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Thread: Speakers for a Mesa

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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Speakers for a Mesa

    I've had my Road King combo for quite some time now, it's a ridiculously flexible and customizable amp, built on the Rectifier platform. Unlike my Fender and Marshalls, the EQ is both powerful and touchy.

    When I bought the amp I was big into metal and punk and the types of artists that used Dual Rectifiers. Now my style has evolved to more blues/classic rock/alternative rock. One thing I've always kind of felt is that the tone under gain is pretty sharp and stinging. Awesome clean tones, but slightly to much Recto fizz in the gain channels, especially if you're not playing aggressive metal. Until recently I've never really given a thought to speakers, but after upgrading my Princeton Reverb to a Rajun Cajun I got to thinking....

    Stock it is loaded with Black Shadow C90s. These seem to be voiced for that sparkle which is great for clean, but not as great for my preference for distortion tone.

    I see a lot of Mesas ship with V30s. I've always thought of V30s as too middy for my taste with Marshalls, but I'm wondering if they are the ticket for Mesas?

    Caveat #2.... one of the awesome features of the Road King is being able to assign each channel to speaker output A or B. On the surface that sounds easy, get a Recto 2x12 with V30s right? Assign cleans to the combo speakers and distortion to the external cabinet. In practice that's a bit of dough to outlay when simply getting two new (or used) V30s would be a lot cheaper.

    Just looking for some perspective and advice from the other Mesa users and owners.
    Last edited by PFDarkside; 05-18-2017 at 10:31 AM.
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    If MC90s give you fizz... imho v30s will give you more fizz.

    G12-65? G12K-100?

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    Toneologist VinceT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    My Rectoverb25 combo shipped with the Filmore 75 speaker, which I believe was developed with Eminence. I'm very partial to Alnico speakers, and always found the V30s too harsh for my ears. The Filmore is anything but - it's dialed in just perfect for the mini-rec amp. Don't know if they're doing them as standalone yet, but worth trying.

    If you're interested in Alnico, then I give a massive thumbs up to the Eminence Red Fang - it's an amazing speaker - I have it in my custom Whitney and the sensitivity and freq range make it very, very full (with almost too much bass end)


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    Ultimate Tone Slacker dystrust's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Quote Originally Posted by Adieu View Post
    If MC90s give you fizz... imho v30s will give you more fizz.

    G12-65? G12K-100?
    Have to disagree completely. Rectos are more fizzy with C90s than V30s at least in my experience.

    Also look into different preamp tubes as the Chinese 12AX7s Mesa typically uses are quite fizzy. I had that same problem with my Jet City and swapping for JJ ECC83s helped a lot.

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    Toneologist dave74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Keep in mind that the mesa-v30 is a bit downshifted in the mids compared to the other v30 models,,,,,and tends to sound less fizzy IMO.

    Recto 212 running together with the stock open-back w/mc90s would sound amazing. (recto on ground without wheels and combo sitting on top)

    The mc90 isn't quite as brash in a closed back btw. It still is compared to the v30 though.

    I don't believe any of the v30s in the open-back combo will do quite what you're wanting.
    Last edited by dave74; 05-18-2017 at 12:23 PM.

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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Quote Originally Posted by dave74 View Post
    Keep in mind that the mesa-v30 is a bit downshifted in the mids compared to the other v30 models,,,,,and tends to sound less fizzy IMO.

    Recto 212 running together with the stock open-back w/mc90s would sound amazing. (recto on ground without wheels and combo sitting on top)

    The mc90 isn't quite as brash in a closed back btw. It still is compared to the v30 though.

    I don't believe any of the v30s in the open-back combo will do quite what you're wanting.
    Ah, great points. I feel like I knew this 10 years ago....
    Imagine that, a Mesa Recto cab playing well with a Mesa Recto amp...

    It seems like on the used market 4x12 cabs are far more available and almost the same price as 2x12 cabs.
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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Quote Originally Posted by dystrust View Post
    Also look into different preamp tubes as the Chinese 12AX7s Mesa typically uses are quite fizzy. I had that same problem with my Jet City and swapping for JJ ECC83s helped a lot.
    Hmm... thanks for the info on tubes. I've also been wondering if I'm approaching time for a retube on it. Preamp tubes are a drop in the bucket compared to power tubes.
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    Toneologist dave74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Quote Originally Posted by PFDarkside View Post
    It seems like on the used market 4x12 cabs are far more available and almost the same price as 2x12 cabs.

    Yeah the 412s show up all the time on craigslist for 5-6 range,,,,,no tax/shipping saves a lot.
    + You can take a cheap voltmeter and test it yourself, then remove one handle and shine a light in to confirm speakers.

    I scored one on CL for $400. It was a late-90's recto with slant-baffle, full-top shell, silver-piping.
    Other than the handles being rusted where the coating was flaking it was in great condition. (replaced with new mesa handles/gaskets)
    So I have like $425 in it total.


    Everyone hangs on to those awesome recto 212 cabs. I love the fact that they don't have big side-handle cutouts.(maybe one reason for their unique tone)
    Last edited by dave74; 05-19-2017 at 12:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Creambacks, love them with my Road King and I don't play anything resembling metal.

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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Quote Originally Posted by chadd View Post
    Creambacks, love them with my Road King and I don't play anything resembling metal.
    Combo or head?
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    I am thinking Eminence also. My new Eminence Wheelhouse's are very neutral. They take to EQ very well which would be perfect for your Mesa.

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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Is your amp a RKI or RKII?

    I think doing some tube "blueprinting" might help a lot. Get a handful of tubes from each maker and start testing them one at a time. Be sure you have the the tube function chart from the owner's manual.

    I have four different speakers in my Mesa amps. EVMs in my Mark III and Mark IV combos and Thieles. V30s in my Maverick 212 and DC-3 combos and in Horizontal Recto 212 and Wide-Body Closed Back cabs, and in the Mini-Recto 112 cabs I use with my Mark V:25 head. I've got a Black Shadow MS-12 in the bottom of a Half-Back 212, an Eminence speaker with a JBL-like smooth mid-range. There's a C-90 in the top part of that cab. One of my H-B 412s has C-90s in top and EVMs in the bottom. My Mark V and V:35 combos each use a C-90.

    So you can see that Mesa is big into mixing speakers. I think those 412 Half-Back cabs with the C-90 top and EVM bottom are some of the best ever. The EVMs put out what you put in, while the C-90s add a bit of snarl.

    The Mesa combos I've played with twin C-90s have left me a little cold, so when I ordered the Wide-Body cab for my Mark V, I specified a V30. The cab with the combo is really a great sounding rig. Comparing my C-90 Mark V:35 vs. my DC-3 with its V30...I'd give the nod to the V30 for being a bit smoother and warmer, I guess. The C-90 does work for bluesy distortion, but it seems that you have to push it really hard.

    I'm just not sure what I would do with the RK's ability to use two different speaker sets. I'd probably go with a Horizontal Recto cab and V30s. Maybe swap the V30s into the combo and use the C-90s in the Recto cab. With a RK head, I know I'd want the RK cab, or a modded Half-Back cab for split operation, and C-90s and EVMs.

    Interesting dilemma, for sure. Let us know how it works out.

    Bill
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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    It's a Road King I. To be honest I'm super jealous of the RKII with Lonestar Cleans. If money were no object I'd upgrade to a RKII Head, open back 2x12 and closed back 2x12. This combo weighs 98 lbs, it makes it out far less frequently than it should due to that weight. Actually what would be awesome is a RKII Head, RK 4x12 at the rehearsal spot and RK 2x12 at home. Then I'd only have to drag the Head around and the big cab when we play out.

    I'm intrigued by the Creambacks as an all around speaker as well as the 2x12 Recto V30
    Option... I just don't know if an extra cab is going to make me even less likely to take it out.
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    Mojo's Minions mwalluk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    I dont own a roadking, but I do own a stiletto which is bright in nature.

    c90 is a great speaker for mesas. Ive owned tremoverb, rectoverb and stiletto. If you find the od isnt what your looking for, try some jjs to tame it


    v30s are also great with mesa. Theres a reason a lot come with either c90 or v30, it works.

    Now if you wanna look elsewhere, try a creamback which has characteristics of v30 mixed with g12h30 (75 watt).

    More neutral, go with classic lead 80.

    If you have the cash, best speaker hands down I played was a evh 12l black label.
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    The EVs are great speakers, but then his combo would weigh 298 lbs. (And feel like 298 kg.!) Lol!

    Bill
    When you've had budget guitars for a number of years, you may find that your old instrument is holding you back. A quality guitar can inspire you to write great songs, improve your understanding of the Gdim chord while in the Lydian Mode, cure the heartbreak of cystic acne--and help you find true love in the process.

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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Yeah good point Bill,,,,those would basically anchor-down an already very weighty combo.

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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Quote Originally Posted by mwalluk View Post
    I dont own a roadking, but I do own a stiletto which is bright in nature.

    c90 is a great speaker for mesas. Ive owned tremoverb, rectoverb and stiletto. If you find the od isnt what your looking for, try some jjs to tame it


    v30s are also great with mesa. Theres a reason a lot come with either c90 or v30, it works.

    Now if you wanna look elsewhere, try a creamback which has characteristics of v30 mixed with g12h30 (75 watt).

    More neutral, go with classic lead 80.

    If you have the cash, best speaker hands down I played was a evh 12l black label.
    Thanks for the info here. I'm certainly interested in the EV as well, just not so interested in hefting it around! (I wonder how much Zakk Wylde's 4x12s weigh? )

    I apologize for the noob-ness of my preamp tube knowledge. Both you and Bill (and countless others online) recommend tuning a Mesa through tube choices. How do JJs differ from the stock Mesa branded tubes? (There are only 3 tube plants now, right?) My understanding is that V1 has the most effect on the tone, and Mesa has advised that the Cathode Follower positions (V3 and V4 on my amp) should be Chinese manufacturer to reduce the chance of intermittent drop out.

    What would be the "top 3" preamp tubes to try?

    For power tubes, how do you select non-Mesa branded tubes since there's is no adjustable bias?

    (Kind of funny, on my old Princeton Reverb I have experimented with speakers, tubes, removing the feedback resistor, changing a coupling cap... on the Mesa it's just as it left the factory)
    Last edited by PFDarkside; 05-19-2017 at 05:24 AM.
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Try any of the following in gain stages
    Jj 83s
    Jj 83mg
    Svetlana
    Tung sol ri
    Ehx
    Mullard 4004 ri
    Golden Lion/Preferred series/ruby/7025

    Cathode follower
    Jj83s
    Ehx
    Svetlana
    Jj803
    ShugangB

    PI
    Any of the JJs
    Sovtek LPS
    Mullard ecc83 RI

    The sino/shugang tubes are all very grainy/fizzy in gain stages (the 7025 above is an exception).almost anything else will improve that issue.
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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    Thanks Jeff!
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    Default Re: Speakers for a Mesa

    If I were in your position I'd be inclined to run the RK combo on top of a Recto 2x12. Cleans through the open back combo, crunch through the closed back 2x12, leads through both.



    That said, I f*cking love the Fillmore FM-75 that came in my Rectoverb:25 combo.

    It's more harmonically complex than the V30s I'm used to. Kind of like the harmonic content of a G12M-25, but the punchy mids of a of a V30. It's very rich and fills in around the gain, which makes turning down the gain sound less stiff/dry. I make no promises since tone is subjective, but if you're looking to just swap speakers I'd consider this as an option. If possible, maybe check out a Rectoverb combo so you can hear the speaker in action.



    For chunky, chugging riffs closed back cabs are where it's at... but for lower gain crunch and lead I really dig open back cabs.
    Last edited by some_dude; 05-19-2017 at 08:52 PM.
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