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Mesa Fathom (aka. M6) vs Mesa 400+

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sassanova, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Mesa Fathom

  2. Mesa 400+

  3. Neither, Mesa isn't the best option

    0 vote(s)
  1. Sassanova


    May 21, 2013
    Searched around and couldn't find a thread that fully satisfied my specific question... so here goes:

    I currently own a Mesa Fathom (now known as the M6). An opportunity has come up with a fellow on Craig's List to swap my Fathom and $260 for his Mesa/Boogie 400+.

    The Fathom is class D solid state with one preamp tube and the 400+ is 300W all tube. I'm really quite happy with the Fathom, but any time I play a gig where there's an all-tube back line amp, I just love the way the tubes play/feel.

    I like a little bit of warm grit in my tone and can mostly achieve that on the solid state with my collection of pedals (darkglass b7k and vintage microtubes, empress comp, etc.). Can the Mesa 400+ get close to an Ampeg growl?

    I own an Ampeg 8x10 and a Mesa 2x10. I'm not overly concerned about weight of the head as I may pick up a little Aguilar amp sometime down the line to use for small gigs with the 2x10. I believe the 400+ Is only about 10lbs heavier than the Fathom anyways.

    I was looking for some input as to whether it'd be wise to make the trade. The Fathom is newer technology (and goes for more money new than the 400+) and I like a few features about it better, but wanted to ensure that I'm making the right choice in switching to the all-tube. Is this a "if it ain't broken—don't fix it" situation or do you think I'll never look back once I go all tube?

    I would love to own an Ampeg SVT-CL to match my cab some day, but for now was mostly looking for input on the MESA opportunity.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    They're definitely two very different amps. It's been a while since I've played through a Carbine, but the tonality is unmistakably modern solid-state. It's a bit easier to dial-in than the 400+. The 400+ is modern but not quite as refined sounding as the newer Mesa tube heads. It has a very groggy mid-range that makes it easily cut through the mix. It doesn't have quite the huge, enveloping low-end that an SVT has, but it probably has more of a leaner punch.

    If you were wanting to try out an all-tube head and the 400+ were in good shape, I'd entertain the trade. The Carbines are still being made and are plentiful to find if you wanted to go back. The 400+s are not longer being made, and while they aren't quite the dodo bird as a Trainwreck or Dumble, they don't pop up used as often as they used to. While I've heard numerous tube amps that do a pretty believable job of copping the vibe of an SVT, Bassman, or Hiwatt, I've yet to heard anything that sounds like a Mesa 400 series.
    BigBobbyBass likes this.
  3. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    The M6 + $260 is a pretty good deal for you as long as the 400+ is in nice cosmetic shape, is 100% functional, & the power glass doesn't have too many hours/you don't need to change them out. I'd do the deal, but I'd still try to negotiate a bit less cash outta my pocket.

    The 400+ is among bass amp icons.
    chaosMK and Razman like this.
  4. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    I've owned/gigged my 400+ and several different tube powered SVTs for a decade now. While I'll admit I have preferred my 400+ with some of my bands, Its a completely different tone, feel and vibe, and I've never been able to get that strong low-mid Ampeg growl out of my 400+ or D-180, no matter what settings, pedals, tricks or mods I tried. Its kinda like eating a baked potato with your hamburger when you really wanted french fries, both good but not the same at all :)
  5. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Just as an fyi, I don't believe the Carbine is Class D power, but rather Class A/B Mosfets. Big difference. I'd suggest an A/B test between the two, and choose with your ears. The Carbines are awesome at what they do, but the 400+ is a monster, and though it's very clean, like the Carbine, it'll have a lot more girth and multi-dimensional tone.
  6. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    I play through a 400 non-plus in my church's theater and own a M6 Carbine 212 combo. I love both amps, they are two different flavors of awesome. If within your means, buy the 400+ and keep the Fathom too. This is really a tough call...

  7. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I've been using a Bass 400 non-plus as my main for around 10 years and have owned a number of Mesa amps (D180, Buster!, M-Pulse, Titan) and always end up back with my 400. The 400/400+ is naturally more growly in the mids/lower mids, has less of a boomy/fast low end, and more old school kind of overdrive (I love the more modern grindy sound on Carbines though). I use a Sansamp VTDI in front and a Sansamp BDDI in the FX loop to get an articulate+punchy overdriven sound for modern metal styles (note: I didnt end up liking the B7K through it and sold it to get the VDTI which I am more happy with). I've used my 400 to record almost every style of music. It's a killer amp and takes most of the outboard preamps well. Just dial in something like Mid: 9, Bass: 3, Treble: 2 and that's a good starting point with the Fender Showman / Alembic F2B-styled tone stack.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
    Razman likes this.

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