Anyone own a Mesa DC-3

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Whiskeyroad, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. Whiskeyroad

    Whiskeyroad Member

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    Thoughts about the DC-3 ?

    Noisey? Loud?

    I have a chance to snag one cheap and thought I might try it out. The reviews rock.

    Anyone own one?
     
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  2. webb

    webb Member

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    If it's a good deal, pick it up. Mine has been a trusty gigging amp for ten years now. If you do pick it up PM me and I'll send you a copy of the owners manual.
     
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  3. Rich

    Rich Member

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    Did.

    Whats cheap?
     
  4. TheGrooveking

    TheGrooveking Member

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    I played in a band with another guitarist who played through one and he sounded great! His signal went into and he also came out of the effects loop and ran that into a BOSS rack mounted chorus which then went into a Marshall 8008 Valvestate power amp into a Marshall 1960A cabinet using the stereo connections.

    I played into a Groove Tube Soul-O 45 1-12 combo amp and did the same thing, but into a Rocktron Replifex into a Mesa 20/20 into Grooveking F*ck Knuckle Four Twelve cab with 4 30 watt celestions.

    The DC3 worked well, he never had any problems and we practised two or 3 times a week and gigs. He carried a spare set of Mesa EL84 tubes, which are pretty inexpensive.

    If you get a good price on it, grab it.

    TheGrooveking
     
  5. Whiskeyroad

    Whiskeyroad Member

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    $500.00 and comes with the footswitch/cover and paperwork.
     
  6. Gi-gi-giggity

    Gi-gi-giggity Member

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    Combo or head? I'd get it either way. I owned one for a number of years and it was a very versitile amp. Not real chimey for an EL-84 rig, but had a nice dark quality that was easy to get hooked on.
    At the time I realized that it wasn't the "best" sound, but it was the best sound for me. I regret selling mine...true workhorse.
    After that came the Nomads if I'm not mistaken and the quality went downhill substantially.
     
  7. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    I owned one for a couple years. I modified it, to make it sound more Vox like. Changed the speaker, for a brighter Celestion, changed the back, for less low end, and replaced the tubes with lower valued JJ's, for less crunch. It was noisey on the Clean channel. The noise filtering was on the Lead channel, which was quiet.

    It was very well built, but it would go through tubes quickly, due to heat. I think that their are 10 tubes in the DC-3.
     
  8. Rich

    Rich Member

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    OK, $500 is not a steal, but its not bad either.

    Im going to agree with parts of what all the other guys have said. Nice amp, not great. Mine was stock (V30, all Boogie tubes) and it was "dark" sounding to me as well. Decent clean but kind of brittle to my ears. And yeah, noisy on the gain (to me the gain was just plain old buzzy and uncontrollable-- couldnt get a decent crunch out of it).

    Dont agree on the comment about the follow-up Nomad line going downhill in quality.

    Dont know about the Nomad 45 (it was EL-84 like the DC-3), but I think the 55s are very versatile, great sounding amps. Could pick-up a 1x12 for probably not too much more than this DC-3. Also came in 2x12, 4x10 and Head versions. 3 completely independent, useful channels (plus toggles to get you 6 flavors in total) and can run 6L6s or EL-34s for more variation.
     
  9. Whiskeyroad

    Whiskeyroad Member

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    Thanks for the info guys, its being shipped to me as we speak. New amp plus the Vintage Noiseless pups in my strat I am buying from Bob @ reinheardt amps should be a decent sound!
     
  10. Gibsonchild

    Gibsonchild Member

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    Whiskey- I doubt you'll be dissapointed. I've had one for about 7-8 years or so. I bought it new. It was my main amp for years. I got the short head and 1x12 widebody open back cab. Sold the cab a few years back, really regret that now.

    Not much to add to the other comments:
    It's got a great clean channel, but definitely NOT your typical el-84 sound. It's dark, but not muddy. Takes pedals extremely well. Built like a tank. Mine's always been dead quiet, absolutely no noise at all from either channel.

    It's only on the 3rd set of tubes. The original set lasted 3 years w/ heavy use, 3-5 nights a week for 2-4 hours a night. The second set (Fender) was in it for a year or 2, I tossed 'em cause I didn't like the sound. It's currently running the following:

    NOS JAN Phillips EL84
    Brimar CV4024 for the PI
    GT12AX7M's everywhere else

    The NOS tubes really sweetened up the clean channel. I got the JAN's and the Brimar from KCA (Blue Strat). The lead channel is a little bit spongier now, but I'm not playing metal anymore either, so that doesn't bother me. Mostly use pedals w/ it anyway. Never had any issues w/ the amp roasting tubes, just one bad GT12AX7M out of the box (big suprise there :rolleyes: ).
     
  11. Whiskeyroad

    Whiskeyroad Member

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    I just wondered aboout the Mesa DC 3 as compared to say a single recto? A DC 3 isnt going to have that retified sound? Or can it be tweeked to sound like one? I have always played Marshalls and Fenders but fell for the Mesa's after playing through a single rec... Hope it will push the tubes enough to get that sound.
     
  12. Badger71

    Badger71 Member

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    No...it won't do Recto. I had one, a combo with a Thiele w/EV-200 extension cabinet. That cabinet added some lower end girth and evened out the frequencies that the stock V30 combo put out, but it was great clean and pretty weak on the overdrive. Weak, as in "barky", not loudness. I had swapped power & preamp tubes looking for a sweeter sound, but the overdrive still fell short. For the original poster, definitely try to pick up one of the Mesa Thiele 1x12 extension cabs with the EV speaker.
     
  13. Gibsonchild

    Gibsonchild Member

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    Agreed, it won't do Recto. It's in the ballpark, but it really has it's own thing going on. Not quite as smooth, a little more chainsaw-like (which I like, BTW) It does have the distinctive Recto midrange snarl thing going on. Maybe that's a Mesa thing, I dunno. Haven't played tons of 'em. FWIW, I personally don't care for the od/crunchy/middle of the road sounds in it. It's either balls out or clean for me.

    Mesa originally pushed the DC series as the clean channel being a MKIV and the gain channel being a Recto. Didn't really hit the mark on either one, IMO. But, like I said, it does it's own thing and does it pretty well. I was playing metal and hard rock w/ it back in the day. Just around the same time Creed and 3DD came out and everyone was starting to go for the Recto sound. I always got tons of compliment on my tone w/ that head and my Soldano 4x12. Way more compliments than I ever have w/ any of my boutique gear. Whatever that means.


    And it's loud!! Much louder than any of my 50w marshalls. The loudest I ever gigged it was was m-vol wide open, lead channel gain 8, vol 3. It was outdoors w/ full pa (albeit not a great one) and the soundguy couldn't keep up w/ it.

    A side note- It is very buzzy sounding at bedroom volumes. Sounds awful. It really needs to be opened up a little (like most other amps). Not "Marshall" wide open though. Just enough to keep up w/ drums and bass. The buzz goes away and it turns into more of a roar. If that's your thing.
     
  14. Gibsonchild

    Gibsonchild Member

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    Sorry... A few more things that popped in my head:

    The midrange knob starts to add in more dirt after a certain point. Just keep that in mind.

    I personally can't stand the way the lead channel sounds w/o the graphic eq on. It's a bit lifeless on it's own.

    The FX loop stinks, imo. There's a very slight vol drop, but also a loss of fullness, if you will, separate from the vol drop. Kinda like taking a few steps back from the amp. It's not horrible, but it is noticeable. Just thought I'd mention it.
     
  15. Rob Eadgbe

    Rob Eadgbe Member

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    I'd agree with all the negative posters about the amp. Yes it's dark, and the clean's a little shrill. It also was a very aggressive tone. No sag to speak of, and a brittle gain that was too much when the eq sounded good, and too harsh when the gain was set at a usable level.
     
  16. squeally dan

    squeally dan Member

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    I had one ten year ago and gigged the crap out of it. I loved the clean. It started burning through tubes and that was the only reason I sold it. I'm actually jonsing to get another but I'm curious about the tube thing. Any of the amp experts here know what the deal is & what would cause that?

     
  17. wizard333

    wizard333 Member

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    $500 is a good deal.

    I found the stock gain channel on mine to be good but, like almost all Mesas, there were too many bleeder caps and the high end sounded odd and the pick attack was muted, so I modded it to remove some of the bleeders.

    Stock its still a very nice amp for $500, and modding it is easy.
     
  18. squeally dan

    squeally dan Member

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    I had one ten year ago and gigged the crap out of it. I loved the clean. It started burning through tubes and that was the only reason I sold it. I'm actually jonsing to get another but I'm curious about the tube thing. Any of the amp experts here know what the deal is & what would cause that?
     
  19. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Just picked one up a few weeks ago. Great rock and roll amp! Really love the tones out of the amp.

    Now for that "tube thing". Mine slightly redplates most tubes. Why? Because they set the bias voltage at -11 and run the tubes at 400 volts! Now thats a recipe for HOT. Most 4 EL84 fixed bias amps without a bias adjustment set the neg grid voltage(bias voltage) at around -14 vdc or so. The less neg bias voltage the hotter the tubes are biased. What were they thinking? No idea. Bottom line-the amp is set to cook the tubes from the factory. Bob
     
  20. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Well Ive got plenty of amps that are less stiff but I dig the aggressiveness personally. Not a stepping stone IMO but rather another stone to step on. Its nice having an amp in the stable that just screams rock and roll! My only gripe is the bias issue. ; > ) Bob
     

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