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  1. #1
    Romeo Delight
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    Default Mesa Boogie Stiletto

    Has anyone played through one of these? I'm looking for a great all-around amplifier. I've heard some really nice clean tones (from YouTube clips) out of the Stilettos, and they have a nice crunch channel. I'm looking for a hot rodded Marshall sound, but I think the Marshall clean channel doesn't compare to the Mesa's. Plus the cost of the Mesa (combo) - which I presume to be a better built amplifier - is equivalent if not better than a similar Marshall.

    I should also say that I don't like the Mesa rectifier sound. I have a 5150 combo, and I think it has more gain than I need - and it is noisy. I don't think that the tone is as good when soloing - it sounds thin compared to other amps. I love how it sounds playing rhythm, but it is not very versatile - the clean sucks.

    I'd be interested in any thoughts on the Mesa Stiletto - I'm anticipating that it would be able to reproduce plexi type tones and more.

  2. #2
    Eruption nicholas_kudochop's Avatar
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    Let me apologize first because I'm not going to answer your question!

    Anyways, do you live close to any music stores? I ask because in my experience when looking for amps...probably the best way for me to start was going around and just seeing what was available and hearing in person how they sound. I've gone into a store wanting one particular amp, but left wanting something completely different.

  3. #3
    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicholas_kudochop View Post
    Let me apologize first because I'm not going to answer your question!

    Anyways, do you live close to any music stores? I ask because in my experience when looking for amps...probably the best way for me to start was going around and just seeing what was available and hearing in person how they sound. I've gone into a store wanting one particular amp, but left wanting something completely different.

    agreed, don't base what you want solely on youtube clips...i bought a Diezel VH4 a while ago, i had no intention of even buying an amp at all untill i heard it, and i had seen countless youtube clips of people demoing them, which i thought were garbage. get out there and try a whole bunch of amps, including the Stilleto, and only then make up your mind.
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  4. #4
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 09:23 PM
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    I don't have a Mesa/Boogie Stiletto but I do have a 1988 60W (all tube) Mesa/Boogie Mark III. I will say that the clean on that amp's channel 1 is wonderful, almost a Fender clean. Channel 2 is similar to Marshall crunch and channel 3 is the over the top singing sustain Mesa sound (think old Santana). Back in the 80's at least, and it may be this way now to a certain degree, Mesa amps were built like top end boutique amps. I'll also say that I have a 2008 Marshall DSL100 100W (all tube) head with a 4x12 cab- basically near the end of the run of these amps. That amp also has a fantastic clean sound on the Classic gain channel. It's so clean that I actually performed The Beatles Eight Days A Week using that amp. Obviously the Marshall will also do the classic Marshall sound and a hot-rodded higher gain Marshall sound. Not sure about build quality Marshall vs. Mesa but I'd probably have to give a nod toward Mesa in that regard. Plus in many cases if you need to speak with the Mesa factory about a problem you may reach one of the people who actually built the amp.

    But yeah, like the others said in most cases you really need to hear the amps in person. I know it's a pain in this day and age when it's so convenient to be able listen to 50 clips on youtube. There are so many variables in the recording of youtube clips that you really don't know what you're hearing. Most people have a really inexpensive mic/recording setup and on top of that youtube will compress the crap out of everything in order to save space on their servers.

  5. #5
    Romeo Delight
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    Thanks for the comments.

    Yes, I know before I drop 2 grand on an amp, I'll most likely play it first...

    I just thought I'd check to see if any of the VH tone freaks on here had played one of these amps. I wondered if it could produce the plexi/brown sound.

  6. #6
    Eruption donkost's Avatar
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    Actually I doubt any of those mentioned will get the plexi/brown sound. For the most part it depends on how critical your ears are. Perhaps hang out at the metroamp.com Van Halen forum for some other ideas. Those guys over there are nuts but in a good way- analyzing wave forms and whatnot to achieve the perfect VH1 sound. The only monkey wrench in all of that amp and effects tweaking is that a good portion of that sound is from the studio production- the extra bite to the guitar and the huge plate reverb sound panned to the opposite channel.

    A Wampler Pinnacle pedal into a good clean channel is probably the easiest way to get there. The real way is by using an old Marshall 1959 SLP non-master volume amp cranked for power tube distortion, hot rodded or not depending on who you believe, and a vintage MXR 6 band EQ or Boss GE-10 EQ driving the front end. That's only the tip of the iceberg but those are supposedly the essentials.

    Personally I think you can dial many amps into brown sound territory as long as you stay away from the crushing gain many people use when covering Van Halen. If you get the amp dialed in pretty close and have really stellar playing with Ed's phrasing down (the toughest part) it can be really convincing to the ears.

  7. #7
    Good Enough
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by slick4772 View Post
    Thanks for the comments.

    Yes, I know before I drop 2 grand on an amp, I'll most likely play it first...

    I just thought I'd check to see if any of the VH tone freaks on here had played one of these amps. I wondered if it could produce the plexi/brown sound.
    I played a Stiletto once in a store. I thought it was a really good amp, but I didn't have enough time to really see what it could do. All I know is that I really liked it, especially compared to the Mesa Rectifier line. I would say that the non-rectifier line Mesa's are on a whole 'nother level (I'm talking Roadking, Stiletto, Mark series, Triaxis, etc.). The Rec's just don't do it for me at all.

    As for getting 'the brown sound', (if you REALLY want to nail it) you're gonna need some sort of amp with a pretty clean signal path internally. So dig out some schematics if you're into that kinda thing, but most of all, use your ears. A Mesa Mark V has some incredibly cool tones from it, but will it nail a brown sound? Probably not... think of all the 'extra' stuff the signal is running through.... switchable output modes, solid state buffers running to switchable EQ's, a super complex switching system in itself, etc. etc. So while you may or may not like a Mark V's sound MORE than the brown sound, it probably won't sound like an old marshall. I'd listen most for clarity THROUGH the distortion/gain you are dialing in. I think that's the key to the brown sound.

  8. #8
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    Our singer had two different Mesas, I hated how they sounded...awful. I couldn't imagine getting close to the brown sound with them. He finally got rid of both of them and went to a Peavey JSX...thank god. I hated that Mesa sound.
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