Can a DSL 100H get close to a Friedman BE100?

El Gringo

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I have a DSL 100 and it is nice is all I can say. Or close but no cigar and I want the cigar. I ordered a Silver Jubilee 2555X last October or November been so long I cant remember. All i have is the “A” cabinet that arrived a month ago. Comparing the cabs, in all honesty, I think the biggest difference from the mx 4-12 and the SJ is the wood the cabs are made from. Plus better speakers of course but the particle board cabinets of the MX series does not even compare to the spruce plywood of the SJ. The soundboards of acoustic guitars or even pianos are spruce. Now that I have both A cab plugged into my DSL the SJ cab Just sounds full and warm where the MX cab is just empty and you have to adjust the amp to produce the sound and that goes only so far. If the SJ B cab and head comes in next month my DSL will be for sale.
This blows my mind as I never stopped to consider the wood aspect in a cab .
 

tallcoolone

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Me neither. I wasn't 100% sure they ever hit the A/B switch. Like another commenter said, if they sound that similar then why am I paying 4x more for the Friedman? There's a lot of gear you can buy with that kind of money!
To be fair it is a YT vid. Playing them in person you notice the difference in tone and feel immediately.
 

Jackco

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I think if you pay for the boutique amp, you will perceive it as "the best" to help yourself justify the cost you paid. The DSL series is a great value from Marshall. The help to sell amps and make money to invest in their made in UK higher end amps. Regardless of the caliber of amp, the speakers are what you hear it through.
 

tallcoolone

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I think if you pay for the boutique amp, you will perceive it as "the best" to help yourself justify the cost you paid. The DSL series is a great value from Marshall. The help to sell amps and make money to invest in their made in UK higher end amps. Regardless of the caliber of amp, the speakers are what you hear it through.
Not sure I agree with the first part, not that confirmation bias doesn't come into play ever, but it is far from an absolute--esp from those of us who have owned 100+ amps. I know within a few scales whether I'm going to bond with an amp usually. You can't judge response or attack or sag from a YT video so many times I buy an amp based on clips and more than a dozen times it has gone out the door very shortly after I plugged in. I can't be alone there

Speakers are indeed an underrated part of the chain tho--that's fo sho
 

DerekLicon

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I want to preface this by saying that I don't hate the DSL, and to me they sound fine and do the job they were intended for pretty well. However...

....I have a JCM 2000 DSL 100 was stock but then I added a new revised main board, choke and a Classictone OT, and have played the DSL100H (live), the BE and the Runt. I have also repaired/modded the JCM 2000's. The JCM 2000s are not the same amp as the newer DSL100H or the DSL 100 HR. They are all different. There are even differences between JCM2000's as there are many board revisions, and two different transformer manufacturers (back then) Drake and Dagnall and both sound different due to this.

The DSL & all its iterations does not really come close to the BE and one look at the signal path would indicate why.
The old DSL stock with the Dagnall becomes mushy by itself and has a pretty poorly designed power section, It is acceptable but for my needs it doesnt really compare to alot of modern high gain amps. It is a relic of a bygone era. It doesnt deliver much clarity. For classic rock it is fine, it is not tight whatsoever for modern metal. It needs a boost. With a boost, they can sound great, however they start to fart out with the volume around 4 on channel 2.

The newer DSLs seem to be a slight improvement in some ways but IME they seem to lose some organic-ness from the older ones if that means much. They are slightly tighter than the older ones by themselves. IMO a boosted HR and a JCM2000 is a wash..

None of them compare to a BE (or anything else by Friedman.) The only time I'd choose a DSL over a Friedman is if I had a choice between using that or the BE OD pedals or the mini-head. Then, and only then, is when I'd take the DSL. Every iteration of the DSLs have puny filter caps, cheap resistor instead of a choke, and less-than adequate output transformers (older models). Marshall went kind of cheap on the internal components to keep the costs down. This is no secret. The BE is a very well engineered amplifier and everything seems selected and is purpose-based. That is why if you were to put the two heads next to each other played through identical cabs the BE will be simply BONECRUSHING in its headroom and pure volume and clarity, whereas the DSLs, just get kind of loud , loud enough to be heard over a loud drummer in the same room. I like the DSL, but there really is no contest. Now if you add a choke and a different OT to a DSL they sound much closer, because the mods IME made the amp more clear and tight especially at higher volumes. But Id rather still have a BE, because the rest of the DSL (preamp section, etc) is lacking compared to the BE. Hell, my buddy brought his modded (by Friedman) Runt over and that thing is way heavier and quite honestly ridiculous compared to my DSL. The difference is honestly astonishing. Sure, you can find videos of them sounding similar on YT but don't be fooled. I've also seen and heard recordings of various other amps (5150 vs Soldano) and YT compression does neither amp any favors. In person or in the studio there is no contest. To each his own.

EDIT: Lately, my JCM 2000 halfstack has been more of a decoration in my office/home studio. The GF wont allow me to sell it, because it "looks cool." I agree, however if I am recording guitars I usually go for the Elmwood Modena or the 5150 w/choke. I have other better amps at my disposal as well that are infact better suited for the job. But the Marshall, does make a GREAT bedroom decoration.
 
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sheguitarplayer

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It’s not clear exactly what the question is. Can the dsl sound like the Friedman?! Probably not. Can the Friedman sound like the Marshall? Again probably not. Undoubtably there is a difference in build quality reflected in the price. Does that make one sound better than the other ? Of course not. It’s a subjective thing and anyone that tells you one sounds better than the other is giving you their own personal opinion. It’s impossible for them to give you anything else If anyone thinks that their personal opinion on any subjective matter is more important or in any way better than yours well, there’s a name for that and those people probably wouldn’t like it. Unfortunately it’s not very helpful but it’s down to you in the end. Can a dsl hold up to a Friedman? Can a Friedman hold up to a DSL? It’s not really a question that has any real answer, just different opinions. Don’t fall into the trap that because something costs more it sounds better. That’s simply not true and never can be. Does one have better build quality? Definitely.
 

Ufoscorpion

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It’s not clear exactly what the question is. Can the dsl sound like the Friedman?! Probably not. Can the Friedman sound like the Marshall? Again probably not. Undoubtably there is a difference in build quality reflected in the price. Does that make one sound better than the other ? Of course not. It’s a subjective thing and anyone that tells you one sounds better than the other is giving you their own personal opinion. It’s impossible for them to give you anything else If anyone thinks that their personal opinion on any subjective matter is more important or in any way better than yours well, there’s a name for that and those people probably wouldn’t like it. Unfortunately it’s not very helpful but it’s down to you in the end. Can a dsl hold up to a Friedman? Can a Friedman hold up to a DSL? It’s not really a question that has any real answer, just different opinions. Don’t fall into the trap that because something costs more it sounds better. That’s simply not true and never can be. Does one have better build quality? Definitely.
I personally do think that the quality of the parts and build of an amp makes a difference in terms of sound and ‘ feel ‘ . It’s something you need to experience for yourself to understand really . If you were to build two amps with the same circuit and layout etc one with the cheapest parts you could get hold of and the other with the most expensive you would notice a difference sonically I think . Would be an interesting experiment that I’ve not seen done before , who knows maybe it would prove me wrong.
 

machinated

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I personally do think that the quality of the parts and build of an amp makes a difference in terms of sound and ‘ feel ‘ . It’s something you need to experience for yourself to understand really . If you were to build two amps with the same circuit and layout etc one with the cheapest parts you could get hold of and the other with the most expensive you would notice a difference sonically I think . Would be an interesting experiment that I’ve not seen done before , who knows maybe it would prove me wrong.

Its hard to compare because tolerances vary so much, especially on cheaper components. and a different component value will have a far more noticeable effect than the brand of it. Generally speaking, you'll pay more money for a tighter tolerance, and sturdier/longer lasting component. It's not to say there wouldn't be a sonic difference, but it would be extremely hard to even test properly, let alone notice. I'd still rather opt for high quality parts but also, we have many amps made these days with surface mount stuff and all levels of quality of components. Do most people even look under the chassis at the PCB and know what they're looking at? There's lots of great sounding amps on the market with some iffy caps in them that sound great but are prone to failing sooner than higher quality ones.

LIkewise, Marshall (for instance) just used what was available at the time. Many components can be made to a much higher quality in 2022 for less cost because manufacturing methods are so improved. I think there should be a distinction between a quality build and something that sounds good because they really don't have any relation. Sometimes you'll get both, sometimes you won't. Out of 20 or so amps in my collection, I can absolutely feel a difference between them but I genuinely don't think the quality of components comes into it. Its to do with the design of the circuit.
 

EJstrat&JVM

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This blows my mind as I never stopped to consider the wood aspect in a cab .
The wood is important, but also the size and the connection between parts. For example in a 4x12 cab you have a post between the baffle and the back, which acts a little bit like the soundpost in a violin, it makes a big difference, and it would make a much bigger difference if the back of the cab was made of spruce.
 

El Gringo

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The wood is important, but also the size and the connection between parts. For example in a 4x12 cab you have a post between the baffle and the back, which acts a little bit like the soundpost in a violin, it makes a big difference, and it would make a much bigger difference if the back of the cab was made of spruce.
This makes a lot of sense . Because Spruce is used on violin tops and tops on a lot of acoustic guitars like Martins for example . So the Guvnor Jim Marshall was very smart in this decision . This is pretty wild as I never once considered the type of wood used for the cabinets , much less the baffle . Thank you for the info as I am that much more informed . All I cared about before learning about this was that I made sure to have cabs with Celestion Vintage 30's , which we all know about the Marshall branded Vintage 30's .
 

EJstrat&JVM

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This makes a lot of sense . Because Spruce is used on violin tops and tops on a lot of acoustic guitars like Martins for example . So the Guvnor Jim Marshall was very smart in this decision . This is pretty wild as I never once considered the type of wood used for the cabinets , much less the baffle . Thank you for the info as I am that much more informed . All I cared about before learning about this was that I made sure to have cabs with Celestion Vintage 30's , which we all know about the Marshall branded Vintage 30's .
yep, spruce is expensive, but used in every soundboard for centuries, not just violins, violas, guitars, but in every piano soundboard. For the guitar cabs is very underrated, I would love to do experiments if I could. For example I think the baffle is mostly useless compared to the back (when using the post inside the cab). On the baffle you have the speakers adding dead weight on the "wood", but on the back you have the panel under tension by the post in a small area, which is not like adding an anchor to the soundboard. In a violin the belly is put under immense tension by the strings but only in a small area under the bridge feet. The same goes for the piano, the strings put the spruce soundboard under tension in a small area (you have a bridge in a piano as well). In a baffle there is no bridge, there is just a dead weight which muffle and choke any resonance. In short, baffle can go out, the back can stay but should be made of spruce.
 

El Gringo

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yep, spruce is expensive, but used in every soundboard for centuries, not just violins, violas, guitars, but in every piano soundboard. For the guitar cabs is very underrated, I would love to do experiments if I could. For example I think the baffle is mostly useless compared to the back (when using the post inside the cab). On the baffle you have the speakers adding dead weight on the "wood", but on the back you have the panel under tension by the post in a small area, which is not like adding an anchor to the soundboard. In a violin the belly is put under immense tension by the strings but only in a small area under the bridge feet. The same goes for the piano, the strings put the spruce soundboard under tension in a small area (you have a bridge in a piano as well). In a baffle there is no bridge, there is just a dead weight which muffle and choke any resonance. In short, baffle can go out, the back can stay but should be made of spruce.
Mind blowing as to the engineering aspect of this as it's more involved than I ever considered or thought of in the makeup of a Marshall cabinet . Thank You kindly for the info and education . Jim Marshall choose Spruce not by accident as that is for sure !
 

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