20 watt combo shootout… help…

Ben Decko

New Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
12
Hello,

I, well actually my son (he’s 14), is looking for a 20 watt combo amp. Something that will hold its own in a small venue but not obnoxiously loud and/or heavy.
I bought an origin 20, but he/we like something a little more gain-y and even with pedals, that 10” speaker lacks ballz.
That leaves me with a DSL 20, basically. I found a used JCM 2000 201, but I don’t know how those compare to each other. There isn’t anything on YouTube or online comparing them. A silver jubilee is more than I want to spend and I/we would like reverb. Side note my main amp is a fender deluxe reverb. The guitars that would be played through the Marshall would be a Les Paul with classic 57s and a Jackson soloist with slightly hotter pickups than the 57s. 498/490 (I think those are the numbers)… at least the Duncan version of them.
Please help me.

***edit***
If I end up with a dsl… I will replace the speaker with a cream back. I don’t know what the 2000 201 has for a speaker
 
Last edited:

crossroadsnyc

Senior Moderator
Staff Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
22,175
Reaction score
23,194
What kind of budget are you working with? Are you dead set on a combo, or have you considered a rig consisting of a head & cabinet? If set on a combo, it sounds like the DSL40 would be a pretty ideal fit. Options would expand considerably if open to a head & cab.
 

fitz288

Well-Known Yinzer
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
5,760
Reaction score
15,455
Location
the Burgh
The DSL20C is a 12".
Plenty of gain and 2 channel.
Yes, ditch the Seventy-80 speaker if still stock.
If you find a used one, it may already have a speaker change.
For a few bucks more, the DSL40CR has way more options, would be great for a small venue, and I've heard it's actually better at low volume.
 

Trelwheen

Made With Real Bacon
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Messages
3,214
Reaction score
7,975
Location
Texas
The DSL combo will produce gobs more drive than the Origin. I've got a DSL40 with a Creamback 65 that I bought for a grab n go practice amp. It will get as hairy or fuzzy as you want. I'm not a huge fan of the DSLs but they sure are popular. I'm particularly unimpressed with the cream back speaker because it farts out at medium to high volume unless you dial the bottom end out.

Mesa's Subway Rocket combos are worth a serious look. They're discontinued but there are lots of them on reverb in the 600 to $700 range. They have a lot of muscle and will scream bloody murder. Much sweeter amps than the DSLs to my ears.

Good luck. Amp hunting can be fun.
 

Ben Decko

New Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
12
Thank you all for the quick feedback. My budget is 750-800 max …. Used is okay. Whatever I do with a dsl the speaker will go.
DSL 40 I am a little concerned about bedroom volume… but I know it gets down to 20 watts.
Certainly not opposed to Mesa or similar gain-y amps. Think slash or John Sykes on the whitesnake 87 album.
Anyone had any experience with the JCM 2000 201?
Pretty well set on a combo.
 

marshallmellowed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
5,334
Reaction score
8,785
Although not "all tube", but still a Marshall, the JMD:1 is a great budget amp. They use a modeling preamp into an EL34 power amp. The combos were a bit weak on the cabinet construction, so condition of the cab would be something to look out for on those. Very versatile amp, programmable presets with onboard useable FX. Typically around $400-$500 used.
 

gregr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
766
Reaction score
868
DSL-wise, a 40C at a minimum and not a 401. Lesser DSLs do not have a proper crunch mode.

I’d have a look at a Blackstar HT-20 and a Boss Katana.

Be prepared to replace a stock low budget speaker such as a Celestion Seventy 80.
 
Last edited:

SkyMonkey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
4,048
Reaction score
5,879
Location
Location:Location
Never heard a 201, but I had the 401 back in the day.
You will only get one of the OD channels (OD2), so 2 channels instead of 3.
Have a look at this review: https://legendarytones.com/marshall-jcm-2000-dsl-201/
It claims the stock speaker is a 12" Celestion G12E-50 16 ohm.
Google says that the G12E-50 is a 'Rocket 50', which is actually a step below a Seventy/80, believe it or not!
But at least it'll be guaranteed to be broken in after 19 or so years.
Here's a short MF thread on the DSL201: https://www.marshallforum.com/threads/dsl-201-combo-rare-or-what.45096/

Here's the DSL201 manual: https://www.manualslib.com/products/Marshall-Amplification-Jcm-2000-Dsl-201-2651416.html

One of the reasons I traded my 401 for a 40CR was the Parallel loop on the 401 (and the 201).
It is a TBE killer! I couldn't get the 401 to work in 4CM with my Boss GT-10.
The DSL20 has a series loop, so no worries there.

But the DSL20's did have an early bad patch of examples with serious wiring mistakes.
The signal chain placement of the E/out and FX Loops were all over the place.
I tried a DSL20HR for a very short while when they first came out and had to give up.
Every DSL20 in the shop had the same faults, so I put the extra to a DSL40CR and have never looked back.

And, yes, 40CR's are better at low volumes due to their dual Master Volumes.
They are also better at high volumes due to their 40 watts! :naughty:
The stock V-Type speaker in a 40CR really doesn't need upgrading either.
 

Listogast

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
121
Reaction score
255
DSL would be perfect for you. I have no trouble playing my DSl40 at bedroom volumes and that's on max power too. I never use anything but max power. Since they are more preamp oriented amps, you don't really have to crank them to get a good distorted tone.
 

fitz288

Well-Known Yinzer
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
5,760
Reaction score
15,455
Location
the Burgh
I bought an origin 20, but he/we like something a little more gain-y and even with pedals, that 10” speaker lacks ballz.
If ya still got the Origin20C, you might not want to give up on it too quickly.
I have the Origin20H & the DSL20H and I like them both.
They are different, but equally great amps.
My Origin, with a few choice pedals, and a few tube changes, can be just as much of gain-y amp as my DSL.
The Origin, IMO has a nice rich organic 70'ish classic rock overdrive tone, while the DSL ultra gain channel is more like an 80'ish hair metal tone.
A speaker extension cab on the Origin would get you from a home amp to a gig amp with some more "ballz".
 

solarburnDSL50

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
18,461
Reaction score
15,860
Location
Wetville
I wouldn't on the 201. I'd go for the current DSL's. I've had my DSL40 C years now and I still get great tones from it. I will add a disclaimer that I don't need my amps to give more than a solid hard rock saturation. I don't play anything modern heavy. Music wise.

Hope ya find a good amp for a good deal. And your boy loves playing it.:eddie:
 

Ben Decko

New Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
12
I see dsl 40s in my FB market place and or Craigslist quite a bit. Usually around 450-500. I almost never see dsl 20s, which is frankly why I thought they might be more sought after. 40 is a little heavier, but not too bad. Glad to hear I won’t immediately need to swap the speaker on the 40. That will probably be what I end up with then. I’ll sell my origin 20 for 300-350 and pay another 100 or so and get a dsl 40. Thanks, chaps!
 

fitz288

Well-Known Yinzer
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
5,760
Reaction score
15,455
Location
the Burgh
I see dsl 40s in my FB market place and or Craigslist quite a bit. Usually around 450-500. I almost never see dsl 20s, which is frankly why I thought they might be more sought after. 40 is a little heavier, but not too bad. Glad to hear I won’t immediately need to swap the speaker on the 40. That will probably be what I end up with then. I’ll sell my origin 20 for 300-350 and pay another 100 or so and get a dsl 40. Thanks, chaps!
If you're looking at the DSL40, you'll probably want the newer "CR", and not the older "C"
Here's how to tell the difference.
The older ones have the DSL logo beside the power & standby switches.
upload_2021-7-24_21-54-38.png
The newer ones have more functions and the logo is below the switches.
upload_2021-7-24_21-55-31.png
If you have the option get the newer one.
 

solarburnDSL50

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
18,461
Reaction score
15,860
Location
Wetville
I see dsl 40s in my FB market place and or Craigslist quite a bit. Usually around 450-500. I almost never see dsl 20s, which is frankly why I thought they might be more sought after. 40 is a little heavier, but not too bad. Glad to hear I won’t immediately need to swap the speaker on the 40. That will probably be what I end up with then. I’ll sell my origin 20 for 300-350 and pay another 100 or so and get a dsl 40. Thanks, chaps!

I remember when I first bought my DSL40C. Thought what a great grab and go combo before it arrived. Good grief. Heavy mofo!Lol

I don't have to move mine much but when I do I warm up prior for a heavy one handed lift and carry. :agreed::D
 

Kim Lucky Day

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Messages
471
Reaction score
1,262
Might want to give a look at a Fender Bassbreaker 30r combo. Decent Reverb, as clean or as dirty as you want it to be, master volume, 3 switchable gain stages... 1x12 combo. Bassbreaker get a bad rap for being difficult to work on due to the chassis and circuit boards used but the detractors all assume they are gonna break because of how they're built. They are a fantastic-sounding amp, you should be able to find used ones in the $500-$650 range.
 

crossroadsnyc

Senior Moderator
Staff Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
22,175
Reaction score
23,194
I see dsl 40s in my FB market place and or Craigslist quite a bit. Usually around 450-500. I almost never see dsl 20s, which is frankly why I thought they might be more sought after. 40 is a little heavier, but not too bad. Glad to hear I won’t immediately need to swap the speaker on the 40. That will probably be what I end up with then. I’ll sell my origin 20 for 300-350 and pay another 100 or so and get a dsl 40. Thanks, chaps!

Those lower powered DSL's are tempting (hell, the 1W is the cost of a good pedal), but the drawback is the lack of features compared to the 40W (or 100W head). The DSL40 will give you a full feature set, will be great for home use, and powerful enough for your son to grow with as he matures as a player.

@fitz288 has a good suggestion as well, as there are dirt boxes out there to quench pretty much any thirst. It might be a better discussion for the Tone Zone sub-forum, but if you have a tone/tones in your head that you're aiming for, your likely to get a number of great suggestions to take a look into. Not sure about your timing needs, but it could be worth it to just take a look in this direction before you pull the trigger one way or another.
 

Crikey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
1,495
Reaction score
2,702
At GC I tried the marshall 20 watt combos, Sv,Sc? and that 10” speaker aint much for tone. i am sure they sound better with a good 1, 2x12
 

Mitchell Pearrow

Well-Known Member
VIP Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2018
Messages
16,748
Reaction score
34,827
Location
Moreno Valley CA
I see dsl 40s in my FB market place and or Craigslist quite a bit. Usually around 450-500. I almost never see dsl 20s, which is frankly why I thought they might be more sought after. 40 is a little heavier, but not too bad. Glad to hear I won’t immediately need to swap the speaker on the 40. That will probably be what I end up with then. I’ll sell my origin 20 for 300-350 and pay another 100 or so and get a dsl 40. Thanks, chaps!
Welcome to the forum
I would not be so fast to sell the Origin, unless you need the extra coin for the 40cr, as my buddy @fitz288 says they both cover a lot of ground, and have a very unique voice..
And yes I am a bit biased in my opinion as I own both, but my DSL40C’s are the older ones.
Cheers to getting your Marshall tones dialed in !!
Mitch
 


Top