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Mesa 400+ and EA NL-210 (x2) "issue"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by incubus2432, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    So I had the brilliant idea to shrink my rig for use in my 3 piece metal band. I ended up getting a great deal on a pair of EA NL-210 cabinets and a Mesa 400+. My thinking was that the EA's have a reputation for being transparent and that they are capable of clarity at high volume. I figured they'd be a good match for the 400+ and put out exactly what goes into 'em.

    All I've ever read about the 400+ is that it gets "silly" loud and with the 12au7 preamp tube can get good volume while maintaining relative clarity.

    Now my issue is that I used it in a band setting for the 1st time last night and am having to crank it enough that I'm getting Lemmy like dirt out of it (master at 10 and both gains at 8-ish). Not that it sounds bad.....great overdriven tone but it's not what I'm after. I'd like just a touch of dirt with more clarity at volume. Some more eq tweaking may help but I'm not sure if it will help enough.

    Am I just way off on my cabinet selection? Am I just asking too much from 4 10" speakers? Would I be better off with a 4x10 + 1x15 combo? What else may help me get more clarity at volume? At lower volume the 400+ has the tone/clarity I'm after....it's just when I crank the settings to get the volume I need it overdrives too much for my taste. From all I've heard/read the Mesa should be able to handle my needs so that's why I'm leaning towards the cabinets as the issue. Thanks for any insight.
  2. I haven't used the 400+ personally, but with the master and gain that high, my god, you should be deaf (or injured).
    Maybe something's not right with your amp.
  3. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    I love the NL210 (i have one myself), my concern with those cabs is that while they sound fantastic, I find the drivers to be kind of delicate, and easy to damage/blow with too much power or low end. Others may disagree, this is just IMO having replaced EA drivers before on more than one occasion.

    I might have reccomended 2x acme B2 for the whole clarity at high volume thing, the fact that they're power hogs is surely no match for your 400+.
  4. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    For one, with the gains that high, uh...yeah...I could see you losing some clarity. For two, the laws of physics might preclude the use of 4x10's from providing enough sound for Shea Stadium.

    Do you like sudden high pitched squeels and loud ringing? You're prime fodder for tinitus.
  5. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I had the same thought about the EA drivers. If I played with an articulate touch they could be amazing while loud. If I banged on them with the attack I'd use in rock or funk they quickly got ugly and stayed that way. There are many tens cabs that can be spanked all night and take it. A Goliath II might float your boat or even a III.
    To me 2x10s except some of the large ported Edens always fall short when you get out front. Two 2x10s often sounded like more of the same where a 4x10 of the same manufacturer would just keep dishing it out.
  6. Tim1


    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    I run a 400+ with the 12AU7 mod, into a BergNV610 cab or an NV215 or both. One of my bands is very loud with the gui**** using a full Marshall Handrix stack. I cannot imagine having both gains at 8 and the master at 8, even with the 12AU7 mod, and I do like a clean tone. I would suggest looking at other cabs - I have had no problem with an SWR Goliath 3 in the past.
  7. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    How do you stack the cabinets? I would do them end on end, both vertical, and see how that suits you (maybe set the Mesa on a stand or something next to it).

    I just have a Schroeder 21012R and with the Mesa, I can drown out a 50w 212 guitar amp pretty easily (and hang with a 412).
  8. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    Something I didn't know was the tendency of the EA drivers to break up. That's good to know (it would have been more helpful to know before I bought 'em) and pretty much makes up my mind for me. Luckily I got a good deal on them and should be able to get most of my money back.

    I tried the EA's because I wanted to go with a lighter more compact setup than what I had previously (Mesa Diesel 2x10 and 2-1x15 cabinets) and was hoping the EA's could handle the load. The 400+ is also new in the mix replacing a 1000 watt pre/power setup. My 400+ is in great shape and shows no signs of trouble that can't be attributed to the cabinets......the clarity is there at lower/mid volumes and it overdrives as it should as the gains are cranked. The volume is there it is just too dirty and my tone gets lost in the mix, hence the tendency to nearly max the output.

    As far as the "need" for such high volume it is like that since our drummer hits very hard and the guitarist has two Marshall stacks (has to run in stereo for some reason). Just keeping up with them is a chore. It may not be the best scenario but it is what it is.

    I already placed an order for a Mesa Powerhouse 1200 (4x10+1x15+horn). That's roughly equivalent to my old setup which never even broke a sweat.

    Thanks again for the info and for confirming what I already guessed.
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    FWIW, IME, the EA NM-410 and the Wizzy line all handle tube power very well. The NL-210 doesn't seem to like tube output sections as well. I'm not sure if it's a driver thing or a tuning thing, but that has been what I've encountered.

  10. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Time to bring back the big cabs for the right job....
    I have the old Bass 400 head, and run the master 7-1/2, and the inputs at 3, and with a Mesa 2x15 cab it's freaking loud. :bassist:

    I had a buddy with two old Powerhouse 1000 cabs (4x10/1x15) and those were fun cabs to play with. Would love to get one someday.

    But a guitarist using two full stacks is just stupid. I can see the desire for running a stereo rig, but half stacks would work better onstage in regular clubs. My guitarist uses two rigs, but one is a half stack, and the other is a big combo to get two truly different sounds.
  11. quickervicar

    quickervicar Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Lancaster, PA
    I cannot imagine regularly gigging with gain/master settings like that. Your ears should have (or possibly have) failed by now. Considering the tone stack of the Mesa, it is quite easy to dial out a lot of sound. I would suggest running it flat (2-10-2) and go from there. It could just be an EQ issue instead of an equipment issue. It certainly would be cheaper...
  12. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    Well, thanks for all of the replies. After several practices and a gig I can say that the new cabinet definitely solved my issues. With the master at 10 I'm only running the gains at 4-ish with no problems being heard and the clarity I was looking for.

    Just thought I would give this thread some closure. :p

  13. jjk2007

    jjk2007 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: DNA
    Glad you found a setup that works. I run two of the NL-210's (sometimes) with an iamp800 and that setup gets extremely loud. Tom's description above seems pretty accurate to me about the tube amp thing though. Enjoy the Mesa.
  14. Please tell me you have no overheating problems with the 400 plus in that 4 space rack! Im getting one and Im hoping there will be no issues with overheating from poor ventilation.
  15. incubus2432


    Mar 21, 2002
    Grafton, Ohio
    No overheating issues. I have a clip-on fan for my rack but haven't felt the need to use it.

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