Do Mesas just not clean up with volume changes?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by caspa, May 27, 2016.

  1. caspa

    caspa Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    I have a love/hate relationship with my Mark V 25... it has such a great first channel, but the second channel is either metal or honky Santana.

    I understand that the second channel isn't able to clean up well at all with it's gain structure and EQ, but I cannot for the life of me get the first channel to clean up on any of the three modes.

    It cleans up, but it gets extremely muddy with even the tiny change in the volume control. Which isn't great, I would love to run this amp with a bit of drive on channel 1 clean mode and just clean up with the guitar's volume when needed.

    Is there something I'm missing here, or is that just the nature of Mesas?
  2. Tommy_G

    Tommy_G Member

    Nov 10, 2007
    Your guitar wiring needs a bit of work.
    .maybe a treble bypass across its vol pot.
    Fishyfishfish likes this.
  3. AXEL276

    AXEL276 Member

    May 27, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    Sorry but I could not disagree more. I have the Mark V:35, but I do play it in the 25 watt mode. I have only had the amp for about 3 weeks but I play it every night, still getting use to it. For me I haven't found a bad sound yet. Granted it is not a plug and play right out of the box ( but it could be). The interaction between the treble and gain is important. The treble is almost like a gain by itself. I have found that I like to keep the gain down and turn up the treble, then add more gain as needed. Watch the bass and mids to. This is a complex amp to dial in. The controls are all very interactive with each other as I'm sure you all know. But I will say that mine cleans up extremely well. I've been through 3 other amps in 6 weeks, (Engl Screamer, Dirty Shirley mini, and a PRS Custom 50). Of them all, the Mark V 35 IMO is the most versatile and functional. I cleans up beautifully, touch sensitive, dynamic. I tell ya I can't say enough good stuff about it!
    Nickstrtcstr likes this.
  4. NortheastHick

    NortheastHick Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    22 Acacia avenue
    I've owned many boogies over the years. I liked some and loathed others. None of them cleaned up well on the guitar volume knob.
    zekmoe and RockBlocker like this.
  5. Babow2

    Babow2 Live gigs killed here Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Sonoma County, CA
    If this is your first Mesa amp, you need to set aside your preconceived notions. Boogies take some work as the controls are very interactive. I play the Mark V, the Mark V:25 and a Lonestar. I have noticed that the EL84 power section is very unique to Mesa, and it does react much differently than 6L6 amps. The Mark V and Lonestar, and all the other Mesas I've had do very well cleaning up with guitar volume control and being very touch sensitive. If you are running Ch2 on the V:25 in a searing lead tone setting, then I think you are going to have a hard time dialing back to clean with your volume. If you have that channel set in IIc or IV mode with only mild to moderate OD, then you should be able to. It also depends on how loud you are playing, how hard you are pushing the EL84s, which will clip much earlier than larger glass will.

    I actually find it very easy to get channel 1 on the edge of clip with a dual humbucker guitar into a 1x12 cab on 10 watts, and then back it down to a gorgeous clean with a little volume adjustment. I can do the same with my tele, which has overwound pups. So, this all may be a function of the type of guitar, how you have the amp set up, and getting comfortable with the amp. I suggest reading the manual and looking at the sample settings and starting there.
    Good luck.
  6. midnightlaundry

    midnightlaundry Member

    May 18, 2006
    I have a Mark V. The Red channel does not clean up..
  7. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    Maybe has something to do with channel 1 going from clean to crunch.

    On the Mark V, channel 1 tweed and channel 2 edge modes clean up really well.

    Going off memory I don't think crunch cleans up very well, although it's very touch sensitive. Fat doesn't get dirt enough to need to be cleaned up, IMO.

    I've never messed with the 25 so it's possible it can do what you want it to, but it seems to me that it's missing the 2 modes you'd like the most.

    You may need a drive pedal.
  8. The Funk

    The Funk Member

    Feb 27, 2007
    Mesas, when not run optimally. As in quite loud, usually are run with way too much preamp gain to clean up nicely. If you run them harder, you turn the gain down, and they clean up find. It's about having gain through the amp rather than having it all in the front end. I can set my lonestar special to go from clean to completely raging with touch alone.
  9. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    Leesburg, VA
    It really takes less gain than you think.

    I run the gain on my DC-5 on about 3 or 4. It cleans up perfectly while still providing plenty of crunch and sustain.
    Nickstrtcstr and Blanket Jackson like this.
  10. SV5150

    SV5150 Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Channel two can clean up in extreme with lower gain settings as does 2c+ mode depending on pickups you are using.

    Honestly sounds more like the issue is your volume pot dumping treble when lowering volume. Easy fix. Some advocate shorter cables/ buffers etc.

    Nothing works like a good ol treble bleed mod on volume pot.
    I'm having great success with a 680 - 1200pf cap in series with a 130-150 k resistor.

    Retains great taper and avoids getting overly bright when lowering the volume.

    In my hands, its a must when trying to clean high gain single channel amps without stomping a pedal.
  11. lemonpaul59

    lemonpaul59 Member

    Feb 27, 2016

    Larry Carlton and Carlos Santana did fantastic work with a Mesa Mark I and a volume pedal. Some of the very best electric sounds I've ever heard, including Dumble.

    Note: Boogies are very different than Marshall or Fender in terms of tone controls. Typically you need to set the bass around 2 or 3.


    Please don't tell me you have a JJ ECC83 (12AX7) in the V1 position.
    Gemini2, motoputz27 and Phletch like this.
  12. Phletch

    Phletch Member

    Sep 21, 2012
    Treasure Coast, Florida
    Bingo, low-level preamp signal into an opened-up mains. I do the same with my Mini Rec - low-ish gain (like 9o'clock), high channel volume (noon-3o'clock) - and I can go from clean to mean on the red channel, even on "modern" with changes in guitar volume and/or touch/attack. I could do the same on an old Mark I.

    Also, low-output pups help a bunch, so if you're running something hot, that isn't helping.
    la noise and lowpaygigs like this.
  13. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    I know when i had a Mini Rec I was surprised at how well it went from raging to rock clean. It wasn't dead clean, but much cleaner than I anticipated. One thing that happens is el84's hit a hard ceiling, so once you increase the gain to a certain point they flatten out, the key seems to be in setting the input gain so you get max gain without loading up on compression. The SLO100 responded the same way, once you got to 6 or so on the preamp the volume flattened out dynamically.

    Try finding out where the gain loads up, and then go slightly less, it should still have plenty of gain, but all the sudden it will have much more dynamic range.
    BelgPJ, Darkness and Phletch like this.
  14. gbyrnes77

    gbyrnes77 Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Frisco, TX
    I find my Rectoverb 25 cleans up well. I think the key is to not have too much preamp gain and also have some volume. At low volumes there is not enough room to go lower without sounding weak. At a regular to loud volume I can use channel 2 modern mode and go from rock drive to pretty clean even with HB's just using the guitar volume.
    Nickstrtcstr, lowpaygigs and Phletch like this.
  15. slybird

    slybird Member

    Feb 8, 2014
    Triaxis. Mine does, but depends on the mode being used. Some clean up great, some hardly at all.
  16. tele_jas

    tele_jas Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Mt. Vernon / Springfiled, MO
    The Mesa "dirty" preamp, isn't really designed to be clean....Even rolled off on your guitar volume. It'll clean up a little, but be pretty sizzely. My Rectifiers did it and my Mark V is like that. AMAZING clean channel though and ch2 will let you work the volume some.

    The Lone Star amps are a bit different, they'll clean up much better than the monster gain amps Mesa makes.
  17. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    I had a few mesas (rectos, 22cal, mark IV, SOB) and I would say in general mesas didn't clean up as well as Marshall's and my Naylor. Mesas were more like my Budda, a bit darker, spongey, and less touch responsive but, all amps clean up to a degree. I'm very particular and like it to be extremely/dynamic to the touch.

    The best amp I ever heard clean up was a VHT classic. From insane gain to complete clean with the knob. Nuts.
  18. Guitarwiz007

    Guitarwiz007 Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2011
    Virginia Beach, VA
    My Express 5:50 cleans up just fine with the twist of the volume knob
  19. cardinal

    cardinal Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    My old Triple Rec cleaned up very well. Nothing is great at it if you've really cranked the preamp gain, though.
    Phletch likes this.
  20. BADHAK

    BADHAK Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    My Mesa LSS didn't clean up well at all.
    I just think the idea with having multi channels and voicing options is that you don't have to use the guitar vol to clean up. Sort of the opposite of a simple single channel amp that was designed with clean up in mind.

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