Marshall has a rather diverse lineup of tube amps on their offer. However, if there is one head that we would dare call a workhorse, it is the Marshall DSL100H. There are no fancy bells nor whistles with this one. Just pure concentrated performance. If you are looking for a proven design that simply works and your budget is up to $1000, DSL100H is among the best choices you have. This head brings the core of what Marshall stands for at a rather reasonable price.
The control panel on the DSL100H was designed in typical Marshall fashion. Everything is clean and pretty intuitive to use even if you have never dealt with Marshall amps. Going from left to right, we first run into a reverb cluster that is controlled by an Ultra and Classic knob. Next up is your EQ section where they have included a three-band EQ along with the resonance and presence knobs. This EQ section also features a Tone Shift button for extra versatility. Next up are the Ultra Gain cluster and Classic Gain cluster, both with their own volume and gain knobs. Each of these two channels has two modes of operation, essentially giving you three types of distortion on top of a clean channel.
One thing that makes DSL100H so attractive is the fact that it offers 100 Watts of Marshall tube power. This amp is a perfect choice for a half stack or even a full stack. FX loop comes as standard while you can attenuate the power from 100 Watts down to 50 Watts. Doing this allows you to push those tubes into that sweet spot where they produce the best performance. In terms of tubes, you are looking at three ECC83s in the preamp stage, while the power stage is taken care of by one ECC83 combined with four EL34s. All in all, DSL100H from Marshall is a no-nonsense workhorse that will keep up with you no matter what your demands are.
Here’s where things get really interesting. With two channels and two modes per channel, you are looking at a tone that combines the best features of several of their legendary models. Cleans come in form of that standard Marshall flavor which is easy to control and just sounds amazing. Adding some crunch leads you to a growling tone that adds a layer of gain over while still retaining the definition offered by the cleans. As you progress through the rest of the channels and modes, the tone becomes more saturated with gain. Reverb is probably the weakest point. It is digital and generally not that great. However, no one buys this amp for the reverb, that is for sure.
Just like many models out there, Marshall’s DSL100H comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. Needless to say, the former far outweigh the latter. If you want to get yourself an amp that is going to work with just about any kind of gear or music genre, this Marshall is one of the safest ways to go. It is a true workhorse that brings only the proven, legendary performance.