Mesa Boogie Mark IV Head user reviews
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- This would be my second Mesa Mark IV, first being "A", my current being "B". The main difference I find between the two is a very slight darker tone and slight more gain. There are about 18 knobs on the front, some are push/pull, there are more on the back, as well as an EQ on the face. It can be a very daunting task, each turn can vastly change the tone and sound you receive out of the amp.
- As I said above it is difficult to get your perfect tone, because there are so many knobs and the EQ, you can just about get any sound you want out of it. I find myself spinning knobs around multiple times when I'm playing just to try different things out, not because it sounds bad, because I'm looking to see "What else can I get out of this thing".
- Now here's where I'm gonna rain down on this review, the sound/tone of this Amp is phenomenal to say the least. I mainly play metal such as In Flames, or Black Dahlia Murder even ranging to Megadeth and power metal. There used to be a misconception this amp cannot handle that type of music, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It's very easy to get the typical heavy metal (Rectifier) sound by doing a typical "V" shape and mess around with the lead channel settings for a minute or two. You can crank up the mids, reverse the EQ and get a ballsy/pissed off Marshall. You may get discouraged turning knobs and not quite getting what you want, but you cannot be afraid to change the EQ, that will let you change and master your tone on this amplifier.
The clean channel is really something to be admired. The R1 (Clean) Channel shares one or two knobs with R2 Channel, Mids and Bass I believe. This does not interfere with the sound or function of each channel. You can still dial in spacious cleans, alongside with the built in spring reverb.
The Lead Channel is one of the favored channels, I admit to using this channel about 90% of the time. It will range from grunge, rock, thrash all the way to heavier death metal. It can get tight for something technical, or get real loose and have a grunge/industrial type of rock sound. Alongside with the EQ it makes it very easy to have multiple tones ready just by clicking EQ on and off.
- Overall Opinion
- Overall I believe this is a top notch amp that any serious player should have the opportunity to own or at least try out. I sold mine in a rash spur of "gear flipper mode" or "Gear Acquisition Syndrome" right before they discontinued and regretted it for a long time. The prices these go for now-a-days are really worth it and hold up to more modern amps being put out. This amp won't leave my rig, and I'm sure a lot of people who own it feel that way. If you have the available cash, and the opportunity you should really consider buying one.
If you would like to hear some actual applications of this amp in professional studio recordings, here is a list of Artists and Bands that have used Mesa Mark IVs exclusively or at least in one album: Lamb of God, Neurosis, The Offspring, John Petrucci, Orpheus, Nevermore, Maco Sfogli, Liquid Tension Experiment, Chevelle, Faith No More, Metallica, Sevendust, Anberlin.
- Mesa Boogie Mark IV head up for review. This model is a rackmount version, that I obviously have mounted in a rack case. I use this head in conjunction with a TC Electronic G-System and together they make a great rig. Amp features series and parallel effects loop as well as external latch switching, which works perfect with the Gsystem. Amp delivers 85 LOUD watts! I usually keep on half-power mode and i still have PLENTY of volume on tap even playing with a very loud drummer. The head has 3 great channels, everything is footswitchable including the effects loop, reverb, and graphic EQ.
- I find the amp very easy to get GOOD sounds, but harder to get GREAT sounds...if that makes any sense?? However when tone greatness is achieved, WOW is it worth it! The manual walks you through everything you would need to know, and if you ever need more help there are plenty of users all over various forums that know alot of this amp.
- I use this amp with a variety of guitars including a PRS CE-22, and a G&L Legacy. I own many more guitars but those are my workhorses. The amp responds and reacts well to both. I can get crystal clear stratty bell-like tones, to fat dark jazz tones, low-medium gain tones to scooped out metal mayhem. Amp is very versatile in terms of tonal options, the graphic EQ really plays a big role in tone shaping. The amp also has different modes as far as class a, class AB, simulclass(which I believe is how im using the amp currently). This amp combined with the TC Electronic Gsystem is just a killer setup and ultra versatile. Ive been gigging with this setup for over 5 years and yet to change my powertubes.
- Overall Opinion
- Great amp, this model is currently out of production but has been taken over by the Mark V series which sounds wonderful as well. If anything ever happened to this head I would probably seek out the new mark V model just for a little change and ease of knowing if anything happened again I would be able to get a replacement pretty easily.
- Mesa’s Mark IV is well known for its feature laden front and back panels, including
- 85 watt simul-class power section, running either 4 6L6s and 2 EL-34s and 2 6L6s
- 5 12AX7s running the preamp
- Full and tweed power settings
- Pentode and triode power amp settings
- Simul-class and Class A power amp settings
- Shared EQ for R1 and R2, with individual gain, treble, presence, and master
- Individual EQ for Lead, with mid gain and harmonics voicing switches
- Footswitchable/assignable graphic EQ and reverb, with one reverb level
- Series effects loop with stereo outs for driving another power amp in a stereo setup
- External switching jacks for all functions
- The Mark IV surely is one reason why some label Mesa amplifiers as ‘hard to dial in.’ At first glace, the layout is not very intuitive, and numerous switches and even push pull pots add to the complexity of the amplifier. All these features were designed for a purpose though, and allow the Mark IV to be a VERY, VERY versatile and tweak-able amplifier. After spending some time with it, and learning the tonal response of the features, there are few sounds this amplifier is not capable of. The GEQ allows even further tonal shaping, and using it over each channel can allow up to 6 unique sounds at your command.
- The Mark series has defined a tone of its own in the high gain realm, and for good reason. R1 produces a very ‘fender-like’ clean sound, and when dialed properly, produces amazing results. The compromise comes between R1 and R2- dialing in the ideal clean sound may not allow one to use R2 to its full extent. After getting more familiar with the amp, however, I had no trouble dialing in a great clean on R1 and good crunch on R2. The lead channel defines the Boogie solo tone used by so many. It has plenty of mids, which has many users applying the GEQ for a warmer and sharper tone. Between the amps controls and GEQ options, one can dial anything from a warm, singing lead tone, all the way to CRAZY tight high gain rhythm tones.
- Overall Opinion
- Though tough to dial at first, spending more time with a Mark IV allows one to dial a vast variety of tones. It’s ability to produce very high gain tones, along with its legendary lead, makes it a real pleasure to play. Many players struggling with the ‘sluggish’ response of Mesa’s rectifier series find a very welcoming home with the tight tracking of the Mark IV.
- The Mesa/Boogie Mark IV is the evolution of the III. It features three mostly independent channels, a 5 band EQ, pentode/triode switch, Simul-class voicing, reverb, an effects loop, a line out, satellite out and a few other features that you can find on Mesa's website. There are two versions of this amp which I'll outline below.
- Mesa did an amazing job with this amplifier. They included pretty much every feature from the old amps and then some. If you've ever dialed in a Mark amplifier before, it's all the same. However, if you've never tried one of these amps, please read the manual. They are not meant to be dialed in normally. The manual outlines every feature, how all the knobs work, how they interact, etc. I only rated it down because R1 and R2 share a few controls.
- Sound wise, this amp is somewhat like the IIC+ but also a bit different. For one, there are two versions of this amp. The A version is a little brighter and has a little less gain. This makes it sound somewhat similar to the IIC+, but it still isn't there. The B version is fatter, has more gain and is better suited for lead tones. The biggest fault with this amp is R2. It's very anemic and needs to be boosted, in my opinion. Aside from that, the amp is awesome. It's probably my favorite lead amp out there. The lead channel just has tone for days. The clean channel is pretty good too.
- Overall Opinion
- If you're going to get only one Mark amp, this is probably the one I'd recommend. They go for a good price on the used market, are very versatile and should contain most features that you could want. Also, for those who don't think the IV can do metal, listen to Orpheus' Bleed the Way album. It shows that the Mark IV can do melodeath just as easily as it can do Dream Theater or Metallica.
- The Mesa Boogie Mark IV is an 85 watt tube head or combo with Mesa's patented "Simul-Class" tube power section. Simul-Class combines class A and class AB performance simultaneously so the player can experience the sweet, harmonic-laden overtones and gain characteristics of a class A amplifier, and the high headroom and powerful performance and feel of a class AB amplifier in one amp! This amp has a fixed bias, as do all Mesa Boogie amps.
The Mark IV has many connections on the rear panel, making the amp extremely versatile and able to be acclimated equally well to demanding live or studio environments. There are sooo many features in this amp that it's nearly impossible to talk about all of them in depth. I can only scratch the surface of what this versatile machine can do tonally. Here are some features. (taken from website):
3 Channels w/Independent Gain & Master Controls (Rhythm I, Rhythm II & Lead)
Independent Treble & Presence Controls for Rhythm I & II (Bass & Mid combined)
Fully Independent EQ for Lead Channel (Bass, Mid, Treble & Presence)
Multi-Stage “Cascading Gain” Lead Channel (Lead Gain + Lead Drive)
Lead Voicing Switch (Mid Gain/Harmonics)
Pull Fat (Rhythm II & Lead Channel)
Pull Bright (Rhythm I & Lead)
Pull Shift Presence Controls (Rhythm II & Lead)
Assignable 5 Band Graphic EQ
Assignable FX Loop
Slave Out w/Level Control
Output Level Control (over all channels)
Full Power/Tweed “Variac” Switch
Simul-Class/Class A Switch
Record Out w/Level Control
Silent Record Mute Switch (Pull Output Level)
External Switching Input
6 Button Footswitch (Rhythm I, Rhythm II, Lead, Lead+EQ, EQ (Graphic) & FX Loop)
With all these features, I must say I find it odd that this amp (and all channel switching amps) don't have midi control built in at the factory. I just don't understand why such a simple and useful technology that has been around for so many years, isn't included in an amp such as this one. It would be much smarter than using the included 1/4" switching jacks that Mesa uses. That feature, as well as external bias test points and adjustment controls should be a feature on every amp built. Although the latter doesn't really apply to the Mesa since they use a hard, fixed bias in their amps.
- This amp is very difficult to just jump into. The first time I saw a used Mark IV at a Guitar Center, I was really excited to finally plug in and see what all the fuss was about. I was extremely...disappointed! I twisted some knobs to where I thought they should be set, completely disregarded the graphic eq and the switches on the rear of the amp, and didn't even know that some of the knobs on the front panel had push/pull options.
I hit one chord and turned up my nose at the piece of junk that I was so hyped to play.
Years later, when I actually knew a bit about tube amps, and about Boogies, I played one and was absolutely blown away! You NEED to know how the eq and all the settings of this amp function together to enjoy it. You also should read the manual. Mesa Boogie's manuals are extremely well-written and will basically walk you through the dialing-in process on the Mark IV. Read it!
- This amp has the vibe going on! Coming from a rectifier background, I couldn't believe the beautiful, articulate and smooth lead tones I could pull out of this thing! It can get so smooth and perfect sounding with the right settings on the graphic eq, that it almost sounds like the "ideal" buttery lead tone. Exactly the opposite of the Dual Rectifier which has a huge crushing rhythm sound, but lacks the appropriate voicing for smooth lead tones.
The loop is also much, much better than the rectifier loop (which is basically useless due to phasing problems). The series Mark loop takes effects well, and placing a bit of delay in the loop makes leads just sing forever! This amp has one of the best lead tones I've ever played/heard, including Diezel, Bogner, Orange, etc.
The surprising thing is that this amp can get downright brutal! It gets such a tight, articulate and mean sounding rhythm tone that it is still being used for some of the most demanding modern rock and metal today. This gain voicing isn't quite as huge as the recto, but it makes up for that big "wall-of-sound" vibe by providing a cutting and super responsive tone that can always be heard in a mix. Lamb of God and Dream Theater are a couple of great examples of this type of sound.
One thing overlooked in the Mark IV is the remarkable clean tone! The clean sounds attainable in this amp are some of the best in any channel switcher, period. The rich, cleans found in Rhythm 1 honestly rival any Fender I've played, and I've played a lot!
The only weak point of this amp, and I say weak cautiously, is the Rhythm 2 channel. This mid-gain voicing doesn't have quite the character or great feel that the clean and lead channels have, and is complained about commonly. However, it is still a very useable and good sounding channel. It almost has a slight british feel to it, depending how the channel eq and the graphic eq is set. Throw a boost such as an Xotic BB pre in front of this channel and it goes from decent to great!
The assignable graphic equalizer is one of the coolest features of this amplifier. The manual recommends setting the amplifier up in such a way that you basically leave the knobs at one setting, and use the 750K slider to tailor your preferred sound. I found this to be very accurate, and all channels seemed to be dialed perfectly using this approach. The front panel controls are not meant to sound good on all settings. There is a specific range where the controls work together and sound good, and you should follow the manual's suggestions.
Me being a tweaker who's never truly satisfied no matter how perfect something sounds, I messed with the graphic eq and came up with some other cool sounds! One of the best sounds was setting the graphic eq to an "up-down-up-down-up" setting instead of the classic "V" shape with the mids scooped.
The up-down position setting made the amp sound almost like a Marshall. Very detailed and present mids became the forefront of my sound, and with the high end tamed a bit, this was a very useable and unique tone.
- Overall Opinion
- The Mark IV is one of the best amps I've ever used. It has been around for so many years, yet is still being used for everything from pop to jazz to rock to extreme metal. There really is no limit to what you can do tonally with this amplifier! The graphic eq and plethora of settings on the back panel, as well as a good sounding effects loop and variable wattage settings make this amp an indispensable tool for the studio or the stage! Highly recommended!
User reviews in other languages
- Tube amplifier
Complete connectivity for stage and studio use.
View the previous opinion for more information!
- - The configuration is it simple?
Yes and no, it's a boogie!
- Gets it easy to sound good?
Yes but you have to spend time and tweak especially early in the stage.
- The manual is clear and sufficient? ...
Yes, but it takes a little mastering English.
It's not a bedroom amp for beginners!
- - Will it fit your style of music?
Yes, I currently play punk / ska / hard and no problem is a monster versatility.
- With what (s) guitar (s) / low (s) or effect (s) do you play?
Mainly with a strat SSH.J 've tried various guitars on this amp (SQ Murphy custom shop, Gretch Black Falcon, telecaster ...) while ringing.
- What kind of sound you get and with what settings ("crystalline", "bold ",....)?
I do not use the "clear" with my band: the clean channel to 8 / 10 generates a nice crunch to the rhythmic rock, R2 channel is set with a lot of gain to sound hard and lead ... too! I use the equalizer to boost in chorus.
- What are the sounds you prefer, you hate?
We do what we want with this amp, the more dirty than clean, a must ...
No reverb switch on the pedal, but with use, no problem.
Possibility of an external switch.
- Overall Opinion
- - How long have you use it?
Two years on stage and repeating.
- What is so special that you like most and least?
The clean look and timeless, loopback stereo, build quality, sound, sound .....
- Have you tried many other models before buying it?
Yes I play rock for thirty years ... A lot of amps I have moved the hands,
(Novanex, Standel, Sunn, Mi, Ampeg, Garren, Peavey, Roland, Yamaha, KMD, Fender, Marshall, Acoustic, Mesa / Boogie ...) before I would have bought if it cost so much ...
This is by far the best amp I had. He buried my JCM800 (which I love) with flying colors and at all levels.
Best with two 1X12 cabinets "with the V30 4X12" JCM800.
It is even more powerful tweed power (30W) than the JCM2000 100W (very good) of my brother!
- How would you rate the quality / price?
Sure, it is not given ... I would find in any year if I play again! quality, it is there.
- With experience, you do again this choice? ...
Without hesitation and even used, no problem! for me the Mark IV is the best guitar amp ever made.
- All-tube amp, Power: 85W Lamp: 4x6L6 5x12AX7 +,
3 channels with Gain & Master indpendants CONTRL (Rhythm I, Rhythm II & Lead)
- Treble & CONTRL Prsence indpendants for Rhythm I & II (Bass and Mdiums combined)
- EQ total indpendante to Lead Channel (Bass, Mdiums, Treble & Prsence)
- Canal with Cascading Gain Lead (Lead Gain + Lead Drive)
- Pull Fat (Rhythm II and Canal Lead) Pull Bright (Rhythm I & Lead) Pull Shift Prsence CONTRL (Rhythm and Lead II)
- 5-band graphic EQ assignable, assignable effects loop, spring reverb, CONTRL gnrale output level,
- Switch Variac (Full Power / Tweed) Switch Pentode / Triode,
- Recording output with CONTRL level, Mute switch (cut) silent record
- Pdalier 6 switches (Rhythm I, Rhythm II, Lead, Lead + EQ, graphic EQ & effects loop).
- The configuration it is relatively simple even though it is a mesa boogie, and therefore
the equalization is trs trs fine. Once the equalization is open your ears because we can say is the best lead sound a guitar can dream on this earth.
Very rich in harmonics, its very specific series of linverse rectify that tend to drool over. To imagine the sound of Santana Europa think this is typically the raw sound that you get with the Mark IV's lead. After other virtuosos such as John Petrucci, among other uses since the early 90 and still considers his favorite amp.
-The manual is in English it is quite clear Ormis few details but it's probably my English is not great
- I touch a little bit every style according to lhumeur so I chose the Mark IV for its reputation of the most versatile amp in the world and I can now confirm after 2 weeks of use, clean lens and very very hot deep crunch fall down a bit in the style JCM 800, and lead very gorg right harmonics.
The amp has a lot of gain (metallica, lamp of god, dream theater) use among others) but has not the weight of a grinding head can not have it all.
I play this amp on a Framus 2x12 with celestion V30LE vrement result is very good
and I played on an OLP Petrucci signature with dimarzios, it fulfills the task
for the progressive metal style that I like
- Overall Opinion
- -2 Weeks of intensive use
-I die for his classification as "orgasm"
Price-quality ratio is hard to judge, but if there is a price for the enjoyment sound and well in this case it is worth the price it cost: 2800 euros and nine around 1750 Used
- With the exprience, you do again this choice? ...
2 tips: - To listen to samples of type "Mark IV in youtube or Thiago Campos"
- To find ready-made grailtone equalization. com