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|Founded||Petaluma, California, United States (1969)|
|Headquarters||Petaluma, California, United States|
MESA was started by Randall Smith as a small repair shop, which modified Fender combo amplifiers. Smith's modifications gave the small amps much more input gain, making them much louder as well as creating a unique (for the time) distorted guitar tone. Prominent early customers included Carlos Santana, and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones. Exposure from these top players helped to establish Mesa/Boogie's position on the market.
- 1 History
- 2 Products
- 2.1 Mesa Boogie Mark Series
- 2.2 Rectifier Series
- 2.3 Lone Star
- 2.4 Stiletto
- 2.5 Express
- 2.6 Atlantic Series
- 2.7 Electra Dyne
- 2.8 Pre-amps
- 2.9 Bass amps
- 3 Discontinued products
- 4 Notable users
- 5 References
- 6 External links
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
Randall Smith, the creator of Mesa/Boogie, began his career by co-founding Prune Music, a Chinese grocery store turned music shop located in Mill Valley, CA. Working as a repair tech while his business partner and friend, David Kessner, ran the front, Smith quickly gained a reputation with the local San Francisco Bay Area musicians. This reputation brought him business from bands including the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Carlos Santana.
In 1969, Smith, on a whim, modified Barry Melton's Fender Princeton amplifier. He removed the standard 10-inch speaker and modified the chassis to fit the larger transformers from a Fender Bassman, the circuit that he had adapted to the tiny 12 watt Princeton. Finally, Mounting a 12 inch JBL D-120, a popular speaker of the time, Smith had created what would be the first Boogie.
Needing to test his creation, Smith took the "hot-rodded" Princeton to the front of the store, where Carlos Santana was present. Santana "wailed through that little amp until people were blocking the sidewalk". Impressed, Santana allegedly exclaimed to Smith, "Man, that little thing really boogies!" It was this statement that brought the Boogie name to fruition.
The MESA name came about through Smith's other job, rebuilding Mercedes engines and repairing houses. He needed an 'official' sounding name, through which to buy Mercedes parts and building supplies, and chose MESA Engineering. It was originally spelled with all capital letters but has been written as Mesa in recent years.
In 1971, bassist Patrick Burke approached Randall with a proposal for a custom Bass amp. Smith was persuaded and constructed the Snakeskin Mesa 450 - Smith's first bass amplifier and the first official Mesa/Boogie product.
The real breakthrough came when Smith began building a preamplifier project for Lee Michaels to drive his new Crown DC-300 power amplifiers. Not knowing what signal was required to drive the power amps, Smith added an extra tube gain stage to the preamp, with three variable gain controls at different points in the circuit. In adding this extra gain stage, Smith had created the first high-gain amplifier. He set about designing a guitar amplifier around the new principle, and in 1972 the Mark I was released.
He produced a number of custom variations on the Mark I through the late 1970s, with options including reverb, EQ, various speakers (most often Altec or Electro-Voice), koa wood jointed cabinets, and wicker grill. The Mark II was released in 1978.
In the 1980s, Mesa continued to produce combo and head amplifiers, and began production of rack power and pre-amps, developing power amplifiers such as the M180/190 and Strategy series, as well as pre-amps such as the Quad and Studio. Other models developed in the 1980s included the Mark III, the Son of Boogie, and the Studio .22.
In the 1990s, Mesa launched the smaller Dual Caliber series and the more powerful Rectifier series.
Production of new models has continued into the 2000s, with models such as the Road King II, the Lone Star and Lone Star Special, and the Stiletto and Express lines.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2013)|
Mesa Boogie Mark Series
The Mark Series of amplifiers was Mesa's flagship product until the introduction of the Rectifier series. It was introduced in 1971 and is still being produced today. The most recent model is the Mark V.
Introduced in the Mark II-B was the Simul-Class power amplifier stage, which combined tubes running in Class A and Class AB through the same output transformer. The Simul-Class system has been a staple in Mark Series amplifiers since then, as well as the 5-band graphic equalizer, both exclusive to the line until the introduction of the Dual Caliber series, and select power amplifiers.
The Rectifier series is Mesa's flagship line.
The line-up began as the Dual Rectifier series of amps, which included the Solo, Heartbreaker, Maverick, and Blue Angel*. All amps in the series, except for the Blue Angel had two forms of electrical rectification (conversion of power from AC to DC): Silicon diodes and one or more vacuum tube(s) that the user could select via a switch located on the back panel of the amplifier (hence the name "Dual Rectifier").
While the Heartbreaker and Maverick used only one 5AR4 tube rectifier, the Solo employed two 5U4G tubes. This distinction engendered the misconception that the name Dual Rectifier was derived from this amp; the Solo's popularity only reinforced this misconception. Future designs would further contradict and confuse the line's namesake.
* The Blue Angel was designed with only a vacuum tube rectifier but retained the Dual Rectifier designation.
In short order, Randall Smith stopped production of the other Dual Rectifier amps and concentrated on producing different configurations of the Solo, which became the Dual Rectifier.
The Solo, with its visceral aesthetic and aggressive gain structure, soon became the most popular model of the Dual Rectifier series. The cascading gain preamp circuit is largely borrowed from high-gain amplifier designer Mike Soldano and his Super Lead Overdrive 100 amplifier (SLO 100). Early Dual Rectifiers are often said to sound very similar to SLO 100's due to this. Equipped with five 12AX7 preamp tubes and a quartet of 6L6 power tubes, the Solo produces 70-100 watts, depending on power options chosen. A bias select switch is standard, allowing the user to switch between EL34 and 6L6 power tubes without re-biasing. Originally designed with two channels (though not true parallel channel circuits) the amp later evolved to three channels.
The earliest Dual Rectifier was a heavily modified Mark IV, or at least, was fitted in a Mark IV chassis during the prototype stage. This was one of what became known as the elusive Revision A/B amplifiers. These would only see limited production as prototypes, and were never sold to the public.
Revision C was the first to be sold. It featured two independent channels: Orange, or "Vintage", and Red, or "Modern". If the player so desired, the Orange channel could be switched via rear panel rocker to a clean channel, and the Red channel could be switched in much the same manner to "Vintage". Later revisions were produced up to Rev F, which is considered the last of the coveted "Pre-500" Dual Rectifiers, referring to their serial number being in or below the 500's. After that, many players argue that Revision G lost a certain character that the others had. Some believe it was because Mesa had switched transformer suppliers, but that theory has been debunked since some Rev G amplifiers were still equipped with the older transformers, made by Schumacher Electric.
After Revision G went out of production, the Dual Rectifier received a third dedicated clean channel, in addition to the Orange and Red channels. Later revisions added voicing switches, and minor circuit tweaks until the 3-channel went out of production in 2010.
In 2010, after the 3-channel was phased out, production began on the "Reborn" Dual Rectifier. This new revision attempted to capture the tone of the legendary Pre-500 amplifiers, while making the Orange and Red channels duplicates of each other for improved flexibility. The clean channel was re-worked to be more responsive and have a wider range of gain saturation in both voicings. Multi-Watt capabilities were added per channel, which offered switching between 100 or 50 watts and 4 or 2 power tubes respectively. Recto-Tracking per channel was also introduced, much like the implementation on the Road King, or Roadster. An improved footswitch was also implemented, along with an integrated mute function.
As the name implies, the Single rectifier shared roughly the same preamp as the Dual, but was fitted with only a silicon diode rectifier. Power output is only 50 watts with only two 6L6GCs or EL34s in the power section. The Single Rectifier originally had two channels, much like Rev C thru G of the Dual Rectifier. It received a revision that added an additional mode to the Lead channel, in this case Raw, and added the option to run either 6L6s or EL34s (the first series could only run 6L6s). The circuit in the Single Rectifier has remained much the same since it was updated, and was not included in the "Reborn" model refresh in 2010.
The Triple Rectifier* is equivalent to the Coliseum option for Mark Series amplifiers. It featured a more powerful output section with six power tubes, and as the name implies, three 5U4G rectifier tubes (though technically it has 4 rectifiers as it also has silicon diodes).
* The term Dual Rectifier originally referred to the two options available to rectify the high voltage current being supplied to the amplifier. However, lesser-informed players assumed it referred to the dual 5U4 tubes in the amplifier, though the Single Rectifier was clearly lacking one, as its name would be interpreted by these players. The laymen's interpretation was bestowed upon the Triple Rectifier, to the disappointment of die-hard fans, indicating triple 5U4 tubes, probably due to lack of a better name.
The Triple Rectifier was not developed along with the other Pre-500 models, and was introduced later. Early models of the Triple Rectifier contained 2 channels (Orange and Red). It currently has 3 channels and many of the same features as the Dual Rectifier, with the exception of a higher headroom power amplifier. The Triple Rectifier was included in the "Reborn" refresh in 2011, making it sound closer to the Pre-500 amplifiers, adding per-channel Recto-Tracking, and Multi-Watt switches for selecting 150 or 50 watts of output power.
Rect-o-Verb and Trem-o-Verb
These variants of the Single Rectifier and Dual Rectifier introduced tube-driven spring reverb, and optical tremolo effect (volume modulation similar in operation to Fender's mislabeled Vibrato feature on blackface amplifiers, except the tube circuitry was substituted for a "555" timer circuit) respectively. These amplifiers were offered in head and 2x12 combo formats with the original two channel design of the Single Rectifier.
The Trem-o-Verb also received an additional mode to the Red channel known as "Blues" mode, which could be used as another type of clean all the way to overdrive channel. This mode had a stronger mid-range emphasis than other modes and is one of the reasons this amp is still sought after today.
Mesa Boogie then produced the most feature - and option - laden iteration of the original Solo design: the Road King. It features four channels, each with two different speaker outputs, two effects loops, and Progressive Linkage, which allows five different power tube configurations (two 6L6, two EL34, two 6L6 plus two EL34, four 6L6, four 6L6 plus two EL34), indicated by different LED lights on the front of the amplifier. The amp also features Recto-Tracking, which automatically selects the appropriate rectification (single or dual 5U4s or silicon diode) depending on the power tube configuration. Even after the introduction of the Mark V, which draws many features from the Road King, the Road King Series II still remains Mesa's most versatile (and at first glance, complex) amplifier.
In response to complaints from some that the Road King was too complex, the Dual Rectifier Roadster was introduced. A scaled-down and less expensive version of the Road King that had fewer options for the power amp and speakers while retaining four independent channels.
Mini Rectifier Twenty-Five
In response to the growing demand for low-wattage and more portable amplifiers, the Mini Rectifier Twenty-Five was introduced in 2011. It is constructed in a similar manner to the Transatlantic Series, with an aluminum outer shell in lieu of the traditional vinyl-covered wooden shell of Mesa's larger amplifiers. The amplifier features two independent channels: a Green channel housing clean and pushed voicings found on the Green channel of newer Dual Rectifiers, and a Red channel containing the Vintage and Modern voicings of the corresponding channel on the new Dual Rectifier. The amplifier is equipped with multi-watt switches per channel, which switch between 25 watts Class AB, and 10 watts Class AB. The switches are effectively Pentode/Triode switches, as there is no Class A or Single-Ended mode as in the TA-15. The rear of the amplifier is stripped of all jacks, knobs and switches found on its larger siblings, with the exception of an effects loop, and two speaker outputs.
The Lone Star amplifier was released in 2004 with the tag "Tone as big as Texas", and now comes in two variants, Classic and Special. The Classic can be compared to Fender's Blackface amps, while the Special is voiced more similarly to the Vox AC30.
The Lone Star Classic amplifier was designed to recreate the tones of Texas blues guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, though it also features a clean channel. Both channels are capable of switching between 50 watts and 100 watts, with the option of a tube rectifier in the 50 watt mode. In 2007 Mesa added a 10 watt Class A option to both channels.
The Lone Star Special was released in 2005. The Special featured EL84 tubes, rather than the 6L6 tubes used in the Classic. It is switchable between 5, 15, and 30 watts. The 30 watt selection uses a solid-state rectifier for a cleaner tone, while the 5 and 15 watt settings use a tube rectifier for a warmer, grittier, sound. The 5 watt setting uses one power tube producing singled-ended Class A amplification (the other two settings produce push/pull Class A amplification ). This lowers the power, allowing the tube to saturate at lower volumes, producing overdrive. In addition, the second harmonic (an octave above) is not canceled out, resulting in a richer overtone.
The Stiletto "Stage I" was released in 2004, and is designed as a British-flavored variant of the Rectifier series. This was in response to musicians using Marshall amplifiers combined with Mesa/Boogie amplifiers. Three models were released; the Ace, the Deuce, and the Trident. All three come standard with EL34 tubes.
The Deuce is a 100 W dual-rectified four EL34 powered head. The Trident is the highest output power of the Stiletto line, with a switchable 50 W/150 W power rating. It has six EL34 power tubes and three 5U4 rectifiers.
As of the 2006 model year, all previous models are generally referred to as "Stage I" versions, and have been replaced by the new "Stage II" versions. The Ace is the first of the "Stage II" series. It is a 50 watt amp that is available in different formats. The "Stage II" models have several features that were not available in the first series. This features are RE-voiced modes, two new clean modes named Fat and Tite, a Fluid-Drive mode and faster power supply.
As of December 2009, Mesa/Boogie no longer produces the Stiletto Trident head.
The Express line of guitar amplifiers was released in 2007, and has essentially replaced the F-Series in the Mesa Boogie line up. Although not directly descended from the F-Series, these two lines do have some features in common, some of which have been expanded upon in the Express line. This amp uses solid-state rectification like the F series.
The Express line introduced Mesa's Duo-Class technology. This technology offers the ability to run the power section of the amplifier in either true class A (single-ended) mode, or true class AB (push-pull) mode. This allows the operator to choose between running the amplifier at a reduced power output of 5 watts (class A), or full power (class AB). When run in 5 watt (Class A) mode, the power section is operating on only one vacuum tube.
There are two different models offered in the Express line; the 5:25, which has a maximum power output of 25 watts; and the 5:50, which has a maximum power output of 50 watts.
The 5:25 operates on two EL84 tubes in the power section, and produces a maximum rated power output of 25 watts. It is available as either a Short Chassis Head (19 inches wide), or a 1x10 (Open Back) Combo unit containing one E50 Speaker, and comes with casters included. They also offer a 1x12 (Open Back) Combo unit with one V30 Speaker, which offers a bigger sound over the 10" speaker.
The 5:50 operates on two 6L6 tubes in the power section, and produces a maximum rated power output of 50 watts. It is available as a Medium Head (width 22-7/8in), a Long Head (width 26-1/4in), a 1x12 (Open Back) Combo unit containing one C90 Speaker, or a 2x12 (Open Back) Combo unit containing two C90 Speakers. Both Combo units come with casters included.
Common features among the models in the Express line are as follows:
- Fixed bias current
- Five 12AX7 tubes
- Two fully independent channels with four style modes (channel 1 = Clean or Crunch, channel 2 = Blues or Burn)
- Independent gain, treble, mid, bass, reverb, master and contour controls per channel
- Footswitchable Variable Contour Control on each channel, which Mesa Boogie says provides the power of their traditional five-band graphic EQ from one rotary control
- All tube, long spring reverb
- All tube FX Loop external switching Jacks for channel 1/2, contour 1, contour 2, reverb
- Three button footswitch (Channel 1/2, reverb and contour)
The Atlantic Series was launched officially at Winter NAMM 2010 with the release of the Transatlantic TA-15. At first, this was seen as Mesa's foray into the rapidly growing "Lunchbox Amplifier" market, but with the recent introduction of the Royal Atlantic RA-100, featuring a full sized head form factor, the line has expanded outside of the aforementioned compact market segment.
The TA-15 was launched at Winter NAMM 2010 as Mesa's entry into the "Lunchbox Amplifier" Market. However, in true Mesa fashion, it was designed to bring something new to the table in the form of two discrete channels with separate two-band tone stacks, and dedicated voicing and Multi-Watt switches per channel. The "Green Channel" pays homage to the classic "chimey" sound of the Vox AC30 with switchable Normal and Top Boost settings, complete with the trademark Vox "cut" control. The cut control is located on a push/pull potentiometer, which when pulled, locks the cut control to a preset value, and allows the potentiometer to function as a master volume. The "Red Channel" contains three modes:
- Tweed (which ironically, resembles an unspecified Blackface-era Fender)
- Hi 1 (which models higher gain British sounds commonly associated with Marshall, Hiwatt, and Orange)
- Hi 2 (which simulates the "liquid lead sound" that Mesa is famous for)
Both channels have a Multi-Watt switch, which adjusts the operating mode of the EL84/6BQ5 based power amplifier to the player's taste. The 25 watt mode operates in 25 watts Class AB, 15 in 15 watts Class A, and 5 in 5 watts single-ended Class A.
The TA-30 addressed the limitations of the smaller TA-15, because of its enlarged size. The wider 19" chassis includes the same preamp controls and voicings as the TA-15, but with the addition of a tube driven reverb/effects loop circuit. The "Red Channel" also removes the volume control in favor of a push/pull potentiometer, which in normal operation, acts as a volume control, but when pulled, boosts the signal, thus creating more gain saturation. The TA-30 also has an upgraded power amplifier producing 40 watts of output dissipation in Class AB, 30 watts in Class A, or 15 watts in Class A. The TA-30 is also offered in a 1x12 or 2x12 combo cabinet, as well as a new rack-mounted chassis.
Royal Atlantic RA-100
The RA-100 was introduced alongside of the TA-30 in 2011. It only resembles the other amplifiers in the series in name, and aesthetics. The preamp was changed to a three-channel design. This included a dedicated clean channel, and a second channel with two modes. The 3-channel/mode system resembles the Electra Dyne to some extent, but Mesa insists that it is a totally different design, concentrating on the British gain sounds found on the other members of the Atlantic series. The amplifier sports an EL34/6CA7 based power section, with accommodations for a 6L6GC retrofit. Unlike the other members of the series, the RA-100 forgoes Multi-Watt capabilities in favor of a multi-step attenuation system billed as Multi-Soak. Each channel has a dedicated rotary switch used to select the amount of signal received by the speaker(s).
The Electra Dyne was introduced in 2009 alongside the Mark V at that year's Winter NAMM show. While the Mark V can appear complicated with many knobs, switches, lights, and sliders, the Electra Dyne was created to be the polar opposite. It features six knobs and one switch on the front panel (not including the Power and Standby switches), the first Mesa amplifier with this few controls since the Mark 1. The Electra Dyne is a single-channel amplifier with three foot-switchable modes:
- Clean (a recreation of the standard clean channel found on the Mark IV)
- Vintage Low
- Vintage High (based on hot-rodded British designs)
Stacked potentiometers, and isolated preamp circuits facilitate balanced sounds, while facilitating the simple controls. The amplifier also features a tube-driven spring reverb and effects loop, as well as several additional balancing controls on the rear panel, assuring maximum versatility from a minimum of controls. The Electra Dyne happens to be the first Mesa amplifier outside the Mark Series which employs a Simul-Class output section, which runs a Class A power amplifier and a Class AB power amplifier simultaneously through the same output transformer. The output can be switched between 90 watts and 45 watts.
A five-tube preamp built to put all of the Mark series amps into one package. The Triaxis combines the clean tones of the Mark IV and the crunch of the Mark IIc series.
Rectifier recording preamp
The rectifier recording preamp is a rectifier model designed for silent recording. It can also be used as the front end of a rack mounted setup.
The current lineup of Bass Amps includes the simul-state Big Block series, M-Pulse, M9 Carbine, M6 Carbine, and Walkabout. The Big Block models, namely the Big Block 750 and the Titan V12, are powerful MOSFET-based amps that are aimed toward rock and heavy metal musicians because of their overdrive, all-tube preamp, simple control layout and extreme volume.
The M-Pulse line includes the M-Pulse 600, the Walkabout, and now-discontinued M-Pulse 360. These amps offer an extremely flexible parametric equalizer as well as a strong, high-headroom clean tone. The Walkabout is a smaller, more portable version of the M-Pulse. All current M-Pulse models are offered in a combo version. The new M6 Carbine amp (formerly named the Fathom) is a basic, more affordable amp that has more of a fast, solid-state feel than the other MOSFET amps, and is geared toward bassists who prefer such an amp.
Mesa's most famous contribution to the bass world stems from its line of all-tube bass amps. The first was the D-180, which ran from 1982 until mid-1985. It utilized six 6L6GC power tubes to deliver 180-200 watts and featured an optional six-band graphic EQ. It also featured cascading-gain input channels for more "crunch".
Demand for a more powerful amp led to the development of the Bass 400, which replaced the D-180 in mid-1985. It used six 6550 power tubes to push out about 250 watts; however, the cascading-gain channels were replaced with two separate hi- and low-gain channels. Mesa's supply of 6550 tubes was cut short in the late 1980s and they were forced to sell the 400 with 6L6GC tubes, reducing its output to that of the D-180. The solution came in early 1989 in the form of the Bass 400+. It was the same as the 400 in most respects but was powered via twelve 6L6GC tubes for nearly 360 watts of power. The 400+ was discontinued in November 2007.
In operation since the early 1970s, Mesa Boogie has discontinued a number of products as its product lines and market change. Some of the major discontinued products are described below.
The Series 300 was an optional configuration of the Mark IIB through Mark III Series amplifiers. These amplifiers were intended for use by professional touring musicians playing stadium-sized venues without the need for supplemental amplification in the form of a public address, or other audio system. Notable users included Metallica, Prince, John Sykes and The Rolling Stones. Each iteration used an unchanged preamp from a traditional Mark Series amplifier, and added an extended chassis with six output tubes.
Two options were available: A 180 watt Class AB chassis, and a 150 watt Simul-Class chassis. As a result, almost all controls are identical to the amplifier, on which the Series 300 was based. Both options were equipped with a half power switch, and a tube-driven "Limiter" circuit to reduce output in less demanding situations. Limited interest during production, and declining sales led to its discontinuation, however because of its scarcity and novelty, it is an established collector's item in the vintage amplifier market.
The Studio Preamp was Mesa's first stand-alone rack preamplifier for guitar. It featured a control layout similar to the Mark Series amplifiers, on which it was based. The amplifier featured an all tube signal path, a single three-band tone stack shared between two modes, a stereo-return effects loop, integral spring reverb, and a 5-band graphic equalizer. As its name implies, the simple control layout was designed for frequent changes in a recording studio setting; versatility in a live performance was not its intended purpose. Nevertheless, it has been used to fulfill both roles. The Studio Preamp was succeeded by the Quad Preamp.
The Quad Preamp was the second rack preamplifier produced by Mesa. It featured two sets of identical controls shared by four voiced modes, as well as dual graphic equalizers and reverb circuits, and an all tube signal path similar to that of the Studio Preamp. One set of controls manipulates a circuit based on a Mark IIC+ preamp, and the second set controls a Mark III-derived design. Each set was completely independent of the other, utilizing its own 12AX7 (ECC83) preamp tubes. Effects loop and output sections are also tube driven, but share circuitry. MIDI control was a feature found on some, but not all Quad Preamps, but all included a standard hookup to Mesa's proprietary "Abacus" footcontroller. Unlike the Studio Preamp, the Quad was designed with live performance use in mind, adding the complex switching and versatile controls required by musicians in this setting. The TriAxis Preamp has since succeeded the Quad Preamp, and the latter's production has ceased.
The Strategy 400 was a tube power amplifier built by Mesa. It featured stereo capability with 200 watts per channel (400 watts total, hence the name). The Strategy was simultaneously marketed to users of Mesa Studio/Quad preamplifiers as well as other preamplifiers, but also to HiFi consumers for its neutral sound reproduction and sensitive input circuitry.
The Strategy 500 was based on its predecessor, the Strategy 400, but added extra functionality for performance use with the addition of Mesa's Switch-Track suite of features. Output power remained the same as the previous model, but with the addition of Switch-Track the musician could switch between different power amplifier modes, such as input/levels and negative feedback adjustment through presence and deep-extend controls, simultaneous with the mode-switching taking place in either a Studio Preamp, Quad, or TriAxis preamp. Two modes per channel were offered per channel, one intended for clean and the other for lead playing.
Simul 295 Stereo
The Simul 295 was a cousin to the Strategy 400. It offered the same stereo capability, but substituted the Class AB power amplifier for a Simul-Class power amplifier producing 95 watts per channel, or 30 watts per channel in Class A mode. It was built to replicate the Simul-Class power sections in traditional Mesa amplifiers in a rack-mount format. The Simul 295 was discontinued with the introduction of its successor, the 395.
Simul 395 Stereo
The Simul 395 produces the same 95 watts per channel as its predecessor, the 295. However, like the Strategy 500, it adds Switch-Track capabilities to expand on its versatility. 395 also offered a smaller form factor when compared to the 295, occupying only 3 rack units instead of the previous 4U chassis. In order to meet the height constraint, the Class A tubes that were 6CA7 (EL34)s in the 295, were replaced by 6L6s with a shorter glass envelope. The Simul 395 was replaced by the Stereo Simul-Class 2:90 along with the introduction of several other new power amplifiers.
The Mesa Blue Angel was an offshoot of the Rectifier series. It sported a single channel that thrived with jazzy clean tones, but gave an aggressive sound when turned loud. The amps were available in a head, 1x12, 2x10, and 4x10. The amplifiers featured Mesa's Progressive Linkage technology, enabling the use of two 6V6 power tubes and four EL84 tubes. The amplifiers used a single GZ34 rectifier tube and five 12AX7s. Interestingly, the Blue Angel's "Dual Rectification" did not include switching a la Dual Rectifier, but instead used a GZ34 to supply current to the power tubes, while utilizing solid-state rectification for preamp tubes.
Mesa's Nomad series was produced from 1998 until the early 2000s, and were considered a successor to the Caliber series of the 1990s. They boasted three channels with the option of a graphic equalizer on some models. It was sold in 45, 55, and 100 watt variations, and was phased out with the introduction of the F-series.
The Maverick was a Class A, channel switching amp available in a 4x10, 2x12 or 1x12 combo format, as well as a 35 watt head. The 1x12 combo was discontinued after about the first half of the production lifetime of the model. The amp was aimed towards country and classic rock players, and was replaced by the Lone Star.
Pre-amplification is done with six 12ax7's divided over two channels, and power amplification is handled by four EL84's in Class A mode.
Formula recording preamp
The Formula is an all tube 1u rack-mount preamp. Basically a front-end of a Nomad series amp. It has five 12AX7 tubes, two channels plus assignable/switchable 5 band graphic equalizer. Touted as being a direct-to-tape recording tool, having built in mic/speaker emulation as to set the user free to record spontaneously without the hassle of speaker cabs and mic placement etc.
The preamp did not gain acceptance most likely due to the fact that the direct recording tone was not optimal. Whilst sonically offering good vintage style clean tones and blues/fusion style lead tones, those looking for rock and more modern sounds felt left out.
There are third-party amateur produced modifications available that apparently improve on the circuitry to make the gain channels more usable.
The F-Series debuted in 2002 as the spiritual successors to the early 1990s Dual Caliber series. There were three sizes; the F30 (30 watts), the F50 (50 watts) and the F100 (100 watts). In 2007 the F-Series was replaced by the Express line of amplifiers.
The smallest amplifier in the series was the F30. Rather than 6L6 tubes, it uses two EL84s in its power section. It was available in a 'shorthead' version or as a 1x12 combo.
The F50 was the most critically acclaimed model, featuring two 6L6 tubes in the power amp and using solid-state rectification. It is available as a 'medium head' version, or a 1x12 'widebody' combo. Early 1x12 models shared the same size combo as the F30.
The F100 used a quartet of 6L6s for 100 W output, with a 60/100 W switch. It was available as a 2x12 combo or in a 'long head' version.
- Hunter, Dave. Guitar: A complete guide for the player. ISBN 1-57145-561-2
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