Carr Mercury... first impressions.

Messages
15,345
Recently acquired a Carr Mercury via the trade. I had never heard one before in person.

My first impressions are as follows:

1. It's a lot bigger physically than I expected. Everybody refers to it as a "bedroom amp" so I figured it was as big as my Fender Blues Jr. Nope, it's quite bigger - and heavier.

2. The most attenuated level I heard several people refer to as "a waste". I disagree. While it's clearly attenuated, and therefore not representative of all the goodness that this amp has to offer tonewise, it's still a useful tone. I dig it.

3. that sucker is loud! On the "8" setting on the attenuator, this thing is too loud to play in the small room where I rehearse.

4. I find myself using the 1/2 and 2 positions a lot. 1/2 mostly when I play on my own. Very versatile amp.

5. I plugged in my Trussart w/ a TV Jones in the neck and played it through this amp. The boost function is very useful. 0 means clean, 1 means slightly dirty, and 2 means some distortion. I wish there were a footswitch to go from one to the next. That's my only gripe with this amp.

6. I can't wait to start recording with it. It seems particularly well-suited to that.

7. I played along the excellent DVD One night in London by Mark Knopfler, and with the Trussart, it was a joy to behold.

8. Tomorrow, I will play other guitars through it, especially an SRV strat and a Chet Gibby. Can't wait to report what transpired!

The funny part is that I hesitated between a Merc and an AST from Swart. Wouldn't you know it, through two trades that happened at the same time, I am getting one of each. So I will be finally able to compare the two :)
 

davebc

Member
Messages
4,299
As a fellow amp junkie, enjoy!
I almost bought a Merc, but it was preowned and had some issues.
I preferred the clean and the non high gain channel.
Which pwer tubes are you using? I like it best with KT66'S
 
Messages
15,345
I'm using whatever tubes came with it :) I'll have to check what they are. I dig the tones. It's different from my Carmen Ghia, which is still my #1 amp for cleans... but the Swart is coming!
 

gdcx

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
888
Ha ... My two small amps are my Mercury and my AST Pro.

Last month I posted both for sale to try to sell one because I figured I didn't need both. The merc sold first and then the buyer cancelled.

So I kept both :D

Glad that I did as they both give me so much joy.

I love the "2" setting on the Merc and use it most.

I also prefer to get my OD sounds from a pedal since the Merc seems to take them so well. OCD sounds wonderful with the merc IMO.

I really am amazed at how quiet the thing is too .. ZERO unwanted noise from this tube amp.

Enjoy your new amp(s) in good health.
 

thinline01

Member
Messages
237
Hey Mojo,

Congrats!!! I would love to see a few vids with the Carr & Swart and different guitars - I am gassing for these 2 amps.

Thanks

T
 

7StringJazz

Member
Messages
1,299
+1 on the Mercury. Its an amazing versatile home or studio amp capable of a wide range of tones from clean to mid-high gain on its own. Add a pedal for the violin singing overdrive.

I also spend the most time on the 2 watt setting! Mine came with a JJ EL34 and I thought it sounded great. When it started to go I swapped it out for a Tungsol EL34B which has a slightly higher clean headroom and sparkly tone.

I think its a killer jazz guitar amp. I use it with its reverb and my archtops and love it. Even with solid bodies it delivers a fine jazz tone that is both full bodied and touch responsive. While being a single channel amp it offers a 3 position gain switch from just breaking up to mid-high gain. When used in conjunction with the different watt settings and amp vol, you can cover a lot of territory while keeping the neighbors and family happy. ;) Even swapping out power tube is easy with the bias knob and test points accessible from the outside of the chassis. Remarkably well thought out amp. Well done Steve!

But the down side is its pretty pricey and go for over a $1k even used. That said I would put the Carr Mercury in the top 5 all time best home/apt amps.

Disclaimer. I swapped out the emi RW&B for a Celestion Neo Century both to lighten the cab and for its brighter (sparklier) frequency response. The neo is also more sensitive at 102db so 8 watts goes a long way to being loud!
 

schwa

Member
Messages
2,604
I'll be interested to hear the comparison between the Mercury and the Swart - it seems like many folks look at both.

I'll also be interested to see if you end up keeping both. Is that your intention, or is one or the other going to stay?
 
Messages
15,345
My intention is indeed to keep both at this stage. I sold my Carmen Ghia as I intend on the Swart to be its replacement. I am a sucker for trem :)
 

Irreverent

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,900
I, too, have one of each. They are VERY different amps. I wouldn't part with either. I love them both, but they do different things. Keep 'em both, mojo!

Peace.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,910
I got to spend a few minutes with Steve Carr at NAMM, and I got to take a NAMM style test drive on the Mercury. I couldn't hear it all that well - it's NAMM after all - but it felt great and what I could hear sounded great too.

Great amp, great cat!

Thanks, Dana
 

gpecoulas

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
199
I too have a Mercury but my main complaint is a wish it had another gear: like around 7 or 8 more watts. I always find myself wanting a little more volume and punch. If it had more power , you could still use the attenuator to get it to bedroom levels but it would be a much more versatile amp if it had more power. I had the 30 watt version of an Aiken Invader that had a great attenuator that could get very nice bedroom levels but still could be opened up when needed.
 
Messages
15,345
I got to spend a few minutes with Steve Carr at NAMM, and I got to take a NAMM style test drive on the Mercury. I couldn't hear it all that well - it's NAMM after all - but it felt great and what I could hear sounded great too.

Great amp, great cat!

Thanks, Dana
My limited exposure to Steve Carr, and how courteous, professional and passionate he was, always made me feel that I should own another one of his maps after I sold my HammerHead... and now I do again :)
 




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