how reliable are the Marshall dsl, tsl, jvm etc amps

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riffpowersriffpowers Frets: 118
shopping round for a cheap(we) Marshall and i wonder how reliable the more modern marshals are ?? 
I often see dsl , tsl and jvm amps for sale locally and am tempted to pick one up . 
Worth a punt ? Any to avoid ??
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  • The footswitches on TSLs are known to break. I understand other things are too. I've had both (rented) TSLs and DSLs let me down on gigs, which fits with rumours I've heard about their unreliability, but I don't know how representative my experience was.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32671
    Your experience is not unusual.

    UK-made DSLs and TSLs have various design and manufacturing flaws which tend to make them prone to failing... although as with anything like this, some people also say they’ve used them for years with no problems.

    Personally I wouldn’t buy one, with the possible exception of the DSL401 combo, and even that needs work to make it reliable.

    JVMs and the current Vietnamese-made DSLs seem pretty good.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • DJH83004DJH83004 Frets: 173
    I honestly don't know why (Other than quality control issues), but some DSLs / TSLs work totally reliably, with lots of abuse - in rehearsal rooms for example, yet others are plagued with bias drift and other known issues, so there are musicians who love them to bits because they have never been let down and others that hate them with a passion, I have seen a mix of both, but the rehearsal room / studio guys do like their flexibility.     
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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 667
    edited January 9
    But a JVM Joe Satch model...best second hand bargain around if you want a great gigging amp and can handle the bulk.
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  • timmysofttimmysoft Frets: 1701
    I never had any problems with my old DSL100’s or the jcm900. I know guys who have had problems with JVMs and VintMods. 

    The one you need is a JCM900 SL-X

    harder to find but if you want a switchable boost and the classic modern Marshall tone, it’s unbeatable 
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 820

    Stand by, sentimental ***t coming in!!...

    Back when I was an R&TV tech the major manufactures, Sony, Hitachi, Ferguson had excellent service backup systems. You could phone them if you had a particularly sticky fault (if you were a dealer) and get top advice.

    One mnfctr, Rank Bush Murphy was especially good. Not only did they have a team of 'Technical Liason Officers' very experienced guys from production but they even produced a quarterly A5 booklet with service tips and a list of all currently reported faults across the product range. There was an annual index and they even provided stout outer files to keep then all in!

    These days a 'decent' firm COULD provide a data base of faults. Anyone know of one?

    Dave.


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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32671
    timmysoft said:

    The one you need is a JCM900 SL-X

    harder to find but if you want a switchable boost and the classic modern Marshall tone, it’s unbeatable 
    These are great amps, and the dual master volumes give the switchable solo level - without changing anything else.

    The earlier High Gain Master Volume models are OK too (and available as combos if you want one, which the SL-Xs never were), but the 'sensitivity' stage which uses the fourth preamp valve in the SL-X is done with a diode clipping circuit - some people don't like this, although if you don't have the sensitivity up too far it doesn't do much.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • rawk100rawk100 Frets: 889
    I've owned jcm900 duel reverbs, jcm2000 DSL, jcm800 and presently have an SLX.The only amp that let me down was a duel reverb. 

    The SLX is a great amp and has more gain than an 800 and is more "modern" sounding.
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  • Modulus_AmpsModulus_Amps Frets: 603
    I have a reliable DSL 50w head from 2004 ish, had to replace the reverb tank once and did a fix on the power valve socket board a few years ago. I have often thought of selling it as I have so many amps, but it is still here.

    They have a bad rep but they also made truck loads of them, so there is bound to be a perception of higher failure rate.... which goes with the inherent design flaws. 
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7370
    Put simply... "not very".
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32671
    edited January 9
    I have a reliable DSL 50w head from 2004 ish, had to replace the reverb tank once and did a fix on the power valve socket board a few years ago. I have often thought of selling it as I have so many amps, but it is still here.

    They have a bad rep but they also made truck loads of them, so there is bound to be a perception of higher failure rate.... which goes with the inherent design flaws. 
    True up to a point, but I'm certain the failure rate is actually higher even in proportion to the numbers made. There are other very common amps - eg Fender Hotrods - that we see more than most other amps as well, but still less than the DSL/TSLs, and the types of failures are almost always much less serious and expensive to fix as well. (That may not quite apply to the Blues Junior though...)

    I recently acquired a dead TSL100 combo with several faults for the parts value, and although I could very likely have fixed it by replacing the main PCB, I didn't want to commit that much more money to something I could not sell with a straight face or absolutely guarantee to the buyer. Within six months I had needed both transformers for repairs on other ones, and that's not that unusual. Total number of transformers I've replaced in Fender Hotrods since the series started... 1.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 426
    shopping round for a cheap(we) Marshall and i wonder how reliable the more modern marshals are ?? 
    I often see dsl , tsl and jvm amps for sale locally and am tempted to pick one up . 
    Worth a punt ? Any to avoid ??
    Get a used DSL40C, cheap, reliable and with a speaker change a very good sounding amp. 
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  • longjawlongjaw Frets: 172
    zepp76 said:
    shopping round for a cheap(we) Marshall and i wonder how reliable the more modern marshals are ?? 
    I often see dsl , tsl and jvm amps for sale locally and am tempted to pick one up . 
    Worth a punt ? Any to avoid ??
    Get a used DSL40C, cheap, reliable and with a speaker change a very good sounding amp. 
    This.
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  • I have a DSl401c and never had a problem with it. It’s awesome. 
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  • CollingsCollings Frets: 153
    DJH83004 said:
    I honestly don't know why (Other than quality control issues), but some DSLs / TSLs work totally reliably, with lots of abuse - in rehearsal rooms for example, yet others are plagued with bias drift and other known issues, so there are musicians who love them to bits because they have never been let down and others that hate them with a passion, I have seen a mix of both, but the rehearsal room / studio guys do like their flexibility.     
    I think the TSL had some changes to the PCB to try to remove the cause for the bias drift problem along with other design problems  so the amps with the later revision pcb should be more reliable.
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  • Guitar_SlingerGuitar_Slinger Frets: 1310
    edited January 12
    I've got a mid-90's JCM900 Hi Gain Dual Reverb 1x12, bought when it was nearly 10 years old. I love it, it's been gigged and hasn't let me down.

    Only bad thing is the footswitch cable works intermittedtly, but it must've been up/down stairs at home, in/out the car and to a gig or rehearsal at least 100 times.  Also had the valves replaced and a couple of noisy pots when serviced by Marshall (twice) in the 15 years I've had it.  Not because it wasn't working... more a safety net before a run of gigs.
    “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?' 'Supposing it didn't,' said Pooh after careful thought. Piglet was comforted by this.”
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  • VoxmanVoxman Frets: 2045
    I have a DSl401c and never had a problem with it. It’s awesome. 
    I'm curious, what's a dsl401c and how does it differ to the dsl401?
    I started out with nothing..... but I've still got most of it left (Seasick Steve)
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 2673
    Weekly gigs with a regular JVM 410h for 6 or 7 years without problem.  Valves needed changing of course.

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  • ricorico Frets: 876
    Voxman said:
    I have a DSl401c and never had a problem with it. It’s awesome. 
    I'm curious, what's a dsl401c and how does it differ to the dsl401?
    DSL40C is the successor to the DSL401. 
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  • randellarandella Frets: 1847
    I've got a mid-90's JCM900 Hi Gain Dual Reverb 1x12, bought when it was nearly 10 years old. I love it, it's been gigged and hasn't let me down.

    Only bad thing is the footswitch cable works intermittedtly, but it must've been up/down stairs at home, in/out the car and to a gig or rehearsal at least 100 times.  Also had the valves replaced and a couple of noisy pots when serviced by Marshall (twice) in the 15 years I've had it.  Not because it wasn't working... more a safety net before a run of gigs.
    I have the Hi Gain Master Volume version which is, as far as I can tell, indestructible. It just feels brick-solid. 

    Far too loud though. 
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  • mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 1677
    randella said:
    I've got a mid-90's JCM900 Hi Gain Dual Reverb 1x12, bought when it was nearly 10 years old. I love it, it's been gigged and hasn't let me down.

    Only bad thing is the footswitch cable works intermittedtly, but it must've been up/down stairs at home, in/out the car and to a gig or rehearsal at least 100 times.  Also had the valves replaced and a couple of noisy pots when serviced by Marshall (twice) in the 15 years I've had it.  Not because it wasn't working... more a safety net before a run of gigs.
    I have the Hi Gain Master Volume version which is, as far as I can tell, indestructible. It just feels brick-solid. 

    Far too loud though. 
    I've got a 2502 mk iii which has been great but the effects loop sockets have given me some problems. Something to do with it having a parallel loop.

    As always a modern Marshall's reputation improves as they bring out new stuff... using this logic the DSL50 will be a total classic in 10 years.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32671
    As always a modern Marshall's reputation improves as they bring out new stuff... using this logic the DSL50 will be a total classic in 10 years.
    No, I think we've gone past the low point now. The JVMs and even the new Vietnamese DSLs are better than the old DSL/TSLs.

    The old DSLs/TSLs are the low point. (Actually the Mode Four is, but they're not valve amps.)
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 1677
    ICBM said:8
    As always a modern Marshall's reputation improves as they bring out new stuff... using this logic the DSL50 will be a total classic in 10 years.
    No, I think we've gone past the low point now. The JVMs and even the new Vietnamese DSLs are better than the old DSL/TSLs.

    The old DSLs/TSLs are the low point. (Actually the Mode Four is, but they're not valve amps.)
    Just my lame attempt at a joke.. apologies. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32671
    mudslide73 said:

    Just my lame attempt at a joke.. apologies. 
    It was true though :).

    The JCM900s were thought to be junk, after the JCM800s and Jubilees... then the DSLs came along and it was amazing how well-made and reliable the 900s were. ;)

    I’m not even sure the DSLs are the low point, to be honest. It might be the JTM60/JCM600s... or the MG-DFXs... or the Class 5... or the Haze... or the MA series... there’s just so much shit it’s hard to tell what’s actually worse!

    Thankfully they now seem to have canned all the crap. The current range is much smaller and better.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8462
    A simple rule of thumb rather than getting bogged down in model numbers/years;

    If it has four holes in the front it'll sound awesome and last forever,

    If it has less than four holes in the front it'll set fire to itself and you'll be relieved because it sounded like a fizzy mess anyway. 

    There are nuances between these two extremes obviously, but why take the risk? 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32671
    p90fool said:
    A simple rule of thumb rather than getting bogged down in model numbers/years;

    If it has four holes in the front it'll sound awesome and last forever
    Four holes *in a square*. This is important - JTM30s have four jacks too, and they’re in the setting-fire-to-themselves category ;).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • PlectrumPlectrum Frets: 490
    edited January 13
    ICBM said:
    p90fool said:
    A simple rule of thumb rather than getting bogged down in model numbers/years;

    If it has four holes in the front it'll sound awesome and last forever
    Four holes *in a square*. This is important - JTM30s have four jacks too, and they’re in the setting-fire-to-themselves category .

    But amps setting on fire, together with exploding drummers, are essential elements of rock music
    One day I'm going to make a guitar out of butter to experience just how well it actually plays.
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  • VoxmanVoxman Frets: 2045
    rico said:j
    Voxman said:
    I have a DSl401c and never had a problem with it. It’s awesome. 
    I'm curious, what's a dsl401c and how does it differ to the dsl401?
    DSL40C is the successor to the DSL401. 
    I realise that ... @kurtrowe2000 actually typed dsl401c not dsl40c and I wondered if it was a special variant of the dsl401...but clearly it was just a mistype.
    I started out with nothing..... but I've still got most of it left (Seasick Steve)
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  • Ha. Yep. The “c” was a typo. I also have the DL1C (with a real C). These are awesome amps. 

    Some people repirted overheating problems with their DSL401. I’ve not experienced any issues with mine. I a/b tested it with a blackstar artisan and a DSL40C and my DSL401 (which was second hand) was better in tone for me. 
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  • nick_snick_s Frets: 137
    I had my old TSL100H for donkeys years and did not experience a single problem with it.  I too read many horror stories about people being let down mid-gig, but not once did it let me down.  I presume therefore I am one of the lucky ones!
    - Shine On You Crazy Diamond -
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