Thread: lets talk about mesa cabs

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  1. #1
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    Default lets talk about mesa cabs

    they're a lot different then most others, even with the same exact speakers in them.

    do you like them? not so much?
    i know, the rule is "i use it when it sounds good", but in general do you find that you seem to have more or less luck with them?

    i only have occasional experience with them as they are more rare, due to cost. Had one in this weekend, and results are mixed.

    I guess we got ok tones with it, partially this dude kinda had weird tone too..... but i really couldn't get any lead tones out of the cab that would sit on top of the mix that i wanted. eventually had to go to a different cab to get lead tones.

    here's a quick taste test for those that care.
    The tone is set by the client (rythm) (i have my problems with it, but it's mixed with a laney thru a different cab and i'll be able to make it work)
    it's some overdrive i don't know in front of a dual rec on clean.
    both recordings are the same exact passage with an m88 on the cone (both cabs have v30's) no eq. though volume was compensated, as the mesa cab was slightly louder.

    what's you're experience/opinion on mesa cabs?
    thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    That question is kinda like asking "What do you think of Fords?"

    Mesa makes/has made a bunch of different cabs of pretty widely differing designs, loaded with a number of different kinds of speakers and intended for a variety of purposes., so the answer would be "Which particular cab, for what purpose?"

    As to the question as asked, what do I "think of them" I'd have to say that they tend to be built better than cabs from many other manufacturers, but that's about all that I can generalize across the line.
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    Default lets talk about mesa cabs

    Standard 4*12 cab. The most common one.
    Though it's true to say "I use what works, when it works for me" it's also true that these cabs impart a particular sound on the speakers in them (whatever they be). Because I'm so used to a 1960 marshal cab it always feels a bit like "this is a v30, with a built in Eq" to me. While that is not de facto good or bad, it is possible to have an opinion.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    I think their 4x12 blows
    Last edited by weedywet; June 8th, 2015 at 03:19 AM.
  5. #5
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    I think they're 4x12 blows
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    I think their 4x12 blows
    Ha-ha!

    This reminds me of a thread on another site with a guy blathering on and on about "correct" cabinet design......

    In my experience, the Mesa 4x12s are overbuilt and you don't get the cabinet involvement that you do with a good Marshall*or similar cab. Of course speaker selection also plays a large part, but assuming typical Celestions, the Mesa cab tends to be rather on the stiff side.

    Of course Mesa has made a number of other designs which may or may not work well for what somebody might want, but the standard 4x12? Eh, sometimes you can do something TOO well.


    * - there are some cheaper Marshall 4x12s (generally sold with the lower priced transistor amps) that also blow.
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    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  7. #7
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    I used to own the full size 4x12 when I was touring to go with my Dual Rec. Never really liked it, no matter what head I put through it.

    I always thought that despite their size, they lacked the full bottom end that you get outta Marshall cabs. I also thought that they gave me more midrange than I knew what to do with. I like a pretty midrange neutral sound but I found it too much, regardless of what EQ I dialed.

    I also felt they were bigger and heavier than they needed to be. All that weight must have had something to do with the lack of low end. To be honest, I found their tone surprisingly vintage for such a modern cab.

    I'll never forget the best tones I got out of the Rectumfrier on tour was through a Marshall 1960BX and a Fender Supersonic 4x12 on separate occasions.

    Now I've settled on a '73 Marshall 1935B with 55Hz Greenbacks and I'll never look back. Greenbacks always sounded rounder, fuller and more breakier uppery to me.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    My cab (for studio use, I'm not a guitar player) is a 1960B with 2 v'30's and two greenbacks in an x. I like having the option, although I'm usually on the v30's.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    I used to own a Recto head, one of the first few hundred they made. I noticed that Marshall 4x12"s had a tendency to "fart out" with the Mesa. When I started my first internship, the studio had a 2x12" Mesa cab which had one open and one closed-back speaker, which seemed to handle the Recto much better. There were other cabs, too, that worked better with it.


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  10. #10
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    I have a recto 2x12 with them here v30s. A few years ago i had the opportunity of comparing the sound of my rig with a Marshall 2x12 of unknown model, but definitely also sporting v30s.

    The marshall had more low-end, but I couldn't pull my usual death-by-midrange tone from it. This was for distorted rhythms. For cleaner sounds, don't know... the mesa didn't sound better or worse, just different.
  11. #11
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    Mesa in general are very solidly built with touring grade marine deck ply and more bracing than found in many other guitar cabs, which often have none to speak of.

    Marshall cabs vary a lot in construction depending on the age of the cab and which line of amps the cab was intended to go with. Some are rather lightly built and I'm pretty sure some of the cheaper ones use particle board in part or all of the construction.

    What all this has to do with is how the panels of the cab resonate and what sort of cabinet involvement you get.
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    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  12. #12
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    I've had frequent intersection with a number of Mesa speaker enclosures over the years, owned a number of them of various types(including some real weirdos), and probably recorded many dozens that I didn't own.

    I feel exactly the same way about them in a general sense that I do about "expensive line(s)" Sonor snare drums.

    That is: They are usually very well designed and constructed blah, blah, blah... BUT, the have a tendency to be... Shall we say, "very polarizing" on a case by case scenario in practical use.

    Maybe as a way of expressing something that could possibly take a while to explain here in a less direct way:

    They, unlike some other enclosures, are sometimes very decidedly the WRONG cabinet for a number of situations/heads.

    The polar opposite for me would be a 1960 slant with Greenbacks.

    Usually a decent, or better than decent choice for mating with almost ANY guitar head.

    I could go on for days about when and how they sucked, and when and how they saved the day.

    Can't right now.

    Too burnt.

    HOHOHO. But true.

    OK. Gotta flee.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    my experience has always been that even with Mesa heads (e.g. Rectifiers) for which they are ostensibly the "match", they have always sucked...
    or if not sucked outright, then at the least clearly lost out to Marshall or Hiwatt 4x12 cabs with those same heads.

    or, if I might share, and adapt, Slippers' description:

    "They are usually very well designed and constructed blah, blah, blah... BUT, the have a tendency to be... Shall we say"... AWFUL SOUNDING
  14. #14
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    I have to say, in the end I didn't hate the sound I got, but again it's mixed with a different head thru a different cab.
    We'll see though, as it's being mixed somewhere on the west coast.
    This has been as informative as I could have hoped. Thanks all.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    ...they have always sucked...
    or if not sucked outright, then at the least clearly lost out to Marshall or Hiwatt 4x12 cabs with those same heads.
    I feel that way about Orange cabs. At least the new ones I've recorded.

    And the second generation Rectifiers were almost uniformly horrible.


    otek
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    ...
    And the second generation Rectifiers were almost uniformly horrible.
    Is that the rectifier heads you're talking about? Or cabs?

    Never played through a mesa cab, but I just ordered some new tubes for my dual rectifier head. I used it a lot when I was playing shows regularly, but it's been gathering dust for the last 5-6 years. I'm excited to hear it again, hopefully I won't be disappointed...
  17. #17
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    It didn't take much listening to tell what was happening. Anybody who's built speakers (guitar or hi-fi) would instantly recognize what was happening.

    The Mesa cab is made so rigid that all the resonances went UP in pitch. Constricts the crap out of the low mids where it'd normally be a big blur of direct sound, resonance, and backwave leakage.

    Unlike with the human digestive tract, tightly sealing up any and all backwave leakage produces rather than stifles shit, and here is how that works: energy you bottle up has to go somewhere. With less solid and rigid cabinets, kind of like with old Tannoy hifi cabinets (which I have not heard, mind you) the cabinet vibrates easily and lets a lot of bass and backwave through. That makes the waterfall plot of the cabinet decay at lower frequencies, with looser resonances.

    The rigidity of the Mesa cabinet forces all the resonances upward. It DOES project more deep bass which is not always what you want given the speaker's going to be close-miked anyway. It stifles low mids by forcing them to be more like a DI sound with way less cabinet blur at any volume, but then you get cabinet involvement up where you don't want it, and a more solid brace for the projection of nasty highs and edge.

    So the Mesa cabinet by design is more like a DI feed from the amp, and 'conditions' the sound way less than a floppier, more colored cabinet, while also bringing the resonances it inevitably DOES have up into the annoying mids where they are more obvious.

    And there you have it…
  18. #18
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    That's what I said.

    They blow.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    Is that the rectifier heads you're talking about? Or cabs?
    Heads. I'm not aware of any major design changes to the cabs (which is not to say there haven't been any), but the heads have gone through two major design changes, one IIRC around 1997 or so, and one in 2010. To my ears, the latest revision is far better than the previous, but not as good as the original.

    The Mesa cab is made so rigid that all the resonances went UP in pitch.
    I wonder if my disliking the Orange cabs is due to the same phenomenon. I have always heard them as excessively fizzy.


    otek
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: lets talk about mesa cabs

    What is the major difference of the original mesa heads?

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