Marshall DSL401 Reviews

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★★★★☆
3.7
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★☆☆☆☆

written by on 30/01/2011


Although employing EL84 output valves, rather than the EL34s found in by most Marshalls, this is still very much a Marshall. The tone controls offer a wide range of sounds, the FX loop is a nice touch, and the speaker-emulated output is a blessing to anyone trying to record at home.

The tonal range and the sound quality and tonal range is excellent - not quite on par with a hand-crafted boutique amp like a Matamp, but close. You'd need to to a back-to-back test to tell the difference. The Clean channel goes from warm and rich to crunch when the gain is turned up - ideal for blues and classic rock, controlling the distortion from the guitar. The OD1 channel is classic Marshall distortion - but still touch-sensitive and capable of clenaing up from the guitar - and the OD2 takes it to another level. You will NOT need a distortion or overdrive pedal with this amp.

So what's not to like? In a word - build quality. Mine died after a few weeks, and kept going back to the factory under warranty to be repaired, each time entailing a 6-8 week wait, only to die a month or two later. This carried on until the warranty expired.

So I took it to an amp tech, who re-soldered the entire circuit board, fitted a heavier-duty rectifier with added heat sink, and glued down the caps which had never been glued properly in the first place. He said the build quality was "shocking". Following suggestions posted in Marshall Forums, I've also fitted a cooling fan to the back. There are no ventilation slots, so the intense heat build-up around the valve bases can actually melt the solder on the PCB. It's a stupid and elementary design fault.

Since I had the amp rebuilt and fitted the cooling fan, I've had no problems. Why couldn't they they get it right in the first place? I'd have happily paid more for it and done without the hassle. But as it is, I really cannot recommend the DSL401 to anyone - not if they wan't reliablity, that is.


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“This is a very good combo. British made. I bought it...”

★★★★★

written by Hudson Hawk on 02/03/2010

This is a very good combo. British made. I bought it for my Les Paul Custom. And the moment I plugged in it was love. A wonderful full rich sound on clean like I have never heard before.
I have had zero trouble with overheating and this headroom thing is rot. This is the way it sounds and that's it! It's a Marshall!! and a wonderful one at that. None of your Chinese built stuff here. A well respected amp. All the guys at my Music shop use one and they love and recommend it. Thats why I got one and it was money well spent. Easy to carry and easy to set up and it looks great.

I dont give it any bad points the overdrive is very good but if you want real metal sound you need a pedal.

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“The Marshall DSL401 amp gives fabulous tones and a...”

★★★★★

written by bonzodogs on 18/12/2008

The Marshall DSL401 amp gives fabulous tones and a great sounding amp, love it despite the above and keeping it.
Am having it modded later for better headroom on the clean channel for the ultimate small combo.
Much nice tone distortion wise than the Peavey classic 30 which is also a fab amp that I'm also hanging on to.

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Tonyc7's Response to 426030_bonzodogs's Review

Written on: 27/11/2010

Would like to know where and how you are going to mod the amp 4 clean headroom

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