For the last 5 years my preferred amp of choice has been the Marshall TSL series, starting out in 2001 with the TSL60 head, I found the three channels and parrallel FX loop perfectly suited my gigging needs. Then a few years later I upgraded to the TSL100, as I felt I needed the extra clean headroom. The seperate EQ on each channel was a godsend, however I found the dual assignable FX loops (one for clean, one for dirty) were actually something of a dissapointment. While the TSL60 has a remarkably transparent loop, the assignable loops of the TSL100 seemed to add a layer of film to the tone.
However my biggest niggle in terms of gigging, was the amount of cables onstage, once the fx loop cables and footswitch are connected. The footswitch cable was never a brilliant design and prone to failing, but Marshall did change the cable to a more rigid shiny design that wouldn’t look out of place in a S & M club.
So I decided on a rethink…
After flogging the TSL on Ebay I decided to buy a simpler 2 channel DSL head, I have to admit I’ve heard my friends DSL50′s and felt the tone was a lot more open and purer. While I would not have quite the versatility of my previous rig, the idea was I would have a lot less cables to fiddle with and therefore less possibilities of things going wrong.
Now I’ve owned a DSL 100 for about 2 months now…..and……it’s just not me. Sorry I can’t get on with it. It does sound great, but I do miss my bells and whistles. As my current gig requires me to play a variety of styles with both clean and heavy sections, also I miss the fx loop, despite its flaws it was simple enough to dial in.
So now I’m back on the buying board. The DSL is on ebay and I’m trying to decide which TSL head to buy. Sometimes its the devil you know I suppose.
While we are on the subject of Marshall, it’s worth noting that next month they are launching a new amp line called the Modern Vintage series. My suspicion is that theres a whole host of guitarists who’d like something a little more retro looking, while still having their modern features. Kinda like a Badcat Hotcat series. As the JCM2000 series is pushing on in age now. It may also be the first in a range of new amps to replace the JCM. If rumours on various guitar orientated webforums are to be believed, Trivium and Moterhead have been using pre production prototypes (if you watch the DVD of Metallica’s ‘Some Kind Of Monster’, you can see an unmarked Modefour prototype head nestling within James Hetfields studio rig).
Watch this space…