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Mesa Boogie Triaxis. Is it all its cracked up to be?

JMMP1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
882
What do you want it to do?

Tone wise, I prefer my quad preamp. Fewer channels, more tubes (not good in my opinion), but the tone is there in spades.

The triaxis sounds good (in rhythm modes and lead 2) but I never liked lead 1. Mine was a phat mod post rectifier, some say like a lone star on lead 1 red.
The midi functionality is sublime though, and if you need great cleans and great leads in 1u, it's great. For more room (3u) and fewer options, but IMO better tone, and typically less expensive, the quad is awesome, and some versions have midi functionality. Also of note (although I have no experience with it first hand) is the studio preamp.

All IMHO

Ps. The lead 2 circuits can be lowered in gain to get great lower gain sounds
 

GasMask

Member
Messages
3,419
The TriAxis is a great solution for a player who: 1) plays live, 2) needs a lot of different sounds, and 3) doesn't mind hauling a rack. The beauty of it is the ability to change everything (including rack effects), via midi, in the blink of an eye, all while retaining an all tube, all analog signal path. You can tweak all your patches ahead of time, and save. No twisting knobs on stage. Mine proved very reliable too.
Less versatile, specialized amps can do a better job of "their" tone. That is the trade-off to achieve the variety of tones in the Triaxis, as well as it's programmability.
 

JunkGear

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,054
I haven't had one in years, but thought the sound was great on all channels.
I also thought that it worked best using the Mesa 2:90, which it was 'supposed' to be paired with.

My chain was Triaxis -> 2:90 -> 2 EV loaded thiele cabs and it sounded huge.
 

flantrax

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,206
The TriAxis is a great solution for a player who: 1) plays live, 2) needs a lot of different sounds, and 3) doesn't mind hauling a rack. The beauty of it is the ability to change everything (including rack effects), via midi, in the blink of an eye, all while retaining an all tube, all analog signal path. You can tweak all your patches ahead of time, and save. No twisting knobs on stage. Mine proved very reliable too.
Less versatile, specialized amps can do a better job of "their" tone. That is the trade-off to achieve the variety of tones in the Triaxis, as well as it's programmability.
This sums it up perfectly...I had a TriAxis/2:90 rig for years...it was awesome but I got sick of hauling the rack rig around...its a killer preamp...
 

django49

Member
Messages
1,803
I haven't had one in years, but thought the sound was great on all channels.
I also thought that it worked best using the Mesa 2:90, which it was 'supposed' to be paired with.

My chain was Triaxis -> 2:90 -> 2 EV loaded thiele cabs and it sounded huge.

Agreed. Good recipe. I did just one thing different.....Used a 2 x 12 on each side----Thiele/EVM on the bottom, V30 open back (slanted) up top. It did (does) sound huge, with some extra warmth (IMO) from the Celestion.
 

JunkGear

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,054
HOw hard is it to get programmed with like a G Major and a floorboard?
It really depends on how complex you want to get and what your floorboard is.
If each preset will switch both a patch on the Triaxis and the effects you want to use on the G-Major, then it would be rather simple.

It wouldn't be difficult either to set up the Triaxis to switch programs and use CC messages to toggle effects on and off on the G-Major.

It gets trickier if you want to switch programs and use CC messages on both units.
 

Timbre Wolf

Hyperspatial Gravity Surfer
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,400
I gigged with my Triaxis for years, and it served me well. Still have it; every time I think about selling it, I give it a listen and decide it is too good to part with. I love the versatility. And it responds well to select tube changes.

- Thom
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,905
Mine sounded fine. I couldn't bring myself to use programed pre-sets. I have to adjust something every time I set up to play. Soundwise great...MIDI stuff sorta pointless for me. I don't need a zillion sounds just 'cause I can.
 

tuna141

Member
Messages
44
I gigged with one for years. It sounded pretty good, but I ultimately found the tone too compressed for my liking. I actually had used a Triaxis and an Egnater IE-4 in my rack both powered by a Mesa Mark IIC combo with Thiele cab on the bottom. (I later switched to a 2Ninety power amp.) The Triaxis sounded good, but I found myself using the IE-4 almost exclusively during gigs, as it had more punch than the Triaxis which sounded more compressed. So I sold the Triaxis.

I actually replaced the Triaxis with an RM-4 (modular) unit, but still found my self using the IE-4 most of the time, so the RM-4 just sits at home now....:jo
 

JMMP1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
882
HOw hard is it to get programmed with like a G Major and a floorboard?
Depends on the floor controller. In my opinion, it's very easy, but I've read and reread all the manuals for my gear and knowing how to program is a big part of my life right now.
With my ground control pro, it's all very simple.
 
Messages
2,000
Get the Tri for the MIDI, because having everything programed, including your effects to be recalled at the touch of a button is King. I wish Mesa could figure out how to stuff MIDI channel switching into their standalone amps.

I had the Monster rack for a while, but it's not very practical if you can't carry it down a flight of stairs safely by yourself. Get a smaller rack that you can handle.





 

tucsonsound

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
773
I had one from 1991 to 2010. It's great if you need 99 different Mark Series tones. I sold it after trying an RM4 preamp, which I still use with the Mesa 395 Simul-Class power amp from that rig.
 

guitarspaz

Member
Messages
901
great unit. It pays to read the manual. I got annoyed with all the programming and sold it. Got a Mak4, because it has knobs, and never looked back as far as rack gear goes. If you need a bunch of tones for say a cover band it's great. All modes were usable except for one. I think it was some British red channel or something but it sucked. Mine was an early serial number unit and I think they changed that with later versions.
 

ylo

Member
Messages
832
I had one with a 2:90, and I agree with all the opinions posted so far. The only niggles I had were (1) the direct outs would sometimes clip (distort) in a nasty way. Turns out the direct outs use opamps that get too hot a signal. A simple resistor change recommended by Mesa fixed this, but the direct outs were still not very speaker-like. (2) I sometimes ran into a similar situation with the built-in graphic EQ (dynamic EQ). The circuit here uses one or more opamps driven close to the supply rails by the preceding tube stage, sometimes causing some unmusical clipping. According to one person over on the Boogie Board, changing to better opamps in the graphic EQ section fixes this, but I have my doubts. The dynamic EQ usually sounds fine even with this issue though.

The Tri-Axis design is around 30 years old now, and has stood up remarkably well, but today I think you might want to evaluate it against the higher-end modeling amps and some of the recent MIDI-controlled multi-channel tube heads.
 

Timbre Wolf

Hyperspatial Gravity Surfer
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,400
I had one with a 2:90, and I agree with all the opinions posted so far. The only niggles I had were (1) the direct outs would sometimes clip (distort) in a nasty way. Turns out the direct outs use opamps that get too hot a signal. A simple resistor change recommended by Mesa fixed this, but the direct outs were still not very speaker-like. (2) I sometimes ran into a similar situation with the built-in graphic EQ (dynamic EQ). The circuit here uses one or more opamps driven close to the supply rails by the preceding tube stage, sometimes causing some unmusical clipping. According to one person over on the Boogie Board, changing to better opamps in the graphic EQ section fixes this, but I have my doubts. The dynamic EQ usually sounds fine even with this issue though.
I've avoided op amp distortion by using a 5751 to sub for 12AX7 in V3 of the Triaxis. I favor a 3-mica black-plate RCA 5751 there.

Earlier someone mentioned they felt the Triaxis was overly compressed. Selective re-tubing can help this immensely. One very specific swap is to use a 12BZ7 in V5 (effects return and master output); that adds ~2dB extra clean gain (I'm not referring to gain as overdrive, but rather in its true electronic definition), rendering a greater potential dynamic range. The precaution is to only use ONE 12BZ7 at a time in the Triaxis, since it draws additional heater current. Also - this 12BZ7 swap may make ylo's direct out problem worse; I'm not certain. It works amazingly when directing the Triaxis signal into a 2:90 or 20/20 (I've used both). By the way, I find that a single 12BZ7 in VI of those two power amps also increases the dynamic range, combating the tendency to over-compress.

- Thom
 

dpeterson

Member
Messages
542
be forewarned there are multiple versions, the best one IMHO is the v2 non fat mode that had the tx4 recto board in it for lead 1 red. I've had several triaxis' and this is the best one with the most useable modes.
 

xjojox

Tardis-dwelling wanker
Messages
5,732
Short answer is yes.

Tri was heart of my rig for 15 years. Nothing else gives you huge cleans, in betweens, Marks, and Rectos all in one package. I've moved on to a simpler rig, but it is an amazing piece of equipment.
 

rsm

Senior Member
Messages
14,081
My TriAxis (v2 phat mod) is the heart of my "big rig" that includes a G-System, I also run the TriAxis out into a Two Notes Torpedo C.A.B., and have a Nova Drive and Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker in the G's loops.

No plans to sell it, though I have simplified to a Zoom G5 :)

FWIW, I also have a Marshall JMP-1 (and JFX-1), and my last ADA MP-2 (with noise mod) from back in the day. TriAxis is my favorite of these vintage pre's.

That said, look at the Engl preamps; I have an E530 that I run with an E850 100/100 power amp into two E212VHB cabs that provides the most pristine cleans to extreme high gain and many usable points in between. If I had to choose just one preamp, it would be my E530. If you want more features, have a look at the E570 pre.

IMO/YMMV
 






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