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Accurate low-end in Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+, Mark V, JP-2C

LucasLeCompte

Experienced
Maybe I am weird but I dont care if the low end is "correct" or not. I just put enough bass in any amp that I am trying to get a good tone out so that it doesnt sound super boomy, and then go from there. I also find that the Axe fx does a great job with lowend that a lot of VST dont get correct.
 
I do sometimes think about buying the Mesa GEQ pedal to run in the AFX loop for this purpose.
Very interesting idea. This might help to confirm whether the secret of tight Mark-chugging is a Mesa EQ (as opposed to other elements of the chain). Does anyone out there have a Boogie Five-Band Graphic EQ? https://mesaboogie.com/pedals--related/eq-pedals/boogie-graphic-eq.html

Is this what you're talking about? Edit: I posted before watching your YT video. YES! I have this exact same concern, and posted the same exact sound in this video here. Watching this thread.
Yes that's EXACTLY what I'm talking about! I've edited my original post to include this great clip, thanks.

It's also worth mentioning that the videos in the OP aren't comparing apples to apples. The speakers / IR's and room ambience are nowhere close to the same, so even if you literally took that specific Mark V25 John Petrucci is playing and plugged it into that Axe-Fx rig used in the Axe-Fx video, the two videos are still going to sound massively different. There's a lot more mids and much less high-treble in John's video, along with a lot of room reverb/ambience, while the Axe-Fx video sounds much more direct with more high treble and almost no room ambience. Those factors alone make a huge difference.
Are you proposing that the secret to Mark-chugging is post-amp? I somehow doubt this is true. The chugging sounds more related to the characteristic of the distortion, rather than a post-amp filter (like a cab) through which the distorted signal passes.
 

Dave Merrill

Fractal Fanatic
Very interesting idea. This might help to confirm whether the secret of tight Mark-chugging is a Mesa EQ (as opposed to other elements of the chain). Does anyone out there have a Boogie Five-Band Graphic EQ? https://mesaboogie.com/pedals--related/eq-pedals/boogie-graphic-eq.html


Yes that's EXACTLY what I'm talking about! I've edited my original post to include this great clip, thanks.


Are you proposing that the secret to Mark-chugging is post-amp? I somehow doubt this is true. The chugging sounds more related to the characteristic of the distortion, rather than a post-amp filter (like a cab) through which the distorted signal passes.
It's at least partly about cutting low end going into the distortion stages, then putting it back after with the GEQ. So it's not exactly the EQ itself, it's the frequency-selective gain staging it allows.
 

la noise

Fractal Fanatic
I think
It's at least partly about cutting low end going into the distortion stages, then putting it back after with the GEQ. So it's not exactly the EQ itself, it's the frequency-selective gain staging it allows.

This! Any Mark series amp with the GEQ (including the JP2C is about dialing in the
appropriate Bass reduction on the tone stack, which is pre-gain, and then dialing
in the necessary Bass boost on the post-gain GEQ.

I have seen a lot of @2112 /Leon's videos describing how he achieves this. It can be
a delicate balancing act to achieve---and can vary depending on the guitar used, in
my experience.
 

TSJMajesty

Power User
Maybe I am weird but I dont care if the low end is "correct" or not.
The reason I feel it's an important aspect, is there's lots of songs around which the JP2C was designed for that have those double 16 notes as a pickup to whatever follows, and the tighter they are, the better the mix sounds. And to be real about it, it's not something just having the right tone will get you. Your technique has to be just right, which includes consistency of pick attack, angle of the pick, and the right amount of palm mute. When it's right, it's an awesome sound, assuming you like that sort of thing.
 

la noise

Fractal Fanatic
Isn't John using different GEQ settings for his Rhythm and Lead tones??

From an interview with his guitar tech:

Everything that’s been designed into this amp has been designed from a performance standpoint. The one limitation John always had with the old vintage amps was there was one graphic EQ, so he had to compromise. Essentially, we use channel two for all of his rhythm sounds, channel three is all the lead sounds, EQ1 is for the rhythm, EQ2 is for the lead.”

So it would seem that to achieve what he does one would have to make a
distinction between how to properly dial in the low-end for Rhythm and
how he dials in the GEQ for his Lead tones.

So fun geeking out on this stuff. :)
 

la noise

Fractal Fanatic
Sorry.... don't mean to get all nerdy.... but checking out the GEQ settings
on the Output EQ in the Amp Block shows the differences John dialed
in on the Petrucci Rig Fractal Preset for the Yellow/Rhythm and Red/Lead
channels.
 

TSJMajesty

Power User
Sorry.... don't mean to get all nerdy.... but checking out the GEQ settings
on the Output EQ in the Amp Block shows the differences John dialed
in on the Petrucci Rig Fractal Preset for the Yellow/Rhythm and Red/Lead
channels.
As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to anything related to the man himself, you can never get too nerdy. ;) Bring.It.On
 
Not sure I follow you about the bass. JP has said he stops turning the bass knob as soon as it starts to get flubby, which makes sense. Never heard him say anything regarding not letting it distort though. And since we're talking about getting his "chunka chunka" sound, I'd say it's relevant.
As far as not letting the bass distort, I'm not sure how this would work on the many songs of his where he is riding the low E, like during the main riff of Pull Me Under, or say, On The Backs of Angels..., that low E is certainly distorted.
@GreatGreen means the bass flubbing out when he says the bass distorting as that's what flubbing out is, the bass frequencies distorting in the preamp.
 

GreatGreen

Power User
Not sure I follow you about the bass. JP has said he stops turning the bass knob as soon as it starts to get flubby, which makes sense. Never heard him say anything regarding not letting it distort though. And since we're talking about getting his "chunka chunka" sound, I'd say it's relevant.
As far as not letting the bass distort, I'm not sure how this would work on the many songs of his where he is riding the low E, like during the main riff of Pull Me Under, or say, On The Backs of Angels..., that low E is certainly distorted.

If JP is saying that, he and I are in agreement. I said "turn up the bass knob so it's just audible but doesn't distort" which is the same thing as "stop turning up the bass knob if the sound gets flubby." Bass distorting in the preamp is always flubby.

On the songs where JP is chugging, you're not hearing the bass distort. You're hearing the treble and mids distort while the bass stays clean and tight, which is why the amp itself is clear and tight.

One thing you have to understand about the Mesa Mark series is that the knobs control the EQ before preamp distortion and the GEQ sliders control the EQ after preamp distortion. Basically, think of each EQ knob not as an actual EQ knob, but as a specific distortion knob dedicated to its own band of the frequency spectrum, while the GEQ sliders simply make their corresponding frequencies louder and quieter as cleanly as possible.
 
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mr_fender

Axe-Master
Starting with the bass at about 1 is par for the course when dialing in a Mark series Boogie. They basically have a blackface Fender pre-gain tone stack and share the same tendency to get flubby when pushed hard. If you take something like a Deluxe Reverb and drive it hard, it tends to sound pretty loose and flubby. Turn that bass way down and it will tighten right up just like a Mark series Boogie. Like others said above the trick is finding the right balance of pre and post gain EQ to give you the tone and texture you want.

It's also one of the big reasons the Tube Screamer works so well with many overdriven amps. It's got a big low end roll off, so it's basically doing the same thing as turning the pre-gain bass knob way down. Before that, it was the old Rangemaster Treble Booster. Controlling the pre-gain low end is key to many great sounds.
 

GreatGreen

Power User
Are you proposing that the secret to Mark-chugging is post-amp? I somehow doubt this is true. The chugging sounds more related to the characteristic of the distortion, rather than a post-amp filter (like a cab) through which the distorted signal passes.

No, I'm saying that those two videos aren't good for comparison because there are too many unaccounted-for variables in them, most notably the cabs / IR's / room ambience, whatever post-amp factors are influencing the tones in those videos, which are hugely influential to those tones, btw. No matter how similarly the amps are dialed, if everything after them in the chain is different, then the tone is going to be massively different too.
 
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David Tesch

Member
I'm gonna agree with GreatGreen that the IR is a gia-normous factor. I have a blue stripe MKIII and a MKV, and both recto cabs and the old school halfback cabs with black shadows. I made my own comparison tracks and once you run the real amp through a power soak with the same IR as your fractal preset they can be tuned to be identical. I'm happy with what Fractal is done. I'm able to get "my" sound out of it and the dynamics the fractal gives is great.
 

cardinal

Inspired
The low-end tightness of the Mesa Boogie Mark series is particularly tough to model/capture. This thread is about how to get the low-end right in the Axe Fx 3.

Let's start with ML Sound Lab's attempt in 2018 to model the Mark V. In the following clip, a real Mark V with tight bottom-end is played first, and followed by the Axe FX 3 with loose bottom end:*


In contrast, the Choptones Mark IIC+ captures (which don't use an amp block) get closer to the real thing:

Now compare the above samples with the following video of John Petrucci testing a real Mark V:25:

See also this example of John Petrucci discussing his "chug chug" sound through two real JP-2Cs (in stereo):

To me, the real amps' low-end chugs sound significantly better than the model and capture.

So, questions for you all:

1. Has anyone tried the Choptones IIC+ or JP-2C captures with Cygnus? Despite not relying on the amp block, are the Choptones captures better with Cygnus?

2. Is there another preset vendor that has convincingly pulled off the Mark-series "chug"?

3. Is there just no replacement for the real thing when it comes to Mark-series chugging?

* The above ML Sound Labs recording was sourced from this thread: https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/axe-fx-iii-sounds-just-like-my-mesa-boogie-mark-v.143067/
Just to note: in that ML Sound Labs thread, is he saying the clip is the other way around: AFXIII first and Mark V second?
 

TSJMajesty

Power User
For the solutions that have been offered, I'm not certain we're either talking about the same thing, or hearing the same thing.
From the YT clips that Governator and I posted, we're talking about that "woomm woomm", for lack of a better way to describe it in words, that happens immediately after the palm-muted note is picked, that does not exist when JP does those "chuck chuck" palm mutes, that he even mentions are totally choked off. I'm hoping we're first in agreement that that's the issue of focus. I don't think you don't have to run the real amp so loud that it requires an attenuator, and mike it up and use a certain IR to get that choked-off sound. The amp simply reacts that way.

So it seems to me it should also be attainable in the Axe, just in the amp block, without needing a certain IR to make it go away.
I believe, and I could be wrong, that no amount of adjustments afterwards, can remove that rubber band-sounding, after-note 'flub', nor should be necessary. I think it may have something to do with the way the amp is modeled. I've had this concern for a while myself, but chose to work around it by using different amps, since I can't seem to get rid of it. I've tried reducing the bass extremely low, then making it up in the GEQ, as has been suggested, but that doesn't eliminate it, and then the overall tone loses its full bottom.

If it turns out that I end up using a certain block in a certain way, that's after the amp (or maybe even before, although a real JP2C doesn't need a drive pedal to give it that tight, crunch tone, imo), that gets rid of that lingering sound, then I will have learned something valuable, and appreciate it, but it will probably still seem to me like, for example, trying to fix a particularly mid-range, 'honky'-sounding pickup by EQ'ing out those frequencies, rather than replacing it with a better-suited PU.
 
From the YT clips that Governator and I posted, we're talking about that "woomm woomm", for lack of a better way to describe it in words, that happens immediately after the palm-muted note is picked, that does not exist when JP does those "chuck chuck" palm mutes, that he even mentions are totally choked off. I'm hoping we're first in agreement that that's the issue of focus.
Yes I agree - you've stated the issue perfectly.

I believe, and I could be wrong, that no amount of adjustments afterwards, can remove that rubber band-sounding, after-note 'flub', nor should be necessary. I think it may have something to do with the way the amp is modeled.
This brings me back to question #3 in the original post: "Is there just no replacement for the real thing when it comes to Mark-series chugging?" I'd rather not purchase a Mark V to get Mark-series chug, but if the Axe FX 3 won't cover this territory, there's really no other choice!

Just to note: in that ML Sound Labs thread, is he saying the clip is the other way around: AFXIII first and Mark V second?
Yes but later in the thread, the ML Sound Labs gentleman announced that he initially misrepresented which clip was the real amp in order to overcome confirmation bias. The important point, ultimately, is that the first clip was the real amp and the second clip was the Axe Fx 3.
 
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It's at least partly about cutting low end going into the distortion stages, then putting it back after with the GEQ. So it's not exactly the EQ itself, it's the frequency-selective gain staging it allows.
Agreed. What you've said is consistent with John Petrucci's EQ philosophy on tight bass, per his tone tutorial for using a Mark V's channel 3 in "Mark IV mode":


Takeaways:
  • Pre-EQ: dial down to just before the "flub out" point.
  • Post-EQ: "roll in" some of the bass that you took out.
 
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Tonic

Inspired
The low-end tightness of the Mesa Boogie Mark series is particularly tough to model/capture. This thread is about how to get the low-end right in the Axe Fx 3.

Let's start with ML Sound Lab's attempt in 2018 to model the Mark V. In the following clip, a real Mark V with tight bottom-end is played first, and followed by the Axe FX 3 with loose bottom end:*


In contrast, the Choptones Mark IIC+ captures (which don't use an amp block) get closer to the real thing:

Now compare the above samples with the following video of John Petrucci testing a real Mark V:25:

See also this example of John Petrucci discussing his "chug chug" sound through two real JP-2Cs (in stereo):

To me, the real amps' low-end chugs sound significantly better than the model and capture.

So, questions for you all:

1. Has anyone tried the Choptones IIC+ or JP-2C captures with Cygnus? Despite not relying on the amp block, are the Choptones captures better with Cygnus?

2. Is there another preset vendor that has convincingly pulled off the Mark-series "chug"?

3. Is there just no replacement for the real thing when it comes to Mark-series chugging?

* The above ML Sound Labs recording was sourced from this thread: https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/axe-fx-iii-sounds-just-like-my-mesa-boogie-mark-v.143067/

To me Choptones stuff are really bad (I mean all their profiles, IR, presets,...)
Mid frequencies are the most important thing in a guitar sound and all these sounds are way too scooped (IMO)
Of course the John sound is difficult to reproduce exactly.

Here is a sample were I compare my real JP2C with the Axe FX3 model (RED channel without shred mode).
I have used the GEQ on the real mesa and nearly the same settings on the axe fx.
All settings are nearly identical (even the master)
I have touched nothing in advanced settings.
I also use a custom shop Strat with a Humbucker, I'll never reach the low end and saturation of a Majesty 7 strings ;)
But to me, too much gain is also a bad thing on most presets.

I'm also using my FullRes IR's that I began to shoot few weeks ago.
To me one very important thing (and you can hear on the Mark25 video) is the impact of the room sound.
It gives you more mids and less "woofy sound"
Of course I have cut the bass on the amp and boosted with the GEQ


could you find which one is the Axe FX 3?
 
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