Any opinions on Mesa/Boogie F30 1x12 combo?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by scout2112, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. scout2112

    scout2112 Tele-Holic

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    I'm eyeing a possible trade for this 1x12 combo amp - looking for a pedal-friendly practice amp that does a 80's clean tone.
     
  2. USian Pie

    USian Pie Tele-Meister

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    If it's EL84 powered, do some research on voltage and redplating.

    I had a DC-3 head that would redplate tubes quickly. Some online research found that Mesa was running above-spec voltage to the tubes.

    I read later versions of their EL84 amps fixed this. Not sure if that would be the case for the F-series.

    Here is a thread on a fix for the DC-3 problem. Again, it may be unique to that era of Mesas and the F-series may not be affected:

    https://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=51785&sid=ef41c8f51416ccd37b4bb71fcad1ae4d&start=0
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  3. Teleka

    Teleka TDPRI Member

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    I had one and didn't care for its tone. It's a well built 2 channel amp with reverb and an effects loop plus a boost on the drive channel. It was incredibly loud for its 30 watts.. The drive channel seemed useless to me; both channels had a noticeable hiss, even at low volume. Mine came with a Celestion Vintage 30, which I swapped for a Cannabis Rex. The tone improved somewhat but I still didn't bond with it and ended up selling it.

    As usual YMMV. Try it out, you might like it.
     
  4. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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    Glassy crystal clear cleans and filthy overdrive, doesn't do much in between. Had one, not for long. Might do the 80's clean thing you want but I would try it first.
     
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  5. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    It was the predecessor to the Studio Caliber 22
     
  6. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    I know you didn’t ask this particular question, but...

    Mesa Boogies are great for nasty filthy tones, but I’ve never liked their cleans...they always seem a bit stiff/sterile, IMHO—which is strange, because there’s a lot of guys and girls that hold Mesa Boogie Clean Sounds in high regard.

    A lot of their models don’t seem to take certain overdrive pedals very well, either, so you’re stuck with a sterile clean or nasty distorted sound, and nothing in-between.

    Now, this opinion might be based on a HIGHLY subjective parameter—my playing technique...I think they’re well-made, excellent amplifiers for everybody to try—but I just don’t bond with them.

    Again, just MHO, YMMV.
     
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  7. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    Generalizing here and no expert... I've tried several boogies, twice a Blue Angel which so far is still my favorite but still ended up moving on/past them. I have heard the Lonestar is a fantastic amp though but not tried it...never really got the clean sound I wanted with the ones I've owned.
     
  8. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

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    The F-30's are great amps I can't say a bad thing about them. I bought one new in 2002 and it's been my #1 to this day. Great clean sound and very pedal friendly.
     
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  9. suave eddie

    suave eddie Tele-Afflicted

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    A friend of mine has one. Good clean sound, overdrive not so much. If you need a good onboard reverb forget it--Mesa makes some great reverbs (like my Lonestar) but the F-30 is lacking.
     
  10. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Holic

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    I’ve been using a F50 combo since 2004. This version uses 6L6GCs. I also have a Mini Rec 25 that uses EL84s and that also sounds fine to me.

    I like the glassy clean and the drive channels. Lush reverb and foot switchable mid scoop. Plenty of range to adjust EQ and gain to get a variety of sounds.

    I get most of my sounds from a pedal board these days and like the fact the F50 gives me loads of clean headroom.

    I think the F series are relatively cheap as second hand Mesas go. But it was replaced by the Express series which has had a much longer production run and is more popular. If I had to replace the F50 it would likely be with a 5.50 Express.
     
  11. darren7

    darren7 Tele-Holic

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    I had an F-30 head and loved it. I paired it with two Mesa Thiele 1x12 cabs, and it sounded awesome. The EQ section doesn't do much, but the two channels are voiced beautifully. It'll do a nice snarly breakup, and kicking in the contour mode, you can get pretty insane amounts of gain.

    If I played out more, I would have kept it, but with no band and no gigs in the foreseeable future, I decided to part with it. The truth is, I only really used it for recording. All of my live work was with a modelling rig.
     
  12. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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    Best clean sound I ever had with a Boogie was with the Studio 22, not far behind was the Rocket 44, that was a great platform for pedals and had more than enough for gigging, Studio 22 falls a wee bit short in a full band situation. F30 had a really crystal clear clean sound but just too squeaky clean for me, you might like it.
     
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  13. mefgames

    mefgames Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    I have one. I agree with McGlamrock. It's a great amp, good cleans, and overdrive. Portable, dependable, and versatile.
     
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  14. scout2112

    scout2112 Tele-Holic

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    The Mesa noise issue is the biggest concern to me. I'll be sure to check out the amp before I bring it home.

    Has anyone tried taming the hotness of the dirty channel with a lower gain V1 or V2 tube... AT7, AU7, AY7, etc?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  15. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Nope Studio series was first then DC Dual Caliber. Then F series.
     
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  16. scout2112

    scout2112 Tele-Holic

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    I made the trade and picked this amp up... after a speaker/tube swap, I love it! As I expected, a Celestion V-type speaker sounds great in it. 12AU7 in V2 also tamed the raunchy overdrive down to a great classic rock sound.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  17. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had one of these back in the day, and yep, great-sounding clean amp.
     
  18. scout2112

    scout2112 Tele-Holic

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    I got to play the amp with my band last night and it was exactly what I was looking for. The rest of the band really liked it too. A light compression/chorus and it nails the 80s clean tone perfectly. The dirty channel sounds very classic rock with a 12AU7 tube in the V2 slot - recommended. The latent noise from the amp is a bit than I would like, but I've had 3 Boogies now and I think it just goes with the territory with them.
     
  19. Larsenpeople

    Larsenpeople NEW MEMBER!

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    I did had V1 and V2 switched. V2 to AU7 I believe, and V1 remained AX7, both NOS high grade tubes.
    The Clean channel became more musical and complex, also a bit fatter. Success!
    The drive channel gain dropped as expected, settings below noon are now in classic rock territory. Unfortunately this mod revealed some stiffness I had hard time to bond with. I left this amp to rest for a couple years to refresh my ears.

    I went back to it today and felt exactly the same : a rigid tone that makes my playing less interesting. Some kind of dryness with a strong attack and rapid decay. Really uninspiring. My favorite amp is the the Lonestar Classic, and it feels like the opposite.
    Maybe a low gain high grade tubes sound too hi-fi for this application. Or maybe it’s the V30, I have never liked it in any amp.
    At this point, I’m hesitating between swapping the speaker or selling the amp.

    I tried hard to like the f30 and always felt like there was a code to crack to make it sound glorious. I’m not so sure anymore. I think the actual voicing of the amp is pretty stiff and knob tweaking doesn’t do much difference (unusual for a Mesa).

    Anyone has experience with a different speaker in the V30 ?
     
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