Marshall DSL

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About Marshall DSL

The Marshall DSL has been a mainstay in the range for many years. The DSL family are all-valve and feature channel switching and reverb to serve as a perfect base for your tone. The signature Marshall crunch is here in spades, whether you pick the DSL100 head or the tiny DSL1C 1 watt combo!

The DSL is the backbone of studios, rehearsal rooms and venues across the world, such is their sound, reliability and value. This is Marshall's most popular valve range of amps and most guitarists are familiar with them to one degree or another.

Frequently Asked Questions about Marshall DSL

Question: What does DSL stand for?
DSL stands for 'Dual Super Lead' and refers to the amp having two channels. The gain channel also has two options for drive intensity and the clean channel, depending on the model, can be either 'clean' or 'crunch'.
Question: What sort of cabinet should I use with my Marshall DSL100 head?
That's a great question. The classic Marshall cabinet is the 1960AV. It has four 12" cabinets and an angled front to allow you to get a little more of the sound from a standing position. The speakers inside are Celestion G12 units, perfect for a wide range of sounds from vintage to modern. If a full 4x12 cab is too much in terms of size, lots of guitarists use what's known as an oversized 2x12 cab. One of the best is the Marshall 1936 which features the same Celection G12 speakers but is lighter and more manageable. It's still easy enough to fill a room with powerful sound and its oversized shape can happily support a large amp head like a DSL100, JVM or any other head. You don't need to use a Marshall cab with a Marshall head - but they do make fantastic cabs, so why not?
Question: What is the deal with a 'standby' switch on valve amps like the Marshall DSL?
The Standby switch is one of the most misused features on a valve amp! Players not used to valves don't realise that the valves themselves need to warm up a little before you unleash your playing on them. To do this, you switch on the 'power' but leave the standby switch at 'standby'. Leave it for maybe 30 seconds and switch it to 'on'. The same is true in reverse. Don't just switch the amp off - this is a rookie error made by lots of bands in shared rehearsal rooms! When you finish playing, keep the power switch on and turn the Standby switch back from 'on' to 'standby'. Leave this for a minute and then hit the power off. This is the correct way to look after the valves in your amp.
Question: Can the DSL1C really have enough power to sound good?
You'd better believe it! Remember, wattages are related to power, not volume. These are definitely a lot less loud than, say, a DSL40C. But do remember that, due to the way power ratings are measured, a 100 watt amp is only twice as loud as a 10 watt amp! So yes, these small 1 watt Marshalls are a superb idea for getting great tones in the studio! They can also drive a bigger cabinet if you want a larger sound.
Question: I want a good portable valve combo for gigging with. Is the DSL range right for me?
Yes, we'd says the DSL range was designed primarily with you in mind! Check out the extremely popular DSL40 combo: it's all valve, relatively light and really reliable.