Mesa/Boogie Quad preamp
Mesa/Boogie Simul 395 Stereo poweramp
Climax S3 Preamp
Marshall MR 1960A cabinet
Signal path passes a min. 12 preamp tubes and 8 power tubes
200 watt (tube) power
page updated: November 15 2002
- I don't
have any new pictures of my current setup with the Climax S3 preamp.
Although this (and many other) 19" rack look complicated, it's actually just as basic as a amp + stompboxes. The only difference is that it is placed in 1 rack instead of a top and some pedals.
Finding the right amplifier that suits your needs the best, is not easy. That's why I choose many years ago to go with 19" rack gear, instead of a standard combo or amp head. Rack gear gives me the ability to pick out each part of the system, instead of having to do concessions. I see it this way: some people are happy with a stock stereo system. While others prefer to buy their own tuner, amplifier, cd player, etc., to get exactly what they want. Well, I like to choose my own poweramp, preamp, etc. to get the right system.
Before I bought the Mesa/Boogie Quad preamp I used the Digitech GSP2101 as my main source of distortion and sound. Although it is equipped with 2x preamp tubes (12AX7) the distortion doesn't sound really good. When I had enough money to buy a different preamp I only wanted one with a REAL tube sound. So no Marshall JMP-1, Mesa/Boogie Rack V-Twin, Hughes & Kettner or many others......... There were only 4 preamps that sounded good enough for me and one of them was this one.
The Mesa/Boogie Quad preamp has 2 channels, each with clean and lead, everything tube driven and has a lot of options to create your custom sound. It has endless sustain, beautiful rich clean sounds and an amazing EQ, with more low-end chunck than you could ever want. That's why I choose for Mesa/Boogie instead of Marshall. This is premium tone. I need to lower my volume 'cause my sound cuts through anything. The Quad preamp is, without a doubt, the best ever built preamp that came from their factory (although the Triaxis is more versatile, it is also very fragile).
In Ocotber 2002 I added a Climax S3 preamp. This is a handmade German preamp built from the highest quality materials and sounds more british then the Quad. It has three channels and all have a very upfront sound with lots of detail and clarity. I run this preamp simultaniously with the Quad which gives a very complex but fat sound, without compromising clarity nor detail. I mix the signal of both preamps with the help of the Digitech GSP2101, which gives me endless combinations of sounds.
For all the power ever needed, I use the Mesa/Boogie Simul 395 Stereo poweramp. It delivers 2x 100 watt of pure tube power and sounds like none other. Because I love a lot of low end in my guitar sound, I need a lot of power to produce strong, tight and undistorted low end. The switching abilities are endless and it really compliments the Quad preamp. Just like the with the Quad preamp, this is their single finest/versatile power amp ever built by Mesa/Boogie (only the Strategy 500 surpasses it, which has even more power).
The speaker cabinet is a stock Marshall MR 1960A (aka JCM900 4x12"). It is the industry standard and sounds pretty much ok. But since I own a Quad preamp, it even sounds good. Never the less this piece of gear will be changed in the future for a different speaker cabinet. Probably a Mesa/Boogie Rectifier cabinet.
Well how does this setup sound? The sound stage of this setup is HUGE. It has headroom like non other (no matter how f*cking loud I play, it's always able to stay clean and undistorted), a lot of depth / character / tone / complexity / clarity / definition / dynamics / etc. / etc. The clean sound is very rich and has a lot of dynamics with a nice tube compression when pushed. The high gain sounds are never muddy or unclear, every note cuts through. But above all the setup has TONE.
Right now I use it with a metal orientated band ( www.skirl.nl) and I have the mids scooped and still it has much more tone than any other amp I've heard. Even at lower volume levels the tone is so good that I really cuts through the rest of the band. No matter how loud the other guitar player goes, this setup is still better audible even if it's set at a much lower volume level. Which is great because must metal bands have scooped mid's in their guitar sound and lack real tone/definition of what they play. You only hear some low end scoomp and noise in the treble frequencies, which are either lost in the frequencies of the bass player or the drummers cymbals. Well this setup gives me a scooped sound and still all the tone in the world as if it was setup for a jazz sound. It sure as hell costs a lot, but damn the sound is so good.....
The fx of the Digitech GSP2101. The guitarsignal is split to the two preamps which are mixed together with the help of the Digitech. I used to use a 19" mixer to combine dry and wet sounds but this would be too complicated with my current setup and needs. Besides I don't have the space anymore since I added the Climax S3 preamp. The Digitech somewhat affects the sound even when all effects are bypassed, but it's worth the compromise. The effects of the Digitech are great and together with the dedicated midi controller I can do anything I want, realtime.
I use the Nobels MS-8 to communicate between the Digitech and the two preamps. Thanx to it's perfect setup there are no groundloophums, etc.
For more info go to the specific pages.