Marshall DSL40CR review

Marshall DSL40CR Review – You Need This Guitar Amp!

The ionic English manufacture Marshall offers the latest model in the line of Dual Super Lead amplifiers or DSL that date back to the 1990s. This is none other than this which is an upgraded version of the Marshall DSL40C that was introduced earlier in 2012. With strong and deep tonal qualities, it has every effect you can think of, making it a powerful and reliable amplifier.

The amplifier is a 40-watt midline combo and 100% tube amp based on the classic JCM2000 DSL. Want to know what the extra improvements are? Read this Marshall DSL40CR review to the end.  This is some excellent Marshall tone for any guitar player.

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Specs and Features

Here is a full spectrum of the full tube-powered amp:

  • Dual-channel panel
  • 2-Button Footswitch
  • 4 Preamp tubes (ECC83)
  • 2 Power amp tubes (EL34)
  • Bypassable effect loops
  • 40-watts of power
  • 3-Band EQ section
  • Ultra-reverb
  • 12-inch speaker- Celestion V-Type
  • Resonance and presence control
  • Softube emulated output- 1/4″
  • Measures 19.29 by 24.4 by 9.9 inches
  • Weighs 50.4lbs
  • Classic 60s cabinet style

The two channels are:

  • The Classic Gain stage: The classic ultra gain channel has the master volume, gain, crunch, and clean tone controls. Its gain anatomy produces the clean and crunch similar to the classic 1959 SLP. It is responsible for the classic and smooth distortions. In the clean mode, you get warm, medium, and clean channel sounds with good brightness. It is a perfect platform for pedals and the likes of Red Hot Pepper and Jimmy Hendrix tones. As for the crunch mode, you get the warm, medium crunch of the 70s, making it ideal for classic rock music and blues version. You will still get the AC DC sounds, Led Zeppelin, and so on.
  • Ultra-Gain stage: Has a gain structure synonymous with the 2203 circuit or the Marshall JCM800 that delivers the classic high-gain-high-gain audio. It is the kind of sound that blows the doors off with a Marshall amp scream or jump. Ultra-Gain stage is specifically designed for heavier music genres. It features the master select switch, master volume I and II, power switch, loop on/off switch, treble, bass, middle, OD1/OD2, and tone shift switch. The tone shift switch is beneficial when you need a modern metal-style mid-scoop to nail the tight Metallica rhythm tones. If you want the classic 80s sounds of the Marshall DSL40CR amps, switch to the OD1 mode whose audio quality is almost like the popular JCM800. It is suitable for rock-solid solos and hard rock styles such as Guns’ n Roses. In case you love the hard rock, opt for OD2 mode. There are tons of gains and compression. It is also the best mode for shredders who adore the classic tone.

The bypassable effect loops at the back panel are for plugging into a pedalboard without signal impedance. There are plenty of outputs for connecting to PA speakers for gigs including the 1/8″ audio-in jack and MIDI in. The amp can mic up with its formidable tonal quality.

A two-button footswitch is a PEDL-90012 featuring the mode and effects loop. It allows you to switch to channels and control the effects loop (FX Loop). As expected, this tube amp is great for live bands thanks to a fully bypassable FX loop. However, you cannot select between modes of every option or the two Master. To choose between a combination of Mode/Channel or Master, you need the PEDL-91016 foot switch that the Marshall JVM provides. With this feature, you can fully explore this amplifier version.

While it facilitates easy navigation, the 4 pre-amp tubes on the panel give the personality and diversity of sound that are needed to outshine other bands. Both channels are useful both in high and low power modes.

Sound Quality

The versatility of the Marshall DSL 40CR audio makes this amplifier an all-inclusive homage to different tones. The built-in power options make it possible to conjure up a cranked tone without causing noise pollution in the neighborhood. When in mic, the emulated sound output is great. And when set up right, the amp wins in terms of sonic versatility and reliability. The overdrive option has metal, and classic rock tones. For modern high-gain, select the Ultra-Gain channel option to add depth. But you could forego the distortion and overdrive pedals.

The shared channel EQ facilitates the much-needed control on the front panel. It allows you to change all the EQ parameters (treble, bass, middle, resonance control, and presence) using one knob. These extra knobs help to crank up to the maximum. There are options for engaging half power or keeping the master volume low but you still get the distortion of a true tube amp. All modes from the two channels are fantastic with the EQ being highly responsive.

This amplifier is designed with built-in digital reverb as opposed to a typical reverb tank. A studio-grade ultra-reverb is one of the best built-in effects. When recording in a studio, it gives the tone and strength that is needed. It is, therefore, meant to be used as an everyday professional versatile amp.

Build Quality

Marshall DSL 40CR is created with the classic 60s cabinet, a minimalist but striking appeal with a front gold paneling of a vintage amp. The design originates from the historic line of the loyalty of the DSL amp series. The overall finish looks good and solid. The tube quality is satisfactory but could be made better for the best tones. It may look simple but the good construction and tubes deliver pure tones. Any gigging guitarists would highly appreciate this workhouse of an amplifier.

The reason this amp is widely used is its reliability and durability. It can survive all manners of abuse from bumps, scrapes, and crashes that come with entertainment tours. A few finishes might peel off over time but it will continue to operate perfectly while sounding great.

Even though the combo amp has an inbuilt 12″ Celestion speaker, you can as well pair it with another cab through the output for an extension cabinet. It is a hefty-sounding versatile amp that delivers everything from clean channel to roaring metal tones and sparkling Plexi-like tones.

What Types Of Music Is this Best For?

Marshall is one amp company that has played an important role in the history of rock. Its white script logo engraved on a black background is appreciated by both musicians and non-musicians. The  amp is associated with loud and powerful sound systems. This amp delivers both modern and vintage audios. It is a winner for artists who play versatile blues and rock music- hard and classic rock. Owning a big cabinet is great only if you have a strong back and transportation. That is why this Marshall version created this sturdy combo amp with a good balance in weight, power, and versatility.

Pros

  • 40 Watts amp
  • Impressive gains
  • A ton of purity and strength in tone
  • High-quality reverb
  • Easy navigation with a bypassable footswitch

With 40 watts of power, the beautiful-looking amp offers a pleasant and classic tone. That means it can sustain even the loudest bands in the studio and stage. There’s no way you can get lost in the mix with this powerhouse of an amp. Such an output level means you can drive the amplifier without blowing things off in a rehearsal room. It becomes easier to hit the sweet spot than with a high-wattage amp. Expect everything from its 12″ Celestion V Type speaker to be busting.

A tube-powered amp offers pure and strong audio with a bit of versatility. It makes one of the best instruments for gig performances and recording artists who have already set up their own effects section. The gains are impressive, especially in the Ultra-Gain mode. It pushes an intense distortion through speakers any time there is a need to attract the crowd. Navigating through the settings is a breeze thanks to the foot switch.

An inbuilt reverb produces an effect like that of a stadium setting. You would hardly notice that it’s a digital reverb. Any musician looking for a long-lasting amp that doesn’t cause energy wastage on unnecessary effects will find Marshall DSL40CR useful. Round out your tones with this amp.

Forget the Roland JC-120 tones or the vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb. The clean channel sounds from the dual-channel Marshall are unparalleled. They are clear with superb depth. It is one of the most pedal-friendly amps on the market today. It is compatible with a broad spectrum of distortion and overdrive guitar pedals. You can key in the right balance between overdrive and clean channels using the dedicated master volume controls.

Cons

  • Relatively heavy amp
  • Only one built-in effect

This amplifier may not be the heaviest amp on the market but its power output says a lot. The total weight is a little over 50 pounds. So it cannot be classified in the compact and portable category. Being an all-tube combo, the amp is awkward and heavy to carry around. There’s only one top handle so packing and moving it to gigs can be a hectic job. It becomes more tiring when you have other loads.

Nevertheless, you can take it anywhere with a good transit strategy and willingness to do some arm exercises. Thankfully, it is designed to cope with rigorous motions.

Most amplifiers with modeling effects come with multiple effects processor built inside. These built-in effects are designed for modulation, pitch, and classic gain effects like digital distortion. However, it has only one built-in effect (reverb) which is a type of timed or ambient effect. That means you do not have presets for common effects like overdrive, fuzz, vibrato, and distortion.

The biggest advantage of built-in effects depends on your specific needs. For instance, if you play different genres of music, then an amp with a variety of built-in effects would be a great asset. But if a bunch of effects is not important, this amplifier is still a better amp for your money.

Conclusion

With a fair price in the current amp market, Marshall DSL 40CR is a star amongst working musicians who adore versatile rock/blues amps. At its core is a simple tube that dials in excellent tones. While you get awesome sounds out of the box, the portability and footswitch are quite limiting. There’s only one channel switch and reverb switch so you cannot swap between all the channel voicing.

If you fancy an old-fashioned tube amp, choose this to define your tone. Make sure you have an effects pedal. The duo channel amp is phenomenal and very articulate through all modes and gains. Don’t wait too long to try it.

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