Thread: Mesa Boogie triaxis: yay or nay?

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  1. #1
    Surfing the net at work every day! Waterbrother
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    Default Mesa Boogie triaxis: yay or nay?

    So, I've the opportunity to pick up a MB Triaxis, supposedly in very good condition, for the equivalent of around USD500.

    First off:
    1. Yes, I love the Mesa grind-crunch-fizz.
    2. I am interested in this unit for a) hooking it up to a power amp / speaker cab for recording / live playing, b) taking it direct to a power amp sim + cab sim for some low-volume practicing and jamming.

    So...
    2. From what i could find out these babies retailed new for around USD800?
    3. Those of you who have worked with this particular unit - anything i should be aware of? What to look out for when checking out the unit?
    4. I assume that since it's a pre-amp without a poweramp section i won't need a load plate for this?
    5. Seems that i won't have any issues (apart from the impedance matching slash player not interacting with amp clusterfuck) hooking this up to a re-amping box?

    That's more or less it for now...

    Happy 2013, everyone
  2. #2
    Join Date Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Mesa Boogie triaxis: yay or nay?

    I have found them to be a troublesome pain in the fucking nutz for recording.

    Not for lack of trying mind you.

    One of my LEAST favorite Mesa products.

    Then again... I usually hate the "preamp" thingies as you spend eons farting around with WHAT yer gonna drive with it, and the plot thickens if the owner doesn't have something that really works well as a power amp all sussed out.

    I certainly could see where for live work it would be a godsend if you have a shitload of tones you gotta switch through during songs, and the cleans and semi-dirts are solid.

    Anyhoo.

    The rotating Mesa cabinet takes the cake in the "Holy fuck what were they thinking" sweepstakes.

    I know ONE guy who LIVES for the fucking thing.

    And have used both to make records that somehow were still completed without death or lengthly hospital stays.

    All good. Makes the world go round.

    SM.

    PS. Cleans can be used from the "recording out". Everything else is DREADFUL from that jack.

    PPS. Make sure ya got a new memory battery in that thing.
    Kill me. No really. Just fucking kill me.
  3. #3
    Surfing the net at work every day! Waterbrother
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    Default Re: Mesa Boogie triaxis: yay or nay?

    So, to summarise:

    She might be beautiful... but... if she breaks out the thumb screws in the bedroom you might want to ask a few questions before shopping for a ring?

    Re:Slipperherr's comments:

    Matching a poweramp and cabinet seems like the main obstacle here. Mesa recommends their poweramp for this unit, i might have a look at that. Possibly.

    Since this is a preamp only, i assume that the recording out sounds like one of the following:
    a) main guitar sound on a Burzum record
    b) Zoom505 directly to the desk
    c) Something that can be used to speed up interrogations

    That would make sense, seeing as there is no poweramp/cabinet involved.

    Rotating Mesa cabinet... What did they call it? Measlie? Or Leslie + boogie = Lesbian?

    Thanks a lot for the heads up... I'll keep the poweramp / cab issue in mind before dropping any kazash on this.
  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mesa Boogie triaxis: yay or nay?

    4 years later...

    I think (and I hope) you don't need any load, since it's the separate preamp. I just ordered a used TriAxis and it'll take a couple weeks to arrive.

    To counter what Slipperman was saying, I think there's something to be said about the TriAxis today, in 2016.

    For the last 5 years, modelers have proliferated in the home studio. Everyone has their direct recording devices made up of DSP preamps (where the direct output aims to replicate the line out of tube pres, and does a fairly good job at it) and all variety of crappy power/speaker emulation.

    Recently, the crappy power/speaker emulation improved dramatically, through convolution (Impulse Response) technology. These were made popular by Kemper Profiler, Axe FX, and several IR plugins. Direct recording and direct monitor/play quality is now light years ahead. Still room for improvement, mostly in time domain emulation - but virtually indistinguishable with good IRs in a blind test versus real amps.

    Because of enhanced resolution on the power/cab emulation stage, now the attention is turning to the DSP amp sims, which are pretty good emulations - but far from perfect. Even when all the individual components are "digitally recreated", there's still a fair amount of hoop jumping and sonic cheating to trick the ear. We have the processing power, but tube harmonics are so complex and nonlinear, it's more cost effective even for Fractal Audio and Kemper makers to take the top 5 or 6 audible features of tubes, and just fake them "close enough" with the DSP.

    Next step would be a vintage or modern tube amp - but most of them come w/ pre and power integrated, so now you need a pricey load device to record direct without waking up the neighbors. A lot of investment and compromise.

    Enter the guitar tube preamp - of which the TriAxis is king (because only 15 or so were ever marketed, almost half of them were Mesa Boogie products, and the only good sounding one still manufacturer supported is the TA).

    In the current environment, suddenly rack tube guitar preamps make a lot more sense, and just advising "meh don't get a preamp, it's too fussy" loses validity in 2016. Now people will start getting TAs primarily for ultra-realistic direct recording with cab IRs, and the secondary application might be to play live or get a special power/cab set to match it. That's why I'm bumping this thread. Today it's potentially more relevant than when it was created.
  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mesa Boogie triaxis: yay or nay?

    Not so sure about all this.

    Metal is arguably where the "virtual amp" trend is really seeing the most usage - the trend presumably emerging from gaggles of ultimate guitar forumites essentially creating music by themselves, in their bedrooms, for better than a decade. And as evidenced by heavy records during said time period, amp tones aren't generally getting better, quite the contrary; what I'm hearing on the vast majority of current heavy records is a glob of fizzy, two-dimentional dreck, accompanied by the bicycle-cards-style clattering of a narrow selection of drum samples derived from the same two or three popular libraries.

    I don't know if standards have just been dramatically lowered from the lack of sonic perspective, and to what extent current virtual amps have informed that paradigm shift, but it ain't pretty. I'm not utterly disqualifying the potential of the technology, but so far I'm not hearing very promising results.


    otek
    "Tube color is not the 'thing'. Why would the most linear amplifying device have a color?" - Jonte Knif
  6. #6
    Frustrated Chick Rock singer...now doing jazz standards poorly! Never made a record...music forum mod!
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    Default Re: Mesa Boogie triaxis: yay or nay?

    On the other hand, last week I recorded a stoner/doom/metal band last week with a great drumset, a p-bass and a Les Paul - both through cranked Sunn tube amps. I used a couple of Flea 47s on the drums in a WW style set up (plus another 10 CYA mics)....

    And it totally rocks.

    I haven't spent more than 10 minutes apiece on rough mixes because the vocals aren't done, but the band is already blown away by what they are hearing.

    Digital emulation has improved (it now doesn't always egregiously suck in a totally obvious way), but it isn't quite on par with the reality it attempts to emulate.

    It has become quite easy to obtain homogeneously competent sounding tracks without placing a single microphone, but they just don't live and breath the way reality does.

    Perhaps this is because the reality is always different from session to session - the room, the tubes, the mic placement, the cabinets, the barometric pressure etc is never exactly same, whereas all the emulations and samples are EXACTLY the same from day to day. It's difficult to be excited by the same sound day after day after week after month after year....
  7. #7
    Surfing the net at work every day! Waterbrother
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    Default Re: Mesa Boogie triaxis: yay or nay?

    Well, the Triaxis, she be a fickle mistress. So much you can do with it, but eventually you have to quit fucking around and pick a sound. So this thing can turn quite a few tricks, but my friend's single channel Soldano eats it for breakfast. Because, you take your guitar, plug it into the Soldano, tweak one or two of the knobs, et voila - great sound. You put a mic in front of that, you record it, and you're done. You'd be able to get more or less a similar sound with the triaxis, but you're going to spend a day second guessing yourself on which channel to use and which poweramp to hook up there and whether this combination of things is really best with the cabinet I have here, and is this particular dynamic voice on the triaxis exactly what i'm looking for?

    I'm saying this from the perspective of having messed around with ampsims for years before just going full on guitar -> amp -> mic. I've really never been happier since, sound-wise.

    ...it's not the modeled (or tube) pre's that are the problem. Or the power sections. Or the cab sims. Is the whole thing together that don't yet form a living, breathing organism, and while I feel that that's what's missing from virtual amps, it's really also part of why i find guitar preamps difficult to use. "We've modeled this to sound exactly like an XX tube pre!" But, you never push a signal through that pre alone, do you? - it's always in a chain, same with the cab, and then you have your snapshot of the cab, the response of which is a thin slice of what the real thing is capable of. Eventually you feel quite impressed with the collection of nude photos you've built up now, not realising that you could be having great sex instead.

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