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Mesa Bass Prodigy

Posted by NZ Rockshop on 13 January 2014


Mesa Prodigy Right Cab Lg

Mesa Boogie’s The Bass Prodigy Four:88

Mesa Boogie’s The Bass Prodigy™ Four:88 begins with BRIGHT, NORMAL and ACTIVE INPUT select choices feeding an all-new tube preamp that borrows subsections from their CARBINE hybrid architecture. This design allows increased control over a broad spectrum of frequencies and incorporates active BASS and TREBLE controls with increased shaping power - while retaining the sweet, musical blend of their traditional passive MID control. In addition to these they have included a reworked-for-tubes version of the CARBINE’s 5-position rotary VOICE feature that allows notching or enhancement of specific midrange regions in addition to bass and treble frequency boosting. The VOICE feature puts you instantly in iconic stylistic realms – from elastic, mid-scooped Thumbing to articulate, mid-flat Fingerstyle, to the Classic metallic, scooped American Pick sound – with a flick of a switch. The ability to jump right to these classic “curves” makes re-voicing on the fly in performance situations a snap, is also footswitchable, and adds immensely to the Prodigy’s versatility.

bassProdigy frontpanel

(scroll side to side to view full panel)

bassProdigy backpanel

(scroll side to side to view full panel)

Control over the Tone would be incomplete – at least in our minds – without control over the power as well. So the Prodigy™ gives you two choices as to how to utilise the power section. As wattage ratings are often misleading and irrelevant to volume when it comes to describing tube power, the Prodigy™ offers FULL and HALF power settings on the MULTI-WATT™ switch. Each of these choices has a distinct tonal colour and persona, with full delivering the maximum punch, authority and headroom. HALF can deliver some valuable and surprising mid to lower power applications for tube-driven Bass while still offering plenty of volume for a lot of live situations. An important collection of vintage-inspired sounds await you here in HALF POWER ranging from round and warm, to edgy, to clipped and growling – depending how you dish it out from the MASTER, all the sounds in HALF POWER beg to be recorded.

A MUTE/PLAY/SILENT RECORD switch allows convenient Front Panel muting for instrument changes, silent tuning or recording, or any time where signal muting is needed. An AUTO-MUTE circuit is fitted to the Speaker Jacks to protect the transformer and power tubes if no speaker is connected and is indicated by the same Front Panel LED triggered by the mini-toggle MUTE/PLAY/SILENT RECORD switch (Red LED ON = MUTE). The SILENT RECORD setting allows you to safely mute the signal at the Power Amp and use the Prodigy preamp (including processing in the EFFECTS LOOP) to record using the D.I. OUTPUT without sound from the Speaker.

The Rear Panel D.I. OUTPUT signal can be derived from either PRE (your instrument) or POST (the entire preamp) with the Front Panel D.I. Switch. 


The D.I. OUTPUT signal strength is controlled by the Front Panel D.I. LEVEL located at the far right side of the Chassis next to the SOLO™ Control. And a valuable D.I. LIFT switch can float the Circuit Ground from Chassis Ground to reduce noise into the Console when the Ground references are different.

The Prodigy™ incorporates Mesa’s SOLO™ feature (requires optional footswitch) that has become so popular on their guitar amplifiers, which gives you a pre-settable and footswitchable boost for any time you want to feature a specific part or section in a song. The SOLO control can also be used to compensate for an instrument with a lower output due to weaker pickups.

Jumping to the Rear Panel you are greeted with the EXTERNAL SWITCH jacks which make the Prodigy™ compatible with virtually any switching system’s architecture. These provide for external control of the MUTE, VOICE and SOLO™ features with a master (usually midi) switcher or with any separate “tip to ground” latching-type switch logic.

From there, the buffered Series EFFECTS LOOP that allows seamless interfacing of your high quality outboard processing. Remember that this sensitive point between preamp and power section is an important Tone stage. Try to use outboard processing of the same calibre as your amplifier. Ignoring this advice will likely result in compromised sound. The Loop is a critical junction/impedance crossroads point between preamp and power and to put inferior foreign objects in the signal path here will produce Tone of the lowest common denominator.

Next you’ll find a pair of jacks for the TUNER Output and the SLAVE Level. The TUNER output captures your instrument and preps it for the long journey to the front of the stage or just upstairs to the top of your amp. The SLAVE provides an output for capturing the sound of both preamp and power section for use in connecting your preamp and power section tonality to additional power sections and cabinets for truly coliseum grade rigs.

To handle virtually any speaker cabinet scenario, the Prodigy™ is fitted with 3 SPEAKER OUTPUTS capable of handling a variety of impedance/cabinet loads. One 8 OHM and two 4 OHM Outputs ensure that you can always find an impedance-correct match regardless of your cabinet choices.

The Prodigy™ Footswitch DIN Input resides just to the right of the SPEAKER OUTPUTS and here is where the optional Footswitch and Cable is connected to your amplifier.

Finally, a MESA first – a 2 position BIAS SET switch and trim pot resides on the rear Tube Deck labelled Operate and Set Bias. This SET-BIAS position allows you to check and set your bias quickly and easily for maintenance or when replacing power tubes to set BIAS on the big KT-88s. There’s no need to take the amp to a technician when it’s time to change tubes as this bias method is completely user-serviceable and easy to dial in your bias just right. Click here to view the product page.

mesa boogie bass prodigy four 88


Bass prodigy 4:88 Demo video