NAD Mesa Boogie Dc-3

Discussion in 'Amps' started by supersoldier71, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    Bought it off Reverb on Friday, it arrived via Big Brown this evening. The seller packed it well, it came with the original—or at least correct—2 button footswitch, and powered up first time.

    First the good: the clean channel sounds really good. The settings in the manual sounded a bit muffled and boxy, but this thing has about a MILLION knobs, so a little tweak here and there, and we’re cooking with gas. Reverb is subtle but nice. It’s got a Celestion V30 speaker, but I’ve been looking for an excuse to install another WGS speaker, and after the amazing results I got with their Retro 30 in my Jet City, I’ll probably go that route again.

    Lead channel: didn’t get to mess around with it much, but when I do, I feel like that’ll sound great. As it was, the the kids and a grandbaby—a sleeping 2 month old—we’re here, so I couldn’t crank the master on the Lead channel.

    This thing has two channels, Gain, BMT, presence and volume on each, plus MV! In a way, it’s like a deluxe version of my Jet City combo. The thing is, I’m not sure it’s in any way objectively better than the JC.

    Before I go on, the bad: there’s a tube rattle that I think I fixed by reseating the tubes. If I can’t fix it, my amp tech buddy can, and maybe adjust the bias a little too. These things run super hot.

    Okay, back to the good: the Jet City has two channels as well, and when the bias was too hot, neither of them remotely resembled a clean channel. Since the “clean” is called Crunch, I just figured that was how it was supposed to be. However with the retube and speaker change, the Crunch channel covers a lot of ground. I like being able to dial in some dirt on the clean side and control it with the guitar. My Peavey Classic 50 can’t do that.

    The Mesa can!

    I’ve got exactly one distortion pedal on my board right now, my Rat, and that’s going back on the shelf. Other than that, reverb/delay and a tremolo. I like that simplicity.

    The Mesa has onboard reverb, so if I didn’t need dotted 8th delay, I could have a pedal board with nothing but modulations! Or no pedals at all for some stuff. And the DC-3 is noticeably smaller and lighter than the Jet City, although if I change the speaker, that weight advantage will disappear.

    Assuming I fixed the rattle, or worst case, I’ve got to get it fixed, this amp is a keeper.

    And the Peavey’s days are numbered.

    Pics tomorrow.


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  2. dearlpitts

    dearlpitts Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Cool, I like the peavey classic 50,s alot. If you sell I would get line to buy.
    Boogie,s are fantastic.
     
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  3. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    Nice score! I recently grabbed a Mesa rack preamp (V-Twin) and power amp (50/50), and owned a first gen Mesa Express 5:25. I haven't tried the DC-3, but I find I have to EQ mesa amps differently and that a small tweak of their EQ knobs do a lot. I think that this turns off some people from Mesa amps, but I find it can make it pretty versatile as well.
     
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  4. bygdaddy

    bygdaddy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Does Mesa have any duds? I wonder what their least popular amps r?
     
  5. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    I want to say, kind of. I've never heard anything abjectly terrible from them but I think they have put out amps that didn't gain much popularity. These Caliber models are some of there less popular amps. My V-Twin preamp might also qualify, but it's used price seems to match the popular Marshall JMP-1 so I guess it must have some following.
     
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  6. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    Nomads and F-series amps are very polarizing.

    Also, while I was shopping, I came across a Son of Boogie, which is a stripped down Mk I reissue. Ask ten people, you’ll only get two different opinions: best amp ever, worst amp ever.

    It was in great condition and at a good price but I’m really digging smaller, lighter combos right now, and the Mesa and the JC are two fire breathers that also happen to do great cleans.


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  7. bygdaddy

    bygdaddy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Congratulations on the score. Didn’t mean to hijack. Only Mesa I have experience was a long long time ago I had mes boogie subway rocket. I liked it but was bad timing and had to get rid of it. I’d like to check out a dc-3.
     
  8. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    Might be worth putting on an offer on this F30 if it interests you: https://stlouis.craigslist.org/msg/d/collinsville-mesa-f30/6757091195.html
    He might accept a lower offer as it's been up for more than a month. I think he's also selling some pedals relatively cheaply.
     
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  9. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    No hijack perceived!

    This amp is the result of a few separate but linked conditions. The first is that I barely play my Peavey. The last time it moved from my music room was when I had to get it retubed. I prefer smaller and lighter. Well I had smaller and lighter in a Mustang 3 modeler, but donated that to my church so that I didn’t have to lug it back and forth and so that I wasn’t stuck playing through the abysmally bad Line 6 practice amp.

    But the Mustang doesn’t seem to cut. It’s 100W, so I can get loud enough, but I can’t EQ it to be heard with the full band and orchestra.

    The Jet City CUTS, and at only 20W, I don’t understand the physics of why it’s a scalpel while the M3 is a baseball bat. But physics is physics, and it’s still only 20W. Cranked, it’ll hold its own, but I’m out of headroom.

    Enter the Mesa. It’s loud—LOUD—but when the JC’s out of clean headroom, the DC-3 still has some. Again, I still don’t grasp the physics of how a 20 or 35 watt amp can punch with a 100 watt amp—watts are watts!—but here we are.

    I’m going to drop it off with the tech in a few days to dial back the bias, which will clean up the Lead channel, maybe I’ll change the speaker for a WGS Retro 30, but maybe not.



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  10. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    One thing I’ve learned is that published wattage isn’t correlated with the decibels an amp puts out. There are too many factors at play.


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  11. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    I’m taking it to my tech, tomorrow I hope.

    This little beast may not work for me.

    Aside from that pesky rattle that I can’t fix, it sound great, but it’s a loud. Really loud. SUPER LOUD.

    I’ll probably keep it because it sounds great and is so lightweight. It’s like a nuclear weapon in a suitcase.

    I’m eager to hear it at its full potential.


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  12. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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  13. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    My man!

    Based on the air this little monster moves, I’m very happy I didn’t buy the 60 watt Son of Boogie I saw about the same time.

    Looking around the internet, it seems Boogies punch above their weight classes in terms of loudness.


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  14. uwmcscott

    uwmcscott AGF Survivor Champ

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    I had an Express 5:25 ( gen 1 ) for a while and had the same experience. Somewhere between 1 and 2 on the volume knob things went from borderline too loud for the living room to melt your face off. I don't think I ever turned it up over 2. Build like a tank though and infinitely tweakable.
     
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  15. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    I also had the 5:25 (Gen 1) and didn't have the issue @uwmcscott mentions although it's entirely possible it had already been modded. It could definitely get very loud, don't get me wrong, but about 4-5 on the 25 watt setting and nobody in neighboring apartments complained. Took pedals very well.
     
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  16. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    Dropped the amp off with the tech: early diagnosis was that the tubes were a little cooked.

    He’ll replace the tubes, bias properly and I’ll be back in business.

    I’ll probably swap in a lower efficiency speaker at some point, but I’m confident that this is a keeper when it gets tuned up.


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  17. CyFan4036

    CyFan4036 Well-Known Member

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    HNAD! I’ve had a couple over the years. I had a Mesa Stiletto 212 about 12 years ago. It was a very nice amp but the cleans just lacked any charm. I only kept it a month and ultimately traded it for an Orange Rocker...I think that was the model. But man, you can’t beat Boogies when it’s time to wake ‘em up! It’s like the roar of an angry demon.
     
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  18. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    Loose chassis screw was the culprit.

    Tubes checked out, bias was good as someone had already adjusted it.

    I pick it up today after work.


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  19. AnotherJim

    AnotherJim Active Member

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    I also have the Express 5:25 and am super happy with it. I do not have the issues above but one of t he tubes does occasionally get real hot on the 25 w setting. That b eing said. I have been mostly playing on 5w with my buddies and it is plenty loud and I can get all of the sound I need. I have found it to be very responsive to various types of picking as well. I will say I had a classic 30 that this replaced and the reason I got rid of the classic 30 was that it went to extremely loud at 9 oclock on volume and I had a hard time getting the volume where I wanted. That being said, the classic 30 is a great amp as well but I have not heard of a bad Mesa amp and my limited experience with one meets everything I have heard about them.
     
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  20. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    I’m looking forward to getting my amp back tonight.

    In my brief time playing mine, I wasn’t able to get the Lead channel dialed in to my liking because the rattle was more frequent and much louder (go figure) on the Lead channel.

    Mesa EQ is very powerful but doesn’t seem all that intuitive, but given how many of my favorite sounds have come from these amps, I’m eager to dive in and find some cool tones. Or hot tones.


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