Mesa subway d vs ampeg pf

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by leavetheconnoli, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. leavetheconnoli

    leavetheconnoli Supporting Member

    May 21, 2017
    New York
    Starting to shop for a new rig and tried the pf and wow! Balls!
    I have been eyeing and heard great things about the mesa 800+ and like hpf etc but I can’t try it in store. No one carries it. How does it sound vs the ampeg.?
    I also liked the compression on pf. Thanks for any experiences
  2. I am a big fan of Ampeg amps, (I think I own about 22 pieces of Ampeg gear, including a PF-500).
    I also do sound for bands, and have worked with the MB D800, and Subway speakers a few times, and I think the MB line is very good sounding. I think the D800+ is probably more versatile than the PF. They cost a lot more. Accepts a 2 Ohm load. They are made in USA, and have a great warranty. If you have any questions about any MB, (or any other brand for that matter) TB member agedhorse who designed the Subway amplifier will provide excellent advice and technical support.

    I don't need more equipment, but one of these days, I will probably own a D800+, and a couple matching cabs myself.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  3. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    Well this'll be interesting! What kind of sound are you going for? What kind of music do you play? What cab/cabs do you own, or are interested in?
  4. lethal dose

    lethal dose

    Apr 10, 2016
    I, personally (and have nothing against Ampeg- I actually like them), can’t think of a single category where the PF series would be better than the Subway series other than cost and if you were after that specific sound. Otherwise, I see the Mesa gear as the clear winner. YMMV.
  5. leavetheconnoli

    leavetheconnoli Supporting Member

    May 21, 2017
    New York
    I run a P w flats, I shoot somewhat for a Pino vibe, old school, some slap, van morrisson to bruno. Currently im running a rumble head into a rumble 15. Got it in a hurry and great sound for the price. It is just too boomy. Thanks
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I had both the Ampeg and the Mesa, now I only have the Mesa.

    Quality wise, the Mesa is a huge advantage. Pair that with the 5 year warranty, half the size and weight, and it being made in the USA and you have your winner.

    But more specifically, while I really liked the Ampeg and was very happy with it the Mesa just has a meatier, thicker sound. It's much more articulate sounding. I always felt like the Ampeg was a bit 'boxy' sounding. I did like the compressor in the Ampeg, but it didn't matter to me because I have a much better compressor pedal and I don't like being stuck with only their flavor of compression. The Mesa is 2 ohm stable and has dual Speakon outputs which are really nice touches.

    Thing is, I was constantly fiddling with the Ampeg to get a good sound but the Mesa was good to go out of the box with everything set flat. In fact the best sound I ever got out of the Ampeg was with my Mesa Subway DI pedal going into it. And don't get me wrong, I REALLY liked that Ampeg..but the Mesa is just in a different class.
  7. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    The Mesa is much better built, but the Ampeg sounds like an Ampeg if that matters.

    In a strange way the Mesa can actually be CHEAPER than the pf800. Mesa has a transferable 5 year warranty - so you can pick up a used one in like new condition for $500-$600 in the classifieds here and still have a warranty for less than you'd pay for the new pf800.
    staccatogrowl likes this.
  8. abracadunphy


    May 22, 2015
    I vote for the subway

  9. sstillwell


    Nov 20, 2008
    THIS, although for me you can substitute "Markbass, Aguilar, and Ampeg" for "Ampeg" above. The only thing I've played through that sounded better than my D-800+ is...another Mesa, my Carbine M6. Even then, the Carbine isn't as flexible as the D-800+, it just has enough balls that I need a separate handcart to carry them around. :D

    To be 100% honest, a not-insignificant part of the preference is simply how the amps are voiced (or not voiced). I prefer the ears of whoever is coming up with the EQ curves at Mesa. @agedhorse if that's you, then I want to hear you mix a band someday. Am I right in remembering that the Carbine series was before your arrival? If so, you all have a DEEP bench of engineering talent. WoOo!
  10. Ampslut

    Ampslut Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    I'm an Ampeg player and I've played through the Mesa gear as well. The Ampeg is voiced to sound, well Ampeg while the Mesa (imho) is pretty flat but has a really nice EQ. If I were playing bass to make my living then I would probably go with Mesa because I believe the build quality and warranty is 2nd to none. But, I play on weekends in redneck bars and my pf-500 has never failed me.
  11. I recently purchased and sold both the Subway 800 and the 800+. To my ears Ampeg has what I want in my tone and the Mesa just didn't do it for me.
  12. leavetheconnoli

    leavetheconnoli Supporting Member

    May 21, 2017
    New York
    Can you elaborate? I personally like to crank the gain and get beef but also like dynamics. I do not go for pristine clean but not od either. Do you find yourself missing the hpf? Im having probs w coupling and hpf is a great thing. Thanks.
  13. NickFromNY

    NickFromNY Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    I think you will find the Mesa to be more versatile and reliable than the PF heads. The PF heads do the Ampeg thing well, but that's it. The Mesa is cleaner sounding and more moldable to what sound you want. You can always add a Tech 21 VT bass pedal in front of the Mesa for cheap enough to get you that Ampeg tone if that is what you want for some pieces. Just take the VT out when you don't need it and you have a whole new world of options.
  14. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    Mesa all the way here. Love the Subway series gear (that's my next upgrade). Nothing against Ampeg, but I suspect with what you're runining now (P w/flats - Fender Rumble), there won't be much less "boomy-ness" from the Ampeg.

    Dial back the low end a little. Maybe try rounds. With some slight changes, you might find that Rumble to be in your good graces again.
    Hounddog409 likes this.
  15. Surely. I too like a little grit, tubeish grit, not saturation. I play covers; rock, blues, country, metal, R&B, 80's, etc. in a very dynamic cover band. Ampeg-I basically set at noon and adjust volume as needed. I don't find myself having to adjust for stage boom, room, etc. About the only adjustment needed is when I switch from my 76 Musicman Stingray to my Pbass (Active to passive). I was constantly tweeking the Mesa's eq. I would get close but in the end just not what I wanted to hear. I also found myself having to put tape on the Mesa feet to keep them from falling off my cabinet onto the floor! I use Greenboy Audio cabinets and I wouldn't point any blame at them. I've read a few complaints about this. I don't miss the hpf.

    Hope this helps
    leavetheconnoli likes this.
  16. MJ_Sotti

    MJ_Sotti formerly "Mike in Chicago"

    Apr 3, 2011
    Mesa or Aggie. Every Ampeg class D I have had cut out. 350,500 & 7 Pro
  17. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Correct, the Carbines, WA, M-Pulse, Big Block and Titans were done and on the market well before I started.

    I do try to voice amps so that they sit well in a mix. Sometimes folks complain that they don't have that "super-awesome" solo bedroom sound, but they were never intended to be a bedroom amp to begin with.
  18. I recently moved from a PF500/115 to a d800/115 setup. Very different price point.

    The ampeg sounds like ampeg. The head was great on top of an 810. The PF cab does get boxy sounding as the volume goes up.

    The subway overall can sound classic and round but is more articulate. As the volume goes up the subway retains its clarity and depth. It is also lighter.

    I no longer have the ampeg.
    staccatogrowl and agedhorse like this.
  19. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    The value here cannot be overstated and was truly a key lesson I learned many years ago. In an article I read some time back Bob Gallien expressed a similar design optimization goal.

    As my sense of what I needed to listen for to provide the best audience experience matured over time, I've come to genuinely appreciate the wisdom here. My best performance amps really don't sound great to me at home or in a typical music store environment.
  20. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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