NAD - Marshall SL5

rjwilson37

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I have had my eyes on one of these for a while now and figured I would get one before there all gone. It arrived on Saturday at my local Fedex office, quicker than expected which is really nice to finish a working Saturday and get a call that your package has arrived and is waiting. :thumb:

I played it for a bit on Sunday and can see how some say it is noisy, but when you turn the gain up, you're going to get that on any amp. I played it in 1w and 5w mode back and forth, where you can play it in 5w mode with the volume down and you don't really ever have to put this thing in the 1w mode to play it at bedroom/apartment volume levels. It sounds great with the volume down and the gain at 1/2 to 3/4, still getting that nice 80's rock tone. It has a really nice clean tone, as well as the 2nd channel getting you that nice brown sound/slash 80's hard rock tone a lot of people look for in an amp. Now you get that great JCM800 tone from a low wattage amp with a nice Vintage 30 12" speaker right in your face without blowing your ear drums out. "I LOVE IT"

Blackheart did something very right when they put out there Little Giant and Handsome Devil amps with a nice big cabinet and a 12" speaker. Granted the speaker was a little weak in the lower priced amps, but most people do speaker swaps anyway for what they like, just like replacing pickups in a great playing guitar for what you want. The SL5 cabinet is just a little bigger than my Handsome Devil and the clean tone on the SL5 has a little more fullness to it than my Handsome Devil. Both cleans sound different but can sort of sound the same, where the 2nd channel and reverb on the SL5 surpasses my Handsome Devil by a long shot. The SL5 clean channel is very clean I think, where it would have been sweet for them to put a crunch option for the first channel like on the DSL40. The clean channel does not get very loud in the 2nd input when you turn the volume up all the way, just like on the DSL40 where there is a big difference in the volume you get between the clean channel and dirty channel. (I wonder why Marshall does this on these new amps, which does not give you a lot of clean headroom?)

Anyway, I like that I can just plug straight in without any OD/or effects and get a really nice clean/crunch/or drive to my liking with a little reverb to just play and have fun. It will take me a while to break the speaker in at the volumes I'm playing, but I've got a life time to enjoy this amp. My Handsome Devil has the same controls almost with the exception of having 2 channels or reverb. You get Bass/Middle/Trebel/Presence as well as your Volume and Gain. If the Handsome Devil had Reverb, that would have been a great thing for them to do.

marshalsl5.jpg
 

4Daughters

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Yes, Marshall did it right by going to a bigger cab and adding a nice upgrade on the speaker. I am also impressed with the clean channel. I already knew what to expect out of the OD channel.
 

rjwilson37

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Thanks, it's a very cool amp.

I thought they were making this amp only this year, does anyone know about that?
 

Marshall & Moonshine

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i played one a few years ago (to kill some time once) at a store and really liked it. i don't need or like an amp that's too tight in its response and this amp nailed that. the old marshall combo sponginess that i love was all there.
congrats!!
 

Gridlock

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Congrats, I always wanted to buy one of these also and still see them come up now and then on Craigslist for $500-$600. I am not a Vintage-30 fan and maybe that's why I've never gone further in pursuing one. Sounds like a great amp that would fit my mostly low volume Marshall needs.

Congrats on a nice amp. Enjoy. Maybe one day a collectors item also.
 

rjwilson37

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Thanks you two. Yep, it might be a collectors item somewhere down the line... who knows.

Ok, the clean on this amp is really good. It has such a nice tone and the picking dynamics are really wonderful. I plugged in my Tele and I can't believe how great it sounds. Granted I have a modern players Tele, with the Humbucker, Strat and Tele pickups in it, but it sounds so bright and beautiful with all 3 pickups, you just would not believe how it sounds. I think the Tele sounds better than the Les Paul through this amp. :thumb:

With my Les Paul that has BBpro pups, the gain channel has everything from just a little bit of gain, to a ton of gain at a low volume to just scream and have a blast. Also, don't let the 1w or 5w fool you, especially when you plug into the 1st input jack... This amp can get loud and crank out some serious jams. :dude:
 

rockinlespaul

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Congrats, I hear they are great amps. Sounds like you got a winner there! I'd like to get one of these some day soon. I can't imagine having a Marshall that has reverb, lol. Will be cool for sure.
 

rjwilson37

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Congrats, I hear they are great amps. Sounds like you got a winner there! I'd like to get one of these some day soon. I can't imagine having a Marshall that has reverb, lol. Will be cool for sure.
The reverb and higher gain in a low watt tube amp is really nice to have. You can just plug straight in, give it a little reverb with some nice gain and it just sings to you while you play around. No need to plug in any pedals and fiddle around with a bunch of knobs, just jam and enjoy. :thumb:
 

frankv

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Nice review man. Enjoy that amp..
 

Droog

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Congrats, I really like my SL5 as well. :shock:
 

Newb

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at what volume level does it start to break up, get into OD levels? I love good british OD, ala AC/DC or Thin Lizzy (ok, Irish lead singer).
 

nauc

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how does it sound with everything dimed. does it get farty, too thick, muddy etc etc or what?
 

rjwilson37

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how does it sound with everything dimed. does it get farty, too thick, muddy etc etc or what?
The Clean Channel stays clean with only a little break up dimed in the first input with BBPro's on my LP. I am thinking I might have a mod put in place on this for crunch, just like on the DSL40C. I dimed the 2nd channel and even in the first input with the BBPro's on my LP, this amp does not get muddy at all and does not get too thick. It is a brighter amp for sure, which I think follows that 70's Marshall JCM 800 tone.

No one was home this morning in the house, so I dimed it and had some fun trying the 1st and 2nd input with my LP to see the difference. At first I was thinking I really suck at guitar, but once my fingers got warmed up and I started playing Crazy Train, and some Ain't talking About Love, it sounded so sweet. :dude: And... It was not so loud that your like, holy shit, I'm going to bust my ear drums or blow out the windows. It sounded fantastic. :thumb:
 

rjwilson37

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at what volume level does it start to break up, get into OD levels? I love good british OD, ala AC/DC or Thin Lizzy (ok, Irish lead singer).
The first channel does get a little crunch when you dime it using the first input. But... this is just to loud for playing with other people home. You can get a nice crunch on the 2nd channel with the gain on 1/or 2, but it's really not that nice clean crunch that you tend to shoot for. Also... as you dime the volume, to get some headroom with the crunch, it get's more crunch than you want. I think I'm going to have an amp guy put a crunch button on the first channel, like the DSL40C has, so I can get that really nice crunch like the DSL40C has. That is the best thing about the DSL40C, is the crunch channel. I think this SL-5 has a nicer clean to it and if it had a crunch button, I would never need another amp for home jamming. :naughty:
 

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