Monday, November 19, 2012

Wezo Megatone ME-18 Amp

The Wezo Megatone ME-18 blues harp amp is all that, and then some.  It is faithful to the vintage Masco tone it is designed to emulate, with a glorious crunch.  It is feedback resistant (at least it was in Ziggies) and at a rated 35 watts it has plenty of volume before feedback for strong gig levels.  The amp is a keeper.

It is a keeper if you are looking for a distorted sound, and many blues players are in search of this tone.  It sounds very much like the 50’s vintage tube amps used by the famous blues harp players of the era, only louder.

Until a few weeks ago I owned a 1953 Masco ME-18 amp for about 5 years, so I am familiar with the kind of sound Mike Wesolowski was looking for in this amp.  It nails the flavor of the vintage tone, if not the exact recipe.  It does not compress the sound as much as the original and it has a brighter tone that does not quite sing as much.  These differences may be intentional in the design; compromises along the way to the great tone it does deliver.  It made me smile as soon as I heard it.

This was not a comprehensive and thorough test…  It is just playing impressions from a blues jam.  Gary Yates, the owner of the amp, has had it for only a couple of weeks and may not have it dialed in just yet.  We played it without much adjustment, and the amp has LOTS of flexibility in its adjustments.  It would take more time and focus than I could provide at a busy blues jam to really explore all the limits of the amp.

But I was very impressed.  It has a big, forward sound that gets attention and is immediately recognizable as “Chicago Blues Harp” even by people not really familiar with the genre.  It sounds old and gritty, and I mean that in a very good way.  If that is the sound to which you aspire, this is the amp for you.

I played both my Bassman and the Megatone a couple of times during the jam.  The Bassman sounds bigger and warmer, as you might imagine.  It is impossible for me to say which was “better” since they both rock in different ways.

The Megatone amp seemed very heavy for its size, almost as heavy as my Bassman which weighs in at 63 pounds.  That is a load, and something to consider.  And they ain’t cheap, ranging in price from $2000 to $2160.  That is something to consider, too.

Still, the Wezo Megatone ME-18 amp gets the Blues Harp Amps Blog seal of approval.  That crunch is sick.

In this video Dan Treanor is playing the Megatone ME-18 amp and using my 1959 Shure 440SL bullet microphone.

NOTE:  The owner of the amp (Gary Yates) tells me that both "Pull Boost" switches were in the down position when this recording was made, meaning the amp was in it's cleanest mode.

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