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NAD: Yep.... Mesa TT800 and Subway 115

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by two fingers, Sep 29, 2020.


  1. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    LONG post alert. TL/DR - Rig is unbelievably cool. Pics along the way. Thanks for stopping by.

    So, it arrived yesterday. (The top box is the short, fat Speakon cable.) Sorry, my roses have been neglected lately.

    Of course, Sweetwater (and Philip) were fantastic to deal with.
    20200929_085733[1].jpg

    The rig was packed very well. Even in the boxes I was blown away by both the size and weight of each piece. I got may arms around the cab even in the box to take it upstairs.

    Unpacking everything one word kept jumping out at me.... "quality".

    The head comes with a sturdy gig bag. The cab comes with a slip cover. (Both embroidered with the Mesa logo.) The head comes with a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter for use with the Aux in or headphone jacks. Nice touch. The head also comes with felt pads to install on the bottom if you wish. Again, nice touch. Even the MANUAL is printed on nice paper and nicely bound. I could list dozens of nice little touches that show @agedhorse and his team were OBSESSED with this amp and its presentation. The manual is also well written @Chef and @Al Kraft (and whoever else was involved) . Thank you for the Instant Gratification section. It really does launch you easily into enjoying what this thing will do. The manual contains plenty of details for the technical wonk in me. But it's also well-written for the creative in me that just wants to enjoy his new kick A amp. One can easily tell that everyone involved was geeking out over this thing during design and launch as much as I was unpacking it. They "get" us. 20200929_090518[1].jpg 20200928_205925[1].jpg
    I had to unpack it and run. So I was able to set it up but not play through it. I did take a second to just mess with the knobs and switches. Everything just feels (again) "quality". The switches and knobs are "stiff" in a GOOD way. They don't feel fragile or cheap at all. Fit and finish on both the cab and head are nothing shy of perfection. They almost look "too" perfect. It's a bit spooky when you take a close look.

    The size and weight of each is just unbelievable. The cab is shorter than a P bass body. The whole rig looks diminutive beside my other two main rigs. (The cab looks bulkier than the Walkabout Scout cab only because the Speakon cable forced me to keep it off the wall quite a bit. It's an optical illusion. I'll be getting a 90 degree Speakon connector post haste.)
    20200928_135012[1].jpg

    Let's really dive into the weight for a second. I literally picked up the cab and held it by two opposite corners in the palms of my hands (think front bottom right corner and back upper left corner). I SPUN the cab in my hands just for fun! It's just STUPID light. Then I carried it downstairs and back up again, holding it by both handles on the way down, and one handle on the way back up. It just doesn't make sense. It's a one-hand tote for the vast majority of us. The head weighs less than a Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and is only slightly larger. Again, it defies logic. As mentioned before, everything "feels" heavy, but it isn't. The knobs and switches feel like they should be on a 35 pound head.

    Aesthetics. Let's be honest. We all like to claim "I don't care what it looks like as long as it plays/sounds good." Suddenly, I'm not that guy anymore. This setup just looks cool. Nothing is overstated. All of the lines are clean. And I just think a black rig looks cool. The graphics are clean and easy to read. The knobs are laid out so simply that I already can grab the right knob without even seeing the graphics above/below the knob labeling what it does. I already know the order of the switches without looking.

    The number of features on the head are simply too numerous to cover here. I'll discuss them more in the Subway and/or TT800 thread as I discover them. BUT, I will say this much. For as much as it has available, it is incredibly intuitive. I recall when the news of this head broke, and the TT800 thread was started, dozens of people here chimed in with "I'm sure it sounds great and all. But that's just too many knobs and switches for me."

    In short, it's not. It's two channels. Start with the settings in the Instant Gratification section. Smile. Tweak (if needed). Nothing to it.

    I played several basses last night through the rig. I was EASILY able to make adjustments QUICKLY for each bass. Let's cover a few.

    My main player, the Hammersmith 5. I had to start with this bass because it is "home" to me. I know it inside and out. I know how this bass sounds through lots of rigs, through my in-ears, through floor monitors, etc. So I knew I could immediately determine whether or not this head and I were going to get along with that bass.

    Instant Gratification settings, gain set to low, deep and bright switches off. It sounded great just like this. But it was just s tiny bit "nice" for me. Fastest way to fix that? High Gain switch engaged! BOOM! There it was. Just a little grunt. Boogie was gooey. Subway was clean as a whistle. Let's play! Boogie Channel, P bass (neck) pickup soloed, tone knob dimed. There it is. Old school thump, plenty of character, but still all the clarity I could stand. I played like this for about twenty minutes before I even realized I had. OK, Andy. I'm with you. What other tricks do you have up your sleeve? I'm happy so far, but creating a bass head that sounds good with a P bass isn't exactly a challenge for somebody like you.:cool: Both pickups, bridge in series, tone knob dimed, and a pick. Hmmmm. Needs a little something. Subway Channel. BOOM! There it is. Pure, out front, still a lot of character, clean, punchy, awesome bass. My already versatile bass just became TWO versatile basses! 20200929_082703[1].jpg

    OK, I'm impressed. Home bass is home base. Let's try something else.

    Mid 80s E series MIJ Fender P bass with Chromes flats and EMG Geezer. Of course, I have no use for a rig that can't do a P bass with Chromes and make it do what it does. Of course, it does. Boogie Channel. Sounds great with the same settings as the Hammersmith. But... There a little high-mid burp that isn't my favorite. Up a little on the mid frequency down a little on the mid level, burp gone. Not a serious "scoop" but just a little adjustment. Mind you, I've spent MINUTES with this amp, and I just gravitated to exactly what would dial in (or out) what I wanted. This sounded exactly how you would expect with fingers, and truly, ridiculously, cool with a pick. 20200928_134043[1].jpg

    OK, let's get weird.

    This bass used to be a stock LeCompte SSTS. But I had @rojo412 make me a new neck (when the factory one twisted) and gut/replace the electronics. Nordstrand Big Split at the neck and Dual Coil at the bridge (all passive). Lots of passive controls/switching. Where to start on the TT. Let's just undo my little P bass tweak and get back to Hammersmith home base. Perfect. Everything reacted just as I would have hoped. I switched back and forth between channels doing everything from Jamerson to classical tapping and all points in between. I just somehow "knew" right where to go with the controls on the bass and channels on the TT. This one exceeded my expectations. This bass can be a bit of a fight to EQ with my SVT and Walkabout. Good to go with the TT. Yes, it sounds different from the Hammersmith. But it's another whole bag of tricks available to me with this head. Taking this and the Hammersmith to ANY gig (where the LeCompte aesthetics are appropriate) would leave me wide open to do whatever I want. 20200929_082803[1].jpg

    Not weird enough, you say?

    80s Mashup bass. Ibanez neck, unknown hot pink body, unknown EMG pickups. Very "Spector" sounding. I went back and forth on the high and low gain settings on this bass. I settled in on high gain and simply backed down a little on the gain knob to find a spot in between. Short version: Subway sounded like a Spector, Boogie sounded like Duff on his Fender Jazz Special. (With a pick, both were classic 80s tones.) Nothing to it adjusting for this bass. A little fiddling with the gain and we're done. Both pickups wide open. Tone knob wide open. Let's rock.
    20200929_082630[1].jpg

    Alright, let's do this. I waited until last to grab up my G&L L2000 fretless. I just KNEW this would be a challenge to dial in against the settings for the rest of my basses. We all know those MFD pickups are stupid hot! I have pressure wound strings on this bass. I was worried about what to do when I plugged this one in. Instinctively, I flipped the gain switch to low gain. I started with the Subway Channel. And I never left it. I had to change exactly nothing. All set. Knobs and switches on the bass got me where I wanted to be. I went from from Tony Franklin bite and growl to Pino sweetness with no issues. Now I'm blown away. I liked the Subway Channel so much on this one I never even tried the Boogie Channel. 20200929_082733[1].jpg

    I haven't forgotten about you, Subway 115. This. Cab. Kills. Seriously, many of you saw the thread I started regarding whether to get the 215 or 2 115 cabs. I decided to get just the 115 and decide later if I wanted another one, or the 112, or a 215, or.... When the honeymoon is over, I will definitely be trying my Ashdown LB30 with it.

    (By the way, Andy, I haven't forgotten the assignment you gave me regarding the Black Pearl. My friend hasn't been by in a while but is coming over Wednesday or Thursday. That's another feather in your cap. That amp sounds ridiculously good.)

    I still may get another cab. But it won't be because I have to. It will be because I WANT to. This single cab is truly amazing. Does it thump? Sure does. Does it rattle the walls? Yep. Is it louder than its size would ever let you believe? Unbelievably so. But..... The CLARITY of the 15 is what really gets me. Anybody can design a bass cab that will rattle windows and the snares left engaged on any drums in the room. (I'm looking at you Jamie.) But to do it AND have all of the clarity you can stand? It just doesn't make sense.

    Want me to wrap this up, you say?

    OK, here goes.

    1) Both pieces live up to the hype and then some. Congrats to everyone involved. Thank you for giving a crap about the most ridiculously tiny details. It makes for a great experience on my end. Money well spent. I'm a TOTALLY satisfied customer. (By the way, Andy, foot switches are in stock. I spoke with Chris yesterday and mine is on the way. He was great, as usual. Customer service at Mesa great as usual.) It's a rig I'm both happy with and proud to own.

    2) The TT is NOT hard to navigate. It looks hard because there are so many freaking inputs, outputs, knobs, and switches. But it really is so well-designed (and the manual so well-written) that you're off and running in seconds. No, you DON'T feel like twiddling knobs the whole time you're playing. It's designed in a way that getting from where you are to where you want to be is simple and effective. It's designed to play THROUGH, not play WITH. Plug in your bass. Choose the channel you think will sound the best with that bass (and you'll likely be right). If anything, make one or two tiny adjustments. Get to playing!

    Of course, I have more exploring to do. You can't even do one lap around this amp in the hour or so I played last night. I can't WAIT until rehearsal next Thursday to hear it through the PA as well (just to see how it translates from the 115 to FOH speakers). I can't wait to take in in the the dining room and run my phone into the Aux in and run some headphones to practice.

    Fire away with any questions and I'll try to help as best I can. A friend is supposed to help me set up a recording method next week. I'll try to post some clips, but no promises.

    It's official. I get it. And I'm a fan! 20200929_082837[1].jpg 20200928_165620[1].jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2020
  2. twofingers, I had to stop reading and stare at pic #3 for a while :drool::drool::drool:

    Going to reread the whole review again. What a great, comprehensive review. Since I have an L-2500 fretless, it was great to read how they worked well together.

    Been GASing on and off for a Mesa rig, now it's back on :D

    Glad you are happy with the decision and congrats on the new rig! :bassist:
     
    agedhorse and two fingers like this.
  3. Wicked G

    Wicked G

    Jan 19, 2017
    Hell Paso Texas
    @two fingers nice rig and I agree, playing with a pick sounds awesome through this amp. Now I need to play my G&L's through it in a live setting. I bet that would kill.
     
    Spidey2112, Al Kraft and two fingers like this.
  4. Hurry up and get the second cab. :wideyed:

    :jawdrop:

    :drool:

    :cigar:
     
  5. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Supporting Member

    Mesa. nuf said.












    Congrats! I would rather build my shop than buy a TT so---- i'm officially envious !
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    We broke ground on a "hangout" in our back yard recently. So, yeah, my timing wasn't great. :D
     
    Spidey2112, /\/\3phist0 and DJ Bebop like this.
  7. nice man! love the bass collection, i had the pleasure to play through a mesa boogie amp at an open mike night back in march wasnt sure what model but it was a sweet rig..cheers!
     
    two fingers likes this.
  8. MCF

    MCF

    Sep 1, 2014
    US
    Congrats!
     
    two fingers likes this.
  9. bmac314

    bmac314 Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2015
    Louisiana
    Congrats on the new rig! I have the same setup....love mine!
     
    agedhorse, StevieMac and two fingers like this.
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    You have made a nice choice. I see you've made nice choices before this one. Congrats. Nice amp.
    With you on the Chromes flats, I like them on my P. And what about the candy? Did you get Smarties? Did you get the little Laffy Taffy? Did you know there are Eggs in large size Laffy Taffy but not in the small size? Weird.
    I don't buy a ton online but those folks at Sweetwater know how to make and keep a customer.
    Go rock that thing. It concerns me, I don't see anything dimed on that amp. Turn it up. Let 'em know a Bass Player lives next door!
     
    petch and two fingers like this.
  11. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Supporting Member

    It will make my builds so much easier than in direct sun, on a collapsible workbench one tool at a time, setup, the tear down, setup next tool etcetera
     
    two fingers likes this.
  12. musicman556

    musicman556

    Jul 3, 2019
    Smyrna, TN
    Beautimous! I'll be joining you in TT800/115 heaven soon! Got the 115 already, hoping to have the TT800 by Turkey Day! (TD800?)

    Great to read your review, and I'm looking forward to experiencing all that for myself! I love that hot pink Ibanez, too!
     
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Ha! Yes, candy was everywhere.

    And my neighbors are a couple hundred yards away. Even the SVT can be cranked and they won't know it. My band rehearsed in that same room. (Bonus room over the garage.) I don't know how my house was engineered but my wife and kids can go to bed and my full band can rehearse until 1a.m. without waking them!
     
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Thanks! Only the neck is Ibanez. It came off if a destroyer bass. Nobody seems to know the origin of the body. I bought as you see it.

    It looks good when I'm singing Journey or The Outfield. :D
     
    musicman556, rojo412 and /\/\3phist0 like this.
  15. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Supporting Member

    I can't bring myself to part with my WD.
    It was BUILT on my birthday, and it was my birthday present (late) to myself.
    Want TT so bad, I think @agedhorse named it TT (tiny titan) just to torture me, I've been harassing him for 5 years for a 2 channel amp with some Titan DNA.
     
  16. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    "I just want to use your amp, TONIGHT!"
    Very cool man.
     
    Bassdirty, Spidey2112 and two fingers like this.
  17. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    :cool:

    If I had a dime for every time ai sang that song....
     
  18. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    Tennessee
    Grats on the new rig man.. seems like you're impressed. Looks nice.. small footprint. Can only imagine it would put a smile on my face to play through it. I know I love my WD800 through my avatar b410..and may yet drop some dough on a mesa cab or two down the road after some financial things get sorted, however, just can't deny how much of a bargain I got shopping the used market on guitarcenter for that heavy summagun and how good it sounds being driven by a subway head.

    I have to agree with the feeling of "quality" with the unboxing experience, along with the feel of the knobs and the construction. May your new amp bring you joy for decades..
     
    two fingers likes this.
  19. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass

    Apr 9, 2009
    Nice rig and smart move getting the 115, especially in this day and age where so many gigs are scaled down. With that kinda power (plus a cab that handles power) the rig should be able to handle most any gig.
     
  20. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Subway cabs are excellent... and yeah, that 15 is a good'n.
     
    two fingers likes this.

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