Thoughts on Mesa 2:90 for bass

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by TedEH, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I've been using a setup for bass for the last while that's made up of an Ampeg SVT-IIP and a Crown XLS 1000, which works fine. But I've been craving that tube power amp thang, and a decent deal for a 2:90 came up.

    I've played through my Mark IV before, during jam, and was able to get enough power out of it to be heard with the band, but the preamp for that is, of course, setup for guitar, so it wasn't quite the right sound. The SVT + Mesa setup could be pretty good though. On top of that, the 2:90 would give me a whole second channel I could use with another cab if I decided that I wasn't getting enough volume.

    For the record, in terms of live, there's decent PA support 99.9% of the time, so stage volume is only about monitoring in my case.

    Has anyone tried something like this? Any experience with a bass pre + guitar power + bass cab setup? Anyone have thoughts on the 2:90 in general? Am I craaaaaaazy? (Probably :lol:)
     
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Just had another thought -> the same guy also has a Triaxis for sale. I could put the 2:90 + Triaxis + SVT+IIP in the same rack for the ultimate one-stop bass + guitar head. But I imagine this would be stupidly heavy.
     
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  3. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    I’m for it. The 2:90 has a ridiculous amount of power on tap, 2 independent channels for either two cabs or just splitting a 4x10 into stereo/dual mono. It is an incredible power section, and I’m inclined to think you’d be a fan of its color because you have a Mark IV. I think it’s worth grabbing. Ultimately if it doesn’t end up working out, there’s always an ebb and flow market for them, though sometimes you have to sit on it for a while
     
  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I was kind of thinking the same thing. The Crown I've got does the job, but it adds no colour, so it's a bit boring. I can resell whichever power amp I don't end up using, or find another use for it. Could be cool maybe to pair the pre section from my V:25 with that power section to get a hacked-together full-size Mark V. And the Crown can be re-purposed for a proper PA at some point.
     
  5. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    If you only need it for stage volume and the rest of the band keeps reasonable volume, I’d think you’d be ok.
     
  6. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I grabbed the 2:90 and my first thought was "oh no, I'm back into heavy gear territory again". :lol:
    Second thought is that the rack I'm currently using is only a tiny 4u super-shallow box, and the 2:90 will clearly never fit in it. Sooo might have to go back to the bigger rack box.
    The third- that I could sort of "feel" the effect of the amp immediately, going from a Crown PA amp to a box full of glass. The high end is smoother, and it feels like there's some compression there that wasn't there before (unless I'm imagining it). My goal was to add some colour to my bass sound, and I think this did what I was hoping it would do.

    I hooked everything up at jam yesterday and it was able to hold it's own for volume mostly, but I had to push it. This is using just one side cause I only had one cab available, an 8x8. I was clearly running out of headroom, and the high end does some nasty distorting once you get the volume knob up that high. Seemed like it should have been able to put out more volume that this.....

    Then I remembered that I had a similar problem with the previous setup using the same preamp -> the signal put out by the SVT-IIP is weaker than most preamps, for reasons unknown to me. I had solved this on the previous setup by using the DI out instead of the main outs, but the 2:90 doesn't have an XLR input so I was back to using the main 1/4" outs again. According to the manual, the instrument/line switch can be used to boost up a signal that isn't quite enough to drive the amp, so I switched it over into instrument mode. Noooooow we're back into destroying the room with volume. :lol: I played with the volume on the preamp to make sure that it wasn't going to push the input on the 2:90 too hard, but even with the preamp maxed out, nothing clips or does anything nasty, so it seems fine to me.

    I still don't quite understand the magic behind tube power sections, but I'm running the volume knob on the 2:90 at about the same position as I did with the Crown. That's 90w of tube power still being able to bury a drummer, when it took 1100w of solid state power to do the same thing. I know watts don't equal volume, but still.

    There's soooo much glass involved in this rig now - 8x power tubes, 3x pre tubes in the 2:90, and another 3x pre tubes in the SVT. :lol:
     
  7. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Wattage =/= Volume

    Wattage is more a measure of clean headroom.

    That compression and "character" you're noticing is from the amp "struggling" to reproduce the frequency of your bass.

    A good example is the V4B. It's only 100 watts, but can keep up with a 300 watt SVT when it comes to volume. It's just going to be a lot dirtier.

    You couldn't pay me to go back to a monster rig like that. I'm not 20 anymore. I rather not break my back. :lol:
     
  8. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    A 2:90 will still get smoked by say an svt classic for bass.

    Just get an M9 carbine or strategy 400 ;)
     
  9. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Two 90 watt channels vs a single 300 watt channel, I don't think that's nearly as one sided as you think.

    The preamp and speakers will really make the difference there.
     
  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Yup, I'm aware of the watts != volume thing (I said it myself in the post above yours :lol:). I'm not sure that "struggling" would be the right word for what I hear (in terms of tone I mean), but I think I get what you mean. Maybe on some sort of technical level something isn't being reproduced "accurately", but if I was aiming for 100% clean/linear/etc I would just stick with the Crown amp. It's certainly not failing to represent the same low end that the Crown was able to.

    I actually considered buying a V4 that came up in an ad nearby. Is there something stupid about carting around heavier and "technically less efficient" gear? Yeah, probably. :lol: But it really does sound good to my ears, soooooo it is what it is, hah.

    And I'm not even using the second channel right now. I have zero doubts that 100w of a "small" tube amp like this into one of those Ampeg 8x10 fridges could shake whole city blocks just as well as any other amp.
     
  11. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    That’s cool that you were able to get it working by switching from line to instrument. It’s too bad you only have a shallow 4 space. I keep mine in a 4U Gator and it’s a perfect fit (Incase you can find one used locally). The weight isn’t nearly as obvious in a small 4U as it is when stuffed into an 8+ space rack.
    Also, you can grab a mono/stereo jack plate from Amazon for about $20 (plug & play is who I get) and then you can easily convert your 8x8 to using both channels. For bass: it might be cool to turn up the presence control on one channel more than the other to get a little more punch on one channel, and a deep wooly rumble on the other.
     
  12. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The preamp has two outs, so I don't need any adapters to use both channels - the trick is that 90% of the time I only have one cab available, and from what I understand, these things can't be bridged.

    Edit: Sorry, read that wrong, I see what you mean now. Still not really an option though- a lot of the time I'm sharing a cab. Myself and another bassist have the same cab and alternate which one stays in the jam room. What we COULD do if we feel like completely destroying the room with volume is just bring both cabs. Would 16x8 move enough air? :lol:
     
  13. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    It would depend on how clean the 2:90 stays with a bass, and what headroom and volume the OP needs.

    Im posting from a place of high headroom requirements lol.
     
  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I honestly can't imagine why someone would need that much more power or headroom than this unless you're playing large rooms with no reinforcement and need everything to be squeaky clean. An M9 would be more of a side-grade than an upgrade from what I had already (tube pre + solid power), and a 400s dont come up used locally very often (I've never seen one). I imagine I'd be adding even more weight when the 2:90 does the job fine for me. The 2:90 can already drown out the drummer.
     
  15. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    I agree that one side is more than plenty of power for almost any scenario. It is nice to run both channels at lower levels though. I’ve found that amps that get used seem to keep capacitors etc. much better over time without failures vs not using it at all. Otherwise you can just alternate which side you use.

    For reference: here’s the jack plate I’m talking about. It’s $20 and you maintain the ability to run it in mono. Either as parallel or series mono, or as stereo. In which case you can play with the presence control to get some different sounds from each half of the cab.
    93F794F0-C5E4-42E2-B092-FAF2875CDECF.jpeg
     
  16. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Yup, I knew what you meant. Can't modify the cab though, cause it doesn't belong to me.
     
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  17. iron blast

    iron blast Northern Winds

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    You should be able to do this with a cable adapter no modification needed
     
  18. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I have no idea what you mean. You can't run a mono cab as stereo without modifying it, unless I've missed something.
     
  19. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    A Strategy 500 has more power than the 2:Ninety, but with Modern engaged on the 2:ninety, that gap is closed due to the frequency shift.

    A friend of mine has a Blue Voodoo 300 (same power section of the SVT classic). My 2:ninety hangs against the 300 watt tube power section with only maybe a 2 db difference when we're using comparable speaker cabinets. Again, that gap is changed dramatically by post-gain EQ shifts.
     
  20. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I was thinking about this the other day and the conclusion I came to is that.... I don't really care if other amps are stronger.

    There seems to be a weird insistence that the STRONGEST AMP is the BEST AMP, but that's not why I got this one. The Crown amp already had all the power I needed. I bought this so that I had the option for that tube-feel when I want it. I don't need to completely wreck everything with volume, I just wanted something that sounded good and feels good to play. It's very possible that it'll just live in the jam room and only get used for jams, while the Crown gets used live, for weight reasons.
     

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