High gain distortion sound + Mesa Boogie Express 5 50 + Torpedo Reload??

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by dmart77, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. dmart77

    dmart77 Member

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    Hello!!
    I own a Mesa Boogie Express 5 50 all tube amp. I'd like to use it for hard rock and metal, but it's quite frustrating at the moment, as the amp is not really a metal amp (thought all Mesa amps were) and I still haven't obtained the result I was looking for. My purpose is to record a bright high gain distortion sound on my computer DAW and using the amp. What I usually do is connect the amp to a loadbox and cab simulator, the Two Notes Torpedo Reload and I monitor the sound through headphones (so as not to disturb my neighbours basically). I also use a pedalboard with individual effects. All of them (the clean ones) work really well through the amp, but not the distortion. When I play palm muting while using a distortion pedal, you can tell it's not a high gain amp, as it sounds dirty, especially the low frequencies on the 5th and 6th strings. I own an overdrive pedal, Fulltone OCD and a couple of distortion pedals, Boss Megadistortion(MD2) and Boss Distortion (DS1). Is there a way to get a high gain distortion sound in the Express? I've seen a guy on youtube who got that metal sound on the amp by using the Maxon 808 overdrive as a clean boost (wrote to him to ask him how he did it but never replied). I've tried to use the OCD overdrive as a clean boost (volume completely up, drive completely down and tone in middle position) and used it on top of the amp's distortion, but the overall sound was dreadful. I've also tried to record the amp's distortion itself, but it hasn't got enough gain to play hard rock or metal. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong and the answer to all these questions is more simple than I think. I'd really appreciate your help, as I wouldn't like to end up selling the amp. Thanks!!
    Regards,
    David
     
  2. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    Does your amp have the graphic EQ?

    If not you're pretty much SOL probably, it's key for getting a tight bottom end out of them.
     
  3. dmart77

    dmart77 Member

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    It has knobs for bass, mids, treble and contour. Not sure what a graphic eq is really
     
  4. Flogger59

    Flogger59 Member

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    Slidey things, like this.
    [​IMG]

    Also available in a pedal.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Lance

    Lance Member

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    Had you held out and gotten the Express + it has that 5-band GEQ. For just such a reason. Many peeps wanted to use it for metal.
     
  6. dmart77

    dmart77 Member

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    Thanks! So I guess this would be the solution?As simple as tweaking the faders in a graphic eq like this?
     
  7. dmart77

    dmart77 Member

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    The Torpedo Reload is run through a plugin called Wall of sound which includes the same 5 parameters of a graphic eq, lows, low-mids, mids, high mids and highs. I've unsuccessfully tried all the possible positions on this virtual eq and the distortion still sounds bad. Is this not the same as a physical graphic eq run in the front of the amp for example?
     
  8. Lance

    Lance Member

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    I'm not a DAW dude, so sorry I am no help in that dept.
     
  9. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    Post eq won't really be the same unfortunately.

    I use a Reload myself and I'm just incredibly happy with it and WOS III.

    You might need another amp. Or an eq in the effects loop.
     
  10. dmart77

    dmart77 Member

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    Yes, I've seen the Express + includes the graphic eq. I'll have to get a high gain head then and use the Express for cleans. For some reason, I thought there could have been an easy solution to this issue.Thanks all for your help.
     
  11. nickbruce

    nickbruce Member

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    I bet your current set-up can do it, just keep fiddling with settings -

    A big part if the sound your describing (in a real acoustic context) has to do with closed-back 4x12s pushing a LOT of air. Typically the amps are EQ'd with a big scoop (all bass and treble, no mids) which seems to sound alright at ear-damage volume, but is not my favourite kind of tone. I think you can make heavier sounds with a mid heavy setting (moderate mid boost) roll off the bass a little, set the treble to taste). Let the bassist handle the rolling thunder register.

    Mesa knob EQs seem to me a little more sorcerous than the ones on most amps - you may want to fiddle them without thinking or looking at the position, just listening.

    In a recording context, the way to have that sound not sound like a chainsaw at lower volumes typically involves tracking the part over and over again, with much less distortion than you might think, and stacking them to make a gigantic sound.

    For what it's worth when I want a high gain sound recording I usually track with my amp mic'd, moderate dirt (enough that you can dance around the compression/breakup thresholds) but at levels that don't bother neighbours, and then I just run it through logic's amp sims (set to cranked marshall or mesa or whatever) again in the box and tweak it to taste.

    I mostly try for fuzzed-out and/or weird though, not really a trad metal guy ... but I know that those tones are pretty specific so if you want them then you may have to recreate the situations that produced them. If you just want big, heavy, aggro sounds you can probably find a way using the tools you have.
     
  12. ClassicLP

    ClassicLP Member

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    Dude, your amp can get great metal tones. I know, I have one. First step, get the manual out and read it. A mesa is not like a marshall or a fender. The eq is flat out different. Two, start with the suggested settings. If you decided that you know better and fault the amp, you are guilty of user error.
     
  13. Valus

    Valus Member

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    Volume completely up?!?!?!??!?!?!? Yeah, that's your first problem. I use a tube screamer to goose my 5:25 into metal territory. Start with the knobs about noon, and roll the gain down and the volume up from there. You won't get sludgy death metal, but it'll get pretty heavy.

    Everyone repeat it with me, Mesa aren't just for metal!!!!!
     
  14. ClassicLP

    ClassicLP Member

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    Depends on what you consider metal. I cover zep, skynard, vh, iron maiden, sabbath, metallica, etc. in my band. My 5:25 express nails all those sounds.
     
  15. SouthpawGirl

    SouthpawGirl Member

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    I just purchased the Torpedo Reload Box and am running my Custom Audio Amplifier 100 watt head through it connecting to ProTools LE8. I live in an apartment, so I need to run gear at low volumes. Here are some issues I'm having hoping someone can shed some light.

    My outboard gear is hooked up correctly, when I connect a speaker cabinet sounds fine.

    When recording via ProTools, I've found that my I/O settings must be set on "Analog 1" drop down set to Interface > Analog 1 (mono). Then turn volumes up on Master volume in ProTools. Open the "Wall of Sound", Select "Guitar" then choose my cabinet & pic selections.

    I have no idea if that is formally correct, however, the only way I have found for it to work in ProTools LE8.

    The last issue I am having is Latency issues. I have no other tracks while doing these tests. and about every 8 bars, it will have a Latency issue. I don't know if this is a common issue in LE8. I have a strong Mac tower I'm running it on. Suggestions anyone?
     
  16. SouthpawGirl

    SouthpawGirl Member

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    oops typo "mic" selections.
     
  17. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    You are supposed to treat the signal from the Reload like a regular microphone signal, so you shouldn't need to mess with your I/O settings at all.

    Try Garageband in your Mac. PT 8 is really outdated.
     
  18. DFWGuitarMan

    DFWGuitarMan Member

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    On the Express..the Countor knob replaces the 5 band EQ. Some else said read the manaul--good advice. IN there it explains the farther clockwise you turn contour, the more 'scoop' you are dialing into the amp.

    Same good advice about the EQ. The more GAIN you dial up on an express, the more bass you dial down. The EQ knobs are also very sensitive in the way they interact with each other. Start with them all at noon. Then dial up the gain while you dial down the bass, but don't go extreme. Dial down the mid some. And then activate the contour with it fully left and slowly turn it clockwise and notice after you get to about 12n 1;00.

    And You can also use your OCD as a tube screamer type if that doesn't get you there. On the OCD gain all the way (or most of the way) down and volume most (or almost all) of the way up.

    I don't know about your torpedo reload box but I have used this amp and I play metal and this will get you there.
     

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