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Mesa Boogie Walkabout Mega-thread Part 10

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Chef, Nov 7, 2013.


  1. Doodaddy

    Doodaddy Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    I can't seem to quite get as "tubey" of a sound out of the WD-800 that I can out of the Walkabout. I mean that in a an overdriven way. Otherwise, I've gotten them pretty close sounding. I just wanted that starting point.

    I'm still fiddling around and it's obviously a very new amp to me, but that's my biggest take away from it intially. It could be the difference of a 12AT7 in the presection given its different gain factor from the 12AX7 in the WA. I think I'll hang on to it.

    IMG_5235.
     
    freedomryder, tombowlus, bebi and 3 others like this.
  2. Phyzzbin

    Phyzzbin

    Aug 14, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My observation too. Only I wasn't looking for breakup, I was looking for that WA compressed tone before breakup. :bookworm:
    HANG ONTO YOUR WA!!! Or else you'll regret it like just about everyone else here who sold theirs. :(
     
    metron, treyandres, kpc and 1 other person like this.
  3. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah that was more or less what I was gleaning from the design talk of these amps- the sacrifice was either keeping the clean tubish tone of the WA that many users wanted but at any volume, or including the driven stage and possibly not quite hitting the mark for either group (because the headroom scaling would be really difficult to sculpt in a way that you could get that particular type of dirtiness at any volume *like most all-tube heads,* you could end up with something that wouldn't quite please the clean OR the dirty WA lovers). I am definitely more in the dirty camp, but still look forward to giving one of these a run-through!
     
    metron likes this.
  4. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Both of you highlight the difficulty (actually the impossibility) of making an amp higher powered yet at the same time not changing anything about it. The WA's limitations were also its greatest asset IF you could live with the limitations.

    These limitations have nothing to do with being class D either, nor does it have anything to do with the tube type, it's simply because what's happening in the WA doesn't scale to higher power. Once we got into the redesign, we approached it in a way to make it "better" for those players who were unable to use the WA due to these limitations. Therefore, the tone and feel will be quite close not be identical by design.

    The WD addresses the needs of those players who wanted much the same time and feel as the WA but couldn't make the WA work because it was too compressed or too bloomy and became inarticulate at higher volumes. This was a very real challenge for gigging players who needed more than the amp was capable of. The changes and added features came directly from player requests here on TB.

    If you prefer the original WA, keep yours. If you don't have one, there are plenty available on the used market and likely will be for quite some time.
     
  5. igrok

    igrok Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2010
    Philly suburbs
    I’ve found that in my living room, the WD800 has a similar vibe to the walkabout but can’t really match its magic. At a gig with full band, for me at least, the walkabout struggles to reproduce that very magic as the volume goes up. But the WD800 at gig volume seems to capture that magic, sitting beautifully in the mix. I was quite surprised at the first gig I took it to how well it got the WA feel at gig volumes and with all the eq possibilities fully useful. No it’s not the same but I’m finding it a lot easier to work with when the band gets loud.
     
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    This is the direct result of considerable Talkbass player input.
     
  7. kpc

    kpc

    Apr 6, 2011
    I just can't seem to get rid of mine. It just sounds too good.
     
  8. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    You hit the nail on the head for me. A lot of what I liked about the WA at lower volumes could not scale up and slot into the mix. For me the WD-800 design is a good trade off for getting a WA similar tone (prior to noticeable compression and bloom), and being able to place that tone at gig volume in a mix where it just feels right.

    The closest I ever came to doing that with my original WA was with the Berg CN212 cab. The 4 Ohm cab and it's slightly lower emphasis on deep lows helped the WA to get as loud as possible without going over the edge. The WD is a player's head for gig use where the WA was really at it's limits...and hey, the WD doesn't exactly sound SS sterile at low volume with low damping selected either IMO!

    For fun I tried the WD with damping on low, all semi-parametric EQ's at or near their lowest frequency and a very slight boost on each. If you add in some mids, keep the bass at or slightly above noon, input gain around 1 o'clock and the HPF around 9-10 o'clock there is a ton of slightly looser low and low mid emphasis that is held in check by the HPF, but sounds pretty cool to me. It won't work everywhere, but playing around in that territory can get you closer to the old WA low end IMO. Oh yeah, and you can crank some volume and it holds together! I find that the semi-parametric mids offer a lot of unique voicing options since the standard EQ controls and HPF offer plenty of control to get a well centered tone to work from all by themselves. YMMV!
     
  9. Maybe a solution for doodaddy could be to use the Walkabout driving in some safe way (pad,ect) a D800 for example to add some power. I am convinced that the combination of these two amps could give nice result.
     
  10. TuneMan

    TuneMan Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2016
    Oakland, CA
    backline tech - Mesa Boogie, Aguilar.
    Though many people were looking for a louder Walkabout, many others were just hoping for a D800+ with a little more tube-like warmth and breakup. In that respect, it succeeds pretty well. Not as warm as a Walkabout, but definitely a step in that direction. I sold my Walkabout combo to a good friend, so I can visit it, or borrow it if I need to.
     
    two fingers, Phyzzbin and Al Kraft like this.
  11. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    WD-800 probably would sound stellar with the Berg NV 212 as well!
     
    Al Kraft likes this.
  12. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    It really does and it was one of the first cabs I tried the WD-800 prototype with when we were doing the beta testing to compare it directly with the WA.

    It also sounds incredibly good with Duke's Hathor/Changeling line - when running the cabs sealed or open ported you can really hear and feel a difference with damping control changes. I found a little less of a difference with the CN212. The original WA just didn't have the power to work that well with Duke's cabs IMO (you really need 300-400 honest Watts per cab) to get them to really shine.

    For obvious reasons the head sounded good with Mesa SW and PH cabs, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear how well it played with GK Neo cabs (in my case two 112IIs) as well. In talking with Andy, it was a key design goal to be sure that the head worked equally for players who may have already had cabs they like or prefer the voicing of non-Mesa cabs...mission accomplished IMO.
     
    agedhorse likes this.
  13. My experience with my two Mesa amps which have a totally different sound, plus the Bottle Rocket V1 which I recently own ,( for gigs that I don't want to carry a 30 lbs amps) lead me to say that a nice little black box with two tubes inside with a nice circuit (overdrive , compression, WA emulation, ect) designed by the stable of talented engineers at the Mesa R&D, that fit into the fx loop(or in front) could have a great success regarding to all comments on TB around the 800 serie vs the Walkabout.

    This comment remove nothing to 800 serie, it could only add something for those who search for this sound, saying that, I still look forward to try the 800 serie which is not done yet.

    Idea: Bottle Rocket reissue!

    Happy playing!:bassist:
     
    agedhorse and flewis like this.
  14. Phyzzbin

    Phyzzbin

    Aug 14, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Yessir. I get it. I think the Subway line sounds great. And I've stated that I hope this is what the 'clean' WA folks want. We've been round this for years in this forum with folks trying to make the clean WA louder and, as you've said, it's always going to be a compromise. Pretty nice compromise, IMHO, and I'm one of the dirty guys. :thumbsup:
     
    Al Kraft and agedhorse like this.
  15. Phyzzbin

    Phyzzbin

    Aug 14, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Been asking for it, or something like it, for some time, my friend!
     
    agedhorse likes this.
  16. Yep! It is an open bar for idea.
     
  17. Doodaddy

    Doodaddy Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    All of this is exactly why the WD-800 was immediately appealing to me and why I sold the Walkabout over not keeping the WD-800: the Walkabout was in my personal perspective, a one trick pony for me as it was a low volume only amp. The WA was "stable" at 2 ohms, but not in a comfortable way for me plus the louder you pushed, the dirtier it got. I did not like that so the tubey nature of the WA was a double edged sword for me. I had once tried using 5751 tubes in the WA, but it really neutered the tone to me. The tone I was able to get with the Walkabout was wonderful, but I couldn't always have or use it in a band setting's volume. I will willingly compromise some to have a more versatile and usable amp in the WD-800 plus features I didn't have with the WA.

    24232151_2028754894006468_5335723118702551608_n.

    For years I tried to have it both ways using the Walkabout as a pre before a dedicated power amp (Crest Prolite 3.0) not significantly unlike what Leo was right suggested, but I really feel like the Walkabout lost a decent amount of what makes it special when the power section was taken out. I can't say why, agedhorse probably could, but it just didn't leave me content. Plus using a full rack like that is a bit unwieldy.

    I initially wanted a 1,600 watt Walkabout or a rack mounted tube Mesa or 800+ preamp. I even tried sweet talking agedhorse into it, but I suppose I'll live with the WD-800 for now. If I could add just a bit of tube sheen to the WD-800, I'd most likely have little to nothing to want other than power and I might learn how to coax more things out of it once I spend more intimate time with it.

    I still thing Mesa would murder the market if they ever released a tube pre in rack form.............
     
    agedhorse and svtb15 like this.
  18. The idea is to make work the WA at the level it sound the best with the correct load, take a sample of this signal to feed a bigger amp, which it seem what you do in your setup. I am sure this rig sound amazing.
     
  19. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Just a quick note for folks who were fine with a 300 watt bass amp... if you are using very efficient cabinets that don't have a lot of low frequency extension, like the earlier Diesels, Road Readys and Powerhouses and especially those that used the EVM-15L, the added sensitivity combined with less low end extension combined to work better and be more player friendly. As player wants/needs changed and cabinets went from larger, heavier, more efficient, voiced cabinets to smaller, lighter, less sensitive and less voiced cabinets with more LF extension, and especially for those using a single 8 ohm cabinet, 300 watts (~150 watts into 8 ohms) was no longer sufficient for many live applications.

    This doesn't mean that the WA wouldn't be ideal for some of you who have more modest needs, but for the others it was more of a "game over" scenario as it was simply not enough amp, and not enough rig for the gig. This was especially true outdoors.

    This is what the WD excels at, it's a practical solution for a problem that some of our players regularly enough encountered that it made total sense to develop.
     
  20. Doodaddy

    Doodaddy Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    West Monroe, LA
    Oh it did and it was beyond insanely loud with over 800 watts into each cab. I selfishly want the same power in a standalone bass amp or an actual pre/power combo rather than using half a Walkabout as the pre. It wasn't quite the same being used as a pre rather than standalone plus it was a lot of unnecessary weight added to the rack.
     

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