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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:43 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:38 pm
Posts: 10
Hi fellow Boogie aficionados;

I just sold my Studio preamp and 50/50 power amp to help finance a new amp purchase. I've had that setup since 1990 and it has served me well. But my needs have changed. I'm considering either the Mark V:35 or TC-50.

I rarely play out anymore, I mostly do a lot of recording in my home studio. I play everything from atmospheric soundtrack stuff to near-metal. My must-haves are a nice clean sound, that creamy, singing lead tone I got from my old setup, and a tighter, heavier rhythm sound than I could get with my old rig. I tried out a Freidman Runt 50 the other day, and that had a rhythm sound I really loved, but it was kind of a one trick pony imo (lead sound was a little harsh, clean sound was too sterile). I tried a MarkV:25 a while ago and liked it, but I like having a little more headroom. Of course I will be trying these amps out in the very near future, but I'd love to hear insight from users.

The demos for both the V35 and TC-50 look and sound great. My questions are:

For TC users, can you get that beautiful, creamy, liquid lead tone that the Marks have? Or is it more Marshall like? Does its sound hang together at lower volumes?

For Mark users, Does the lower wattage EL84 power section give you the tight, fast transient, articulate metal rhythm sound (a la Freidman)?

Still deciding between head and combo. I have a Boogie Road-Ready 4x12 stuffed with old Celestion greenbacks that sounds great, but really its more than I need. Its just tough to part with - maybe more a psychological problem for me than an auditory one :lol: .

Thoughts welcome - thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:56 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:53 pm
Posts: 39
Fair warning: I'm probably not the person you want to hear from. Was not overly impressed with the TC-50 when I auditioned it (own and love the TC-100 though), and ended up swapping a Mark V:35 for a full size Mark V.

Quote:
For TC users, can you get that beautiful, creamy, liquid lead tone that the Marks have? Or is it more Marshall like? Does its sound hang together at lower volumes?
You can get close, but in my experience, all things equal, it'll always be a touch hairier and less articulate. This could be a selling point or a dealbreaker, depending on your taste. In my case, it took a little getting used to, but I like its dirties and leads better than the Mark's now.

Of the two TC versions, the 50 is a little dryer and tighter, while the 100 has more girth and sonic versatility (i.e. it doesn't sound like a metal amp doing classic rock or blues, it sounds like... authentic classic rock and blues), and it boasts a surprisingly effective attenuator.

The TC may have a British accent, but to me, it sounds more like a punchier (TC-50) or beefier (TC-100) Royal Atlantic than a Marshall.

I only recall playing the TC-50 at medium/pushed volumes (was auditioning new amps), so can't speak to it hanging together at lower volumes. The TC-100 sounds a bit like a plastic toy version of itself at 3 watts, but still very good overall (with the added benefit that people won't throw bricks through your window for practicing at 2:45 a.m.).

Quote:
For Mark users, Does the lower wattage EL84 power section give you the tight, fast transient, articulate metal rhythm sound (a la Freidman)?
Not quite. The 25 and 35 are great amps, but neither can match the thump and response of the big one. If being in the same ballpark, if getting really close is good enough, the EL84 versions will be more than fine. You'll love 'em. But if you need the tightest, fastest attack in the family, you can only get it with the full Mark. At the end of the day, it's really a question of how much you value portability/lower price and are willing to tolerate subtle but noticeable differences in response.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:07 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:38 pm
Posts: 10
Hey thanks very much, that's helpful feedback. I'll be trying them later this week, so I'm looking forward to the outcome. I am not closed to the idea of the big Mark V or TC necessarily. Only tone will tell...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:42 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:53 pm
Posts: 39
One thought that keeps coming back to me is that larger amps and cabs just sound, well... larger. This may or may not be ideal for you (lots of great sounds have come from tiny combo amps), but IMO, it is worth keeping in mind when chasing your ideal tone.

I bring this up because a common theme I hear from other musicians is that they are getting rid of their larger, heavier gear because they so rarely perform live anymore. But to me, this seems counter-intuitive. I'd actually err on the side of going smaller if I played out more, because it's so rare you actually need more than 25 watts these days. I mean, why lug around a huge head and cab if you have something that is probably more user-friendly, sounds almost as good, and won't make you utterly dread load/unload time? It's good to have something more powerful if you actually need it, of course... but chances are, it won't happen very often.

That being said, your bigger, higher-wattage amps do have their own tone and response, and if that is what you want to capture, where better than in your own home where it will likely never need to be moved more than a few feet. Plus, if we're talking Mark V, the 90 actually sounds better at bedroom volumes than its smaller cousins (output control), sooooo...

Like I said earlier, I'm steering you away from the goal of your original post, which is probably annoying. But as somebody who recently went through a tone chasing odyssey who really, really wanted a lower-watt amp and went through the five stages of grief over the reality that you'll never quite capture the tone/response of 6L6 tubes with a 35 watt EL84 amp, my perspective may save you some time and disappointment.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:10 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:38 pm
Posts: 10
I tried a few amps today and thought I would post my reaction. All heads were run through a Bogner 4X12 with Celestion vintage 30’s. I used my Jet Earlewood, with Seymour Duncan P/Us. I played at both bedroom and moderate “shout to be heard” volume levels.

TL/DNR I liked the V:35 a lot. I Loved the 3rd power, but my wallet didn’t. Now am curious about trying a full blown Mark V.

First up, the Mark V:35. Loved channel 1, especially in “Fat” mode. Sweet and responsive, sounded great with single coil and humbuckers. Plenty of headroom in “clean” mode, and in “Fat” mode, pushing the gain and midrange gave me a really nice Brad Paisley kind of Dr Z tone. Got a terrific hard rock rhythm tone in “Crunch” mode, and was easily able to set the gain to the sweet spot that I like. Engaging the EQ helped lock in a great sound. Channel two was gain city in all settings. Mark IV mode was where I would expect to lock in on that singing Boogie sound that I like for leads, although I didn’t spend forever tweaking to get there. IIC+ mode with mid gain settings sounded good for me - extreme mode is a level of gain I will have to get used to using :lol: . I didn’t love the reverb, but I rarely use it anyway. Overall impressed with the amp.

TC-50: The difference between this amp and the Mark was kind of shocking. The TC-50 was really, really bright. Single coil sounds stung a little bit - I had to dial back the treble settings significantly to balance out the tone. Like, 9:00 or lower. I easily dialed in a tube version of Dimebag Daryl’s sound that mimicked “Cowboys from Hell” very closely on channel 3. I also got a lot of very low end push on all the channels, and cutting the bass EQ didn’t really tame it that much - its as if a drastic “V” EQ curve is in there by default, and the tone stack modifies it, but it is always there. So probably a great metal amp, but not really flexable enough for my needs.

Bogner Atma 18: Interesting amp. Same price more or less as the V:35. A two channel amp - the clean channel offered only volume and tone for controls. It sounded good, but not as good as the Mark to my ears. Super clean and lots of headroom - almost impossible to overdrive. The gain channel had three different modes, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, with different amounts of gain structuring and EQ. 60’s was just slightly overdriven, 70’s was very loud and mid rangey, and 80’s was more modern sounding. Reverb was OK, but weirdly, the controls were difficult to adjust. It was hard for me to see the indicators on the knobs (just a thin white line on shiny black knobs), and the smooth knobs are very close to the bottom of the amp case, so its a little tough to get larger fingers in there and get a good grip. For me, it would be a neat amp to have, but I didn’t dig it for my main rig.

3rd Power Citizen Gain 40W CRS: This was a terrific amp, and priced accordingly ~$3K. Two channels, the clean channel was very warm and squeaky clean, tons and tons of headroom, no breakup really to speak of. The gain channel sounded great, and the EQ (with a 3 position mid-range adjustment), gives a lot of nice possibilities, especially if you switch guitars. A real killer of an amp, but I don’t have the kind of disposable income to justify the almost 2X price over the V:35. If they were closer in price, I might pull the trigger - its so warm and the attenuator makes it possible to turn the amp down without giving up tone. A really fantastic, impressive amp.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:19 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:53 pm
Posts: 39
Wow, fun day lol

Agree with you on the Bogner layout. In every setting, it sounds "good, not great," which, IMO doesn't fly at that price point. Also, must have forgotten it only had volume/tone knobs for the clean channel - nothing against vintage, but come on, it's 2018...

That's great you got to try out the 3rd Power. Have only seen demos... the cleans and light gain seem to die for. Not sold on the crunch, but a lot of that could be on the players.

Keep us posted on further amp hunting.


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 3:27 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:38 pm
Posts: 10
Just FYI, I ended up buying a Mark Five:35 combo. I'm happy with my choice, its been easy to dial in my preferred lead and rhythm tones, and the clean sounds are fantastic. The cabclone (which I am just playing with) is a nice feature. Nice to be able to turn off the speakers and get a decent sound into the DAW without disturbing anyone for later replacement, augmentation or reamping.

Looking forward to getting to work with this bad boy now!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:41 am 
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Mark I
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:52 am
Posts: 33
crduval wrote:
Just FYI, I ended up buying a Mark Five:35 combo. I'm happy with my choice, its been easy to dial in my preferred lead and rhythm tones, and the clean sounds are fantastic. The cabclone (which I am just playing with) is a nice feature. Nice to be able to turn off the speakers and get a decent sound into the DAW without disturbing anyone for later replacement, augmentation or reamping.

Looking forward to getting to work with this bad boy now!



Gratz on the v35 combo. If you want to make it awesome +1, pair it with a Thiele cab. The combo is fantastic, but when I added a Thiele and put a Mesa Fillmore in it to make a nice looking/sounding mini stack, it took it to the next level. I didn’t realize how much thump i was missing until I did i this.

_________________
Mesa Mark V
Mesa Mark V:35 Combo / mc90
Mesa TC-50 Head
Friedman BE-50
----------------------------------------------
Mesa Thiele 1x12 cab / Fillmore
Mesa 1x12 Widebody open back / mc90 x2
Mesa 1x12 Widebody closed back / mc90 x2
THD 2x12 / Celestion H75


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