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Mesa/Boogie Formula preamp - 12AX7 as power tube? Has reactive load.

I read in a guitar magazine review that the Formula has some sort of load. It has 5 12AX7 tubes - perhaps one of them is used as a power tube into a load, like with the Ampulator and Cream Machine. We can no longer be sure that we can write off a preamp as just another conventional tube preamp, just because it lacks a "power tube" such as an EL84. Particularly with multiple "preamp tubes", one of them might be for gain stages, and another might be for power-tube type of saturation, driving a dummy load.

jackgtrs wrote: "It comes stock with 5-12AX7 tubes set up like a Mesa Tri-axis chassis. CHANNEL 1--Clean. I was suprised at how clean this channel responded. The channel has a push/pull boost on the gain pot. I felt like I was playing through a Vintage Twin Reverb. I could get the Glassy Strat tone or a spanky Tele with the PRS in the 2,3 and 4 positions. In the humbucking positions the pre-amp delivered alot of bottom end push without getting Muddy. The high end was Sparkling clean with just enough mids to keep the bite that I wanted. With the Selector in the Neck Position Humbucking, the Bluesy sound was quite impressive - it had a little bit of high-end loss -- maybe a little to much. I had to play a bit to get the High end just right so I would stay clean here. Channel 1 and 2 come with independent channel gain,low, mid, and high, also a independent Master. Channel 3 comes with a Gain and Master volume. Recording circuit is new from boogie and is a Direct Recording Circuit. Parallel FX loop, The EQ section is a 5 Band EQ This pre-amp has been designed with recording in mind, but you can most definitely use it to take on the road."

I need to ask a Mesa/Boogie tech about this, over the phone.

Official product page - excerpts:

A much improved successor to the classic STUDIO Pre-Amp built in the mid-eighties. One-rack space chassis, with an additional channel. What really sets the FORMULA apart from other pre-amps before it is that it was, from the inception, a recording pre-amp. The development of a new type of recording circuit that responds in frequency to dynamic fluctuations in the same way a power amp and speaker do, caused the emphasis to be shifted early on in development toward the studio. The uncanny ability to recreate not only the sound of a great power section and cab, but also more importantly the feel of a great rig - makes the FORMULA a must-have "bolt-in" for any control room. This Wide-Track recording circuitry aboard the FORMULA makes recording direct guitar truly fun again through convenience and inspiration. Taking overall sonic direction from the Mesa Heartbreaker, the FORMULA's Rhythm channel is undeniably black face, clipping sweetly when pushed. It also incorporates a pull Boost on the Gain control for heavier sounds. Lead 1 starts out purring - very capable of furry chording, and continues on up to a violin-inspired, liquid gain voice. Lead 2 shares the rotary tone controls with Lead 1 and allows you to auto-insert the 5 Band Graphic EQ. The independent Gain/Master harness allows the tighter, more urgent nature of Lead 2 to be fully maximized while roaming between the stinging, low gain bluesy region and a blistering high gain frontier.

[to do: online manual if/when available, demo in store]

$700 list, $700 street

user comments at Harmony Central - excerpts:

Single rack space, 3 channel all-tube preamp. 5 12AX7 tubes. FRONT PANEL: Channel 1 has controls for gain, treble, mid, bass, and level. Channel 2 has a duplicate set of controls. Pull-pot on gain allows for a boost. Channel 3 shares tone controls with channel 2, but has its own gain and level controls. There is a master level for all 3 channels. There is a 5-band graphic equalizer which can be used in three modes: 1. always on 2. activated by footswitch 3. auto-activated with channel 3. There is also a low/high gain toggle switch for the Recording Outs. REAR PANEL: Parallel effects loop with mix control [if this does have a preamp tube used as a power tube into a load, is the fx loop before or after the power tube?], mono send and stereo returns. Stereo power amp outputs [not to drive speakers; not *from* an internal power amp, but just line level Outs *to* a power amp] as well as stereo recording outputs. There are a few 1/4" footswitch inputs for channel switching if you want to use a rack switcher system. FOOTSWITCH: 4-button switch is included: buttons for channel 1, channel 2, channel 3, and EQ. All have different colored LEDs. Footswitch uses a standard MIDI cable. Mesa did an incredible job with this piece. I had been using a DC-3, but it sounded a little too cold to me. I'm running the Formula through a Marshall 20/20 tube power amp into a Mesa Caliber 4x12 with a Replifex in the loop. The clean sound is absolutely Fender. It sounds almost a little compressed, but in a nice way. Very glassy. When you pull the gain pot out on channel 1, you get a big boost -- too big if you ask me. It gives you a cool vintage overdrive sound, but it is so much louder that you have to adjust the overall level. Not very good in a live situation. This channel sounds incredible with a TS-9 tube Screamer in front of it. Channel 2 is my favorite. It goes from SRV to AC/DC. A great rock sound. The sound jumps out of my cabinet, and I don't need to be cranked on stage to hear it. Channel 3 is very simi lar to channel 2, but can get much more sustain. If you do a "V" curve on the graphic EQ you can get metal sounds as well. What's great about this preamp is that you can set the EQ for a lead boost or a mid scoop or whatever. Then when you consider you have 3 footswitchable channels (4 if you use a stompbox), you really have 6 to 8 when you combine the EQ. I'm in heaven! I've used this preamp on 8 gigs in 6 venues, and I'm finally happy with my sound. The band loves it, and other guitarists are complimenting me. The overall sound has a slight midrange honk (not as much as other Boogie stuff), but it actually helps my guitar cut through the mix. I have to say I tried my setup with a 2x12 cabinet (Celestion Vintage 30s), and it didn't sound anywhere near as good as the 4x12. The Formula works great with the Replifex. I have gigged with the following amps/preamps: Egnater TOL100, Egnater IE4, Marshall JCM 900, Mesa DC3, Triaxis, Fender Tone Master, Fender Blues Deluxe, Johnson Millennium, Bogner Triple Giant, VHT Pitbull, and many, many others. Some sounded good. But the Formula is the first piece I've had that gives me a great clean and a REAL sounding overdrive. My band is ecstatic because I no longer have to crank to hear myself to be heard. And it's all in one rack space! Combined with the Marshall 20/20 and the Replifex, I have a very lightweight rig. And, by the way, that little Marshall is unbelievably loud. It really needs a 4x12 to open up though, as it was farting out through my 2x12. I may buy another Formula for my studio. It was, after all, designed as a recording preamp as well.

official product page

This must be a "preamp tube as power tube" product. Evidence: 5 12AX7's. No power tubes. An "all-tube preamp". Has an output transformer and inductive load. Something must push that output transformer in this all-tube preamp. Therefore, it must be one of the 12AX7s pushing the output transformer, therefore, this uses a preamp tube as a power tube. This is thus like the Ampulator or Crunch Master, except that the built-in load is inductive rather than a load resistor.

Formula preamp - "the real magic of the Formula Recording circuit is in the complex interaction between a fixed, toroidal inductor and the recording circuit's output transformer. None of us, including the transformer engineers, can figure out exactly what's happening...but who cares? The fact is, it DOES work and in a magical way that rolls off the highs -but manages to sound bright and open at the same time. It doesn't just roll them off in the normal, linear fashion. Rather there are peaks and bumps where some harmonics cancel and others resonate while the sound energy bounces back and forth repeatedly between voltage and magnetism. Just like it does in the complex interaction between the voice coil of the speaker and the windings of the output transformer inside a power amp...which are also two electro-magnetic devices connected together.

Two separate modes of recording performance are available by merely flicking a switch. The one with highly reactive characteristics is tailored for high-gain distortion performance and an alternate, less reactive mode is voiced for sparkling clean sounds.

Does it really compare to the best miced-up live sounds? All I can report is, although it's a brand new product, we have already heard player's say it sounded better -and felt way better- than they expected. And when they compared it directly to their actual miced-up sound, they preferred the Formula's Direct Recording.

There's no question that the circuit is a breakthrough for home recording artists and small studios. Whether it replaces big time, big studio live recording is probably doubtful but in some instances we may be surprised. But there is no doubt that this product should greatly enhance -if not revolutionize-the way guitarists approach tracking.

[v-twin - recording preamps]

claims that v-twin uses power amp tubes - I suspect it uses a preamp tube as a power tube driving a built-in inductive or resistive load through an output transformer.


DejaNews query: boogie and formula

Messages 1-49 of exactly 49 matches for search boogie formula:

        Date   Scr        Subject                     Newsgroup           Author

   1. 98/11/28 031 Mesa Formula Preamp          rec.music.makers.guit Carlginger     
   2. 98/09/28 030 Re: Review: MESA FORMULA Pre rec.music.makers.guit evil twin®     
   3. 98/11/30 029 Re: Mesa Formula Preamp      rec.music.makers.guit Anthony Robinso
   4. 98/11/29 029 Buying and Selling           rec.music.makers.guit Carlginger     
   5. 98/10/05 029 Mesa Formula preamp response alt.guitar.amps       Zekmoe         
   6. 98/09/09 029 New Boogie Preamp            alt.guitar.amps       richman1       
   7. 98/08/14 029 Re: Mesa Formula Preamp?     alt.guitar.amps       T00Lmaster     
   8. 98/08/09 029 Re: Mesa Boogie V-Twin Pre-A alt.guitar.amps       Willy          
   9. 98/08/05 029 Re: looking for recommendati rec.music.makers.guit Kris Hartung   
  10. 98/05/24 029 Re: Mesa Boogie Preamps      alt.guitar.amps       Steve          
  11. 98/05/24 029 Re: Mesa Boogie Preamps      alt.guitar.amps       Carlginger     
  12. 98/01/15 029 Re: Mesa Boogie: Solo versus alt.guitar.amps       Steve          
  13. 98/11/12 028 Re: Effects units with groun rec.music.makers.guit Andrew P. Mullh
  14. 98/11/12 028 Re: Effects units with groun rec.music.makers.guit Matt Feiszli   
  15. 98/11/11 028 Effects units with ground li rec.music.makers.guit Matt Feiszli   
  16. 98/08/15 028 Re: Do Amps Need Reverb To S rec.music.makers.guit LoomerMBV      
  17. 98/10/02 027 Re: Review: MESA FORMULA Pre rec.music.makers.guit Boelan         
  18. 98/09/28 027 Preamps in fx loop??         alt.guitar.amps       dcoffin        
  19. 98/09/27 027 Review: MESA FORMULA Pre-Amp alt.guitar            jackgtrs       
  20. 98/08/19 027 Re: Do Amps Need Reverb To S rec.music.makers.guit Greg Jones     
  21. 98/08/18 027 Re: Do Amps Need Reverb To S rec.music.makers.guit Chip of Known S
  22. 98/08/18 027 Re: Do Amps Need Reverb To S rec.music.makers.guit Polfus         
  23. 98/08/14 027 Re: Mesa Formula Preamp?     rec.music.makers.guit Kris Hartung   
  24. 98/08/14 027 Re: Mesa Formula Preamp?     alt.guitar.amps       Steve          
  25. 98/08/14 027 Re: Mesa Formula Preamp?     rec.music.makers.guit Kris Hartung   
  26. 98/08/13 027 Re: Mesa Formula Preamp?     rec.music.makers.guit Kris Hartung   
  27. 98/08/08 027 Re: looking for recommendati rec.music.makers.guit Chip of Known S
  28. 98/08/15 026 Re: Do Amps Need Reverb To S rec.music.makers.guit LoomerMBV      
  29. 98/08/08 026 Re: looking for recommendati rec.music.makers.guit Steve Sklar    
  30. 97/12/20 026 12 Mesa/Boogie Questions     rec.music.makers.guit Ted            
  31. 97/12/19 026 12 Mesa/Boogie Questions     alt.guitar.amps       Ted            
  32. 98/08/19 025 Re: King's X/Ty Tabor's Tone rec.music.makers.guit Polfus         
  33. 98/08/19 025 Re: Do Amps Need Reverb #2/2 rec.music.makers.guit Chip of Known S
  34. 98/08/15 025 Re: Do Amps Need Reverb To S rec.music.makers.guit Mike Teague    
  35. 98/08/13 025 Re: Mesa Formula Preamp?     alt.guitar.amps       Gil Ayan       
  36. 98/01/21 025 Re: Best Joe Satriani albums rec.music.makers.guit Greg Jones     
  37. 98/08/21 024 Re: Do Amps Need Reverb #1/2 rec.music.makers.guit Chip of Known S
  38. 98/02/17 024 Re: MESA BOOGIE MK IV ne#4/7 alt.guitar.amps       Steve          
  39. 97/12/21 024 Re: 12 Mesa/Boogie Questions alt.guitar.amps       D & M          
  40. 97/12/20 024 Re: 12 Mesa/Boogie Questions rec.music.makers.guit Christopher Bro
  41. 97/12/20 023 Re: 12 Mesa/Boogie Questions rec.music.makers.guit steve yetter   
  42. 97/12/04 023 Re: Q: What's a good way to  rec.music.makers.guit Lin Sprague    
  43. 98/02/01 021 NAMM guitar fx news          alt.guitar            Dpcoffin       
  44. 98/02/01 021 NAMM guitar fx news          alt.guitar.effects    Dpcoffin       
  45. 98/02/01 021 NAMM guitar fx news          rec.music.makers.guit Dpcoffin       
  46. 97/01/22 021 Re: Crunch                   alt.guitar.amps       William G. Sack
  47. 96/05/21 020 Re: Power Distortion Vs. Pre alt.guitar            David Roach    
  48. 98/02/27 019 Re: What's in Your CD/Video/ rec.music.makers.guit Andrew P. Mullh
  49. 95/09/02 018 Re: Guitar buying advice#1/2 rec.music.makers.guit Bill Zachar    


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