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User Review

Junk... - Reviews Marshall DSL401

The Marshall DSL 401 is a 40 watt 1x12 combo version of the famed DSL head that is available in 50 or 100 watt models. It features two channels, a clean and a drive. The drive channel has two modes, OD1 which is more of a vintage voiced tone a-la the more classic Marshall amps, and OD2 which is more compressed and modern sounding. Each channel has its own EQ controls, and it's capped off with reverb, an effects loop with a mix control, and an overall master volume control. It is loaded with a single Celestion speaker and has the typical black and gold cosmetics throughout.


This amp is surprisingly difficult to dial in, to say the least. It seemed like no matter what I did to try and improve it, it just didn't have a tone that worked for my ears. The EQ is nearly useless and only serves to add brightness and make the tone harsher. The gain structure on this amp is downright awful as well. All it does is add obscene amounts of compressed buzziness as the controls are turned up and I found myself simply shaking my head at how awful the controls were on this amp. They serve only as very narrow adjustment and fail to make this amp sound good at all...


This amp really has three core sounds available, none of which are particularly pleasing to the ear. There's a brittle and sharp clean tone with razorblade highs and no midrange to speak of whatsoever. It also breaks up way too early for my liking and sounds very unnatural. The crunch tones are weak and anemic. There is no solid punch factor behind the tone, just a very thin and underpowered attempt at the traditional Marshall sound. The low end is nonexistent, and the highs tear your eardrums off at band volumes. The OD2 mode is so compressed and gainy that it's almost useless. It sounds like a buzzier and more compressed/gainy version of OD1. Due to the single "12 speaker the tones are very one dimensional and sound anything but Marshally.


I really don't like this amp, simple as that. They're unreliable, have a cheap set of parts, don't sound good at all regardless of how the amp is set, and are obscenely overpriced. They simply aren't even worth a look... there are so many better amps out there that make this seem like a $1500 doorstop. Don't bother, seriously.