Love for Mesa Buster

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rnilson, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. rnilson


    Mar 8, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    I went on a quest this year to fund "my sound".

    I tried several amps: Genz Benz Neo, Little Mark II, Acoustic Image Clarus, Ampeg V4, Fender Bassman but nothing really was "it" for me.

    Then I got a Mesa Buster 200 bass head. I have had it for two months now and I must say the search is over. It is clean, quick, and punchy with lots of tonal range. It does vintage and modern tube sounds superbly and with my powerhouse 15 it get plenty loud. For my ears it doesn't grind the way I think a tube amp should, but If I throw my DHA VT-1 EQ Bass in the effects loop with the gain cranked I an in all tube grind city with out my ears bleeding. I am super happy.

    I am surprised this guy doesn't get more love around here. I guess it get lost in the shadow of it's big brother the 400+.

    I still think I will pick up a V4 someday as I really loved that amp too, but for now I got no amp GAS.
  2. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I have always wanted a Buster combo. The 2x10 wedge one would be the perfect amp for most club gigs. They are a bit heavy and awkward to carry, but you get such great tone and the soundman would love not having my 2x15 cab filling the room with bass.
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I absolutely love my Buster 210 wedge, and pair it with a Diesel 15 RR cab. My favorite rig, ever, but it mostly stays home in favor of newer, lighter gear, (also Mesa), because it's so difficult to move. Great punchy tube tone though, killer amp.
  4. rnilson


    Mar 8, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    Yeah, I sold my smaller lighter gear to MAKE me use the Buster.
    It is just too great of amp to stay at home. My car is packed to the max on nights I double with upright and electric.
  5. rnilson


    Mar 8, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    Really, there are only two folks (RickenBoogie and myself) on this forum who think the Buster is a great amp?!?!
  6. SUBass


    Oct 21, 2005
    I think the Buster is a fantastic amp. I played a few different basses through a combo version and it was like the ultimate de-suckification tool. The lamest sounding bass guitar will still sound nice through this amp. Fat, round, smooth, BIG. I don't think it would fit my main rock thing too well...But one day I will have a Buster of my own.

  7. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    My tone search also ended with the Buster. It just sounds like the tone in my head. That head and my Aguilar cab sound so good together.

    I haven't gotten to dime it in a while, although pedals will get me some tasty distortion when I need it quieter. I personally really like my Jazz bass through a Red Llama OD into the Buster... it snarls and bites so sweetly.
  8. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    Mark me down as another Buster lover. I also think it grinds just perfectly without the need for a pedal -- that nice 'brown' tone. Might be the tube combination I have in the pre and power section. Depending on the gig, I take it or the Bass 400. Although I just picked up an SVT3-Pro to try the Ampeg tone in addition to my Mesa tone. If I like it enough, the Buster may need to find a new home.
  9. koobie


    Jul 11, 2007
    Portland OR
    I've never played through a Buster. From what I've read on TB, it's described as being one of the less-colored tube amps around. One reason the Buster seems to have been a sleeper is that a lot of the attention paid to tube amps is from people looking for major grind and overdrive. Personally I'm a fan of big, clean-ish tones and I feel solid state amps aren't quite there yet, in tone or in feel. Stating the obvious here, pound for pound, solid state bass amps are louder, cheaper, lighter & smaller so the market has mostly moved there.
  10. stingray56funk

    stingray56funk Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    I've had 3 Buster amps: (2) 2x10 Buster wedge combos (pain in the rears to move even though they were supposed to be easier to move) and a Buster 200 head. I remember the combos were advertised showing a guy pulling it behind him onto a subway train (yeah right!!!). Those combos were super loud and really needed an extension cab to make them open up, IMO, but I loved the tone. I sold both because I got tired or schlepping the incredibly awkward design around. My Buster 200 head didn't last long because it didn't meet my tonal needs at the time. I ran it through a Mesa Buster 6x10 (cabinet was basically a Diesel series cab, but was the 6x10 made to match the Buster 200 head) and boy would that thing get loud!

    These are sweet amps and I would love to try the 1x15 combo version.
  11. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    There was a Mesa Buster 6x10? Dude! I had no idea, that sounds like fun!
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    never played a buster but i used to play a d-180 and loved it. would love to have one, quite honestly. this guy paul mccartney uses a buster sometimes and he sounds pretty good.
  13. rnilson


    Mar 8, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    I think you might be right.

    I did an A/B with the buster and a LMII (which is supposed to be a tubey SS amp) and there was no comparison. The Buster blew the LMII out of the water.

    I don't feel the Buster is colorless though. First off it has natural tube compression. The tonal pallet in the clean tube sounds are vast. I think the reason people say it is colorless is that it does not excel at OD or Grind which most people think of with tubes. But I am telling you put a tube OD pedal in the effects loop and watch out! I currently use a DHA VT 1 Bass and it kills. I really want to get an EBS valve drive though. I had one a while ago and remember it being awesome.
  14. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I've always wanted to try one.
  15. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Inactive

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Had the buster 115 combo for a long time. Best sounding amp I ever owned hands down. 110 lbs and i seldom weigh more than 150 lbs now. 2 years ago when I got back into gigging bands, and with all my back problems, the solution I came up with (sadly) was selling it to a young buck with strong back (YBWSB).
    I took the proceeds and bought one of the early Eden all tube heads which paled in comparison.
    A month ago I was stalking the local GC in Boston (which they built into the former WBCN rock n roll radio station location) and I noticed a boogie 400+ sitting sad and dusty and used in the corner.
    $399.00 on the price tag...WHAT?
    Believe it or not it took me almost 10 days to get back there due to the newborn twins and my businesses- less believably the amp had not sold!!! I requested a tryout, it powered up, and er well $424.00 after tax and now the 400+ may be the best sounding amp I have ever owned!!!!!
    Eden is in the shop, I may be purchasing a supporting membership to sell her when they figure out which tubes need replacing.
  16. rnilson


    Mar 8, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    How does the 400+ compare with the buster?

    And yes you should have worn a ski mask into the store because you stole that 400+.
  17. Chef

    Chef In Memoriam

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    "stole it"

    No doubt!
  18. rnilson


    Mar 8, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    Anyone know how the D-180/Buster 200/400+ compare to each other?
  19. i need to get in on this action. used to have a 2x10 buster wedge - wasn't too heavy for me, but it was poorly balanced and awkward to carry. I now use a standalone Buster head with either one PH115 or a stack of two (mismatched front/rear porting but with that kind of tone, who cares?)

    It is awfully hard to go back to a solid state amp after you're used to a Buster. My only complaint would be that the mid-heavy tonestack does take a little getting used to (and if you want a truly scooped sound with ample headroom, you'll need to make use of the graphic EQ)
  20. Buster vs 400/+: Buster has half the weight and half the tubes to replace. 400+ has way more headroom but how often will most of use need that?
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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