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  #16  
Old 01-01-2008, 11:45 PM
GaryMcT GaryMcT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctord02 View Post
Randall is disliked by many because Mesa has filed for patent and trade protection for circuits and designs that clearly predate Mesa's implementation. Many things Mesa hold patents on were actually public domain Western Electric or Fender designs. It's kinda like saying "we patented the use of incandescent lamps to indicate the power status of your amplifier, so now you owe us money since your amp has a pilot lamp". So while Randall may indeed produce and sell great products, his business practices are suspect at best... I'm sure someone here will have a more detailed summary of his more grievous claims.

Unfortunately the US Patent office is staffed by complete morons that apparently dont know what prior art constitutes.
+1

This is why I won't buy anything from Mesa.
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  #17  
Old 01-02-2008, 01:33 AM
3th3r 3th3r is offline
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I would like know more about the patents doctord02 mentions. I have been thinking about getting a Stilleto Ace, but I won't if it's true.

I do not like companies, such as Mi****oft and D****zio (and many others), whose big part of doing business is patenting everything they can get away with. Unfortunately many companies feel forced to play this game in order to survive -- it is the state of our litigious culture.
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  #18  
Old 01-02-2008, 01:52 AM
HeeHaw HeeHaw is offline
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Randall Smith is a true innovater that has changed the sound of modern rock music. How many early modern rock CD's did we ever pick up that didn't have a Dual Rec. all over them.
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  #19  
Old 01-02-2008, 02:21 AM
whoismarykelly whoismarykelly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3th3r View Post
I would like know more about the patents doctord02 mentions. I have been thinking about getting a Stilleto Ace, but I won't if it's true.

I do not like companies, such as Mi****oft and D****zio (and many others), whose big part of doing business is patenting everything they can get away with. Unfortunately many companies feel forced to play this game in order to survive -- it is the state of our litigious culture.
I dont even know where to start with this post.

If the amp sounds good, buy it. Dont decide not to buy an amp because some fellow with an obvious agenda on an internet message board alleges that the company took something yet doesn't provide proof to back it up.
  #20  
Old 01-02-2008, 02:59 AM
cesjr cesjr is offline
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I've played through my Mark IV for years and it's by far my favorite. Amazing amps, and amazing company. I'll also never forget receiving a call from someone at Mesa Boogie a few months after purchasing my amp simply to ask how I was enjoying it.
  #21  
Old 01-02-2008, 04:14 AM
John Phillips John Phillips is offline
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There's a huge amount of bashing Mesa (amps, as well as Randall Smith) here, for various reasons.

Yes, I agree that they have patented some things which probably shouldn't have been granted because they were 'obvious' - but I'm not sure that any actually had prior use in a guitar amp. (And if they were granted wrongly, it's the fault of the Patent Office, not the applicant.)

Yes, I agree that some of their ad copy is way over the top and bordering on nonsense.

Yes, I agree that the amps aren't for everyone and can be offputting to people who aren't the sort who like to finely adjust things to get their tone.

But Mesa have unquestionably been one of the most innovative amp companies ever, constantly pushing the boundaries of sounds and functionality in a way that very few other companies even come close to, while maintaining well above average quality at the same time as vastly increasing production.

Remember that they were one of the first (if not the very first) 'boutique' amp companies, when they started. I don't know if they're number three in the world in production numbers now (for tube amps), but they certainly are in brand recognition.

And they're one of only two amp companies - the other is Fender, obviously - who have twice redefined not only what an electric guitar can sound like, but also actually changed the course of music. No-one has done it three times. (Not even Marshall - none of their later amps are really more than an evolution of their first ones, tonally.)

I'd put my Trem-o-verb and Blue Angel up against any amps ever made for outright tone, and the T-verb can do so much it's hard to know where to start if you're looking to beat it.

I've also had the pleasure of a long conversation with Randall Smith when I was reviewing a Mesa amp for a guitar magazine, and he was a funny, honest and down to earth guy.
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  #22  
Old 01-02-2008, 05:08 AM
alberob alberob is offline
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I still use my 1980 Mk2B all the time.It died once since I got it and repaired it myself after an extended conversation with a tech who had been around since the beginning.When I first got it and had a few questions Randall would get on the phone and answer them all.You will never deal with a nicer bunch of people.Randall is probably partially responsible for the G.A.S. on this forum as he lead the way to the search for the perfect amp for our individual needs.
  #23  
Old 01-02-2008, 05:40 AM
EdMan57 EdMan57 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimock View Post
Well, he didn't play guitar, but he is a musician. . .
Flute!
Jazz!
serious. . .

Are you talking about Randall Smith or Ted McCarty?...as I believe Leo to have been a non musician,and Mr. Marshall to have been a drummer,of sorts.



Ed
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  #24  
Old 01-02-2008, 05:51 AM
VacuumVoodoo VacuumVoodoo is offline
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There's nothing unusual about RS patents. Patent law makes a clear distinction between an invention and novel application of a previously known principle/design. Most of RS patents are the latter. Some circuits patented by RS were known in the public domain but have not been used specifically in guitar amplifiers to achieve a different result/function from originally intended.
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  #25  
Old 01-02-2008, 06:06 AM
kimock kimock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdMan57 View Post
Are you talking about Randall Smith or Ted McCarty?...as I believe Leo to have been a non musician,and Mr. Marshall to have been a drummer,of sorts.



Ed
Randy! Dude can play. . .
  #26  
Old 01-02-2008, 06:10 AM
EdMan57 EdMan57 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimock View Post
Randy! Dude can play. . .

:BEER

Cool!Thanks for the info.

Ed
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  #27  
Old 01-02-2008, 06:12 AM
rooster rooster is offline
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OK, let's start with the most obvious. RS patented the idea of two switchable masters volume on the same preamp channel. Marshall did that 14 years prior with the SL-X series of amps. Now, you cannot market an amp with that feature. That feature would allow you to build a lead channel and switch between two volume levels. Gee, can you think of a use for that? Well, he basically took Marshall's idea and patented it, and will litigate you out of business if you use it, even though he didn't come up with it.

How about the cold clipping circuit on the Soldano SLO? That's the heart of the Dual Rectifier sound, he lifted it, and did a crappier version of it, and everyone talks about how he changed the sound of the electric guitar. That was Mike Soldano, not Randy Smith who created the Dual Recto sound.

How about a switchable rectifier, between tube and solid state? That's been a common mod for decades, but he put a patent on it. Now, you can't build that feature into your amp.

The problem people have with him is not his innovations or the quality of his amps (although I think they sound like crap next to an old Marshall), it's the fact that he takes someone else's design, patents it, and sues you out of business if he finds you infringing on "his" patent. Even if it's something that has been in the "public domain" for years. He'd patent the on/off switch if he thought he could get away with it. It's strong-arming, pure and simple.

Can't think of a single thing he's come up with. Cascading previously parallel gain stages came around before him, although I might be wrong. If he came up with it, then huzzah. That's the ONLY thing he's ever actually come up with. The rest has been lifted. Which in itself is not a problem. The problem is when he lifts something, patents it, and sues people out of business for using the same thing that HE lifted. His platform is basically, "I stole it first."

rooster.
  #28  
Old 01-02-2008, 06:15 AM
Ed Reed Ed Reed is offline
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As far as patents that can be said for 99% of them. Someone else had the same idea at about the same time but the other one was first in line at the Patent Office.

As far as Randy Smith, very good business man who happens to build amps.
  #29  
Old 01-02-2008, 06:21 AM
rooster rooster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeddy View Post
As far as Randy Smith, very good business man who happens to build amps.
That's very true. I wouldn't be caught dead playing his crap, though. Just the same way I wouldn't cross a picket line. I have personal ethics.

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  #30  
Old 01-02-2008, 06:45 AM
John Phillips John Phillips is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rooster View Post
OK, let's start with the most obvious. RS patented the idea of two switchable masters volume on the same preamp channel. Marshall did that 14 years prior with the SL-X series of amps.
Marshall used two separate masters, neither of which affects the other. Mesa use a master and a 'solo' control.

Yes, very similar in function - but different in detail.

Quote:
How about the cold clipping circuit on the Soldano SLO? That's the heart of the Dual Rectifier sound, he lifted it, and did a crappier version of it, and everyone talks about how he changed the sound of the electric guitar. That was Mike Soldano, not Randy Smith who created the Dual Recto sound.
So why isn't the SLO the definitive modern rock amp? Because it isn't the same circuit, and doesn't sound the same. In any case, both are derivatives of the basic Marshall circuit anyway. (Which itself is an evolution of the Fender Bassman as I'm sure you know.)

The SLO is a great, classic amp, but it didn't change music the way the Dual Rectifier did.

Quote:
How about a switchable rectifier, between tube and solid state? That's been a common mod for decades, but he put a patent on it.
Certainly it was a common mod - but it never appeared on a production amp before.

Quote:
The problem people have with him is not his innovations or the quality of his amps (although I think they sound like crap next to an old Marshall), it's the fact that he takes someone else's design, patents it, and sues you out of business if he finds you infringing on "his" patent. Even if it's something that has been in the "public domain" for years. He'd patent the on/off switch if he thought he could get away with it. It's strong-arming, pure and simple.

Can't think of a single thing he's come up with. Cascading previously parallel gain stages came around before him, although I might be wrong. If he came up with it, then huzzah. That's the ONLY thing he's ever actually come up with. The rest has been lifted. Which in itself is not a problem. The problem is when he lifts something, patents it, and sues people out of business for using the same thing that HE lifted. His platform is basically, "I stole it first."
I actually agree with you, but the fault is with the Patent Office for granting patents they shouldn't - and which anyone who knows anything about electronics should realise are 'obvious' and hence non-patentable.

Randall Smith is simply doing what he can to protect his innovations in production amplifiers. It's a hard business to make serious money in unless you're willing to compromise on quality (eg Marshall, Fender), and about the only way anyone has of retaining a real competitive advantage with amps that are more expensive to make is by protecting certain features for as long as possible.

As far as I know Randall Smith did come up with the first cascaded-distortion (which is different from cascaded-gain, which even he wrongly calls it) amp. That's the single biggest evolution ever made in guitar amplification IMO.

I also think he was first with clean/dirty channel-switching, invented 'Simul-Class', and more recently channel-assignable output section and rectifier switching.

You might not like the sound of the amps, but that doesn't make them bad sounding. It's actually pretty funny you should put them down by comparing them to an old Marshall - if you were closer, you could stop by and I could demonstrate just how close the Trem-o-verb can get to an old Marshall . Close enough that you can barely tell which is which, through the same speakers. Which Marshall? Flip some switches and turn the knobs and you can go from JTM45 to near 2203 without even changing the power tubes to EL34s, which makes it even closer.

Mesa amps aren't perfect, but I do find the constant, relentless bashing of them here by people who have mostly not even bothered to properly explore what they can do quite annoying.
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Last edited by John Phillips; 01-02-2008 at 08:03 AM.
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