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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 3:56 am 
Bottle Rocket

Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:12 am
Posts: 9
I've had my Mark V 25 head for about 3 months now and it really is the most amazing amp I've ever owned. So many wonderful sounds in one cute little box. Running mine through a Zilla cab loaded with a Celestion Creamback Alnico it is just draw droppingly good. But there have been many lessons to learn along the way, as always!

I mainly play at home. I've not really got any volume constraints but in a bedroom scenario 10 Mesa watts is far too brutal for me to crank the 'Master' volumes beyond about 0.5 out of 10. At first I kept the master volumes right down (and it sounds damn good) but there is so much tone shaping in those 'Master' volumes (as they are the pre-amp drive) that I felt I wasn't getting the best out of the amp. So then I tried a couple of attenuators for a few weeks - my SPL reducer and another home made one. They work great for scrubbing off a few DB's but as soon as you start taking a lot of DBs off the tone goes to mush and all the dynamics vanish. So I went back to using the 'Masters' for a few weeks.

A bit more investigating and many people suggest that the pre-amp does all the tone shaping and the power amp is pretty clean. So after much pontificating I bought a JHS Little Black Amp Box ( ... k-amp-box/) - you could make your own for next to nothing but I'm lazy. I plugged it in last night and had a little play - brilliant, incredible, wonderful ... I was muttering to myself for hours "What a devastatingly incredible amp, I've never heard such amazing tone". The simple act of driving those final pre-amp valves on the back of the 'Master' gives such a massive array of extra tones, and with my JHS volume control in the FX loop I can have all those amazing sounds at anything from whisper quiet right up to max strength. All the tone/bass/dynamics remain perfectly intact yet quieter - a far, far better solution than an attenuator. So I now have a Mark V that can run at any power from 0w to 25w without any of the normal penalties and I can stop all those stupid thoughts about getting a 1w or 5w amp, amp heaven.

After playing for a while using the JHS volume box I started experimenting with 10w and 25w modes. I had assumed that they would sound very similar at the volumes I'm playing at but to my surprise I had an overwhelming 'I love the 25w mode' experience - just seems so much fuller and clearer, very noticeable even at really quiet playing levels.

The other fix this gives me is the ability to get the right signal level into the FX loop whilst still having a master volume control - my trusty Boss Space Echo pedal will be getting a good workout later!

Mesa Rectifier, Studio, Formula, Simul-Class 295
Marshall JMP-1, Award Session AW10
Marshall 18w home build, Torres handbuilt Fender clone
Mesa 12" Black Shadow, Celestion Vintage 30 Greenback, Celestion Alnico Blue cabs/speakers.

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