Most misunderstood/poorly marketed gear

jarledge

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I am in a place where I can finally start buying all the amps I wanted over the years. Today I bought a hughes and kettner Warp T (for tube) and it got me thinking about the gear I have acquired. The warp T was marketed terribly and is actually (i'd say fairly objectively) a phenomenal sounding amp. H&k just really really sucked at marketing it in a way that would let you know it is so much more than "nu" metal.

The second example in my collection is the Randall EOD88. I bought it on closeout so I got a good deal, had never played one (i know, you don't have to say it. I just took a risk) but though what the hell. Again, the amp is really really good. First off, the graphics are dumb and very polarizing, and secondly red tolex probably wasn't the way to go. I had a red tolexed roadking and when i went to sell it I heard multiple times, "if i wasn't red i'd buy it" . EOD element of doom ... stupid name. I get why they named it that, but without knowing the story behind it , you think this amp is like randall's take on an orange or something that is fuzzy and sludgy(the graphics don't help change your mind about that assumption either ). It feels and sounds like it is based on an old marshall, maybe like a JTM with extra gain stages which would have probably been close to what black sabbath was playing back in the day. It sounds really amazing for lower gain settings, again it feels and sounds like an old marshall. Had this exact amp been made by someone else, I think it would have sold a lot of units.

bogner uberschall pedal. I picked it up on clearance as well. Got it thinking it would be a cool pedal to run over a clean channel and get a bogner like tone out of. I had tried the red ecstacy and really really liked it a lot so again I thought I'll give it a chance. It is not an uber in a pedal. It doesn't really have the gain to go over a clean channel. If you treat it like an OD pedal and not a distortion pedal things start to sound a little better. I have tried it over the distorted channel on a few of my amps and it sounds better on a couple but it isn't anything groundbreaking. I'd say it is a swing and miss, especially compared to how good the other bogner pedals are.

So what is something you have, you like, you hate, you feel was poorly marketed, or found life in a different role than it was intended for.
 

KnightBrolaire

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boss mt2- sooo soooo misunderstood and unfairly maligned. If you dial it in correctly it makes for a pretty unique and versatile pedal. You can even dial in a bit of chainsaw like the hm2 if you dial the mid freq just right.

Mesa F series amps- they're like many of mesa's less popular models, they have a mix of recto and mark qualities. People wrote them off largely because the contour channel sounds like shit, but they have great cleans and a very muscular recto esque low end, plus the crunch channel is super versatile. I can get delta blues and classic rock tones all the way to 80s hair metal/thrash and modern djent/death metal/doom depending on how I dial it in. It really excels at doomy/sludgy stuff ime.
The EQ can be touchy but like any Mesa, but if you read the manual they're pretty logical. In this case the more treble you run, the more mids and bass you can have. Some accuse the f series of being flubby/muddy but if you run the bass under 10 o clock it tightens up a lotttt. The big issue besides the contour channel sucking is the extremely touchy volume taper. THESE AMPS ARE LOUUUUD and they don't like being played quietly.
The EL84 loaded F30 is more unique as the 84s give it a unique snarl the bigger heads don't get. The 84s also give it a janglier/chimier clean sound versus the 6l6 loaded f100.


Peavey XXX - unfairly maligned as Peavey's poor man recto, when it really doesn't share the voicing or design of a recto at all. All it shares are similar aesthetics ime.
The clean channel is passable but not exceptional.
The crunch channel is where the magic happens. It's easier to tame than the ultra channel and has very quick bass response. the bit of fizz in the high end really isn't bad and can be relatively easily controlled by the treble knob. The ultra channel is just overkill in terms of sheer gain on tap..it's ridiculously saturated and works great for leads once you dial it in.
Like a lot of peaveys it has damping controls which greatly change the feel. There's also external biasing and a solid fx loop. For the prices these go for in the USA they're worth grabbing imo.
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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EMG 81. People complain that it's too thin or compressed.
That's the fucking point. :lol: It's meant to push amps without being muddy.

And +1 on the XXX. It's more of a streamlined Ultra rather than a Peavey Triple Recto. Although I WILL admit the Ultra channel may have some Recto-inspired tweaks, it's still more of a Ultra/Rockmaster.

Schecter Guitars 2004 - 2013. I will admit they're gaudy as fuck, but goddammit they're built like tanks and sound amazing. Plus I love the more thicker necks they had. I scored a early-mid 2000s Schecter Scorpion S-1 and it's fucking monstrous sounding.

EDIT: Marshall JVM. "BUT IT HAS LOTS OF KNOBS". That's because every channel has a dedicated EQ, gain, and distortion. :lol: It's not like each channel had like 3 midrange knobs and 12 frequency selectors. :lol:
 
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MaxOfMetal

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Active pickups.

Very, very few know exactly how they work and it leads to myths and outright misinformation.

Here's a good primer based on the EMG 81:
https://www.electrosmash.com/emg81

Don't let some of the scary math or some of the tech talk scare you, it's a pretty straight forward read and will make more sense if you look at the glossary.
 

c7spheres

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TLDR;
The Mesa-V-Twin Rack is awesome, does any genre you want, and has many tricks up it's sleeves, but you gotta know what you're doing. They're misunderstood because very few people have experience with them, even amongst the people that own them.


Mesa V-Twin rackmount. I don't know if Mesa ever really marketed it at all. They marketed the pedal for a long time, but the rack was a limited run and only sold in 1994 I'm pretty sure. I never saw it advertised and only ran across them in boutique shops (yes, those exsisted in 1994 before all the Guitar Centers killed them, F*ck Guitar Center!).

- Anyways, it's totally misunderstood. People think it's just more of the same thing as the pedal and it is not. It's its own thing. The Pedal is great for adding to an amp and in front of an amp. It still holds it's own for sure but it's not the rack. It don't do heavy as well, but can still do heavy.
- The rack version feels tighter on heavy gain but it's still loose, like a Recto. It can be dialed in to be tight though. It's called turning down the bass knob and adjusting the gain! : )
- The Rack, Pedal, and 20/20 amp were all really supposed to be one "system" and voiced to work together and it is a great system. I'm not sure if Mesa revoiced the 20/20 when they turned it black for the Formula preamp or not but I've owned the Forumla and it's great too, but not as much gain as the V-Twin rack, yet less fizzy and more Mark like than Recto. The V-Twin rack is definitly in the Recto family.
- If you're a blues or jazz guy this thing is a beast. For metal and rock it's great too. There's really nothing it can't touch. Of course, it's all opinion and a matter of taste. It sounds like a Boogie for the most part.
- Most of the videos and comments on the internet about this rack and pedal just suck. I admit, it is really hard to capture it on a recording and do it justice.
- It works great for bass too! Really.
- Most people geting these think they suck and move on. The people that really dial it in keep them forever. It's why they're pretty rare to see and don't go down in value. They were $500 new in 1994 dollars and are still about that same price, 26 years later!

- Another misconception is that these are supposed to be the Recto's preamp in a rack or pedal. They are not. They do have that type of character though, but not better or worse than Recto, just different. Mostly in the mid's, but this is all power amp dependent really. I haven't run it though a Recto power section to compare, but even Boogie says it's not supposed to be that. I actually prefer my setup to an actual Recto.

- The sounds are all in there but the settings on the knobs may be different is basically what it comes down to.

- The racks are unique in that they have JFet input stages (I think 4 on the dist channel and 2 on the clean) and then pass through the tube section. It's cool because you get the tightness on the input (if wanted) like a solid state amp with the gain and then go through the tube stage. It's what most people do anyways but with a pedal in front of the amp instead. The really cool thing about it is that they feel and react like you'd expect a tube amp to respond. It's extremely dynamic in relation to picking dynamics and distortion breakup (on the distortion channel).
- The clean channel is incredible too. It's not a clean that gets break up dynamics for the most part though it can do that to a good degree. It's squeeky clean and fat thick cleans too or even jazzy roland type if wanted. It's warm and sterile and whateer else you want you can basically dial it in. If you're looking for that clean with breakup dynamics it's probably better to be in the lower gain distortion modes rather than the clean channel mostly. If it's paired with the 20/20 amp it will do that with the clean channel much better because the 20/20 is a power amp that can get the overdriven power section distortion like a Fender does. I think it's the only amp Mesa's made that does that unless those recent models do that.
- Basically you can get almost anything you want for any style, and if not then you're not dialing it in right, or using the wrong tubes for the application etc. It responds to tube rolling really well too, btw. I use it with str-12ax7a's (Sino's I think) but for lower gain at7's work great. It only has two tubes in it.

- Just like any preamp, the power amp it's paried with is a huge, major factor. I use mine with the VHT 2-50-2. I've tried the Mesa's and they're just to low end for me. The 20/20 Mesa is really great for this preamp and actually was designed/voiced to be used with this preamp originally (at least that's what they told me). I'd like to get one again someday, load it down and slave it into my 2-50-2.

- More wierd stuff is there appears to be 3 modes for each channel and then the abiliyt to blend them, but there is far more available than that if using the optional 6 jacks on the back that control the distortion and clean modes. - The differences are subtle, but if you listen and feel what's happening and actually play with them for a while doing a/b tests you really start feeling and hearing the differences.
- Basically, the front panel switches allow you to select the channel and mode, but when using the control jacks on the back you can start doing things like select multiple modes at once, which is a glitch/quirk in the unit. It's not meant to do this but you can. Additionally, whatever mode is selected on the front panel will be a sort of "master character" for the unit/channel as well, so there's a ton of combinations. Again, it's subtle but different enough to call a different mode. - For example, selecting the front panel mode 3 and using the external select jack to select mode 1 at the same time is a noticably different sound than selecting the front panel mode 1 and external jack select mode 3. It's the same modes being selected so you'd think they should sound the same, but they don't. These are sounds you can't get using the front panel or the notmal foot pedal. Pretty cool. This particular example sounds much different! Kick ass! Messing around with all these combintations really helps dial it in. It's not going to hurt anything. I've been doing this for decades with no consequnce. I let the Mesa tech know and he seemed not interested. "we don't talk about it" : 0

- Another misunderstood thing is the blend channel. Don't take it at face value. At first it sounds useless but the more you mess with it you start discovering uses. Playing softly on it's pretty cool sounding. Also, keep it mostly toward the distortion blend on the balance control. Most of the magic seems to happen within 2 hours on the clock face when the pot is fully left/toward the distortion side. It's almost like they used the wrong value of pot for this control and the range is limited/narrow. It get's clean-dominate really fast.
- Don't just plug into this thing and bang away and say it sucks and walk away. That's what people don't get. This is sublte and articulate and needs you to tailor it for your playing. It's a big pain to dial in like most Mesa's, but like most Mesa's, when you get there it's wonderfully satisfying.
- I always say the V-Twin rack is Mesa's bastard child. Nobody talks about it and there's almost no info about it. Even Mesa only has the manual in the archives, unlike most their other amps that still have pictures etc. They even have the Pedal version, but the rack is not mentioned. "we don't talk about that around here." hehe : )

- One more pretty unique thing is that it can turn off all it's channels. This is awesome. It's not a mute, it's turning off all it's channels and the fx loop and outputs still operate. I don't know of any other amp or preamp that can do this.
- BUT Why do this? Well I'll use it for the effects loop. It has a parallel loop and I use two V-Twin racks. This allows me to plug one rack into only the fx returns of the other one and mix it to fully 100% (which in reality with normal rack fx processors is only 90%, like most Mesa's, but for this purpose it's still 100% because it's not blending anything so it's still 100% due to no blend. anyways,) which in essense gives me a rack mixer for my other preamp as a free bonus. If I ever want to add another preamp, I can just chain it off my second V-Twin and operate that too with all channels off in the same manner. It's just a bunch of cool stuff, but only for people that "get it". It's not so much a plug and play type thing. This preamp will make you work for it but it pays off.
- I'm the only person talking about using the V-Twin rack this way. I've been doing it for years and I'm surprised nobody else seems to do it. It's just strange.
- I'm telling you The V-Twin rack is Mesa's bastard child or something. Nobody talks about it.

- I think one thing about gear is that 90% of people (even people buying gear and messing with it all the time) don't really know how to dial stuff in and don't really know what they're hearing or listening for. It takes skill and experience/practice. Most people can't tell that (for example) if something isn't clear enough whether that has to do with the guitars pickups, preamp, mixer, the way the person's playing it, etc.

- So much gear that gets a bad rap is actually really quite good and usable even though in the end it may not be what you're looking for.
 
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c7spheres

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I put one in there! : )


Active pickups.

Very, very few know exactly how they work and it's leads to myths and outright misinformation.

Here's a good primer based on the EMG 81:
https://www.electrosmash.com/emg81

Don't let some of the scary math or some of the tech talk scare you, it's a pretty straight forward read and will make more sense if you look at the glossary.

Interesting. I wonder how many passive pickup users really take their cable into account when comparing or trying new pickups. It's also funny because so many people plug straight into a gain pedal like a Tube Screamer essentially negating the point of passives, at least up until they plug into the pedal.
 

MaxOfMetal

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Interesting. I wonder how many passive pickup users really take their cable into account when comparing or trying new pickups. It's also funny because so many people plug straight into a gain pedal like a Tube Screamer essentially negating the point of passives, at least up until they plug into the pedal.

I don't think most really think more about thier rig past "good guitar with good pickups into good pedal into good amp". Which is fine, this stuff isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things. :lol:

But it's easy, and convenient, to align with conventional dogma and then we get things like "EMGs are compressed" or "all guitars with EMGs sound the same".

It's just something to think about. This stuff isn't magic, it follows the same principles the rest of the universe does.
 

MaxOfMetal

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The value of a good nut and a tuner...lol.

For real.

In over a decade and a half on internet guitar forums, when someone is having tuning or intonation problems, the nut and tuner are the culprit at least 99% of the time.
 

Bogner

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For real.

In over a decade and a half on internet guitar forums, when someone is having tuning or intonation problems, the nut and tuner are the culprit at least 99% of the time.
Agreed! I am also surprised how many folks think it must be tuners and go out and buy tuners. I have an extensive guitar collection and have been around a long time and have yet to have faulty tuners that slip and can't stay in tune. If people are having those issues they are probably not winding their strings properly...which is another major issue.
 

boltzthrower

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Active pickups.

Very, very few know exactly how they work and it leads to myths and outright misinformation.

Here's a good primer based on the EMG 81:
https://www.electrosmash.com/emg81

Don't let some of the scary math or some of the tech talk scare you, it's a pretty straight forward read and will make more sense if you look at the glossary.

Well, lots of that was way over my head but I will henceforth be referring to humbuckers as "Butts Lovers", per its inventors' names. The more you know.
 

USMarine75

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For real.

In over a decade and a half on internet guitar forums, when someone is having tuning or intonation problems, the nut and tuner are the culprit at least 99% of the time.

Off topic but....

Hmm my high E on my G&L S500 wont intonate. E is low but G to G is high. Not beats and dies quickly like the pickups are too high but they’re not. Strings are old so I’m going to change, but I clean and wipe after every time and store in case so they’re not your usual old.
 

MaxOfMetal

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Off topic but....

Hmm my high E on my G&L S500 wont intonate. E is low but G to G is high. Not beats and dies quickly like the pickups are too high but they’re not. Strings are old so I’m going to change, but I clean and wipe after every time and store in case so they’re not your usual old.

Wait for new strings before moving forward. Even fairly clean strings can have problems if they're old enough.

Check the saddle for burrs, if the string isn't sitting just right it can throw things off.

Is it only the open string, or is it on every fret? How about the same note on different strings?

How do you intonate? Like, what method do you use?

How far off intonation is it? Saddle maxed out?

What tuner are you using? New batteries?

There's a lot it can be, so you pretty much start at the more obvious stuff and work your way to the weirder. Every now and then you find something that just doesn't want to work, but that's rare.
 

lewis

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so good to see EMGs already mentioned in here. Its what i was going to add but its been covered.
Im glad in 2020 people are finally starting to understand them. Ive seriously disliked the incompetent and seriously incorrect rhetoric about them the last 15 years.

and ive tried some pickups active and passive and NOTHING chugs and cuts like an EMG81 when playing live.
its even a criminally underrated neck pickup.

Get an 81 into a mahogany body guitar in the neck position and hear that sweet sweet lead tone. My go-to for tours/shows is dual 81s
I keep other things like the Fishmans etc at home for recording tools when in a studio.
 

Merrekof

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Worst thing I owned:
T-Rex Bloody Mary. It was a distortion pedal that looked like it was gonna rip your face apart when playing crushing death metal riffs. Nickel housing with routed figures and a grim reaper like face. It was nowhere near extreme enough for me back then, it wasn't bad but I owned pedals that sounded way better for half the money.

Best thing:
Boss MT2, Keeley version. This is one of the very few pedals I still have and even though I don't use it anymore, this gave me my main lead and crunch tones for a good while. When dialed in well AND used appropriately (bypass an amps preamp), this thing blows away most solid state amps in terms of preamp tone.

Also the highest tier BC Riches from the nillies up until 2013 orso.. The NJ and ST series were serious value for money imo.
 

jarledge

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glad to see others mention the peavey xxx. I loved them when they first came out and wanted one for awhile before i found a killer deal on one back in 2013. I have had it since. It is by far the longest i have kept an amp. I still love it.

I do think peavey botched the look. Like others said, it looked like a poor man's recto but it isn't that at all. they called it the 3120 after the JSX/Joe satriani deal ended and the JSX was renamed the XXX-II. I also owned a jsx and wasn't a fan of it. I ended up selling it fairly quickly.
 

lewis

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glad to see others mention the peavey xxx. I loved them when they first came out and wanted one for awhile before i found a killer deal on one back in 2013. I have had it since. It is by far the longest i have kept an amp. I still love it.

I do think peavey botched the look. Like others said, it looked like a poor man's recto but it isn't that at all. they called it the 3120 after the JSX/Joe satriani deal ended and the JSX was renamed the XXX-II. I also owned a jsx and wasn't a fan of it. I ended up selling it fairly quickly.

The XXX. Those sweet sweet mids and the gain!!!?
Oh lord have mercy the gain!!!
 


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