overall, the amp is killer for $500. The addition of a pedal-friendly effects loop and, less significantly, reverb, help make this a bang-for-buck amp when compared to the Soldano. I can't wait to spend more time with it. I do have a few questions for those of you that have owned/own it:
How do I go about finding out what year this amp was made?
Tube suggestions?
The clean/crunch footswitch mod - how is it, how much is it (I would probably install myself), and is the volume difference remedied?
Last, any tips or suggestions on how to warm up and add some gain to the crunch channel, and how to tighten up and add some girth to the Lead channel?

Thanks again!
 

Ultron

Member
Messages
3,484
got one...love it. a few mods take care of issues...biggest one is clip (or replace with lower value) the treble bleed cap on the Lead channel....gives the Lead the same girth and oomph that the green channel has. Throw in a bigger OT, and choke if you want, and it's a killer head. I sold my Boogie Mark III, and kept the DSL50.

Where's Solarburn to comment? :D
 
Messages
1,455
DSL is a good deal for 500.00, but the Soldano will kick it's butt IMO.
I have a DSL 100. It can't hang at all with my boutique amps, but it is a good gig amp.
I don't know that I'd buy one to record with.

I find that if you use a lot of gain, they are better sounding a lower volumes.When you crank them in high gain mode they can become harsh.
Speaker and cabinet choice helps. If you run them full out in green mode without the crunch button in, it can be nice.

It's hard to get a good EQ on both channels, it's one of that amps Achilles' heels.
The green channel takes pedals pretty well. I always liked that amp with strats
more than Les Pauls.

Good luck and enjoy it.
 

Rev2S

Member
Messages
1,596
I had one then sold it within a couple of months. The cleans I thought, were awesome. I was really surprised at how nice they sounded. The other channels were pretty good....to me it sounded a little too fizzy and not too good on lower volumes.

For $500, you can't beat it!
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Messages
9,070
The Soldano is great. Most days I love it, some days it's not what I want to hear, but it always sings with great articulation, clarity, and harmonics.

My initial, inexperienced impression of the DSL50 is similar to my opinion of a PV Classic - two footswitchable channels with some great instant tones, nice effects loop, footswitchable reverb, great bang for buck amp used. Of course, the DSL50 sounds like a Marshall. :)
I think that the DSL50 for $500 is better than the Class 5 for $400. Two different amps for sure, but the DSL is plenty more amp for not much more moolah.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Messages
9,070
Sooooooooo

I checked out the back of the amp. It looks like a 1999 with Drake transformers, the original Svetlana power tubes and what I'm guessing are the original preamp tubes, which have no identifying marks or labels on them.

I adjusted the bias from 45mv to 39mv. I don't know if it's the change in bias or a change in my perception after a long day at work, but the crunch setting and lead 2 sound better. I still look forward to playing with pedals and swapping some preamp tubes.
 




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