Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

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Precland
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Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby Precland » 10 Mar 2017, 11:14

Hi all,

Just after some advice, I know this is a decision I need to make but I'm wondering what other people would do. Been a bedroom player for a while but hoping to getting out gigging again so wanted to get my amp serviced. It had a bit of a crackle so I figured new valves but I don't think the power valves have ever been changed and it was second hand when I got it so it probably needed a good once over. I was thinking £100-120 for the repair but I called the guy today and he seemed to think all kinds was wrong and quoted me £220. My wife thinks I'm mad and said just buy a new amp, which I could do and the DSL40C would obviously be an able replacement but what would you guys do. Is spending £220 to bring the old amp up to scratch a rip off. Or is spending £600+ on a new amp when 200ish would give me a similar outcome a stupid idea.

Any thoughts welcome

Chris

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Re: Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby surfnorthwest » 10 Mar 2017, 14:36

Well it is your money and good for you that you have a wife that utters the words "just buy a new amp".

In my opinion since you want to take the next step and get out there to perform I think the purchase of a new amp that will grow with your needs is the right thing. The DSL 40 is a great amp for practice and home, I would want something different to gig with.
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Re: Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby Mike_LA » 10 Mar 2017, 15:04

Welll, I don't know the amp at all, so no real help here, though you have played it a bit, would it work for the gigs that you have in mind for the next year or 2?

If you could be happy with it then I would repair it.

If you have issues with it, what are they? (Besides the things you already told us about.)

Anyway, my 2 cents, welcome to this little corner of the internet.

P.S. Don't get a DSL401 Get a 6101 :bgrin
6101H // 6101C // AVT-50 // DSL-1H // JVM-1H // DSL-1C // MS-2 // Vox // Orange // Fender // Avid

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Re: Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby burnsy » 11 Mar 2017, 03:52

I'm surprised that your man needs £220 to fix a crackle! Chances are it's just a valve coming to the end of it's life. For a modest outlay you could try changing the preamp valves yourself and see if that cures the problem. Changing the power amp valves will require a rebias and you may not be happy doing that.
Can't tell you what to do for the best but I can tell you that I have had a DSL401 for over 10 years and had no problems with it. It is used as a practice amp, backup, and the occasional bar gig - plenty loud enough.
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Previous Amps:
Vox AC30, Sound City 50, JTM45, JMP50, 9004, DSL50, 9001, EL84 20/20, Class 5, 2266

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Re: Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby tmingle » 15 Apr 2017, 11:28

I have both a DSL401 & a DSL40C. The 40C can be dialed in to about any style of music. I do not consider it a true channel switcher though, as the EQ between OD & crunch are pretty different. They do sound more similar as the volume increases. The 40C is also an excellent bedroom amp. I did clip C19 & installed an Egnater Elite 80 I had laying around. The build quality on the 40C is pretty good. I've heard a couple of them live in different cover bands and they sound just fine if mic'ed properly. This amp kills the 401 sound wise IMHO.

The build quality on the 401 is terrible. My 401 is a '99 model which has been a constant headache. If your amp has EI tubes, the chassis may need modified to use other brands of tubes. EI tubes are no longer available unless you want to pay more than the amp is worth for tubes. The solder joints heat up and de-solder themselves on this amp. Its' only going to get worse when you start carting around and cranking the volume. Marshall issued a service bulletin regarding the issue which IMHO removed the 'Balls" from the amp. Fortunately, I am able to do my own repairs. There is no way in hell that I would pay somebody to work on this amp. It can(and probably will) get expensive. I would maybe get some tubes, install them and bias the amp. I do not recommend JJ pre or power tubes in this amp, but that's just a matter of taste. I recommend the MULLARD reissue EL-84's and whatever pre amp tubes you desire. If that doesn't resolve the issue, I wouldn't put any more money in it. The only reason I keep it is because I refuse to sell or trade in junk. I plan to rip the junk circuit board out and convert it to a hand wired something or other when I get time over the winter months.

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Re: Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby burnsy » 17 Apr 2017, 03:33

Hiya tmingle.
Sounds like you've had a rough ride with your DSL401. Tough luck mate.
According to the serial number mine is a 2003 and my experiences of it are totally opposite to yours. It has been in constant use, trouble free, rock solid reliable, and produces a great sound.
Two examples of the same unit producing totally different results?????????????
Marshall DSL401 Combo
Ampmaker 18w Combo
Orange Tiny Terror 'Hard Wired'
G12C 2x12 Cabinet

Previous Amps:
Vox AC30, Sound City 50, JTM45, JMP50, 9004, DSL50, 9001, EL84 20/20, Class 5, 2266

tmingle
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Re: Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby tmingle » 17 Apr 2017, 17:28

Yeah, I liked the tone till the original tubes got weak. I couldn't find EI's and hated the JJ's. I got a great deal 2 years ago ($450 shipped) on my 40C at my local Guitar Center with their very liberal return policy.

One thing the 401 is great for is as a power amp for modelers. I plug my POD XT into the FX return. I used the 401 this way for about 2 years until I got the 40C deal.
Some of the amps I tried before the 40C were Blackstar HT-5, VHT Special 6 Ultra and Peavey MH-20. The 40c sounds good down to whisper levels with a 10 band EQ in the loop.

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Re: Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby Johnh » 18 Apr 2017, 00:50

Ive had a Dsl401 since 2006. Its been an ongoing project since it was new, to deal with heat and get the tones I like. Mine is a 2005 model. It had new tubes 2 years ago and by that time it was needing a resoldering of tbe board, cooling the rectifier. It also has fans and a v30 speaker. At that time, i added small mods to thicken tbe od tone and raise the reverb and fx max levels. Now it is a great amp. But Ive enjoyed it partly because Ive adapted it to my needs and I enjoy the projects. I wouldnt have stuck with it stock.

Recently I felt ready to get another amp. A Dsl40c would have been a great choice though i may still have changed the speaker . But instead, I got a mint Vintage Modern VM2266c for about 2/3 the price of a 40c. I love it and theres nothing to change. If you can deal with a bit more weight Id recommend it over the 40c.

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Re: Fix DSL401 or buy DSL40C

Postby Anitoli » 18 Apr 2017, 08:37

There ain't no comparing the DSL's to the VM. The VM wins hands down.

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