NAD: Mesa Stiletto Deuce 100w amp head

Bentaycanada

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Today I picked up a Mesa Stiletto Deuce head for $700 CDN. I also rented a Marshall 1960b to try out with it. I've always wanted to try one, as I'm a fan of modded Marshall tones and Mesa's build quality. So I told myself that if another Stiletto came in local, I'd jump on it.

This is a very divisive amp, and I suspect it comes from a common thing with Mesa amps and dialing them in. Prior to this I've owned Single / Dual Rectifiers and Mark V models, all have a learning curve for dialing in.

My signal chain today is: Guitar > Noise Gate > TS9 > Stiletto > 1960b

Channel 1 'Fat Clean' was my favourite of the two clean modes. It just sounds great, and needed very little dialing in. The 'Crunch' mode on Ch.1 is a fantastic JMP/JCM tone. Having owned two JCM 800 2203's in the past, I'm really blown away by how alike this mode sounds. It's definitely far more impressive than the DSL Green Channel Crunch mode.

Channel 2 'Crunch' is almost identical to channel 1's, which I really appreciate. I like being able to have the same mode on each channel, considering it's so impressive, definitely gives me a lot of options.
The 'Tite' mode is my favourite of the whole amp. It's thick, ballsy modded JCM heaven! Even without a boost from the TS9, this mode has a crazy amount of gain on tap. With a boost, it's capable of any modern high gain sound I throw at it with ease. KSE just flies off the frets!
I haven't tried the 'Fluid' mode, because like the Mark V's 'Extreme' mode, it just doesn't sound like my thing, but I will give it a try soon.

Like I've already said, the key is learning how to dial it in. As most know, it's incredibly bright. Setting the Presence at 9 o'clock, and dialing the Treble back to 10 o'clock, it was incredibly ease to tame. I've done similar settings with a JCM 800's or Jet City JCA's. Plus I can't imagine it's not something my tech could fix with a simple mod, if I really wanted (which I don't).

I played it with a Gibson Explorer, Les Paul and Schecter Tele. They all sounded great with it, with no real adjustments. I liked the tones both boosts with my TS9 and not. I think it's sounds far superior to both DSL's I've owned, and definitely has better build quality. It handled all styles I like to jam really well from classic rock thru to modern metal.

Honestly, it's a win-win for me. It has performed exactly how I expected, and for the price it's such a no brainer, for me at least.
 
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vick1000

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They are very nice amps. I tried to get a Trident for a few years that sat at my local GC, but they just would not come down on it. It sat there for years, rusted iron in the back, at $799. My favorite thing about it, the FX loop with output level control, so it could be used a strictly a power amp with level control. They are really the ultimate modded Plexi/JCM, and that's why there is so much brightness and presence. The tone stack and controls are just so different, and they get a bad rap. Try a JJ ECC803 in V1.
 

Roadsterjosh

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Congtats on the new amp.
I came very close to buying one recently, and had I not just ordered a new prestige it would have come home. I spent a couple of hours with it at the store, trying every guitar they had that interested me through it. It certainly benefits from a boost, but the tones are awesome to my ears. I'll probably go on the hunt for one next year after I get this Ibby paid off.
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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I always heard these sucked, but tbh I've heard clips where these sound better than the 2000 - 2010 3ch Rectos.
 

Bentaycanada

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Just finished day 2 with the Deuce II.

I spent today playing it exclusively without a boost and I found that channel 2’s modes (Crunch, Tite, Fluid) are arguably 80’s, 90’s, 00’s era modes.

Nearly all of the videos I watched of the Stiletto made the Fluid mode out to be like the Mark V’s Extreme mode. Very smooth high gain, that was better suited for blues and lead work than anything else. I distinctly remember the Mark V Extreme mode being too smooth for me, but the Stiletto’s Fluid mode is nothing of the sort.

The Fluid mode has more gain, looser than the Tite mode, but easily EQ’able. It’s thick and great for Mastodon, Baroness, Kylesa style heavy metal. It’s arguably comparable to my old Orange amps in terms of thick heavy natural tone.

Again, keeping the Presence and Treble at 10 o’clock or lower has made all the difference, and I argue, how is that different to a JCM really?

Oh yeah, the Master volume? Might just be the best I’ve ever used. Comparable to the Marshall JVM and Orange Rockerverb.

Day 2 has made me even happier than I was before. What a fantastic amp!
 

BigViolin

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^ Holy cows that is badass. Gotta go listen on monitors.

One of the most crushing tones I've witnessed live was Buckethead through a Stiletto. Huge, punchy crushing chewy goodness that cut without any harshness. Just perfect really.

Congrats!
 

Bentaycanada

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Ok, so the Fluid Mode was described to me as the Tite mode boosted and today I discovered that’s 100% correct!

I initially thought it was looser, but it just has way more gain. Switching between the two, the Fluid mode is absolutely like having an OD boost out front.

Here’s a quick clip I made, just Gibson > Stiletto > 1960b. I can’t I’m getting this tone without a boost!

 

vick1000

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Trun it up dood, or move the camera by the amp, too much acoustic pick on string to hear the amp. Also....guitar is bizaro....somethings backwards :)
 

BadSeed

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These amps really are underrated. I grabbed my Stiletto Stage II Trident from GC for $799 earlier this year, and was really surprised at how good it is. Here's a shitty youtube vid I did right after I got it. Tite Gain, Boosted with an MXR M77

 

Drew

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I didn't get on with the Ace I tried and REALLY wanted to like - no matter what I did it had a Marshall-like edge to the gain (including very low presence and treble settings), and that's not a sound I really get on with.

That said, the clean was glorious. Oddly enough. Always was curious to try a 100 to see if it was any darker than the 50, though.
 


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