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Calling all Mesa Mark owners

I posted this in a Mesa Mark FB group, unfortunately with ZERO reaction, so lets try here as well. I thought this would be at least interesting if not useful, so no idea why not a single reaction, even negative.

Earlier this week I tossed out the idea of us making a Mark III stripe database where we could have "all things being equal" clips of the different stripes, transformers, power modes, mods, tubes... I spent some time making a few simple clips we can use to really make fair comparisons.

I've included all necessary files for you to upload your own clips, you'll just need a Mark amp, load box, and interface. I've included DI clips, DI + 808 clips, amp with no cab clips, amp with cab clips, the cab IR I used, GEQ setting pictures, and a thorough document of my setup and settings. For my setup I used a Mark III green stripe with a Suhr Reactive load into the AX3 as an interface, cab block, and reamp box. Guitar was a LP type guitar with a Dimarzio Super Distortion. Cab IR was a Redwirez 1960 with G12T75 speaker, 57 cap 0.5" and 57 cap off axis 0.5".

Please take a look and thank you very much if you add your own clips!! I think this would be a great resource for us so if I can answer any questions, please let me know.

FREE IR loader plugin
https://lancasteraudio.com/shop/plugins/pulse/
Folder with clips, DI's, notes, settings...
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/uzeaabmpeh95vbm/AACMoeTIuDJ--U7oEfyvot3Ya?dl=0

It'd be cool to get as many Marks as we can, IIB, IIC, IIC+, III, IV, V...
I'd love to get some other clips, but any suggestions or feedback in general is greatly appreciated!
 
Hi, I’m not a Mesa owner anymore, but this sounds interesting. It may help if you describe what the intended use of this database would be once all of the recordings are made and uploaded.
Thanks, I think the use of this database is simply just something for people to hear how similar and different the amps are, and initially how the III stripes differ. Definitely a niche thing, but it'd be a nice resource to have. There's always been a sort of cult following to the Mark series and reading on forums it's an endless "should I get a red or a blue? Does the III sound like a IIC+? should I get the III+ mod?...". I've had all these questions as well and while I love my amp the way it is, it'd be cool to hear the differences.
 

reclavea

Power User
I’m the original owner of a 1986 Mark III, head and cab.

It hasn’t really seen the light of day since I moved to several Triaxes (first version and the Recto mod).

I think it’s a black stripe ...not sure.

I did send it back to Mesa to have it fully maintenance.

They changed out some parts, tubes and all the graphic sliders.

It does not sound the same for some reason 🤔🤷🏻‍♂️...less dimensional, less transparency and that incredible magic was all but gone.

Again, it’s been under cover since.
 
I’m the original owner of a 1986 Mark III, head and cab.

It hasn’t really seen the light of day since I moved to several Triaxes (first version and the Recto mod).

I think it’s a black stripe ...not sure.

I did send it back to Mesa to have it fully maintenance.

They changed out some parts, tubes and all the graphic sliders.

It does not sound the same for some reason 🤔🤷🏻‍♂️...less dimensional, less transparency and that incredible magic was all but gone.

Again, it’s been under cover since.
That's weird, I wonder what happened. When I talked to Mike B he told me if anything was unusual with my amp he'd call me so I could decide if I wanted to keep it as is, or continue with the service. He plays so many of these he can tell right away if anything is off about it (for better or worse). It's a shame that didn't happen with yours.

If you decide to bust it out it'd be great to have clips of yours as well.
 

BillyZeppa

Power User
I’m the original owner of a 1986 Mark III, head and cab.

It hasn’t really seen the light of day since I moved to several Triaxes (first version and the Recto mod).

I think it’s a black stripe ...not sure.

I did send it back to Mesa to have it fully maintenance.

They changed out some parts, tubes and all the graphic sliders.

It does not sound the same for some reason 🤔🤷🏻‍♂️...less dimensional, less transparency and that incredible magic was all but gone.

Again, it’s been under cover since.
My III also lost its 'magic' when i had to change the resistors on the power tubes to stop the amp from blowing fuses. The tubes also stopped glowing blue when you played. I made the modification according to MESA instructions.
 

reclavea

Power User
My III also lost its 'magic' when i had to change the resistors on the power tubes to stop the amp from blowing fuses. The tubes also stopped glowing blue when you played. I made the modification according to MESA instructions.
Wow.

We should iron this out! These things sound incredibly massive with tons of headroom and “full of tone”!!!....when everything is as it should be!
 

BillyZeppa

Power User
I think the problem may have been related to changes in the 6L6 or EL34 tubes being manufactured vs. the ones that my III was factory calibrated for. I think the replacement resistor value was a step too far - too conservative? I'd rather be able to get the tone back even if that means going through tubes a little faster.
 

Donnie B.

Inspired
HUGE Mark lover here. Got my first around 1980. I can't remember everything I've owned
but I never really paid any attention to the various 'flavors' of each model. Have been reading up on it a lot lately.
Very cool history. I'm currently in a smaller room so a Mark Five 25 is working these days.



I'm not sure the value of the database if we're all using different guitars/pickups and different rest of the
signal chain except for the amp. And then what tubes and how old are they?
And with this head alone the tonal options are nuts. 6 pre-amp voices/graphic EQ/2 OT voicings.
Where to start?
 

reclavea

Power User
I think the problem may have been related to changes in the 6L6 or EL34 tubes being manufactured vs. the ones that my III was factory calibrated for. I think the replacement resistor value was a step too far - too conservative? I'd rather be able to get the tone back even if that means going through tubes a little faster.
Yes....it may be the changes in the tubes manufacture. I remember when the Chinese tubes was the rave at a point in time in the late 80's and 90's.

I'll follow up with Mesa on this.

I might add...my 2x12 had two EV 12L !!
 
HUGE Mark lover here. Got my first around 1980. I can't remember everything I've owned
but I never really paid any attention to the various 'flavors' of each model. Have been reading up on it a lot lately.
Very cool history. I'm currently in a smaller room so a Mark Five 25 is working these days.



I'm not sure the value of the database if we're all using different guitars/pickups and different rest of the
signal chain except for the amp. And then what tubes and how old are they?
And with this head alone the tonal options are nuts. 6 pre-amp voices/graphic EQ/2 OT voicings.
Where to start?
In the folder I linked there are DI's, thorough notes and settings, and cab IR's so the only differences are the amp and tubes. If you want to supply any additional DI's, settings, and IR's I can reamp my Mark 3 again.
 
I think the problem may have been related to changes in the 6L6 or EL34 tubes being manufactured vs. the ones that my III was factory calibrated for. I think the replacement resistor value was a step too far - too conservative? I'd rather be able to get the tone back even if that means going through tubes a little faster.
After your amp was serviced did you immediately swap in newer tubes? I'm currently running Winged C 6l6 and el34's and while I haven't experimented much with different power tubes, I'd be sure to pop these back in after any work is done.
 

BillyZeppa

Power User
After your amp was serviced did you immediately swap in newer tubes? I'm currently running Winged C 6l6 and el34's and while I haven't experimented much with different power tubes, I'd be sure to pop these back in after any work is done.
good question, SalazarMcManti. As i recall, i was popping tubes so i called Mesa and they told me what two resistors to replace - so i imagine that i didn't change the tubes in use at the same time as the mod was made. that would indicate that the resistors are the likely cause of change in tone.
 

ElectricPhase

Power User
My Mark III Simul-Class blue stripe is languishing in storage....a real shame, I remember it having the most extraordinary clean tone. I'd be scared to power it on without a full vetting by an outstanding amp tech at this point. Maybe someday.
 

HerrSquid

Inspired
My Mark III Simul-Class blue stripe is languishing in storage....a real shame, I remember it having the most extraordinary clean tone. I'd be scared to power it on without a full vetting by an outstanding amp tech at this point. Maybe someday.
Mine is sitting on the opposite side of the room from me, and when I fire it up, it sounds more, er, "relaxed" than I remember from 1988 and the pots are kinda scratchy, but it does work just fine. Those boogers are pretty tough.
 
Speaking of, does anyone else notice a decent amount of "play" in the knobs? They are full tightened, it's the pots themselves, but I can set a knob at 6 but wiggle it from probably 5.5 to 6.5. Only the push pulls, not the reverb or presence.

I guess another use of this database is it could help to know if there's a problem with your Mark, or if it's been modded... Hear another green stripe all things being the same, but there's a substantial difference? Might be useful info.
 
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