thoughts on a DSL20 combo?

circles

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I'm considering adding a second amp for both indulgent stereo sweetness, but also as a backup amp (just in case). Currently I have a JCM900 combo which I rather like, but I don't think it's made anymore. It seems the DSL20 would be a nice one to fill that role. I'd go JCM800 but want two channels.

Never had one, not sure if my local stores have any in stock to noodle with, but I'm generally pleased with my Marshall purchases. I know there are some notable differences, but for what I plan to use it for, I think it will be acceptable. Any word on reliability for these amps?
 

Gene Ballzz

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Not so much a knock on reliability, as long as all functions properly when you get it. The thing is with the DSL20, unless using it as a pedal platform, it won't really give up its tonalgoodness until fairly well cranked and loud. There is no MASTER VOLUME per se, simply a preamp VOLUME for each channel. With that VOLUME turned down, you don't get the full preamp cooking and certainly not the power section cooking. The cooking power section is where the real sonic goodness of this particular model lives! The DSL40CR has better MASTER VOLUME control, but in my honest opinion doesn't sound quite as great as well cranked DSL20!
Just My Take,
Gene
 

circles

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Not so much a knock on reliability, as long as all functions properly when you get it. The thing is with the DSL20, unless using it as a pedal platform, it won't really give up its tonalgoodness until fairly well cranked and loud. There is no MASTER VOLUME per se, simply a preamp VOLUME for each channel. With that VOLUME turned down, you don't get the full preamp cooking and certainly not the power section cooking. The cooking power section is where the real sonic goodness of this particular model lives! The DSL40CR has better MASTER VOLUME control, but in my honest opinion doesn't sound quite as great as well cranked DSL20!
Just My Take,
Gene
Thanks for the info! And clarifying the lack of a master volume.

Amps are interesting, I have had the same guitar for 30 years, but go through amps for various reasons. One being the kind of band I'm in. Currently I'm jamming with a rather consistently loud (but tight) drummer, so pushing it may not be a problem. I would shop for a matching amp, but really wanted a new one this go around, this 900 I bought used, not sure what it's been through.
 

scozz

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Some of the Dsl20s have had a “hissing” issue, there were a number of threads complaining about it a a few years ago.

Someone posted a thread just the other day complaining about the same problem, loud hissing.

I just wanted to mention this to you, to make you aware of it so you could bring it up in the conversation of the amp.

Supposedly it’s the gryrato causing the hiss, (that’s per Marshall)

I’d do a bit more research before I’d buy it.
 
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phase27

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Some of the Dsl20s have had a “hissing” issue, there were a number of threads complaining about it a a few years ago.

Someone posted a thread just the other day complaining about the same problem, loud hissing.

I just wanted to mention this to you, to make you aware of it so you could bring it up in the conversation of the amp.

Supposedly it’s the gryrato causing the hiss, (that’s per Marshall)

I’d do a bit more research before I’d
It was likely me the other day, lol. I've posted a few times about my DSL20. Love the amp, but its just noisy. You definitely need to play it first. I didn't know about this common issue when I bought mine used. Even on the clean channel, with all the knobs turned to the left, no guitar plugged in, it sounds as if it's cranked with high gain. Not an issue when playing loud, but pretty distracting if you're playing at bedroom volumes or trying to record clean.

If you get a good one, then definitely go for it. But listen for that first!

One more note on low volume playing. Where the 40CR has a master volume to get great tones at low volume, the 20CR needs a volume pedal or knob in the loop. I got one for $20. Allows you to crank the preamp, without cranking the power amp. And it sounds damn good even at low volume.
 

circles

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It was likely me the other day, lol. I've posted a few times about my DSL20. Love the amp, but its just noisy. You definitely need to play it first. I didn't know about this common issue when I bought mine used. Even on the clean channel, with all the knobs turned to the left, no guitar plugged in, it sounds as if it's cranked with high gain. Not an issue when playing loud, but pretty distracting if you're playing at bedroom volumes or trying to record clean.

If you get a good one, then definitely go for it. But listen for that first!

One more note on low volume playing. Where the 40CR has a master volume to get great tones at low volume, the 20CR needs a volume pedal or knob in the loop. I got one for $20. Allows you to crank the preamp, without cranking the power amp. And it sounds damn good even at low volume.

Thanks for the info.

I used to have a Fender Supersonic 22, which I rather liked, but it too had a background hiss that, while was not an issue in context of playing, became a slightly irritating playing a home at normal levels. I dunno, still looking for a holy grail amp I guess.
 

Jethro Rocker

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preamp VOLUME for each channel. With that VOLUME turned down, you don't get the full preamp cooking and certainly not the power section cooking.

the 20CR needs a volume pedal or knob in the loop. I got one for $20. Allows you to crank the preamp, without cranking the power amp. And it sounds damn good even at low volume.
This makes no sense to me. A Master volume is simply an overall volume for the entire amp. Turn the gain way up amd volume down on each channel of a DSL20 and the preamp IS indeed cranked. The power section comes into play when one or more channel volumes are turned up. They would be irrelevant to the preamp.
The only reason for a master on the 40 is to adjust overall volume while keeping the relative volumes between each channel.
The 20 one would have to turn each volume up accordingly if overall volume too low. But nothing to do with preamp.
 

scozz

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This makes no sense to me. A Master volume is simply an overall volume for the entire amp. Turn the gain way up amd volume down on each channel of a DSL20 and the preamp IS indeed cranked. The power section comes into play when one or more channel volumes are turned up. They would be irrelevant to the preamp.
The only reason for a master on the 40 is to adjust overall volume while keeping the relative volumes between each channel.
The 20 one would have to turn each volume up accordingly if overall volume too low. But nothing to do with preamp.
This is what I’ve always thought, and this is leaning into the discussion of,…

…. “What is a Master Volume”?

It seems it has taken on multiple meanings from what I thought it was, back with the 1970s amps.
 

Jethro Rocker

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This is what I’ve always thought, and this is leaning into the discussion of,…

…. “What is a Master Volume”?

It seems it has taken on multiple meanings from what I thought it was, back with the 1970s amps.
Yep. If the Gain is up, you get preamp distortion even at next to zero volumes. Otherwise where is the grit coming from especially OD channel? Granted it sounds better louder, what tube amps don't?
 

phase27

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Maybe my explanation for it wasn't accurate as to what's going on, but have you played a 20CR? If you want to play it quiet, say at 0.5, or even 1, its fizzy beyond being playable. On the red channel, with the gain up at 3 o clock. Like, it sounds like you are hearing it through headphones that are turned up loud on your desk. No low end at all. And I'm not just talking about how tube amps sound okay low, but much better loud... it's flat out unlistenable at TV volume. If you get it up to a 2 or 3 on the volume dial, it starts to get a full sound with nice low end like you'd expect. But at this point it can be too loud, especially at night with family int he next room. So I dial it back with the volume knob in the loop, and it still sounds great, but super quiet.

Would be happy to post a video of it if that's not clear, or if you have a different experience.

PS - my 40CR on the other hand does not have this characteristic. It can be barely cracked open at a 0.5 or 1, and still have a nice full tone, just quiet.
 

Jethro Rocker

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Maybe my explanation for it wasn't accurate as to what's going on, but have you played a 20CR? If you want to play it quiet, say at 0.5, or even 1, its fizzy beyond being playable. On the red channel, with the gain up at 3 o clock. Like, it sounds like you are hearing it through headphones that are turned up loud on your desk. No low end at all. And I'm not just talking about how tube amps sound okay low, but much better loud... it's flat out unlistenable at TV volume. If you get it up to a 2 or 3 on the volume dial, it starts to get a full sound with nice low end like you'd expect. But at this point it can be too loud, especially at night with family int he next room. So I dial it back with the volume knob in the loop, and it still sounds great, but super quiet.

Would be happy to post a video of it if that's not clear, or if you have a different experience.

PS - my 40CR on the other hand does not have this characteristic. It can be barely cracked open at a 0.5 or 1, and still have a nice full tone, just quiet.
Makes sense. You are still using the preamp for that really quiet fizzy stuff. I suspect it just sounds better when it is up a bit. The 40 also has 2 more modes to work with that sound different too of course.
Sounds like a good way to get around it. Bug the preamp,is still used when gain is high. Perhaps it adds another half a preamp tube when volume goes up a bit.
No I haven't played one. I owned a 40C for a few years and have played a wide variety of Marshalls with various control setups though.
I guess what I'm saying is if volume added more preamp distortion should go up as volume is increased as well.
I assume that is in channel 2 not channel 1?
 

phase27

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Makes sense. You are still using the preamp for that really quiet fizzy stuff. I suspect it just sounds better when it is up a bit. The 40 also has 2 more modes to work with that sound different too of course.
Sounds like a good way to get around it. Bug the preamp,is still used when gain is high. Perhaps it adds another half a preamp tube when volume goes up a bit.
No I haven't played one. I owned a 40C for a few years and have played a wide variety of Marshalls with various control setups though.
I guess what I'm saying is if volume added more preamp distortion should go up as volume is increased as well.
I assume that is in channel 2 not channel 1?
Gotcha, seems like a good explanation. Yeah this is channel 2, not 1. I also have a JCM2000 which acts like the 40CR. Still great at low volume. The 20CR was a head scratcher to me since I do need to play low volume at night. Was worried at first that I'd need to return it but the volume in the loop solved it.
 

Jethro Rocker

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Gotcha, seems like a good explanation. Yeah this is channel 2, not 1. I also have a JCM2000 which acts like the 40CR. Still great at low volume. The 20CR was a head scratcher to me since I do need to play low volume at night. Was worried at first that I'd need to return it but the volume in the loop solved it.
Channel 2 is like OD 2 from 40 as I understand it. A bit over the top gain wise which I guess would be fizzy sorta?

Interesting how the volume higher but attenuated in loop solves it. Perhaps it does add more circuitry besides just volume, that control....
 

Jethro Rocker

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Makes me wonder.
With the 40, if channel volume is low and master is low, is it thin and fizzy too like 20 is?
Rather than channel volume up some and master really low..
 

phase27

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Sorry @circles we hijacked your thread! If you don't mind a semi noisy amp like your old Fender and you're in the Central Texas area, I'll make you a good deal on my DSL20 :)

Makes me wonder.
With the 40, if channel volume is low and master is low, is it thin and fizzy too like 20 is?
Rather than channel volume up some and master really low..
No, it's not. I can go MV all the way up, and barely crack open the channel volume (going for same high gain tone), and it sounds nice. Not the thin/fizzy characteristic of the 20. (Not to be confused with Thin Lizzy).

I recorded the 20 to give you a better idea. It's not a problem, just interesting. Only really an observation if you're playing quiet at night. And the volume in the loop solves it. It seems like maybe it's what you said, where it's just another preamp tube engaging past a certain point.

 

Gene Ballzz

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This makes no sense to me. A Master volume is simply an overall volume for the entire amp. Turn the gain way up amd volume down on each channel of a DSL20 and the preamp IS indeed cranked. The power section comes into play when one or more channel volumes are turned up. They would be irrelevant to the preamp.
The only reason for a master on the 40 is to adjust overall volume while keeping the relative volumes between each channel.
The 20 one would have to turn each volume up accordingly if overall volume too low. But nothing to do with preamp.

You need to see the schematic to really understand. Each channel has it's own VOLUME control "BEFORE" a shared gain stage (not a cathode follower) and that shared gain stage is "BEFORE" the tone stack that then feeds the effects loop. Those two VOLUME pots control the amount of signal driving both that shared gain stage and the tone stack, which then feeds the effects loop and then the phase inverter. A typical MASTER VOLUME would be either just "BEFORE" (not as typical) or just "AFTER" the effects loop (as on the DSL40CR), yet still before the phase inverter. This is why a JHS, LBAB can work a treat on the DSL 20, by allowing the preamp to run full out and adding an actual MASTER VOLUME control in the loop, to turn down the power section. Post Phase Inverter Master Volumes (PPIMV) are different animals altogether and not invloved here!
Just Techin'
Gene
 

circles

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Sorry @circles we hijacked your thread! If you don't mind a semi noisy amp like your old Fender and you're in the Central Texas area, I'll make you a good deal on my DSL20 :)


No, it's not. I can go MV all the way up, and barely crack open the channel volume (going for same high gain tone), and it sounds nice. Not the thin/fizzy characteristic of the 20. (Not to be confused with Thin Lizzy).

I recorded the 20 to give you a better idea. It's not a problem, just interesting. Only really an observation if you're playing quiet at night. And the volume in the loop solves it. It seems like maybe it's what you said, where it's just another preamp tube engaging past a certain point.


It's all good. I basically got my answers, happy to learn new stuff.
 

scozz

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Maybe my explanation for it wasn't accurate as to what's going on, but have you played a 20CR? If you want to play it quiet, say at 0.5, or even 1, its fizzy beyond being playable. On the red channel, with the gain up at 3 o clock. Like, it sounds like you are hearing it through headphones that are turned up loud on your desk. No low end at all. And I'm not just talking about how tube amps sound okay low, but much better loud... it's flat out unlistenable at TV volume. If you get it up to a 2 or 3 on the volume dial, it starts to get a full sound with nice low end like you'd expect. But at this point it can be too loud, especially at night with family int he next room. So I dial it back with the volume knob in the loop, and it still sounds great, but super quiet.

Would be happy to post a video of it if that's not clear, or if you have a different experience.

PS - my 40CR on the other hand does not have this characteristic. It can be barely cracked open at a 0.5 or 1, and still have a nice full tone, just quiet.
I don’t doubt you for a moment, I’m just a little surprised to hear that the Dsl20 is almost unusable at very low volumes. I HAVE heard that the 40 is much better at low volumes than the 20, just about everyone that owns one says that.

So I’m just curious, in what situation would you choose to use your Dsl20? I mean does the 20 sound really good cranked, maybe better than your 40 does?

The reason for the questions is I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a Dsl 20 or 40, mostly for the clean channel,… wait,.. not mostly, “only” for the clean channel would be a more accurate.
 

Jethro Rocker

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You need to see the schematic to really understand. Each channel has it's own VOLUME control "BEFORE" a shared gain stage (not a cathode follower) and that shared gain stage is "BEFORE" the tone stack that then feeds the effects loop. Those two VOLUME pots control the amount of signal driving both that shared gain stage and the tone stack, which then feeds the effects loop and then the phase inverter. A typical MASTER VOLUME would be either just "BEFORE" (not as typical) or just "AFTER" the effects loop (as on the DSL40CR), yet still before the phase inverter. This is why a JHS, LBAB can work a treat on the DSL 20, by allowing the preamp to run full out and adding an actual MASTER VOLUME control in the loop, to turn down the power section. Post Phase Inverter Master Volumes (PPIMV) are different animals altogether and not invloved here!
Just Techin'
Gene
Aaaahhh I get it. totally different critter.
I stand fully corrected!!


 


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