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What is it about Mesa tone that sets it apart from the rest

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Holy War, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Holy War

    Holy War

    Sep 18, 2008
    VA Beach
    Cant quite put my finger on it...
  2. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    The price.
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    The way they take vast liberties with their published specs?
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The way they use fixed bias then tell you that you need to buy only their tubes and replace them once a year to keep your amp in spec?

    Or maybe it's the way they design around cheap tubes and you can't use good tubes in their place?

    Having said all that, they do sound good.
  5. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Is there a signature Mesa tone? I own a Walkabout, I've tried the 400+ a couple times as well as the Titan and a Big Block 750--and I can't say the four all have similar tones. I guess you could say they're excellent rock amps, but to my ears, only the Titan and the Big Block are really "rock-voiced". The others, as well as the 600, fit in a wide range of genres, I think. Mesa's stuff is clearly very well-built (and still made in their US factory)--so even though the gear is on the pricey side, I think it's generally justified.

    On the 400+, absolutely. That "peak power" rating, and the resulting name, were pretty shameless. ETA: And of course the deal with the tubes is lame.

    I don't know if most of their other published specs are questionable. I can say that the Walkabout is a very honest 300 watts.
  6. Knifedge


    Jan 24, 2009
    I like the Mesa 400+, good tone.. I prefer Ampeg SVT 3 Pro though.... Mesa can be pricey...
  7. blowinblue

    blowinblue Blue in name only. Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SoCal USA
    What is it about Fender tone, or Aguilar, or Markbass, or EBS, or Glock, or Demeter, or Ampeg, or Genz Benz, or T-Funk, or Eden, or G-K, or Ashdown, or Peavey, or Hartke etc. that sets them apart from the rest?

    I can't quite put my finger on it, either. :eyebrow:;):)

    M. M.
  8. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    ......................maybe its their corny copy in their advertising?
  9. levis76

    levis76 Seconds from getting ba...

    Apr 14, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    Yes Mesa is pricey, just like everything else that is actually made in the USA. Check out the price on a US made Spector, or some vintage Ampeg gear before they outsourced and quality went to $hit. That's why you look for good deals on used stuff. I put my rig together for $2000. Cabs were a craigslist find at $500 and a 250 mile round trip for the pair and the head was a steal at $1500 from a fellow local TBer. As far as Mesa tone, I know the cabs sound great because they are built like a brick $hithouse and they use good quality drivers made to their specs. My 410 weighs as much as the Neo 610 it replaced, but the 410 has so much more deep bottom to it and the force of sound is much more powerful. As far as whether the tubes they use are cheap or not, who cares because they sound good to me. I have owned Hartke, SWR, Peavey, and Ampeg and I have liked them all, but none of them comes close to what the Mesa delivers. Now if could just get my hands on an active 'wick vette std, I would be in growl heaven. :rollno:
  10. I don't know...maybe it's just me, but I think that what I hear from Mesa amps is thick and gritty. But when you have a really good amp, what you hear most is you.
  11. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    When you consider a five year transferrable warranty + customer service that actually works + built in the US by fellow musicians- I would say that this does indeed set them apart from the majority of "popular" gear out there!

  12. Can't agree with that. My 360 watt M-Pulse is freakishly loud.
  13. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    My feeling is that (since they no longer make a full tube amp) their design philosophy is driven by making hybrid amps sound and feel as much like all tube amps as possible. They have done a pretty good job of 'modeling' the general vibe of various general all tube amp tone categories in their various models (i.e., the fat but totally clean tone of the MPulse600, the warm, somewhat growly Walkabout, the buzz saw grind capability of the BB750, etc.).

    While Eden, SWR, etc. hybrids always sounded like a typical ss amp with just a touch of flavoring from the tube, most of the Mesa heads have not only a large amount of tube tone, but also some of the 'feel' of an all tube amp (that bit of give when you dig in, and the very significant change in feel and tone as you cranked the preamp).

    The M6/M9 products are a bit of a departure from them IMO, and are more in line with the Eden/SWR type hybrid voicing of 'solid state with a touch of tube warmth'.

    IMO and IME! That's the way I think about it anyway.
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    I refer to the 400+, which is a sub-300 watt amp. Mesa have a tendency to quote a very wishful peak wattage rather than an industry standard RMS.
  15. ah Jimmy - sorry - this just isn't true.

    I'm a geetar player mainly who owns a Mesa Express 5:50 full tube amp - none of this bass hybrid stuff. You can use any brand tubes in Mesas - preamp or power amp section. I've changed tubes in mine and lots of other owners do to. Mesa use pretty ordinary Chinese tubes and you get better performance and less noise if you use better brand stuff. Mesa Chinese tubes are not crap at all - they're just not the best there is. There's a whole part of the Boogie Board forum devoted to tubes. Many people swap out the Mesa tubes for other brands soon as they get it home. $100 buys me 5 Russian preamp tubes and 2 power amps tubes - no big deal. And the fact you don't have to rebias the amp everytime you change power tubes is a big bonus that most other amp builders don't do. Means anyone can do it themselves at home
  16. Holy War

    Holy War

    Sep 18, 2008
    VA Beach
    i bought a Big Block 750, Roadready Powerhouse 1200 cab, sansamp rbi, korg tuner, furman power conditioner, 6 space rack and all the cables for $1800 even
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I think it's the guitarist in you speaking. Go read the 400+ manual. They tell you to use Mesa tubes. The fact that they don't have adjustable biasing is exactly so you'll buy their re-branded tubes. Sure, you can use others if whoever you're buying from knows what they're doing, but I'm with Jimmy on this one...A tube amp that isn't easily biased is pretty silly.
  18. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Since they no longer make tube bass amps, it's a bit of a moot point for bassists. Obviously, you can use any preamp tubes you want in the current line. I also find that the specs on their current line of hybrids very conservative. If you question that, just compare the 600 watt (rated spec) M6 with the 600 watt (rated spec) Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 :eek::D
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Maybe if they ever put out a tube amp again, it will have a bias adjusting circuit. :)
  20. RCCollins

    RCCollins Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    San Diego, California
    they don't make any all-tube bass amps anymore so this is arguably irrelevant (to us)

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