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Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:12 am
by Wayno
Funny as i much prefer all three modes of Ch3 with all the hard mods. But thats tone for you, subjective to the extreme. Fender vs Gibson, Marshall vs Mesa... You get the point. I like my gain tone bottom heavy i guess! Years of bedroom volume playing at work there. That being said, I love the rhythm sound of Appetite for Destruction. The combination of Izzy's Mark iii and Slash's Marshall is great in my opinion, neither of which are bottom heavy at all. I just find the extra bass gives me confidence and therefore more authority when i play. Thats key to me when playing heavy music, that adolescent arrogance and testosterone is what i love. Funny as i'm a very laid back non confrontational person, Jeckyl and Hyde with a guitar though haha. But i have to agree, 99.9% should stick to swapped tubes and only get the soldering iron out as an absolute last resort. And only then after giving proper consideration to the fact that the Mark V just might not be the amp for you. I have a curious mind, and like to tinker with things, especially amps so i gave it a go. I like the result, a lot! But thats my mileage, no one elses. Maybe i should have bought a Dual Rec rather than the Mark V? Never heard one live that i liked though, ever. And theres loads of local bands use them. I'm a child of the Metallica generation, the Mark V seemed natural to me, and it was from the get go. Now its even better thanks to this thread.

I guess the biggest thing i like from my tube lineup and mods is that Ch 3 always used to sound a bit thin compared to Ch2. I could dial it up heavier but then the ice reared its ugly head. I always had a nice thick crunchy grind from Crunch mode and when switching to Ch3 it seemed like a drop rather than a climb if you know what i mean. More gain just less ballsy than Ch2. Thats not the case anymore. With the GSP-1101 i have now (nice transparent unit by the way, no bells and whistles but does what it does nicely) i have a squeeky clean JC120 patch, a nice Tweed breakup on Ch1 for classic rock, Free, AC/DC etc clean boostable for solos. A ballsy Crunch on Ch2, RATM etc (much less gain needed here than you might think) boostable for Foo Fighters, GnR etc. And Ch3 on iiC+ mode which now has enough balls and bass on its own along with the EQ for Metallica and 80's metal, again clean boostable for more modern heavy stuff. All in all a natural progression from ultra clean right though to ultra heavy in seven stages. More than covers all the ground i need to cover with my band.

Again thats my mileage, in no way should anyone else take this as a recommendation to mod anything other than tubes. To each their own. No doubt my preamp tube layout will change over time, thats the beauty of it, its easy and non-destructive. The mods are staying though.

Peace out guys and gals.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:07 am
by Markageddon
Pretty much my position too.
Mark low end is more useful. Less has to be filtered out to get a balanced sound out front, compared to a Rec, as far as i've experienced so far. Probably due to where it's centered...? Fights with the bassist less.
Being able to dial more EQ and gain in at pre-stage these days without flub is a real asset.
Above the level of the 1st tube swap everything else was gravy, if the 1st AT7 mod was V+, The alternate extra approaches are definitely seeming like '++', just squaring it in a kind of a "Well...if you liked THAT....etc" fashion.

Bloody great stuff for all concerned. Best thread ever. 8)

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:43 am
by bandit2013
It was the ice pick of CH3 in the MKV that lead to getting the Roadster. Yes, that amp dwells in the bass region a bit too much with stock tubes. I have toyed around with this and that in the Roadster to see what works. Many claim the Chinese tubes do an awesome job in that amp especially in the cathode follower circuits. They were right. The NOS Beijing square getter tube (what Mesa used back in the late 80's early 90's) works well in the Roadster. No more drone, still aggressive and yet different. Tried the Tung Sol V1, then in both V1 and V2 but could not get that 3D grind character. I did have some Chinese 7025 that would work ok in the cathode follower circuit V3 but still could not find a suitable tone, it either got too thin or chunky. The blend of stock tubes with the Chinese Beijing tube solved the problem. Beijing used in V1, V3, V5 and the rest are Mesa stock tubes. No flub or bass burden drone, palm muted strings or chords sound great. Not as dry in character as the JP-2C or the TC series but definitely better. Pair that up with an EV loaded 412 and it is amp heaven. For some reason, the NOS Beijing tube has a different tone than the Mesa version (more midrange on Mesa Chinese tube). Never cared much for the Roadster though a V30 loaded OS Recto 412 cab though. Never had the depth that the EV speaker can provide. I see that amp on par with all the others with just a change in preamp tubes. All three amps, Roadster, JP-2C and the Mark V sound great with the EV speaker but the Mark V was alwyas less forgiving at the top end of the frequency spectrum. The EV speakers I am using (Black Label) will definately give you more top end than the V30 ( I could care less what others claim that there is no difference between the BL and Classic version, had a classic EV and that had a different tone to it, the BL is constructed similar to the Mesa BSEV where as the classic was not).

Still, the Mark V shares the same drive-high gain circuit as every other Mark amp all the way back to the IIC+ circuit. So why the ice pick in the V and not the others? However the quick mod that works is the 12AT7 in V4 and that on its own is Epic. Note that this trick will not work on other amps before it since the high gain tube or triode may be sharing a different triode that would suffer with the 12AT7. Mark III and Mark IV use the same tube for the drive and HG circuit (V3). The only amp that seems to have a separate tube for the drive/HG would be the IIC+. Similar to the Mark V, it is V4 that has the HG circuit. V3 has the drive section that would be similar to the V5A circuit. I did try the 12AT7 in V4, in the JP-2C ( assuming the JP uses the same topography as the IIC+), was not ideal. Seems the Mark V 90W is the only amp that will benefit with the 12AT7 in this case but I could be wrong.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:41 am
by Markageddon
Interesting. The V25 has pure phase inverter dedication. Just like it's dad. No other reported shared duties.
My Mark III is 60watt, so that might hold true. The Mark IV is 85 watts , I think so thats disqualified too...
Sounds like that 3D grind might be the amp, running on full gas, facilitated by a good tube, rather than a special attribute of the tube itself, persay.

The V25, also just like the big amp, loves the Tungsol V1.

EDIT: Just pulled the AT7 out of the III, put it in the V:25, phase inverter slot . Sounds ridiculous in terms of quality and percieved sonic dimension. Cannot believe that that amp is the source of the sound. Sounds massive. And the gain is ridiculous and huge even in IIC+ mode.
Thats with TS tube in V1, AT7 in V6

Also used an AT7 in V2 (The equivalent position of V4 on the 90w) at the same time one was in V6. Less over-the top-gain but a bias towards tonal shaping and tighter controlled gain.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:14 pm
by bandit2013
I would have to say the Mark V:25 and 35 so have ample amount of bass response from what recordings I have heard of them. Also did not notice the odd tuning of the Mark V 90W in the recordings like I did with the lamb of god video. Not bad recording but I can hear part of the tone of my V in that. Wonder what it would have sounded like with the 12AT7 in V4 of both amps? This used to be on the Mesa web site under the mark V but no more. ... ORM=VRDGAR

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:38 pm
by bandit2013
I looked at the schematics on the IIC+, III, and IV and compared to the V. It appears that the IIC+ and III do not have screen resistors on the one pair of tubes, connected in triode directly to the same potential as the plate. Mark IV has a 2.7k screen resistor where as the Mark V has a 1k screen resistor (most likely required for the pentode function).
As for the IIC+ and after, each amp has a single tube for the phase inverter. I think the difference in wattage of the IV was due to the screen resistor and may also be related to the grid circuit too along with plate voltages. Doubtful they have the same OT.

It would be interesting to see a schematic for the V:35. Heck would like to see the RA and TC schematics too. Oh, well, gotta keep secerets so no big deal really. I can live without them.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:15 pm
by Markageddon
Some viddage.... I gotta get a proper mic infront of this thing....

Bits of all channel 2 modes.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:22 pm
by Wayno
I know i already commented on the V:25 settings thread about this video but DAMN, i gotta say it again....

That little beast sounds angry as hell. I like it haha.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:32 pm
by Markageddon
Hahahah \m/ :twisted: \m/

The re-stipulation is noted! And appreciated. 8)

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:19 am
by bandit2013
Wayno wrote:I know i already commented on the V:25 settings thread about this video but DAMN, i gotta say it again....

That little beast sounds angry as hell. I like it haha.

+1 on the angry beast. Those little EL84s sound massive.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:38 am
by Markageddon
Seriously punching above it's weight to almost supernatural seeming levels.

All the smooth twinkling lovely stuff can be be attained still, but this that kind of sound is now on tap. The Tungsol seems to haver less compression and at high gain seems put through frequencies that the regular tube hid. This has the best effect ever on the cascading gain: Theres more there to cascade in the 1st place. The phase inverter tube definitely seems to have preserved that in the later stages and 3D-ifies it and makes it big, bold and present in the final effect of the powerstage.
Most of the sound is still there in preamp, but yeah those ELs and the Dynapower do a great job of impersonating the low end and massive mids of the big amp's output stage.

When inviting people to listen in person, they will have to be advised 'The Walking Dead' style that they will have to bring 'their sh*tting pants'...'cause standing on front of that thing will reinvent you at a sub atomic level. :lol:

Im again in shocked awe of these things Mesa have created.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:12 am
by bandit2013
I guess the same would be true if I lined up my amps in a row and ask someone to point out and rank the amps in terms of loudness without ever hearing them in the array. I am willing to bet one will pick the one with the largest head sitting on top. The RA100 would appear to be the loudest, despite its character, that thing is heavy and huge. Then the Roadster would be next and the last on the list would be the JP-2C. However it that person is familiar with me, they would probably think about the small itty bitty amp first (JP). That amp is ridiculously small, not much bigger than the Mark V:35 head. Not as small as a Mark V:25 though.

Should call it Dyna-mite..... or Mighty Mouse since it is so small relative to its output characteristics.

Come to think of it, I did run a Tung Sol in V1 for a while. That worked well when using 12AT7 in V4 and V6. Also sounded good with the 5751 in V4 and rest as stock. Experimenting with the PI tube does have its merits. You can also get a post tone effect with different tubes, not dramatic but there are some tubes that will influence the tone. Mesa stock adds more midrange content, Sovtek LPS will add more top end, Mullard long plate will curb some top end (need to revisit this one). Heck if I get bored I will go through my box of preamp tubes and find out what works and what does not in the PI.

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:16 am
by Markageddon
It gets very dramatic when the power stage gets involved and those speakers get moving.

It definitely is mod-plus-dialling-tactics. Like mode switching. Getting to know how each channel's sweetspots are relocated etc Ratios of bass-gain/treb/mid/pres... definitely affects pre-powerstage chemistry....and the new possibilities contained in each mode free of x restraint or y ceiling level imposed by the stock tubes. And the Phase Inverter thing is huge. Makes it sound and behave vintage seeming and definitely brings life to it globally. Makes the amp huge and multi dimensional.

(I've not liked the III since I took it out of the Phase Inverter to put in the V:25. Its dull, flat and inspiring and I find it hard to dial truly great gain sounds without it in. With it in, its godlike and easy to dial) Its just running out-of-gas-feeling with all stock tubes/no AT7.

Hahaha yeah definitely something of that nature. I swear the amp is part Dr.Who's Tardis.
Like inside it there are 2 other guys playing Mesas along with your on this super grinding low with the highs knocked back a little and this shred dude with this amazing spitting firestorm harmonics that sound like they look they should be a sparkler/grindersparks or something. And thats just IIC+ mode. It sound slike a bassplayer has joined you on Mark IV and Extreme. Or a travelling earthquake salesman.... hahaa

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:47 pm
by Markageddon
The settings translate well to the Modded V too getting the same sound, although 80hz had to be left up, and for the other sliders to have identical relative formation, but all moved down the same distance of like 3rd of a centimeter on the graphic.

Must be the graphic having to account for other modes or something but yeah same ferocious massive tones on IIC+ Even on it.. you just gotta get those channel volumes to 11 oclock ish, keeping output low. Pentode (Although I can see Triode working fine too), 90w can't go wrong with the settings I described in the V:25 watter settings thread.

Bloody tubes haven't turned up today. Hope tommorrow is more lucky. May get a vid for the 90w done next week with all tubes in place, gonna use another tungsol on V2 and see if V:90 crunch cant get a bit more welly, once the ax7 special turns up to take it's place in an experiment....

EDIT tried it in V2. Good sweetening feel and edge sounded phenomenal. But Crunch was still not roaring...but the tungsol in V3 was a big boost to crunch mode's gain and eq a little... when i get enough tubes to be able to have all three 1st tubes covered thats gonna be pretty much it.

In 25 news, had it with just The AT7 in the phase inverter and it was still a bad mofo. The gain was kinda less refined feeling in that the massive mids offered by the Tungsol was there, but everything else was. Gain, Massive size at output etc just a little more wooly here, a little more pointed there etc

Re: Mesa MarkV / Saturation 'mod'

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:17 pm
by Markageddon

Found some tubes that I got with my Mark III that i'd swapped out before realising the genius of a few of 'em...

New Vid. Mark V with the following line up:
V1: Tungsol 12AX7 (Goldpin)
V2: Tungsol 12AX7 (Silver)
V3: Tungsol 12AX7 (Silver)
V4: Mesa 12AX7
V5: Tungsol 12AX7 (Goldpin)
V6: Mesa 12AX7a
V7: Mesa 12AT7

Mega crunch gain, and channel 3 to match and great but compressed cleans. Edge was nice.
Its like all the gain of the original amps but in Modern stock Mark V voicing, and with more fluid feel and gain and some of that grind added in the mids from the Tungsols.

Worth noting:
The 'Shortest Straw' riff was on crunch mode. More or less everything else was channel 3.
The 'Stairway' intro bit was full pelt Metal IIC+ mode with the guitar's vol dial backed down....quite the cleanup and didnt come off too badly compared to every other clean riff in there was all channel 1, without the Graphic engaged.

After this vid was recorded I switched V4 to At7 too and it did much what you'd expect, with this core tone in this vid.
Had that amazing affect on the highs that definitely makes em more desireable for metal. Thats definitely my personal preference.
With it in, theres luscious cleans, Full bodied evil crunch mode with good sustain and grind, beautiful Edge mode, Great Mark I, IIC+ as heavy as crunch and full Mark Lead channel gain and saturation, full voice Mark IV depth and gain, and a really organic and heavy Extreme mode too and it sounds way more full/rounded/warm again globally with the crunch in the same kinda places as the V25 vid showed highs and lows wise.

Gonna keep it in, and will do a vid tommorrow/soon.

But basically its like the V:25 vid kinda sound. Massive and the ear's favourite frequency range is accentuated and the feel/dynamics I prefer too.. Its like the original At7 mod, with more gain, and more mid-grind, but with those massive usable lows on tap if you want it too.

My Mark V is balanced, smooth and classy but also now powerful in the gain dept, and hangs with the V:25 and Mark III well. and I wouldn't maybe have been able to without the work laid down in the early pages of this thread.. So giving back not just in V:25 trials; but in that after tube rolling all week my recommend to you chaps is the lineup above but with the AT7 in V4 too. So if like myself and Wayno as he says above you are really into the Metal side of this amp, try it guys.
Its definitely worked this end. You deserve a result Hardmods or otherwise, with the effort put forth..

The next Vid'll be of the assembled amp with full above lineup plus the original mod for comparison.
(This vid was same distance from mic and in same position as the V:25 vid, just zoomed in to show the settings. Will maintain same conditions on next vid, so even though they're just cam-jobs, they should have accurate grounds for comparison with at least this consistency)