Making the most of the MarkIV's R2 channel

Messages
6,487
I can never seem to get the Rhythm 2 channel on my Mesa/Boogie MarkIV to sound how I want.

I have Rhythm 1 as a nice clean sound. I use the Lead + EQ for heavy rhythm sounds, then just switch to Lead only for lead stuff or throw something in front of the amp for an alternative sound.
The Lead+EQ sound is absolutely perfect.

But Rhythm 2, just always seems a struggle. It either sounds too dark, or too anaemic.
If I want an "edge of breakup sound", it sounds heaps better to just use the Lead channel (with or without EQ) and just roll the guitar's volume control down.

I thought maybe I could use it as a fuzzy sound, but I'm not sure.

Ideally I'd like Rhythm 2 to sound like an edgy Marshall say similar to AC/DC Malcolm Young or Danzig circa 1988, but it just doesn't cut it. If I try it next to a real Marshall, no chance at all. In fact I even tried bypassing the R2 preamp and slaving a JCM 800 into the effects return of R2 using a THD Hotplate, and while it's slightly better, it still doesn't sound as good as using the JCM 800 through a pair of speakers on its own.

What can I do? How do you set your R2?
 

jeff_lebowski

Member
Messages
1,323
I can never seem to get the Rhythm 2 channel on my Mesa/Boogie MarkIV to sound how I want.

I have Rhythm 1 as a nice clean sound. I use the Lead + EQ for heavy rhythm sounds, then just switch to Lead only for lead stuff or throw something in front of the amp for an alternative sound.
The Lead+EQ sound is absolutely perfect.

But Rhythm 2, just always seems a struggle. It either sounds too dark, or too anaemic.
If I want an "edge of breakup sound", it sounds heaps better to just use the Lead channel (with or without EQ) and just roll the guitar's volume control down.

I thought maybe I could use it as a fuzzy sound, but I'm not sure.

Ideally I'd like Rhythm 2 to sound like an edgy Marshall say similar to AC/DC Malcolm Young or Danzig circa 1988, but it just doesn't cut it. If I try it next to a real Marshall, no chance at all. In fact I even tried bypassing the R2 preamp and slaving a JCM 800 into the effects return of R2 using a THD Hotplate, and while it's slightly better, it still doesn't sound as good as using the JCM 800 through a pair of speakers on its own.

What can I do? How do you set your R2?
R2 is the weakest channel IMO

Ive always used a boost, od, fuzz or eq out front to help shape r2 to my needs
 

MattC

Member
Messages
1,541
I can never seem to get the Rhythm 2 channel on my Mesa/Boogie MarkIV to sound how I want.

I have Rhythm 1 as a nice clean sound. I use the Lead + EQ for heavy rhythm sounds, then just switch to Lead only for lead stuff or throw something in front of the amp for an alternative sound.
The Lead+EQ sound is absolutely perfect.

But Rhythm 2, just always seems a struggle. It either sounds too dark, or too anaemic.
If I want an "edge of breakup sound", it sounds heaps better to just use the Lead channel (with or without EQ) and just roll the guitar's volume control down.

I thought maybe I could use it as a fuzzy sound, but I'm not sure.

Ideally I'd like Rhythm 2 to sound like an edgy Marshall say similar to AC/DC Malcolm Young or Danzig circa 1988, but it just doesn't cut it. If I try it next to a real Marshall, no chance at all. In fact I even tried bypassing the R2 preamp and slaving a JCM 800 into the effects return of R2 using a THD Hotplate, and while it's slightly better, it still doesn't sound as good as using the JCM 800 through a pair of speakers on its own.

What can I do? How do you set your R2?
I’ve never played a real Mark IV, but I’ve owned numerous Mesas (including the Mark V 90). So take my two cents with a grain of salt.

But I suspect the problem is you’re searching for a sound that’s simply not in there. Mesas and especially Marks generally won’t do that Marshally edge of breakup, at least not anything that will get close enough for a fairly discerning ear.
 

reilly

Member
Messages
53
I have owned a few Mark IV's over the years. R2 sounds best when the amp is loud (not bedroom levels) and OD also helps. It's not really going to do the Marshall thing.
 

Neptical

Member
Messages
675
Exactly why I moved to my Marshall JCM 2000s after playing my Boogie Mark III heads for years. I always wanted that Marshall sound but I didn't have it there. Once I bought my first JCM2000 DSL50 head, I was like 'yep, there it is', and additionally with fantastic cleans as well. Love my Marks for what they do, but the Marshalls are what's up when going for that sound. Driving EL34s hard, nothing like it.
 

Stormin

Tele's and Plexis
Staff member
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
4,123
R2 is exactly why I moved on from the Mark IV. In a channel switching scenario, I could never get a good rock sound out of it to work as the rhythm with R3 as the lead, without R1 suffering.

R2 was great for SRV type stuff but when I set it where is needed to be to rock, then R1 sounded bad.
 

vds5000

Member
Messages
2,173
When I had my IV, I could get decent edge of breakup sounds out of the R2 channel but definitely wasn't Marshall-y and it shouldn't be as it's a completely different amp. As previously mentioned, I also thought the R1 and Lead channels were the star of the show.
 

El Rey

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
946
R2 is exactly why I moved on from the Mark IV. In a channel switching scenario, I could never get a good rock sound out of it to work as the rhythm with R3 as the lead, without R1 suffering.

R2 was great for SRV type stuff but when I set it where is needed to be to rock, then R1 sounded bad.
I'm dumb luck fortunate I really like my 1992 MKIV-A R2.

If I want drive/dirt I always get it from CH 3.

I only ever drive R2 just slightly.
 

blackba

Member
Messages
10,898
I like to set the r2 gain about 4 and then pull fat. I then use a tubescreamer with the gain set very low and output and tone set pretty high to push r2. I also have the graphic Eq set to auto when I switch to r2.

R2 is the weakest channel on the amp, but there are good sounds in there, especially if you are willing to add a boost.

BTW, for mark iv owners Mesa is now advising if you have one with the brown 8200uf 16v caps on the mark Iva or the 10,000uf 16v caps on the mark Ivb, to send them to Mesa for a recap and to stop playing it immediately, as they are known to explode and the cost for Mesa to fix is $600-800.
 

El Rey

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
946
But I suspect the problem is you’re searching for a sound that’s simply not in there. Mesas and especially Marks generally won’t do that Marshally edge of breakup, at least not anything that will get close enough for a fairly discerning ear.
Bingo!!

I love my ancient MKIV-A. Lots of good sounds in every channel. But I know it's limitations.

If want a SLO sound, I plug into my SLO.

If I want a Wizard sound I plug into that, Matchless, into that and so on.

It is such a damned waste of time to try to get something, out of something that isn't there, and almost as silly putting some crap "pedal" in front of it.

If I want a grade A cut of sirloin, that's what I get because I know what I'm getting, and I don't need to put ketchup on it to mask the taste. That would be stupid.
 
Messages
6,487
R2 is exactly why I moved on from the Mark IV. In a channel switching scenario, I could never get a good rock sound out of it to work as the rhythm with R3 as the lead, without R1 suffering.
I see. For me, the MarkIV is a keeper because of the Lead channel. But yeah R2 is a trouble and I don't want R1 to suffer.

R2 was great for SRV type stuff but when I set it where is needed to be to rock, then R1 sounded bad.
Hmm interesting! I set R1 for a 'standard' clean sound, but don't want it affected by how R2 is set. I guess the Stevie Ray sound you mention is an option for R2.
 
Messages
6,487
I lived on R2 in my Mark IV. The key is volume. Set for healthy mids and treble, low bass, pull fat, gain 7-8, master 3+ (loud). Slight scoop on the GEQ... slight.
Cool, I'll try that!

But won't that affect R1? I want R1 to be really clean, no breakup or harshness at all. Basically "pure Fender" sparkle clean.
 
Messages
6,487
I have owned a few Mark IV's over the years. R2 sounds best when the amp is loud (not bedroom levels) and OD also helps. It's not really going to do the Marshall thing.
I’ve never played a real Mark IV, but I’ve owned numerous Mesas (including the Mark V 90). So take my two cents with a grain of salt.

But I suspect the problem is you’re searching for a sound that’s simply not in there. Mesas and especially Marks generally won’t do that Marshally edge of breakup, at least not anything that will get close enough for a fairly discerning ear.
Yeah I suppose so. I originally had an Engl Fireball 50 watt amp that was fantastic for high gain and had some nice clean sounds, but it didn't have that "Marshally edge of breakup" sound either, so I sold it. I regret that now, but not enough to buy another Engl.

I do actually HAVE a Marshall JCM 800 which of course does that "edge of breakup" sound in spades. But it can be hard dovetailing it with the MarkIV running the Lead+EQ channel for high gain at times. I'm thinking to run each amp separately (e.g. MarkIV for clean and high gain, and Marshall for "mid-gain"), rather than everything at the same time.
 
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Messages
6,487
It is such a damned waste of time to try to get something, out of something that isn't there, and almost as silly putting some crap "pedal" in front of it.
Yeah I think that's why I struggle with overdrive and distortion pedals. No matter what I do with them, for me they just don't compare with plugging straight into my MarkIV and cranking up the Lead channel.
 
Messages
6,487
Try a germanium fuzz or germanium treble boost on R2. Not perfect, but a lot better...
I only have a silicon fuzz pedal. Would that do? Maybe as a "synthy" fuzz sound or a woolly burly fuzz as a different kind of distortion sound (high distortion but not "crunch").
 
Messages
6,487
I like to set the r2 gain about 4 and then pull fat. I then use a tubescreamer with the gain set very low and output and tone set pretty high to push r2. I also have the graphic Eq set to auto when I switch to r2.

R2 is the weakest channel on the amp, but there are good sounds in there, especially if you are willing to add a boost.

BTW, for mark iv owners Mesa is now advising if you have one with the brown 8200uf 16v caps on the mark Iva or the 10,000uf 16v caps on the mark Ivb, to send them to Mesa for a recap and to stop playing it immediately, as they are known to explode and the cost for Mesa to fix is $600-800.
Despite my earlier comment about pedals, I will give that a try. I have an op-amp overdrive pedal I can use.

I don't know if my MarkIV has the brown 8200uf 16 volt capacitors. But I already had a capacitor blow up and fry the board years ago, so the whole circuit board has been replaced. It was a bird's nest in there!
 
Messages
6,487
I'm dumb luck fortunate I really like my 1992 MKIV-A R2.

If I want drive/dirt I always get it from CH 3.

I only ever drive R2 just slightly.
Same, I use the Lead Channel, Channel 3 for full blown dirt. I'm just trying to get R2 to be more useful.
 

amptex

Supporting Member
Messages
1,585
Cool, I'll try that!

But won't that affect R1? I want R1 to be really clean, no breakup or harshness at all. Basically "pure Fender" sparkle clean.
Yes it will. Can be a trade-off. Set that way, it gave me a clean enough sound when rolling off guitar volume. I know that's not for everyone.

Edit - NVM. I was thinking of the shared volume controls from the Mark III.

Still, the partially shared EQ on the IV could make the tone different than you want between R1 and R2. But the "cleanliness" can of course be controlled with the independent gains.
 




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