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PSA: Buy a Mesa HighWire.

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    PSA: Buy a Mesa HighWire.

    I was really stubborn about not adding one of these for years now, not seeing the point of spending $200+ on something that made no sound and was bulky. In that same time, with the advent of simply amazing load boxes and IRs out there, I've been able to really hear details in my amps when going through my studio monitors that you simply do not hear as clearly from a guitar cab.

    I've noted a few things in my behavior that made me think I needed to at least try a high-end buffer:
    1. I pull the cables out of my FX loop when recording. I always hear some tone suck, a loss in top-end, clarity, and chunkyness of the sound, and it doesn't matter what FX processor I have in the amp's loop, the amp always sounds better recorded when I run it with no effects in the loop.
    2. I've gone through multi FX boxes like candy the past few years trying to eliminate tone suck I was now cognizant I was hearing. It didn't matter if I was running my long snake of cables or using 2' patch cables with the FX box sitting on top of the amp either.
    Then I saw this video, at the 5 minute mark and it clicked for me. This was what I was missing.



    I had to try it, so I picked one up a few weeks ago and gave it a go. I was absolutely shocked at what a difference this has made both in the room with my speaker cab and direct-line into my PC. The tone suck problem is completely gone. If you run anything in your FX loop and you spend money on tube amps chasing tone, IMO you're doing yourself a disservice not having one of these, and from everything I gather the HighWire is one of, if not the best one out there.

    #2
    I have no need for any of the Mesa signal management units, but I still want them because they look cool.

    Comment


      #3
      I'd be in for this if they had a rack version. I don't need it either but it looks awesome and I still want it.

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        #4
        Wait so you stick this at the send/return of the fx loop? Or do you run your pedalboard in its "loop" before it goes to the amp?

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          #5
          How much more expensive is it than the empress buffer?

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            #6
            Originally posted by Budda View Post
            How much more expensive is it than the empress buffer?
            $70. Looks like they do similar things.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Josh View Post
              Wait so you stick this at the send/return of the fx loop? Or do you run your pedalboard in its "loop" before it goes to the amp?
              Yes, send from loop goes to input on the Highwire, then output to return. Then in the Highwire’s loop goes all your post preamp effects. A clean boost that’s the same as the Mesa SoloBoost in their amps gives you 20db of clean boost at the end.

              if you want a buffer at the front, you’d use a Stowaway. Personally, I use a Peterson StroboStomp with the buffer on, which does the same thing. But the Highwire is the real deal. Everything sounds better with it in there.

              Comment


                #8
                Not exactly. The highwire is more comprehensive than that Jeff.

                Guitar into highwire, out to overdrives and wah, out to amp. Back from amp into fx pedals, then the highwire return,, then the highwire out to the amp.

                There's a separate output to the tuner as well so tone sucking tuners are out of the signal path.

                Add in a lead boost, a mute, and a 0 dB / +3dB switch, and it's an effective lead boost as well.

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                  #9
                  With that many connections I'd have to agree with Chris, needs a rack version

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                    #10
                    Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......

                    Just a friendly "devils advocate" heads up, if you like it, that's all that matters. But someone is bound to point out sooner or later......

                    -The JP2C+ FX loop is already buffered, like a lot of other modern amps, you aren't really getting much extra there.
                    -All active signal splitters are buffered. Buffer is short for "Buffer Amplifier". Clean Boosts are Op Amps. The added functionality of the signal splitting and clean boost, while cool, is something the vast majority of buffers have. An Op Amp style pedalboard buffer that also splits the signal and can function as a Clean Boost is pretty much how the vast majority of them are designed. The clean boost bit isn't extra, buffers are already based around Op Amps.
                    -The actual "buffer amplifier" is an IC. Pretty much all of them use the same parts. The bit doing the "buffering" isn't made or designed by the company making the pedal for pretty much all guitar centric buffers.
                    -Buffers convert high impedence signals to low impedence signals. That's it. Not only are guitars with active pickups already low impedence signals, many pedals have built in buffers.

                    You most likely didn't actually need a buffer, especially in the already buffered FX loop.

                    What probably happened is you just optimized the gain staging between pedals and are driving them with more optimal levels. Which is perfectly valid. This is almost certainly the case if you are using the boost functionality.

                    Every pedal has optimal conditions for the input signal. It varies between brands and individual pedals within brands.

                    You are also probably benefitting from the noise reduction and slight tone shaping that goes along with it more advanced buffers provide.

                    Mesa Boogie amps have adjustable loops, so it's not a fixed line level, but it is essentially adjustable ~line level, there are many pedals that prefer instrument level. Catalinbread is one of the most obvious manufacturers out there.

                    The most common cause for pedals sounding like shit and sucking tone in a line level FX loop is because they are designed for instrument level and you are overloading the front end. Overloading the front end can make a lot of pedals sound weird and "weak" and "sucky".

                    As far as negative feedback buffers go, negative feedback has a lot of other effects on overall sound. It's used in buffer amp designs because negative feedback reduces impedance, but it does much more too.

                    So sometimes you are running into a situation where negative feedback is being used because it reduces the impedance, but what you are actually benefitting from is the other effects negative feedback has on sound. You never actually needed a buffer. A negative feedback style buffer also brings the other advantages (and disadvantages) of negative feedback systems into play.




                    Comment


                      #11
                      If you google "Advantages of negative feedback" and any of that sounds right, chances are good that you definitely didn't need a buffer, but you are benefitting from having an additional op amp with some negative feedback action up front.

                      So yes, buffers can often improve your tone, but not because you needed the buffer aspect.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by desertdweller View Post
                        Not exactly. The highwire is more comprehensive than that Jeff.

                        Guitar into highwire, out to overdrives and wah, out to amp. Back from amp into fx pedals, then the highwire return,, then the highwire out to the amp.

                        There's a separate output to the tuner as well so tone sucking tuners are out of the signal path.

                        Add in a lead boost, a mute, and a 0 dB / +3dB switch, and it's an effective lead boost as well.

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                        Yeah you can use it that way too, didn’t think of it like that. It’s a dual buffer, so you can use it either way. For me, the other way makes more sense since I’ve already got the buffer in the Peterson anyway.

                        @greg Also, most modern Boogies do NOT have an adjustable loop level, the JP-2C and Badlander (both of which Vince owns) included. There’s also an audible difference in high end when you engage a buffer in the loops of these amps. It does make a difference.
                        Last edited by Jeff; 06-10-2021, 12:27 PM.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Jeff View Post

                          Yeah you can use it that way too, didn’t think of it like that. It’s a dual buffer, so you can use it either way. For me, the other way makes more sense since I’ve already got the buffer in the Peterson anyway.

                          @greg Also, most modern Boogies do NOT have an adjustable loop level, the JP-2C and Badlander (both of which Vince owns) included. There’s also an audible difference in high end when you engage a buffer in the loops of these amps. It does make a difference.
                          Let's not let something as unimportant as you and Vince both owning the amps get in the way of his ranting. Your ear clearly can't trump intertoob sciencing.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Chris View Post

                            Let's not let something as unimportant as you and Vince both owning the amps get in the way of his ranting. Your ear clearly can't trump intertoob sciencing.
                            Clearly no one here has read Mesa's actual page on "Do I need a Buffer"? Which outright says, "No, you do not need a buffer for its buffer high impedance->low impedance functionality, you are benefitting from the hotter signal being more optimal for whatever pedals you are using."

                            https://mesaboogie.zendesk.com/hc/en...-effects-loop-

                            That's not my opinion. I'm just paraphrasing here.



                            But yes, the Mesa experts can continue to contradict Mesa themselves if it makes them feel like they are gaining more Mesa cred. Perhaps Mesa would like to be told how their products work. Perhaps Mesa would also like to rewrite that to mention things like "hotter signal level" even more than they are already are to make it more obvious the op amp boost is what most users are benefitting from.

                            I don't know if google translate has a "Mesa fanboy to regular english" functon, but if you feed "you may find the results to your liking" it will outright translate it to,

                            "LOL, YOU JUST THREW ANOTHER OP AMP WITH EVEN MORE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK ACTION AND SOME MORE GAIN STAGES IN YOUR SIGNAL CHAIN AND THAT MADE IT SOUND GOOD, TUBE SCREAMERS HAVE BOTH INPUT AND OUTPUT BUFFERS, YOU ALREADY HAVE A SHIT TON OF BUFFERS. WE JUST MARKETED THIS AS A BUFFER BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE WOULD THINK, 'WAIT, I DON'T NEED ANOTHER GAIN STAGE, SOMETHING MUST BE WRONG WITH MY AMP'. "

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                              #15
                              Remind me to circle back around when this thread is about getting buff. My biceps could use some work.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by Greg McCoy View Post

                                Clearly no one here has read Mesa's actual page on "Do I need a Buffer"? Which outright says, "No, you do not need a buffer for its buffer high impedance->low impedance functionality, you are benefitting from the hotter signal being more optimal for whatever pedals you are using."

                                https://mesaboogie.zendesk.com/hc/en...-effects-loop-

                                That's not my opinion. I'm just paraphrasing here.



                                But yes, the Mesa experts can continue to contradict Mesa themselves if it makes them feel like they are gaining more Mesa cred. Perhaps Mesa would like to be told how their products work. Perhaps Mesa would also like to rewrite that to mention things like "hotter signal level" even more than they are already are to make it more obvious the op amp boost is what most users are benefitting from.

                                I don't know if google translate has a "Mesa fanboy to regular english" functon, but if you feed "you may find the results to your liking" it will outright translate it to,

                                "LOL, YOU JUST THREW ANOTHER OP AMP WITH EVEN MORE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK ACTION AND SOME MORE GAIN STAGES IN YOUR SIGNAL CHAIN AND THAT MADE IT SOUND GOOD, TUBE SCREAMERS HAVE BOTH INPUT AND OUTPUT BUFFERS, YOU ALREADY HAVE A SHIT TON OF BUFFERS. WE JUST MARKETED THIS AS A BUFFER BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE WOULD THINK, 'WAIT, I DON'T NEED ANOTHER GAIN STAGE, SOMETHING MUST BE WRONG WITH MY AMP'. "
                                Clearly no one actually gives a fuck what you type. I know I sure don’t. Fact is, you’re wrong about Mesas all having adjustable loop levels, and it’s a fact that buffers restore high end through long cable runs. Of course they’re going to say you don’t NEED a buffer. People would complain that their expensive amps require an additional product to sound good.

                                JFC dude, are you really this much of an obnoxious know it all ass in real life, or do you just play one on the internet?

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Jeff View Post
                                  @greg Also, most modern Boogies do NOT have an adjustable loop level, the JP-2C and Badlander (both of which Vince owns) included. There’s also an audible difference in high end when you engage a buffer in the loops of these amps. It does make a difference.
                                  If a loop has a negative feedback buffer it "adjusts" itself to always provide a suitable level. That's the purpose of it being there. As far as what "adjustable" means. Whether it refers to external pots, or whether there are internal trims, or whatever, that varies based on amp.

                                  The high end filtering stuff absolutely does make a difference. Agreed.

                                  That is also not the "buffer" bit. That is additional. All the buffering part does is convert high impedance to low impedance.

                                  Most "buffers" provide additional functionality. So having your rig sound better because you added a buffer pedal doesn't mean you are actually benefitting from having the "buffer" part.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Greg McCoy View Post

                                    If a loop has a negative feedback buffer it "adjusts" itself to always provide a suitable level. That's the purpose of it being there. As far as what "adjustable" means. Whether it refers to external pots, or whether there are internal trims, or whatever, that varies based on amp.

                                    The high end filtering stuff absolutely does make a difference. Agreed.

                                    That is also not the "buffer" bit. That is additional. All the buffering part does is convert high impedance to low impedance.

                                    Most "buffers" provide additional functionality. So having your rig sound better because you added a buffer pedal doesn't mean you are actually benefitting from having the "buffer" part.
                                    Nope. The Stowaway and CAE buffers are just buffers, no other functionality, and there's an audible difference.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Chris View Post
                                      Remind me to circle back around when this thread is about getting buff. My biceps could use some work.
                                      Have you not read the buff manual? Lucky there's more knowledgeable people here to enlighten you, noob. It states clearly in the manual you don't have to do anything to get buff, but clearly you're that special kind of idiot who goes by experience rather than blindly following the buff experts. LOOK AT ME, I'M GETTING BUFF THE HARD WAY WHEN I COULD JUST SIT AROUND AND GET BUFF.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Jeff View Post
                                        JFC dude, are you really this much of an obnoxious know it all ass in real life, or do you just play one on the internet?
                                        Jeff unironically calling me an obnoxious know it all when he bust in a good 5 posts before me with his obnoxious know it all Mesa fanboy routine.

                                        Are you this bad at picking up on subtext in real life?

                                        What do you think Vince meant when he typed, "Actually it's a lot more comprehensive than that"?

                                        That's code for "thanks for fucking up my thread on my new gear with your obnoxious know it all Mesa shit Jeff".

                                        I only came in to obnoxious know it all because a certain someone had already opened the floodgates. Kind of thought, "Well, if Jeff is already obnoxious know it alling up his thread....."

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          Originally posted by Greg McCoy View Post

                                          Jeff unironically calling me an obnoxious know it all when he bust in a good 5 posts before me with his obnoxious know it all Mesa fanboy routine.

                                          Are you this bad at picking up on subtext in real life?

                                          What do you think Vince meant when he typed, "Actually it's a lot more comprehensive than that"?

                                          That's code for "thanks for fucking up my thread on my new gear with your obnoxious know it all Mesa shit Jeff".

                                          I only came in to obnoxious know it all because a certain someone had already opened the floodgates. Kind of thought, "Well, if Jeff is already obnoxious know it alling up his thread....."
                                          Dude, all you fucking do is talk down to people. Constantly. And no, that's not code for that, Vince and I talk about this shit all the time. Every fucking thread has your bullshit rants in it, often with wrong information, and while other people think your bullshit is cute and adorable, I get tired of it.

                                          Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......
                                          Is code for "let me start talking down to you all and drop some fucking knowledge bombs by copying and pasting a bunch of shit I found on the Internet"
                                          Last edited by Jeff; 06-10-2021, 01:57 PM.

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            Can't we all just get along?

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              Originally posted by Chris View Post
                                              Remind me to circle back around when this thread is about getting buff. My biceps could use some work.


                                              BTW, I unfortunately didn't think up "tightrope of tone", that's from Mesas official manual.

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                While that's undoubtedly throwing gas on the fire of the argument that's ongoing, I don't think anyone can deny that that's funny as fuck

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  Originally posted by Jeff View Post

                                                  Dude, all you fucking do is talk down to people. Constantly. And no, that's not code for that, Vince and I talk about this shit all the time. Every fucking thread has your bullshit rants in it, often with wrong information, and while other people think your bullshit is cute and adorable, I get tired of it.



                                                  Is code for "let me start talking down to you all and drop some fucking knowledge bombs by copying and pasting a bunch of shit I found on the Internet"

                                                  Comment

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