I should have known better

Em7

deus ex machina
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I purchased a Mark 5:25 combo back in April against my better judgement. I have not been happy with Mesa's increasing internal complexity combined with declining internal build quality for a long time, but I figured that since Randy sold Mesa to Gibson, I may as well get a Mesa amp before the quality declines any further. I have been busy with other things and usually mostly play unplugged these days, so the amp has not seen much in the way of playing time. Well, today, I put the amp in 25W mode on both channels for the first time and no sound whatsoever. I am not going open the amp up because it should be under warranty, but I should have known better than to purchase the amp. Hopefully, this problem will be sorted by Mesa quickly, but for those who thinking about purchasing a new modern Mesa amp, check all features upon arrival.
 

LSchefman

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I have not been happy with Mesa's increasing internal complexity combined with declining internal build quality for a long time, but I figured that since Randy sold Mesa to Gibson, I may as well get a Mesa amp before the quality declines any further.

I've thought about getting a California Tweed for that very reason. It's not like they're going to improve the breed, and it's a nice sounding amp.
 

LSchefman

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I played through one once, it still haunts me...if I had the budget at the moment, I'd snag one.

I have the sister amp, the Fillmore. It's pretty sweet, too. I use it for lots of things, as I do all my amps.

The thing that's giving me pause is that the DG30 is a more authoritative sounding amp that I use pretty much the way I would use the Cali Tweed. When I switch to it after playing through either of my Mesas, it's like The Great Mac Daddy Of Amps came into the room. I think there'd be considerable overlap, and I'd feel stupid about getting the CT.

"What about the fact that your wife would strangle you in your sleep?"

"That, too."

The Fillmore, with its ability to break up early and switch into more Mesa-like gain is more different from the DG than the CT.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't kinda want a Cali Tweed anyway, just for variety's sake. ;)
 
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Napalmsloth

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My Mark V/25 had the same issue with no sound. I had a spare 12AX7 tube and swapped it out one by one till i got sound. A local music store carries MESA branded tubes, so I got one from them and swapped it out for the bad one.
This was about 3 years ago. No problems since then.
My only real issue with the amp is that its very bass heavy. Luckily, there are enough controls to cut a lot of the bass out.

Good luck with yours. Spend some time to dial it in.

Cheers!
 

RickP

Established 1960, Still Not Dead
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Checking every option and channel on any new amp is a solid bit of advice. They’re made by people out of parts made by people… the possibility of failure or greatness is always there.

Sorry to hear about your disappointing experience. I have a Road King II, probably Mesa’s most feature packed and complicated amp ever. It sounds great! I just hope it never breaks down on me, because it is totally outside my skills to repair! I also hope they’ll get you fixed up quickly… they’ve always been great to work with pre-Gib.

I have a California Tweed, and it’s a unique amp. I like it a lot. It looks like the CT and Fillmore will be Randall’s last hurrah under the M/B banner, and that makes me a bit sad. What a run that man has had.
 

LSchefman

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I have a California Tweed, and it’s a unique amp. I like it a lot. It looks like the CT and Fillmore will be Randall’s last hurrah under the M/B banner, and that makes me a bit sad. What a run that man has had.

So true, what a run!

I'm still contemplating a Cali Tweed for my little amp stable. The trouble is, I still don't have a vintage AC30!!
 

Em7

deus ex machina
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I picked the amp up today from the warranty repair center. Let's say that the amp clearly shipped from Mesa with the problem. There was no power tube screen voltage on 25W mode. The problem was due to a defective ribbon cable crimp. Mesa is clearly not performing a complete test of finished amps these days or this problem would have been caught at final test. The use of ribbon cables to interconnect subassemblies is one things that differentiates the older better-built Mesa amps from the new lower quality amp construction techniques Mesa has been using for quite a while. The use of ribbon cable-connected subassemblies really goes against the built to withstand the rigors of touring ethos that made Mesa Engineering. If I recall correctly, Peavey was the first amp manufacturer to use ribbon cable-connected subassemblies. That kind of construction was to be expected on Peavey amps. All I could do is shake my head when Mesa started to use it.
 

DreamTheaterRules

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The problem was due to a defective ribbon cable crimp

uhg...

Peavey was the first amp manufacturer to use ribbon cable-connected subassemblies. That kind of construction was to be expected on Peavey amps. All I could do is shake my head when Mesa started to use it.
As you well know, it's the price you pay for a million features. Multiple channels, with multiple voices on each, and multiple wattage settings each with different power stage styles... there's only so much you can do with regular wiring before it would be a rats next of wires.

And I'm of the belief that the simpler the circuit the more pure, and the more you add to the circuit, the more you take away from the tone. I loved my Mark V but in the end, as much as I loved some of the tones, I constantly had this feeling that this tone it did was thisclose to great, and so was that one, and the other one... yes, it did ALL kinds of tones, but to me in the end, they were close, some very close, but not the killer tones I expected. I often wondered if I should have sold it and started trying older Mark IV's, various Mark III's and even a 2... if you could find one reasonably. But getting the Archon got me off the amp merry-go-round. Great tones easily, instantly, and of many kinds.
 
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Em7

deus ex machina
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uhg...
As you well know, it's the price you pay for a million features. Multiple channels, with multiple voices on each, and multiple wattage settings each with different power stage styles... there's only so much you can do with regular wiring before it would be a rats next of wires.

I was not looking for a ton of features. I was looking for the sound of the original Studio .22 with graphic EQ that I purchased new in 1987. Sadly, with all of the features this amp claims to have, it does not cop that sound. The DCs come close and so does the Express 5:25. The Mark V:25 is really bass heavy in a boomy way like F Series amps. I do not know what Mesa was chasing, but it sounds nothing like a IIC or IV. The original Studio .22 had a true Mark IV-like lead tone.

To be completely honest, I prefer my Wangs heads to the Mark V:25. I have the 1987HW and 2204HW handwired heads. There are few things I would change like using Belton micalex tube sockets instead of the ceramic sockets that Wangs uses and I would use metal film resistors instead of carbon composition resistors (yes, that goes against the vintage mojo grain), but other than that, one cannot touch anything close to these amps for less than $2,000.00 from a western manufacturer. These amps are the deal of a century because they are built for the Chinese market, which is priced in yuan not dollars. The 1987HW and 2204HW are not the typical manufactured in China under contract for a budget price point amps.

Here is a gut shot of the Wangs 2204HW:

x3ILdS3.jpg
 

DreamTheaterRules

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I do not know what Mesa was chasing, but it sounds nothing like a IIC or IV.
The consensus seems to be that he was chasing the “I want to make my little amp sound big” dragon. Many people complain about the same thing with the Bogner ATMA, but I’ve found the bass knob can tame that very well. You just have to turn it WAY down.

Here is a gut shot of the Wangs 2204HW:

That is impressive looking. If it sounds as good as the build looks, you’re golden!
 
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Em7

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The amps sound like Marshalls. The 2204HW sounds as good as the '79 Marshall JMP 2204 I used to own. Wangs is known as a "budget boutique" brand (Wangs is pronounced Wongs). There is a bit of a underground cult following in North America.

There are now quite a few videos of these two amps on YouTube. I ordered the 1987HW in black/black after Darrell Braun posted his video on the Wangs 2204HW. I ordered the 2204HW in black/black after the 1987HW arrived. I could not believe what I got for $720 shipped to my door. Seven hundred dollars does not buy much from an American brand, which is more often than not made in China. I would be hard pressed to build a 1987 or 2204 amp at that price point.

Here's a video comparing the Wangs 2204HW to Marshall JCM 800 Studio. It is not an apples to apples comparison because the JCM 800 Studio is a 20W amp, but still used EL34s just at lower plate voltage.

 
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Faded

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I purchased a brand new Fillmore a few months ago that promptly went back to Mesa for warranty work with defective parts. The dealer ended up swapping it for another amp from a different brand all together. This was the second Fillmore I had with issues. Unfortunately I think I'm done with Mesa.
 

sergiodeblanc

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I often wondered if I should have sold it and started trying older Mark IV's, various Mark III's and even a 2...

That’s exactly what I did.

Well…. I did take a little detour to DG30 land for a year or two but… couldn’t be happier with my MkIVa and .50 cal+ (until sh!t starts breaking and leaking on them).

The best thing about the 90watt MkV was it’s “fat” mode clean channel, and maybe the “crunch” mode on the 2nd channel, but it wasn’t a sound I used enough. Don’t miss my V.
 

LSchefman

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I purchased a brand new Fillmore a few months ago that promptly went back to Mesa for warranty work with defective parts. The dealer ended up swapping it for another amp from a different brand all together. This was the second Fillmore I had with issues. Unfortunately I think I'm done with Mesa.

I've been lucky, and have never had problems with a Mesa; my Fillmore is superb, as is my Lone Star, as was my Tremoverb, Maverick, Blue Angel, Mark V, Bass 400 + and Subway Rocket.

However, there is no doubt in my mind that as nice as my Mesas are and were in the past, my hand-wired PRS amps are in another league, both in terms of tone and build quality. They compare very favorably to my previous Two-Rocks and other boutique amps, and are the ones I've hung onto longest.

That takes nothing away from the Mesas - I use them on my tracks, and they always make the clients happy when I do. I did put NOS tubes in my Mesas, because they sound better that way, but I did the same for my PRS amps.
 
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