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Mesa BB750 and Markbass LMII

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Saluki, Sep 11, 2008.


  1. Saluki

    Saluki Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Springfield, IL
    Bass Gear Magazine
    First off let my apologize for the thread. I know there are countless threads on both of these heads (and I have read most of them). I have been using the LMII thru my Epi UL410 S1 and it sounds good. Since the cab is big and wide sounding, I agree with Ken that it sounds better with the more narrow sonic footprint of a j style bass then say my MTD535.

    I have owned the Mpulse 600 and Walkabout and liked the tone of both but owned them way before the Epi cab and the LMII. So after reading many reviews on the BB750 I decided to pick one up. The benefit in my mind was that it was 2ohm stable and rated at 550 watts at 4 ohm (similar to LMII), has a pre/post switch for DI, has mute control and is a tube pre. The drawback is that is 35lbs compared to the 6lbs of the LMII and it is a tube pre. Yes the tube pre is a benefit and a drawback to me because I do love the SS sound of the LMII.

    Getting to the point.... Based on the reviews of the BB750 I expected it to be mid grindy and a total mismatch for what I would call a mid present cab. However, with both amps being flat (except the gain at 10:00 on the BB750) I find the LMII to be more mid present through that cab:meh:. Both are somewhat agressive sounding but with the gain at 10:00 and no overdrive on BB750 the real difference I hear is the LMII has a bit more in the upper mids and BB750 has the more charactersistic tube sound (ie a bit more give, maybe a bit slower, a bit more low end oomph, less hi-fi). Now if I turn the gain up on the BB750 the grind is there and is not real useable for what I am going for. If I turn the overdrive on the BB750 it is almost if there is a mid boost that happens and it becomes real mid grindy. So far I have no use for this sound, but with no overdrive and gain at 10:00 it is fat, tubey goodness:). If I take out some of the mids and slightly boost the treble and bass I can actually get a real nice slap tone from this setup. It isn't as Hi-Fi as the LMII but it is real nice.

    If the BB750 were 6lbs, I know which one would be the winner IMO, but for now more trials. I really want to try both heads thru the Aguilar DB112's and the mesa 112s and see what happen with that. I really do like both heads, which makes me really want to try the Mark Bass TA501. Too much GAS, not enough time.... I mean money:D
     
  2. I've enjoyed our PM's.

    One thing to remember is that the Mesa seems to use more of that old style Fender tone stack, where the amp is not 'flat' with everything turned to noon. There is a LOT of sound in that 'passive' mid control. I believe most consider the Mesa stuff relatively 'flat' with the mid control turned to around 10 o'clock and the bass and 'treble' (more upper mids with the mesa) at noon.

    Just like the Alembic pre, there seems to be a LOT of interaction in the Mesa tone controls. Different ratio's of bass, treble and mid really almost revoice those amps, versus, for example the LMII, where the pre acts more like a channel strip, just adding or subtracting frequencies without changing the nature of the amp's inherent tone. The LMII's quite even, flat response can actually sound quite mid punchy versus other heads who have a higher ratio of extended low end versus mid mids and upper mids to my ear.

    That being said, I'd love to check out the M6, which seems to be an attempt by Mesa to go a touch more modern, and to shift the 'hybrid' tone more toward the SS (like Eden) than to trying to emulate an all tube tone like the 600,750 and Walkabout (IMO anyway).
     
  3. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    That just made a whole lot of sense to me.(thanks KJung). I've played all the current Mesa amps, minus the Carbine, and 400+, and the eq section is similar on all of them. Probably the most tweakable eq I've ever played with. Not being a Markbass fan at all, I can certainly see how it's attractive to so many players, but back to the Mesa's, the BB750 seems to be the least freindly of them all, unless you want that gruff rock sound. I think Saluki might find a Walkabout, or certainly an MPulse 600, more to his liking.
     
  4. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Based on my reading I thought that Epi cabs in general weren't known for being mid present, but obviously I am mistaken...

    Regardless, based on the sound you are wanting, I think the BB750 might be the least appropriate head that Mesa makes. The BB750 was really meant to be more of pure rock/grungey type head, with easily dialed in overdrive. Similar to what Ken is suggesting, based on my brief experience with the M6, I think that may be a bit more what you are looking for. The M6 seem clean but warm and with a lot of punch.

    I run the Little Mark through the Mesa 1x12's and I totally dig the sound. Its a pretty aggressive little package. If you ever want to come up to Chicago, you are welcome to come to my practice space and give it a run through...or if I ever get down to Springfield to meet you and Vic...
     
  5. +1. Quite a while ago, I dug the Walkabout, but wanted more power. So, I picked up a 600, and it sounded quite different (bigger, wider, smoother, deeper, a bit more modern). I dug it pretty well, but never used those zillions of knobs, so when the BB750 came out, I thought 'cool, a 600 with a more simple front end. A local store let me take one home for a while, and I totally, completely hated it (again, pure tone preference, not a reflection on the amp, which as you say, was great for the mid grindy 'gruffy' sort of thing). I did not have luck dialing that out.

    The Mesa stuff is amazing in that the hybrids do really seem to react like an all tube amp, where a change in gain, or a change in ratio of the EQ takes the tone to a completely different place. I found that a negative, but I can surely see why it could be a positive for many.
     
  6. jetofuj

    jetofuj

    Jun 16, 2008
    PL
    I would say that M6 is rather sharp and dry than full and warm.
     
  7. That's how it's been described to me also. I think we are all using different words to communicate the same thing (from either a positive or negative perspective given our own tone goals and preferences).

    The M6 seems to shift the Mesa sound from 'tube/SS' hybrid to more 'SS/tube' hybrid. One man's sharp and dry is another man's clean and tight. One man's full and warm is another man's bloomy and mushy:)
     
  8. Saluki

    Saluki Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Springfield, IL
    Bass Gear Magazine
    I must have communicated something wrong in my OP. My wife says I have that problem. What I was trying to convey was that based on the reviews I figured the BB750 would be too mid present and agressive for my taste, but upon my own listening and comparitive test I find it to be a great amp with a nice tube sound. I also found the LMII to be more present in the upper mids with both flat, which is not what I would have expected.

    To get more of my sound, I stay away from the overdrive and keep the gain down (10:00 max) and dial out a small amount of the mids with the passive control (again around 10:00) and boom there's the sound. Really sounds good with my lakie DJ5with J-retro and barts and really warms up the hi-fi wideness of the MTD535 compared to the LMII. Both are great heads and I need to do more testing before I decide which one I will keep. That's why I was saying if the BB750 was 6lbs, the LMII would be gone (I think:D). Based on my tastes the Aguilar DB750 would probably be great for me but I haven't even tried it since it just seems like a monster to move around. I really liked the DB680 pre, but it required a separate amp so your again adding some weight and space. Any comments on the MB TA501?
     
  9. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    There was also a little bit of failed reading comprehension on my part as well :ninja:
     

  10. +1 I got what you were saying. It's interesting. I find those two heads really, really different sounding, no matter the gain or EQ settings. I can honestly say the BB750 is one of my least favorite heads (along with virtually every all tube amp I've ever played.. fat, warm, big in the low end, a little growly and low mid oriented, a touch of give 'feel' in the attack, and very sensitive to dynamics, changing tone a lot given gain, EQ, and attack, more organic low treble at the upper range of the amp.. of course, those would be big positives to some), and the LMII is one of my most favorite (tight, flat, crisp, even, punchy, quick.. and of course, that would be negative to some). You seem to be hearing them as at least somewhat similar, which is what is surprising to me.

    However, I guess different instruments, technique, tone goals, etc. can mover certain pieces of gear closer together for some, and farther apart for others.
     
  11. Saluki

    Saluki Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Springfield, IL
    Bass Gear Magazine

    I alway hated the reading comprehension part of tests:D.
     
  12. Saluki

    Saluki Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Springfield, IL
    Bass Gear Magazine

    Ken,

    I also have enjoyed the PMs and this thread. I actually do agree with your descriptions. They are pretty dead on. I was expecting one thing and got something different. Funny how that happens. You should also understand my comparisons were made in bedroom environment and not in the mix (yet) and coming from a bedroom hack. I don't claim to have the ears and experience as some of our great TBers here. I will have to take it over to TBer Vics to try it through the AE stack and get his take. I know he is not a big proponent of the tube hybrids, so will see.
     
  13. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    No, I think you're right, BUT, the S1 UL410 in particular is very midrangey. It stands alone in this right in their entire UL line as far as I know, but Ken is probably more of an authority on this, and might even be able to offer some comparisons to the older T-series, tho that might need to be in PM's since it's OT here (in other words, this is me trying not to cause a derail) :D


    Either one sounds great to me! :)
     
  14. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    While I do prefer pure SS, I don't mind the Hybrids that much... it's the all-tube amps that I'm just much into at all. IMHO.

    Oh, and you're more than welcome to come over and do the testing of course. I'd like to hear it too. :)
     
  15. Saluki

    Saluki Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Springfield, IL
    Bass Gear Magazine
    Now I have a MB TA501 on the way to throw in the mix. Winner stays and the losers go.
     
  16. Cool! Let us know what you think. I've never played that model. I would guess it would be more similar to the LMII than the BB750, but would hope the tone would move a smidge toward the BB750 for you.
     
  17. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    It definitely is. I haven't gigged with one, but I have directly A/B'd the LMII vs the TA-501 in a store, and it is noticeably different from the LMII.

    It's not really a typical hybrid design like an Eden or a Mesa Walkabout (etc), since that the tube's real purpose is just to serve the compression function. However, it's presence in the circuit still does affect the tone somewhat even when the compressor is not active, and this is also noted on the Markbass web site.
     
  18. Saluki

    Saluki Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Springfield, IL
    Bass Gear Magazine
    Ya if it is,best of both worlds for me (light, tubey and powerful:bassist:) and the others will be dropped like a bad habit. Maybe sooner, someone already PM'd me on the BB750. I really like both the LMII and the BB750 and if money and my gear obsession was no object I would keep both and use whatever I want in the moment.
     

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