The original Marshall DSL is a modern classic, and for those of us who own one, they are easily able to sound similar to a plexi, an 800, a hotrodded 800 and that of an ultra gain monster. The old range included a 20watt combo DSL201, a 40watt combo DSL401, a 50watt head DSL50, and a 100watt head DSL100. There were also 2 limited edition 85th birthday series in honour of Jim Marshall’s 85th birthday. They were both basically the DSL50, in head form and also a not seen before combo DSL50. Those were called 1923 for the head and 1923C for the combo (1923 being the year Jim was born).
All new for 2012, not only have Marshall released the DSL1 in their 50th anniversary 1 watt range which will only sell in 2012, but an all new DSL 2012 series of amps are now available which is standard production and not limited to 2012. The DSL15C and DSL15H are the 15watt combo and head respectively. Then the DSL40C which is a 40watt combo, and the DSL100H is the 100 watt head. The 15 watters have a couple less features, and the 40 and 100 watters have the full feature set with a couple of extra bits over the original DSL, such as a full/half power switch and a resonance control instead of a deep switch.
Interestingly the original series had a 20 and 40 watt combo based on EL84 tubes, and their sound was different to the 50 and 100 watt heads with EL34 tubes. The absence of a 50watt combo with EL34 tubes was conspicuous, although the 1923C did make up for that eventually albeit in a limited edition form.
This time we are actually missing a 50watt head, but at least the 40watt combo and 100watt head from this new series are virtually identical, except for the difference of 2 power tubes. And of course 50 and 100 watts isn’t really much audible difference when playing live, so for DSL50 head lovers, the new DSL100H is going to do the job!
My only concern after testing the DSL40C in person, is for the combo speakers, and it may make sense to upgrade that speaker to something more traditional, like a Celestion G12T75, or a V30.
For more product info, see Marshall Amps website