sonic differences betw different Mesa models

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by quadrogong, Apr 30, 2015.

  1. quadrogong

    quadrogong Member

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    I'm a 48 yr old guitar player who's been pretty much strictly a Marshall player since the mid 80's, I like my cheap Vox combo for recording at home
    I'm familiar w Fender,Marshall and Vox,
    but never really had any real time with a Mesa.

    I've got a convenient opportunity to get one now, and I was thinking of at least trying them out.

    As far as what tone I like to play with..
    I use a LP through an old Marshall 50 w Mk II head,jumped,
    straight into a closed back 4x10 greenback cab,
    no effects or reverb at all,just a crybaby.

    I like a real dry,snappy classic rock tone
    a la 70's Townsend or AC-DC maybe?..
    I like to keep the guitar's volume knob down for the warm,OD rhythms and be able to crank it up a bit for leads,sustain..


    Can someone try to describe briefly the differences sonically between some of the more classic models..
    Mark IV
    mark V
    Triple Rec
    or possibly suggest a model for me to try?
    I don't even know which ones to check out..

    any guidance or help in this area would be appreciated, thnx!
     
  2. ToneCaptain

    ToneCaptain Member

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    I can recommend the rectoverb 50 (series 1). One of the best Mesa amps in my experience. I think it would suit your requirements... Warm od rhythms and great lead with nice sustain

    Just my thoughts
     
  3. ToneCaptain

    ToneCaptain Member

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    The mark v is a superb amp too, just too expensive for me here in Europe...
     
  4. Promit

    Promit Member

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    Every Mesa has a drastically different sonic signature, much more so than Marshall or Fender IMO. But all of the Recto series amps are enormously versatile. More so than the Mark series amps, I think.
     
  5. anuj

    anuj Member

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    If you can find one, play through a Subway Rocket. It's a freakin' beast, and surprisingly versatile.
     
  6. Cirrus

    Cirrus Member

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    Everyone's gonna have their own opinions on this so ultimately you'll just need to try a few and make your own mind up.

    That said, give the Stiletto a try. They're discontinued now but the 2x12 combo I've got really impressed me - they call it a "british" style amp, it does pretty good jmp style crunch at lower gain or jcm800/2000 etc distortion at higher gain. Valve or solid state rectifier, great clean channel, a few different voicings... my only caveat is that it's very bright in the wrong hands, though with the treble knob down it's thick sounding.
     
  7. The Funk

    The Funk Member

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    Not going to recommend one here, but I am going to try to answer the question posted by the OP.

    So, there are two main lines of Mesa.

    1. The Marks

    2. The rectifiers

    The there are derivatives of those amps which may refine or emphasize certain aspects of those sounds, and a few things that were mesa's attempt to stretch out into other realms.

    Marks are the "old school" sound of mesa. Big midrange, tight sound. Lots of gain available. Singing, liquid lead sound. SMOOOOOTTTHHHHHH. Think Santana (mk1) or phish (mk3), all the way to metal (Metallica and Dream Theater used Mk2c+'s). All of these also have a nice clean channel that may be a little stiff for some tastes. The Mark 1,2,3 and 4 were available in these tiny combos that weighed as much as small truck and were as loud as a marshall stack. Early ones had various options like reverb and graphic EQ, and power amp types. Later ones have all the options. Mark 1's had 2 inputs, one per channel. Shared EQ. Mark 2s had channel switching and shared eq. Mark 3's had a sort of third channel and shared EQ. Mark 4 has 3 real channels, mostly independent EQs. Mark V has 3 completely independent channels and can cop the sound of any of the previous marks. They are also a little bigger. The EQs on these amps are considered to be kind of strange. Use your ears, not your eyes to EQ. These amps sound amazing in a mix at band levels.

    Things derived from Marks:
    22 Cal, 50 Cal, Subway Rocket, Dual Calibers, Express Series.

    Somewhat derived would be things like the lonestars which is like a fender twin, plus a more elegant mark 1 with a bunch of other tricks in there.

    The rectifiers are looser, more balanced, and closer to an SLO (which itself was sort of influenced by a mark 2b). They can be very high gain amps, but can do mid gain stuff as well. They just have a different voice. More raw in general. Not smooth like the marks and without the midrange focus. A lot of them are high powered, 2,3,or 4 channel amps. But not all, for example, the Blue Angel is a single channel amp but is in the rectifier series. Most of them have multiple voicings and modes per channel. They also have....multiple rectification circuits, both tube and solid state, which often can be user selected on a per channel basis.

    Roadking, Triple Rectifier, Dual Rectifier, Blue Angel, etc.

    Then there are sort of one offs that have elements of both series. Lonestars, Mavericks, LSS (lonestar preamp on a vox power amp), F series, etc.

    Then there are attempts to go towards a british sound. Stillettos, Transatlantic, Royal Atlantic. Many of these amps still try to maintain a more Mark series voice on at least one channel, but have different voicings on the other channels.

    All of these things are built to last. Top quality throughout. They are usually quite heavy, but also have casters. A lot of them are available as heads.

    I hope that helps.
     
    Dexter.Sinister and quadrogong like this.
  8. mikebat

    mikebat Member

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    This is the best resume of a brand that I have seen, it is something I wish ALL manufacturers would clearly do so consumers can figure out what product does what quickly.

    Wading through the manufacturer's marketing material....much of which written at different times, by different writers, using different styles is just time consuming, confusing and counter productive.

    Get to the point, and include all your products.

    Thank you "the Funk"
     
  9. anuj

    anuj Member

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    Indeed, that was a great post!
     
  10. jam8466

    jam8466 Member

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    Wow, that was a great post. Thanks for all the info. I've been trying some Mesas myself. That really helps me a lot.
     
  11. redgold

    redgold Supporting Member

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    Bases on your description I would suggest a Rocket 44,
     
  12. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    Great post. Having owned maybe 15 Mesa amps over the years, this recap is spot on IMHO. If it helps any, I currently own a Triaxis / 2:90-based rack system and a Dual Rec head & cab. The Triaxis is Mesa's MIDI preamp based on the Mark series amps.
     
  13. The Funk

    The Funk Member

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    Also, I should note that Mesa has been pretty consistent about adding new features for real world usability to their amps as time goes on. They tend not to reissue older things, though the Mark 1 comes back out in various forms every now and then. Things like the solo boost, and the various voicing switches and power level switches. The ability to run some amps in single ended class A or push-pull, or the simul-class (power amps running class A and class AB simultaneously. Effects loops that are foot switchable. Unlike Fender and Marshall, they are clearly focused on the future and not so much on their legacy.

    The experience of playing one, however, is quite different than a marshall. They aren't really squishy. They are very dynamic and touch responsive, but not really "clean up with the volume knob" types of amps as much. Very immediate, and this can be a bit disconcerting at first. And the EQs are definitely unique and interactive.
     
  14. ToneCaptain

    ToneCaptain Member

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    What are looking for in the/a Mesa that you currently don't have with your Marshall setup?
     
  15. LesPaul70

    LesPaul70 Member

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    Excellent post by the Funk. Just a few minor notes/additions...

    It's been an ongoing debate on this board and elsewhere whether the V can exactly 'cop' the sound of all or any previous Mark amps.

    I find it can get fairly close to its nearest relative, the IV. There are some subtle differences, but their technology is similar enough.

    With the older models (I, IIc+), the different power stages and different components (transformers, etc.) result in noticeable differences in amp feel and sound. You can get sort of close, timbrally, but if you've owned any of those vintage Marks, you will know the differences. Also, there were noticeable differences between individual IIc+ units - no two IIc+'s sounded exactly alike. The IIc+ mode V attempts to recreate the sound of just one such unit.

    The V does not even attempt to cover the sound of the III. Try a Blue Stripe III, the V sounds nothing like that.

    Technically, their preamp is sort of close to the SLO preamp, but the only Rectifiers that could sound anything like a Soldano SLO were the first 500 or 600 Dual Rectifier Solo Heads. Their circuits were different from the later Rectos.
     
  16. pass it

    pass it Member

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    Great post! I had a Nomad 55. Where does that fit in? Thanks.

     
  17. shred for sale

    shred for sale Member

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    I really love the Trans Atlantic and Royal Atlantic amps...killer. I also have an old two channel Dual Recto and have had a Rectoverb...great amps, but I grow in and out of favor with them. I do wish I had that Rectoverb still.

    I would also tell you to look up Andy Timmons Mesa Rig demos on Youtube...that will really blow your mind and give you a great look into what they can do in the right hands. He does some great in depth demonstrations of different amps. I really want a Stiletto...never shoulda passed on that amp!
     
  18. Droptopandy

    Droptopandy Supporting Member

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    I've been playing Mesa since the late 90's. I gigged a LOT with a DC-5 and a IIC+ between 1998 and 2003 in the NJ cover circuit. I've owned a ton of Mark series amps and a few Recto's, DC's, a Maverick, Royal Atlantic, Lonestar Classic. The one I still have is an Electra Dyne 1x12 combo. If you want a simple amp that sounds great and can replace a halfstack the 1x12 widebody combo is IT.

    The Dyne is loud but if you're careful with the master volume you can use it for low bedroom levels but it really comes alive with a good OD pedal like a BB Preamp. Where a Mark series amp can rip your head off the Electra Dyne punches you in the chest. I won't say it's exactly like a Marshall but it leans that way. It's also got sooo much bottom but it's not like a Recto either.

    I also still like the Lonestar classic, the 1x12 or 2x12 combo. Same with those amps, hit them with a good OD pedal and they rip.
     

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