Marshall DSL50 [1997 - ] : tonmazz's user review
"Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50 good for the money"
Product bought new in August 2003
Marshall really took a big step up from the JCM 900 series with the JCM 2000. 50 watts and lots of versatility make this a very nice amp for the money.Two winged C EL34 power tubes came stock and all Marshall preamps. Comes with two channels and allows for shimmering clean, ultra gain and classic gain. Reverb controls for both channels and a deep and tone shift button. Series effects loop and footswitch round out the features.
As soon as you plug into the DSL50, it becomes clear that this thing can be a beast. The tone shift button takes you into compression heaven and the deep layers huge amounts of bass on as well. The ultra gain setting is just over the top metal madness. When you feel a bit more mellow, the classic gain channel is a bit more tame and you can get a very open sound by limiting the compression with the Tone shift and turning off the deep control.
The star of this amp for me is the clean channel. I have had two of these DSLs and the clean just does not get any better than this amp. I also like the classic gain channel for exactly that, classic rock tones. The ultra gain channel definately has lots of gain BUT how much is useable? It has a reputation of being very buzzy sounding and that's somewhat true. The dilemma is that the classic gain doesn't go far enough and the ultra is just too much. You can try and presence the ultra channel down a bit and it helps but still a bit buzzy and harsh. I even went so far as to have that channel modded by VooDoo amps and it helped a bit for sure but still not quite to my liking.
Bottom line is that for the price, you can easily use this as a main amp for gigs to cover just about anything but hardcore metal. Great clean channel, decent classic gain channel and lots of gain in the ultra setting if you can tame it. Very versatile in frequency adjustments with the deep and the tone shift. You can grab one on the used market for around $600 and for that price it's a no brainer. Speaking as a tone snob, a modded JCM 800 has a better gain tone but that's it. This gets you close with many other options, settings, channels and a loop. The price is right for the value it brings.