For those who love classic British tone, nothing beats the sound of a Marshall stack cranked to 10. Unfortunately, unless you live on a Montana cattle ranch, actually producing this sound with a Marshall stack in the comfort of your own home will have the neighbors doing the beating.
Enter the DSL1C, producing a maximum of one whole watt from two ECC83 preamp tubes and a single ECC82 power tube. The output can be further reduced to just 1/10 watt with the push of a rear-panel button. The amp offers two footswitchable channels: Classic Gain and Ultra Gain, which goes more than just a little beyond Classic.
The EQ controls for Treble, Middle, Bass, and Reverb work with both channels. However, the Clean channel has just a Volume knob, while the Ultra Gain channel is adjustable for both Gain and Volume. The Tone Shift button introduces an overall darker sound to the Ultra Gain channel.
The back panel was designed for the home recorder. The 3.5 mm Emulated Out jack is complemented by a similarly sized Audio In for backing tracks. The FX Loop with Send and Return is a nice bonus.
The sweet spots in this amp are in the higher Volume settings on the Classic Gain channel and the lower Gain settings on the Ultra Gain side. Between these two, the tone of almost every classic British rock song is available, from Brian May’s rhythms to Gary Moore’s soaring leads. The step to metal is just a touch or two on the Gain knob on Ultra Gain. The surprise is how crystalline the clean tones are on the Classic Gain channel through the 8″ Celestion 15-watt speaker.
Everything about the DSL1C screams “Marshall”: the tones, the knobs, the faceplate, the logo, the Tolex. Everything, that is, except the volume.
This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.