Marshall DSL100 Shootout
How will the Splawn Nitro Compare?

Marshall DSL100 Special Edition Amp Head
      Click HERE for Pictures
      Click HERE for Pictures
 Marshall DSL100 Special Edition - all in mp3  Nitro Sounds - all in mp3
Clean Sound
Rhythm Sound
Heavy Rhythm Sound
Lead Sound
Clean Sound
Rhythm Sound
Heavy Rhythm Sound
Lead Sound
 Specifications  Specifications

New Splawn Nitro 100 watt Head
Splawn tone with more saturation
Voiced for bigger low end and lower midrange
Clean w/ Independent EQ, Rhy and Lead channel
Solo boost and Resonance control
Overdrive channel has an OD1/OD2
footswitch function (which gives you a gain setting for rhythm and lead sounds)
Effects loop
Half power switch
Three button footswitch w/ LED's
F/S functions
#1 Clean & Overdrive
#2 OD1 & OD2
#3 Solo Boost
Heyboer Transformers
with choice of Mullard EL34's, Tung Sol EL34B  or Sovtek KT88's
 Our Views  Our Views
This amp is deemed to be Marshalls best selling tube amp to date... period!

The DSL Special Edition is covered in green vinyl - you can even get a matching cab so it looks cool. You can get these by the way in other colours but they are regular and not deemed 'Special Edition' as proclaimed on the front of this one. We don't think that there are any other technical changes to the special or standard other than the green vinyl.

It's a more budget amp but it is a true tube amp so you are going to get some great sounds out of it - especially with a good cab and speakers which are in our view very important on the DSL100.

The amp can be played at lower volumes compared to (say) the 1987X also reviewed on this site, so at least if you are a studio or bedroom player you could use this amp.

Once again this has classic Marshall tones in there thanks to the EL34 tubes (which are the only ones supported), but because there is a switching channel the second preamp has much more drive, rather like a hotrod Marshall amp (read JCM900 etc) so modern rock is nearer your grasp - and if you used a 7 string guitar you CAN make this amp do the business.

There is also a switchable effects loop which seemed to work fine for us.

Bias on this amp is settable externally so its an awful lot better than say the 1987X, but it still is fiddly to do.

There's great warranty on Marshall kit (at least here in the UK) and I suspect the same from the USA - 3 years is generous, although like most suppliers there's a 90 day warranty on the tubes...  stingy... as all tube amp makers are in this respect.

There are no vinyl options on this amp from the Manufacturer and they will only recover amps out of warranty - you have to send it back to be done...

Negatives: Some people don't like Green Vinyl, and some don't like the tone on the hot channel - there are modifications on the internet to change the voicing, but it hacks the warranty...





We think both of these amps are cool for different reasons as intimated here - so in my book they are both fine amps and in this shootout - they kill each other depending where you are shooting from....

The Nitro packs a punch - of that there is no doubt in my mind. This amp was developed for the guitarist that needed that extra drive and more importantly that bottom end that this amp just loves to deliver.

Each and every one of these amps is custom made for the user by Splawn based in Dallas, North Carolina, USA and there is a waiting list - always a good sign of a hot product.

The one on this site was bought towards the end of 2008 and was delivered a few months later in awesome condition which oozed quality right out of the box. There were absolutely no issues whatsoever with this amps pedigree and build quality.

The options when buying enable you to buy an amp customised for you and a unique product. Fortunately, most guitarists have never heard of Splawn amps - and that's a good thing if you are in the market - firstly because the wait time is kept reasonable (and quality will matter at production) but secondly that you will be buying one of the worlds premier manufactured and designed products for what is really an awesome price and extremely hard to beat.

The Nitro is a 100 Watt head which utilises a few tubes (which you can specify at order time) such as EL34, KT88 etc and likely there are more options if you contact Splawn directly.

Basically it's a two channel amp with extra 'solo' options residing on a foot pedal. It does not have all the bells and whistles of some amps on this site, but it does have a effects loop which is switchable, it does have a mains voltage switch for different countries and it does have an awesome tone.

There's also a handy half power switch if you want to be half soaked ( :-) ).

The amp features a great resonance control that can change this fire breathing monster in to somewhat of a pussy (in the nicest sense of the word) so that it is quite tame - for other styles of music than just modern heavy rock.

This amp comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty to the original owner of the amp, but tubes and transformers are just 90 days... it seems every manufacturer wants to semi warranty those parts...  yet in law they would be liable for failure (at least here in the UK they would).

In any case - it is very unlikely you will need the warranty - or indeed the manual - this amp is as easy to play though as you can get.

This amp is one of the best kept secrets and the best priced top end gear amps available anywhere in the world today.

Negatives: None.

Price: £695.00 around $1200  Price: $1950 ($2250 Export)
 Commercial Track with DSL100  HERE - in mp3  
The Marshall DSL is of course a great dual channel amp with enhancements similar to the Nitro in many respects - but there are plusses and minuses when it comes to comparing these two. The DSL is absolutely one of Marshall's top sellers - and for good reason - the price is cool (at least in the UK), the quality is solid, and you can absolutely mimic a number of Marshalls older amps with this one. Where the Marshall DSL is concerned the Nitro is still a ravenous tube amp when it comes to sound - in respect that for the Modern heavy stuff it excels and the DSL, while it can hack some great sounds (listen above) it cannot compare to the overall sound of the Splawn.

The Nitro however struggles to mimic older Marshalls in a meaningful way - so style will dictate choice of amp here.