Is a tube amp something for me?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Polderpatat, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. Polderpatat

    Polderpatat TDPRI Member

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    Where to start.

    I have 2 amps an AMT Stonehead which is a marvelous little amp
    and a Mesa F50.

    The AMT gets icepicky at a certain volume. The Mesa however, seems to have such a big potential in power (for lack of a better description) that every confident hit on the strings blows the volume right up to a point my ears hurt.

    The Mesa sounds bigger than the AMT, yet doesn't takes pedals well, at least on the volumes I play (75-90dB).

    Is it just the Mesa, being to enthusiast at blasting my ears till they bleed? I'm looking for something to live next to the AMT that sounds bigger, wider.

    I play mostly clean with some crunch (use a mayflower for that) and also djent but the AMT does that fine as it is.

    Please help me :)
     
  2. Shuster

    Shuster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Grab an Attenuator for the Mesa and crank that puppy!!
     
  3. roycaster

    roycaster Tele-Holic

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    I sold off all of my Mesas years ago. I got tired of trying to dial them in. Have considered going to the Mesa Boogie web site and downloading the instructions and starting all over from scratch?
     
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  4. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Got an old 12 watter back from the dead this morning. I cranked it up all the way as soon as it was working.

    Having a small amp and using all of it usually works for me.
     
  5. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some older Mesa models like the F50 are horrible with Pedals. Check a simpler one channel tube amp; usually these do put more emphasis on tone/warmth vs. versatility

    Best is to go & try amps at a music store. Some are nice enough to let you crank; or even bring your own amps to compare side by side.
     
  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Bigger tube amps have huge transients above what the same wattage SS amps have when you hit them harder.
    Not sure about the Mesa pedals issue but turning down both the amp and the guitar may help.
    Tools can be tricky....
     
  7. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Less knobs = more tone
     
  8. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    magic eight ball sez: try again later.
     
  9. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sold my Mesa Studio 22 in 2007. Eight knobs plus a 5-band graphic EQ for one channel. Built a 5e3, 2 volume controls and one tone for two channels. Bags of tone at just about any setting. Still my only amp, living happily ever after.
     
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  10. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Just perusing the Mesa propaganda:

    "Don’t be deceived by the minimalist look of this tidy layout …underneath lurks all the tone you’ll ever need. Diehard traditionalists have acclaimed the F-50 clean sound as perhaps our best ever, standing up against their most precious vintage gems. If you play guitar, the elastic bounce and chiming bell-like top bring a liveliness to comping that must be experienced.

    Channel Two is superbly balanced for the medium gain range where purring blues gives way to rock ‘n roll rhythm and soft-clip solo sounds. This mode enables you to zero-in on the region that best fits your playing style and the dynamics of your individual pick attack.

    Footswitching to Contour infuses a double dose of steroids and pumps up the gain to fiery proportions producing one of the most hellacious crunch sounds around. This grinding wall of gain was inspired by our mighty Dual Rectifier® and creates a unique and luscious harmonic spread slightly different, but every bit as menacing as the Recto®.

    Power is served up in three delectable dishes that can satisfy any appetite with their distinctive and different flavors. All these tones are served fresh on a plate of custom Celestions."


    User manual can be downloaded from: https://www.mesaboogie.com/support/out-of-production/f-series.html

    Sounds like a lot knob-turning could be done to find what you like. Plus the specs say it has an effects loop. Some pedals sound ok through an effects loops, some don't, but have you tried?

    It's a 2 by 6L6 power section; classic stuff. Worth experimenting

    [just kidding]: I would trade you two Fender Frontman 25's for your Mesa F50 - Hey they be real easy to use, plus they have built-in reverb!
     
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  11. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    My experience is that playing loud and clean is harder on the ears than loud and distorted. Overdrive knocks the transients down that would other shatter your teeth and rearrange your DNA.
     
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  12. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    There are some wonderful single ended amps on the market. From the Champ-a-likes, through amps with a tone control, through amps with a tone stack, gain and master. 6V6 and EL84 output stages get you to around ~5 Watts. Through a 2x10" or 1x12", easily sufficient to exceed 90dB.

    A single EL34, KT66 or 6L6 will get to double figures, power wise. This won't give much of a volume increase, but it does interesting things in its own right.

    A smaller amp, through a large speaker or two, is loud, and very easy on the ears. The natural compression of the output stage removes the peaks that disturb hearing and dental enamel.

    An attenuator would allow you to work the output stage and saturate the output transformer which -may- be what you're looking for. Or just buy something single ended, Class A with gain, tone ( or TMB ) and master.
    Your guitar has a volume control. Set the amp screaming and dial your guitar back. Play with the tone control on the guitar with the amp set neutral.
    More controls = more fiddling about = less satisfaction ( pats Champ-a-like, with its volume control and, err, that's it :) )

    If you have a compressor pedal, play with it. They aren't just for country. If you djent, do you have a noise gate?

    Big amps are such hard work.
     
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  13. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mesa F50 is a great sounding clean married to a great overdrive/distortion. Really the first amp Mesa got both right on. 85-90db? Too much Amp.

    You need something more like a Champ. A Vox AC10 which has a built in attenuator might be the go.
     
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  14. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I don't mean to pile on here, but I guess I am going to anyway. I have never been a mesa fan for the very reason that others have noted...they are difficult to dial in a good tone. Once you find it, they are great, but the task can be a real pain. I do think tube amps are always the best way to go tone-wise, but there are far simplier amps out there where you really have to work hard to find a bad tone.

    I would get rid of the Mesa and find a better option to replace it with...especially if you like cleans.
     
  15. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't get that - I had a Mesa/Boogie Studio 22 combo and it was impossible to get a bad sound out of it. It didn't matter how much gain I used, or where the knobs were set, it sounded great.
     
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  16. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I had a dual rec as a kid, and it was impossible not to stop spinning the knobs to try and find a sound that I liked out of it. It was one of the most unsatisfying amps I have ever owned. I tried other Mesa amps over the years to find the same thing. I guess amps are a personal thing.
     
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  17. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    A tube amp is something for everyone. In a perfect world, every amp would have great tube tone at every volume. In the real world, it's a barage of really bad to really excellent, no matter the brand and marketing hype. The good news is that although you will at times end up with amps that you end up not liking because of this or that flaw, someone else will love it and buy it, allowing you to try again.
     
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  18. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity

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    Agreed. The natural tube breakup is a beautiful thing.
     
  19. Stax1

    Stax1 Tele-Meister

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    Yes. The end. :)


    Sounds like you need a smaller tube amp.. Try a Fender Blues Jr, Princeton/Deluxe Reverb RI, or a Vox AC15 or Orange Tiny Terror; or more generally just a lower wattage tube amp.
    Mesa's are incredibly loud, and sound amazing when they're working hard, but in my experience don't sound that great at low volumes..
     
  20. stormsedge

    stormsedge Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    i recommend getting at least two. I have one for when Mrs is home...and one for when she isn't :D.
     
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