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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:44 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
Now that I have had more time with the TC-50, many hours on the stock tubes, the temptations have set in as to what does this tube sound like? Can I tune the preamp circuit to get similar results as I am getting with the RA100?... Probably not. I did try the same preamp tube arrangement for the Hi and Lo gain tube positions (TC-50 is V3 +V4 where as the RA100 is V1+V2). I did not notice a dramatic effect or change in tone with any tube. I may have been the cause for the TC-50 going silent when I tried a 12AT7 in V4 for a brief moment. However the amp was working just fine following that. I did find the problem and since it was an easy fix I repaired it myself. (was not a tube issue but resistor on the preamp circuit for the FX Send circuit).

Now that it is up and running again I was able to revisit the comparison between the RA100 and the TC-50. They both sound quite similar, overall. There are some differences, RA100 clean channel is a bit warmer but about the same and pushing the gain all the way up is still heavenly. TC-50 gets close in normal mode but sounds better with the CH1 mode switch set to drive. At that point you are entering the RA vintage low gain characteristic. The lo gain channel of the TC is similar to blending the Vintage Lo and Vintage Hi or it sit between the two. CH3 on the TC is definitely a grinding machine but sounds even better with the gain rolled off a bit (trade some distortion for a bit of headroom) and that just does it for me, nice.

I like the fact that both amps are not identical in tonal qualities as it gives both amps a purpose. Now the fun part, blend both amps together and the world comes to a stand-still but time just rips by... That is by far the most incredible sound I have ever heard. It is like a new amp on its own. I have one of those Lehle P split II devices (signal splitter with isolated transformer output, phase inverter and ground lift). That device has some great uses to it and besides preventing ground loop noises when running two tube ands from one guitar it can also be used as a master/slave driver from the FX loop of the master amp, signal sent to the return of the slave amp. While I was debugging the problem I had with the TC-50 I found the FX return to still be functional, so I slaved the amp from the RA100 with the Lehle splitter. I also got one of the amp switches that has the same isolation transformer deal. Now It is time to run a comparison between the two (separately and at the same time). Perhaps I will add drums and bass to hide my mistakes in my guitar playing. for some reason when it is all bad it sound good... sort of anyway.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:52 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:40 pm
Posts: 4
Bandit2013, thanks for the description of your experience with the TC-50. I recently demo'd one and was blown away by the tone and immediacy of the sound jumping from the amp. Currently saving up for the combo.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:28 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
The TC-50 is a worthwhile investment as is the RA100. If comparing the combo versions, I would rather pick up a TC-50 combo and carry that vs the RA100 combo. At least the RA100 combo can be managed by two people due to the side handles. Even the RA100 head is a bear. At first I was unsure the TC-50 was the amp for me, I also had a similar thing with the JP-2C out of box too. It did not take long to admire both amps. To be honest, the TC-50 was getting more attention than my other amps including the JP-2C. Most in part due to the clean channel and the range of gain characteristic overall. The best part is just a simple switch on the CH1 to go from blues or just simply clean to classic rock without channel jumping. Too bad that is not a programmable feature on the midi control. With the RA100 you need to push the gain for classic rock on the clean channel and then dial it back for clean picking or what ever you think would work with that. The best hidden feature of the TC-50 (well not hidden actually) is the 6V6 power tube, that in itself is an experience to take part in (that is a stout 25W and it sounds incredible).

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:08 pm 
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Mark III
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:45 pm
Posts: 327
Location: Southwest Michigan
When I was considering my first Mesa purchase, the RA100 was near the top of my list. But, I wound up getting the Electra Dyne, and I don't regret that choice. I have talked with players that use the RA100, and they love their amps, but also raised their eyebrows when I told them I used the Electra Dyne.

My decision for the TC50 was based on 2 different factors. The first being that it was an EL34-based 50 watt head, stock. The second was the ability to use 6V6 tubes as well. Since one of my bands plays music from the 50s and 60s, a 6V6 powered amp is ideal for that vintage juicy tone. Not only that, but channels 2 and 3 are equally as impressive with 6V6 tubes. I have another 6V6 based amp that simply won't clean up enough on it's clean channel, so it sits around collecting dust now. But, the TC50 gets used ALL the time. There are some amazing tones available with 6V6 tubes. I would love to have an amp with a quad of those instead of a pair.

Now that I have the 5881s installed, well...that's all new territory for me.

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TC-50, Electra Dyne, Mark V, Road King I
Mostly Fenders with Duncans
EVM, Eminence, and WGS speakers


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:09 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
The 5881 are a bit different, similar in some respects to the tone of the 6V6 but not in the bottom end. I though the 6V6 had a huge bottom end going. 5881 do not seem to tune out the midrange like the 6L6 STR440 tubes do. It is hard to decide what tube is ideal but you have options with the TC-50, three independent channels and three flavors of tubes.... That make the amp more versatile than the others which includes the Mark V too. RA100 is awesome but not with the Mesa 6L6 tubes. SED =C= is really great 6L6 tube in the RA100 and does have a similar character to it when compared to the =C= EL34. Bottom is not as tight as it is with the TC-50.

I hope it will not take too long for the TC-50 to get repaired. Since my warranty was void, I should have just asked them to send me the parts and I will do the work myself.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:20 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
Now that the TC-100 has been announced, am I tempted? Yes I am..... I would definitely have to hear it first and or play though one first before taking the jump. I can get some great tone out of the RA100 that steps on the Mark tone with the Hi gain channel. Then again the TC-50 hi gain channel seems to be better suited for heavy metal tone, and to ramp it up to 100W would probably be an improvement but would it be enough to compete with the JP-2C?

Now the question is as simple as this.... Do I sell the TC-50 or the RA100? The feature set of the TC-50 really make it hard to not settle on selling at least one of the RA100's (which may end up being the combo or will it?). Better yet, keep what I got and add another. I like the TC-50 as it is, and the RA100 is also favored too so getting another form of the TC would not be a bad thing. I have to remember that the characteristics of the TC-50 will be about the same as the TC-100 which is also similar to the RA100 except for the looser feel of the hi gain channel. I would probably miss either of the RA if I sold one. At the moment I have a different complement of tubes in the head compared to the combo, each set was rolled in to complement the intended speaker cabinet.

Perhaps I have enough amps...... are you kidding... there is no such thing... but if I had to narrow down to one amp only, that would go to the JP-2C with no doubt as that fits my every need (most of the time). It would be hard to give up on the driven tone of the clean channel TC or RA as that seems to be the soul of early rock and some classic rock that is difficult to duplicate with the other amps. Sure there is a trick to get something similar on the clean channel of the JP-2C but not the same.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:19 pm 
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Mark II

Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:51 am
Posts: 62
Interesting you posted this. A couple days ago I got my stereo rig up and running. I haven’t posted much about it yet because there’s still a very few little things to do but good lord it’s amazing. I’m using the TC with the Peavey Invective. Both are stupidly versatile on their own but with each other....just astonishing. I’m using the Abybaby from The GigRig. Beautiful switcher. Some Strymon stuff in the loops of both amps adds ambience and space, and a TCE Mimiq makes it just sound sooooo immense. The first pedal in the loop is an El Cap. With that pedal, you can feed it a stereo signal (both amps’ returns go into it) but it sums the signals into mono before processing it. Works great because you truly get the amps’ separate preamp tones blended into amazing goodness before applying other stereo effects (delays from El Cap and Dig, Reverb from BigSky, hugeness from Mimiq).

It’s just breathtaking. I’m insanely happy I put in the time, effort, and money to build a monster stereo rig.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:36 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
Yeah, I saw your previous post. Not really sure what others are complaining about with the TC-50 and tone suck or what really is happening. I found the FX loop to be pristine and perfect on the clean channel and on the other two no difference in volume, gain or tone.

The Mark V on the other hand, that is a mess for an FX loop. Not much can be used but at least my new gear is compatible. I only use Strymon products and do not bother with the others after that fiasco (Mark V loop level). I can use the Strymon with any of the amps without the fear of overdriving the input buffer or causing damage to the device. Heck I have used one or two pedals in the FX loop of the TASCAM recorder which is line level too (or at least a +2dB).

I was thinking on rolling out the RA100 and run a stereo rig with the TC-50. I have also ran both RA's with the TC-50 and even tried the Roadster but the three amps seems to kill the phase effect so just two at a time is ideal. Lehle P-split is cool, you can use it in a loop and drive another amp with the isolated output. Also have the dual amp switcher from the same company (has a dual in/out with isolated output) and paired with the P-split I was able to run three amps at the same time. Having one out of phase really adds some depth and it is odd that the sound seems to be coming from the center area between the two amps. In phase, widens the sound a bit. Running amps in parallel (using separate loads) can be very rewarding, even better with stereo effects.

As for the BigSky, sweet and large effect pedal. Works well in other loops for recording (using the speaker emulation switch on the back set to on) I ran the DIG in parallel to the Big Sky (hard to do with your amp's effects loop if only using one amp). That is a cool idea.... using one on each amp. When I did it with the TASCAM recorder, I ran the Mark V though an attenuator (also had a Celestion Crème 90W Alnico in the combo) I believe I had a Boss Terra Echo in the loop of the V. I also channeled the attenuator signal to the BigSKy on one FX channel and the DIG on the second one. So the effect was basically looped and recorded at the same time the Guitar signal was recorded. I also had mics on the cab and ran that as a dry signal.

Here is what the project sounded like.

https://soundcloud.com/user-353100000/tempted01wav

Reason why I did not use the BigSky in the FX loop of the Mark V, I was loosing the bottom end and some higher frequencies though from the speaker, so in the FX loop of the multi-track recorder I was able to capture the full effect of the lower octave. Don't mind the sloppy drumming as I am still a beginner, same goes to the bass. May as well claim I am not great at guitar while I am at it. The background guitar was also through the Mark V. I have yet to do any projects with the RA100, TC-50 or the JP-2C. Most of it was Roadster, Mark V or the Boss GT-100 processor (easier for recording as it does not require mic setup).

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:52 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:51 am
Posts: 62
bandit2013 wrote:
Yeah, I saw your previous post. Not really sure what others are complaining about with the TC-50 and tone suck or what really is happening. I found the FX loop to be pristine and perfect on the clean channel and on the other two no difference in volume, gain or tone.

The Mark V on the other hand, that is a mess for an FX loop. Not much can be used but at least my new gear is compatible. I only use Strymon products and do not bother with the others after that fiasco (Mark V loop level). I can use the Strymon with any of the amps without the fear of overdriving the input buffer or causing damage to the device. Heck I have used one or two pedals in the FX loop of the TASCAM recorder which is line level too (or at least a +2dB).

I was thinking on rolling out the RA100 and run a stereo rig with the TC-50. I have also ran both RA's with the TC-50 and even tried the Roadster but the three amps seems to kill the phase effect so just two at a time is ideal. Lehle P-split is cool, you can use it in a loop and drive another amp with the isolated output. Also have the dual amp switcher from the same company (has a dual in/out with isolated output) and paired with the P-split I was able to run three amps at the same time. Having one out of phase really adds some depth and it is odd that the sound seems to be coming from the center area between the two amps. In phase, widens the sound a bit. Running amps in parallel (using separate loads) can be very rewarding, even better with stereo effects.

As for the BigSky, sweet and large effect pedal. Works well in other loops for recording (using the speaker emulation switch on the back set to on) I ran the DIG in parallel to the Big Sky (hard to do with your amp's effects loop if only using one amp). That is a cool idea.... using one on each amp. When I did it with the TASCAM recorder, I ran the Mark V though an attenuator (also had a Celestion Crème 90W Alnico in the combo) I believe I had a Boss Terra Echo in the loop of the V. I also channeled the attenuator signal to the BigSKy on one FX channel and the DIG on the second one. So the effect was basically looped and recorded at the same time the Guitar signal was recorded. I also had mics on the cab and ran that as a dry signal.

Here is what the project sounded like.

https://soundcloud.com/user-353100000/tempted01wav

Reason why I did not use the BigSky in the FX loop of the Mark V, I was loosing the bottom end and some higher frequencies though from the speaker, so in the FX loop of the multi-track recorder I was able to capture the full effect of the lower octave. Don't mind the sloppy drumming as I am still a beginner, same goes to the bass. May as well claim I am not great at guitar while I am at it. The background guitar was also through the Mark V. I have yet to do any projects with the RA100, TC-50 or the JP-2C. Most of it was Roadster, Mark V or the Boss GT-100 processor (easier for recording as it does not require mic setup).


That was a fun kinda ambient rocker you put together. Sounds good man.

You definitely should try the RA and TC in a stereo rig. Then again, are they different enough to compliment each other? Go for it either way. The Strymon stuff is so damned addictive. The effects and their sound quality are spectacular. Combined with a couple of awesome amps....mmmmm.

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TC-50
Invective


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:26 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
The only fundamental difference between the RA100 and the TC-50 is in the hi gain channel. They are basically the same tone wise but distortion characteristics are different. I can get more of a 3D grind with the RA100 using SED =C= EL34's but the same tube did nothing for the TC-50, actually sounded lame. So far the best fit was the stock EL34, Ruby EL34BSTR (will have to check if this is what I have tried) or the Gold Lion KT77 (have some well used one's I ran in the Mark V for 6 months or longer). I have not tried the Mullard reissue EL34 in the TC-50 as they are hot tubes but they work quite well in the RA100 combo (tried them in the Roadster and Mark V but they are favored in the RA100).

Running a parallel rig with the TC-50 and the RA100 sounds great. I have also matched the TC-50 up with the Roadster for some interesting sounds. It also complements the JP-2C as well. The TC-100 is a reactive power attenuator where as the RA100 uses a resistive load. I have not noticed any tonal loss with the RA100 using the multi-soak and the =C= EL34 sound even better with the attenuator active. Perhaps I will get the TC-100 and see where it goes from there.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:00 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
Now since the TC-100 is a reality but not yet out there to get my hands on it. Would I get one? and if I do I wonder how it would stack up to the RA100. Tempting as it were.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:12 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
I can wait, as I already have one that predates the TC-50. I like the RA100 and with some different tubes in the preamp section it rips quite well. I believe the TC-50 and the RA100 are quite similar in tone and gain characteristics. It may not have the cab clone, midi control. It does not have a solo, fx loop on, or reverb selection on the footswitch control nor does it have separate tone and gain controls for the Hi/Lo gain channels. It does, however, sound about the same running the 50W power mode. Also the RA100 has the multi-soak feature that is on the TC-100 (may be just a bit different but the function is the same). Not sure what Iron is going in the TC-100. I have no need to get the TC-100 since I have the TC-50 and two RA100's (one is a combo). Note: the TC-50 and the RA100 sounds perfect when run in parallel (orange box is the Lehle P-split 2).


Image

I forgot how loud it was and what the effect would be if I slaved into the RA100 from the TC-50. Good to know that the individual channel volume performs just as it would like the JP-2C or the Mark V with the FX loop off, same would apply to the Roadster. If it did not work I would have been getting hit with the full power of the RA100. When I did slave into the RA from the TC, I tried the OS Recto 412 and then switched over to the Vertical 212 cab to hear the difference. I still feel the RA100 is the best match to the OS Recto 412 with stock speakers.

If I do get another amp, it would be in the Mark series if and when a new Mark comes out to replace the Mark V. Or it may be a Recto if they ever get around to adding midi control. Would love a revamped Roadster or something in that line. Perhaps not. I think I have it covered for the time being.

Considering what the RA100's are going for used and in good condition, they may drop in price now that the TC-100 is on its way. I would probably shoot for the RA100 or an Electra Dyne as they both are great amps and fun to play though.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:15 pm 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3036
Location: North Carolina
Perhaps the TC-50 will manage but the RA100 is king, Oh wait, what is that coming over the horizon? The TC-50 must have only been an advanced scout for its brutal master, the TC-100. The battle of the Royal against the Crown had been set. I attest to this carnage without the proper axe such a battle cannot take place.... thus I ponder the outcome.... who is the defender and who is the victor in this upheaval of teeth and bone, the blood shed floods the carpet red. Now the victor is ready to challenge the mighty JP-2C. Never again has such a battle taken place ending in such misery. The King has triumphed over the Royal. There is no question which amp wears the crown. :shock: WTF? I must be madd :roll:

I guess that can only mean one thing. the TC-100 has dethroned the RA100 and only pushing a Mesa vertical 212 cab, or shall I say two of them. King has to ride in style. I moved the RA100 out of the room back to its spot in the studio, on top of its matching OS Recto 412 cab.

TC-100 is that impressive all with stock tubes. Now the debate continues. No fear of loosing the RA100 anytime soon. It still has a purpose as does the other one (the combo). Actually both RA100 are fun amps to play though at any time. The TC100 has taken over for the time being. Next up is daisy chaining the TC-50 with the TC-100. Interesting to see how that works and to run a delay in one and the Big Sky reverb on the other. Cool.

I did try the TC-100 though the OS Recto 412 (all stock) not bad but prefer the vert 212. Next will be the old modified OS recto 412 loaded with EV. Sooner or later the two OTR speakers will make it into that cabinet. Not sure when but soon enough.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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