Mesa Boogie Buster combo. Any Good?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Morris, Oct 20, 2002.

  1. Morris

    Morris Guest

    Oct 7, 2002
    Cardiff, Wales
    Hi! Any of you dudes (or dudettes?) got one of these valve 200 watt combos? I am interested in the 15 + horn version. I am currently in a dilema as to which amp to go for between said Mesa or a SWR Mo'Bass (as mentioned in my other threads).

    The reason why I should be choosing between such disparate products is because I have been offered really good deals on both. It was the Mo' I was interested in but I happened to reference the tone against the conveniently set up Mesa. Lovely, I thought, after just hearing the first note resonate from this (rather heavy) combo. The default sound was so much nicer than that of the Mo' it got me thinking about taking the simple pure valve path.

    What I am interested in finding out is, whether this combo is:

    a: Reliable

    b: Good to live with

    c: Versatile

    d: (most importantly) Is it loud enough?
  2. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    Morris-you messin' w/ me or what???:D
    Just kiddin'-
    I have the 2x10 Wedge & added a 1x15 diesel cab so here I go:
    Mesa did everything right with sound and everything wrong with marketing ref: Buster-
    While the trend is for lighter, smaller, high-powered
    mos-fet or hybrid heads, Mesa designed & produced for a few years, a revised D-180 circuit, kinda a l'il
    bro to the 400+.
    Tubes-they are not for everyone- Input/Output transformers are heavy.
    Combos- are "niche" many like a rack, or a head/cab
    for pro gear.
    So-Mesa's BRILLIANT old-school pure as all get-out tube circuit weighs a freakin' ton, is a bear and 1/2 to transport, is/was not that cheap, and has all the potential hassles associated with pre-amp & power tubes. (Though Mesa's non-bias helps IMO)
    Now if you fall into this niche category, like me you will be rewarded with 200 Watts RMS of tube power, equivalent to 350-400 in a fet circuit.
    It is more than loud enough, believe it.
    I love basic sound- Bass, Mid, Treble, Master, Gain-
    that's it, bro- (Plus a great 7-band graphic EQ,
    that "tube-tailors the sound- i.e. it works!)
    A lot of players liked the 15 w/ horn- My "version"
    lacks a tweeter, but the EVM speakers, excellent btw, are more than tight enough in the high end.
    Hey, I love this amp- My rhythm sections love it too!
    Grab one at a good price, if tube sound is your thing, outside of the re-issue Porta-flex, I don't believe there is another all-tube combo on the market, only heads (Ampeg, Aguilar, eg.)

    Reader's Digest version- "Buster " RULES!
  3. A lcoal store has a used Buster 2x10...I thought alot about buying it, BUT it weighs 100 pounds!! What's the point in a combo that weighs 100 lbs??

    Second thing, they claim 200 watts RMS but I think the amp only has six 6l6 tubes (3 pair in a push-pull) That's almost 70 watts per pair which is a lot more than the tube manufacturers quote. No doubt the amp is loud but....even the early Ampeg amps, which pushed tubes well past their rated voltages, couldn't get THAT much power out of the 7027's.

    However, I'm sure the Buster sounds pretty good and a lot of people like Mesa.
  4. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    Both versions of Buster have a Tone Transport system encompassing in-line wheels and a retractable handle. It doesn't lighten the load, but it does make moving the units easier.
    Its give& take- you get a lot of sound, but it has a lot of mass-same thing with an SVT or DB750, etc.
    Tubes w/transformers=weight. I count my blessings with my V4BH at only 40 lbs.
    As for power- I ain't going there, 'cause I'm not an EE-but it is my understanding that Mesa has conservative power ratings,and whatever the wattage produced by the (6) 6GL6 is, the amp is
    way LOUD and has headroom to spare.
    More important is the tone- the tube circuit gives the thickest, roundest meatiest "phunk" I have heard- My only problem that I corrected per personal taste is to smooth out the mids with a parametric EQ, in my case an NE-1.
    Also reliability-good track record with Mesa, and if not, they will fix things well.
    This amp is definetly not for everyone's taste- it either floats your boat when you hear it, move on!
  5. Morris

    Morris Guest

    Oct 7, 2002
    Cardiff, Wales
    The good price I have been offered for the Mesa Boogie is UK £1440. Brand new. Is this indeed a good price? Is maybe the fact that is is quite rare to find new ones (in the UK?) worth taking into account?
  6. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    Here in "the colonies";) , Mesa has rigid pricing on their gear, with no (legal) variance. When new, the Busters sold for $1300 US. After Mesa discontinued the model, they allowed dealers to sell them for $1000 US.
    Your currency converts to about $2200 US, which is high, but take into consderation the rarity, as you stated, plus-there were not all that many Busters made; when they're gone, they're gone.
    I think it is a fantastic amp, heavy, cumbersome, but absolutely "tubular". Like I said, there is no other tube combo around like it. I'm very glad I got mine-If you add a 2x10 to yours, you will be amazed.
    Have fun deciding.