NAD: Mesa Boogie Mark VII head. WOW

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Thank you for your insight. I have to admit the head and separate cab look better to me. But when I go to the Guitar Center next week to pickup my Mark VII combo, I decided to also purchase this amp stand where it is off the floor and angled toward me. This should help a lot with being able to see the knobs better, not having to reach down so low to make adjustments and keeping the volume a little lower in my studio to hear the amp.


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Do you have a chance to play through it first? I assume they did not have any in stock when you went there and placed the order. I would ask to try it out before leaving the store if at all possible. If something is not right with the amp, you have some negotiating space. If for some reason the combo does not live up to your expectations, just saying. I hope it works out for you though.

I normally deal with Sweetwater Music. When the sales rep told me about the amp in general when making the purchase over the phone, I asked it if was similar to the JP2C, he was not sure on that, but did claim it sounds just like the Mark V90. Once he made that comment, I said if that is the case, I will be sending it right back if it sounds anything like my Mark V90. I will exchange it for a JP2C instead. I would not mind having two of those. Well, it arrived and blew me away but not a combo. However, it has not displaced the Badlander 100W yet. Plan is to run the Mark VII with the 2 Badlanders I run in stereo. It blends really well with that amp.
Ok, time for some exploration. For a while I was hearing a characteristic from the amp when running with the moderate and high gain modes. Crunch, VII, IIC+ and IV. Sure the amp sounded great and perhaps I am just a picky listener. It became more evident when I was comparing the Mark VII to the Badlander 100. Crunch vs Crunch and Crush vs VII modes. There was really good note definition I was getting with the Badlander over the full range of gain settings. The Mark VII had a cloudy tone, it was lacking the note definition but the grind was great. Comparing the Mark VII in IIC+ and IV modes to the JP2C (running the STR415) CH2 (IIC+) and CH3 (close to the IV mode). Again awesome character in the grind practically on par with the JP2C and yet the note definition was not there.

I did some experimentation with the STR440 tubes. From green and gray bias colors. It was ok. A slight hint of boxy tones. Why not try the STR448? not bad but boxy in some ways.
I still could not get what I was after. The detail I get from the BAD100 or the JP2C. Just recently I decided to step back a bit, think about what I have done in the past with the Mark IVb. Understanding this is a Simul-Class amp and not a full Class A/B like the BAD or JP2C. Both of those amps have a good amount of power tube saturation and associated distortion or clipping. The Extended Class A pair of tubes will bring in more tube saturation, distortion or clipping than what you would get with Class A/B power. Sure the outer pair are in parallel and are operating Class A/B, hence the Simul-Class definition. While I was mulling this over, the order I placed for some STR445 tubes finally came in, that was a 3 month wait. The original supplied STR445 in the Mark VII have the green bias color, the replacements or spares I bought have a yellow bias color. This is important but will bring that up later.

First, I decided to see how a full quad of the STR443 tubes would sound. Green bias color, so they are at the middle of the bias range. Much better than the STR440. No boxy tone but a bit sculpted in tone in the midrange frequency. I was considering pulling out the STR441 tubes from the Mark V90 but did not get there yet. What was different, improved note definition. However the grind I came to love was also different and did not carry the tone density as the STR445 tubes.

I was tempted to pull the STR441 just to explore their potential, but opted to try the full quad of the STR445 yellows. It is just one step down from the greens, according to Mesa, you should not be able to hear the difference. I can. Same grind and tone density, much improved note definition was the end result. I could have just stopped there and leave it at that. The bias color does make a difference and some of you know that already. Red, yellow, green, gray, blue are the more common colors, there is white but that have too much early distortion and probably not so usable. Starting at read, less early distortion character and most headroom, to blue with the most early distortion and less headroom. Green is in the center point. Having more early power tube distortion may not always be the ideal thing, or too much headroom. The point is, this is a Simul-Class amp. The extended class A pair is intended to bring on clipping and tube saturation more so than the Class A/B part. I left the pair of yellows in the center positions. Here is the side step I bought up from the past, experience with the Mark IVb. After I killed the STR420 coke bottle tubes while trying them in the Mark V90, I had to find some replacements. Bought a quad of the TAD 6L6GC-STR tubes (the ones with the black plates) they were interesting. Also had a quad of SED =C=6L6GC tubes. You know how it is, you want to explore what the tubes sound like in the amps you have, so that is what I did. Unfortunately while doing that I busted off one of the plastic keyed posts on one of the TAD tubes. It literally got stuck in the socket. Had to remove the chassis to get the plastic part out. I do not recall which amp it broke off in. Now I had a mismatch in quads. It reminded me of the integrated quad, Mark IVb could run EL34 in the Class A sockets just fine. That was great. What would a pair of =C= and TADs sound like. That was pandoras box getting opened for the first time and the sinister gates of hell emerged. The tone was unfathomable, perhaps that was the first OMG experiences with the Mark amps. I tried to replicate this with the Mark V90, nope, it did not work out. The Mark IVb was sold and long forgotten thinking the sinister gates of hell will never be discovered again. This is not a bad sound at all, more epic, given the hype of the name. I have heard this sound before, in videos of the IIC+ amps DRG or HRG, not really sure.

By now you are either interested or bored to death reading all of this. Bottom line, rediscovered Pandora's box and opened up the sinister gates to hell once again. This time with the Mark VII.
The Pandora's box experiment:

The integrated quad, or two different pairs of power tubes. the STR445 yellows remained in the extended class A sockets. I was pleased with the change running the full quad and did try out the other power modes, 45W and 25W. All was good. But how to make the 90W open the gates? Looking at the Mesa description of the STR445 tube was the key to understanding what I am hearing. Copied from Mesa's website online store:

The MESA® STR-445 is a 6L6 that shares some qualities of a 6CA7 in that it has tight, articulate low-end for excellent bass definition along with beautifully balanced mids and a chiming top-end that cuts without harshness. It’s a great choice for our Rectifier Series to tighten low-end, add top-end cut in a perfect “Rock/Claw” frequency, while avoiding “buzz” or “sizzle” in the upper octave.

So that means the character of the 6CA7 in a 6L6 tube, used in the Extended Class A sockets. Step back in time a few decades, the Mark III blue stripe, DRG or Simul Class came stock with the STR416 tubes in the class A sockets. They are were marked with 6CA7/EL34. I may have confused the make as RCA, they may have been made by Sylvania, I assumed they were 6CA7 due to the large bottle size. I tried tubes that were EL34 and they sounded different. So what was in the Class A/B positions, the famed STR415 tubes. Ok, if the STR445 have the characteristics of the 6CA7 what do I have that sounds like the STR415 ( I have these tubes but did not want to remove them from the JP2C). That would leave me with the STR448 (TAD red base). Pulled the outer pair of STR445 (yellow bias color) tubes and replaced them with the STR448 (red bias color). Fired up the Mark VII last night. Double checked to make sure we will not overload or red plate, nope. (trust me on this, due to past experiences with the Mark V90 killing power tubes due to bias issue, I have my reservations but not warranted as the Mark VII is not the Mark V90). Started off with fat clean. WOW that sounded really good. Much more detail than I expected. Bold, crisp, and chime. Ok, still on par with the JP2C loaded with the STR415 or STR448 with the clean channel. I have run both in that amp, the STR448 are very comparable to the STR415 in many ways.

Now for the crunch on CH1. I could not believe my ears. Will have to get back on the Mark VII again to confirm this. Crunch was epic. Nice rolling grind in the low end and much better detail and note definition. Character I liked about the STR445 was still there but overall improved tone. No hint of boxy overtones like I got with the full compliment of the STR448 in the amp. Dropped from 90W to 45W, the characteristic was retained in note definition, sure the bottom grind was different as this is just the STR445. Went back to 90W, the difference in tone was subtle but notable. I can make out the characteristic of the STR448 (reds) when I tried them with the MWDR and 7 string guitar.

Now for VII mode. Holy hanna, Is this the Pandora's Box effect. Yep. Nice deep saturation and grind and retention of the note definition I was getting with the Bad100. Harmonically rich, yeah. This sound would be the money maker for the amp. For a tone stack post gain, then the GEQ has its unique characteristics. I will have to compare this to the BAD100 in crush again. What was missing that was not finally observed was that Simul-Class 3D effect. If it was there, I was not hearing it. Now it is there but not quite apparent like the Mark III or Mark IVb. Time to move the tone stack in the pre-gain and run the traditional Mark modes, staring with the IIC+

Now that is totally different. I believe the Mark VII just surpassed the JP2C pushing the STR415. That tone density was there. I would not say it is compressed but sure, there will be compression. However, the tone density is more of a character that describes the full sound quality. Note definition was still there. The grind, the overall character of what I was hearing was on the edge of the IIC+ abyss if not taking the leap of the ledge. Sort of like a war movie where the plane gets shot up and the engine begins to scream due to the gravity of the orb below. Yeah, we are talking about gravity, this sound will draw you in, time will stop and you will be lost in heaven or hell what ever you want to use to describe it. Not quite there with the Mark IVB integrated quad experiment I did years ago.

Now for the ultimate IV mode I have heard to date: The Sinister gates to hell have been opened again. Now that is the sound I was after for a long time but thought I would never hear it again. The Mark V90 was not capable of producing this sound. 3D content is there but not as accelerated effect like the SED =C= 6L6GC tubes will provide when I ran them in the Mark IVB. Still, the tone density is just amazing. Great note definition, no cloudy blur of sound, I do not believe I would be able to coax this sound out of the JP2C unless I used some external help with a grid slammer or flux drive.

So that is with the STR448 (red) in the class A/B sockets. Wonder what the STR448 (grays) will sound like? I may try the STR445 greens in the center pair and see if things change. As for now, I am loving the STR445 yellows with the STR448 reds in the outer sockets.
I spent close to 2 hours running the Mark VII at gig level. Huge improvement with the mixed quad. I will have to try the STR448 grays once the tubes cool down. I really like the STR448+STR445 combination. It is not a major change despite the hype of the sinister gates of hell and Pandora's box as it may seem but sound is huge and quite manageable. Moving from the STR445 greens to the yellows helped with the note definition. The STR448 reds are just more overhead. There is no reason this will not cut through the mix in a live setting. With the STR445 full quad in the green bias color, I was sort of hearing that being an issue. When the guitar player and bass player were over, I did fire up the Mark VII for a brief period. It was sort of lacking content?

I think the STR448 grays in the class A/B sockets may charge it up a few notches. May even try a pair of the STR445 greens in the center. Still exploring the potential of this amp. For now it has gone to WOW to more of an OMG sort for response. This will not demonize your amp so you can still use in with worship stuff if that is your gig. It will add some clarity and redefine the cleans for the better. It is an experiment and so far it is working out. Good things actually. Sure, you can still throw your boost or OD into it. I have yet to try anything other that straight in or perhaps the Strymon Deco which does have some overdrive feature. Will have to find out what I did with the grid slammer and flux drive. May even try running a compressor/sustain pedal just for kicks.
Hey bandit,
The one aspect of modern simul-class amps that disappointed me is not having the option of running both EL-34 and 6L6 tubes together. In the modern amps, we get an either or situation, so your idea of running the STR-445, essentially a JJ 6L6 with 6CA7 characteristics sounds like it might bring back at least some of the dual tube simul-class function from earlier amps. I have a MKIII Green Stripe modded to be a ++ by MB at mesa, which has SED El34s in the outer sockets and SED 6L6s in the inner sockets.

Comparing that set up to your tube orientation threw me a bit because you are putting the EL-34 equivalents in the inner sockets.The MK7 manual does say that "our unique and patented Simul-Class, in short, wires two of the tubes (outside pair) in Class A/B and two of the tubes (inside pair) in Class A." The MKIII manual says "in Class A, only the outside (outer left & outer right) pair of tubes-the EL-34s will be on. The inner pair-which are 6L6's-will also be turned on when the switch is in the Simul-Class position," which I am assuming means the inner pair are in Class A/B. They back this up later in the manual by saying "however, in recent years we've observed a much greater reliability factor with the use of El-34s in these outer sockets, with much fewer incidents of tube failure. Therefore, today we strongly recommend using EL-34s in the outer sockets and 6L6's in the inner sockets of your Simul-Class Boogie."

There was, however, and exception to this. Later in the MKIII manual they say "in the Series 300 Simuls, the EL34/Class A sockets are the middle pair of sockets-that is, the 3rd and 4th sockets as you count across. The other sockets (1&2) and 5&6) use 6L6s."

It seems as if they went with Series 300 Simuls wiring for the MKVII rather than the wiring from the 75 watt MKIII. I wonder if this affects anything else about how the amp sounds/functions?

In any event, I am going to try a pair STR-445's in the inner sockets to see if it gets the 7 closer to the 3 in Simul-Class sounds. I did this research mainly to get my head around my MKIII bias that the El34's should be in the outer sockets. Thanks for the idea. I will report back how it changes the sound.
As for the Mark V90 and the Mark VII, the class A/B are the outer sockets. Extended class A in the middle. Easy way to tell, with the amp on, no guitar signal, watch the tubes in the dark, the blue hue will disappear in the outer pair when you go from 90W to 45W on the toggle switch of the particular channel you are on. The Mark III, that switch is on the back panel. not only does it cut the power down to nothing, but you can also look at the tubes that turn off, no blue glow usually means no current. (ok, assuming the tubes will glow for you, not all of them do this, but most will have some but may not be as noticeable unless you are in total darkness).

I doubt the position of the Class A sockets matters much. It could if there are noise issues but doubt it would affect anything else. The Extended Class A is running at a different operating point than the Simul-Class amps of yesterday. Mark IIC+ DRG and the Mark III DRG. I always thought the Coliseums were 180W, Mark III 150W Simul-class. I would assume that would be different. Mark IVB added the pentode/triode and the class A was changed to provide more than 15W of power. More like 30W. Mark V90 upgraded the class A to 45W pentode (also had the triode switch for use with CH3). The Mark VII same deal but no pentode/triode switch so you do not get the 5 power modes. Pentode mode as 90W, 45W, triode mode 75W, 30W and then the 10W. Running in triode power on the class A section cut power down by 15W (assumed). Not sure if it was stated in the Mark V90 manual. Other than size, the Mark V90 is nothing like the Mark VII. They are completely different regardless of what was printed on the faceplate in terms of modes. At least with my Mark V90, what is labeled as similar to the Mark VII sound nothing like the Mark VII. Even with the same tubes, yeah, tried the combination of the STR448 reds and the STR445 yellows, it sounded like :poop:.

This weekend I ran every Mesa branded 6L6GC tube in the Mark VII. STR440, STR441, STR443, STR448 and STR415. What stood out to be the best sound overall (for me) was the combination of the STR448 (reds) in the outer sockets and the STR445 (yellows) in the inner sockets. A full quad of the STR445 (yellow) sounded good too. The full quad of STR443 (grays) were not bad at all. It improved the note definition, did not sound boxy, low end was good, some mids taken out. They sounded better in the Mark VII than they ever did in the JP2C. STR440, STR448 and STR415 sort of had a boxy overtone as well as increased brightness. The STR441 (greens) sounded like a blanket used to block most of the mids, low end was ok, and brightness was as bright as the STR415 (too bright, this is with the treble dialed at 9am, presence completely dialed out and the GEQ 6600 Hz slider below the center line.)

This is just part of the exploration process. At least for me. I would either settle on the full quad of the STR445 in yellow bias color or a blend of the STR445 yellows with the STR448 (reds for now, will be trying yellow and green if they come in).
In some ways I sort of miss that integrated quad effect. That was with tubes from yesterday. Now they do not sound the same as the older tubes.

Suppose the amp could run Dual class tubes, 6L6 and EL34. The Mark IVB was capable but that circuit is different in design compared to the Mark V90. Not sure what the Mark VII has. Since they installed a bias switch, I would assume not to try EL34 in the class A sockets with the 6L6 bias set. They would barely be operating as the bias voltage may be too high in value. What is out there that would work?

I did buy a quad of the Mesa STR446 (TAD red base EL34) tubes. Tried them in the TC100 and could not tell the difference between them and the STR447 (EH EL34). However, when I moved them over to the BAD100, oh yeah, there is a difference. I actually liked them a bit more than the STR447 tube. Note that the BAD circuit is well designed to state with, first time I really liked the STR447 tube. It could be the OT or other factors in the design but that amp is first class grade A quality. My first exposure to the STR447 was with the RA100. Very harsh tone, hi gain was on the muddy side and the multi-soak did not impress me. I did a similar thing with that amp, explored its potential. Can it be tuned? The answer is yes, it can be tuned but only half of it. The clean channel is completely separate from the Hi/Lo gain channels. I knew the amp had op-amps in its signal chain but was not sure where. The Electra Dyne does have plenty of op-amp compensation. I found the full schematic of that amp after a long search. I had assumed that would be close, but no cigar. The Electra Dyne is more of a spawn from the Rectifier line. More or less, it is a base, perhaps the Stiletto ACE would be a closer relative. The ED runs hi/lo gain channels through a traditional 2204 circuit, does not have the 39k in the cold clipper, it is a 10k. Same tone stack driver as the Recto but the catch, it is followed by a few op-amps. The Send circuit is all op-amp driven. Nothing wrong with that. It does sound really good. I believe the clean channel is about the same used on the RA100 or very similar. That is op-amp compensated. RFT in V1 and Ei CV492 in V2 and phase inverter and I got a very tight hi gain and responsive lo gain. Top it off with Mesa STR442 (SED =C= EL34) and the amp became tops on my list. The thing about the SED or what used to be known as the Svetlana 6L6GC or EL34 now called =C= which is the logo used is the complex harmonic content, it gives you that 3D effect. One that reached closed into this area were the TAD 6L6GC-STR tubes with the black plates. Different tone, probably similar to a 6CA7. The combination of that with the SED =C= 6L6GC was the opening of Pandora's box into the abyss of the sinister gates to hell. No demons here so exorcisms are not needed. Just that magic tone of 3D in all areas of the frequency band. It is difficult to explain. However, I did hear that from a person who had a IIC+, not sure what the model was, HRG, DRG, or KRG. It had that sound in the recording.

The Mark VII does have that sound in some respects but not quite there. I do like the STR445 tubes in all respects. So far, the Mark VII or JP2C seem to be the only candidates I liked with those tubes. Tried them in the MWDR and Roadster and was not impressed. Since the demise of Shuguang, the TAD black plate 6L6GC was lost along with the Mesa STR440. Psvane, a company that owns a few factories worked with TAD to create the next tube, the RCA was still on the table but now the STR415 Sylvania was also the design goal. It is close enough but not a duplicate to the STR415. Mesa STR448 is that TAD red base 6L6GC tube. So there are new opportunities to explore.

Where the STR448 fit well: Badlander 100 (6L6bias setting), JP2C were the two that surpassed my expectations. Roadster, MWDR, Mark V90, just did not work out. I have not tried them in the TC or the RA. Now the Mark VII was the alternate. Full quad of the STR448 (gray), not bad but overtones sounded boxy. STR448 (red bias color) did have an effect on the MWDR but only with the 7-string guitar. The usual low end drone was replaced with this sinister growl, bottom end grind as if I was getting full distortion out of a Bass tube amp. So the thought was if the bias on the class A/B section of the Mark VII was coasting like it is with the MWDR or Roadster, I may have a similar effect. Well no. It did not work out that way. There is more drive characteristic associated with the Class A/B than just running a meager extension of the Extended Class A circuits. It can get distorted too. I think that is what I was hearing with the stock tubes STR445 green bias color. Just too much power tube distortion was robbing the amp of detail at stage volume. I can see how that would get lost in the mix.

STR445 in the yellow bias color was a huge improvement. They sound much the same but a minor step down in bias resulted in the note detail I was hearing with the JP2C and Badlander with a moderate or stupidly high gain setting. BAD sounds great with the gain pushed on the crunch, but on crush that too was not a burden on note detail. Perhaps that is part of it. So the minor change in bias current, more headroom and less early distortion. Actually, the yellows seemed more balanced.
The full quad of the 45 yellows were just what the amp needed. I wanted more so the STR448 worked its way in and well I stumbled on Pandora's box. The 3D content is nothing like what I got with the Mark IVb running the TADS and =C= tubes. But close enough. Not sure if the 3D character is much of a thing with the current production tubes. I could be imagining that effect. It was an improvement, but I can easily settle with the full quad of the STR445 yellow bias code. Have some tubes on order for the STR448, yellow and green bias. I am curious to find out what works if there is a change or not. the STR448 grays with the STR445 green were interesting but a bit over the top and was back to the lack of note definition I achieved with the drop in bias (green to yellow). I hope this makes sense.

In all respects, the Mark VII is a really good amp. I am happy with it. I am glad to have it part of my collection and will become a staple or go-too amp just like the RA, BAD or JP2C.
I will be closing Pandora's box sooner or later. I got the STR448 in the yellow bias color, did not impress me. I liked the pairing of the STR448 (red) and STR445 (yellow) much better.

For the moment I went to the full quad of the STR445 yellows. Needed to reset my hearing.
I amp panning on exploring the combination of the STR445 with the STR440, I have every bias color of those on hand. Also, may try the STR443 just for S&Gs. I could borrow one set of the STR441 from the Mark V . I did try the same tubes in the Mark V90 just to see what effect it would have, not a good one, it was not amazing at all. Flat and bright. Perhaps the STR445 are not a good fit for the Mark V90. My V90 is a dud to start with so results may vary.

I thought that matching the bias color with different 6L6GC tubes would make a difference. It does with the volume level. the STR445 greens with the STR448 yellows was much louder than the full complement of the STR445 in green bias color. Interesting. The question is, the influence of the STR448, is this what I am after or the character of the STR445? Sure, the 45W power mode would be the test. I have not tried the swapping with the STR448 in the class A sockets. This may just be a fools errand. At least I will not be bored during my vacation time.
I have exhausted my Mesa branded sets of power tubes in the Mark VII. They all sound good. The STR445 (yellow bias color) full quad will be much better than a full quad of the greens. I wanted a little be less power tube saturation effect. Out of the Pandora's box, pairing up the STR445 (yellow) in the Class A sockets (center pair) with the following in the outer sockets: STR440 yellow, STR440 green, STR443 gray, STR448 gray, STR448 yellow and the STR448 reds. I left out the STR441. The best overall combination at low volume to gig levels, clean, fat, crunch, VII, IIB, IIC+ and IV were the STR445 (yellow) + the STR448 (reds). Note that the STR445 were in the class A sockets. This will set the overall tone of the amp, The STR448 (reds) will boost up the power for the 90W but will add in some interesting characteristics similar to what I discovered while running them in the MWDR and a 7 string guitar, the low end no just some enhancement with a drone effect that I got with the other tubes. Instead it comes with a low end growl that I though sounded great. The Mark VII, you can hear its effect but it is not overpowering. The blend of the two different pairs to me sounded amazing. Though I would get that characteristic with the 448 yellow and the 445 green. Nope. Also tried the 445 green with the 448 red. The note definition gets a bit cloudy with the green 445. I thought about swapping the set from inner to outer. I may do that but much prefer the characteristic tone set by the STR445 tubes. I have to find where I stuffed the 7-string guitars after I had to clear out the studio for Jam session. Need to hear for myself what the end effect will be.

For now I will stick with the Class A/B STR448-reds with the Class A STR445-yellows. That was fun.

Just for the record, the Simul-class of this amp is quite different than what I experience with the Mark IVb. It may be similar to the Mark V90 but has not red plated any of the tubes with the Mesa Logo as that amp did shortly after bringing it home from PA. You can dig up my post history if you so desire on the Mark V. It was not all fun and games, mostly loaded with concern and disappointment. Time to retire the Mark V90 and my involvement with that chapter of life. Not sure what I am going to do with the amp just yet. Setting it on fire was a thought on occasion. Nah, It may still have potential, just not what I am finding with the Mark VII, JP2C, Badlander, RA100, MWDR, Roadster and may as well include both Triple Crowns (TC50 and TC100).
Still loving this amp. Probably one of the best purchases I made this year. No issues or problems and I find it very satisfying to play though. I would also rate the second Badlander 100W as another best purchase, but the first one cost much less. Prices just are on the high side these days.
Loving mine too. Wasn’t sure about the color but man, in person it is gorgeous. So much so that I am on the hunt for a matching 2x12 vertical in white bronco.

I have been comparing it against the JP2C and Mark V. The VII sounds more “open” compared to the V. But playing the V more while comparing them made me appreciate it more and thinking I would sell it once I got the VII, I don’t think I am because it does sound different enough And I was having fun turning the knobs again on that one.

Comparing it to the JP2C, I can get the Mark IIc and Mark IV modes comparable to the 2 channels of the JP2C but the JP2C offers more options for those sounds so again it’s worth owning alongside the VII.

I haven't been able to do a proper comparison with my IIb. But I know while that mode may sound similar to the real IIb, there is no comparing the feel of the real amp. There is just something about the way these old amps were designed that isn’t well replicated in the newer versions. Sound is there but the feel just isn’t. But that doesn’t mean these new amps aren’t awesome in their own right.

Honorable mention: The crunch mode. This one caught me off guard as I can’t believe how much I like it. Sounds so good with or without the EQ engaged.

Anyway, I got more exploring to do, especially on that VII mode.



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I’m there with you. I like the VII better than the V but I’m not ready to sell the V just yet. Nor do I want to set it on fire in my front yard. LOL The baby V is a keeper for sure as a practice amp, just love it plugged into a cab. Baby V and the VII bring the most smiles.
It is just the mental image of the amp burning in the front yard after a fresh snow fall, playing Christmas music through it while it is on fire. For some reason that image or thought puts a smile on my face. I must have gone mad. Mine was the ice pick model. Forgot to mention that.

Mark VII can be bright too but far from being an ice pick.
While I understand Randall Smith’s thinking here, the lack of an output control in my situation is a bit of a deal breaker for me. I’m not just a studio player. The channel masters are the send levels into my rack FX processor, and the output is a global return. After spending time getting all the channel levels balanced and the input signal to my FX to unity gain, the output control allows me to change the volume of my rig without messing with my FX send/input levels, keeping my FX mix consistent. Once I start tweaking with the channel masters I would need to re-adjust my FX input level to get back to unity gain. Using the FX unit output control is how I balance the volume between FX Loop in or loop bypassed levels, granted that 95% of the time I am using the loop, but it’s still a concern for me.

We play from small bars to large theaters, so I’m usually adjusting my overall volume to fit the room/stage. Sometimes (in small bars) I am not in the FOH so my stage volume become very important to the overall mix of the band. If I was playing large rooms all the time with a 30 min sound check like John Petrucci I guess that wouldn’t be an issue, but that’s not the case for me. I’m lucky if I get a sound check at all sometimes, and no sound man wants to deal with a ‘picky’ guitarist messing with their levels.

Honestly, for a weekend warrior like me, the tone difference between using the FX loop or bypassing it is easily overcome with a good EQ. Is there a difference? Sure there is. But nobody in the crowd will ever notice, and putting anything between the preamp and power amp (like fx) changes your tone anyway.

Upon my initial trial test of the VII in the store I came away unimpressed. I now have a Mark VII combo — but only after I got to try another one and turns out the original one I tried must‘ve been defective. But yo the point, I thought I’d miss the Overall Master and Solo features, but realized that with my current setup I hadn’t been using those features since I always use a volume pedal in the loop, which serves as both and overall master and solo boost — So, the change in the VII does not affect me, plus improves on the tone.
It is just the mental image of the amp burning in the front yard after a fresh snow fall, playing Christmas music through it while it is on fire. For some reason that image or thought puts a smile on my face. I must have gone mad. Mine was the ice pick model. Forgot to mention that.

Mark VII can be bright too but far from being an ice pick.
Somewhere in North Carolina things are getting toasty LOL
so I've been messing with the settings a good bit on my mark Vii. Does it seem that the presence knob greatly impacts volume and gain? I've found it really interesting how it interacts with the amp and impacts the tone in a way that most presence controls do not.
I read that somewhere. Wanted to see if it does. I just dial it back to cut some of the brightness so I set and forgot about it. Will have to play around and see if gain changes other than the tone. I may be deaf by now so I may not even notice.

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