Mesa Boogie DC-5 tips or tricks?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by just ken, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. just ken

    just ken Member

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    Help a guy out. I'm getting a Mesa DC-5. This will be my first Mesa Boogie experience. I have the manual from the Mesa website. For those of you with this amp, what are your favorite settings, or tips and tricks?

    For a bit of context, I'm the soundguy at my church and I purchased this to be one of several "house" amps so guitar players have a rig to plug into. So, I know some are going to say "just experiment", but sadly, my guitar playing days with endless time to twiddle are behind me. So help here that could help me help the guitar players dial up good tones would be appreciated.

    Also, I've been using for some time both Groove Tubes and Palmer speaker emulator/simulators as well as secondary rack amps (mesa boogie 20/20) to take a signal from these units to drive stage/monitoring speaker cabs. The goal being good stage tone at any volume level (or no volume if need be).

    I'll admit upfront to being influenced by John Phillips for this acquisition--don't know the guy, but his posts always make too much sense. I was looking for a good amp capable of covering lots of territory with good tones throughout. Based on John's recommendations here, I'm also considering the "Motherload" speaker emulator, but the GT and Palmer do a really nice job for now.

    So, lemme have em' the good, bad, sick, ugly, and chunky sounds the amp is capable of.

    Thanks in advance,

    Ken.
     
  2. Bradders

    Bradders Member

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    Ken,
    Had one of these in head and combo formats a loooong time ago - nice amps for sure.

    Couple of things, from my perspective, to bear in mind.

    The EQ on these things are very powerful - with all of the controls think of their range as being "twice" that of a regular bass/middle/treble control - in fact once you get over "5" (ish) on each - you'll start to really boost and drive the particular control - adding girth and grit. So the "regular' tone controls go 1-5, 6-10 gets you very high degrees of that particular control - lesson here is less is more wiht the eq controls. If you regulatly set your bass response at, say, 7 - then you may want to start out at 3-4 on this amp - and teh same throughout.

    It's LOUD 50W amp....as with most twin channel boogies the real trick to your tone and sound is leave your use of the master volume to last - set the channel gain/eq/master first and then adjust the volume level -- Ie use teh master volume control last.....as opposed to setting your amp volume FIRST and then working backwards.

    Those 2 things should help you get started with a DC-5.

    Hope it helps?
    Bradz
     
  3. just ken

    just ken Member

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    Thanks Bradz--'preciate the tips.
     
  4. nosajwp

    nosajwp Member

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    The graphic EQ can also be used as a solo boost too. The clean channel can be set for either a really nice clean tone, or a gritty, bluesy kind of tone. The lead channel can be set for a similar gritty sound, all the way up to balls-to-the-wall distortion. Don't use too much bass on the eq, or your sound will turn really muddy. These amps also have a lot of output volume for their power rating.

    Also, unless you are planning on leaving the amp in one spot for a while, you might want to invest in a good back brace!

    Any specific questions?
     
  5. just ken

    just ken Member

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    Favorite settings for different types of guitars would be great--what you've found to work for different guitars. We'll have a mix of strats (of all varieties, classic to pointy headstock), les paul types, es 335 types.

    The amp is a combo and it won't be racked. The other gear I mentioned will live in a separate rack.
     
  6. mprvise

    mprvise Member

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    I change mine at every gig, depending on the room/surroundings and cab/guitar used. The last gig was a small outdoor show using a Grosh Bent Top Custom. Chance of rain meant the DC-5 got the call. One 12" Two-Rock cab was used. Looking at the settings now they seem kind of odd, but it worked at the time.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. nosajwp

    nosajwp Member

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    Is that green tolex and gold/black cloth? Nice! Were the LED's beside the input jack stock? Mine doesn't have those.
     
  8. mprvise

    mprvise Member

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    Yep, forest green tolex. I have a matching cab too. I custom ordered it direct from Mesa in 1996 or 1997. The LED's (and everything else except the tubes) are completely stock as it came.
     
  9. wheelman

    wheelman Member

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    It's a great amp I wish I still owned mine.
     
  10. Allthumbs56

    Allthumbs56 Member

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    I asked a similar question a little while ago. Check this link:

    http://thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=160729

    I was initially suprised at the diversity of settings that work but when you come to terms with the way the tone controls interract it tends to make more sense. Its a very good amp but it does take time to dial in becuase it has such great flexibility.

    Good luck :AOK

    _______
    Chris
     
  11. just ken

    just ken Member

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    That thread was just what I was looking for--I swear I did 3 or 4 searches with all combinations of "mesa" and "dc 5" trying to pull something up and I didn't find that one :NUTS

    Thanks everyone.

    kt
     
  12. Allthumbs56

    Allthumbs56 Member

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    Hope it helps. As for the search failures, it's due to limitations with the search engine. It can't handle 4 characters. The workaround is to use Google via the Quick Links but I'll confess to little luck with that tool either. Just our luck that a lot of gear is named with a few characters.
     
  13. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Member

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    Here are my settings for my DC-3
    [​IMG]
     
  14. just ken

    just ken Member

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    Well the amp arrived the other day and I'd say this is meeting my above expectation and then some. I also said I wouldn't have time to twiddle the knobs, but I'm finding that since the amp arrived I've been neglecting my wife and kids because I can't pull myself away from the thing :messedup

    Wow! All kinds of great useable tones. A friend was in a band with another guitarist who had one of these and he warned me about it being hard to dial in. I'm not finding it hard to dial in, but hard to settle on which really great tones I've found. I've spent most of the time on the "clean" channel and exploring the "pull for boost" high gain rhythm tones. Not a bad or unusable tone on this channel so far.

    I've not spent much time with the lead channel and I could see why that may take some time to dial in.

    Thanks for all the tone tips (between this and the other linked thread) I've printed them out and have been using them to get to know this thing before I turn it loose on the guys.

    Ken.
     
  15. mds

    mds Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'm pretty much a lurker and trading post browser on this site, but I wanted to jump in and give the DC-5 a big :AOK . I've had mine for 10 years or so and it has produced tones ranging from full on raging metal (I was a BIG petrucci head when I bought it as a 20 year old) to SRV to funk to jazz...it has been my main amp for years and I still love it...

    Regarding settings, almost anything works with this amp...the tone controls and EQ are extremely powerful...it is one of those amps that it is hard to get a bad sound out of, which I dig...just watch out for the low end, sometimes it can get muddy if you're not careful...the mid control is great, I love how it breaks up more as you crank it...

    Enjoy your amp!

    Mike
     

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