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Direct into Mesa Mark 5 combo power section?

bstoner

Inspired
Has anyone tried going direct into a Mesa Mark 5 combo power section? Hows it sound?

Would a QSC K12 a better choice?
 

randombastage

Experienced
I just got a MarkV about a week ago.
Just so you know my frame of reference... I've auditioned the QSC K-12 here in my music room and bought the EV- SxA 250 instead, I find the EV to be better, more like a guitar cab and once I had that EV I thought my days of using guitar cabs and power amps were done.
But....
I wanted to try the MarkV because I just had a gut feeling it held most of my favorite sounds so I bought one.

I've been running the AxeFx Ultra into the MarkV in the 4 cable method. I have one preset with no cab or amp blocks, instead it just has tons of effects with the Effects Loop block in the middle. It is excellent as you might imagine since the AxeFx is a world class effects unit even without the amp and cab sims.

I also have set up a lot of my favorite FRFR presets with the amp and cab bypassed with no effects loop in them so without having to change a single cable all I have to do is call up one of those presets and the MarkV preamp section goes silent and the AxeFx preset uses the MarkV as it's power amp and speaker cab. This sounds AMAZING!
On a few I've found the power amp setting (Sag parameter in the amp block) doesn't need to be turned off, the preset sounds great just as it is.

Another really great thing about when you are running the AxeFx preset through the power section of the MarkV is the MarkV has three channels and each of those have there own relationship with the numerous power tubes, depending on how you have the MarkV options selected you might be running through 2 or 4 power tubes, tube rectifier or diode, etc. so when you have the AxeFx running the show you can select channel 1, 2 or 3 on the MarkV and get a slightly different volume level and characteristic to the sound!
I can't imagine using a simple tube power amp and cab for the AxeFx when I can have the MarkV for that role and then also have all the MarkV offers as an amazing and versatile amp in it's own right.

There is only one reason I would consider the QSC K-12 (or, in my case, the EV SxA 250) to be a better choice, that being when I want to have the cab sims from the AxeFx shape the sound I'm after and there have been a few of my FRFR presets that I don't try to adapt to the MarkV because the cab sim was the heart and soul of the presets character and running it through the MarkV's speaker just doesn't represent it well. So far I don't really miss those few presets though, they weren't really anything I used often, they were just there because I could make them not because I really had a use for them.
The MarkV has cut down a lot on my tweaking time and internet tone comparison surfing etc.

I think it is mostly a psychological thing with me, I don't have any doubts that the MarkV sounds like a real amp so I just play the darn thing instead of obsess over every possible tweak and constantly seek out youtube examples of cabinet A or amp B etc. etc.

To give you an overall feel for where the MarkV has put my head regarding gear, I'm seriously considering buying a TC Electronics G system to see if it can replace my AxeFx/MFC-101 in terms of the effects I actually use and just sticking to the MarkV for my amp/cab solution.
I could make enough money off that switch to probably get over halfway to a Suhr Modern which is my latest GAS pain. It will be a very high hurdle for the G system to clear though because the effects and the routing and the control features of the AxeFx are extraordinary. Having the MarkV as my amp for the last week and the AxeFx taking on only the effects role has reminded me of just how brilliant the AxeFx really is. I was so occupied with making sure I was getting a "real tube" sound and busy tweaking every amp block to it's ultimate state that I never really noticed what a great effects unit I had in the AxeFx Ultra! This week it has been put to that task and it has exceeded all expectation!

Anyway, what ever reason a fellow AxeFX user might have for considering the Mesa MarkV I highly recommend it, even if you never plug your AxeFx into it or don't have any desire to replace your AxeFx with it because I think it might just be the only amplifier that can share the top shelf with an AxeFx in someones arsenal of guitar amp sounds. It is a very versatile amp with lots of character. Just as you don't hear all the AxeFx can do for many months of ownership, it is already evident that the MarkV is loaded with many great voices that way as well.
Channel one alone is capable of producing a wide variety of tones that rival +$2000 boutique amps.
 
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mark_melling

Power User
I was so occupied with making sure I was getting a "real tube" sound and busy tweaking every amp block to it's ultimate state that I never really noticed what a great effects unit I had in the AxeFx Ultra!
Did the same thing..but i actually sold my Ultra when i got my amp..within days i realized that was a HUGE mistake i missed the effects like crazy!!

Bought another Ultra and MCF and with my amp for me it it the most perfect setup..i really wouldn't swap your setup for the G system you will regret it..sure maybe you have to wait a while for the Suhr but show some patience, eventually get the Surh and you have one kick ass rig with no regrets!!
 

bstoner

Inspired
Wow. Sounds like the Mark 5 combo is pretty awesome. Mark are you using the 4 cable method as well?

Have you guys compared the sounds of the Axe directly into FRFR and then direct into the Mark 5? I wonder if you are able to dial in that mark 5 sounds using the FRFR?

And what is different about the tone?

thanks for the responses.
 

Deaj

Experienced
I own a MarkV combo and I concur - amazing amp! I've had it for ~18 months now and it's only gotten better with time. After years of reading rave reviews I finally ordered an Axe-FX (Standard - I use effects sparingly). It won't break my heart if the Axe-FX replaces my amps altogether though. As much as I'm diggin' the MarkV I've long wished for something like the Axe-FX. I'll know more once I've had a chance to play with the Axe-FX for a while. Just thought I'd chime in on the MarkV. It's as close as a tube amp gets to 'modeling' - amazing versatility without compromise IMO!
 

scorch

Experienced
I started out with a Mk V when I got the Axe FX Ultra. It sounded really good ( both 4-wire and staight into FX return). I went and listened to K10's and K12's and traded the Mk V in for two K12's. That was year ago and I'm still very happy with them. That being said, I also have a Fryette 2/50/2 going into 2 2x12 cabs. That also sounds good - BUT, its limiting. As randonbastage suggested, any tube amp & guitar speaker combo has created tone limitations. Its just the nature of the beast. If your happy with THAT tone, then great. But, some patches that sound wonderful through the K12's just sound ...meh...through EL-34's and guitar cabs. I think the whole reason I have the tube power amp and guitar cabs is an over thirty year history of playing with tubes. Emotional attachment.
I'm learning to let them go.
 

hussamd

Power User
The MarkV is a very nice amp. My problem with it is I play at home and I cannot get the best sound without the police showing up at my door. I ended up selling it and the Axe is more than capable of producing similar sound.
 

Deaj

Experienced
The MarkV is a very nice amp. My problem with it is I play at home and I cannot get the best sound without the police showing up at my door. I ended up selling it and the Axe is more than capable of producing similar sound.
Yeah - the MkV can sound great at low volume but it really comes to life when it's pushing air. Assuming the Axe-FX works as well for me as I hope it will I'll only need a good FRFR solution for playing away from home and I'd be willing to let the amps go. I have a feeling the amps won't be getting use at home once I'm up and running with the Axe-FX. I'm not so attached to the specific tones in the MkV but rather its expressive potential - something the Axe-FX has in spades by most accounts.
 

randombastage

Experienced
I found that many amp sounds from the AxeFx need the higher volume to sound good just like a real amp does but over all I'd pick the AxeFx over any real tube amp if I was limited to exceptionally quiet volumes.
The ability to use cab sims really makes a big difference for low volume tone shaping.
On the other hand I have yet to hear any FRFR application deliver what the MarkV (or any tube amp Ive owned) will when it comes to that amp in you face sound.
 

hussamd

Power User
Yeah - the MkV can sound great at low volume but it really comes to life when it's pushing air. Assuming the Axe-FX works as well for me as I hope it will I'll only need a good FRFR solution for playing away from home and I'd be willing to let the amps go. I have a feeling the amps won't be getting use at home once I'm up and running with the Axe-FX. I'm not so attached to the specific tones in the MkV but rather its expressive potential - something the Axe-FX has in spades by most accounts.
I had to add a TS9/MXR Zakk Wylde in front of it to get the nice saturation. Of course that adds noise which necessitates a Decimator, which cuts some of the sensitivity...etc. I got tired of dialing the tone every time. With the Axe it is right there every time. I do play on the loud side at home and have a Carvin TS100 tube power amp into a 4x12 plus the atomic is tube too. Best sound I ever got to date.
 

hussamd

Power User
On the other hand I have yet to hear any FRFR application deliver what the MarkV (or any tube amp Ive owned) will when it comes to that amp in you face sound.
I think I get that with the Axe > Power Amp > 4x12. I just hit the E power chord and soak it in!
 

randombastage

Experienced
Oh definitely with a power amp and guitar cab the AxeFx is all there, I could blindfold people and they would never know what was what if I was using the same cab as the tube amp.
It still has the same limits that any real amp has though when you drop the volume too low, at that point I think the AxeFx into FRFR is the best choice.
I got into modeling because I was living in a place that prevented me from ever being able to turn it up, now I'm in a place where I can almost always turn it up so all my modelers are gone except the AxeFx, so far I just can't let it go.
 

bstoner

Inspired
So I was able to borrow a friends mark 5 and was able to try going direct into the power section. It does sound way better then what im getting going into a frfr and with very little effort. I wish I could get that same sound with the frfr but it always sounds a bit odd. I also tried the 4 cable route which is also really cool.

I realize that going into the mark I am losing cab sims.

So what the secret to frfr? I have downloaded a lot of user presets but still not exactly what I'm lookin for.

Music I play is stp, foo fighter type stuff. Mostly cover stuff.

If anyone has any presets for that type of stuff for frfr please post.

Thanks again
 
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daveg621

New Member
frfr has been quite the struggle for me also. I have a new set of RCF 12a's and although they sound good, I'm finding it easier and more reliable just sending my axe-fx through the power section of my mesa mark III and into a EVM12L loaded thiele cab. In fact I just went through all my patches with this set-up and cab sims off and I think I will just go this route from now on. The theile cab is what makes the difference for me, I've tried different cabs and nothing sounds as good. Eventually I think I will just get another theile w/EV12L and find a good stereo tube power amp. I'm really getting tired of trying to tweak all the parameters in the axe to sound good with frfr.... to much time wasted already.
 
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