Mesa Walkabout or Subway Series

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by gkella, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Looking for advice..
    I am retiring in the summer and while I can afford it, I want to upgrade my amp.
    I currently have an Ampeg CL, 100 watt mini head and cabinet.
    Up until now, I have just been playing by myself, in my basement.
    Upon retirement, I want to start jamming and if it happens, do some small gigs.
    I have been looking at a Mesa Walkabout combo amp and a Mesa D800 amp and 1 x 12 cabinet set up.
    Any opinions on what amp would be more beneficial?
    What I really want from an amp is flexibility.
    I want it to be efficient a low volumes when I am at home practicing and at the same time be light enough to transport and be able to compete in a small band set up (guitar, bass and drums) playing classic rock and blues rock material.
    I am playing two basses, a Music man Stingray and a Fender Jazz.
    Thanks Glen
    Winoman likes this.
  2. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I'll chime in.
    The Walkabout amp is a classic, so its definitely worth being your step-up amp.
    The D800 has the Mesa pedigree, and 800w to work with (vs the WA's 300w @ 4ohms).

    As a long time WA owner, I think the WA combo is decent, but I feel as if the 1x12 cab holds back the full potential of the WA amp.
    You might consider the Walkabout with the Subway 1x12 for a flexible rig.

    OTOH, the D800 has more power on tap, has a very adjustable EQ section, and is designed to match up with the Subway cabs.

    I don't think you can go wrong either way, but if it was me, I'd go Walkabout + Subway 1x12 (or any other efficient 1x12 like Bergantino, Baer, Barefaced etc.)

    good luck and enjoy your retirement. I retired in April last year and it has been great.
    GregC, MrLenny1, Winoman and 3 others like this.
  3. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    If you are looking for a flexible amp, then the Subway is probably a better choice. If the Walkabout tone works for you then that is another option but I would recommend listening to it first, and trying it with both the 112 and 115 cabinets. Different strokes for different folks, that's why they were designed this way.
  4. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I use both. The Walkabout has more flexible EQ but the D800 EQ is sufficient for everything I need. Both will be great for practicing, lightweight, and carry you in a band. The Walkabout isn't loud enough for some people but I guess the 112 will probably be your limiting factor for volume with either amp. The D800 hits harder and has a cleaner sound. The WA has more of a full, round, bouncy kind of thing happening. I prefer the WA tone with my loud rock band but the 112 combo would not cut it for me. I run through a 610 most of the time.
  5. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I own and use both. The WA as mentioned is a true classic and very good at what it does. However, you mentioned flexibility being very important, and this is where the D-800/800+ excels. I own the D-800 and it is fine for me, but the 800+ takes voicing versatility to a new level. While I like my SW112 cab, my SW115 is a standout among any competition - the 112 along with the 115 is spectacular.

    If you like the WA tone, but want a lot of flexibility in voicing (to get almost WA plus a lot of the other classic Mesa amp tones) with a single head and cab, the D-800+ and SW115 are likely to put a huge smile on your face. I'd advise you try them all (WA Scout, D-800, D-800+, Sw112, SW115 and even the SW210), but from your description I suspect the 115 and 800+ will be hard to beat. Good luck with your search and congratulations on your upcoming retirement!
  6. In a practice situation at home, are either of these punchy enough at a lower volume?
  7. Thank you for the responses.
    Going to audition both options tomorrow.
    The store is holding a previously enjoyed D 800 for me at 699.00.
    A savings of 300.00 off a new one.
    With the 1 x12 cab and my trae in on current amp, I can walk out of the store
    At around 1600.00 including tax.
    The WA is 1997.00 plus 13% tax. Less 200.00 for trade in.
    Quite a difference.
  8. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Both sound great at lower volume. In terms of pure tone, especially when solo practicing, for my ears, nothing beats the Walkabout. Having said that, if I had to go down to 1 amp for everything from home practice to jams/gigs, the D800 (or+) would be it. It may seem like the Walkabout is small, but when trekking through the snow and also carrying a bass and cab, an amp that effectively weighs nothing is superb, plus it has phones out and aux in for practicing chez-vous.
    pfschim, MrLenny1 and jnewmark like this.
  9. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Agreed. When I owned both, the first thing I commented on was how alike the 800+ could sound like the Walkabout. Not exactly, ( and by that I mean the clean tone of the WA ), but definitely on the same street.
    Al Kraft likes this.
  10. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    I'll add that down the road, if you're a hobbyist over 50 like me (come to think of it, no matter who or how old you are, as long as you lack roadies)'ll want a cab that's smallish/light/portable but loud enough to play with drums.....there are a lot of great options out there now....cabs under 35 lbs....but for many of them, you'll need more power than the Walkabout can deliver into 8 Ohms in order to push them near full volume potential.
    40Hz likes this.
  11. You guys are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me will definitely let you know what I do.
    Leaning towards the D 800 right now.
  12. Toddbass65

    Toddbass65 Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2012
    +1 on the combination of power and versatility I've ever played. I run mine with subway 112 and a powerhouse 112 stacked. The subway cab is lighter and can be carried with one hand. The D800 and one cab will get pretty loud, but not enough for anything but a small club. If I were you, I'd go D800 and the subway 112 cab. Then if you need more down the road you can add another 112....or perhaps the 115. The 112 and 115 cab mixing would usually be a no-no for most, but as Agedhorse ...the designer.....will tell you, that is not a bad choice at all. AND...if you ever need advice or help in any way Agedhorse and Mesa are always there to offer advice. Quality product!
    Al Kraft and Jeff Elkins like this.
  13. Another vote for Subway amps. I really love the Mesa D-800. Great sound and super flexible. I use it with either one, two or three 1x12's depending on the venue. I tried out a number of 1x12's before landing Hartke HD's for the sound I like. These cabs use hybrid speakers that are half aluminum and half Kevlar. They are a bit warmer than Hartke's all aluminum cones. These cabs are also dual ohm and can be switched fro 8ohm to 4ohm. 2018-01-09 03.14.46.jpg .
    Murch, TuneMan, Toddbass65 and 2 others like this.
  14. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I find both to be fine at home or in rehearsal. The WA has enough EQ control that you can dial in a little extra punch/push when operating at lower volumes, and the D-800 has a deep switch and nicely selected EQ points that you can use to fine tune whatever voicing you select. They sort of get you there different ways, but both work fine for lower volume and acoustic type work.

    The real difference will be in higher volume situations where the D-800 has a bit more power on tap to run clean and push most cabs to their limits. The WA is honestly rated, but does its best work at 4 Ohms IMO. The D-800 delivers comfortably at 2, 4, or 8 Ohms and simply feels stronger when the volume needs go up.

    Edit: I should also add that cab choice is as much a part of this equation as the head, at least for me. I do find that some cabs just don't seem to come alive as much as others until you start making some noise.
    jnewmark likes this.
  15. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    While I really enjoyed the Walkabout, I love the Subway. I didn't care for the 112 cab and found that the 210 was my favorite of the three cabs in the lineup. I also added a 115 for a bigger stack and flexibility between choosing the 115 or 210 when only one cab is needed. All the cabs are light and easy to carry. The Walkabout is great and certainly will be looked upon as a classic, but the Subway is, IMHO, the best all around system out there for bass.
    Wild_Bill_57 and Al Kraft like this.
  16. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Johnson City, TN
    No affiliation with the sellers, but if you audition the WA and decide it's for you, there are some for sale in the classifieds--at better prices than your store is offering. I see you're across Lake O in Canada, which may complicate things, unless you get to the US occasionally...

    For Sale/Trade - Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout 12" combo - price drop!

    For Sale - Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout Cabinet 12" 8 Ohm

    For Sale - Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout 1x15

    For Sale - Mesa Walkabout combo

    For Sale - Mesa Walkabout in Headbox Price drop $799

    I'll add that I have the 112 WA combo, and it's absolutely my favorite sound of any amp I've ever owned. Other amps are useful for a number of reasons, but I love the greasy tone of the WA. Unlike other posters, I find that keeping it at a low volume for any-hour individual (small house with family) practice is hard, though I do put the gain up where I want it for tone, first. And it's heavier than some other options at 51lbs - not super fun trying to one-trip up a flight of stairs or two with my upright and the combo, if that's the gig. There are definitely worse options, but at 50 years young I'm starting to notice these things!
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  17. Hounddog409


    Oct 27, 2015
    I have the D800 with a pair of 1x15 cabs.
    Punchy enough? I am on strict warning not to run both cabs with volumn past "just about off" at home.

    She's still mad about the stuff that fell off the shelf in the living room.....
    Winoman and gkella like this.
  18. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    This This This is what you need!! You would be amazed of how the WA sounds at full 300 watts!!!Best of both worlds... 20180115_104440.jpg
    Kr├╝gmeister likes this.
  19. I love my D800, I use it primarily for rock and heavy metal. It sounds great clean or with effects stacked in front of it. Really good low-end and mids on tap readily available. I tried it with all of the subway cabs and wasn't a huge fan of any of them, especially for the price. I stuck with my older pair of Ampeg SVT410HEs, great workhorse rock n' roll cabs and I got both of them used for almost half the price of one of the subway cabs.
    gkella likes this.
  20. I don't own the Subway but have the WA Scout and love it, great tone and an overachieving cabinet that performs much bigger than a single 12 cabinet. But I also have larger amps and cabs for when I need, and if was only going to have one amp I'd get the Subway for its versatility. Both are great products.
    Al Kraft and Kukulkan61 like this.