Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #127726  by Jon S.
 Fri May 10, 2013 8:48 am
ricepr wrote:Weight is an issue.


But I may end up with a McIntosh someday
You sound just like me. My day to end up with a McI came about 6 weeks ago. My MC50 is light weight and freaking loud. Where do you play? Most people buy more amp than we need and then never extract its true greatness because we can't turn it anywhere past 4. If it's not in stadiums, again like me, an MC50 may be all you need. I spent $400 for an excellent condition unit and another $400 to fully service it and add an IEC plug, on-off switch, and 1/4" ins and outs. $800 for a real, perfect McI. Compare that to what a new MESA STEREO 2:FIFTY™ POWER AMP cost.
 #127727  by Smolder
 Fri May 10, 2013 9:10 am
Agree with Jon. Not that heavy. And, with the SMS and a Furman power strip it can fit in a reasonably small rack. It has the volume of a twin or showman, but is much more consistent across the volume range than any fender I've owned (which is a bunch). I think you're likely taking a longer (and possibly more expensive) ride to an eventual Mac. I think I paid $375 for mine and did the maintenance work myself so I have about 450 into it.
 #127746  by JonnyBoy
 Sat May 11, 2013 12:28 am
I used my crate power block for a backup situation (going into cd/aux bypasses the tone stack). I blew a power transistor in my MC100. Sounded pretty good in a pinch. I really think any SS amp would suffice after that situation, one made to enhance a guitar tone stack would be ideal? (if they're really made to be different?) and the Mac seems to ironically pull the SMS tone out like Jerry did with his gear. If I were in your shoes as per question, id go for the RV-100/300 or a mosvalve. The crate I had to adjust the back of the SMS to make it the right volume but still better "Jerry" than running into my combo HRD3 straight because I would have had to adjust all my pedals to react right with tube power section. There is a silght but noticeable compression and tone difference on the tube power side that's nice, but again needs to be adjusted for preamp and pedal side and looses that ballsy Jerry dynamics especially the Envelope filter IMO. It seems like a lot of guys have tried and moved on from preamp->Stand alone Tube. I believe all gear has its +\-. Maybe a bandmaster or twin in a head case if you want a all in one w/ tube power? Just another opinion, ymmv....
 #127749  by wolftigerrosebud
 Sat May 11, 2013 3:29 am
tigerstrat wrote:
wolftigerrosebud wrote:Cons
-While it doesn't detract from the overall sound of the rig, it also doesn't add any character or pleasing aural effects (to my ear).

That one drawback has been enough to make me decide to replace it at some point with either a Mac or a tube power amp
Assuming you meant an SS Mac, wouldn't that and a tube power amp (of any make) be steps in opposite directions? Even the cleanest tube power has a little too much compression for my taste.
In the way you're talking about, yeah -- SS amps and tube amps sound different. In the way I was talking about (character/pleasing aural effects that suit my personal taste), either or both are viable possibilities. The compression of a tube amp can add something, and the ultra-cleanliness of a hi-fi SS can add something. It just comes down to what sounds good to me.

@Jon: I believe we talked about it in another thread and you gave me your recommendations on definition and tone control. Though there was initial improvement at practice volumes, I found the sound didn't wear well on me after performing in some large indoor venues. Nevertheless, I appreciate all the work you've done on getting the RV300 sounding just right. I'm sure the information will be useful for other users of the amp.
 #127847  by Jon S.
 Sun May 12, 2013 6:44 am
Curious - anyone using a Carvin DCM200L studio referenc/guitar amp? Class D, 100 W/channel at 4 or 8 ohms, 1U, 4 lbs. (as a comparison, e.g., the RV300 is around 18 lbs.) A Deadhead friend over on TGP uses one and says it sounds unexpectedly good for Jerry tones. It has a volume control/channel and an EQ Expand switch which is supposed to be voiced to make it more toneful specifically for guitar. At $279 it's not much more than many pedals.

 #127848  by jeager
 Sun May 12, 2013 7:43 am
That Carvin looks interesting. I might have to try it.

I had a nice MC250 when I first started trying to assemble a Jerry rig and it sounded great but I did not like bringing it out. I wish I kept it though just for special occasions and so that I could A/B it with my current power amp. I am using a Mesa 50/50 which i got used for around $375. I don't know how much compression it adds, I guess a little which i probably like to be honest. I really never have to turn the thing up very high, In fact I have to be careful or stage volume becomes too frickin loud. I have tried some of the other solid state amps mentioned and found them to be kinda harsh and prone to real ice picky highs which is a danger when trying to get Garcia tones (and something hate to hear). So I like the mesa because it is clean but but not ice picky but i would be thrilled to find something smaller and lighter that was still pleasing to my ears.

I tried the Quilter Amp last year for a while. Very nicely made Class D guitar amp ... super versatile and easy to move (the head weighs less than ten pounds). i ended up running my SMS through it and it was not bad at all but not as sweet as the MC 250 or the Mesa so I sold it.

While I think it is really cool to try and re-create Jerry's tone and use bit of gear that were similar to what he used I am not seems like having a Fender style amp dialed in appropriately and a JBL (or similar) speaker are the chicken and potatoes... then you can salt and pepper to taste