Thanks, everyone -- I tried it with the CTP's rear trim pot at full and the level between 11:00 and noon and those changes made a big
difference -- the sound is much louder and not distorted like it was. It sounds much
I'm still hearing something odd occasionally within the first 5-10 minutes of use, like a transient level drop of about 25% with a little distortion/loss of tone thrown in. It lasts for a second or two at a time when it happens. It sounds a little like a blown speaker, but I know it isn't that as I only hear it when I use the Mac as the power amp, not with the Mesa 50/50 or the MV-962 (at higher volume levels). It may be either the Mac or the CTP is still warming up? It does seem to go away after 10 minutes, so I don't know if this is something to be concerned about or just an artifact of the amp and CTP warming up. BTW, the CTP is still very new, with less than 3 hours use, so there may be some break-in related noises with it as well? I know Brad recommended allowing the CTP to run for 30 or more hours continuously to aid with break in, and I still need to do that. I'm going to keep it on for a few days beginning tonight and really let it burn in, so it's possible that may resolve that issue.
I don't have a lot of time yet with either the Mac or the CTP, so I am still getting to know this gear and this setup. As you can tell, I am still getting my head around the right way to use this equipment. I'm loving the tones I'm hearing, but I'm climbing the learning curve on what works/doesn't work.
Another factor may be my guitar signal. At this point my guitar signal is unbuffered and passive, but I have a TPC1 on order and will be incorporating that, new 25k ohm volume pots, and probably an OBEL as well. I had been wanting to make some changes to my guitar for a while, and this site has really helped me crystalize my thoughts and come up with a plan. I think I'm going to be very happy once the dust settles, but in the mean time it's still very much a work in progress.
Anyway, sorry if this rambles a bit, but I greatly appreciate the suggestions you've given me. I was hesitant to run the CTP's rear trim pot at full volume as I assumed the signal I was sending to the Mac was already too hot, but that's clearly what the Mac needs to work as a guitar amp. Before making these corrections I may have been hearing the some output distortion from the Mac, not the input clipping as I had originally thought.
I'm really looking forward to getting this gear sorted out -- this setup is going to produce a very sweet tone once I get these kinks worked out.