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Mesa/Boogie: Past it's prime or in it's prime?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Benjamin Strange, Aug 31, 2003.

  1. Past it's prime.

    19 vote(s)
  2. Their golden age is now.

    15 vote(s)
  3. Both are about the same.

    15 vote(s)
  4. Give me carrots or give me death!

    10 vote(s)
  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Seems like Boogie has had two distinct epochs: old-school tone and new school tone. Early Boogie - heavy as hell, tubes, EV speakers, midrangy tone, heads & cabs. New Boogie - not so heavy, FET power, PAS speakers, smoother tone, heads & small combos. There are claims that Boogie quality is not what it used to be.

    So is Mesa past their glory days? Or are they in a golden age right now?
  2. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    mesa is still some great stuff, but it's not what it used to be, as far as quality goes...
    that's what happens when products go from one at a time to production line to meet demand.
    same thing happened to tobias, warwick,spector, etc.
    these companies get bought out and then produce lower level lines, as well as licencing productin to overseas factories to make quantity instead of quality.
    put a nice old boogie next to a new and you can hear the difference.
  3. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    Definitely true. I A/Bed an early 80s MarkIV guitar head against one just a few years old. The newer would sounded like absolute crap against the old one. Sure, it could have been the tubes, but most Mesa amps I've played have been hit or miss. That said, I still am seriously GASsing for an older 400+.
  4. From a tech standpoint, their amps have never been that well-built. They're nice designs if you're into their sound, but they've always had solder connection problems. The main difference between old and newer Boogies is a combination of the older ones being voiced around and using better quality NOS US tubes and the newer ones being voiced around and using lower quality currently produced tubes.

    If I'm not mistaken, Boogie quit using EV speakers as standard when EV's former parent company, Mark IV Audio, got bought out about four years ago and their speaker manufacturing moved from Newport, Tennessee to Hope, Arkansas. IIRC, there were some supply problems during the changeover.

    I also wouldn't neccessarily call their "old" bass tone more midrangey. EV's in general are very tight and bassy speakers, with great power handling and high output. EV made some killer subs in the late 80's-early 90's that blew away EVERYTHING in the MI small subwoofer market. I'd call Mesa's new focus "cleaner" rather than bassier.
  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Curious... from a tech standpoint, who do you feel makes a good bass amp, Psycho?
  6. Aside from very crappy fuse holders, pre-Gibson Trace Elliot was very well made.(I've yet to see an Ashdown, but given the company's heritage, I'll bet they're comparable.) Old Hiwatts are great. Fender tube bass amps up to FMIC are good and easy to work on. FMIC ss amps are OK, but I HATE Fender's stupid multi-pin jacks. Early SWR is superb. Old Ampeg was very well thought out. Traynor tube amps are better made Marshalls. Peavey before about 1992 are tough. Very old and the newest Hartke is good. They had some rough spots for awhile. Same with GK. Eden has consistently been spotty. That's all I can think off the top of my head. Is there anyone else you want to know about?
  7. doc540


    Jul 28, 2003
    Beaumont, Texas
    You forgot to mention the Acoustic 360!

  8. Not many Acoustic amps in my neck of the woods. I've yet to tear down a 360 and what few Acoustic amps I have seen looked like they had been dragged behind a truck and weren't worth fixing.
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Mesa for guitar, GK for bass :D
  10. rygelxvi


    Jan 6, 2003
    i haven't been playing long enough to have tried their old stuff. But i love my Mpulse head and powerhouse cab.
  11. didn't feel like starting a new post for a simple question so I'll put it here. I'm looking at what I believe to be an older mesa RR (Powerhouse 1000 type) of cab. I still havn't seen it to see if it has the black grill or not.

    What are ways to tell the differences between the old and new mesa cabs(RR specifically) and do they have speakon connectors? if not how tough would it be to install one or two on the back panel.
  12. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    The older cabs had the black, square grille. New one use a silver looking grille with oval holes.

    Now go get your own thread.:D
  13. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo Precision/Upton addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Seattle, WA.
    Past its prime. I've got Mesa in my veins and I always have but with their newer production lines they've definately gone down hill. I play an older 400+ and 2 of the older Road Ready 4x10 cab's loaded with EV's and they sound fantastic and weigh as much as a fully loaded pinto. Nothing they make now compete's at all with mabye the exception of the 400+'s out there cause I don't believe they've changed much.:confused: Have they?
  14. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    I picked up a 400+, and i play it out of a Bag End Q10BX-D. Sounds superb. Better than any stale, disgusting FET amp i've ever heard. however, i haven't had a chance to check out some of Mesa's earlier stuff, comapred to their newer stuff.

    Mesa's newer FET systems seem to be more newaged, and more towards the consumer's wants: High power ratings. However, I, on the otherhand, believe their newer stuff has gone downhill just in the sense that they aren't making tube amps (for the most part, aside from the 400+) for bass anymore. Tubes are built for Bass to be played out of them, and i am a firm believer in the fact that the "old ways" may still be the best ways of doing things.

    As long as Mesa keeps making the 400+, (and i believe they will continue to make it) I will adore Mesa.

    **If mesa ever makes a 400+ FET design... you know the company is doomed for failure in their bass department. The fact of the matter is... Mesa's Tube Amps are what their company is based upon, and what the company's customers, who enjoy a rich tone, expect.

    My thoughts on Mesa

  15. Zentner

    Zentner Supporting Member

    Oh yah... i voted..

    give me carrots or give me death.

    thought u might be interested.
  16. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    I have not been impressed with any Mesa Bass Products except the older EV speakers and of course the phenomenal 400+. Dang thing is so heavy though... :bawl: I'm gettin' older :rolleyes: Right now mine is in my practice room sitting on top of my new Bergantino NV610. Talk about shaaaaweeeeettttt! :D
  17. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Nothing has really changed on the Bass 400 with the exception of adding one more fader to the EQ section in the mid 80's, I think.

    And for the record, I believe the only time Boogie has made two different tube bass amps at the same time was the 400+ and the Buster. The D180 was discontinued when the Bass 400 came out, and that was discontinued when the Bass 400+ came out. They've only made four production model tube bass amps in their history, and have only been making FET designs since 1992, when the M-2000 first came out.
  18. Yeah I have a 400+ and it is sweet but HEEAAVVYY! I really like everything but not the weight of that amp.

    So I was thinking maybe an M-2000 :confused:.

    Anyone have any experience of those, will I come anywhere near the 400+ soundwise? If I get almost there I will be happy, I run an SWR Bigfoot 2x12 btw. Once I A/B a GK 700RB at rehearsal once and I really had to push it to get up where my 400+ easily goes.. do I have to push the M-2000 as hard too?

    Oh bollocks I voted Carrots. ;)

    Maybe this shouldnt be in this thread at all :meh:
  19. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    I'm not so sure old Boogie were that great...at least the guitar amps.

    I have de-hummed a lot of mark I amps, they also commonly had reverb feedback that dratically reduced how much could be used. I think the fis for that was partly mechanical, but its been a long time.

    The mark II I used to have a tone mod for, that improved them quite a bit for some uses, unless you loved them just as they were.

    So Boogie really got their rep on tone, definitely not on solid engineering and construction.

    As I recall, the story back in the day was that Randall Smith used to buy Fender replacement parts in bulk until the good folks at fender found out what was going on and cut off his account. Its a good story, and quite possibly true. I am not sure that the tone of the amps was ever totally recovered with the transformers sourced after that Fender part deal fell though.

    Boogie to me has improved in engineering and decreased in tone to some degree. That seems to happen, when folks decide that 'you can't do that" engineering-wise even though it sounds right. When they "fix it" it sometimes gets fixed like a dog......

    My opinion and worth what it cost. Flame or agree.
  20. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    Charleroi, Belgium
    the m2000 is 600W so it's stupid loud !
    sounds very good, and it's a monster of versatility !

    Very good amp !