What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

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TremoJem
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What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by TremoJem » Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:21 am

What two or more channel Mesa Amp can respectfully cover the following?

Oh, and I am not crazy enough to assume that anything is at face value.

Also, I know some things are redundant and that I am not a poet or a wordsmith.

So just a ball park estimate for REAL versatility and any limitations associated with your experience with the amp you feel best fits the bill.

O.K. here are some important goals.

Ability to have REAL clean "cleans".

Ability to have pushed using output tubes not preamp tubes.

Ability to have pushed using preamp tubes not output tubes.

Ability to have HI-GAIN using preamp tubes (much like Tremoverb).

Ability to have MAX-GAIN available to user using only output tubes, but at assignable or manageable playing levels.

Ability to adjust output for example switching from one power tube to one or more.

Ability to select output tubes and varying configurations of output tubes for levels and sound characteristics.

No use of a power soak, as this frightens me when I read the Mesa warnings regarding the use of such a technology.

I like the tones of respected artists and wish to "attempt" to build my own tone using my playing style and a Mesa amp that can respectfully cover what seems to be a large bandwidth.

Artists my tone is inspired by:

Gregg Howe
Jeff Beck
Ty Tabor
Steve Vai
Joe Satriani
Nuno Bettencourt

O.K. so lets keep this one going and hope for some really interesting feedback, debate and advise.

Thanks Everyone
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screamingdaisy
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by screamingdaisy » Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:44 am

The Mark V can cover a lot, but not all of that territory. In particular, it can cover the various wattage and gain requirements, and the use of the 10, 45 and 90w modes in conjuction with the tube/diode rectifier and the triode/pentode switch gives you huge control over the way the final product feels in terms of power output/sponge/stiffness.

I've read people comment that the Mark V doesn't do a convincing mid gain tone... but I feel it's because they didn't turn it up loud enough to get the power tubes involved.

What it won't do is give you the Road King's ability to switch from 6L6 to EL34s on the fly.

And although the Mark V's clean tones are excellent, they aren't quite as deep or rich sounding as the LoneStar or Roadster cleans. I attribute this to the Simul-Class power section, which I feel is meant to provide more harmonic overtones to dirt at the expense of maximum clean headroom.

The Road King also covers a lot of what you're asking for. My opinion however (based on experience with the Roadster) is that while it does cover a lot of territory (both high and low gain), it always has the underlying "Recto" quality to it. For instance, Tweed mode sounds killer, particularly when combined with a power drop to 50w for more grind combined with a switch to the tube rectifier for more bounce.... but I find sounds a lot more like a Recto with less gain, more tube grind and more bounce than it does a Fender amp. Now... this isn't necessarily a bad thing as I like it when an amp retains it's own personality instead of trying to clone others. However, the Mark V seems to have the ability to more convincingly morph between different amp styles, so I guess it depends on what your priorities are.

Long story short, I'm inclined to point you towards the Mark V... however, considering your experience with Tremoverbs you may also be extremely at home with a Road King or Roadster. Particularly if you really like the sound of your T-Verbs, only with you could do things like not have to give up a lead channel to gain a clean channel, or do sweet tricks like switching between Vintage/Tube rectifier and Modern/Diode rectifier.
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by YellowJacket » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:29 pm

Mark V sounds like it will fit the bill for you best. Roadster / Road King can't switch down to 10 watts which makes it difficult to hit power tube saturation at reasonable volumes.

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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by TremoJem » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:41 pm

This is all great keep it coming and thanks.
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by YellowJacket » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:55 pm

OH, it just occurred to me. If you're into more british tones, check out the RA - 100. The multi soak can be set up for power tube overdrive on one channel and maximum headroom for preamp distortion on another.

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CoG
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by CoG » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:04 am

RA-100 does all those things. The builtin power soak isn't a miracle--it doesn't sound as good with 12Db lopped off if you need to get down to "other people are in the house" volume. Even 10 watts is still way too loud for an apartment or a wife who's on skype or trying to practice piano.

As well, it's a very Brit- and pre-1990-flavored amp, so the basic tone may not be your thing. I love it but a lot of guys might want more thump.

I've used numerous power soaks on Marks and Rectos and Marshalls with no problems. The only thing that happens is you wear out your tubes as if you were playing loud all the time (because you are.)

I would say that used Roadster heads are a great bargain these days and do everything you want really, really well except the power scaling; get one of those and a quality attenuator like a Weber Mass 150, or if you have money to spend get one of these

http://www.jamsaudio.net/pga04.shtml

Not cheap but I own one and it's the best money I have ever spent on gear, including my beloved Mesas and my Yamaha SG1500...
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by TremoJem » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:44 am

I am really digging the information here.

I am unfamiliar with power soaks, anyone want to provide a high level summary.

I mean I basically know what they do but how do you hook them up and set them up when they are external to the Mesa amp?

I feel the Mark V might be close to what I want should I decide not to take advantage of a power soak.

Then again I could buy a power soak and instead of using both Tremoverbs together in stereo, I could essentially set them up using a power soak or two and have four independent channels like a Roadster or Road King II.

I would run amp one and two using each of their two channels for four different extreme set ups.

Like for example:

CH1 Clean EL34

CH2 Vintage 6L6

CH3 Pushed PWR Soak EL34 or 6L6

CH4 Modern EL34 or 6L6 with or without PWR Soak

It may be a stretch but I guess it might work.

What do you think?
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by CoG » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:59 am

Just a question, why do you want all these simultaneously? If this is for a live rig you're seriously overcomplicating your life. Unless you are playing venues with incredibly pro sound support and your audience consists of guitarists, no one will notice most of what you're trying to achieve.

A power soak or attenuator sits between the speaker out on your amp and your speakers. It absorbs some of the output from your amp, dissapates it as heat and/or vibration, and passes on a fraction of it to the speakers.

edit:

If you try what you are proposing you will need two attenuators, one for each Tremoverb, and you generally can't switch attenuators in and out without having serious volume matching problems.

Honestly, you should just get a 4-channel amp like a Roadster or Mark V and think less. As soon as you're developing a mental picture as complicated as the one you have, you are going down the wrong path :)
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by screamingdaisy » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:06 am

TremoJem wrote: I am unfamiliar with power soaks, anyone want to provide a high level summary.
A power soak (aka: power attenuator) goes in between your amp's speaker output and your speaker.

In it's most basic form, it's a resistor that turns power into heat.

For example, you can turn up your amp so that you're outputting 100w of power into the attenuator, then set the attenuator to -6db... the end result is that you get 75w worth of heat and the remaining 25w is sent to your speakers. It's handy with amps like non-master volume Marshalls where you can't get any drive until the amp is earbleedinly loud... they let you turn the amp up to stupid, then ratchet the final volume down to don't get kicked out of the club levels. The trade off is that your 100w Marshall is now driving the speakers like a 25w amp, so you loose that part of the tonality.

With master volume amps like Rectos I don't find them as effective... basically, any time I find a sound I like attenuated I find I can dial in pretty much the same sound without the attenuator. The thing to note is that an amplifier's power transformer interacts with the speakers driver assembly as the power flows back and forth between the two and an attenuator impedes that interaction. Some attenuator makes have tried to fix this by adding things like reactive loads to their product, but it still doesn't really fix the issue.

Long story short, attenuators are a great tool, but no magic box. They're great if you need to reign in a 100w Super Lead Plexi a few dB... however there are times where using something like a 50w or 18w Plexi would be less of a compromise.
I would run amp one and two using each of their two channels for four different extreme set ups.

Like for example:

CH1 Clean EL34

CH2 Vintage 6L6

CH3 Pushed PWR Soak EL34 or 6L6

CH4 Modern EL34 or 6L6 with or without PWR Soak

It may be a stretch but I guess it might work.

What do you think?
Attenuators/soaks don't really work that way. They're basically inline with the speaker or they're not. You also wouldn't be able to match the attenuated volume with the unattenuated volume, so unless you're going for an extreme solo boost bypassing the attenuator won't produce the effect you're probably thinking.
Ignore the hype and trust your ears. Play more, buy less = better tone.

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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by TremoJem » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:44 am

Wow, I guess there is a lot to be learned here.

O.K. NO attenuators for my rig...period!

I guess maybe I should just try to set up the Tremoverbs as I mentioned earlier as a single four channel amp (two amps/two channels each= four channels with only one amp and one channel used at a time...basically, for a lack of a better explanation).

For the pushed or 10w power output tubes sound of the 60s where you get all your gain from the output and not preamp, I could try a BB from Xotic.

All the rest is just fine where it sits.

I completely agree with the statement made earlier that it is overkill and no one would ever notice except guitar players, but here is the thing.

I am a guitar player and I have what I have and am trying to get the most out of it.

I am not limited to one style of playing.

My interests run in all directions when it comes to playing guitar.

Some members here have several amps as I do, unfortunately for me (not really, but kinda) is that I do not have two different Mesas, but two identical ones.

Just loading one with EL34s and one with 6L6s does not really change much.

Like most guitar players I do not have unlimited funds to just go out and buy more amps.

So my choice was to sell my two Tremoverbs and get another Mesa or make what I have work.

I can't thank you guys enough for your help and valuable information and I look forward to more ideas.

In fact here is another mystery.

I have been using the G-Major with both amps.

Now, how do I use this rack effect if I decide to run them independent of each other, and still allow for seamless transitions when I switch from lets say amp one to amp two and want the G-Major to provide digital effects thru the FX Loop of both amps independently?

Geez...I need a freaking engineering degree for this...LOL.
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by CoG » Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:39 pm

Sell those T-verbs and get a Roadster. Roadster heads go for as little as $1500 these days, stick the g-major in the loop, and you're good to go for anything. My bandmate uses a Roadster and it lives at my house, otherwise I'd have bought one myself :)
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by BoogieMan_SC » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:52 pm

Road King II v2. EL34 or 6L6 or both which you can dial down a bit w/their "built-in variac" which is a spongy/bold voltage switch...I keep mine on spongy at the house and can get some great tones at reasonable volumes. I'd definitely say for the versatility you're looking for, it's either going to be the Road King/Roadster or the Mark V. Both are masterpieces

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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by GuitarGuy503 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:58 pm

Definately the Roadking II. They are loaded with both 6l6s and el34s which can be ran together or separately). Having said that you can achieve american and british tones at 50/100/120 watts per channel.

The Roadster would be the next best thing as it is essentially a stripped down version of the Roadking II. It is a bit less veratile than the Roadking II though as you have to choose either 6l6s or el34s and can't use both at the same time. Also the Roadster multiwatt feature has 50/100 watt switching per channel on the Roadster.

Never been into the mark series as most bands I listen to use Rectos. The Mark V is indeed a great sounding amp though.

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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by dmotisko » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:41 pm

Stiletto !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: What Mesa Amp is the most versatile to cover MANY styles????

Post by TremoJem » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:41 am

Lonestar sounds pretty good too.

Just listen to any video on youtube with Andy Timmons where he demo's it.

I am not looking for a 50/100 watt amp.

I am more interested in the 10-100 watt range.

For now I guess the two Tremoverbs will do.

They are voiced differently than any other recto so I do like them alot...hell I love them.

I did buy a BB preamp so we will see if this helps out at all.

I will post my findings.
Ibanez Jem 7VWH > Bad Horsie II Wah > Radial JX-2 ABY Switch > Two Tremoverb Combos
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Assorted Tubes
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