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Some Mesa Walkabout Scout Questions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SamTheButcher, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. SamTheButcher

    SamTheButcher Yis, actually. Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Charlotte NC
    I was going to put this post in the Mesa Walkabout "potential megathread"(that I've read...at least twice):D , but there's some things going on in there currently that I don't want to highjack, so I'll start a new thread, hoping that some (or all) of the extremely helpful people in that thread might chime in here. (Or anybody else that has one)!
    Anyways, I just picked up a used Walkabout Scout 12" version, damn thing sounds awesome, but I have at least 149 questions, but I'll start slow;) .

    First off, this is my first amp w/ tubes, and from what I can tell (assumption)the original tubes are still in there (Mesa branded 12ax7's), called Mesa with the serial number and was told the mfg. date was March 2004. How long do these pre amp tubes usually last? I'm getting a little more finger noise from this amp than from others I've used.

    Which brings me to question #2. I've read Tombowlus' blog on pre amp tubes, and read other reviews on replacement tubes. I was ready to pull the trigger on some JJ ECC803's untill I saw a review that stated that these are not good for combo amps where the "tubes are close to the speaker". I think this isn't the case with the Scout,(nice, thick birch wood separating the tubes from the speaker), and I found a review that stated the JJ EC83-S (same one I think that TomBowlus recommended) would be better.

    Now for the stupid part.:rolleyes:
    The Walkabout manual stresses that you should put any effects/pedals in the effects loop and not before the amp. Thw two pedals I've been using with my other amps (Ampeg, Ashdown combos) are a Tech 21 Bass Compactor (compressor pedal), and a Sansamp Bass driver. The Compactor sounds like crap in the effects loop, but works very well before the amp, with my passive Fender Jazz. Any other recomendations on compressor pedals that may work better than the Tech 21 with the Scout? (don't wanna start the weekly "which compressor is better" thread).;)
    Also, the SABDDI, among all the other wonderful things it does, is a tube emulator. Since I now have tubes, I plan on using this amp w/o it. This seems to make sense. Anyone still use one with this amp?

    Damn, this thing got long.

    I have more questions (looking to address the fan thing, fx loop mod), but I'll let it ride for now. If the mods think this should go in the potential megathread, than by all means do so.
    Also, thanks to Vic, Tombowlus, Zac, and the rest of the contributors in that thread for some great info on a fantastic sounding amp.
  2. FireBug


    Sep 18, 2005
    I would pull those Mesa tubes out of the amp immediately. They are crap.
  3. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I agree with Smash on most of what he says. I have the Scout 12 combo with the original tubes and I've used it for 2 years now. I don't see the need to replace the tubes to attempt an upgrade. It sounds just fine the way it is.

    I also wouldn't think of using a tube emulator with it. What's the point? The Walkabout gets the tube overdrive sound much better by itself.

    I used to use a compressor when I returned to playing after a long layoff, but it always compromised the sound somewhat. I found it much better to concentrate on improving my technique by practicing.

    To get the best sound out of the Walkabout takes a bit of practice using it, in particular the input gain and overdrive. I rarely use the semi-parametric EQ for much more than a very slight tweak. I set the bass, mid and treble controls "flat" and usually cut a bit to suit the room if I have to do any tweaking.

    It's a wonderful little amp and suits me perfectly. I've used a lot of different pro level gear in the past-in fact, over 40 years, just about everything. The Walkabout is, for me, the best compromise between portability and sound I've ever used. It is expensive, but I think it's worth the cost.
  4. SamTheButcher

    SamTheButcher Yis, actually. Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Charlotte NC
    *Busted!* The crime: Trying to cover up bad playing habits with gear.:eyebrow:
    No apoligies needed, I know what I am, probably a mediocre player at best, at worst sometimes quite the butcher (hence the username nickname I picked up while jamming with my brother).:rolleyes: I began playing on flatwounds, which as you know are much more forgiving to bad technique, so I'm sure I developed some bad habits which are more noticeable now that I switched to rounds.

    With the Compactor, I'm using it sparingly, level, bass and treble at 12:00, and the compression knob between 9:00 and 10:00.
    Just wondering why it sounds so much better in front than in the fx loop.
    I just had wondered about different tubes being or becoming with age "microphonic", these probably being original and almost 2 years old, I want to have some spares on hand.
    That's why I called it the stupid part.:D It really does sound nice. Extremely happy with it.
    Oh, one more thing for now **Warning, possible stupid part #2! At practice, sometimes we ran a drum machine (Alesis SR-16), thru my amp, 'till now an Ampeg BA-115 simultaneously with my bass. Anyone see a problem doing this with the Scout? Never had a prob with the Ampeg btw.
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Just a wild guess, but perhaps the EFX send is line level, and the pedal is meant for instrument level? Lots of pedals don't play nice with EFX loops, just go with what sounds best to you.
  6. SamTheButcher

    SamTheButcher Yis, actually. Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Charlotte NC
    I dug up the Tech 21 manual, and they recommend putting it in front of the amp, so instrument level is probably correct. They also say that the eq controls double as an active pre amp (I leave them flat, or at "unity gain", as they put it), so it makes more sense now.
    Thanks for lending the tube advice and knowledge, SMASH. The drum machine sounds great through it, and I don't have to tweak the settings for it at all.:cool:
  7. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    I was just wondering what type of band setting are you using the Walkabout in?
    I play in a classic rock band that can get loud but I tired of lugging all my gear around to the bars. Would this amp work in a small to medium size bar gig?
  8. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I use the Walkabout Scout Combo for small to medium bar gigs and other venues. It puts out a surprising amount of sound. I think it works very well in a classic rock band setting.

    There are lots of tones available from the EQ but I set mine pretty well flat and use the semi-parametric for minor tweaks depending on the room.

    I've had the original tubes in for over 2 years and see no reason to change them.

    I don't use a compressor or any effects. If I want a bit of compression I push the preamp and back off on the master volume.

    I've also used the head alone to drive other cabinets. Even into an 8 ohm load it has loads of headroom.

    I've had no problems with mine. It's been reliable and always sounds good.

    I think you'll like it.
  9. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    The walkabout is 300 watts @ 4 ohms right?
  10. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Yes 300 watts at 4 ohms. It must have an overbuilt power supply because it certainly sounds bigger than a lot of other 300 watt amps I've played through.

    I was very surprised with its ability to handle other cabinets. I used it a couple times with an 8 ohm Eden 4X10, an 8 ohm Eden 1-15, an 8 ohm Yorkville 1-15 and an 8 ohm 3 way cab with RCF components. All sounded very good and plenty of volume, more than the Scout combo alone in the case of the Eden 4X10.
  11. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    How much did you pay for the Scout? I think GC sells it for $1200
    I might have to wait and get one used.
  12. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I paid about $1200 Canadian for mine new a little over 2 years ago.

    If you buy one used, check the serial number and see if that one is listed on the Mesa website as needing an upgrade. As with anything used you really need to check it out carefully. I also like to know what type of use the previous owner put it through.

    Some guys just don't know how to use their equipment or how to look after it.

    If you buy used from a store you trust you'll pay more but it may be worth it. Have the store tech check it out if you're not sure.

    The Mesa is built like a tank though. The common complaints I've heard from a few others is a high frequency oscilation when operated with extreme eq boost at very high volumes. These amps serial numbers are on the Mesa website and there is a factory fix for it. The other complaint from a few is the effects loop being intermittent. This is also an easy fix.

    I don't think the Mesas have any higher percentage of problems than any of the other major brands. And the tone of this little amp is one of the big selling points. It's wonderful.
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