iamqman 04/06/2011

Mesa Boogie TriAxis : iamqman's user review

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This is an all in one Mesa Boogie bonanza! This preamp is covering a lot of history with Mesa's tones throughout the years. Though it does have a slight limitation of the feel of each of the offerings such as the early Mark l series or the Mark llc+, it still comes very close to those original tones.

FEATURES:

Handbuilt in Petaluma, California

5x12AX7

8 Modes (MK I / Vintage Fat Clean, MK IV / Hyper-Clean, MK I / Lead, MK I / Gain Boost,Classic British Lead, MK IV / Medium Gain, MK IIC+/ Classic High Gain & MK III / Searing Gain)

90 User Preset Locations/128 Midi Program Locations

Midi In/Out/Thru

Midi Continuous Control (any or all parameters)

Midi Data Transfer

Phantom Power (for Footcontroller)

Programmable FX Loop w/Stereo Returns

4 Programmable Function Switches (Controls Smart Power™ “Deep, Half Drive or Modern” on select MESA Power amps or controls other outboard gear)

Stereo Main & Recording Outputs
Available as:

TriAxis Pre-Amp • 1 Rack Space

UTILIZATION

Eight Preamp Modes

Rhythm
Green
Vintage Fat Rhythm (Mark I, Black-face)

Rhythm Yellow
Modern hyper-clean Rhythm (Mark IV)

Lead 1 Green
Vintage Mark I Lead

Lead 1 Yellow
Mark 1 Gain Boost

Lead 1
Red
Classic Boogie Lead

Lead 2 Green
Medium Gain Boogie Lead

Lead 2 Yellow
Classic Boogie Lead (Mark IIC+/Mark IV)

Lead 2
Red
Searing Boogie Lead

SOUNDS

This unit can produce some searing Mesa sounds in a one space preamp rack unit. Couple this with one of Mesa's power amps and you will have nice arsenal of Mesa flavors at your disposal.

I know that some people aren't a fan of the early Mark series amps but the ones they have simulated in this unit are amazing. However, if you are going to do this unit any justice you will have to play it on the Lead 2 red mode. Here you will hear what this thing was made to do and that is balls to the walls Mesa heavy riffing. Couple this with one of mesa's 4x12 cab with Vintage 30 Celestion speakers and the mesa power amp and you will be good to go. Deep rich chunky rhythm is what makes Mesa so unique and all of that sweet tone-age is pronounced in this unit.

OVERALL OPINION

I would recommend this unit to any Mesa Boogie lover and especially the Mark llC+ users who don't want to put out the money for a real one or simply can't find one. At new these units come in at around $2000 which is kind of high for a preamp you would think. However, this unit does cover a ton of ground. Why should you buy this over a Mark V which is less money and comes with a power amp....well this is midi function able.

My personal preference is to buy a used Dual Recto or a Mark lll which is my favorite two amps that Mesa ever produced. For the price of those two you could probably come close to one of these new.