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Boogie Heartbreaker owners...?

AXEnGEAR4J

Senior Member
Messages
5,899
I bought one about 10 years ago ad absolutely love it, VERY versatile and ability to replicate some of the original tone circuits. I haven't had it out in several years and think I need to and do some more experimenting. Curious what other Heartbreaker owners have to say.

 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
13,418
Huge fan here. I have the same head. Had it at least 15 years now. It's awesome. One of my favorite Mesa amps ever. Took a lot of tweaking before I found my tones (I wasn't used to the Mesa EQ). But, when I did - amazing stuff.
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
8,638
The top looks just like mine ! :beer
do a search, many threads here, with a lot of detailed (and controversial) setup ideas.
Personally, I see it as an amp construction kit, few amps can be tailored to your needs as deeply as the HB.
Mine wanted to be a big ass clean amp, so that's what it is now.
An extraordinary one.
Great, slightly unusual amp with a steep learning curve.
Had the cab too initially, but was completely underwhelmed ...
ymmv,
Rhino
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
13,418
The top looks just like mine ! :beer
do a search, many threads here, with a lot of detailed (and controversial) setup ideas.
Personally, I see it as an amp construction kit, few amps can be tailored to your needs as deeply as the HB.
Mine wanted to be a big ass clean amp, so that's what it is now.
An extraordinary one.
Great, slightly unusual amp with a steep learning curve.
Had the cab too initially, but was completely underwhelmed ...
ymmv,
Rhino
Steep learning curve is right!
 

De Batz

Member
Messages
2,882
I had a combo rehoused in a head a year or so ago. Owned and used the combo for 15 years prior to that, so have had plenty of experience with it. I've found that it does two things that almost no other channel switcher does:
One is that it has the ability to make clean sounds with adjustable gain (on the Love channel) that are characterful and interesting in their own right;
two is that the lower gain ranges of the Lust channel are absolutely monstrous - drive channels in general have far too much gain for my purposes, so have to be voiced with a lot less low end to avoid flabbiness.
Overall, it's a great amp with lots of options. It doesn't really work at bedroom volumes, to my ears at least, the sounds being voiced for having the volume controls up above a third, otherwise it can sound a bit stiff or fizzy.
 

AXEnGEAR4J

Senior Member
Messages
5,899
You'd think more enthusiast would admire it? well ... I guess better off our best kept secret! ;)

Well, it was introduced by Boogie as a tribute or Anniversary head to the original Mk 1. I think the Love channel can really comp some Mk 1 tones for sure.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
13,418
You'd think more enthusiast would admire it? well ... I guess better off our best kept secret! ;)
Yeah, I'm with you. Never quite sure why it wasn't a super hit of an amp. That said, it came out in the height of Recto domination. Might have something to do with it?
 

AXEnGEAR4J

Senior Member
Messages
5,899
Probably did have a lot to do with it.. however it's the old school enthusiasts that I question
 

Stormin

Tele's and Plexis
Messages
4,116
Probably did have a lot to do with it.. however it's the old school enthusiasts that I question
I owned and gigged a lot of Mark series amps back then (had a I, III and IV all at the same time) and I had the chance to borrow a Heartbreaker head for a long weekend. Back then, Mesa was really pushing the amp hard as a Mark I tribute and IMHO the amp was clearly not that. It really had its own thing going on with the Love/Lust channels.

I remember it being a cool amp, but not cool enough that I couldn't cover its tones with the amps I already had by dialing them in to match the HB (Love similar to Mark I channel 1, Lust similar to Mark III channel 3). Of course, back then, nobody new about the mods on Grailtone to get it more Marshally...
 

OHSOFUZZY

Member
Messages
1,306
I've had two. First a black tolex, and now cream/tweed.

I got interested in them because of My Morning Jacket.
Bought one and liked it. Sold it because.......no reason other than GAS.
It certainly is unique. if an amp needs "tricks" to sound good......it's enough to put most people off.

After getting the 2nd one recently, I spent more time with it.
It is dark if you try to dial it in like a normal amp.
Totally not dark if you tweak it.

cranking the "presence"/negative feedback helps.
pushing the channel levels helps.
mids 9 o'clock start point helps.
Bold mode. for more punch.
tube rectifier. for less stiffness. stiffness can be cool.
Lust channel isn't my favorite. Considered modding it. It's good for clean to mid gain tones, but from mid to high to metal gain it gets.........mesa-ish. sorta congested, flubby, compressed, and flat.
Good tone still, but not as raw and ballsy as a JCM.
It's all to taste, but seems like common things for HB owners to do.

That said I tend to prefer 2+ channel amps with mid focused and smoother sound. TOL100 is similar.

Both of these amps open up with volume.
At gig volume you'll be dialing back the treble/presence.

 
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Tommy_G

Member
Messages
2,674
I have had good things to say in the past...and had a lot of fun with it... mostly the lust high gain ran at classic rock levels of OD.


but I swapped a bunch of tubes recently and thought it sounded better for a while. .. then I soured on it.

Oh well... been enjoying the Clean tones of a Heritage VTX and Mesa Maverick recently.... and the gain tones of a JCM800 2204. Lusting after old Fender silverface s recently.
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
8,638
I owned and gigged a lot of Mark series amps back then (had a I, III and IV all at the same time) and I had the chance to borrow a Heartbreaker head for a long weekend. Back then, Mesa was really pushing the amp hard as a Mark I tribute and IMHO the amp was clearly not that.
Oh man, thanks for that ! :agree
+ 1000 - I have had mine ever since they came out, and got a boatload of fantastic tones from it - Marshall and especially Mk I never were among them. :dunno
Finally found me a nice Mk I RI this week, and within 30 secs that trademark singing lead tone was there, no questions asked, so that also confirms it wasn't just me ...

If you ask me (but who in their right mind would do that ?), the lack of success of HB and BA was the result of radically weird marketing, coupled with super unfortunate tube choices.
- Dual Rectifier - yeah, right. :nuts
Both had a diode- and a tube rectifier, so the label is technically correct.
The (probably well intended) misunderstanding came from customers associating "Dual Rectifier" with the popular new SLO inspired metal amp line - neither the HB nor the BA had anything in common with these except for, you guessed it, two different rectifiers :facepalm
- tube choice
mostly going back to John Phillips' superb out-of-the-box thinking, many BA owners have learned the BA can sound so much better with a few carefully chosen lower gain tubes thrown in.
Of course at the expense of anything remotely resembling what was known as "Boogie Tone", but then, the BA is the completely wrong amp concept for these things anyway ...
many might disagree, but with the HB, I have personally settled for 2x black plate US 12AT7s for "Love", 2x i63 for "Lust" and either a Mullard 12AT7 or a Telefunken longplate as PI (the other tubes don't matter much), and I completely ignore the extra "Love" gain stage, which is just not voiced the way I like.
All that turns the Heartbreaker into a wonderfully flexible clean- and low gain construction kit, shifting the focus towards its real strength, the unique power amp- and power supply options. :love:
- To add insult to injury, that smallish C90 cab also adds some dark and congested flavour on top, the opposite of what the HB needs.
Amazing how it comes alive with a pair of Golds, vintage H30s, or one of each in a Bluesbreaker cab or even 4 in a 1960.
Obviously 2x12" requires half power, thanks to De Batz for the reminder !https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?members/de-batz.171293/

so while all this might sound counterintuitive at first, why not try it out - all you have to do is swap some tubes and try a different cab, no surgery required..

ymmv absolutely,
Rhino
 
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DW54

Member
Messages
161
I just got a Heartbreaker ( with a V30 and a 70th anniversary G12H-30!) for $ 450! I didn't need another amp but couldn't pass it up at that price.It's running 4x 6l6 and has a Philips rec tube. Tubes probably need to be changed. I'm thinking of 4x EL34. For those of you who have tried both el34s and 6v6s, what did you settle on and why? The comment on preamp choices also sound interesting (12at7 ), but what is a i63? , DrRhino?
 






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