Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier: Effects Loops
Effects Loops and how to use them
Well, here we are in the 'Loop' section. Now why on earth would I make a section in the Triple Recto amp section just to talk about the effects loop on the amp? There is a good reason or two because on the Triple Rectifier amp the loop is an assignable Parallel FX Loop with send and mix level controls. Mesa say that this loop (in the Dual Rec and the Triple Recto) is one of the most comprehensive loops in any amplifier. Hmmm sales patter I think. Why? they dumped this style on the Multi Watt Rectos that follow.
You don't dump something that works well for most people right?
In case you don't know, a parallel loop is not always what you might need on an amp and more often than not a serial loop is of more use overall. I guess you could argue with that statement, but mesa moved to serial on this amps replacement. One of the problems with a parallel loop is that (often) it does not completely turn off - what I mean is, with the parallel loop engaged, and the output level turned off and the return level turned completely off, the signal still gets through on some designs. I have also seen some series loops do this - with the output completely off there is still a signal that gets though. All you guys who want to use a TC G-System will have trouble if the signal is not completely dead when it is supposed to be and 100% when it is supposed to be. Anyway, back to the loops.
Secondly, the parallel loop is always basically 'in' whereas a serial loop can often be completely switched out. A simpler way of thinking about it for a parallel loop is that the 'loop' runs out of the amp and back in while there remains a direct connection also between the preamp and power amp so that the parallel loop adds to the signal already there. Things like compression, wah or eq will be 'mixed' with your original signal having an effect of 'watering down' the effect on a parallel loop. Basically for these sort of effects it's not good.
In the case of a serial loop there is only one route instead of two - the signal exits the preamp, goes through the effects and comes back in to the amp to the power amp - and that is the ONLY route there is. For delay and stuff like that it sounds great, but there is also a snag with serial loops and that is, when turned on the whole signal goes through your pedal. Many guys will say that the loop in a tube amp positively 'sucks' the tone right out of the amp and I would then say (based on the above) that parallel loops suck half the tone, while series therefore must suck all the tone! But that's just an analogy and personally I can hear a difference, but its not earth shatteringly different to my ears.
My view, is that mesa boogie got some stick for this parallel loop choice, why else would you change it? everything else about the loop, the controls etc. seem to be the same on the multiwatt replacement of this amp so I guess far more wanted a series loop.
I would NOT bypass the loop on the dual and triple rectifier amps because if you do, then you will have no solo or master volume - this action disables the master volume and on a triple rectifier this is something you absolutely need. What you are left with when you bypass the loop (with the switch on the back of the amp) is that the CHANNEL master controls become the final output controls and this makes a massive difference to how you can drive the amp in the first place.
I ALWAYS have the loop NOT bypassed and mine is always set to Foot Switch although you can use other settings if you want. Ill say this once more so it sinks in:
DON'T BYPASS THE LOOP WITH THE SWITCH ON THE BACK OF THE AMP.
Everything else is covered in the regular manual of the dual and triple recto, but because we are describing a triple rectifier I just wanted to go over the loop and why you leave it NOT bypassed. I sold my triple on eBay and the very next email I got from the guy was 'Hey this amp is way too loud even at the gig'. I suspected that he had turned off the loop as many guys do - and yes that's right - instant deafness!
Always be careful when you are standing in front of a Mesa Boogie amp - they are typically loud and if you don't set things up right BEFORE you turn on the amp then you could get one very loud blast of sheer volume which could damage your hearing. Its all over the manuals. You CAN get the amp fixed but what value do you put on your hearing? When you are young its often said by older guys that they 'know it all'. I probably agree with that because when I was younger I knew it all too and was never convinced by those old fools; but I suppose as you get older you really do realize that those old dudes comments were built on years of experience.
But seriously guys just be careful and enjoy these amps for a very long time to come because you can still hear them when you are old.
Here's a little section from the Ultimate Metal Forum about loops:
The only trade-off in PARALLEL FX loops is that typical IN SERIES treatments/FX, like compression/EQ/wah, will be mixed with your dry signal...and this is not what you want when using these FX. Suggestion: use compression/wah/EQ between guitar and amp input, using other gear. Hope: someday a clever guitar amp company will build an amp with switchable and remote series/parallel FX loop...one day! If your combo amp does not have an FX loop...well, it must be a dinosaur with classic tones you love too much to upgrade to new technology. In such case the best advice is to have highly qualified guitar amp tech service to modify your amp, adding an FX loop; this is what most pros do. In case you don't want... you can only use your guitar > Eventide > amp front guitar input configuration, all unbalanced, on -10dB. This is probably the worst possible setup you can use as technology has evolved and necessary adjustments are required to interface "the bold & the beautiful." A serious "con" of this setup is the limitation on using amp distortion: In fact if you are getting your favorite distorted tone from a 1959 Marshall Plexi (no FX Loop amp!) you'll be in trouble as your delays and reverbs will be destroyed, nuked by your amp distortions. In this case, distortion pedals should be used between guitar and the Eventide. There are many other possibilities that pros use....quite expensive though, like miking an old amp and processing it on the PA..or having the "dinosaur" modified with an added line output that usually feeds digital effects units, going to a stereo power amps w/2 cabinets, strictly dedicated to effects. This 3-amps setup is also called Left FX/Center Dry/Right FX setup.
I hope this little section on loops helps; sometimes they can be a real problem depending on what you are doing and with a TC G-System they can be a complete nightmare partially due to the appalling manual from TC-Electronics for the G-System.
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