Marshall DSL40C Amp Review

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For guitarists looking for a high quality valve amp but don’t want to fork out thousands for a cab and a head the Marshall DSL40C is the perfect amp for you.


Marshall DSL40C Features

The amp has 2 channels, a classic gain and an ultra gain. These 2 channels can be switched between with a button on the amp or via the foot switch provided.

The classic gain is split into 2 settings, clean and crunch. The clean channel, although not a prominent as a fender for example, still gives a nice warm sound, reminiscent of a 59 Plexi super lead head.

The crunch sound is pretty versatile allowing for both a slight crunch up to a heavy overdriven sound. The ultra gain channel is also split into 2 settings of lead 1 and lead 2.

The lead 1 sound is reminiscent of a JCM 800 and is perfect for getting an 80’s hard rock tone, Slash and Mick Mars esque.

The lead 2 setting adds even more gain and gives a tone more fitting of metal players such as Zack Wilde.

Check out this Product Spotlight of the Marshal DSL40C from Guitar Center.

More Features

EQ settings for this amp include the standard bass, middle and treble, with the additional Resonance and Presence knobs for greater control over tone.

The presence knob adds higher frequencies to your sound and creates a more “crispy” tone, while the resonance knob adds low end creating a fatter sound.

These extra EQ settings are perfect for slightly altering the tone without having to mess with the bass, mids and treble.

The tone switch button is another feature among the DSL 40C, this button lowers the mids and gives a scooped sound which is popular amongst metal guitarists.

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Marshall Dsl Series Dsl40C 40 Watt Valve 2 Channel Guitar Amplifier Combo

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The amp also comes with a foot switch which allows you to change between the classic gain and ultra gain channels, as well as switch between the classic reverb and ultra reverb, perfect for onstage.

The pentode and triode switch allows the user to half the power to 20 watts from 40 watts. This extremely useful as it allows the amp to be used for a rehearsal or a practice session at a much lower volume, when at 20 watts the amp also has a smoother sound.


The Price – For what the Marshall DSL 40C can do it is very reasonably priced with most places selling the amp for around £600, considering that a head alone can cost thousands of pounds this is a great bargin for a high quality valve amp.


Versatility – There is a huge range of tones that can be created with this amp. Although Marshall is typically seen as a “rock” brand, with the range of the clean tones and equalization there’s no reason this amp couldn’t be used for a number of different genres.

When the amp is used to play rock however the crunch and lead channels are more than adequate to create a great tone.

Durability – This is a very solid and durable amp, the quality of each component of the amp makes it feel like a really secure piece of gear. The amp is quite heavy for a combo amp weighing 22kg but a lot of this weight contributes to making it so secure.

The Look – Although, probably the least important factor in buying a new piece of gear, the amp looks great. With the classic Marshall finish and layout, this amp won’t just make you sound like a rock star; it’ll make you feel like a rock star.



Lack of Effects – Modern amps tend to have a number of effects to add to the creativity and tone that they can produce however the DSL40C is limited to just a reverb. Although with 2 settings, the classic reverb and ultra reverb, these are not very prominent at all even when cranked up to 10.

The Weight – As previously mentioned this amp weighs 22kg which is heavy for a combo amp. This can make it more difficult to transport and set up, however this is small price to pay for the durability and reliability that comes with this amp.

Here’s a closer look at this amp as well as the DSL15C courtesy of Guitar World.


Overall the Marshall DSL 40C is the perfect amp for someone who is looking for a no nonsense good quality amp.

The diversity of the amp allows you emulate everyone from Mark Knopfler to Malmsteen and everything in between. In both look and sound this amp lives and breathes Marshall.


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