A Story of changing to Mesa

Triaxis, Quad Preamp, Stereo Power series, Recto Preamp

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Mark II
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:50 am
Location: Scotland, UK

A Story of changing to Mesa

Post by r33per » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:24 am

After about 10 years of using a Marshall TSL602, I bacame the proud owner of a Mesa Triaxis and 2:90 when I picked them up for a steal in August of 2015. I cannot tell you (although I suspect most of you can relate...) how much more enjoyable playing guitar is since plugging into these amps. In the process I've found myself on this site weekly - almost daily - reading through years-old threads, gleaning what info, tips and tricks that I can. So, in the spirit of forum, I'd like to give back by sharing my experience in the hope that it helps others.

To start with, I should probably state what my setup is and what I wanted out of the amp. The guitars I own are an Ibanez JS10th (DiMarzio FRED and PAF Pro pups) and a EBMM JP7 (DiMarzio CrunchLab7 and LiquiFire7 pups and piezo). They plug directly into the Triaxis (version 2, non-phat), output to a TC Gmajor2, then output to the 2:90 (v1, blue LED). Last but not least, I connect to a single Marshall 1912 cab via a THD Hotplate. I went for the Triaxis because I wanted as broad a sound scope as possible but as compact as possible. My guitar influences would be Joe Satriani and John Petrucci (duh: see guitars - total fanboy...) but I play regularly in ceilidh (pronounced Kay-lee - look it up) bands and in my local church, hence the desire to have as much tonal variety out of as little stage real estate as possible. It was a toss-up between a second-hand Triaxis/2:90 and a Mark V:25 (my brother has one - it's AWESOME), but the availability of the Triaxis on eBay and the lure of just switching on and having every sound I want without dial fiddling was too much to resist. :)

With that out of the way, here goes with what I've found...
  • 1. Read the manual! It's repeated so many times on this board and it really does help.
    2. A shout out to Fabiano whose series of Triaxis demo clips on youtube are a big help. I could not get a Lead 1 Red sound until I watched his vid.
    3. Another shout to fcampanini for the Triaxis editor. It makes preset edit, backup and restore so much easier.
When I took receipt of the amp, the previous owner had replaced all the Triaxis tubes with a full set of the Watford Valves' Harma Cryo Deluxe CLASSIC. To be honest, I really struggled to get any tone that I liked out of them. To me, it always felt like I was fighting the amp - cleans and leads. Thankfully, the seller had retained the stock Mesa tubes so I replaced all five and - man alive! - the amp just sang, especially that Lead 2 Yellow. From there, I've been able to dial in tones on pretty much all the modes that I really like, including clean rhythm presets that work well with both the magnetic and piezo selection on the JP7. As an aside: on every amp that I have played (owned, borrowed or tested) I have only ever had tone feedback from the lower wound strings. I always wondered how The Edge got the feedback from that A (14th fret, G-string) at the start of With Or Without You and - just by accident - there is was on my Lead 2 Yellow just wailing away without any effort.

As with most folks, I soon discovered the limits of the Dynamic Voice circuit: anything above 6.0 and the sound became unpleasant. Therefore...
  • 4. Replace the V3 valve with a lower output tube e.g. 12AT7 or 12AU7. The Watford Valves pack came with a Philips Cryo 5751 and I really like it in V3. I don't go up to 10 on the DV setting, but it has become way more usable.
    5. Read this: the single greatest thread on this board. It should be pinned for all-time by the internet.
I recently took the plunge of replacing V2 with a Mullard CV4024. This has REALLY improved the Rhythm and Lead 1 modes - far fuller and "breathier", I felt - not bad for £20. The Lead 2 modes are kinda lacking something (gain? sustain?), but I've yet to try and fix that with some setting tweaks. I've no doubt that I'll get it sorted, even if it means just getting a proper hot 12AX7 in V4.

The 2:90 is some beast! I've taken to constructing my sound around having all the voices enabled (Deep, Modern and Half-Drive). I only recently started on the Half-Drive setting and really like it. I haven't really looked at replacing the Class A tubes with EL34s, but I'm sure I will, all in good time.

The thing that I've struggled with the most is effects placement. I've chopped and changed with having the TC Gmaj2 in the Triaxis FX loop or (as it is now) having it "between" the Triaxis and the 2:90. So to repeat several other forum users:
  • 6. Design your equipment, placement of effects and tone around what you hear and not what you read/know.
Everything in me says "use FX loop" but I actually quite like the "straight-through" sound that I've got just now. Furthermore, I'm still surprised when I'm in some modes and I see my bass at 0.0 or 1.0 but the sound lacks no bottom end or depth.

Last but not least, a call to Mesa: the Triaxis and 2:90 are wonderful amps - there is some smug joy in knowing that my amp is so versatile and tone-full but is not using digital modeling in any way. However, as has been called for many times in this board, they could do with a successor. I really hope that you guys have this in development and that we can see them very soon.

Anyways, that's all for now and I hope this is of use to someone/anyone.

Rock on...

True North Function Band
Ibanez JS10th
Ibanez RG752AHM NGD
Mesa Triaxis (V2, TX4D)
Mesa Simul-class 2:90 (V1)
Marshall 1912

Bottle Rocket
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:43 am

Re: A Story of changing to Mesa

Post by vitod » Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:14 pm

I don't post much...more a lurker, but welcome to the dark side!

I know what you're talking about. I have a 2:90 v1 and it's a work of art. It has so much power and grunt. It's just mean. Currently, I have all JJ's, but I'm going to experiment with NOS Sylvania 6l6GC. I've read that Mesa no longer suggests using EL34 in the class A sockets. Anyway, I've had other amps before and none of them cut it. I found my 2:90 on ebay for a song and jumped on it. Never been happier. I cannot see ever getting rid of it. I don't have a Triaxis, what I do have is a FJA modded Peavey Rockmaster and an ADA MP1 3TM. They sound downright scary. My 2:90 is pushing four 4X12 cabs...in a basement. I know, crazy. But when I crank these babies up, I simply smile. So, I suggest, if you can, get at least one 4X12. Your poor 2:90 is bored to heaven. She wants a little workout. :lol:

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