Mesa Boogie tube amp: What's the trick to getting good tone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by taylorman22, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. taylorman22

    taylorman22 Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Oregon
    I have a Pod XT Live and the church I work at has several amps, but one is a 40 watt Mesa Boogie tube amp. I don't know the model number, but it's about 4-5 years old and the cost for it new was around $800. I'm actually selling my Pod and buying a few individual pedals instead, and I intend on using the Mesa. Here's the problem though. Stage volume is an issue at our current facility, and in order for me to get good tone out of the amp, I have to have it cranked pretty loud. When I turn it down to a reasonable level, I lose all of the drive. What's the trick to getting good tone out of the amp in this situation?

    I've tried my Pod through it and I just didn't like the tone. I didn't spend any time tweaking it, but I decided to sell it anyway. It'll be easier with just the following pedals: tuner, volume pedal, overdrive, compresor, chorus, and delay. I do have a friend willing to trade me his Vox ad50vt straight up for the pedal, and while the amp sounds good and has several options (including an attenuator), it's not ideal for a live situation, which is where I'll use it most. So, a few pedals and the Mesa is the way to go. Do you have any tips for me (other than putting the amp in a different room and mic'ing it)? Can I buy an external attenuator for the amp?
     
  2. mike@switchback

    mike@switchback Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,995
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    PA
    Find out the model name/number and go and download the user manual from the mesa site. They have good manuals and it helps deal with the tweakiness of their amps.
     
  3. PUCKBOY99

    PUCKBOY99 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,968
    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Location:
    S. FLA
    #1: Ditch the stock Mesa tubes !!!

    #2: Get the manual

    #3: Find a good clean tone to work with & that POD XT will probably work just fine :AOK
     
  4. muzacman

    muzacman Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    You may also want to try an extension cabinet with a different speaker, preferably not too high in power. Mesa has always overbuilt their amps sometimes to the point of making them very stiff and lifeless, especially at lower volumes.
     
  5. taylorman22

    taylorman22 Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Oregon
    Actually, we had the tubes replaced a year ago and went with something other than the stock tubes. I'm not sure what they were though. The amp has a very nice sound, you just have to crank it up.

    Would you recommend a Pod then instead of individual pedals?
     
  6. PUCKBOY99

    PUCKBOY99 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,968
    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Location:
    S. FLA
    I guess it's a personal preference.

    Individual pedals allow you to tweak your tone easier & get exactly what you want.

    Boards like the POD are o.k. from the start, but tweaking is a bit of a hassle & sometimes you can't nail the tone you're really looking for because their patches include so much unwanted "stuff".

    My personal preference is pedals, but a lot of guys dig the "1 Box Does The Trick" of the POD type boards.

    Does the church have a PA? Have you tried running direct from the POD?
    (Just an option, although it sounds like you want tubes more than anything).
     
  7. taylorman22

    taylorman22 Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Oregon
    Yeah, we have a PA and I could go direct to PA using a direct box, then link out of that direct box into a spare Roland KC series keyboard amp and use that as my monitor. Since the pod would be doing the amp modeling, I wouldn't need anything special for my monitor. I'd rather use that Roland versus putting my guitar back into my floor monitor which is on a channel I share with the bass player and drummer.
     
  8. shredhead7

    shredhead7 Member

    Messages:
    259
    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    You can use an effects unit in the loop, with the return set to 100% wet (on the mesa) and use that to attenuate the volume. This will allow you to have the gain and volume pretty hot on the Mesa, and use the external output on the effects unit as a master volume. This works great for bedroom/low volume scenario's.
     
  9. PUCKBOY99

    PUCKBOY99 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,968
    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Location:
    S. FLA
    Probably your 1st step should be finding out what model amp it is & getting the manual....then tweak the amp by itself to see what you're working with. From there, adding the POD or any other FX should be pretty easy.

    Good luck....you're not too far off, just need to work out the kinks :AOK
     
  10. taylorman22

    taylorman22 Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Oregon
    FYI, I think the amp is a Rocket 44. Maybe it was only a $500 amp....now I'm not sure. I wasn't playing electric at the time of purchase.
     
  11. mike80

    mike80 Member

    Messages:
    2,665
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Location:
    Near Lima, Ohio
    One of the big things is the EQ. It takes some time to get used to it, and if you dial it in right, you can get some good sounds at low volumes. Maybe not bedroom volumes, but just a little louder. Most tend to dial with their eyes, and not their ears on Mesa products, and that typically doesn't work well. Try setting everything to noon with the volume where you need it, and adjust from there.

    The Rocket 44 is a great amp btw.
     
  12. Jazz guru

    Jazz guru Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester, New York
    The Mesa's I have had (note past tense) were all hard to dial in - each tone control effects all the others - ie - one small tweak in one and you have to change in the others.
     
  13. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,298
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    did you tun the XTL into the amps input or the effects return.

    If you go straight into the effects return bypassing the Mesa's preamp it should sound better.
     
  14. taylorman22

    taylorman22 Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Oregon
    It wasn't until I was driving home after practice that I realized the pod was plugged into the input and the not the effects return. I haven't had a chance to try it again. By that time I was pretty frustrated with the pod. It couldn't get a tone I liked and the volume pedal was a joke. I've since bought an Ernie Ball VP Jr. and I could use that with the pod if I decided to keep it.
     
  15. PUCKBOY99

    PUCKBOY99 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,968
    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Location:
    S. FLA
    SEE......lots of options ! LOL

    Your gear should be fine; just a matter of setting it up to your liking.

    You'll get it there :AOK
     
  16. taylorman22

    taylorman22 Member

    Messages:
    602
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Oregon
    I guess I should just get the pod, the mesa, and the keyboard amp, and then see what kind of tone I can dial in. If I'm not happy with it, ditch the pod and got for a few pedals. The nice thing about not using the pod is I wouldn't have to spend hours going through menus to dial in the right tone. With a few pedals, it's easier tweaking.
     
  17. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,298
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    While you still may not be happy, try the POD in the Mesa's effects return...it should sound a lot better.
     
  18. Red Planet

    Red Planet Member

    Messages:
    4,356
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Taylorman welcome to the Gear Page.

    Be careful that first step is a duzzie.:band
     
  19. Red Planet

    Red Planet Member

    Messages:
    4,356
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Atlanta
    BTW you guys ever check out the Build Quality on the Fuchs Amps?

    Built like an F-22 Rapter!:BEER

    Some of the other guys look like my Kid put em together. Ah but I'm sure that is the magic mojo. One can never pay enuff for magic mojo.
     
  20. oldrock

    oldrock Member

    Messages:
    266
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    Location:
    texas
    I currently have 2 mesas and will say neither of mine like my pod. I tried dozens of ways to make it work but went right back to my pedals which sound 100 percent better than the pod in my mesas (subway rocket and nomad). Even with pedals, you have to dial the mesa in as someone else said. It took me a while to find settings I liked but eventually I did find them.

    Not to confuse matters but my church uses pods for the guitars and they just send direct to the pa from the pod. Did you consider doing that?
     

Share This Page