NAD: Mesa Caliber 50 Plus

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by LPMojoGL, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    Kinda on a whim.
    Found this on the way home.
    Bout the same price as a used Tiny Terror or PV Classic series.
    Good cosmetic and working condition.
    Reminds me very much of the Mesa Mark III, but without the frustration of an unusable rhythm 2 channel.
    New Mesa tubes.
    Sounds pretty darn good, especially considering the cost.
    Couldn't pass it up, so brought it home.
    Basically, Mesa Mark tone on the cheap.

    Now I have a JVM, Orange Thunderverb and Mesa 50C+.
    I need some Fryette goodness, and I also need to lose an amp or two.
    Woe is me. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  2. eschoendorff

    eschoendorff Member

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    The MESA Caliber series amps are tone monsters in their own way. You're gonna love that amp!
     
  3. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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  4. wheelman

    wheelman Member

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    I dig them you can get some real mien tones.
     
  5. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    Yeah!
    Playing it through a V30, then a Scumback M75...
    It's tight and articulate, sounds better with the m75. Cuts some mids and allows some give. Almost strident with the V30.
    Very aggressive drive tone.
    Impressive clean. Much like my Showman blackface.
    A no-nonsense, clean and mean amp.
    Awesome bang for buck!
     
  6. wheelman

    wheelman Member

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    Clean channel will kill with a fuzz too.
     
  7. scottywompas

    scottywompas Member

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    I love the 50 cal. It was always a little less boogie sounding than the boogies of the time. This is coming from a 20+ year boogie user.

    Great amp. Congratulations on the find.

    Scott
     
  8. billfoma

    billfoma Member

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  9. jkg

    jkg Supporting Member

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    I have had one for a little over twenty years now and it was my main gigging amp for the early 90's. I actually think the clean channel is the amp's best feature. The gain channel is great but can get a little over the top for some of my playing. I added a low gain pedal to the clean side and can cover a lot of territory with it.

    it is also very, very loud.
     
  10. Trego

    Trego Member

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    I think it's a bit F-style sounding. And I love that about the amp. It can get SUPER loud. The original Mesa Tubes in mine sounded great. I have two GT power tubes in it now that are rather lifeless. I'm actually in the market to sell, but I know the market on these amps is soft. I keep going back and forth, there's no way you can get more amp for the price, especially considering that the amp is made in USA.
     
  11. Sun Creature

    Sun Creature Supporting Member

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    That was my first tube amp, killer tones. Wish I still had it at times.
     
  12. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    This amp is awesome!
    This is one of the best drive tones I've ever had.
    It does what I bought the Marshall JVM to do.
    Warm, articulate crunch tones all the way up to a great hard rocking tone.
    And quite a ways beyond, actually.
    Honeymoon, yep.
    Loving it, yep.

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    I must agree with the reviews I've read about how setting it up for one channel, leaves much to be desired in the other channel.
    The drive channel is very sensitive to knob changes. Every knob. Dialing it in is an exact science. Mesas are such a pain in the ass to dial in!!!
    Now that the drive side is setup, the clean is a little off, bass-heavy and gainer than I prefer.
    I couldn't care any less.
    The drive is fabulous.
    I would have kept the MKIII blue stripe I had if I found this tone in it. Frankly, I like this simpler amp much better.
    It doesn't take much volume to make the amp sing, either. I'm guessing that this has something to do with the smaller transformers?
    They are small for a 50 watt amp. The amp is really light. It gets plenty loud, but doesn't have to be so to get the goods. It does not sound so great at quiet bedroom levels, but is great for home use without blowing up my ears.
    The effects loop works with my Akai Headrush and TC Flashback. I was afraid it would be too hot, but it's all good.

    I would be fine if this were my only amp. It has what I need, and want, in the drive channel.
    The few pedals I've tried in the clean channel worked great, and allowed me to achieve acceptable clean tones without having to tweak the amp away from my happy drive settings.

    Talking again about the drive sounds...
    I can dial in enough gain to cover metal without a pedal.
    Yet I can back it off and cover classic rock as well as softer crunch tones.
    I can actually change how responsive the attack it by adjusting the eq, shaping the feel of the drive. I can dial in tight, hard n fast, or soft and round, if I want.
    I have it dialed in to be articulate and fast, almost percussive, but with a roundness and warmth.
    No matter how much gain I dial in, I can hear every note in a chord, even the nasty ones. I really like how the gain cascades away when holding out a chord. And how it doesn't take much gain to have full sounding single notes and sustain, pinch harmonics and musical feedback.

    I'm very happy with the Mesa Caliber 50+.
     
  13. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    I spent a good amount of time comparing the drive tones of the 50 cal to the JVM.
    Both amps sound much better through the Scumback M75 than the Celestion V30.
    The Orange TV50 sounds better through the V30, but that's a different sounding amp, altogether.

    The 50cal with it's one drive channel basically covers all of the drive tones of the JVM with it's many channels.
    The mids are different. The Mesa has slightly lower mids that cannot be dialed out. The Marshall has higher mids that can be scooped.
    The JVM is ganier. The Mesa has plenty of gain, and is easier to manage than the JVM OD settings.
    The Mesa set with higher gain will roll down to a nice crunch with the guitar volume.
    The Marshall in the OD channels, even with the gain set a 2 on the dial, really doesn't clean up well. Click to crunch channel.
    The Mesa is clearer in most settings, more present, and can at times be a little much. It sometimes feels or sounds...edgy? Like it is on the brink of being harsh.
    The JVM sounds a little back, or less present, hard to describe. Not exactly hollow, but not so upfront.
    The JVM can be easier to play with lots of gain dialed in. Plenty of pitch harmonics and percussive attack.
    I work a little more for it, whatever it is, with the Mesa.
    I think that I may be more creative with the JVM, though. It's hard to tell, yet. Something about it's response, attack, overall sound, makes coming up with new music easy.

    All in all, the Mesa is a pretty great amp, especially when considering the price. I prefer it's simplicity over the many options on the JVM.
    Dialing it in has become easy.
    It's perfect for someone who is looking for a cheap amp that covers a lot of territory.

    I have too many amps. Either the JVM or Mesa needs to go. The JVM is more expensive. I've had success creating and recording with it. It can be a pain to dial in a good sound. I've never been quite satisfied with the od channels, too much gain and compression.
    The Mesa is pretty straight forward. A little more connection and immediate feedback going on with this amp. It feels more like playing a nmv amp. The price is killer. Not as versatile, but I really don't need all of the options of the JVM.

    What to do?
     
  14. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    After recording several tracks from clean to all out metal, from band to bedroom volumes, of both the JVM and 50cal...
    The JVM beat the 50 cal out.
    Oddly enough, it came down to the crunch and OD2 of the JVM vs the 50 cal. And it was very close, except at low volumes, where the Mesa falls apart. OD1 consistently sounded muffled or overly thick compared to the other channels. I had the bass and resonance dialed back quite a bit. Dunno. So, I think a person could easily get by with the 2 series of JVMs.
    Anyway, so, keeping the JVM. Although the TGP thing to do is keep both, the 50cal is moving on. They are too close in sound to need both.

    Still, highly recommend this amp!!!!
     
  15. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    I kinda miss this amp.
    Think I might havta find another.
    Damn GAS
     
  16. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    So, I found a closet queen with EVM12L, amp cover and footswitch on CL. Got it from the original owner yesterday.
    I really like the 50 Caliber Plus.

    Owners, please share your settings. This is can be tricky to dial in.
    I've heard some great clips of the clean channel, sounding full and taking pedals well. How do you set yours up?
     

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