Quilter Bass Block 802 vs Mesa Subway WD-800

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by carsonchilders, Dec 7, 2021.

  1. carsonchilders

    carsonchilders Carson Childers Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2012
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Hey friends!

    I was looking at a lot of Quilter and Mesa threads and it seemed like the newer models were not compared in an easily searchable way. Most things revolved around the Quilter 800 and the Mesa D-800+.

    Spoiler: I picked Quilter

    I've never loved class D amplifiers but at the same time my entire setup revolves around going direct. This is because I grew up at a large church with no amplifiers on stage. My current setup is mainly a Noble Preamp and a big box Cali76. I had an Ampeg PF800 that failed and the parts were prohibitively expensive based on what I paid for it used. To the Ampeg's credit, I played a gig that had direct sunlight that was so hot that my black bass was very hot to the touch and all of our iPads overheated.

    So my main feeling is that my amplifier setup is basically a large stage monitor and I want to be able to pack it up in my Pelican and go. I am fortunate enough to live next to a guitar store that had both the models and allowed me to gather my thoughts. Locally, the Quilter was just over $700 new. The Mesa was at $1000. Both amps sounded fantastic. I will admit that my preconceived notion/hope was that the Quilter would hold its own at the lower price point and I also know in the past I have not loved Mesa cabinets (and they are very expensive imo). I'm a weirdo that likes my amps and cabs to match usually.

    So I dialed in the mesa first. What a great amplifier. The amplifier itself was larger than I expected even though I checked the dimensions against my Pelican before I left. There are a TON of knobs. "A tweakers paradise." That would usually be me, but like I mentioned earlier I am focused on most of my tone at my pedalboard and would prefer to do my tweaking there. I found that with the gain clipping ever so slightly, with a slight treble boost, slight bass boost, and a very slight high and low mid frequency boost (With the passive mid set to not effect that sound) and the HPF barely engaged I got a fantastic sound. Mesa can tend to boost a treble frequency I don't love, but ultimately I enjoyed this sound a lot. I especially love the HPF, but I have one on my pedalboard so I don't require my amplifier to have one.

    Next came the Quilter. It was evident the amplifier initially was voiced slightly darker. I like an articulate sound so I was worried at first. I set the gain so that the limit/clip would come on in the rare instances I really dug in and the amp became much more responsive and beefy. The thing that ultimately sent me over the edge was the way the EQ works. I'm not going to attempt to explain it here, but I actually found this very intuitive right out of the box to get a sound I loved. Essentially, on a jazz bass, I left everything flat and boosted the snap just a little bit and cut the bark just a little bit. I'm talking tiny nudges. And boom. Suddenly the amplifier tones sounded VERY similar. The both had the same amount of weight/slam to them to my ears (without having to use EQ to manufacture more slam). I A B'd them with the shop worker as well. I will say at the end of it, the mesa had a very small amount more articulation/clank that is the mesa sound to me. I found the Quilter had the same sound character but did not have the particular clank thing I didn't want from the mesa. On top of that, it took me less than a minute to dial in "my" sound while the mesa took me a few minutes and a peak at the manual to figure out if the passive mid was cut only or flat in the middle.

    Ultimately, the Quilter was the way to go for me. I'm interested to see what I think of their cabs since the price point is so attractive. There are reasons the Quilter may not be right for you (the strange lack of XLR out but there is an XLR in that is made for a pedal user like me, but I still don't think I'd actually use it) but for my compact traveling/touring scenario this is definitely the winner.

    I'm going to keep testing it at home to make sure it plays well with my current pedal setup.
     
    arbitrary, rufus.K and Zbysek like this.
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Interestingly, I'm currently doing the exact same test except I also have a Berg Forte in the mix (see attached pic!). I'm trying to 'pick two' but I'm having a real hard time eliminating any of them. The Mesa will likely be my main (a lot of that is because I bought it new so it has full warranty and everything) head so I'm basically trying to figure out if I want the Berg or Quilter as a backup.

    What you say about the Mesa and Quilter is dead on....the Mesa has tons of control and the Quilter is much darker. The Mesa sounds great by itself but the Quilter really comes to life with my Darkglass Alpha Omega going into it. The Mesa has lots of controls and I still don't know what the 'passive mid' is even doing, while the Mesa and Berg are dead simple.

    Here's the thing with the Quilter though...it lacks two features that I need....a DI Out and 2 ohm stability. But I don't need either one of those all the time, but to be a proper backup amp it needs to have them. I think if the Quilter had those two features and kept the same size it would maybe be the perfect amp if you run pedals.

    I love all three of these amps and looks like I'll end up keeping all three!
    To me the Mesa is king. It has the sound and the controls, but the controls may be too much for some people. It's the biggest of the three.

    The Quilter is awesome because it small, light, and sounds fantastic. Controls are dead simple. Needs pedals to be it's best though.

    The Berg is a mix of the two. It's basically a Quilter with a normal EQ, 2 ohm stability, and DI out. But it's bigger, heavier, and costs a lot more.




    I've got the amps setup with a switcher, and both of those cabs on the left are Barefaced Super Compacts so I can instantly switch between amps to hear subtle differences.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. carsonchilders

    carsonchilders Carson Childers Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2012
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Totally!
    I think the Quilter also exposed my gear woes. I like an articulate tone that I would not consider modern or vintage. Because I very much did not jive with the Aguilar TH500, but I was happy enough with the PF800. Maybe bright vintage would be a way to describe what I enjoy. The 802 got the highs exactly where I wanted them with practically 10 more db of boost if I needed to go bright and modern.
     
    Fenwick, rufus.K, Zbysek and 2 others like this.
  4. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    NEW YORK
    The 802 has a high of 2K at least on the eq knob .... Thats a little clacky for slappin".... Does it go higher than That?
     
    rufus.K likes this.
  5. WG Plum

    WG Plum Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2021
    Seattle
    Definitely interested in hearing ongoing views of the 802. My GSS Baby Sumo recently died and, given nothing that I would be interested in was in stock at Sweetwater (Mesa and Aguilar), I ordered an 802. Mostly I plan on putting my Broughton SSDI in via the effects loop and bypassing the 802's EQ altogether.
     
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  6. carsonchilders

    carsonchilders Carson Childers Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2012
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I enjoy it so far but the only gigs I've done since getting it have been lower volume.
     
    rufus.K and WG Plum like this.
  7. Op hit the nail on the head. A “ mini-review” for those who care.

    I’ve done Mesa, both Quilter 800 and 802. Like them all, but Quilter dial in is waaaaay quicker AND they’re a good bit more portable. I keep my 802 strapped to my Quilter 2x10 box for a loud, good sound with little knob twiddling and I can carry it in one, easy trip, with bass in gig bag and small pedalboard in my other hand.

    I have other, far more elaborate ( and heavy) rigs, but I don’t get asked to provide back line, so they’re pretty much gathering dust and taking up space in my house while the Quilter goes with me. Such is “post Covid-19” gigging.
     
    rufus.K, Zbysek, SJan3 and 1 other person like this.
  8. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    Mesa.jpg
     
    agedhorse likes this.
  9. Rocknroller4

    Rocknroller4

    Jul 8, 2019
    Earth
    Have an BB802 question. It has two speakon connectors. Would I plug those into a cab that had two spots for that? confused if it's better to plug two in or only one and if you have a second cab, instead of daisy chaining, is it better to plug one of the speakon outputs to that second cab?
     
  10. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Montreal
    Makes no difference. FWIW I have a wd800 and Q802…..neither is going anywhere.
     
    Rocknroller4 likes this.
  11. Rocknroller4

    Rocknroller4

    Jul 8, 2019
    Earth
    What do you think of maybe hooking the BB802 up to an Orange 4x10?
     
  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    If you have one cab, you use one connector.

    If you have two cabs, you use both connectors, or daisy chain from one cab to the next. Either way is fine.
     
    Rocknroller4 likes this.
  13. Rocknroller4

    Rocknroller4

    Jul 8, 2019
    Earth
    I know the XLR is master volume controlled so if you use say a GED 2112 pedal into the XLR in can you use the XLR out on the GED instead? or would you still be messing with the volume?
     
  14. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Montreal
    I am sure it will sound very good, although I would not enjoy moving that cab ;)
     
    Rocknroller4 likes this.
  15. Rocknroller4

    Rocknroller4

    Jul 8, 2019
    Earth
    That's what I am concerned about lol.
     
    lomo likes this.
  16. Rocknroller4

    Rocknroller4

    Jul 8, 2019
    Earth
    I might just get two 2x10s.
     
  17. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Ct.
    You mean like this?
    IMG_20220308_164453942.jpg
     
    Rocknroller4 likes this.
  18. moon-bass

    moon-bass They call me El Jefe Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    USA, New Orleans
    I have that exact same speaker setup. Sounds great with the Quilter.
     
    SJan3 likes this.
  19. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Ct.
    That's a Big Bang and I also have a Quilter BB800. Both sound great, IMHO.
     
    moon-bass likes this.