The Verdict is In! C19 Mod on DSL40C Rocks!

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by Valkyrie, May 1, 2014.

  1. Valkyrie

    Valkyrie Senior Member

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    If you haven't done it, do it and don't look back. I am not the guy who likes to mess with things too much. It was easy and is reversible. Bu you won't reverse it. Playing a Les Paul Trad through it at various power setting and gain settings and it sounds badass. This is an incredible combo for the price. Was gonna change out the speaker but I will let it go to see how it breaks in.

    Could not be happier.
     
  2. jay1williams

    jay1williams Senior Member

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    Does this mod work on the DSL15 as well?
     
  3. Valkyrie

    Valkyrie Senior Member

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    That I do not know. But this amp is killer.
     
  4. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    What is the net change? Less treble?
     
  5. Valkyrie

    Valkyrie Senior Member

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    Treble is usually used to describe the tone that is cut but it is more like a slightly nasally sound and fizz. I wouldn't call it treble but harsh gain structure at the treble end of the spectrum.

    With the mod, there is great balance between channels meaning the EQ is level between both but the gain structure is less fizzy and more defined but you still get all the high gain you want on the OD channel.

    Basically the amp becomes very organic in my opinion. No high end fuzz and buzz. Much more defined and with the clean channel and an OCD you get nice cleans and perfect Angus and a Super Badass on the other channel takes you from classic Marshall to any thing you want basically making it a functional 4 channel amp.

    I'm thinking a closed back cabinet would take it to another level altogether and might look for a 1x12 to try out.
     
  6. colchar

    colchar Banned

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    I am seriously considering grabbing a DSL but am rather torn about these amps.

    The DSL40C sounds like a great amp but 40 watts is just too much for my needs as I only play at home. I previously had a 40 watter (a Traynor) and it was just too loud. I know the DSL40C has a half power switch but do I really want to grab one and only ever use it on half power?

    That leaves me considering the DSL15C but, from what I have read, the classic gain channel has virtually no crunch whatsoever and stays clean no matter how high you have the gain control. But then the ultra gain channel is supposedly really gainy, has far more than I would ever use, and doesn't have very much sweep before the ridiculous amounts of gain kick in. I know there are mods that can be done to that channel that reign in the gain somewhat but do I really want to buy an amp that I am going to have to do a bunch of mods to right away?

    The same apparently goes for the DSL5C - no gain control on the classic gain channel and then ridiculous amounts of gain on the ultra gain channel. Plus, it only has a ten inch speaker and I far prefer twelve inch speakers.

    I want a DSL but it seems that the only one that will have the tones that I want, the 40C, is overkill for my living and playing situation.
     
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  7. Iron Broadsword

    Iron Broadsword Senior Member

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    The dsl does good for low volumes, I read.. and it gets good tone from the front end so it's not like you have to drive the power tubes to make it sound good. If you want that kind of an amp there are better choices, otherwise the dsl is a fine amp.
     
  8. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    I have a DSL15H (head), and your description is just about spot-on. I set the gain around noon on the "ultra gain" channel for a high gain sound - anything more than that is too much. Setting the gain at noon on this amp is the equivalent of 3 o'clock gain on anything else. The "classic gain" channel doesn't really distort at all, and is basically wasted on me. You can get a very slight breakup, but barely anything.

    Also, this amp is LOUD. I mean, it can reach the same volume as my TSL60 head, even in 7 watt mode (although this has led me to think that I might want to get the tubes checked in the TSL :) ) If you are looking for low volumes, you might want to check out the 5 watt offerings.

    I have been debating for weeks as to whether I should have BFG Amplification mod the little DSL, or just sell it. I asked him if he could mod the clean channel to make it into a "crunch" channel. It sounded like he could, but it would take some tinkering. I know his work is fantastic, but I'm just not sure I want to dump another $300 into the little Marshall when there are so many awesome options out there.

    It's hard because I know that low wattage amps end up falling into the "budget friendly" category, but I really wish Marshall had made the DSL15 just a bit more full featured. Just adding the extra channel switching buttons like the DSL40C (clean/crunch and Lead 1/Lead 2) would have made a night and day difference. Or simply offer the 40 as a head.... I probably would have ponied up the extra hundred bucks for that.
     
  9. colchar

    colchar Banned

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    Thanks. I guess I'll have to decide whether to get the 40C and just live with the fact that it is way overpowered for my needs or forget about a DSL and grab something else (I've been seriously considering a Traynor Dark Horse or YGL1 which will also enable me to support a local Canadian company).
     
  10. Valkyrie

    Valkyrie Senior Member

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    I'm not sure I would say this is accurate. The classic gain channel dirties up nice in the crunch mode. You have the option to cut the power by half also to 20w. The C19 mod pretty much dials the amp right in. I love it and it's getting more time than my 5:25 Express.
     
  11. michaelinokc

    michaelinokc Senior Member

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    You can use the pentode/triode switch to cut it down to 20. You'll still have the advantage of the DSL40C without having to blast it at 40 watts. That's how I run mine.
     
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  12. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    He's referring to the classic gain channel on the DSL15C which does not have a crunch mode. I wish it did.... :)
     
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  13. colchar

    colchar Banned

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    Yes but the crunch mode only exists on the 40C, not the 15C, and the 40C is overpowered for my needs. Yes, I could use it on half power but do I want to grab an amp and only ever use half of its potential?
     
  14. michaelinokc

    michaelinokc Senior Member

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    If the crunch mode is worth paying only $100 extra, I'd say yes. :)
     
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  15. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Not my experience on the DSL15H I have, as far as the 'Clean' Ch goes. It can get crunch at the upper areas of gain. But, what it is REALLY good for is for those transparent OD pedals.

    THe Red ch is the larger DSLs Lead2. It IS very gainy and compresses more, and earlier than I preferred. That said, there are some simple modifications to make that Lead 2 into exactly a DSL Lead 1. Or, as I did a little between the larger DSL Lead 1 and Crunch on the other ch.

    Since, I got it for les than usual best sale price (found a great deal), I didn't mind modding.

    First, removing C76 on the DSL15's red ch gain pot is the DSL15's 'C19'
    mod. You can just clip it, but see below. Lower value works better imho.

    TO make the DSL15 to Lead1 instead of Lead2, Basically:

    R82-add 150k resistor(spot is already there ,but unused)
    C58-make sure it's 2n2, else replace. Earlier production had 1n2
    C34-snip
    C75-snip

    Is the simplest.

    Adding 150K to R82, adds the missing load resistor on the red Ch's gain pot. In lead1/lead2 DSLs, this get's switched out when switched to Lead2. On the DSL15, it really lowers gain by itself. With removal of C75, got rid of the Buzziness on the distortion.

    Clipping out C75, to my ears removed the over buzziness and some brightness of the red Ch.

    That said, I didn't like just clipping C34 out. It's on Red Ch's V1B cathode bypass. Instead I wired a 10K resistor in series with it's negative leg. I also upped R40 to a 5.6K. THis cumaltively lowered the overall gain on the red ch to where I want it. Now has overlap on the 2 chs as well. More useable sweep on the gain knob on red ch as well.

    I also swapped pout C76 to a lower value than it's stock 470 pf.

    Makes the amp actually something special now. Can keep the shared EQ set as I like for BOTH CHs now, has overlap at upper end of Green and lowest of red, more useable sweep of Red ch gain, and it doesn't pverly compress until that red gain is way up high on it's last 1/4. Organic, lively dirt on red ch at all volumes.


    More in depth

    R40 IS the V1B cathode resistor.
    C34 IS the cathode bypass cap. Stock it fully bypasses the cathode resistor. Just clipping/lifting it, will lower gain, but increases cathode current feedback and will give a more compressed, less aggressive tone on the V1B stage. However, putting the 10K in series with the cap, makes it a partial bypass of the cathode resistor, setting a knee frequency. I.e. higher freqencies are bypassing etc above the knee. BUT, that means the cathode resistor has less affect on the gain, so you need to increase it as well. To me with the partial bypass in (C34 in series witrh resistor), red ch was much more dynamoc and organic, bettter growl and thicker/fuller tone. Had to adjust R40 to gain taste though.

    This is how I understand it. C76 acts as a high pass filter bypassing the red ch gain pot straight to V1B (red Ch only) preamp stage. So everything above a certain frequency goes straigt to the input of V1B. C75 is from the output of the pot to ground, and acts as a low pass filter (only certain higher frequencies have enough oompf to get past cap) to ground, or a high pass filter on to to V1B, depending on how you look at it Together they make for a very bright red ch. Other DSLs' Lead1, doesn't even have a C75 equivelent. C76, in and of itself has less effect at higher gain settings. C75 affected ALL gain settings.

    In a practical sense, removing C75, to my ears made for a more marshall tone on the red ch and reduced a LOT of the buzziness at all gain levels, as well as reducing the huge difference in brightness between the ch's. Also could run it with the presence above 9 o'clock without being shrill.

    Removing C76, to my ears, made the two ch's able to use the same EQ settings, and could run presence, eq knobs at noon or higher and sound good. But, it made the rd ch a little muddy at gain settings from 10 o'clockish ish down (even on bright G12H30s). Needed something in there. So, I soldered leads, and then tried various different caps, for my rig and ears. IMHO somewhere between 150pf and 220pf is where most people will find best. I liked 150-180 best, but that was me. Green Ch uses a 100pf on it's equivelent of C76 btw.
     
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  16. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    To be fair, the DSL15H sounds about the same whether you're running it at full power or half power. You can hear a difference if you A/B the two modes, but it's not like you feel like the amp is punishing you for using the low power setting. Does this make sense? I have played other amps that have a more noticeable difference in tone when you use a low power setting, but this is not one of them.

    A funny note - when I first tested this amp out, I wasn't aware of the "triode / pentode" (7/15 watt) switch - I just turned it on and played. I liked the sound so much that I bought one. When I bought one I asked for a brand new one (not a floor model). I got it home, plugged it in, and it was almost unusably loud at the same settings I tried in the store. After a little screwing around, I checked the triode / pentode switch, and it was set to Pentode. I flipped it to triode, and suddenly I had the amp I was expecting.

    This is the first time that I have ever loved an amp set in triode mode. I must have been playing it in triode mode in the store, and that was the tone that sold me on the amp. My point is simply that I don;t think you'll be disappointed if you only run your DSL40C in triode (20 watt) mode.
     
  17. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    This is because, the DSL design gets most of it's dirt tone from the multi-stage cascaded preamp. So having the output tubes in triode, though it colors the tone a little, is not as vast a difference as other designs. Well, thats my humble opinion.
     
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  18. lunchbox

    lunchbox Senior Member

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    I'd still recommend an Orange OR15 over any of those Marshalls, especially for what you said you play, C.
     
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  19. colchar

    colchar Banned

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    That amp is very tempting. The only issue is that it sells for the same price (before tax) as the DSL40C but I'd then have to buy a cab as well which will add another $300+ to the cost.

    Also interesting is the Traynor YGL1 combo. It is 15 watts, has a Greenback, effects loop, Brit/Pure/USA modes, etc. and can be had new for $599.
     
  20. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    I liked the YGL1 when I tried one. Solid amp across the board.
     

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