tcsned wrote:strummin, what about the Mesa/SMS pairing didn't you like? I've been using my Mark III and Mark IV's power section and it works pretty well. It's hard to get the Mark IV to sound really clean - I think it might be the 8ohm 1x12 speaker at stage volume. I've been thinking of getting a Mesa 50/50 so I'd be interested to hear what your issues were.
tcsned... I might be able to help here on two levels, regarding a compare of the Mesa 50/50 vs. Mark III, when either is paired with the SMS CTP:
- Got my SMS in Feb and gigged a couple times with my original setup for it... SMS --> 50/50 --> JBL E-120s. Sounded great. Sounded pretty much how I'd hoped it would, which is to say... like the nice clear SMS signal into a nice, clear (perhaps a bit of Mesa mids?), powerful 6L6 power amp.
- The 50/50, bough off ebay, busted a gasket very recently (with tech now, but I think it was a bad resistor somewhere).
- Enter Plan B... SMS--> effects return of a Mark III blue stripe simul-class short head. Have now gigged with this a couple times, and love it too.
My gut says it's really not all that different from the 50/50. BUT... I have not been able to A/B the two power sections yet. I'm working form memory of the 50/50 vs current playing of the Mark III.
As soon as I get the 50/50 back from the tech (about 10 days...?), I'm going to compare them back-to-back, to see which goes to my #1 spot. I will post comments here as soon as I do... or PM me, and I'll get back to you. My gut is kinda telling me the Mark III EL-34s are adding a certain sweetness to my overdrive that wasn't there in the 50/50, but that's probably a stupid thing to say until I can play them back-to-back, and rule out bad aural memory!
Regarding keeping things clean: I've had no problem with a very clean signal, at higher volumes than I'd need, with either the Mark III or the 50/50. As someone else noted above, be sure to keep the SMS output knob (on back of unit), pretty low. Brad suggested about 9:00 o'clock to me, but I've found even lower... more like 7:00 or 8:00 o'clock, work better for me. I'm also running the Mark III into 2 8 ohm JBLs, so 4 ohm load... not smart enough to know what diff that makes. When the 50/50 is in there, it runs one channel each, 8 ohm, to it's own JBL.