Mesa High Gain Amp Discussion/Recommendations

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Schecter6505, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. Schecter6505

    Schecter6505 Member

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    I play in a hard rock/metal band as a lead guitarist. Think much heavier ZZ Top with much worse vocals! The other guitarist plays a 5150 through a Basson 4x12 boosted (Boss SD-1) and his rhythm tone is aggressive, percussive and the right kind of chunky. We both play 7 strings and I play quite a bit of bluesy leads. I was originally playing with a 6505+ boosted (Maxon OD808) through a Mesa Rectifier 4x12 but my tone wasn't quite as powerful as his and I started growing tired of the overall dryish sounding tone of the amp and recently sold it to a friend of mine. I lucked into a Mesa Mark V last year and I have been using it with more satisfying results in Mark IV mode. I will admit that I am still grasping how to properly EQ a Mesa so I'm still not satisfied with how my rhythm tone is mixing with his...yet. My leads are exactly the sound I am hearing in my head and to me, they sound so much smoother and "alive" compared to the 6505+.

    I feel like tones I am after live inside a Mesa and I have a chance to buy a two channel Dual Rectifier that is in excellent condition from another friend of mine for 900 bucks. Will this amp be a good compliment to the 5150? I think the main reason the Dual Rec appeals to me is because they are pretty rare around here and because we all seem to like collecting gear.

    I have also been considering (more than the dual rec) the JP2C but I'm not sure that another Mark will really have the rhythm tone I am after. Due to playing in a decently active band, I love the idea of the rackmount head. I also can't help but get excited about having two graphic EQ's with two independent channels to switch from heavy rhythms to leads. This is probably more of a "talk me out of a JP2C" thread...haha.

    If I buy a JP2C and it is the amp I think it can be for me, I would not be opposed to selling my Mark V and buying the Dual Rec as well. Outside of Mesa (or Peavey), what amps should be I looking into? I would prefer to stay around the $2,500.00 range.

    Thanks,
    Tommy
     
  2. LesPaul70

    LesPaul70 Member

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    A 5150 + a (Triple) Rectifier is a classic combination, for a reason. They complement each other superbly. A Dual Rec will work also, the main difference is that the Triple has tighter bass and more headroom, meaning better clarity and bigger and beefier sound in general. In direct comparison, the Dual will sound smoother and woollier. Not a huge difference though, and either will definitely be loud enough.

    I like those old 2-channel Duals and Triples, all of them. The newer 3-channels are ok, but the older models were much more organic and warmer.

    The big difference to the Mark family of amps is the very heavy midrange focus of a Mark. You can safely scoop the middle slider on a Mark quite a bit and still get more than enough mids. On the plus side, their sound is very focused and cuts through the mix. On the debit side, they will never get as heavy or brutal as a Recto, not even the 'heaviest' Marks (which would be, IMHO, certain flavors of the Mark III).

    As for your Mark V, don't give up on it yet. I spent years on mine before I started getting sounds that I liked in a band mix. FWIW, I ended up with Extreme mode, 90W, Pentode, Svetlana =C= EL34 tubes. The key to making a Mark V (and most other Marks) work is to understand that the T/M/B pots are placed before the preamp Gain, in other words, you should think of them as Treble, Middle and Bass boost pots. The Treble knob is the most important - you can get the best distortion tones by using it as a Treble boost in conjunction with the Gain knob. I often keep my Treble higher than the Gain. Keep the Bass pot down, a Bass boost will give you nothing but mush. You can get the low end with the graphic EQ.

    A JP-2C would have fuller and less constipated sound and feel than a Mark V but not terribly much - it's still a Mark amp.

    If I were you, I would get the 2-channel Dual. It could turn out to be exactly what you've been missing. And if you don't like it, you could sell it and get your money back.
     
  3. loki1982

    loki1982 Member

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    I have owned a roadster combo for several years now and love it. There are just so many good sounds in it. Four channels with three modes per channel, and each mode on each channel isn't simply a "gain level" selector. They are very individual to each channel. For instance, both channel one and two have clean and fat modes, and you can get the same sound from each mode on each channel by turning the gain down on channel 2 in the same mode, but each channels eq is different giving each one it's own flavor. Certainly worth giving a look if you are interested in the dual rec.
     
    LithiumZero likes this.
  4. rummy

    rummy Member

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    Love the Mark IV's lead sound, but for heavy rhythm, I think I prefer Rectos.
     
  5. Dr.Lee

    Dr.Lee Member

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    I love the Mark IV mode on my V for both rhythm and lead, however I did like my old Roadster for rhythm when turned up to about 4.
     
  6. Stormin

    Stormin Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    A real Mark IV (not the mode on a V) does not get that heavy without a boost. I would go with a Recto or an Uberschall.
     
  7. Schecter6505

    Schecter6505 Member

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    Thanks for the detailed reply. I do a lot of recording so I doubt my Mark V is going anywhere because its so useful but I'll definitely be giving a Recto a go for the live stuff. I have been reading up on the two channel amps and I'm not quite sure how the two channels are laid out. Is it possible to have a high gain rhythm channel and then switch to the other channel for leads or is channel one a dedicated "clean" channel?

    I have been looking at these pretty hard since you recommended it. I like the layout of this amp a lot better than the Mark V. I'm gonna have to find a place to try one out in person.
     
  8. LesPaul70

    LesPaul70 Member

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    The two-channel Dual layout is basically two drive channels (Orange and Red) with two selectable voicings per channel, Vintage and Modern. So you can have two Vintage channels, or two Modern channels, or one Vintage and one Modern channel. There's also a separate switch for setting the Orange channel to Clean rather than variable gain.

    The gain voicings (Vintage and Modern) do not sound or behave exactly the same on the two channels due to subtle technical differences. The unusual combinations (Orange Modern or Red Vintage) could actually produce some pretty cool tones on the early two-channel Rectos, also when your Orange channel was set to Clean.

    This may sound complicated but it's pretty simple really once you get the idea. A 2-channel Rectifier is a surprisingly flexible beast, and there are lots of great midgain/crunch sounds it can produce, not just balls-out high gain.

    Also note that there are a few different 2-channel versions (or revisions). By far the most common is the Revision G. It is the iconic 1990s Recto tone, massive, dark, loose 'wall of sound'. Revision F is somewhat similar in that its distortion character is also rather loose but it is brighter and nowhere near as bassy as a G. The early revisions (C, D, E) were totally different: much brighter than the later Rectos and their distortion character was surprisingly tight. They have sonically more in common with a Soldano SLO than your stereotypical Recto sound.

    If you don't know the revision of a 2-channel Recto, it is probably a G. The serial number is also a strong hint - any serial over 2500 is probably a G.
     
  9. Schecter6505

    Schecter6505 Member

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    LesPaul70, you've been a huge help!

    That don't sound too complicated at all. My band uses zero cleans which is why I was asking.

    Thanks again for all the great information!
     

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