If you’re interested in learning more about the Marshall DSL15C vs Blues Jr and how these amps compare, this is the post for you!
Marshall’s DSL, or Dual Super Lead, series has some pretty awesome amps. They’re especially popular for their high-gain settings. However, they also work well in cleaner settings. This was an important change compared to older amps that went into overdrive easier.
One of the amps in this series was DSL15C, released back in 2012. At the moment, Marshall isn’t manufacturing these. However, it’s still in circulation on the used market. And a lot of players prefer it for its features.
It comes with 15 watts of output power, and there’s also a power attenuation option for 7.5 watts. There’s a total of four ECC83 preamp tubes. But what’s interesting is that it comes with a pair of 6V6 power amp tubes. This isn’t typical of Marshall amps. But it works for this one.
We have two channels, each with individual controls for volume and input gain. Then we have master controls for a 3-band EQ, presence, and reverb.
In addition, you get two tone-shaping switches. They’re labeled as Tone Shift and Deep. Tone Shift gets you that scooped tone for metal music. Meanwhile, the Deep control tightens or loosens the bottom-ends.
This all comes with a single 12-inch speaker. This might give it some bassier vibes. But overall, you can expect Marshall-like tones from it.
Of course, it’s not like the old-school Marshall stuff. But on the other hand, it’s a versatile amp not focusing specifically on certain tones.
What I like about it is that you can even push the clean channel into some sparkly or dirty territories. This gives a pretty great dynamic response. Plus, the Ultra Gain channel also gives a lot of space for tone shaping. But overall, the amp gravitates towards mids and bottom mids.
The Closest Alternative Available Today: Marshall DSL20CR
The DSL15CR model is not available anymore. But the closest alternative these days is DSL20CR. This is a 20-watt all-tube amp with one 12-inch speaker. It’s also possible to attenuate the power down to 10 watts.
The main difference here is that DSL20CR comes with a pair of EL34 tubes, which is more in the style of Marshall amps. But tone-wise, they’re pretty similar. However, DSL20CR is slightly closer to classic Marshall tones. Nonetheless, it’s also a pretty versatile one.
There are the same controls on it. However, it comes with a few additional features. On the backside, you have an auxiliary input and even an emulated output.
Fender introduced the Blues Junior amp model back in 1990. And they’ve been making them ever since. At this point, we have the fourth iteration of the amplifier.
There are a few things that tie together all of the versions. First, they’re all designed to bring that classic American Fender tone. There’s some warmth in there, but with a fair amount of headroom. Overall, the tone is more or less vintage-oriented.
Second, the amp is a cheaper alternative to Fender’s classic tube-driven amps. Sure, it’s not super cheap, but it won’t bust your wallet. And for the price, it’s a pretty great deal.
Here we have another 15-watt all-tube amp with a 12-inch speaker. What’s interesting is that, aside from standard 12AX7 tubes in the preamp, it comes with a pair of EL84 power amp tubes. This isn’t a typical Fender setup.
Nonetheless, the tone goes in that direction. It may not have as much headroom, but it’s still fairly clean. What’s also important is that it comes with only one channel.
On the top panel, we have our usual controls. There’s the 3-band EQ, preamp gain labeled as Volume, Master for the output volume, and Reverb. In addition, there’s also the so-called Fat switch. It helps add more distortion.
So it’s not a dual-channel amp. But you can kind of make it work like one. Using the Volume knob, which is an input gain control, you can break up the sound. It won’t be that high-gain razor-sharp distortion. But you’ll add that incredible bluesy overdrive.
A More Specialized Kind of Amplifier
Overall, the amp’s character is bluesy. For heavier tones, you’d have to use an additional pedal. However, this amp shines in classic blues, blues rock, classic rock, and some hard rock settings.
Even when you set a cleaner tone, you’ll notice it breaking up a little. The dynamic response is pretty great. However, you can also get some clean stuff. It’s not as pristine clean as with Fender amps that have 6L6 tubes. But it’s still pretty good.
This all makes it a more specialized kind of amp. As I’ve said, it’s a blues-rock amplifier for vintage lovers.
Marshall DSL15C Vs Fender Blues Junior: How Do They Compare?
The first thing that I’ll have to point out is that both amps fit within the same tier. Sure, they’re tube-driven amps. But they’re cheaper alternatives to some classic high-end stuff. Nonetheless, I’d say that they’re both well worth the price. You won’t make a lousy purchase with either of these two.
Now that we have this out of the way, let’s focus on the differences. Here we have two amps that are meant for two different purposes.
Marshall, as usual, is more of a classic high-gain kind of amp. However, it’s also super-versatile. You can get it to sound super clean, super-heavy, and anything in between. It’s a great choice for smaller gigs and studio sessions.
But although Fender Blues Junior isn’t that diverse, it has its advantages. It’s an amp focused on bluesy kind of tones. And although Marshall is versatile, it could never get those kinds of results.
Blues Junior responds very naturally to your playing. The dynamic response is just incredible. There’s not as much headroom compared to regular Fender amps. So you can hear it breaking up even on some cleaner settings. But if you push it into higher-gain territories, it still won’t lose its character. While it won’t get super heavy, you will be able to make out every note.
Which One Should I Get?
So Blues Junior is for the lovers of vintage kind of tone. It’s pretty warm and can get dirty in the right way. There’s that noticeable smooth clipping, true classic overdrive.
As for the Marshall DSL15CR, it’s for those who need a wider palette of tones without getting too specialized. It’s your all-purpose amp for pretty much any genre.
The one issue, however, is that it’s no longer produced. You can still find them in circulation. But it’s always a drag buying used stuff. So I’d rather go with a new one and get something like DSL20CR or DSL5CR.
I hope this article has helped you think through the differences between these amps and which might be best for you.
And if you want to read more about amplifiers on this blog, then check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!