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Mesa M6/9 Tone Pursuit

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by krovx, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    Alright...here is the jest. Need my low end brethren to help me sift through a situation. Years ago I owned a Mesa M6 and it was probably the best bass tone I have had. I had to sell it my Mesa rig to move to Chicago and go to school. Long story short I am back and playing out and having a blast.

    I am married now and finances are a bit tight. I currently own a SWR Megoliath 810 ( I scored for 500 bucks used) and a Carvin B800 head ( decent, IMO for the price). I just have that Carbine tone in my head and I do not know what to do.

    I have tried using various pedals to get different sounds and I end up returning them dissatisfied.

    So part of me wonders, what are my options?

    I like my B800, it sounds good, but I wonder if the B1000 would put me more in the ballpark of the M6? I have read on here that many suggest the GK MB series are in the same ballpark as the Carbines. Used prices on MBs are pretty good too.

    Obviously, the simple thing would be to do is buy the Carbine. Problem is, it would take me a long time to save up. Even the used ones retain their value ( Mesa gear is great).

    Appreciate any advice or suggestions.
  2. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    Personally, I would buy a used GK MB Fusion 500 over a M6/9.

    Sounds very similar and IME was much more reliable than my 2 M9s. Cheaper and smaller too.
  3. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    What kind of settings are you using with the B800?
  4. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    M6 all the way man.
  5. GKMB800. Better reliability, a fraction of the cost, a fraction of the size and weight, and a similar tone (big down low, super bright and aggressive up top). The GKMBFusion800 has a tube pre and is a little smoother, but is a bit larger and more expensive. I actually think the MB800 gives you more of the M6 vibe, and will keep up with the M9. No brainer!
  6. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    Run it pretty flat (12 o clock) with bass and drive at 1 o clock and mid at 10 o clock.
  7. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    Guess I always found Mesa to be reliable and built like a tank. Does the GK use plastic input jacks and hardware? Seems like that would be rather fragile.
  8. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA

    You do make it sound like a no-brainer. A micro head would be ideal given the bulk of the Mesa heads (funny to say that these days!) I have always appreciated your thorough responses. You have indirectly helped me with gear selection in the past and from what I can tell from your descriptions of gear I am familiar with, we have similar 'ears'.

    Maybe I could 'try' one from a big chain store to try out and then hope to find one in the classifieds.
  9. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Where are you setting the drive? and what is missing from the tone? Turn those knobs, you might find something you like.
  10. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    The drive is at 1 o clock. The head sounds good, don't get me wrong. It just has a 'vintagey' vibe that I can't dial out without losing some umph. I prefer a more aggressive modern sound.
  11. groovaholic

    groovaholic The louder the better. Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Having owned both the Mesa M6 and the Carvin B1500, my feeling is that the TONE of those two amp families is fairly similar -- especially if you crank the Drive control on the Carvin to get a little more emphasis on the upper harmonics.

    The Carvins are great amps (I currently own a B1500) but the difference between the Carvin and the Mesa isn't something that you can EQ in or out.

    What the M6 has (that I found impossible to replicate) was an incredibly quick transient attack, and no amount of EQ will get you there.

    I'd be curious to check out the MB800 -- I've read a lot of comparisons that liken the two amps.

    But listening, with your ears and your bass, is the real test.

    I was looking for a fuzzy, tubey-sounding amp head, when I first got hooked on the M6.
    Based on everything I had READ, it was not the amp I expected to want.
    But my ears and fingers loved what that amp did.

    Your mileage WILL vary...
  12. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    You sure are right about the attack. Similarly, I was looking for a grindy tubey head when I plugged into an M6 and fell in love. I really want to give the MB800 a try. If I have to keep the B800, definitely not the end of the world.
  13. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    If the 'tone in your head' is an M6, then I doubt anything else will do. They are fantastic sounding amps. That being said, folks are loving the MB and MB Fusion stuff for a reason. I don't personally think they sound like an M6 (similar idea, but not tone). They are however fantastic, light, affordable amps that sound very good in their own right.

    Good luck!
  14. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    What is it you don't like about the Carvin amp? Maybe adding a Sansamp (or other pedal like a Darkglass) can give you a bit of that grind. Is it the M6 thunder or grind that you want?
  15. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    I think more the thunder. I returned some Tech21 pedals hoping to get more of a grind...I think I just want modern/aggressive thunder.
  16. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    IME, it is harder to EQ the GK MB800 than an M9.
  17. teemuk


    Mar 1, 2011
    I'm not familiar with the particular GK but generally it's about overall quality of those jacks+hardware, not as much what material they are. From reliability's perspective I have had more cheap metal jacks fail on me than cheap plastic jacks. Quality plastic jacks can be very reliable and sturdy, and they also conveniently isolate the jack from the grounded chassis, preventing ground loops and noise. Manufacturer's don't use plastic jacks because they are cheaper. They often even aren't.
  18. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member


    I had 2 different M9's die on gigs which is inexcusable for any type of amp let alone a $1500 Mesa. Never had a single problem with gigging the MB Fusion for a year.

    I ABed the M9 and MB Fusion many times and my GK sat on top of my M9 in my studio for at least a year..... Unless I need a hearing aid, I cant understand how anyone would say they don't sound similar. Seriously, it is almost eerie how close they sound.
  19. krovx

    krovx Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Michigan, USA
    Thanks for the information guys. I know from an engineering perspective, they have plastics stronger than steel. I guess I just have never seen them before?

    Honestly, I dislike the thought of another rack amp with the all these great micros....portability is the new cool.

    I was hoping awhile ago that the M3 Carbine was going to be more of a micro when they were talking about it. I have to admit the new Mesa tube bass amps look cool, but I can't justify the cost.
  20. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    First, the Carbine reliability issues were with the M9, not the M6. New and "upgraded" M9s now have the same 600 watts as the M6. I agree that the GK MB800 is the closest sounding simile, but it is not quite as warm as the Carbines, although it is pretty much as huge down low and also has the baked in upper mid hump. Bottom line: if you don't mind the weight and extra couple of hundred, a used M6 or a factory up to spec M9 will scratch your itch. If you want smaller/lighter and to save a coupla hundy, try an MB500 or 800.