Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab - Jemsite
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Argentina
Posts: 19
Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab

Hi all! Iīm hoping you can give me a hand with this setup:

I have a Mesa Rectifier Recording Preamp with a Mesa 2:90 Power Amp (I always leave Deep and Modern voicings on, sometimes I turn on the half-drive as well) running a Marshall 1960B cab, all connected in stereo. Ok:

First of all I know Mesa gear need a lot of tweeking and time to dial in a satisfying tone. The cleans arenīt great but thatīs not reason why I bought this rig. Iīm pretty happy with the dirty channel for rythym but when I have to pull out a solo it just doesnīt work for me, it lacks saturation, sustain, Itīs hard to explain, but just to say something: many will laugh, but I liked the solo tone I got from a Fender frontman 25W with the gain maxed on 10 (at very low volumes, louder than 2 o clock the tone just breaks) than the one I can get with the Mesa. I hope I am doing something wrong? Or is it just the nature of the amp that I canīt get a good solo tone out of it? I know many people use the dual rectifier with an overdrive (like the tubescreamer series), is it for this reason?

I hope you can help me out with some settings for this rig (I tried those factory settings that come with the manual) because Iīm not very happy with the results I`m getting.

I canīt believe I prefer the tone of a maxed on gain 25W solid state amp over a 3000 dollar rig.

Oh, I use the Preamp on 20-30% (I never go up 30% because itīs just not necesary, itīs a very hot preamp) and the Power Amp on 40-60% (quite loud).

Anyway, I hope you can give me a hand and/or suggestions with the settings. Do I need and Overdrive? Or is there something else Iīm missing?

Thanks a lot!!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 11:25 PM
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Location: Brampton, ON Canada
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Re: Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab

I've got a 2:90 also and running it with an Engl E580 and no way would you ever need an overdrive - there is a ridiculous amount of gain and sustain. I've also had a Mesa triple rectifier and not had to use an overdrive with that amp.

I usually leave my 2:90 in the deep setting for my tone but I don't think that would affect the saturation. Have you played with the "Line/Instrument" switch on the back of the 2:90. I always have that switched to Line, it makes a big difference. I assume you are using the "Live Out" to the 2 output channels on the 2:90. Are you using the effects loop? If not you may have to turn it completely off or completely full.

If you have tried all different settings including gain on full, you may want to swap out the preamp tubes. It is quite possible that one or two aren't in great shape. Preamp tubes are pretty inexpensive and easy to replace and don't have to be matched. I recently changed out all 8 power tubes of my 2:90 and the tone and overall power of the amp went up big time.
guitvai1 is offline  
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2011, 12:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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Re: Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab

Originally Posted by guitvai1 View Post
I've got a 2:90 also and running it with an Engl E580
that rig better sound amazing with that E580 lol

If you can't find that tone in your head with some solo boost pedal like the BB preamp or TS then you might want to look at changing tubes. Doing so can have quite an impact on tone.
GroovyTubes is offline  
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2011, 02:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 144
Re: Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab

Also, check the (3)12ax-7 preamp tubes in the 2-90 under the top cover. I love my 2-90
Guiatarded is offline  
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2011, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Argentina
Posts: 19
Re: Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab

Thanks for the replies!

I leave the line switch on all the time too, Iīll try with instrument and see what happens. Yes, I use the live out.

The Preamp is brand new, I checked the tubes and they are in great condition. The Power Tubes are brand new too: Ruby and Electro Harmonix.

I donīt use the Fx-Loop, I have the gate on 0%. Iīm trying to get a good dry tone, then Iīll add some delay, reverb, maybe a chorus.

I have 2 unbalanced, mono short cables (<10 cm) to connect the Preamp to the Power Amp. Should they be balanced and stereo? From what Iīve read and heard, you canīt tell the difference if you go live, specially if you have very short cables. You notice the diference when you go direct to recording. Is this right?

Increasing the gain may be a good idea to get a good, saturated solo, but I have to share this channel with my rythym sound, so the minute I go back to chords and rythym my sound will become a wall of mud.

Iīll try those tips. Any other help would also become very handy.

Thanks again!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Re: Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab

Congrats on the gear.

OK. Recto series amps are not known for their 'liquid sustain'. Many who have or do own recto amps have complained about this. They're more a rhythm players amp and they do very well in this department. It's the design of the amp. Having said that the recto amps need help to get a great liquid type solo tone.

Push the front end with an OD pedal. 808's are very popular for this but I think for a more liquid type of drive, an OD pedal that provides a more compressed signal is required. Maybe check a RAT pedal (I think the 'You Dirty Rat' pedal will be good (haven't checked it out). Try a compressor pedal after an OD, too, with some light compression if you want to. If it sounds a little 'thin' or the tone suffers because of a single tone control on the OD pedal, place an EQ pedal after it; it'll do wonders.

Alternatively cascade two pedals. I found an OD-type 808/TS9 pedal into a Wampler Pinnacle can provide some great solo tones. You need to watch the first pedal's gain and level, then the second pedal's gain and level and thirdly the amps gain. You can't just turn everything 'up' because you'll end up with a muddy signal and uncontrollable feedback.

Also, try placing an EQ pedal in the loop if you want to tighten the amp further or have better control of the tone shape. This is very popular amongst recto owners; pulling down the 200~250Hz slider a few dB to clear the mud. Of course, your cab/speakers will play a big part in your tone.

I own a rectoverb amp and have many OD/Dist pedals. My current favourite is a Marshall Drive Master into a Wampler Pinnacle. I also have the Wampler Plextortion which is very good too. I have an EQ in the loop and I need/want to place two EQ's out front before and after the pedals.

I've also had an MI Audio Blues Pro pedal driving the Wampler Pinnacle and from memory that was good. Whichever way, the recto amp needs help. If you can get a hold of a few pedals, experiment. What may suit me may not suit you so take my advise as that - advise.

Also, and I stress this, if your playing is sub-par this amp will let you know about it. It will force you to play better, which is a good thing. You cannot hide behind a super-saturated tone, like some of these super-saturated-high-gain-highly-compressed-sustain-for-days presets in modelling amps/stomp boxes. Welcome to 'real' amps. It's a huge learning curve.

If you want to learn more about the recto amp jump on this site and navigate to the areas that interest you and that apply to you. I'd advise to read about the recto amps in general (single/dual/triple amps) to get a better understanding of the preamp section and what people do to overcome issues. They'll apply to your preamp as much as their preamp (even though they may be heads/combos). Changing preamp tubes may help you, too. Check the grailtone site to see what others are using.

For your power amp, it'll run pretty clean. The recto amps have a fairly (and reasonably) clean power amp section as most of the overdrive tone comes from the preamp section. I'd assume the 2:90 is the same. If possible, try EL34's. They'll compress the tone slightly (compared to 6L6's) give a slightly higher boost in the high mids and slightly less bottom. Experiment with tubes.

Have fun. It's a whole new ball game.
Blaklynx is offline  
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-13-2011, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Argentina
Posts: 19
Re: Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab

Thank you very much Blaklynx! I`ll look into those pedals. Youīve been really helpful.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2012, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 28
Reviews: 1
Re: Mesa Recording Preamp+Mesa 2:90+Marshall 1960B Cab

I have the Recto Recording Preamp into a Mesa Power Amp and the thing just doesn't sound right without an overdrive. I use the Maxon OD808, no gain, balance and tone on noon and it goes from flubby and boomy to tight and articulate.
philoking is offline  

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