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Steve Browning

Mesa Boogie Subway TT-800

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These amps arrived from the US a couple of days ago and I immediately booked a rehearsal studio in order to check I'd wired up the rack correctly, and to give the amps a good go. As with all my Boogie amp purchases, I was buying 'blind' but I have never been disappointed so ordered one as soon as they were announced. My first Boogie head was a Bass 400 in the mid 80's and the fact that this used the same tone stack made it the amp for me (and my back).

You can see I was running through two Subway 1x15 cabs. The basses were an SVL Reserve with flats, an old Precision with rounds and my A/E fretless which is active) with flats. I was joined (socially distanced-like) by @rumblefish who brought along an active bass - and his ears! The signal path was bass - tuner - amp - rack EQ in the fx loop - cabs. The EQ's were in bypass mode. I got the unit merely because the 400 has a graphic and I did use it on my one.

The amps were rack-mounted using the Mesa kit. The ears weighed a good bit more than the amp I reckon!!

This review is a first impressions review and I imagine I've only scratched the surface of what it can do.

First of all, a big shout out to the manual. The best one I've read so far. Not only did it have all the info on the amp, it also had a comprehensive table of the ohm settings and power distribution for a number of cab combinations (1x8ohm + 1x4ohm etc). It's a question that comes up regularly and here was a table with all the permutations and the relevant ohmage setting.

So, on to the amp. The 'executive summary' is an emphatic 'wow'. The amp (I was pretty much just using the Boogie channel) has all the tone you need and the combination of gain and volume give you everything you want in terms of grind. By way of comparison, I had my channel gain (on the 400) at about 1 o'clock. I ended up at about 3 on this amp. This gave it that bit of 'bite' when digging in a bit on the bass.

The EQ section is typically Boogie with loads of variation on all the controls but the biggest differences coming in with judicial use of the mid controls. I had started off with the deep switch on but decided it was not needed in the end, the high pass filter remained fully counter-clockwise. With everything set at 12 o'clock it sounded wonderful and I didn't get a bad sound out of it. To my ears, the sound was pure 'me'. It's the sound I've had since those 400 and Diesel 2x15 days right through to today. It's a sound I love and always makes me smile.

This barely scratches the surface, as I said. There are so many possibilities on the amp that I neither had the time, or the ears, to fully explore all the subtleties in this brilliant package.

In my opinion, Mesa have delivered again. They took me from all valve to valve/mosfet without losing any of my sound and have now taken me on to valve/digital, again, without losing any of the sound. An exceptional amp and I now just have to wait until circumstances are such that I can run it up 'in anger'.

 

 

 

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Thanx for the review/reflections!

I have ordered one, and it will surface after the new years weekend. I will use it with my Genzler Bass Array cabs, either 2 x BA12-3 or  BA210-3 + BA15-3 setup, depending on the scene/venue. The only Mesa amp I've owned was a Buster Bass top with a 115 cabinet, but that one sucked big! It was the most contra-intuitive amp I've ever owned. I couldn't get any decent tone out of it at all, just a lot of treble and super lows but nothing in between. I really anticipate getting the TT-800 in my hands... :) 

 

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You will really like the amp. 

I know what you mean about the Buster. When I first got the 400 all those years ago,  I actually stopped using it because I couldn't get the right sound. 

Eventually I persevered and figured out the eq. The controls work with each other and it takes a time to get your head round it. 

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