Mark III Review

manufacturer: Mesa Boogie date: 06/07/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Mesa Boogie: Mark III
It is Simul-Class with the graphic eq, Reverb and a 1/2 power switch. It is 85 watts Class A/B and 15 watts Class A.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Features: 9.5
 Overall rating:
 9.7 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.9 
 Users rating:
 9.5 
 Votes:
 22 
reviews (2) pictures (4) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
Mark III Reviewed by: boxcarmonument, on january 07, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: 1989 Mesa Mark III Green Stripe. This is the last of the Mark III revisions before the Mark IV. For an explanation of the stripes please visit here. It is Simul-Class with the graphic eq, Reverb and a 1/2 power switch. It is 85 watts Class A/B and 15 watts Class A. It uses 2-6L6's in the inner slots and 2-EL34's in the outer slots. And 5-12AX7's in the preamp. This is a VERY underrated, very versatile amp. I'm very surprised that for what these sell for used they are not recommended more often. I play mostly punk and Metal. It has 3 channels. Channel 1: being the clean very jangly with my P90 guitar. I believe the cleans are based off the blackface fenders. The only downside is it's easy to overdrive the clean channels because of the shared EQ. But it's nothing that rolling back the volume on your guitar won't fix. Channel 2: very Marshally. Great for classic rock and Rhythm. The best thing you can do for this amp is the R2 mod. It's gives channel 2 it's own volume pot. Other wise the Drive and master are shared with channel 1. Channel 3: full out the best channel on this amp. Gain for days. Very articulate. Chords don't mush up on you lots of definition in your playing. The amp came with 2 foot switches to change the channels. The front foot Switch goes from CH1-CH3. The foot Switch that plugs in the back will give you CH2. It also can use a foot Switch for the EQ and Reverb. Without the EQ/Reverb foot switch. The reverb does not turn on. Technically it's on but on level 10 it's more like level 4. And the EQ has a Switch on the amp For On Off and Auto. If the Switch is on Auto the Graphic only comes on with CH3. // 9

Sound: I'm using this amp with a 98 Gibson Les Paul Standard with 498/500t Pups, A Gibson Les Paul Studio 50's Tribute with P90's and a Schecter Damien with EMG-HZ's. This amp suits my needs very well. For Punk and Metal it is my Grail-tone. I will never give this amp up. It is very quiet on all 3 Channels. I only have a noise gate in front of the amp to tame feedback. Other than that it's dead silent. This amp seems to be good for all genera of music it doesn't have a tone I cannot get out of it without changing a few dials. And again Ch1 will overdrive Because of the shared EQ but it is nothing you cannot fix with rolling back the volume on your guitar. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's almost 22 years old I believe that it has proven itself dependable. I would gig without a backup. I would just be sure to bring some extra tubes. Some time this year I will be sending it to Mesa for a 20 year service. To get the caps changed and have the board cleaned and inspected. I will report back then. // 10

Overall Impression: Again I play punk, metal, blues basically anything that I feel like playing at the moment or whoever is around. I have been playing since I was 14 I am now 33. Again the only down side to this amp is the shared EQ but I have managed to get buy so for. If this amp was lost or stolen I would look for another one ASAP. The things I love about this amp? This is the first amp I have had that I could put away the 10 Band EQ, the Reverb pedal and the OD. I love everything about the tone. When I first got this amp I lost track of 5 hours playing it. It was that good for me. As far as a comparison I had a Mesa Dual Recto it just was not articulate enough for me and a Kustom double Cross. They were both great amps just not what I was looking for tone wise. Again the Mark III is a very underrated amp. A hidden gem in the Mark series if you will. // 10

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overall: 10
Mark III Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 07, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 600

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: I took a gamble and purchased a second hand Mesa Boogie Mark III simul-class "green stripe" combo from eBay. I believe it was made in 1990. It has 3 channels, clean, crunch and lead. These are all accessed via the pedals or by pulling out/pushing-in the knobs on the amplifier itself. It also has a "direct out", reverb, a built in EQ system and an FX loop. In addition to that, it comes with a power switch in the back to go from 15 watts to 85 watts, so it packs plenty of power. I've used the "direct out" for home recording on my PC (by plugging the amp into my sound-card and playing through cabinet impulses) and it works great. I'm a metal guitarist, so the clean channel doesn't interest me much. However, I'm sure it'd satisfy a jazz musician. Don't underestimate the size of this combo, it's incredibly heavy in weight. Believe me, it isn't any fun to carry around (especially up flights of stairs). It's remarkably loud too. The amp is a bit "fiddly" and in that I mean, it may take you a while to familiarise yourself with it's controls etcetera but once you do, you're flying. The presence and reverb knobs are at the back of the amplifier, this is a bit annoying for me but hey, they still get the job done so it's not the end of the world. The combo speaker can be unplugged and the amp can be connected to larger cabinets (2x12, 4x12 and so on). The EQ can be turned off, on or set into "auto mode". The amp also has a "stand by" switch. However, the EQ is shared across all 3 channels. Some guitarists may hate this but it isn't a problem for me because I only use the loudest channel anyway. // 10

Sound: I use several guitars with active EMG pickups (EMG 81/60 the "Het set" etcetera). This is unquestionably the most ferocious and aggressive sounding amplifier I've ever used or heard in my entire life. I was actually shocked by how distorted it can get. So it suits what I do perfectly. Classic Metallica tones are a no brainer and it handles modern metal sounds effortlessly too. Whether you're tuned up or tuned down, this amp can do it all. To my ears it sounds close to a Dual Rectifier but without the flabby lower end. When I plugged in for the first time I had instant "...And Justice For All" tone (these were obviously the settings the previous owner had used). Rest assured, if you're a metal guitarist like me, you will LOVE this amplifier. The clean channel doesn't interest me so I have nothing to say about that. The crunch channel is great for rock, blues and all that stuff too. I'm happy being a metal guitarist, so I don't "dabble" with other styles too much but I'm sure this amp is tonally versatile enough for any musician out there. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I'm only a few years older than this amp and it's in better shape than me (it's currently 22 years old, this review was written in 2012). It's second hand but I gave it a good clean and it now looks brand new. Obviously, the tubes will need to be changed at some stage in the future but it came to me with a fresh set installed. // 10

Overall Impression: Little annoyances aside (reverb/presence knobs in the back, shared EQ, physical weight of the combo itself) I don't have any serious complaints about this amplifier. For me, it's a match made in heaven. I'm so satisfied and happy with this amp, I sold my Mesa Boogie Mark V and used the money I made to buy new goodies. It's better than the Mark V in my opinion, it just blew the thing out of the water. I've converted the combo into a rack mountable head and now use it with 4x12 cabinets. If this was stolen or damaged, I'd definitely, absolutely replace it. It has everything I need for what I do, I'm sticking with this for life. If you're a serious headbanger like me, get a Mark III green-stripe. // 10

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