Mesa Studio preamp too damn flabby

The Boogie Board

Help Support The Boogie Board:

aselix68

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
These preamps get a lot of love these days...and I don't get it. Yeah, it has a nice mesa tone from that era, but the bottom end is just too flabby IMO.

I've started the bass at zero, the worked it up until 2 or 3 and after that forget it....Even if you add in a bit of bass on the graphic EQ, its effect is minimal. Yes its not a preamp where you would chug, but the bottom end seems way too loose for even a passable sound when chugging, or most any other technique. It's a strange preamp IMO.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong, or my ears are accustomed to different sounds....

Not ready to give up, but tell me something to do here....new tubes help?

Thanks
 

Eevil

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
253
Reaction score
11
Location
Finland
Howdy!

Are you familiar with Mesa Mark II or Mark III amps?

In higher gain settings with lead channel the bass control is always 0-2 region :p and the graphic EQ is then used to get the low end back to wanted level..

Basic feel is built with input/treble/middle/bass/gain and tonality is then crafted with graphic EQ :mrgreen:
 

aselix68

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Yes, after reading up on it I now see that. You tube videos show bass at zero or very low, and that V setting on the GEQ.

OK, fine, but why...i mean why, would they design a preamp that you would have to do these extreme settings? I can't think of any other amp or preamp where you have to turn the bass knob all the way down, and then cut the mids to make it work.

I know MESA has been around forever, but it seems like this design was a swing and a miss! But, folks love these preamp...
 

wildschwein

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 7, 2011
Messages
192
Reaction score
3
Location
Alkimos, Western Australia
aselix68 said:
Yes, after reading up on it I now see that. You tube videos show bass at zero or very low, and that V setting on the GEQ.

OK, fine, but why...i mean why, would they design a preamp that you would have to do these extreme settings? I can't think of any other amp or preamp where you have to turn the bass knob all the way down, and then cut the mids to make it work.

I know MESA has been around forever, but it seems like this design was a swing and a miss! But, folks love these preamp...

It's the legacy of starting with a Fender circuit and then putting in extra gain stages to give players they gain the were eternally hungry for. Once you know the general way to set a Boogie it's no problem but the controls are interactive.Treble needs to be high and bass needs to be very low. The midrange controls tend to influence the gain structure after about 3 on the dial and don't really let through much more mids after that. You put the bass back on the EQ sliders if you're lucky enough to have the EQ. They have all this stuff about the front end idiosyncrasies in the manauls:
https://mesa-boogie.imgix.net/media/User%20Manuals/StudioPre.pdf

Also Mesas come alive in the mix.This guy pulls some nice sounds:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83xzARtpHAQ
https://youtu.be/AK7MUmuABlE?t=990
 

skoora

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2007
Messages
166
Reaction score
1
If everything is OK with the preamp and the tubes the only thing that is a swing and a miss is the User.
 

gabilotcu

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2016
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
I own a studio pre about 15 years. I use to plug into a return Marshall JCM 900 50w 1x12 and from then to every digital procesor that. I still use it with a Mercurial Reaxis plugin coz you can use the amp, cab (3rd irs) section from the plugin. For a clean tone i have a setting and for a metal tone the bass on 0. The eq make the tone there but the first gain and the treble are verry important in that kind of pre. I conect it în the fx loop of a mooer ge250 coz the mooer have like a tone stack modeller and ir inside the cab section apart of the digital preamps în the amp section. Just a clean booster or ts in front.
 

tonefreak25

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
122
Reaction score
1
I had my Pre for years then, in a fit of total dumba**ness sold it prior to my last move. I still regret getting rid of her. One thing I did do to "tighten' things up was to use a good OD pedal in front of it, but honestly with good tubes and working with the settings, adjusted for your cabinet, I only used it for solo work.
 

Jasons80z06

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2023
Messages
6
Reaction score
2
Yes, after reading up on it I now see that. You tube videos show bass at zero or very low, and that V setting on the GEQ.

OK, fine, but why...i mean why, would they design a preamp that you would have to do these extreme settings? I can't think of any other amp or preamp where you have to turn the bass knob all the way down, and then cut the mids to make it work.

I know MESA has been around forever, but it seems like this design was a swing and a miss! But, folks love these preamp...
You have to understand how these amps are built and designed. The three tone controls you use are pre-gain stage. The best way to think of these is that they are a built in tube screamer. Crank the highs, 7 or more, and keep the bass between 0 and 2 like most say. Mids can be set to 0. After this the signal hits the gain stages. So, the "tone controls" that you are used to using in a typical amps (lets say a marshall) are after the gain stages. For the Mark series of amps, this is where the 5 band GEQ comes in. Set up the typical V for metal. This will give you lots of tight bass and clear highs. While it seems weird to scoop the mids that much, remember that this amp is "all mids". After you understand this, you will see and hear the glory that is the Mark series. Remember, many people dismiss these amps because they dont understand them. If Mesa relabled the bass, middle and treble to something else, maybe they would have been even more widley used. Also, read the manual. Mesa explains all this and gives example settings.
 

meesa_jarjar

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Yes, after reading up on it I now see that. You tube videos show bass at zero or very low, and that V setting on the GEQ.

OK, fine, but why...i mean why, would they design a preamp that you would have to do these extreme settings? I can't think of any other amp or preamp where you have to turn the bass knob all the way down, and then cut the mids to make it work.

I know MESA has been around forever, but it seems like this design was a swing and a miss! But, folks love these preamp...
The Studio is known for being a great clean preamp but not really a heavy distortion preamp. Not that it can't do it in some ways, but it's not really what it does best. It shares much of the best from the Mark series, but from the perspective of heavy distortion, it is limited by the full bass response of the 1st stage. Mark series amps eventually had an option of controlling the bass up front with the 'Bass Shift' option on the Bass knob, which allowed higher gain with less low end bloat when not enabled. The Studio Pre does not have this option, so there is always full bass response from the beginning of the circuit. The bass at 0 might work best, but that won't completely overcome the limitations of the circuit.

Modding it for high-gain would be relatively easy but that's another topic entirely. I would recommend a good eq unit up front, before the amp, a parametric or something with a shelving bass control. Personally I don't like using a boost / dist pedal with older Mesas since I feel it takes away from the amp's sound, but that's just my personal prejudice.
 

Latest posts

Top