I just bought (trying) a Mesa Stiletto

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by sws1, Jun 5, 2005.


  1. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    I've been growing a bit frustrated with my Bogner Ecstasy Classic, primarily because it doesn't sound "marshall" enough, and the cleans are pretty weak.

    So I started to look to see what other multi-channel Marshall-ish types of amps are out there. No nu-metal detuned stuff for me.

    Well I tried out the Stiletto Deuce at Guitar Center and decided to take it home to try my with Bogner 2x12 w/ V30s.

    I have to say that so far, I'm really liking this amp. Takes a bit of time to dial in the best tone, but when you get it, it sounds really good.

    I find it hard to switch guitars, and not play with the dials to sound good. What's good on 1 guitar, sounds wierd with another, or too bright, or too dark. The smart thing to do is probably to make notes of what settings sound good with each guitar so that when I switch, I get tweak as needed.

    Yeah, some people will say that it's not a marshall, and not a JCM800, and not a plexi, etc etc, but I didn't want a non-MV amp, and while the Stiletto is only 2 channels, you get 5 separate tones, with a bunch of ways to tweak each. I suspect alot of the people that don't like this amp, either (a) aren't really into Marshall tones and prefer Dual-Rec types stuff, or (b) didn't spend time setting the dials properly.

    I have to say it "feels" very different than other amps I have. When you back off the volume on the guitar, you have to back off more to clean up that on other amps.

    2 completely different cleans, both of which sound very different when pushed hard. Some awesome bluesy stuff in here. An awesome crunch channel that can get metal-panel similar tones up to a brown sound and beyond. Real nice crunch. A tight gain that when dialed in sounds very SLO-ish. And then a smooth compressed gain that is also flexible.

    Of course, things could change over the next week, but so far, it's much closer to the ideal for $1000 less than my Bogner.
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I thought the one I played briefly was a cool amp, and I liked it better than the XTC as well - and I think the XTC is a nice amp.

    Mesa stuff is underrated here, IMHO.

    Also, it's really cool looking. :)
     
  3. Thelonius

    Thelonius Member

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    Don't forget to DL the PDF off of Mesa's site and try out their presets. Someone a few months back posted clips of the amp using each preset and all I can say is WOW if the Stiletto came in an 18watt I'd be all over it.
     
  4. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    The presets are in the manual that are part of the package.

    I also have to say that this is comes very well packaged, with lots of nice goodies: tube covers, head cover, manual, sticker, gig bag for cables, etc. Very nice.
     
  5. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    OH - and if you turn up the Stiletto to the volume level of my 18 watt, it sounds killer. Don't assume 100 watts is too much. It rocks at that volume.
     
  6. ned911

    ned911 Member

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    There are some Stiletto settings at GrailTone.com under Amp Tone Settings.

    Read the manual, if the tone stack on the Stiletto is anything like the Lone Star Special the amount of gain will determine the impact the tone controls have.
     
  7. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    That is true. At high gain, the treble and presence work a bit, the mid a bit less. At lower gain levels, they do alot more.

    And there's some great tones at lower levels. I got something similar to the tone from that early 90s 1-hit wonder "Cumbersome".
     
  8. fiftywatt

    fiftywatt Member

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    The Stiletto has gotten my interest lately. I tend to like 3 channel amps, and I know the Stiletto is only a 2 channel amp, BUT can someone comment on the footswitchable solo feature? Does it just give a volume boost to the dirty channel, or does it torque up the gain and volume for a "pseudo 3rd channel" effect?
     
  9. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    I only tried it briefly. It would appear that all it does it boost the volume. From what I read in the manual, it is tied directly to the MV that is in use when using an effects loop. When the solo is kicked in, the volume jumps up as if the MV was turned higher.

    I suppose if you were running at 8 on the MV, boosting would create a bit more distortion. But at very loud home volumes (pretty loud - probably gig volumes), it didn't change the tone. Just louder.
     
  10. Tone

    Tone Member

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    So Sws1,
    How are you liking the Stiletto?
     
  11. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    I am really liking this thing. It's been about a week and a half. My fav tone I've been able to coax is a half distorted tones circa mid-80s. It is really flexible.

    Unfortunately, the only guitar that I'm still having problems dialing in is my McCarty. Something about the pickups cause a strange frequency peak that I don't like. Still messing with it.

    I think this is a very very flexible amp for those that like 70-80s through grunge.

    And 3 different cleans. How about that?
     
  12. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    Is it a squeaky type sound?? I was getting that too, and it was annoying ....
     
  13. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    It's not squeaky. It's almost like the McCarty has a very strong resonant peak in the low-mids, that creates a distortion in the wrong area. Sort of like a high-end sizzle, but it's much much lower in the frequency band. Hence, it sounds too dark.

    It's not there with other guitars. I need to play around with the EQ some more. Or change McCarty pups to something less dark.
     
  14. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

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    Very true. I was in Hollyweird this weekend, and spent a couple hours in the Mesa store playing lots of stuff. I was pretty impressed. I've been as anti-mesa as they come, but I'll be singing a different tune now.

    I truly liked the Mark I Reissue a TON! I might have to have one.
     
  15. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    And the intangible thing (or is it?) is their superlative back up after the sale.

    Best, Pete.
     
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    My son really wants one of those. I think he's saving up big time.
     
  17. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    I really want to dislike it so that I can keep my Bogner Ecstasy Classic which should be better since it costs more.

    But it's looking more and more like the Bogner has to go.
     
  18. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    You're not alone ... I liked mine better than my Bogner Ecstasy Classic as well. The XTC is one of my favorite amps for lead playing, loved it. Not so much for rhythm, though, and the cleans are kinda weak.

    For me, I sold the Stiletto because 1) it's just a bit too bright 2) the cleans were a bit flat and 3) I got frustrated because of the layout. I'd have a 3 channel affair with Ch1 Crunch for Channel 1, Ch 2 Tite Gain for Channel 2, and Channel 2 Fluid Drive for Channel 3.
     

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