Mesa Studio Preamp - weight? Opinions?

csweldon

Member
Messages
899
Hey TGP! I just noticed the existence of Mesa's Studio Preamp. I know, I know... I've much to learn about Mesa Boogie!

Anyhoo, it looks pretty cool, but I can't find too much info on it. I've heard it's modeled after the Mark II, and there are mods to bring it into C+ territory. Mesas are notoriously heavy, and as a light-weight junkie, I figured this might get me into the Mark II neighborhood at a more manageable weight. Maybe. Depending on the weight. Speaking of which, anyone knows how much it weighs? Did I mention weight enough?

More importantly, how does it sound?

Speaking of Mesa preamps, how are they? Anyone using a Mesa Pre to get their sound?

Looking forward to your insight, TGP!

Thanks!
 

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,790
It doesn't have the usual power transformers in it as those add quite a bit of weight. I'd imagine it is like any other 2U tube preamp setup. I've tried one but haven't actually weighed it. I've heard some great tones from it for recording with IR's.
 

Shredzilla

Member
Messages
3,470
I have a Mesa Quad which is basically a Studio with the addition of a MarkIII. Love love it. Sounds excellent. Still running it into the loop of a MarkV
until I can find a 20/20 05/50 or 2:90. Heavy for a preamp, but it is 3RU.

Also have a Mesa Formula but doesnt get much time after acquiring the Quad. Nice cleans - really compressed, even for a Mesa. I found the "3rd" channel
hard to dial in with the shared controls.
 

GasMask

Member
Messages
3,419
I owned one for years. It's pretty light for what it is. It needs a power amp though, and probably a rack case too, so the entire package will be heavy. Of course, if your rack has wheels.... A very small rack case with a SS power amp would be very light, but who wants to run a nice tube pre into a SS power amp?
As for tone, it can get a nice lead tone, and a nice clean tone also. Dialing in both at the same time is challenging. Reverb is poor IMO. Still a cool unit though- if you can find a nice used one.
 

csweldon

Member
Messages
899
Thanks for the insight, guys! I was thinking the studio pre might be nice with a 20/20, or if I were feeling... Rebellious, I could try a quilter Tone Block? Get a nice combo cab from JDesign and have an ever so slightly lighter Mesa Style rig!

Still gotta find one (and fund it) but it sounds promising!
 

Bobbyoso

Member
Messages
447
I bought mine new in the late 80s, along with the older style Mesa 50/50 power amp. The preamp is pretty light, I'd guess no more than 10-12 lbs. (Guessing because it's been racked with the 50/50, which is heavy, for at least 20 years).

Horses for courses, but it's got a great Fendery clean channel, right up there with the best blackfaces, and a possibly even better lead channel, not rectifier-like, but thick, responsive, and lots of range, from just a purr to a full-out hard-rock roar. Marshally it isn't, at least to my ear, but it's a superb set of tones, and it feels great with the 50/50.

Oh, and it's pretty bulletproof; haven't even changed the tubes yet.
 

cbm

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,953
The Studio Pre is pretty great, IMO. As @GasMask says, the reverb is fairly worthless, but other than that it's wonderful.
 

nnajar

Member
Messages
244
studio pre is terrific. I keep considering picking up another one. I had one in the 90's. If you want lightweight, consider running it with a matrix power amp. Don't worry that it's sold state, the matrix amps are unbelievable. I use one with a Custom Audio 3+se- I actually replaced a VHT power amp with the matrix. It was a great move, it sounds a great deal bigger than the VHT, and as a bonus it's one quarter the weight.
 

jrakarl

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27
I've got the Studio Quad and it is quite heavy but I have it in a rack with a floating shell. Great tones, highly responsive. I actually really like the reverb. The reverb is quiet and very effective for me, however I don't like Fender type heavy spring reverb sounds.... For me the reverb in the Quad is more integrated into the sound.
 

mrwhipple

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
947
if you can find a Quad, i'd recommend that preamp. the drive is much smoother than the Pre and is more flexible in the amount of different tones you can get out of it. it does just about all the earlier boogie tones as well as getting very gainy if you need it. it takes up about 2.5 rack spaces but it's worth the tone.
 

django49

Member
Messages
1,802
^^^^

The Quad is better, with less need to compromise the tones with shared controls......Not unlike the Mk series combos, at least until the Mk4. I definitely like the sound of the Pre (Quad or regular) with any of the Mesa Stereo power amps......So much so that I "stockpiled" a second of each of the 20, 50 and 90 watt versions when they popped up for a "reasonable" price......ONE of these days I really should let SOMETHING go.......

I am sure that a decent solid state power amp would suffice, but I would prefer to "do it right".

BTW, if you run down a Quad, makes sure it comes with the original footswitch AND that it is working. They are hard to replace.
 

crackbass

Member
Messages
821
The Studio pre and the Quad are quite awesome, but I'm not sure that it's the best thing for "Compact and light" By the time you add a tube power amp, rack, and a cab the setup will be less compact and just as heavy as a Mark combo. My favorite rig I ever played through was a quad with a simul/290 and a couple of thiele's but it was super heavy and bulky. If light and compact are your goals I would look for a DC-3. That will get you a solid 85% of a Mark IIC+ combo at about half the weight.
 

Al Rose

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,797
The Studio pre and the Quad are quite awesome, but I'm not sure that it's the best thing for "Compact and light" By the time you add a tube power amp, rack, and a cab the setup will be less compact and just as heavy as a Mark combo. My favorite rig I ever played through was a quad with a simul/290 and a couple of thiele's but it was super heavy and bulky. If light and compact are your goals I would look for a DC-3. That will get you a solid 85% of a Mark IIC+ combo at about half the weight.
Agreed. I've got a DC2, which is only 2 EL84's (not 4) and no 5 band EQ, but otherwise is the same preamp circuit. With a WGS ET-65 (which is a great match for the combo IMO) it weighs 40 pounds.

Al
 

cbm

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,953
I have my Studio Pre in a six space rack, and my 2:90 in a separate four space. I sometime go direct or use full range speakers, which means I can leave the big iron at home. This works out fine with a minor EQ tweak or two.
 

brocktoon

Member
Messages
82
I've got one and mostly like it. Both the clean and lead sound good, but I can't set it up to get the best of both at the same time. I never take it anywhere though - for me, a small combo or even a head and small cab are easier.
 

mrwhipple

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
947
a Quad or Pre with a 20/20 power amp would be a small and fairly lightweight rig.
 

mxr2000

Member
Messages
896
Runing mine now with a Katana Mk2 and its Awesome easy to move around studio preamp in a U3 rack with a nice power supply
 






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