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Discussion Forum for Mesa Boogie Products
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:23 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 10:36 pm
Posts: 108
Quote:
Basically, ignore the ++ hardwired mod. It's not worth it because it sacrifices the R1 channel for extra gain. Just use a pedal!



Ah! So the ++ mod would be good for me. Good to know. To me R2 is absolutely useless. My Mark III offers nothing over the old Mark IIA that I used to have, and wish I still did. It's a great sounding Mark III but now I know that the ++ mod may be in its future.

As for pedals...frankly I can't stand 'em. Not under MY foot. I also hate Strats. Not for anything wrong with them, but I can't make them sound like anything I want to hear. I'm a humbuckers and distortion/overdrive-in-the-tube-amp guy and that's that.


Now, I've never found the Mark III to be lacking in gain. So I probably don't need the ++ mod anyway. But it's good to know what it involves, and I'd never ever miss R2 at all.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:40 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:20 am
Posts: 21
jrb32 wrote:
Quote:
To be honest, I'm not *that* picky about tone. I tend to set things a certain way and then go. I'm a player. I have way more guitars than amps. More than anything I want something that just inspires me to keep playing without really thinking about the amp at all. I'm getting the sense that maybe the MkIII just isn't that kind of thing...like maybe I'll always be turning knobs. That's fine enough for having some fun on weekends, but I'm really looking for one thing I can use day-in, day-out.


Sorry if this is repeating anything you already know but these are pretty standard settings and explains how to get a decent tone out of the amp quickly:

Vol 1 6-8, Treble 8, Bass 0-2, Middle 5, Master 2-3 (be careful!), Lead Drive (as required) Lead Master (set to allow similar level channel switching). Presence (as required, but probably not more than about 3 on the III).

I use this as a starting point and rarely deviate away from this. I normally have Treble Shift and Lead Master pulled, but you can pull others and until you get the sound you want and have a killer two channel amp set up. Ignore R2. It's not a real channel...

The pull switches and which channel they effect:

Vol 1 (Pull Bright) = Both Channels
Treble Shift = Lead Only
Bass Shift = Both Channels
R2 = Both Channels
Pull Deep = Both Channels
Pull Lead = Switches Lead On
Pull Bright = Lead Only


Yeah, those settings are pretty standard. I agree. I'm not committing any majors sins with how I'm EQ'ing things. Plus, I've tried all sorts of shapes with the GEQ...soft-V, hard-V, ducked highs, etc.

My complaint would be that this amp is "only" doing the late-80s Metallica thing. By that I mean it's really hairy, really tight and really sharp. It's effective for AJFA riffs but it's not really "musical." There's no quality (JP-esque) lead sound. Things are too sharp and bright.

I guess I should be asking whether the + mods even resolve this. If they don't, and this amp is truly just a monster for Hetfield-style riffs, then maybe the JP-2C is totally the way to go.

jrb32 wrote:
Quote:
What you're saying about the ++ mod being accesible through R2 is news to me. That seems counter to what Mike said but I kind of lost him there. It sounded like he was saying the ++ mod is tonally different (which I get), but it also seemed like he was implying you'd have an additional gain boost by engaging the R2 along with Lead...well that's something I've heard can make a slight difference on all MkIII amps.


Sounds like Mike B won't do the switchable ++ mod via R2 on the III. It's theoretically possible, but it's too much of a hassle as you have to replace the entire R2 channel. He does a hardwired version instead. There IS a switchable ++ mod for the IIC+ though which he used to do by adding a push/pull for the middle pot. I did the switchable III+/++ and Mike B could do it obviously, but it's custom work and you'd be looking at a blank cheque...

Quote:
So you're saying it's possible to have a MkIII that has ++ sounds on R2 and + sound on the Lead channel? Or maybe you're saying + sounds on Lead mode and the ability to get to ++ territory when R2 is simultaneously activated?


I'll try to explain the two as best I can:

1. If you have ++ hardwired in you get R1++ and Lead++ only. You can then engage R2 on both R1++ and Lead++ for even more gain! Call it R1+++ and Lead+++. R2 is switchable on/off. The hardwired ++ is not.
2. The switchable ++ mod replaces the R2 channel. So you have R1+ and Lead + as standard. Then you can engage R2 for R1++ or Lead++. It's pretty cool and if Mike B won't do this and you have a very decent tech I can send you details on how to do this.

Basically, ignore the ++ hardwired mod. It's not worth it because it sacrifices the R1 channel for extra gain. Just use a pedal!

If it sounds great already and you're handy with a soldering iron, I can send you a few common things to replace and how to do a decent service on it or get this done locally? If you want more then the Mike B route is best. I can give out details of the exact + mod done but I don't ideally want this done by local techs who make money off it when you can ship your amp to Mike B for a reasonable amount. If you can get it serviced before that and Mike is OK with that and will just do the mods then winner winner!

If you do send it to Mike B, get the + mod and the R2 mod. Ignore any Vol 1 mods. If you're after two completely truly independent channels this is not the amp for you. Go for a dual amp setup with A/B switcher or sell it and get a JP2C or Mark IV or something. The JP2C I have heard mixed things about them though and have heard people sell theirs and go back to a IIC+

The brightness is changed be some simple cap changes and a presence cap change, otherwise anything over 2-3 on the presence controls is way too harsh. As mentioned those horrible green disc capacitors must be swapped out if they're present!


Being able to switch back and forth between + and ++ tones really sounds like it would be awesome. By the way Mike B described it, I guessing he just doesn't want to sell the idea because it's probably too much hassle for him. I understand that, especially when the JP-2C delivers a lot of that anyhow. I'm assuming the Shred mode puts you in that ++ territory. Mike probably wants his work to be as cut-and-dry as possible. I don't think he wants to help anyone turn their Mark-III into a JP-2C, haha.



So here's a real question for you...should I be worried about what kind of filter caps my local tech will presumably put if when I have him check this out? He does mostly boutique-style reproductions of "simpler" 50s and 60s Fender amps. High gain Mesa Boogie stuff isn't really his thing, but he's clearly a smart and capable guy.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:19 pm 
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Mark II

Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 10:36 pm
Posts: 108
To recap a Mesa amp, get the caps from Mesa. They don't cost appreciably more than anything else and you'll be assured to get fresh production parts that are of high quality. Not only that, but Mesa sells the most common caps (30 uF at 450/500V and 220 uF at 300V) for less than the other vendors, because they have the benefit of volume discounts.

You can order the caps from Mesa online in their store. Find them quickest by Google searching "Mesa Boogie capacitors" and that'll take you right to the proper category.

The major caps in a Mark III to worry about are the two types I mentioned earlier. But it's best to look inside your amp and see how many of each are actually in there. And replace the bias cap, too. It's another electrolytic on the power supply board but it's smaller...and very important.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:51 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:20 am
Posts: 21
woodbutcher65 wrote:
To recap a Mesa amp, get the caps from Mesa. They don't cost appreciably more than anything else and you'll be assured to get fresh production parts that are of high quality. Not only that, but Mesa sells the most common caps (30 uF at 450/500V and 220 uF at 300V) for less than the other vendors, because they have the benefit of volume discounts.

You can order the caps from Mesa online in their store. Find them quickest by Google searching "Mesa Boogie capacitors" and that'll take you right to the proper category.

The major caps in a Mark III to worry about are the two types I mentioned earlier. But it's best to look inside your amp and see how many of each are actually in there. And replace the bias cap, too. It's another electrolytic on the power supply board but it's smaller...and very important.


Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:41 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:32 am
Posts: 100
Quote:
To recap a Mesa amp, get the caps from Mesa.


Definitely second that! Also tell your tech to order a high W wirewound 680 Ohm resistor to replace R119 (I think I used a 3 or 4W in mine). You'll be able to tell where it is because of the black scorch marks on the original... get the highest W wirewound you can that will still fit! I also normally replace the 2W 470 Ohm resistors on the output tubes with higher W wirewound versions. These always seem to burn out on mine or have weird values when measured. Maybe it's just me but something to check as well as giving the board a quick once-over to see if anything else is black or burnt that might need replacing.

Mike B also replaces all the axial caps for Bias and EQ if they've never been done when servicing - so total to replace is:

R119 with wirewound high W, C611, C612, C621, C622, C631, C633 and all the filter caps (3 x 30uF 500V axial caps and 2 or 4 x 220uF 300V axial caps depending on what you have). The filter caps and C611/C612 Bias caps you should be able to get from Mesa (50uF 75V originals). Not sure about the others: C621 = 220uF 63V, C622 = 220uF 63V, C631 = 470uF 16V, C633 = 63V 10uF.

EDIT - looks like you can get all of these from Mesa apart from R119.

Their customer support is seriously good so they should be able to help you out on which ones you need :)


Last edited by jrb32 on Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:00 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:32 am
Posts: 100
Quote:
My complaint would be that this amp is "only" doing the late-80s Metallica thing. By that I mean it's really hairy, really tight and really sharp. It's effective for AJFA riffs but it's not really "musical." There's no quality (JP-esque) lead sound. Things are too sharp and bright.

I guess I should be asking whether the + mods even resolve this. If they don't, and this amp is truly just a monster for Hetfield-style riffs, then maybe the JP-2C is totally the way to go.


Mike B will work his magic and sort that out. If xdg999 says his is 99% a IIC+, then trust this guy he has 7 of them! The presence cap mod done as part of the III+ makes a big difference to the aggressiveness and brightness. Is it still really hairy with presence on 0-1? You can turn this up to about 5-6 after the + mod!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:02 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:37 pm
Posts: 63
jrb32 wrote:
EDIT - looks like you can get all of these from Mesa apart from R119.


Mesa's distributor in Scotland were able to get me a 2w for R119, works well for me so far.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:29 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:44 pm
Posts: 96
Location: Mile High City
Get the III+ mod along with the vol mod done by MB. It's absolutely fantastic.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:48 pm 
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Donating Member

Joined: Tue May 05, 2015 9:07 am
Posts: 143
The lll+ mod is fantastic. I’m going to send my Mark lll SRG Black Stripe back to Mesa for the lll+/R2 mods.

_________________
Mark llc+ (HRx4,DRx2,HRG,DRG upgrade,HRG upgrade,HR upgrade)
Mark lll+ (DRG 105,DRG X101,SRG)
Mark V 25
50/50
Studio Preamp
Dual Rec (1994 Rev Gx2)
Mini Rec
D-180
4x12 Half Back x3
1x12 Open Back x5


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:23 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 12:38 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Bonita Springs, Florida
lions wrote:
For what it's worth between a few of us on here and Mike B we've basically figured out how to do the III+ mod. It's a pretty involved process, but you can simplify it somewhat too. Check the Mark subforum on this site, there's quite a bit of discussion about it.

If you want it to be smoother, the IIC+/III+ mod would definitely get you there. JRB on this forum recently did the complete conversion to IIC+ specs himself. Shoot him a message. His is a Black Stripe. I've had half the mod done and will be soon be getting the rest done to a Blue Stripe 60W by a local tech. It's totally doable.



Not to hijack, but I'm in a similar position as OP. My Blue Stripe is currently at a very competent tech who I have no doubt could do the full III+ mod if I can get him the information.

Does a comprehensive parts list exist? All I can find is adding the 2000pf C30.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:39 pm 
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Mark II

Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:37 pm
Posts: 63
EOengineer wrote:
lions wrote:
For what it's worth between a few of us on here and Mike B we've basically figured out how to do the III+ mod. It's a pretty involved process, but you can simplify it somewhat too. Check the Mark subforum on this site, there's quite a bit of discussion about it.

If you want it to be smoother, the IIC+/III+ mod would definitely get you there. JRB on this forum recently did the complete conversion to IIC+ specs himself. Shoot him a message. His is a Black Stripe. I've had half the mod done and will be soon be getting the rest done to a Blue Stripe 60W by a local tech. It's totally doable.



Not to hijack, but I'm in a similar position as OP. My Blue Stripe is currently at a very competent tech who I have no doubt could do the full III+ mod if I can get him the information.

Does a comprehensive parts list exist? All I can find is adding the 2000pf C30.


I've got one for the blue to IIc+ conversion however there's a few more steps jrb has added that I don't have a list on hand for. It's pretty long, I'll probably do a post on it soon.


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