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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:08 am 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:52 am
Posts: 2
I've had my TC50 for a few weeks now and it's almost perfect. I haven't stopped playing it since I got it. But although it's almost perfect, it's not entirely perfect. I'm getting some very noticeable tone suck whenever I use the FX loop.

My regular setup is a Pedalsnake and two pedals in the loop. I thought it might be the Pedalsnake or one or more of the pedals so I used a process of elimination and tried everything on its own, and tried using regular cables instead of the Pedalsnake. The only time I didn't notice any tone suck was when I ran a short patch cable directly from the TC50's FX send to the FX return. A longer cable by itself from the FX send to the FX return caused some tone loss too. It wasn't as bad as with the full pedal setup but it was there.

I tried buffered pedals, true bypass pedals, placing the buffered pedal first, placing it last, using only one pedal in the loop (tried buffered and TB pedals alone), the Pedalsnake, regular 20' instrument cables of different brands (Hosa, Planet Waves, Rapco, etc...) and no matter what, even with just one pedal in the loop, either buffered or true bypass, there is significant tone suck. It's like someone threw a blanket over the speaker cab.

Also, in order to rule out my pedalboard setup, I tried the exact same setup with four other amps including another Mesa. A Rectoverb 25, a Roland Blues Cube Artist, a Friedman Runt, and a Peavey C20MH. With the exact same setup through those amps' FX loops there is zero noticeable tone loss.

I posted on another forum and a couple of other people said they were experiencing the same thing with their TC50s, but several others said they weren't noticing any tone loss through their FX loops. The difference seemed to be that those who didn't experience any tone suck were using high end line level processors like Fractal and Line 6 HD units.

A Mesa customer service rep posts on that forum and I emailed him but the reply I got, although incredibly fast, didn't provide me with much helpful info. He mentioned setting the channel masters for unity gain and that if that didn't fix it, the cause would be loading from the FX, cables, etc... I tried the channel masters and the master output at levels ranging from very low to very high (had to use an attenuator at the high levels) and nothing I tried eliminated the tone suck. If it was something else in my setup I'd expect to have the same problem with my other amps, especially the other Mesa. :?

The only solution I've found so far is to put an EQ pedal in the loop and adjust it to bump the high frequencies that are lost when using the loop. By doing that I can get the tones with the loop on or off to sound pretty close to the same but it's kind of a pain having to add another pedal in the loop just to offset the tone suck.

The TC50's loop is supposed to be buffered and I was under the impression that a buffered loop shouldn't suffer from this kind of tone suck, although I admit I don't really understand this all that much so I could be wrong about that.

The biggest mystery for me is why I'm only getting the tone suck with the TC50 and not with any of my other amps, which seem to work perfectly and have no tone suck when using the same setup with their FX loops.

Since the TC50's loop is tube driven, could it be a problem with the tube?

Any suggestions or ideas?

Here is a video where you can see and hear the difference when I have the loop on or off and the EQ pedal on and off.

Sorry, not sure how to embed videos on here so here's the direct link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saKIM61nNwA


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:02 pm 
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Mark III
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:45 pm
Posts: 268
Location: Southwest Michigan
V5, which is the AT7, is supposed to be for the FX loop. I find it odd that the tube would fail so soon, but definitely give that a shot. If you have one, try a JAN-Phillips AT7. Those are military grade and should be an improvement over the stock Mesa. Although, I think using a non-Mesa tube could void your warranty. I use a G-Major 2 in my effects loop and have never had a tone issue. I also have a couple pedals I run in front of the amp and use an Emerson Concord buffer with those, just in case. Never had any tone loss with mine. Other than the tube, I would guess the only other suspects are the pedals themselves. Not all toys play well with each other.

What happens when you run your pedals in the front of the amp?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:15 pm 
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Mark III
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Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:16 am
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Yeah, pretty much what jnoel64 said. I don't have any tone loss with mine and I use 21' cables (Monster). My first thought as well would be the 12AT7. Let us know what you find out.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:18 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2507
Location: North Carolina
Perhaps you have something going on there but was uncertain your recording source was moving or not. In some instances I did notice a level drop once the FX loop was turned on but after it was active for a while I did not hear a change when it was turned off. After the third time watching your video I noticed a pattern that the signal level dropped when the loop was tured on and when it was turned off I heard the same level drop. I had to watch the video several times to get a better idea of what was going on. Almost sounds like loading on the FX line is causing a drop but it seems to rise gradually and when the loop is turned off it drops again. I would definitely check if any of your pedals have any batteries installed. Even if there is a DC supply in use, degraded batteries may cause issues if they are still in the pedals. Are you getting the same effect on CH1 and CH2? It is obviously evident there is a change in character in the signal level with CH3. I have not personally experienced this but sorry to hear you are having this issue.

I would suspect that the 12AT7 would be at fault here. This tube is always in the signal chain at all times. The TC-50 does not have a hard bypass that would bypass the signal from the 12AT7, the only circuit path that changes is the internal connection between send and return (also uses jack switches too).
I did recently have an issue with the Send circuit, lost all channels and no sound. However I was able to get a very clean sound if I plugged my guitar into the return jack (turned on FX loop too). I had a resistor open up on the Send circuit that prevented all channels from reaching the power tubes. I had tried a few other 12AT7 first before opening up the chassis to find what was the issue and found an open circuit across a 39.2K resistor. Replaced it and all is good. If you had the same issue your post would be quite different.....

Since I had repaired my TC-50 after it went dead (not totally dead as there was a very weak signal) I had to try the FX loop just for kicks. To rule out any so called high dollar effects or high quality effects (I generally use Strymon pedals) I opted to use the Line6 DL4 (this one is not as good as other pedals in my collection and does not work at all with the Mark V loop that is a line level signal) also used the longest effects cable I have (pro-co 12 FT double cable ) and was not very expensive. With the pedal active or in hard bypass I could not tell the difference with the loop turn on or off on all three channels. I did not discover any issues like you are having with your TC-50. No level drop on activation or deactivation of the loop, no notable difference in tone between active or inactive loop with the pedal on hard bypass. Even with the delay operating no tonal loss or level shift on any of the three channels.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:59 am 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:45 pm
Posts: 3
I have the same thing with the fx loop. It sounds like the volume drops a tiny bit or the sharpness. But its nothing raising the presence a smidge wont fix. I wasnt bothered by the minor difference with the loop on. I just figured it was normal because the signal has to travel through that much more of a circuit. I have a boss rc3 and an mxr cc delay in the loop and have tried the loop without anything and one pedal at a time with similar results. If you find the reason for your tonal loss post it here im curious. Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:10 pm 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2507
Location: North Carolina
I had mine working last night just fine... now the amp is dead so not much I can add at the moment. Talk about tone suck..... wow.... :cry:

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Current amps:
TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100
Old friends I sometimes miss:
Mk III (blue stripe), Mark IVb-WB


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:24 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:14 pm
Posts: 30
I am also experiencing a tone suck when the Reverb is on and also when the FX Loop is on (even with nothing hooked up through the loop). It's slight, but noticeable.

Also, anyone experience that 50 watts isn't much headroom? I have a loud drummer. I am getting a much better volume response from my Mark V 35. I wonder if I just need to crank the master volumes on all channels and just use the Output for volume? The Mark V35 does not have an output knob, so I'm thinking this might be the way to go.

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Mesa 2x12 Vertical - Mesa 2x12 Horizontal - Mesa 4x12 Straight - Mesa 4x12 Slant
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:51 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2507
Location: North Carolina
Which cab are you using? You could always opt for the 412 to move more air. I actually had to down size to a 212 cab as the 412 was too loud.

I play drums too... and I hit them hard.... I have practiced the drums with the amp running a recorded loop on a TC Ditto and found I have to drop the volume on my amps in order to hear what I am playing on the drums. Vertical 212 with reduced output if I am using the JP-2C set to 60W or the horizontal 212 with the Roadster running at 50W. I have not tried this with the TC-50 yet but will when the amp comes back from Mesa.

Speaker position is key if you want to hear yourself playing. Stand in front of the cab if needed. Don't stand in front of the bass drum.... You may need to reposition where your amp is located so you both can hear the guitar and drums. Please note a drummers perspective is far different than you think, I cannot hear the bass drum all that much, the toms are apparent as is the snare and cymbals but if there is a guitar amp facing you, that is all you hear which will cause the drummer to hit harder as they want to hear what they are playing as well as to be in sync with the other instruments. It is a battle who drowns out who. Try swapping places with the drummer. Sit on the throne and just use the kick drum pedal and have your drummer play the guitar at the level you have it at and see what happens. Also keep in mind what other instruments (guitar, bass, keyboard) is going to resonate in the drum set (unless it is electronic). I am sure somewhere in another forum there is a drummer making the statement I cannot hear myself playing, the guitarist has his amp cranked to the max and that is all I hear, my drums are not loud enough. Then the bass player may be doing the same in another forum.

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Current amps:
TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100
Old friends I sometimes miss:
Mk III (blue stripe), Mark IVb-WB


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:58 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:14 pm
Posts: 30
bandit2013 wrote:
Which cab are you using? You could always opt for the 412 to move more air. I actually had to down size to a 212 cab as the 412 was too loud.

I play drums too... and I hit them hard.... I have practiced the drums with the amp running a recorded loop on a TC Ditto and found I have to drop the volume on my amps in order to hear what I am playing on the drums. Vertical 212 with reduced output if I am using the JP-2C set to 60W or the horizontal 212 with the Roadster running at 50W. I have not tried this with the TC-50 yet but will when the amp comes back from Mesa.

Speaker position is key if you want to hear yourself playing. Stand in front of the cab if needed. Don't stand in front of the bass drum.... You may need to reposition where your amp is located so you both can hear the guitar and drums. Please note a drummers perspective is far different than you think, I cannot hear the bass drum all that much, the toms are apparent as is the snare and cymbals but if there is a guitar amp facing you, that is all you hear which will cause the drummer to hit harder as they want to hear what they are playing as well as to be in sync with the other instruments. It is a battle who drowns out who. Try swapping places with the drummer. Sit on the throne and just use the kick drum pedal and have your drummer play the guitar at the level you have it at and see what happens. Also keep in mind what other instruments (guitar, bass, keyboard) is going to resonate in the drum set (unless it is electronic). I am sure somewhere in another forum there is a drummer making the statement I cannot hear myself playing, the guitarist has his amp cranked to the max and that is all I hear, my drums are not loud enough. Then the bass player may be doing the same in another forum.


I'm running it through a 4x12 slanted Mesa cab. I think you pinpointed one issue - I'm standing about about 7ft from the cab, it's behind me to the right. I'll move it next jam session and see if it helps.

I think I discovered another element while pondering this. The Mark V35 has NO output knob and only Masters for the 2 channels, while the TC-50 has Masters for each channel and a global Output knob. I would guess that I would need to max the Masters for the channels and use the output knob for more volume than the Mark V35. And I may not be able to even hear the difference until I'm around 3-4 o'clock on the Output knob.

My drummer is loud as hell, so he can be a challenge to play with sometimes. So I have a new rule that I crank it until everyone tells me to turn down. Amazingly, they still tell me to turn up sometimes. :lol:

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Mesa Mark V 35 - Mesa TC-50 - Marshall JVM410 - Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 36 - ENGL Ironball - Blackstar TVP60
Mesa 2x12 Vertical - Mesa 2x12 Horizontal - Mesa 4x12 Straight - Mesa 4x12 Slant
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:02 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2507
Location: North Carolina
Here is one solution to a loud drummer, get a JP-2C, Triple Rectifier or Road King II. All three should be able to drown out a loud drummer as well as the bass player and everything else in the room. I would not be fooled by the JP-2C 100W rating, it peaks close to 150W. I ran both JP and Roadster together and the JP drowns out the Roadster easily. I still have not found a way to get the drums louder than the guitar amp..... Must be something I am doing wrong, or that I have already damaged my hearing or both.

I am sure your band will be able to work things out.....

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Current amps:
TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100
Old friends I sometimes miss:
Mk III (blue stripe), Mark IVb-WB


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:46 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:14 pm
Posts: 30
I've decided to either get a JPIIC+ or wait until the next mark series comes out. Either way, it's a year out before I get another amp. I have plenty to keep me busy until then.

The TC-50 has a place in my collection - it's going to make a great classic rock/rockabilly/surf guitar amp when I eventually stop playing metal full time. But it's still a good amp for metal. Finally found a sweet spot with the MXR EQ, HI gain channel and Tight mode!

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Mesa Mark V 35 - Mesa TC-50 - Marshall JVM410 - Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 36 - ENGL Ironball - Blackstar TVP60
Mesa 2x12 Vertical - Mesa 2x12 Horizontal - Mesa 4x12 Straight - Mesa 4x12 Slant
Dean/ESP/Gibson/Fender Guitars


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:02 pm 
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Donating Member
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Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:08 pm
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Location: Lewisville TX
Joshwah333 wrote:
I've decided to either get a JPIIC+ or wait until the next mark series comes out. Either way, it's a year out before I get another amp. I have plenty to keep me busy until then.

The TC-50 has a place in my collection - it's going to make a great classic rock/rockabilly/surf guitar amp when I eventually stop playing metal full time. But it's still a good amp for metal. Finally found a sweet spot with the MXR EQ, HI gain channel and Tight mode!


I noticed you have a JVM as well. I would appreciate any insights between the two.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:29 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:14 pm
Posts: 30
The Marshall JVM is one of my favorite amps in my collection. I got a slamming deal from a rich guy who was a drummer on Craigslist. It came as a half stack with the matching 1960 slant cab. Got the whole package for $1500!! He was a drummer that wanted to learn guitar and decided that a Marshall JVM half stack was a good first amp choice. Lmfao!

I play my Mesa's at home, and the JVM remains at our band’s rehearsal space as don’t gig with it. Trying to keep my gig rig light. The tones that come out of this, especially when paired with my Stratocaster or Les Paul, are glorious. I would go as far to say, that because of the EL34 tone from the JVM, it inspired me to buy the TC-50. Ironic that I prefer the TC-50 with 6L6’s! I’ll have to give the EL34’s another run soon…...

The JVM can hit the tone realms (clean, crunch, OD) of the TC-50 and more. I would say that the overdriven tones on the TC-50 are a little more smooth and the JVM is more raw. As far as metal tones, the JVM sounds super brutal with a scooped MXR 10-band EQ through the loop and played through a Mesa Straight 4x12. Channels 3 and 4 are voiced with a different midrange frequencies, with channel 3 being voiced with a higher frequency and channel a lower frequency giving you a broad range of overdriven tones.

The JVM has 4 channels and 3 modes each – that’s 12 tones total. I cannot change tube types, as with the TC-50, nor does it have cab clone or headphone out, but it does have midi which I have yet to explore. The JVM also has Series and Parallel effects loops, so you’ve definitely got some effects routing options. One of the coolest features of the JVM is that you can program the 6 button footswitch to select almost any feature on the amp. And the footswitch stores the selections, so if you play another JVM, no need to reprogram! It is a home run for Marshall - no wonder they haven't improved upon it yet.

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Mesa Mark V 35 - Mesa TC-50 - Marshall JVM410 - Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 36 - ENGL Ironball - Blackstar TVP60
Mesa 2x12 Vertical - Mesa 2x12 Horizontal - Mesa 4x12 Straight - Mesa 4x12 Slant
Dean/ESP/Gibson/Fender Guitars


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