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Help me spend my money......advice needed on amp purchase MESA and AMPEG content

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by g4string, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    Looking at getting a used M3 Carbine 112 combo ($700 shipped)


    Used or new PF500/PF115 combo. The 500/115 combo is selling for $800 new...I think I can find a coupon code to get it below (or right at) $700.

    I think the only con to the Mesa is the weight

    Cons on the Ampeg are the PF500. I have read the 500 has had a few issues

    Styles of music vary.....using a passive Lakland JOBO4 strung with flats equipped with Nordy Big Singles. Might switch to nickels, but for now flats. Which rig and why?
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If being loud is an issue, the Ampeg rig will get louder. Some folks have had some issues with the PF500, but Ampeg's been really good with the CS, and most folks operate them trouble free. My PF350 has been totally solid for a year. Mesa stuff has also had occasional problems reported on here but they're solid products, too. Have not played the M3 but I have played the M6 combo on a couple gigs earlier this year...sounded very good but way too tight for my tastes. Some folks like that, but while I like tight, I don't like it as tight as that M6 gets. I like it tight like a tube amp running clean tight, so the PF rig works for me better. Killer sounding cab, too. I have two of them. They're sort of a cross between the 60's and 70's B-15 cabs + a tweeter that doesn't suck.

    Not a slam on the Mesa, though. They make good stuff that many folks dig, they're just not what I like.
  3. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    If it's used, Mesa has a transferrable warranty that may or may not apply, depending on the age of the amp in question - Ampeg does not...

    - georgestrings
  4. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    Maybe, maybe not - IME, given similar ratings, most Mesa's are louder than most Ampegs... About the only exception I can think of with that is the SVT vs a 400+, but either of those should provide enough volume for any reasonable gig(SVT wins the volume contest, though)

    Oh, and FWIW, I'm not a huge fan of the Carbines, either - for the sound they give, I think that G-K is a more cost effective solution...

    - georgestrings
  5. +1
    This was my feeling too with the M9 that I played with. I didnt have a lot of time to dial anything in on the amp, but it wasnt remotely plug and play for the sound I wanted.


    I got a bit of sticker shock on the Mesa when I played with it. For the sound I was getting an MB800 was half the price.
  6. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    The Ampeg will be louder. The PH112 cab part of the M3 combo will only handle about 125 true watts before compressing, like any "normal" 12. It's a great sounding combo, but it's still a 112, and at a little over 60 lbs, it's easy to see why it's discontinued IMHO (and this comes from a Mesa fanboy who owns 2 Walkabouts and an M9). Between those 2 I'd go Ampeg. Just my .02
  7. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I am the complete opposite of the above and IMO the Carbines are the best amps being made right now tonewise. I just sold all of my GK gear because the Carbine sounds so much better.

    I am not right or wrong, neither is George.... just shows we all have preferences and different tones in our heads.

    In any case, if the Mesa is under 5 years old, the warranty is transferrable and covers just about everything. Ampeg? Not nearly the warranty as Mesa.

    Quality? If the M3 hasn't been serviced and upgraded, it is only a matter of time until it craps out IME. If it is still under warranty and you buy it, you can send it in for the upgrade for free (vented cover, bigger heatsink, etc, etc.). Ampeg has had problems with the PF500, but I don't know if they have been all ironed out.

    Try them both out (or similar models locally) and buy what you like best.

    The issue here is that Mesa and Ampeg sound soooooo different. People that love Ampeg tend to dislike Mesa and vice versa. Personally, I love both.
  8. He should buy a Peavey. :bag:
  9. Great assessments on Ampeg Vs. Mesa. Me, I'm Mesa all the way. Plug n play from the second I powered it up.

    Strangely, owning an M9 has softened my thoughts on Ampeg.

    Anyway, if volume is really an issue, I wouldn't be looking at either of those combos...
  10. +1
    A single 12 or 15 inch speaker isnt going to cut it for me either. Double up on the 15's and its getting closer to a gig rig for me.
  11. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Peavey does make great gear as does Hartke, Traynor and Carvin. The 4 most underrated and most often discounted as "crappy" manufacturers out there IMO.

    In any case, this is a Mesa vs. Ampeg thread!:D
  12. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Yup - tonal preferences are totally subjective...

    - georgestrings
  13. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Orange Park, Florida
    +1! I had 2 Carbines and hated them. Couldn't get anywhere close to the tone I was looking for.
  14. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    on the volume question between these two amps, the PF500 is likely to be a bit louder. But keep in mind the PF500 driving the 8ohm 115HE (I have this rig myself) will not get all the juice the PF500 is supposedly rated for. So the compare is more like 180w pushing 1x12 in the M3 vs 300w pushing 1x15 in the PF500. Slight favor to the PF500 in real volume terms.

    Now, on the side or reliability, I would have to say go with the Mesa. There are non trivial reports of failure on the PF500 amps, and I would be particularly careful of a used one based on the failure reports (no way to know if you are just buying someone else's bad amp) and the shorter Ampeg warranty terms. The Mesa warranty is 5 years, and is fully transferable to new owners.

    My view on this is admittedly biased. My own PF500/115HE rig crapped out on me on a gig this last Saturday while using the exact same settings I have for at least 15 gigs over the summer so far.

    I have a Mesa Walkabout (of course not the same as the M3 - which is not really my thing either btw), but it has been rock solid for 6 years of constant gigging and I have more personal confidence in Mesa than I do in Ampeg. Just my experience and outlook though, some are quite happy with their PF500's.

    So, based on my experience, I would say go with the Mesa.

    good luck and enjoy!
  15. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Oh, I didn't say I hated them - I just don't think they can do anything for me that my 700rb-II can't... I could definitely gig with an M6 or M9 without any trouble at all...

    - georgestrings

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