mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

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okgb
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mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by okgb » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:02 pm

Bought it new in the mid 80's at the time [ and level of my professional musical experience ]
it was great to have a amp that didn't need an overdrive box for distortion .
was allot of money but part of the current hype was [ Boogies hold their value ]
[ imagine i sold my plexi marshall cause no one wanted to help me with the 4x12 ]

it is an early [ no dot ? ] combo ser 16696 with the rythym pull overscreened on the
original panel

It always had a little bit of dry mid sound lacking sustain , this is more evident in the lead
channel where you can hear the intial clipping but the sounds drops off fairly quickly
[ but not totally disappear ] like a mediocre fuzzbox , it'll sustain longer with more overdrive
but the basic quality is just not that nice

I have tried playing with the tubes , best so far is el34s in the simu and groove tubes
power reducers in the middle for power and not much diff in the pre

Anyone have an idea ? is just a heavy night stand right now
[ I'm not going to give Boogie anymore money to fix their mistake ]

thanks & regards Greg

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boogiemon
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by boogiemon » Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:12 pm

A 16xxx serial not is not an early model, IMHO. maybe someone scrubbed the stripe off the back. I don't know what 'power reducers' are, but they sound suspect & I would take them out of the equation for now. Get some in-spec power tubes that you know are not worn out and make sure all your preamp tubes are good. After that, download the docs for the mIKI from the Mesa site and try some of the sample settings they provide.


Good luck
All boogies go to heaven.

James B
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by James B » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:27 pm

I have a very early Mk III. It's considered a "no-dot" since it really has no stripe. This one is a 60 watt, with reverb, no EQ, 2 6L6 power tubes. This amp has consistently been the best amp I have ever owned or played through. I've used it as combo with the stock Celstion 90 watt speaker, and I've used it pushing 2 12" Vintage 30's in an old Hiwatt cab I own. Either way the amp is a winner. If I ever had a complaint, it's been my lack of enthusiasm for the Rhythm 2 tone....and the lack of control over that R2 channel. I've always been satisfied using the clean and lead modes, however. The clean tones on this amp are so good, and the lead tone has always allowed me to cut through the mix but never pierce an ear. I've never been able to accomplish that as consistently with any other amp. All of the above have taken place since 1986 or so when I acquired the Mk III.

Fast forward to about 2 years ago. The lead tones in this amp just seemed to lose something. Not a terrible change but a slip toward average. I have never done anything but keep good tubes in the amp, no other maintenance....well maybe lubing the pots. I tried all of the recommended "one at a time tube changes" that Boogie puts in the user manual. Anyway, the singing, thick, warm, trademark lead tone had lost some of those awesome qualities. Your description of your lead channel works for where my tone was headed too. The confusing thing about the tone change was that the clean tones did not change at all. They've remained very much as I remember from the beginning....perfect!

I read many posts on this board and decided a I would take some action. I learned about the R2 master volume mod. I decided I would send my amp back to Boogie to have it serviced and have the R2 mod done. I just got off the phone with the MB shipping department. My amp will ship out tomorrow. The mod is done, the pots were cleaned, the caps were replaced, a few tubes changed out, reverb circuit updated, and a new AC power cord installed....along with the R2 master volume addition. I am planning on my lead tones being completely restored to the original. I hope I'm not disappointed. One thing is for sure, the MB staff certainly has the customer service lick down pat. They are a very personable company.

I will send another post after I test my amp to let you know if the lead channel has come back to the original quality.
James B in NC

okgb
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by okgb » Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:34 pm

Yeah , i have the sample settings from when i first bought the amp [ new ]
It's never been a great amp, not bad amp maybe , i just didn't know any better when
i bought it , I was young [ it did save me at the time though ]
At the time they suggested a resister mod to even out the rythym 2 level change
i put in a trimmer instead and note that i need to adjust depending on overall master
level [ when i was using it to play live ]
The problems aren't dramatic but enough that other muscians notice
and i don't bother to use it [ unless i want a rep for having bad sound ]

American 6l6's sound better than the russian 5881 's
even without the power reducers and just the outside el34's
it still has a dry mid and lacks sustain [clean or otherwise ]
not quite caustic but a little tart if you know what i mean .

Will be quite curious to see if the overhaul makes your's
return to it's former glory , [ and how much that will cost ]
good luck and let us know , Thanks James

tia for any help

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boogiemon
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by boogiemon » Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:45 pm

Also, i'm sure people think i'm a salesman for tung sol/new sensor by now, but i've got tung sol 12ax7 tubes in my MIII & they have sweetened the tone quite a bit. Also, try pulling the treble knob out. It adds gain (& some upper mids) to the gain channel. Another thing to consider is replacing the capacitors: not cheap but in an amp this age it may be time.

j
okgb wrote:Yeah , i have the sample settings from when i first bought the amp [ new ]
It's never been a great amp, not bad amp maybe , i just didn't know any better when
i bought it , I was young [ it did save me at the time though ]
At the time they suggested a resister mod to even out the rythym 2 level change
i put in a trimmer instead and note that i need to adjust depending on overall master
level [ when i was using it to play live ]
The problems aren't dramatic but enough that other muscians notice
and i don't bother to use it [ unless i want a rep for having bad sound ]

American 6l6's sound better than the russian 5881 's
even without the power reducers and just the outside el34's
it still has a dry mid and lacks sustain [clean or otherwise ]
not quite caustic but a little tart if you know what i mean .

Will be quite curious to see if the overhaul makes your's
return to it's former glory , [ and how much that will cost ]
good luck and let us know , Thanks James

tia for any help
All boogies go to heaven.

James B
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Location: Charlotte NC area

Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by James B » Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:50 pm

I'm curious if the Simul Class models sound as good as the straight 60 watt models out of the box. I haven't played thru a SC MKIII in years but I remember the head that I played through did sound very similar to my combo. I don't know...I'm puzzled about your problem. The way my amp has been over the years keeps me really close to it. I've really been able to count on my 60 watt for the best tones I've ever accomplished. I run that reverb very low and it's such a great blues amp. I've also used it in the old days when our little band was playing Night Ranger songs! Very versatile amp. I am really looking forward to getting it back. I hope you can keep from giving up on yours. I really think the problem is something simple and your Mk III could also be your favorite amp with a minor fix.

I have a pretty good selection of decent to high-end amps. A 64' BF Super Reverb, a Carr Slant 6V, a Boogie Nomad 45 head, a Peavey Delta Blues, a Boogie Subway Rocket and a small assortment of Fender Silver Face Broncos and Vibro Champs. I put the Mark III right at the top. Of course the Carr is really there too but keep in mind it's practically a brand new machine. (All of the Carr products are really excellent!)

Don't give up on the Mk III to soon.
James B in NC

okgb
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by okgb » Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:11 am

i think the simuclass helps give it some extra texture
preferable option [ i've always liked the pentode / triode option ]

let us know when you get yours back , thanks & regards

James B
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by James B » Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Hey...I got my Mk III back. It is right again. All the work I requested was done and it was done by Mike B. I'm sure whoever works on amps out there would do a good job but it's cool that the guy that originally inspected the amp back in 1985 also did the service in 2009.

The gain is back in great form. My overdrive is very smooth again and does not have the ratty break up I was getting before the service. If there is any difference in the amp whatsoever from when it was brand new, I would say that I have my treble tweeked slightly higher than before to get the same tone. And... this could even be my imagination and ears changing over 24 years. Of course I may just be learning to use my amp again....like I had to when it was brand new.

The master volume for the R2 channel is a great improvement. However, I wish I would have asked him to tweek the tone also. I have always thought the the R2 channel was a little on the thick side and even went muddy if I used my neck pickups. If I would have remembered I would have requested Mike B. try to remedy that.

Anyway, I got new caps, the reverb update, R2 Master Volume, new AC power cord, all pots lubed/cleaned. He even tossed in a replacement for a noisy pre-amp tube. The price was great. Somewhere around $183.00 + shipping.

I'm a happy customer. The folks in shipping called a day or so before scheduled ship date. I asked them to bump it up and ship it the next morning. The guy never hesitated and made it happen. Mesa Boogie's customer service is worth the price of admission.

Now I have a dilema on my hands again. Do I play my Mk III or do I keep doing my church gigs with my Carr Slant 6V? I'm a blessed boy to have this kind of problem!

JB in NC
James B in NC

pegagos
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by pegagos » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:44 am

James, I'm so glad you amp is back to sounding right. Mesa has my loaded blue stripe right now and probably won't get it back for another 3 weeks. Your post gives me more confidence that they will do a good job on mine and restore its beautiful sound. I'll post my comments when I get it back.
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kramerxxx
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by kramerxxx » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:20 am

James,
Was there a big difference with the Clean sound?

thanks,
Steve

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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by Restless Rocks » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:26 am

James B wrote:Hey...I got my Mk III back. It is right again. All the work I requested was done and it was done by Mike B. I'm sure whoever works on amps out there would do a good job but it's cool that the guy that originally inspected the amp back in 1985 also did the service in 2009.

The gain is back in great form. My overdrive is very smooth again and does not have the ratty break up I was getting before the service. If there is any difference in the amp whatsoever from when it was brand new, I would say that I have my treble tweeked slightly higher than before to get the same tone. And... this could even be my imagination and ears changing over 24 years. Of course I may just be learning to use my amp again....like I had to when it was brand new.

The master volume for the R2 channel is a great improvement. However, I wish I would have asked him to tweek the tone also. I have always thought the the R2 channel was a little on the thick side and even went muddy if I used my neck pickups. If I would have remembered I would have requested Mike B. try to remedy that.

Anyway, I got new caps, the reverb update, R2 Master Volume, new AC power cord, all pots lubed/cleaned. He even tossed in a replacement for a noisy pre-amp tube. The price was great. Somewhere around $183.00 + shipping.

I'm a happy customer. The folks in shipping called a day or so before scheduled ship date. I asked them to bump it up and ship it the next morning. The guy never hesitated and made it happen. Mesa Boogie's customer service is worth the price of admission.

Now I have a dilema on my hands again. Do I play my Mk III or do I keep doing my church gigs with my Carr Slant 6V? I'm a blessed boy to have this kind of problem!

JB in NC


Hey James, glad you're satisfied with your Mesa service, but I'm wondering, did Mike B. give a specific solution to the "ratty lead tone" problem. Or did simply cleaning the pots solve the problem? The 12AX7's supplied by Mesa now (relabled JJ's) are noticably darker with a bit less gain. I might suggest to brighten up your R2 channel using a different tube in the V2 position

okgb
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by okgb » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:33 am

Do you know which caps were replaced , only powersupply electrolytics
or others ?
I'm curious to know too , if there was something specific that
fixed the tone
were they detailed about what was done ?

James B
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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by James B » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:07 am

Sorry I've haven't been on in while guys. I would have replied to your posts. My bad.

pegagos: I don't think you will be disappointed with the Mesa Boogie service. I look forward to hearing back about your amp.
kramerx: I didn't have a problem with the clean tone. I requested service because of the lead channel degradation. The clean sound is still as good as ever and even has more punch than before. I've always felt like the amp was touch sensitive in both channels.

Restless: thanks for the suggestion on the V2. The preamp tubes are not particularly new...maybe 4 years. Mike replaced one or two he described as noisy.

okgb: I am suspicious about the source of the "ratty" lead tone that I had. Mike B said that "it wouldn't hurt to change the caps". They are really cheap. Was it the caps or the cleaning and lubing of the pots that gave my amp the new life? I'd like to say I know the answer to that but I don't. Mike B didn't say there was a "smokin gun" either. I'm leaning toward the pots myself. The reason I say this is because I tried to lube/clean them myself. The static went away for a short period of time but came right back. Mike explained that his method included injecting the contact cleaner and then blowing them out. He repeated the process too. My method would not remove build up debris...just wet it. His method truly cleans. I think he only replaced one set of caps. It's on the receipt so I will check it and report back. I spoke on the phone with them three times and was given alot of verbal updates. They were detailed about what was done but the handwriting on the invoice is very hard to read. Throughout the process I rec'd a lot of info. Mike was very friendly on the phone.
James B in NC

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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by Restless Rocks » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:02 am

James,
You pretty much answered my question; I was curious as to wheather the lead drive pot was loosing continuity or the LDR's (which engage the lead circuit) might be failing. Sounds like a good cleaning took care of things! Enjoy that Boogie!!!


John

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Re: mk III sound problem [ never has sounded right ]

Post by treedroppings » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:10 am

I had a bad sound on my amp, seems to have gone away with servicing pots and replacing the caps

Now I need to upgrade my ears for the volume increase :lol:
2006 Fender Lite Ash Strat
2012 US Gibson Firebird V
1990 Boogie Mark 1 Reissue
2-12 Sapele Cab

Music: from blues to thrash and back! (allman bros, exodus, saxon, tcf, robert johnson)

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