QUICK GUIDE – MESA BOOGIE
All of the most popular companies in the amp world are seemingly well represented in plugin form in a variety of ways but I am not sure any company has received the level of attention that Mesa Boogie has received.
When you think about the legendary amps that have been devised and built by Mesa Boogie, it’s hard to fathom that they all came from one company. The Mark IIB, Mark IIC+, Mark IV, Mark V, Single Rec, Dual Rec, Triple Rec and the list goes on. So many amps that became so popular over the years and they did it with the tone.
PLUGINS: (in alphabetical order)
AUDIO ASSAULT BULLDOZER:
I can’t say for sure that the Bulldozer from AA was based on a Mesa Boogie amp but judging by the looks and some of the tone characteristics, it was likely at least partly designed as such. Even if I am wrong, the Bulldozer provides a fair quality Mesa type tone for a very small price. It’s also part of a nice suite that includes pedals, impulses and more. The Audio Assault plugins are very affordable but they often go on sale for nearly nothing. Check them out!
Brainworx has never made a bad plugin, in fact they have never made anything but fantastic and highly detailed products. Their version of the Dual Rectifier is absolutely my favorite in existence. I sincerely don’t believe there is a better Mesa inspired sim or more specifically a dual rec sim that beats this one. The Mega dual is literally the closest you are going to get to an authentic dual rectifier tone and it goes on sale often.
Like the Megadual, the Megasingle is a very detailed and authentic representation of the real life amp. Brainworx always puts a mountain of work and effort into making sure their products provide realism in every way and the Megasingle is no exception to the rule. The Megasingle has become one of my all-time favorite amps for punk rock and hard rock tones. Check it out asap.
Rockrack is Brainworx multi-amp sim plugin. It features a handful of amps, one of which is a Mesa Boogie Recto-verb 50W sim. Every time I use Rockrack, I spend time riffing on it for a good while and my first stop is always the Recto-verb. It’s a unique sounding amp that does have the signature Mesa attributes but also has additional traits that set it apart. Rockrack also goes on sale insanely cheap a few times a year so keep your eyes peeled!
How crazy is it that a bunch of old freeware amps can continuously hold up to the standards of today’s guitar community? The LePou freeware is some of the best ever made and the Lecto is a big part of it. The Lecto was my one and only Mesa sim until I bought Thermionik years ago. I used the Lecto on an album 7-8 years ago but then I also used it on a demo last week. It’s a great rip through a variety of Mesa tones.
The Mesa Boogie Grid Slammer is an overdrive / tube screamer type pedal that has had a spot in many a pedalboard over the years. Many players swear by the Grid Slammer with Mesa Boogie amps and there’s no denying the quality of the combination. Mercuriall Audio have recreated the pedal in plugin form with their Greed Smasher plugin. It’s free on its own but they have included it in many of their amp sim suites for additional value.
The Reaxis is Mercuriall Audio’s take on the Mesa Boogie Triaxis. If you are unfamiliar with the Triaxis, please familiarize yourself because it is one heck of a handy piece of gear. Basically, it’s a preamp that features a number of Mesa Boogie tones. It can do a very wide range of things and cover a lot of ground. Mercuriall Audio put all this into a truly awesome plugin. The plugin also features boost pedals, a cabinet section and a lot more. Cleans to blistering leads and more, give it a look because the Reaxis can be a seriously sharp Swiss Army knife for your tool kit.
Vadim Taranov at PVAmps creates very solid 32-bit windows only amp sims from high quality reamps. In his list of products you will find a few very cool Mesa Boogie inspired amp sims. The Megafuzzie line is very cool in my opinion but PVAmps offers a few others. Always remember to tip your freeware providers with donations!
Thermionik has come up in so many quick guides because the selection of high quality amp sims in the collection is so vast. Mesa Boogie is extremely well represented inside the collection with sims based on the Mark IIB, Mark IIC+, Mark IV, Dual Rec 2ch and Dual Rec 3ch. Every single one of these Mesa inspired sims brings solid and authentic tones that represent the hardware amps quite well. Thermionik provides a ton of gear for a very low price. The Duality 2ch, Duality 3ch, M2B, M2CP and M4 are waiting.
FULL AMP SUITES:
Mesa Boogie amps have been covered so many times in so many full amp suite plugins that it almost becomes mind numbing. I believe that every full amp suite on today’s market has one or more Mesa Boogie offerings so really you have your pick of many. Line 6 Helix Native, Overloud TH3, Revalver and Vstomp Amp all have pretty cool Mesa Boogie offerings. Amplitube has a fully licensed collection of Mesa Boogie branded amps complete with realistic graphics. The sound quality of the Amplitube Mesa Boogie offerings doesn’t top the list for full amp suites but they are decent and they look pretty cool.