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Mesa Boogie 400+ eq and overdrive

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Kasnev, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. Kasnev


    Sep 1, 2016
    Oslo, Norway
    Ive been playing the MB 400+ for some months now, and its a real treat. Lots of power, lots of scope. But, as many others, I spend a lot of time dialling and cant quite find the right mix of sound. (Ive read a tons of other threads about this, and my first question is partly answared in som e of those. My second is not.)

    1. Any good suggestions for getting that snarling, raw metal sound to compete with dominant guitars and powerful drummer? (No, were not turning the volume down, thats totally missing the point). Ive picked up on the 10-2-2 flat discussions, but cant seem to nail that mid-dialling. Whenever I get the low end right, something else goes missing. And whenever I get the right snarl or edge in the tone, the low end usually suffers. (I might need a pedal. Ive used the EBS Fuzzmo, but its not to my taste).

    2. Can I get a decent overdrive/distortion without pedals? I reckon I can, but I havent been able to yet. Even with the preamp to 10 there seems to be a very clean tube sound. Which is great, but i kind of expected a certain capacity for a tube growl as well. Ive got nothing against pedals (testing darkglass mt, big muff, rat), but the coolest and most dynamic bass growls are often those with no help other than an cranked up amp (in my taste).

    Fender Precision. Doesnt quite do the job in this band, no matter how good it is.
    Schecter Platinum 4 (active), my choice right now, with the active pickups obviously giving an added edge.
    Aria Pro II SB-CB

    Ive experimented with the ebs fuzzmo, which seems to be a decent machine, but is way to digital/artificial for my taste.

    Style: Semi-extreme Heavy metal with touches of doom and black metal. Tuned down (c standard). Loud, mid-tempo.
  2. I found the 400+ to be pretty clean even at loud volumes. I could get some distortion from mine by cranking the preamp, but it was nasty. When I used distortion pedals with it I split the signal from my bass and used the pedal on input 1, clean bass on input 2 as 2 was more powerful and sounded better to me. The effects loop also has a blend knob to adjust the wet/dry signal. Some pedals, like the Bass Big Muff I have currently, allow a mix of clean/dirty signals through one output.

    I ran my mids at 10 and adjusted the others as needed, usually went for a mid heavy, groggy sound without extreme lows or highs, standard 4 string tuning.
    Kasnev likes this.
  3. Pyramid City

    Pyramid City

    Mar 4, 2012
    Look into a big muff bass pi pedal from Electro Harmonix. I still get plenty of low end with this pedal and tons of sizzle. its pretty rad. Electro-Harmonix
    Kasnev likes this.
  4. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    When I had 88's in my Bass 400 I set it to Snarl mode a few times. This is how you do it (the side effect is that it can be quite loud I loved it- one of the most glorious sounds i ever heard in my life actually- but it was too loud for my band or any band really):

    Master 9-10
    Bass- 0
    Treble- high (~7)
    Gain- high/to taste/earthquake

    It's key to run the Bass at 0 at the Treb high when cranking the master like that. You want snarl not splat so the bass cut helps.
    Kasnev likes this.
  5. bmoriarty


    Dec 10, 2008
    The preamp section of the 400+ is after all a series of volume controls. The mid treble and bass volume and volume 1 and 2. Treble and Bass are active, add gain, and mid I believe is passive, cut gain only. So.. you ad grit by adding gain. I get a very musical distortion from riding all the preamp nearly at 10. Pull treble shift knob out run at 7 or 8 bass at 10 mid 8 or 9 and volume at 10 pull shift high treble out. Then shape your sound with the eq. Do you still have the amp? I think I got maybe the last new one they had on the shelf in California. Ordered it when I heard they were discontinued.

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