Mesa Engineering Stiletto Deuce VS Marshall JCM 800

Posted: January 20, 2016 in Tube Amps
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was spying a schematic for a Mesa Engineering Stiletto and noticed some very interesting details regarding the signal path.  When the Crunch mode is selected for either channel, the relays pull the cold clipping stage out of the circuit.  This creates a modified copy of a Model 1959 JCM 800.  When Tight Gain is selected on channel 2, the cold clipping is brought back in and the amp becomes a slightly modified Model 2203 JCM 800.  When Fluid Drive is selected, the amp becomes more like a Dual Rectifier/2203 hybrid, with EL34 tubes.  The power amp is close to a model 1959 JCM 800, especially on Channel 2 with a regular presence circuit (Ch. 1 appears to use the attenuating presence control).

The main differences from Marshall are:

  • A 39k cold cathode resistor for the Tight and Fluid modes.
  • A gain increase and higher fidelity at the coupled cathode follower of V3.
  • A smaller negative-side anode resistance in the P.I.
  • The feedback circuit values.
  • The idle voltages for the EL34s and the bias supply to use a fixed, cold bias.

Since the amplifier has been discontinued, prices are $800-$1000 for one in at least good condition through the used market.  For a person wishing to get a great Marshall tone on the cheap, that’s a steal, and you also get 3 more sounds and a great deal of reliability from the build quality.  I think I’m going to get one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s