Marshall DSL15C – Combo Amplifier - Review
Small valve amplifiers have been a very popular addition to
any contemporary guitarist’s current. To this end, most manufacturers
are offering, 5 to 20 watt valve amplifiers together with
switchable power options to enable these to be used effectively
on stage or for practice.
The DSL range, which has been in production
since the late nineties, is presented as the de facto modern
Marshall and this 15C variant is the model available with
the least power which, is rated at 15 watts. This is produced
in the power stage by two main 6V6 and one ECC83 valves together
with a solid-state rectifier.
Visually the DSL 15c has the traditional
Marshall style with its black vinyl and grill, white edges
and the usual script logo and gold control panel. The amp
seems quite substantial and well built, in fact compared to
my Fender Blues Junior it feels like a small tank and certainly
will stand more abuse on the road, to which I also notice
the comfortable carrying handle which doesn’t seem to dig
in as some do.
Moving on to the controls the DSL offers
two channels, one clean to overdrive (Classic Gain) and another
beefier overdrive (Ultra Gain) which can be chosen with the
included two button footswitch.
Point in case, the footswitch for some reason
doesn’t have a led indicator to show which channel is active
this would have been a useful addition; in fact I remember
my an old Valvestate amplifier I had many years ago included
this useful feature.
Bass, treble and mid EQ are provided and
shared by both channels and a tone switch provides a reduced,
I would say scooped sound for heavier gain users. Digital
reverb is provided and again is shared by both channels.
Sound wise the DSL delivers the goods, the
first channel goes from a typical Marshall clean with warm
tones to a very crunchy overdrive when pushed to its limits.
Switch to ultra gain though and the amp takes off like a rocket
ship, with smooth creamy sounds even on the lowest gain settings
through to hard metal tones when maxed out.
The reverb I would say is adequate and provides
a slight touch of depth to the sound but in no way luscious
or deep as a spring unit would provide.
Another welcome feature is that of the power
switch on the rear panel, this takes the DSL down to 7.5 watts
for more manageable sounds during practice.
For this test I tried a Strat, a Les Paul
and a PRS and they all fared well, however in my opinion the
humbucker equipped guitars sound best on this amplifier, whilst
the Strats and Tele may prefer than Fender amp clean sparkle.
All in all, a great package by Marshall.
By Ernest H Slade