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Thread: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

  1. #1
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    Default Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    I have a Marshall DSL 50 JCM 2000 as well as a DSL20HR that I've recently got in a trade. Both are cool amps for sure! I had another DSL20HR a year or so ago that I bought from a store but it had a really bad hum so I returned that and exchanged it for the DSL 50 which I've had since. I really dug the idea of the DSL20HR so I had to give it another try. Since I got my DSL20HR (or even before that) people have asked me about how the 2 amps compare, so I thought I'd offer my 2 cents and a comparison video/demo.

    The DSL 50 JCM 2000 is made in the UK. I'm not sure in what year mine was made but I know mine used to belong to a well known gear/backline rental company so it came with a nice flightcase. I love how this amp has 2 channels with each 2 voices. This amp can do pretty much anything from clean to heavy rock stuff. The added 'deep' and 'tone shift' voicing options are nice for tone shaping. What can I say about the sound? Well, I'm no Marshall expert but to me it does a great job of producing that classic marshall sound with some extra versatility. To me this amp does have a 'vintage' touch to it but I'm used to modern rock amps.

    The DSL20HR is made in Vietnam. Just like the bigger DSL 50 this amp has 2 EL34's in the power section. Some of the features are different. The reverb is digital for example and the deep switch has been replaced by a resonance control, which is pretty great actually. This amp also has only 2 modes as opposed to 4 on the DSL 50. There's the classic gain channel and the ultra gain. This amp has a bit of a different sound than the DSL 50 but to your ears this might be subtle. This amp tends to have a little bit more sparkle in the top-end and a bigger low-end surprisingly. The DSL 50 on the other hand sounds a little bit more organic and vintage-y.

    Both are really cool! The DSL20HR may be cheap but it's a great little amp! Try it out first in a store though to see if there are no hum issues. The DSL20HR is just a tad more modern sounding EQ wise. I'm currently looking at a JVM401H because I just really love how these amps sit in the mix...

    I would love to know what you think of these amps, the video and if you guys have any experience with either or both of them. To compare the amps directly you can skip to the isolated segments near the ending. There are also timecodes in the description.

    Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR:

    Last edited by Guitarjon; 11-13-2019 at 08:58 AM.
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  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    Personally, if you don't need 50W -I'd go more Plexi platform and drive it with an external drive or distortion pedal for the extra gain into a Marshall SV20h

    They are pretty incredible, and more usable for clubs (20W), home (drop to 5W) and recording (push a 20W to the max)
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Rex_Rocker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    Great shootout! I was really digging the Hair Metal tone you got out of both.

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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeEase View Post
    Personally, if you don't need 50W -I'd go more Plexi platform and drive it with an external drive or distortion pedal for the extra gain into a Marshall SV20h

    They are pretty incredible, and more usable for clubs (20W), home (drop to 5W) and recording (push a 20W to the max)
    I'm not really a pedal guy but I'd love to try that mini Plexi one day! Seems like a killer amp. If I get a JVM I won't be in a rush though...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex_Rocker View Post
    Great shootout! I was really digging the Hair Metal tone you got out of both.
    Thanks! Yeah that one came out great. I guess that guitar works super well together with Marshall style amps!
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    Mojo's Minions Silence Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    I need to listen with better headphones, but the difference seems to be about what I would expect with the difference in watts - But in particular the 20 seems quite a bit less smooth/buzzier. That said I don't think it comes across to me that the 20 has bigger bass, the 50 sounds like it has much more chunk, particularly around 11:37 , where the muted part has somewhat less thump from the 20 watt - it seems like more of a draw at 13:00 but the character is def. a different sort of bass anyway.

    Out of curiosity what setting did you use on the 50 for the first Strat clean bit - was the gain boost on? I have a TSL 60 and feel like I would need to have the amp turned up pretty high to get that much grind out of the clean channel. Overall the DSL 50 again doesn't sound worlds apart from my TSL - a sort of looser bass and a solid, smooth top end (vs. the 20 which has a lot more harsh grind IMO.) Curious, did you ever try a TSL? Most malign it, but I actually like mine and really want to A/B both JCM2000s someday.
    Last edited by Silence Kid; 11-13-2019 at 09:27 AM.
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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    Quote Originally Posted by Silence Kid View Post
    I need to listen with better headphones, but the difference seems to be about what I would expect with the difference in watts - But in particular the 20 seems quite a bit less smooth/buzzier. That said I don't think it comes across to me that the 20 has bigger bass, the 50 sounds like it has much more chunk, particularly around 11:37 , where the muted part has somewhat less thump from the 20 watt - it seems like more of a draw at 13:00 but the character is def. a different sort of bass anyway.

    Out of curiosity what setting did you use on the 50 for the first Strat clean bit - was the gain boost on? I have a TSL 60 and feel like I would need to have the amp turned up pretty high to get that much grind out of the clean channel. Overall the DSL 50 again doesn't sound worlds apart from my TSL - a sort of looser bass and a solid, smooth top end (vs. the 20 which has a lot more harsh grind IMO.) Curious, did you ever try a TSL? Most malign it, but I actually like mine and really want to A/B both JCM2000s someday.
    Interesting! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It's always cool to hear how other people hear things.

    All the settings are visible during the first segments in the video. It's just the clean mode on channel A. Gain maxed I think.
    I've never tried a TSL but I'm intriqued by them. Aren't those newer versions of the JCM 2000's but with independent channel controls?
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    Mojo's Minions Silence Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarjon View Post
    Interesting! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It's always cool to hear how other people hear things.

    All the settings are visible during the first segments in the video. It's just the clean mode on channel A. Gain maxed I think.
    I've never tried a TSL but I'm intriqued by them. Aren't those newer versions of the JCM 2000's but with independent channel controls?
    I think the hundred watt TSLs came out a few years after the DSL series (something like ‘98 vs. ‘00 - and later for sixty watt models.) 100 watts have independent eq for each of the three channels and a lot more buttons/different control scheme with the channel volumes vs. master volume. 60s have a dirty and clean EQ only on the same three channels. I’d say they’re polarizing amps from most feedback online, but it might be more accurate to say they almost always get comments mentioning how nobody likes them, either for the reliability or the sound.
    Quote Originally Posted by King Buzzo
    I love when people come up to me and say “Your guitar sound was better on Stoner Witch, when you used a Les Paul. “...I used a Fender Mustang reissue on that, dumbass!

  8. #8
    One of Jerry's Kids Securb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    Some very nice tones from both amps. Thanks for capturing the settings I might try a few on my DSL2000

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    Nice bunch of riffs! I actually liked the little 20W a bit better though they both sounded great. It's a bit grittier/raunchier sounding (more texture to the gain...).
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    Default Re: Marshall DSL 50 vs DSL20HR

    Quote Originally Posted by Securb View Post
    Some very nice tones from both amps. Thanks for capturing the settings I might try a few on my DSL2000
    Awesome! Let me know how that worked out!

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantasmagoria View Post
    Nice bunch of riffs! I actually liked the little 20W a bit better though they both sounded great. It's a bit grittier/raunchier sounding (more texture to the gain...).
    Yeah the 20 definitely sounds cool! It's hard to pick a favorite though.
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