Marshall TSL100 Shootout
How will the Splawn Nitro Compare?

Marshall TSL100 Tube Amp

      

      Click HERE for Pictures
 
      Click HERE for Pictures
 Marshall TSL100 (JCM2000) - 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
The Marshall TSL100 is as the name may suggest a three channel tube amp. We have used one of these for some time on and off (depending on song style etc) but one thing is for sure... if you have a good one it is awesome and if you have a bad one...


The channels in our view roughly mimic the old Marshalls on the clean/breakup channel, followed by the crunch/first lead channel which roughly emulates the likes of the DSL100 lead channel and of course lastly is the TSL's lead channel which can be awesome depending on what you are trying to do.

When these came out these were the top of the line amps from Marshall so they were not particularly cheap (but always cost more in the USA) so you would expect a decent amp.

There are various switches on the front to change the dynamics of the amp and they do work well so you can get lots of variance with this amp for your sound.

The Tubes are again the EL34 that Marshall love (and so do so many users) so right off the ground this am usually sounds good - again use a good and matching cab if you can - crap cab/speakers are often the cause of a poor sounding amp!

All three channels are switchable with the supplied floor pedal. This where it can get nasty... the foot pedal connector cable pulls on the main amp board and can crack the tracks on the board - thus rendering external foot switching of the channels useless. We have never had this on ours... but it is a fact. Marshall have a modification if yours is less than the warranty period.

The Effects loop works as does the reverb etc quite satisfactory in our view.

Biasing the tubes is again external and again a little fiddly, but you don't have to strip out the amp to do it.

The amp has a method of changing the power so it can be used in other countries - a major omission on some amps - but don't forget to change the fuses accordingly or pop goes the weasel...

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 - and you have to send it back to be done...

Negatives: The foot pedal connector on the board.

 

In our 'shootout' between these two it's a draw. Both amps will serve you superb sounds, albeit with the odd little technical problem on the TSL - but it IS cheaper (at least in the UK) so we think a draw....

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: £1195 (List) $2000  Price:$1950 ($2250 Export)
 Commercial Track with TSL100 HERE - in mp3
 Second Commercial Track TSL100 HERE - in mp3
 Third Commercial Track TSL100 HERE - in mp3
 
The TSL in fact is one of my favourite all round amps. It's true to say that it has it's problems (which amps don't?) but you can get out of this thing some of the finest sounds available from any amp at any price (check the commercial tracks to see the variance in styles). The Nitro can of course go 'beyond' the sounds of the TSL and can reasonably emulate the TSL.
 
Once again, the Splawn Nitro can crush the Marshall TSL100 - but be careful here - the TSL is an awesome amp in it's own right and outguns the Nitro in many ways. In my view the only thing stopping the TSL from 'winning' this particular round is the poor build quality and problems associated with the foot pedal connector on the main board.