NAD -- Mesa D-800

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BlueTalon, Jun 26, 2022.

  1. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Inland Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    Long story short -- I've been gigging with a GK MB-500 Fusion for the past five years or so. About a year ago, it started having issues -- the main one being one of the speaker outputs abruptly quit working -- so as much as I love it, I started looking at new amps. For various reasons, I settled on Mesa as my new target acquisition. I considered the D-800+ but settled on the D-800. The smaller size and price of the D-800 was worth giving up the adjustable HPF and other features on the D-800+ (it helps that I have a Broughton HPF/LPF).

    Since one of the GK's speaker outputs does work, I continued to use it in the mean time, just making sure I had a backup amp with me (the smaller GK MB-200), and I waited for the right time to buy.

    That right time came about a month ago. Another long story short, Sweetwater had one that was open box. I learned about it before it actually was listed (thanks, @StellarJay!), so I contacted my sales "engineer" and told him I wanted it. I told him I wanted him to run interference for me and get it in my cart before it actually got listed on the website. That process actually took an agonizingly long time, but he got it done (thanks Craig!).

    I got it not long ago. I didn't think to take any unboxing pictures, but I did take a shot at a gig I did on Friday. I was happy with the sound -- I'm not one that likes to fiddle with knobs, I prefer to fire and forget. I set the knobs around the midpoint, tweaked a few things, then just left it alone. Actually, my guitar player fiddled with it a bit, too. I'm not sure exactly what he did, but he was very pleased with the sound as well. The amp itself appears well constructed and substantial, and "robust" to use someone else's word.

    One thing I'll comment on as some people here have described the D-800 as a "darker" amp than the D-800+. That had me worried initially, and it was one reason I had originally considered the D-800+ rather than the D-800. I like a bright sound. But in demos, the D-800 seemed plenty bright, and I got to thinking that some bass players like a tone that's actually brighter in ways than what I like, and that's what made me quit worrying about it. Now that I've heard it, it is plenty bright for me. There's a lot of versatility in the tone capabilities on this amp. Unless something messes up on it, it's a keeper.
    Mesa & PJB.jpg
  2. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    I still love mine...and normally use it with a Sansamp VTBPDI pedal in front of input....for distortion and extra treble...
    Still happy with it on its own....

    But have a D800+ that hasn't seen as much use yet....But has wonderful extra features
  3. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    The D-800 is a great amp. It is so easy to use and sounds wonderful.
  4. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Still love mine. Currently serving as constant companion (backup) to my big tube amp. Easy carry, easy setup, plug-n-play. Never disappoints. Never a glitch.
  5. wagdog


    Mar 20, 2000
    Der Waffle Haus
    I love my D-800. It does everything I need it to and sounds wonderful in the process. “Musical” is the term I apply to it.
  6. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    Northern KY
    Cab fan, hobbyist
    I've myself recently picked up a D800 and agree with the comments about it leaning a tad dark. I worked it out, but for some, if they like a bit brighter tones, but their cab isn't two-way, I'd suggest the D800+ or even D350 'cuz bright switch.

    Great amp and I love it, but I'm really boosting mids to get where I like to be. YMMV.
  7. roccobass

    roccobass Still funkin’ in the free world.

    Jun 25, 2014
    Nothing wrong with a D800. It’s quite handy and with its own tone. I too had discovered it’s nice compatibility with PB and mine sounds good with my C4. It also backs up my TT800, just in case. Not only that, it’s smaller footprint makes it an easier fit on narrow cabinets (like my Trace ELF 2x8) Good acquisition by you, BT!

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
  8. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    The D-800 is solid, simple head that just gets the job done for me. Many players will need more tone shaping and routing/connecting bells and whistles and there are other excellent offerings in the SW line for them.
  9. Al Rivera

    Al Rivera

    Mar 20, 2021
    I've rocked my d800 for almost 7 years! I used mine Friday for an outdoor gig. 20220625_150111.jpg
    DJ Bebop, Dino78, BlueTalon and 4 others like this.
  10. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    Big ups for using a Precision bass...and a 5ver at that!
    DJ Bebop and Al Rivera like this.
  11. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    Alas I have not yet tried a D-800. But the D-800+ is my go too, be all, end all amp of choice. A buddy of mine has a D-800 he’s not using. I may try it and make him an offer he won’t be able to refuse if I like it.

    But yeah. The D-800 and D-800+ are the best amps around. Barr none.
    DJ Bebop, Bassngtr, BlueTalon and 5 others like this.
  12. fauxtoe

    fauxtoe Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Southern California
    My D800 is the only do-all amp I've ever owned, and I've been through most of the major brands in the last 20 years. It's Thor's hammer in a 5.5 lbs package. What's not to love?
  13. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    Awesome amp. I did trade up to the D800+ because it has features I wanted (and having owned it for a few years, find that I really do use), but the D800 is an excellent choice, period.

    The Subway line has done a great job of providing well designed amps that make it possible, and I'd argue easy, for a wide variety of players to find an amp that will suit them well.
  14. marchone

    marchone Since 1951 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    That certainly seems to be the case, but a lot of players can’t, or won’t, buy all of them to sort out which works the best for their uses.

    Reading these pages can help narrow the choices down a lot. Or not, and just induce more GAS.

    But that’s not a problem unique to Mesa. Great gear is available in most markets worldwide.
    Al Kraft, agedhorse and BlueTalon like this.
  15. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Bay Area
    Love mine. I love it so much that when I foolishly sold my original D800, I ended up buying another D800 to replace it once I realized my error. And I just recently got a D350 - the perfect little brother for my D800.
  16. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I got my D-800 a few months ago along with a pair of Subway 1X12s. I run through a compressor, but could do just fine going straight into the amp. I am done looking at amplification for the foreseeable future.
    Al Kraft, agedhorse and BlueTalon like this.
  17. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Inland Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    Thank you!

    I have a PJB C8 that I often use, as well as the 6B in my photo. The top part of the C8 looks identical to the top part of the C4, and so your photo had me confused for a couple seconds.
  18. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Inland Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    Speaking of Thor's hammer... When my guitar player was messing with the knobs, for a moment he had both the gain and the master volume cranked. I slightly moved my fingers on the strings, and there was a rumble that was more felt than heard. It wasn't loud, but it was massive. It was an indication of what it could do if I really really needed to produce high levels of bass volume. My guitar player backed the volume down right away, like he didn't want to piss it off.
    fauxtoe and Al Kraft like this.
  19. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Inland Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    Wise words. How does one narrow down the choices when one does not have access to amps in order to compare them? That has been my world for the last year or so. The best thing to do, if possible, is be patient and do a lot of reading & watching. I certainly wasn't in a position to buy multiple amps. I had to distill all the information I could find into one educated decision, and then act. The more education one can put into the decision, the better the chances that the decision will be a good one.

    For me, assessing what I really wanted, and reassessing it a few times, got me to where I'm at now. For example, I decided I didn't want the controls to do more than one thing. That ruled out GK and Bergantino, as some of their controls do other things if you press or hold them for a few seconds or bump a switch. Etc.
    Al Kraft, Haroldo, Jazzdogg and 2 others like this.
  20. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Inland Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I've got my eye on that D-350 as well. Not in an immediate rush to buy one, though.
    Al Kraft, agedhorse and lermgalieu like this.

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