Carr Mercury V: Your lowest attenuated volume?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Doctor Turn, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Doctor Turn

    Doctor Turn Member

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    Hey folks.. I know there are a decent number of owners of this beautiful new creation from Steve down in NC. I'm just blown away by the musical beauty and Marshally crunch, and the million tints and shades lurking within this pine box. But I have a question for those who have explored this bad boy in and out:

    I live in an apartment in NYC, and aside from the stupendous range of onboard tone and it's convenience for gigs with a less than desirable backline, I bought the amp because of its attenuator technology, for home recording and practicing.

    I was kind of surprised to see how loud the thing was even at it's lowest possible attenuated level. With both volume knobs at the earliest feasible positions and adjusted for taste, and with the amp in series and the boost mode at stage three, I'd hesitate to call that a completely apartment friendly volume. It's actually a pretty loud little sucker... Even with the gain stages backed off to stage one, the amp in parallel, and with the attenuator just before it's cutoff point, it's not possible to push your volumes up all that far and not be playing for your neighbors too.

    I read comments from some of the guys here who own the amp, for example Porterburst who said that it's a pretty loud amp even at the lowest point of the attenuator.

    I'm curious what others think about the attenuator and it's use for playing in home settings and for practice, and how low they get this beauty.
     
  2. porterburst

    porterburst Silver Supporting Member

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    You're right, the V can get loud fast. I don't think many players realized how much of a beast the Mercury V really is.

    You can get the volume low, but I wouldn't call it super low bedroom volume, that's more in the Skylarks range.

    Plus the added bottom end of the Mercury V gives is some thump even at lower volumes as well. It's an amazing amp, but needs some volume to sound its best.
     
  3. MHG

    MHG Member

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    Yeah, though the Mercury V is an amazing "home/basement" amp, it isn't a "bedroom/apartment" amp without using the Line Out.......which I've never tried. The Skylark is my go-to amp for lower volume playing.
     
  4. Doctor Turn

    Doctor Turn Member

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    Thanks for the replies, gents. Porterburst is definitely right in that the fullness of the sound and the very present low end--very "3D" sound, which is definitely a good part of the whole point in spending that kind of drachma on a single 1 x 12 combo--contribute to the punchiness of the amp even at its lowest possible volume.

    This amp will never be a "practice amp" ie something like an old Peavey Decade (10 watter w a 10 inch speaker, old piece of crud), you're not going to get down to that low volume ballpark, esp not while running the two channels in series and ratcheting up the gain. But you can use the line out, and in fact the cab volume comes really damned close to Practice Amp Volume. But yes, this amp is a beast... a half stack struggling to burst out of a 1 x 12 combo. It's awesomeness is beyond words.

    I actually found a way to pull a lower, "practice amp" volume out of it, but it requires some careful fiddling with the attenuator knob to try and find a little spot between "lowest level" and "completely off..." it's not completely consistent, and it sometimes flutters back and forth to the amps "standard" lowest possible attenuated spot, but you can sometimes get lucky and find a little spot between on and off on the attenuator knob that can get you soaring gain at full throttle in series in the final click on the boost switch, with lower than normal volume for the amp. But it's a finicky little spot that you kind of have to work to "luck into" with some fiddling, and like I said it's not consistent. I can do the same sort of thing on those old original Series III X100b's (original 4 x 6L6GC version that Zappa et al played, in the combo 2 x 12 black tolex version), which are r e a l l y LOUD 100 watters, but if you get super granular w the master on the gain/lead drive channel, you can find a spot between 0 and 1 that's workable in a NYC apt.

    I tried the Line Out on the Merc this weekend, ran it thru a 32 track board and alternately played thru headphones and also thru the reference monitors. It's an awesome convenience to have onboard, and while I wouldn't trade the option away, Steve builds such fantastic cabinets, and the Creamback 65 is such a perfect marriage with this particular head circuit, you do feel the loss and--at least in my case--want to go back to playing out of the cab.

    Absolutely fantastic amplifier, and it's reinvigorated my arsenal of guitars. It's got a great, very British, very pure, very power-tubey, juicy plexi-like breakup at low volume (the one of neatest tricks of the amp), and a bazillion tints and shades from sparkling clean to full throttle roaring preamp overdrive.
     
    MHG likes this.
  5. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    I haven't played the V but I own the "original," which IMO is the king of apartment amps. The more I read about the V the more I think that it's really not a natural successor to the original Merc but instead its own model.
     
    56Tweed likes this.
  6. Doctor Turn

    Doctor Turn Member

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    Yeah, in terms of feature sets, I would say that rather than the original Merc, the V is leaning heavily on the sensibility and concept of the Skylark: a 2 6V6 1 x 12 low wattage combo w attenuator, but obviously the V developed along the old Plexi/multichannel Marshall -- Dumble lines with the two linked channels, and the Skylark (news to nobody here) voiced along the Fender Princeton/Harvard zone of things.

    Not to mention the original Merc is only half the wattage of the V. . . and for a 16 watt amp, the V is capable of some serious heavy lifting. It's not something that Townsend would have reached for in the 70's to shake the walls of an arena, but the sucker is capable of some serious volume. In the under 25 watts realm of boutique handmade amps, if you're looking for that rude and musical British crunch and tight, lightly breaking up thwack where you ride the volume and tone knobs on your guitar, you're going to have a near-impossible task beating out this new Merc.
     
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  7. BallaBalla

    BallaBalla Member

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    I don't know if this also works with the Mercury V, but there's a "trick" to get a Rambler down to bedroom/nightplaying levels: turn down the treble, mids and bass knobs almost fully ccw and turn up the volume. Rambler's tone stack works like an attenuator that way. Otherwise (with knobs at noon and volume around 8 o'clock) the Rambler is just too loud for home/apartment use.
    I also have a Skylark and that amp is the perfect home/bedroom/practise amp. I can even play at night while the kid is sleeping next door.
     
    GUAL likes this.
  8. gibson3798

    gibson3798 Member

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    I just took delivery of my V and played it this weekend along with an amplified acoustic guitar. I was able to manage the volume to an acceptable level and got the best tone I’ve ever experienced in this setting. I had used my 65 Amps SoHo with this group and it worked nicely, but not as well as the V.
    I played my PRS Hollowbody Spuce and this amp LOVES that guitar. What a woody, beefy tone!! Can’t wait to do it again.
    The next night in the same setting we recorded the session and I went through the line out into the board. While it made me want to go back to hearing the V growl, it was a great option for recording and with a little more experimentation I think I could dial in a better tone.
    Just an incredible amp!
     
  9. SmilingDave

    SmilingDave Supporting Member

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    Still my number one.

     
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