Formula Pre
MESA BOOGIE
Owner's Manual
The Spirit of Art in Technology
1317 Ross Street Petaluma, CA 94954
USA
Hello from the Tone Farm...
Congratulations on your choice of the Formula Pre-Amp and welcome to the Mesa/Boogie
family! We salute your obviously discerning taste in tone and feel sure that this instrument
will exceed your expectations and provide you with years of inspiration and service.
The latest in a long line of Mesa all-tube multi-channel pre-amps, the Formula shares
common roots with all these earlier rack classics and then goes beyond to capture the best
qualities of the Heartbreaker...our roots oriented tribute to the original Mark I. The first
amplifier ever to offer guitarists a high gain lead channel that could produce singing sustain at any volume. Thus the little Mark I Boogie earned its place in history as the crucial
link between vintage and modern guitar amplification.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Precautions _________________________________________________________________________ 0
Overview ___________________________________________________________________________ 1
Important Note About Power ___________________________________________________________ 2
Hook-Up ____________________________________________________________________________ 3
FRONT PANEL:
Instrument Input _____________________________________________________________________ 4
Footswitch DIN Jack _________________________________________________________________ 4
Record Voicing ______________________________________________________________________ 4
CONTROLS: (Controls)
Gain ___________________________________________________________________________ 4 & 5
Treble ______________________________________________________________________________ 5
Mid ________________________________________________________________________________ 6
Bass _______________________________________________________________________________ 6
Master _____________________________________________________________________________ 6
5 Band Graphic EQ __________________________________________________________________ 7
Output _____________________________________________________________________________ 7
Channel Select ______________________________________________________________________ 8
Power ______________________________________________________________________________ 8
REAR PANEL:
A.C. Power Cord Receptacle ___________________________________________________________ 9
Fuse _______________________________________________________________________________ 9
Ground Lift _________________________________________________________________________ 9
Effects Loop & Mix Control ______________________________________________________ 10 & 11
External Switch Jacks _______________________________________________________________ 11
Record Outputs_____________________________________________________________________ 11
Signal Levels __________________________________________________________________ 11 & 12
Main Outputs _______________________________________________________________________ 12
Tube Bay _____________________________________________________________________ 12 & 13
Tube Task Chart ____________________________________________________________________ 14
Factory Sample Settings ________________________________________________________ 15 & 16
Personal Settings Page _________________________________________________________ 17 & 18
Parts Sheet ________________________________________________________________________ 19
Your Mesa/Boogie Amplifier is a professional instrument. Please treat it with respect and operate it properly.
USE COMMON SENSE AND ALWAYS OBSERVE THESE PRECAUTIONS:
Do not expose amplifier to moisture, rain or water, direct sunlight or extremely high temperatures.
Always insure that amplifier is properly grounded.
Always unplug A.C. power cord before changing fuse or any tubes
When replacing fuse, use only same type and rating
Avoid direct contact with heated tubes.
Insure adequate air circulation around amplfier.
Keep amplifier away from children.
Be sure to connect to an A.C. power supply that meets the power suplly specifications listed on the
rear panel of the unit.
If there is any danger of lighting occurring nearby, remove the power plug from the wall socket in
advance.
To avoid damaging your speakers and other playback equipment, turn off the power of all related
equipment before making the connections.
Do not use excessive force in handling buttons, switches and controls.
Remove the power plug from the A.C. mains socket if the unit is to be stored for an extended
period of time.
Do not use solvents such as benzene or paint thinner to clean the unit. Wipe off exterior with soft
cloth.
Be sure to have the warranty card for this product filled out by the store at which it was purchased
and return to Mesa Engineering promptly.
YOUR AMPLIFIER IS LOUD! EXPOSURE TO HIGH SOUND VOLUMES MAY CAUSE
PERMANENT HEARING DAMAGE!
No user serviceable parts inside. Refer service to qualified personnel.
EXPORT MODELS: Always insure that unit is wired for proper voltage. Make certain grounding
conforms with local standards.
READ AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS OF PROPER USAGE.
Operating Instructions
OVERVIEW:
The Formulas’ one space chassis is power packed with features and as you can see, available real estate is used
carefully in an effort to retain a clean, simple layout. Three incredible channels reward you with some of the most soulful sounds ever
to come out of Mesa/Boogie, let alone in a rack format!
The top Channel 1 (Green/Rhythm) is a lower gain circuit that is undeniably black face in lineage and is capable of pristine clean
sounds, full of warmth and character in its lower region of settings. As gain is increased this channel finesses the precarious crossing
between clean and pushed with a realm of languid gain that is subserviant to expression...served up by subtle changes in pick attack.
For more agressive rhythm work there is a Pull Boost function fitted to the Gain control that increases saturation and this range of
sounds allow Channel 1 to grind away for crunch rhythm, or double as a valuable solo channel.
The bottom channel is actually two channels in one, as the rotary controls are shared between Lead 1 (Orange/Vintage) and Lead
2 (Red/Modern). Each of these two channels has its own independant Gain/Master harness - Lead 1 in the same bottom row of
controls - and Lead 2s’ Gain and Master in a stacked format over to the right of the 5 Band Graphic EQ. Internal changes occur when
switching between them which produces a wonderful difference in personality and readjustment of the tone controls is not necessary
to achieve two amazing and different lead sounds.
Lead 1 is the more creamy of the two sounds and could best be described as Brown in nature. Set low it purrs, quite capable of furry
chording and as the gain is increased a violin-inspired liquid gain voice emerges that soars with emotion. Lead 2 is more urgent and
focused by nature and roams defiantly from a stinging low-gain bluesy region on up to a blistering high-gain frontier. Although Lead 2
undergoes internal re-voicing that makes the shared rotary controls work well in both channels with the same settings, we know some
players will need extreme differences in these two sounds. Therefore, the 5 Band Graphic EQ may be assigned to Lead 2 automatically every time it is called up via the front panel mini toggle or footswitched at will via the Foot Controller EQ switch.
What really sets the Formula apart from other Mesa Pre-Amps before it, is not the amazing tone and versatility for live applications,
but rather that it was - from the inception - a recording pre-amp. A new type of direct RECORD circuit that responds in frequency to
dynamic fluctuations in signal strength the same way a power amp and speakers do, proved to be one of the Formula’s strongest
FRONT VIEW: Formula Pre
IN
FT.SW.
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
BASS
MID
TREBLE
MASTER
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M
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
LIFT
100%
10%
FT
SW
LD2
IN
LEAD 1
REAR VIEW: Formula Pre
GROUND
FX MIX
EQ
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
GAIN
RHYTHM
RECORD
RETURN - L
LD1 - LD2
FX SEND
RHY - LD
EXT
SW
RETURN - R
EQ
EXT
SW
LEFT
REC
OUT
TIP
RING
SLEEVE
RIGHT
MAIN
OUT
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
PAGE 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
ON
LD
1
FT
SW
LEAD 2
Formula Pre
AC
attributes. Directing the emphasis early on in the R & D process toward the recording environment, this new reactive circuit captures
the sound - but even more importantly the feel - of a great head and cab set-up.
To assist in seamless interfacing of outboard signal processing for either live or recording applications we have included a Stereo
Parallel Effects Loop with a Mix control. The Send is mono and the Returns appear as Left and Right 1/4” phone jacks. The loop
handles both line and instrument level signals depending on the settings of the channel Masters, as they control the Sends’ level
strength, with line level being the preferred choice. Both the Main and Recording Outputs are fed by the effects loop so that when
recording direct with your live effects set-up you will retain the processing you are familiar with in the signal sent to the console.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before we go much further, we would like to take a minute to talk about power. Your new Formula Pre-Amp was
designed with the utmost consideration given to ensuring that, while it delivers the versatility of three distinct channels, it retains all the
warmth and expressiveness of its tube heritage. Rack separates have been criticized in the past as not having the same vibe or soul
as self-contained guitar amplifiers. While we view this as a gross generalization, we do subscribe to the idea that any system is only
as strong as its weakest link. Many players accidentally get into rack guitar with products that concentrate on effects, processing and
programmability, leaving the actual sound of the amplified guitar itself as an afterthought. Usually these stories end with the sale of
said gear at a considerable loss and a lingering bad taste for rack gear.
Most likely this is how the separate component world got its negative reputation among some players. Those of us who have used
tube rack gear for years know that just as much tone and far more versatility is available with these separate component systems...as
long as you follow the golden rule of rack mount guitar. Thou shalt use tube power and tube power only! This is the secret. A great preamp is essential, but it is only half of the equation. The expressive nature of an all-tube power section is crucial to achieving the
amazing tone and feel, and when comparing separates to self-contained amplifiers this is often overlooked.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that you use your new Formula with one of our four Mesa/Boogie all-tube stereo rack
mount power amplifiers. These handbuilt rack classics have been the power behind most touring and recording artists for the last
decade - and in fact it was the ancestors of these amps, that first introduced guitarists to rack mount power back in 1982 with the M180 and M-190 mono blocks. These beasts were the power behind L.A.’s first big session rigs in the early 80’s.
Since then, Mesa has led the rack guitar revolution by going stereo, incorporating switchable voicing options and steadily shrinking
the packages from four to three to two and finally now, down to an unbelievable one space for the spicy little Stereo 20/20. All these
power amplifiers have been designed to give the rack player every measure of tone and nuance found in a self-contained amplifier
and more. So save yourself the time and aggravation and try one of these companion instruments first and you’ll never miss that
combo again.
The choices are (In order of popularity);
STEREO SIMUL-CLASS 2:NINETY
FIFTY/FIFTY STEREO
20/20 STEREO
COLISEUM 300 STEREO
-
2 Space / 90 Watts per channel / 8 x 6L6
2 Space / 50 Watts per channel / 4 x 6L6
1 Space / 20 Watts per channel / 4 x EL84
4 Space / 150 Watts per channel / 12 x 6L6
All these power amps are a perfect match for the Formula and each one of them was designed with a style of player and venue
combination in mind. Obviously the two more extreme wattage arenas found in the lower power 20/20 and the higher power Coliseum 300 have a slightly narrower window of appeal. The 20/20 finds its home in the studio, small clubs and as a slave to bigger setups while the Coliseum is the big guns for the larger venues or heavier styles. The two middleweight amps, Simul-2/90 and Stereo
50/50 are the most popular, versatile and economical pound-for-watt. Therefore we will use these as the reference when we speak
of tone and settings throughout this manual. While we used all of the above amplifiers during the R & D process, our favorite amp has
always been the Simul-Class 2:Ninety for its silky warmth for solo sounds and sparkling scoop for clean playing.
Now that we have that bit of important info out of the way, let’s hook up the Formula to the power amp and run through some possible
sounds in the three channels.
PAGE 2
HOOK-UP DIAGRAM: Run through the three channels with these settings to get familiar with the character of each channel. For
this exercise we have not auto-inserted the 5 Band Graphic EQ to LEAD 2 so that you may hear it unaltered first. Use the EQ switch
on the Foot Controller to add and delete the EQ on any of the three channels for now.
IN
FT.SW.
LO GAIN
GAIN
BASS
MID
TREBLE
MASTER
HI GAIN
EQ IN
EQ
FT
SW
EQ LD2
IN
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117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
LEAD 1
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M
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
LIFT
100%
10%
GROUND
GAIN
RHYTHM
RECORD
RETURN - L
LD1 - LD2
FX SEND
RHY - LD
RETURN - R
EQ
LEFT
EXT
SW
EXT
SW
FX MIX
REC
OUT
TIP
RING
SLEEVE
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
LD2
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RIGHT
MAIN
OUT
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
LDED
SHIE
E
CABL
STEREO (MONO) EFFECTS
IN
LEFT
MIDI OUT
RIGHT
INPUTS
OUTPUT
LEFT
RIGHT
(MON0)
SH
IEL
DE
D
CA
BL
E
AC POWER
STEREO SIMUL - CLASS 2: NINETY
B
INPUTS
A B
L
I
N
E
INPUT LEVEL
I
N
S
T
MODERN
DEEP
HALF
EXTEND
DRIVE
SPEAKERS
A
8 OHMS
4 OHMS
4 OHMS
UNSHIELDED CABLE
UNSHIELDED CABLE
A
B
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Now that you have a better understanding of the layout and features of your new Formula, we can move on to the individual controls
and take a look at their role in obtaining the sounds you want to dial.
FRONT PANEL:
INPUT: This 1/4” jack is the instrument Input for the Formula. The input impedance is 1 meg ohm which should be optimum for
most all applications where your instrument is feeding only one source. When connecting your instrument to multiple sources you may
need to buffer the signal. If you plan to use the Formula in this type of set-up at all times, call us and we
IN
FT.SW.
can explain how to change the input impedance to better fit your particular application.
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FOOTSWITCH: This is the 5-pin DIN input for the Formula’s 4 button Footcontroller. The Front panel Channel Select toggle (next
to Power - left side of chassis) must be in the center position for the Footcontroller to operate. The Footcontrollers’ power-up default
will be Lead 1 (Orange) before any choices are made. If you ever misplace the cable, most 5-pin DIN or standard midi cables available
at most music stores will work fine.
IN
FT.SW.
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RECORD VOICING: Early on in the development process we realized that there was no way to treat the clean direct sounds and
the high gain direct sounds the same. In the end we arrived at the conclusion that for each sound to be the real thing, two complete
circuits were needed. This mini toggle lets you choose between a circuit voiced specifically for low
gain clean sounds and one tailored for high gain lead work.
IN
FT.SW. RECORD
LO GAIN
LO GAIN (up) should be used for clean rhythm playing in the top Rhythm channel. It is voiced so that
all the sparkling high end harmonics are retained and a fast dynamic attack is preserved - as well as
allowing the sub-lows to pass sounding breathy and warm. You may also prefer the LO GAIN setting
for certain lower gain sounds in the two lead channels to keep the top end a little more up front and attack oriented...this setting works
real well for blues type styles.
HI GAIN
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HI GAIN (down position) is optimized for gain sounds. The right high frequencies are rolled back substantially - to avoid the dreaded
buzzy quality that can so often dominate direct guitar sounds - while at the same time the lower attack region is relatively untouched.
(Extreme settings at the front end GAIN control will produce natural tube saturation which will affect the attack characteristics substantially.) HI GAIN may also be used to shape the sound when you are using the PULL SHIFT function of the Rhythm (top) channels’
GAIN control for either crunch or gainier single note sounds. In this application the EQ and feel will be much better suited than that of
the LO GAIN position. The HI GAIN circuit is tranformer coupled much like a power amp and therefore reacts similarly in terms of
response to the dynamic changes in your playing.
The two circuits provide you with the ability to zero-in on just the right sound and feel for each style of playing. You may feel free to
experiment as to the best way to use them for your recording techniques and music. Though they are labeled specifically, many great
sounds may be found by cross applying them. Thus the Formula is a dedicated recording pre-amp.
CONTROLS:
GAIN:
This is probably the most powerful control on your Formula. There are three of these riding on the front panel: two heading
up the two stacked rows of rotary controls and another
IN
FT.SW. RECORD
O
just to the right of the Graphic EQ. In all three channels,
U
T
GAIN
P
the setting of the GAIN control determines the sensitivity
U
GAIN
RHYTHM
LO GAIN
LD2
FT
SW
IN
T
HI GAIN
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PAGE 4
ON
LD
1
EQ
MASTER
LEAD 2
Formula Pre
AC
CONTROLS:
(Continued)
of the front ends’ first tube stage and therefore, the overall character of the given channels’ sound style. Set
GAIN: (Continued)
low, it allows more of the natural sound of the instrument to come through. Set higher, an increasing amount of natural tube saturation
occurs. Run all the way up, it produces overdrive saturation in all channels...with the two LEAD channels being obviously capable of
significantly more of this saturation. The amount of saturation is accompanied by tonal coloration as this control is turned upward and
the result is a perfect enhancement to the gain. Top end harmonics become more and more recessive as the GAIN is increased and
a warmer, more singing nature takes over. This is perfect for liquid high gain solo work in LEAD 1 and the added focus also lends
authority and urgency to LEAD 2 for more aggressive rock or metal styles. The lower regions of the GAIN control are perfectly mated
to clean sounds in Channel 1 and pushed or bluesy styles in the two LEAD channels.
As the GAIN and inherent saturation are reduced, the high harmonic content returns to its original balance. This is where the Formula
shines for bubbly, sparkling clean chording in Channel 1 or less overdriven single note work in LEAD 1 & 2. You will find all three
channels’ GAIN controls use pots that support a touch sensitive relationship between input signal strength - and gain saturation.
These pots were custom built for us with tapers capable of delivering the maximum usable range of musical gain in all ranges. This
elusive trait is crucial to a great amps’ expressive nature and you will come to love the Formulas’ responsiveness in this dynamic
dance. We suggest spending some time really exploring the subtleties of this most powerful control. The Rhythm (top) channel of your
Formula has a Gain control pot that is fitted with a “Pull Boost”. This enables you to restructure the response of the channel for either
higher gain rhythm work or single note solo sounds that are in between the regular Rhythm and Lead channels gain-wise.
NOTE: This added gain is achieved in part by allowing the full signal strength to pass the tone control network, rendering them
virtually ineffective. Because of additional shaping that takes place elsewhere in the circuit, this is not a problem and the result is a
smooth warm medium gain response. If you need more critical shaping power in the “Boost” mode than that of the bypassed tone
control string, select the 5 Band Graphic Equalizer and shape your sound there.
Learn the regions of GAIN and the tonal colors they enhance. Slight adjustments make huge differences in the sound. In all of the
channels you will find sweet spots on the GAIN control that work with your technique, your guitar and your pick-ups to compliment,
embelish and finally define a sound that is all you.
TREBLE: As with most guitar amplifiers, the TREBLE control is the strongest of the three rotary tone controls. Because signal
enters the tone control string here, its setting determines the strength of the signal sent to the BASS and MID, greatly affecting their
role in the tonal blend. Set high, the TREBLE is the dominant force and the effectiveness
of the BASS and MID are substantially reduced.
IN
FT.SW.
RECORD
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
Set low, the opposite occurs and the BASS and MID become dominant, producing a
warmer, darker personality. This interaction holds true for all the channels. For this reason we strongly suggest using the TREBLE control with care as it can produce some
unwanted qualities in the sound when used without moderation. This especially holds true for clean sounds in Channel 1, where the
most beautiful and balanced sounds are found with the TREBLE set somewhere in the middle ranges. This way the BASS control can
produce enough lows for a breathier quality and the TREBLE is more sparkling instead of sticking out and becoming harsh.
HI GAIN
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There are occasions where you might deviate from this scheme and set the TREBLE control in the higher ranges. Because this
control is the first in the signal path and is responsible for the amount of GAIN that is fed to the other tone controls, it can be used to
further saturate the signal. For extremely high GAIN solo sounds in the two LEAD channels, you may want to experiment with setting
the TREBLE pretty high - not maxed - but higher to achieve a more blistering quality for single note work.
In this scenario it is usually helpful to reduce the PRESENCE control setting on the power amp to avoid a buzzy or shrill sound. The
top slider of the EQ also helps if the PRESENCE on the power amp is not quite the right frequency, or you are using the DIRECT
Output straight into a mixing console and there is no power amp. This added gain can also be used to push the envelope in Channel
1 for overdrive sounds, but you will have to again use care, as it is easy to go over the edge fast.
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CONTROLS:
(Continued)
MIDDLE: This rotary control determines the blend of midrange frequencies in the mix. It is not as powerful as the TREBLE control
and therefore, its setting is not as crucial to the blend of most sound styles. Generally speaking, a more resilient, forgiving and easy
to play feel is obtained by setting the MID in its lower regions (7:00 to 10:30).
Higher settings (11:00 to 3:00) will add punch and definition, especially in higher
IN
FT.SW.
GAIN sounds where it tends to focus the overdrive more closely on the notes.
TREBLE
MID
GAIN
Extreme settings (3:00 to 5:00) can make the feel a little stiffer and clunkier so
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you may want to keep this in mind when dialing.
RECORD
LO GAIN
HI GAIN
To help lessen this effect when high MID settings are in order you can try increasing the BASS control slightly. There is substantial
added GAIN to be had at the top end of this control (between 2:00 and 5:00) and this range can be useful for adding some clip to the
Green (Rhythm) channel when the front end GAIN control is also set high. Using the pull “BOOST” mode of the Green channel, this
upper range of the MID control allows further saturation of the sound for more liquid or voice like single note lead work. As mentioned
earlier, the lower channels’ MIDDLE control is shared by both LEAD 1 and LEAD 2. In general, use moderation with this powerful
control. Most of the amazing and balanced sounds in the Formula are found with this control, somewhere in its middle range. Like the
GAIN control, there is added gain to be had at the top end of this control can be useful...especially for enhancing the GAIN of Channel
1 for crunch or solo sounds.
BASS: This is responsible for the blend of low frequencies in the mix and its effectiveness largely depends on the setting of the
TREBLE control. It is last in the signal path and therefore a smaller amount of signal is fed to the BASS when there is a high setting
of the TREBLE in place. To obtain the maximum performance from the
BASS control try using a range of TREBLE settings between 10:00 and
IN
FT.SW.
2:00. Not only does this range allow plenty of signal to make it to the
MID
TREBLE
BASS
GAIN
control, but it just so happens to be where the TREBLE reacts most favorably and musically. For certain clean sounds in Channel 1 you may
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deviate from this scheme to achieve more breath or a warmer jazz sound.
For higher GAIN solo sounds in any of the three channels you may need
to run the BASS a little lower to avoid a flubby character in the pick attack. A good rule of thumb might be ; the higher the GAIN - the
lower the BASS...because contrary to many manufacturers guitar circuits, your Formula gets fatter - not buzzier - as the GAIN is
increased.
RECORD
LO GAIN
HI GAIN
MASTER: These control the output balance of the three channels and allow a wide range of GAIN settings to be played at many
different volume levels. As you have probably noticed there are three of these controls; one at the end of each row of controls and one
under the LEAD 2 GAIN control over on the right side
of the GRAPHIC EQ . There is no real right or wrong
O
U
setting for these controls, but again the most balanced
T
BASS
MID
TREBLE
MASTER
GAIN
P
U
sounds are found in the middle ranges of the spectrum
T
Formula Pre
( 9:30 to 2:30 ) and this is our idea of a preferred setting. These controls also perform another function and
that is to determine the amount of signal fed to the EFFECTS SEND jack. Set low, they produce roughly the equivalent to an
instrument level ( smaller / weaker ) signal. Set high the signal is basically a line level ( bigger / hotter ) signal and should be plenty to
drive pro quality processing devices.
GAIN
RHYTHM
ON
LD
1
EQ
LD2
FT
SW
IN
LEAD 2
AC
MASTER
To effectively remove the MASTER from the circuit of any channel, you may run them all the way up for a different character and use
the final LEVEL control to adjust the listening volume. However, keep in mind that this will probably overload the Input stage of any
processor you might have in the loop. While it is a great trick for different sounds it makes interfacing effects and switching across the
channels quite difficult and might be reserved for times when you only need one sound at a time.
PAGE 6
CONTROLS:
(Continued)
GRAPHIC EQ: Your new Formula offers even more control over the sound than amplifiers that use only the traditional string of
rotary controls by including an on-board 5 BAND GRAPHIC EQUALIZER. This powerful tone shaping tool uses a wide band array
focused on the frequencies that are most crucial for electric guitar. The wide band scheme is infinitely friendlier to use than traditional
narrow band 1/3 Octave or 31 Band set-ups that are often found in
live reinforcement type arenas.
GAIN
RHYTHM
EQ IN
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
O
U
T
P
U
T
RHYTHM
ON
LD
1
It is also more intuitive than the sweepable parametric type used in
the recording domain. With fewer bands covering wider, yet no less
effective regions of the spectrum, you can nail down the sounds you
Classic "V" Curve
are after more quickly. And because it is closer to an interactive format than a notch / boost filter there is less chance of an uneven response. The narrow band or parametric designs work great if you
are adept at using them, but if one is unfamiliar with its pitfalls, the result is a sound with big or extreme holes in the mix...bad news for
guitarists, who have a hard enough time getting the instrument to feel even across the fingerboard.
IN
EQ LD2
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
MASTER
FT
SW
LEAD 2
AC
Formula Pre
The EQ is accessed manually via the three position mini toggle just to the left of the slider array and can be used in three different
ways. (1) To enhance the entire character of the Formula with one curve for all three channels, select EQ IN (toggle up). (2) To either
bypass the EQ completely or Footswitch it in or out of any channel at will from the Footcontroller, select EQ OUT / FS (toggle center
position). (3) To auto-insert the EQ to LEAD 2, select the EQ / LD2 position (toggle down). This last position enables you to drastically
re-voice the second lead channel in order to deviate even further from the voice of LEAD 1.
Because the two channels share duplicate set of rotary controls, the ability to pre-program the GRAPHIC EQ for LEAD 2 and custom
tailor it to your sound style - makes the Formulas’ two lead channels super versatile. With all the possible combinations you will never
have to worry about possible compromises between LEAD 1 and LEAD 2. Just in case you have never used a Mesa/Boogie amplifier
in the LEAD channel with the GRAPHIC EQ, we would like to suggest trying one setting that keeps coming up over the years. The
setting in the illustration above (or some mild variation of it) is referred to around here as the Classic “V” Curve. It has been used by
countless players over the years, many of whom are world class recording / touring artists, as a way to widen and enlarge their sound.
By dipping the mids and boosting the lows and highs in this manner a bigger than life guitar sound can emerge...even from small 1 x
12 cabs, that you can scarcely believe. A word of caution though...it’s addicting and once you’ve heard this bigger sound, don’t be
surprised if the un-EQ’d sounds don’t sound the same to you. Just give it a minute and they will again...you’re suffering from an EQ
hangover!
As we said, this setting is optimum for high GAIN lead sounds in the lead channels, but also works well for some people in the clean
channel as well. Anyway, whether you’re into the giant crunch or not, it’s a great way of auditioning the sonic shaping power of the
GRAPHIC EQ. And by all means...use your imagination and experiment freely in all the channels.
This larger knob is the final output level control for all three channels of the Formula. After the sounds have been
OUTPUT:
dialed to taste and blended for their respective levels with the individual channel MASTER controls, the entire pre-amp volume level
may be controlled here without interrupting the pre-set blend of the channels. And because this
control comes at the end of the signal path, adjustments here will not change the signal strength at
O
U
T
the Effect Send jack.
P
GAIN
RHYTHM
ON
LD
1
U
T
MASTER
FT
SW
LEAD 2
AC
Formula Pre
PAGE 7
CONTROLS:
(Continued)
CHANNEL SELECT: This three position toggle selects the channels manually from the Front Panel so that when you are in the
studio you may select sounds without having to connect the Footcontroller. When you wish to use the Foot Controller for live situations, remember to select the middle LEAD 1 position of the CHANNEL SELECT switch. Only in
this position will the Footcontroller trigger the channels remotely.
GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
ON
LD
1
FT
SW
AC
Formula Pre
POWER: This toggle controls the flow of A.C. Power to the Formula. Be sure to check the voltage rating of the receptacle at
which you are connecting the power cord of the Formula. In the United States the rating is 120 volts A.C. Export models are labeled
as such and the voltage rating is denoted just above the A.C. power cords’ receptacle. Since there
are no power tubes to warm up there is no need for a Standby switch and that consideration, along
O
U
with available space, prompted us to forgo a Standby switch and include only a Power switch.
T
GAIN
RHYTHM
ON
LD
1
P
U
T
FT
SW
LEAD 2
AC
Formula Pre
It might be a good start-up practice to get in the habit of turning the OUTPUT controls to zero before
switching On the Power. This avoids the possibility of blasting either the console / monitors in a
studio - or the power amp / speaker combo in a live rig as the tubes warm up on the last used live sound. A simple practice, but a gear
friendly, as well as ear friendly procedure thats sure to be appreciated by all.
MASTER
Now that we have covered the Controls and Features of the Formulas’ Front Panel, lets move on to the Rear Panel section and
become familiar with how to patch the Formula to both live rigs and consoles.
REST AREA
PAGE 8
REAR PANEL:
117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
ESA BOOGIE
M
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
LIFT
100%
10%
GROUND
FX MIX
RETURN - L
LD1 - LD2
FX SEND
RHY - LD
EXT
SW
RETURN - R
EQ
EXT
SW
LEFT
REC
OUT
TIP
RING
SLEEVE
RIGHT
MAIN
OUT
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
A.C. POWER RECEPTACLE: The Formula Pre - amp uses a removable I.E.C. type power cord to supply the A.C. power. The
power cord supplied with your unit should be used whenever possible as we chose it for its snug fit. Because this type of RECEPTACLE is somewhat universal and used in many products both in and out of electronic musical instrument domain, you may use other
cords of this type when the one supplied is not available. Should this become necessary, check that the cord is seated all the way into
the RECEPTACLE to insure an uninterrupted performance. In the U.S., the proper voltage is 117 volts A.C. (110-120). Always be
sure to connect the Formula to its rated voltage to avoid damaging internal circuitry.
117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
ESA BOOGIE
M
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
It is a good idea to ask when performing in an environment that you aren’t sure about...(especially
older venues or outdoor events where generators are sometimes used to supply power to the stage)
what the incoming voltage rating is. Export models - see label on the unit or ask your Dealer / Distributor about the necessary voltage rating requirements. If you hard wire your live rig and cut all A.C.
cables to length and then need an additional cord for your studio rack or, you simply want a spare for the fabled cord bag - call us and
we will be glad to send you one for a nominal charge.
LIFT
100%
10%
GROUND
FX MIX
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
FUSE: Because the Formula Pre -amp has no power tubes, it is unlikely you will ever have to replace the FUSE, thus one does
not appear accessable from the rear panel. However, for safety reasons the Formula does have an INTERNAL MAIN FUSE located
inside the chassis. In the unlikely event that the FUSE should ever blow, it is very easy to replace.
REPLACING THE INTERNAL FUSE: Turn the units power off. With your instrument still connected to the input - strum a few chords
with the instruments’ volume turned all the way up to discharge any current left in the filter capacitors (just in case you accidentally
touch one). Unplug the A.C. power cord from its receptacle. With a small Phillips screwdriver, remove the sheet metal screws that
secure the lid to the chassis and remove the lid. Looking from the rear of the unit, you will see a small circuit board directly in front of
the power transformer with two wires coming from the Front Panel POWER switch. There under a protective plastic cover is the FUSE
in its holder. Remove the cover to expose the FUSE. You can use either your hands to remove the old FUSE or a pair of insulated
pliers to grab it - but be careful not to squeeze too hard and break the glass. Replace the FUSE with a new one of the same rating
and make sure it is a Slo-Blo type FUSE! A Fast-Blo FUSE will not last in this application. Replace the protective cover and set the
lid back on top of the unit. Plug the power cord back in and test before securing the lid with the screws.
If all is normal - turn the power back off and put in the screws, tightening them moderately tight. If the unit does not power up, flip the
POWER switch back off (remembering to discharge the capacitors again), remove the lid and FUSE cover and verify that the FUSE
is securely seated in the FUSE holder. If the replaced FUSE was secure, try another FUSE. If still no power - stop and call us or see
an authorized technician.
DO NOT attempt to fix the unit yourself! The FUSE is the only user serviceable part inside your Formula Pre-amp. Domestic
U.S.A.Models use: 1 Amp Slo-Blo. For Export Models: see your Dealer / Distributor.
GROUND LIFT: This mini toggle lifts the circuit ground from the sheet metal chassis ground. Normally the ground of the circuit is
connected to the chassis ground such that there is one common ground. In certain rack applications, whether it be in live rack systems
with multiple pre-amps in use, or in a studio environment where the Formula is connected to a console, the common ground scenario
actually creates a ground loop. By removing the circuit ground from chassis ground this annoying hum
MESA BOOGIE
can often be eliminated. There is no right way to use the Formula (grounded or lifted), but if you do not
experience any ground related noise it would be preferable to use the unit in the GROUND position(toggle
100%
10%
down).
117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
LIFT
GROUND
FX MIX
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
PAGE 9
REAR PANEL:
(Continued)
EFFECTS LOOP & MIX CONTROL:
The Formula handles external signal processing in the same way that most recording
engineers do in a pro studio environment. A dry signal (track) is the main source and a second signal is created in parallel, sent
through the desired processing and then mixed back in on a separate fader to
MESA BOOGIE
insure the articulation and clarity of the original signal or track. The Formula’s
LOOP consists of a mono 1/4” SEND and a pair of 1/4” RETURNS which are
100%
10%
labeled LEFT and RIGHT and a rotary FX MIX control. The SEND is the source
and the RETURNS become the patch point for the parallel wet (effected) signal. The rotary control (like the second signal faders in the studio) determines
the amount of the wet (effects) signal that gets mixed with the dry (un-effected) signal. In this way you can choose to run your signal
very wet or keep the signal virtually untouched by the effects, thereby retaining the most articulate and urgent sound and feel.
117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
LIFT
RETURN - L
LD1 - LD2
FX SEND
RHY - LD
GROUND
RETURN - R
EQ
EXT
SW
FX MIX
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
The MIX control has a range that roams between 10% and 100% of the wet blend. It is not possible to completely remove the parallel
signal from the EFFECTS LOOP path with the FX MIX control (this is due to a decision made by us to preserve the maximum tonal
SHIELDED CABLE
117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
ESA BOOGIE
M
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
LIFT
100%
10%
GROUND
RETURN - L
LD1 - LD2
FX SEND
RHY - LD
FX MIX
EXT
SW
RETURN - R
EQ
LEFT
EXT
SW
REC
OUT
TIP
RING
SLEEVE
RIGHT
MAIN
OUT
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
SHIELDED CABLE
SHIELDED CABLE
STEREO (MONO) EFFECTS
IN
MIDI OUT
L OUTPUT R
L INPUT
R INPUT (MON0)
performance while the LOOP is in use). Connect your processors in the following manner as illustrated above: If your processor is a
mono device or, you simply wish to process only one side of a stereo harness - you may choose either of the Formulas’ EFFECTS
LOOP RETURN jacks (LEFT or RIGHT) as they both process the same sound. Just be sure to keep your channels straight as you
continue on down the signal chain to the power amp. Once a signal has been fed to the EFFECTS LOOP SEND jack, the unused
RETURN jack will not produce a signal at its corresponding MAIN or RECORD OUTPUT jack.
NOTE: When the PARALLEL EFFECTS LOOP is not in use and nothing is connected to the SEND and RETURN jacks, make sure
the EFFECTS MIX control is set to 10% (counter-clockwise to stop). This setting ensures the best tone and output gain is possible at
all times. If you use your Formula hardwired into the same system all the time, this will not become an issue. However, if you carry the
Formula to different studios separately or take it in and out of your rig frequently, it is a good practice to mark your EFFECTS MIX
control setting with a grease pencil and “zero-out” this control every time you disconnect your processors. Although the Formula
will still produce great sound even if this advice is not followed, attack response characteristics and output levels will be compromised.
Though the Formula Pre - amps’ EFFECTS LOOP is the best type for a guitar product to preserve the inherent attack characteristic
and overall sound quality and no expense was spared in its development, our tests have resulted in some interesting findings. We
have had the best sonic and tactile results by actually bypassing the EFFECTS LOOP altogether and patching outboard gear directly
between the pre-amp and the power amp with short, good quality cables. (See Illustration on page 3)
Though this may seem in many ways contradictory to the very concept of - and reason behind - a parallel effects loop...in repeated
test situations we found the sound to be more three dimensional and full of punch, body and life than that of the same processing used
in the EFFECTS LOOP with equivalent cable lengths. Theoretically (and electronically) this does not make good sense - and in fact
should actually cause greater degradation of tone due to the more sensitive impedances present at the MAIN outputs. Nonetheless,
PAGE 10
REAR PANEL:
(Continued)
being the tone-first-theory-later design team we have come to be, this patching scheme has
EFFECTS LOOP: (Continued)
worked much to our favor. We have long felt this to be true and in fact included this tip in some of our other products’ owners manuals.
To verify our findings we recently took a census of TriAxis (Programmable Pre-amp) users among our phone-in customers and touring
artists and found that most used their processing between pre-amp and power amp, saving their effects loops for more specific
switchable applications. When asked why, in almost every case they said they liked the sound better between the pre-amp and the
power amp. So try both ways for your specific application and choose the one that fits your ears and patching requirements best.
There is no right or wrong way to interface processing to your Formula, so experiment at will.
NOTE: If you intend to record with the Formula’s Direct RECORD OUTPUTS and you wish to use the same processing you use in
your live rig and print it to a track (s) - you will need to feed the processors from the RECORD OUTPUTS, not the MAIN OUTPUTS.
From there you will need to connect either one (or both if stereo) of the processor’s OUTPUTS to the console’s LINE INPUTS. The
signal should be of a adequate level and the blend should be close to what you are used to in your live rig.
These three 1/4” jacks make it possible to trigger the three channels of the Formula with an
EXTERNAL SWITCH JACKS:
external switching device so that it can be used in a midi controlled rack system. In this scheme the channels can be called up under
midi programs. The jacks respond to any tip-to-ground latching type switch logic.
MESA BOOGIE
The Front Panel CHANNEL SELECT toggle switch must be in the center (LEAD)
position for the EXTERNAL SWITCH jacks to respond to the external switching
100%
10%
source.
117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
LIFT
RETURN - L
LD1 - LD2
FX SEND
RHY - LD
GROUND
FX MIX
EXT
SW
RETURN - R
EQ
EXT
SW
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
RECORD OUTPUTS: As mentioned earlier in the Front Panel section of this manual under the RECORD VOICING switch
section, the Formula was from its inception, a recording pre-amp. Special emphasis was placed on achieving a direct sound and feel
that would enable guitarists to record keeper tracks without the time and hassle normally associated with
recording amplified guitar.
RETURN - R
EQ
LEFT
REC
OUT
TIP
RING
SLEEVE
RIGHT
Two transformer balanced 1/4” TIP-RING - SLEEVE RECORD OUTPUTS jacks are provided, creating a
stereo source for your recording needs that can be used in either balanced or unbalanced consoles.
These two outputs are fed a signal right after the junction where the EFFECTS LOOP’S RETURN’S join
with the original signal so that any processing you have in the LOOP will appear at the RECORD OUTPUTS. The jacks are wired such
that if you do not have a console with balanced inputs or you simply do not wish to use the balanced signal, you may connect a regular
(shielded) mono 1/4” plug into the RECORD jacks and produce an unbalanced signal. While in most pro studios virtually all signa ls
are balanced, this has no bearing on the quality of performance you can obtain on an unbalanced project or home studio environment.
The main difference might be that of a slight roll off in the top end harmonics due to cable capacitance. This is best avoided by
maintaining the shortest lengths of cable from the Formula to the console. (This rule applies to all cabling in an unbalanced s tudio
format.)
MAIN
OUT
NOTE: These Outputs work in conjunction with the Front Panel RECORD VOICE mini toggle switch which, as discussed earlier,
zeroes in on the sound style selected and tunes the voicing accordingly.
NOTE: REFER TO FRONT PANEL SECTION - RECORD.
SIGNAL LEVELS: The levels present at the RECORD OUTPUTS are determined by the settings of both the individual Channel
MASTERS’ and the final OUTPUT control. As discussed earlier under OUTPUT in the Front Panel section, settings between 9:30 and
12:30 seem to produce the best results for most all situations. For direct applications in many consoles we have found the 11:00
region to be a good starting point. This region, with similar settings on the individual channel MASTERS, seems to produce a very well
behaved SIGNAL LEVEL for most applications. Set the console accordingly and you should have lots of room to adjust for different
sounds in all three channels.
PAGE 11
REAR PANEL:
(Continued)
NOTE: Avoid OUTPUT level settings above 1:00 when using the RECORD OUTPUTS as
SIGNAL LEVELS: (Continued)
it is possible to overload the RECORD circuitry - as well as the input stage of many consoles - with certain settings of the
channels and certain pickups.
NOTE: When the RECORD OUTPUTS are connected to a console, any loading of the MAIN OUTPUTS by connecting them to a
power amp or processor will produce a significant loss in signal at the RECORD OUTPUTS. This is because the MAIN OUTPUTS are
not buffered in an effort to retain all the tubular magic produced by the impedance combination that occurs at the Formula’s MAIN
OUTPUTS and the tube power amp’s input. After trying every conceivable buffering scenario with dismal results, we refused to
sacrifice one drop of the Formula’s luscious tone for this one patching scheme.
If you must connect both RECORD and MAIN OUTPUTS simultaneously - here are some possible options to navigate this
toneful patching idiosyncrasy:
(1) Record in mono and send the live signal in mono by using one of the output channels RECORD OUTPUT and the opposing
channels MAIN OUTPUT.
(2) With one or both of the RECORD OUTPUTS connected to the console, connect the MAIN OUTPUTS to a processor instead of
a power amplifier. This will likely reduce the amount of signal loss at the RECORD OUTPUTS quite a bit - because there is less
loading effect on the Formula’s MAIN OUTPUTS due to most processors’ input stages being of a higher impedance.
(3) Use an external buffering device on the Formula’s MAIN OUTPUT(s) to reduce the degree of loading. We plan to offer such a
device - Call our Customer Service Dept. for more information about availability of this accessory.
The Formula provides two output channels for feeding signal to either stereo power amplifiers, effects proMAIN OUTPUTS:
cessors (see EFFECTS LOOP - presented earlier in the Rear Panel section of this manual) or even the effects return or power-in
stages of self contained amplifiers. Thus the Formula is a stereo capable pre-amp with two identical
signals that appear at the MAIN OUTPUTS. For mono applications simply connect either of the MAIN
OUTPUT jacks to your power amp or processor. To use both MAIN and RECORD OUTPUTS in a mono
RIGHT
LEFT
scheme simultaneously, connect opposing outputs (one channels’ MAIN OUTPUT to your power amp the other channels’ RECORD to your console...see NOTE under RECORD in the Rear Panel section).
RETURN - R
EQ
REC
OUT
TIP
RING
SLEEVE
MAIN
OUT
The MAIN OUTPUTS are fed signal from the three individual channel MASTERS as well as the final OUTPUT Level control located
at the far right on the Front Panel. As mentioned earlier, the channels are controlled simultaneously with the single OUTPUT control,
as this potentiometer is actually two syncronous pots in one. To control the output channels separately, they must be sent to two
different power sources and then controlled independently from there. In this type of set-up it may be necessary to lift the gr ound on
one of the power sources to prevent a ground loop. This application is most often seen when a pre-amp is used to feed two or more
power amps on a large stage where there is need for both back line and stagefront monitor cabinets.
The Formula uses five 12AX7A type dual triode pre-amp tubes for its’ all-tube circuitry which are mounted horizonTUBE BAY:
tally and recessed in an easily accessible tube bay. In the unlikely event that you need to replace a tube, you may do so by simply
unplugging it from its socket and plugging a new one in. Since the tube sockets grab the pins on the tube rather firmly, it helps to gently
rock the tube back and forth while pulling outward on the tube.
When installing the replacement, make sure that the pins on the
tube are not bent (you can straighten bent pins with a pair of
needle nose pliers) and line them up carefully before inserting
the tube.
PAGE 12
REAR PANEL:
(Continued)
TUBE BAY: (Continued)
Do not force the tube - if it won’t go in pretty smoothly - you probably have the tube misaligned or possibly one or more of the pins have bent. Forcing the tube could result in damage to the socket. Always inspect
the pins on a tube before attempting to insert them into the socket.
NOTE: See the TUBE TASK CHART on the following page for the individual roles each tube plays in the Formula’s circuit. Usually
it is one tube that is responsible for a malfunction and it is not recommended that you replace all five tubes. Pre-amp tubes - unlike
power tubes - can work great for many years and they have been screened and tested for performance and tone before being
installed in your unit at the factory. You can feel free to experiment with other pre-amp tubes but if you do, please...do your self a favor
- note which tube was in which tube socket before you take a tube out! By keeping track of this tube placement you will be assured of
being able to go back and reference the unit as it was before you changed it...most helpful, we assure you.
NOTE: While any 12AX7A will work in your Formula Pre-amp, the Formula’s 6 month Warranty is valid only with original or
replacement Mesa tubes in place.
Now that we have reviewed all the features and controls, you are ready for the fun part...exploring the myriad of amazing sounds the
Formula is capable of producing. It is our guess that it will exceed your expectations and become an invaluable instrument of
expression, adding joy and inspiration to your music. If there are any questions you have unanswered after reading through this
manual, feel free to call our Customer Service Department and speak to one of our Product Specialists and they will be delighted to
help you with your needs.
We wish you many years of enjoyment with the Formula and hope it adds to your musical fulfillment in both live and recording
situations. Cheers...! And once again, Thanks for trusting us to build your amplifier. From all of us at Mesa/Boogie, Enjoy!
PAGE 13
TUBE LAYOUT and TASKS
Formula Pre - Top View
Back Panel of Formula Pre
MESA
MESA
12AX7A
12AX7A
V1
V2
MESA
MESA
MESA
12AX7A
12AX7A
12AX7A
V3
V4
V5
ALL TUBES
12AX7A
TUBE ASSIGNMENT
DIMENSIONS
V1 - A = Lead Input
V1 - B = Rhythm Input
WEIGHT: 8 lbs
.
V2 - A = 2nd Rhythm Stage
V2 - B = Not Used
HEIGHT: 1 rack unit - 1 3/4 nches
V3 - A = 2nd Lead Stage (Both Channels)
V3 - B = 3rd Rhythm Stage
INPUT IMPEDANCE: 1 Meg ohm
SPECIFICATIONS
DEPTH: 13 1/4
POWER REQUIREMENTS: (from AC mains)
V4 - A = 4th Lead Stage (Both Channels)
V4 - B = 3rd Lead Stage (Both Channels)
V5 - A = Effects Return (Right)
V5 - B = Effects Return (Left)
A = Pins 1,2,3
B = Pins 6,7,8
PAGE 14
Factory Sample Settings
Most Pick-ups
Spanky Clean: Rhythm / Green
IN
RECORD
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA
GAIN
RHYTHM
FT.SW.
BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
FT.SW.
EQ IN
LO GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
O
U
T
P
U
T
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
MASTER
6600
Rock Clean: Rhythm / Green
IN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
O
U
T
P
U
T
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
MASTER
6600
RECORD
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA
BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
Crunch Rhythm: (Pull Gain Boost) Rhythm / Green
IN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
FT
SW
EQ IN
MID
BASS
MASTER
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 2
AC
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
RHYTHM
LO GAIN
TREBLE
ON
Most Pick-ups
RECORD
GAIN
RHYTHM
LD
1
Mean-No-Master - Clean: Rhythm / Green
IN
AC
GAIN
RECORD
GAIN
LEAD 2
Formula Pre
Bridge Humbucker
RHYTHM
FT.SW.
ON
FT
SW
GAIN
RHYTHM
FT.SW.
RHYTHM
LD
1
Neck / Middle / Bridge Single Coil
Pushed Blues: (Pull Gain Boost) Rhythm / Green
IN
AC
GAIN
RECORD
GAIN
LEAD 2
Most Pick-ups
RHYTHM
FT.SW.
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
RHYTHM
RECORD
GAIN
ON
Neck Single Coil
Texas Clean: Rhythm / Green
IN
RHYTHM
LD
1
HI GAIN
LEAD 1
NOTE: Check Levels In Your Outboard Gear - Very Hot Settings!
PAGE 15
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
Factory Sample Settings
Purring Blues - Lead 1 / Orange
IN
Most Pickups
GAIN
RHYTHM
FT.SW.
RECORD
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
IN
RECORD
EQ IN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
O
U
T
P
U
T
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
MASTER
6600
Graphic EQ Optional
Wide Glide Rock - Lead 1 / Orange
FT.SW.
EQ IN
MID
BASS
FT
SW
MASTER
O
U
T
P
U
T
EQ
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
MASTER
Stinging Blues - Lead 2 / Red
IN
FT.SW.
EQ IN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
O
U
T
P
U
T
EQ
FT
MASTER SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
Focus Lead - Lead 2 / Red
FT.SW.
MASTER
EQ IN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
O
U
T
P
U
T
EQ
FT
MASTER SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
MASTER
6600
Graphic EQ In
Mondo Crunch - Lead 2 / Red
FT.SW.
LEAD 2
AC
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
LD
1
ON
FT
SW LEAD 2
AC
Formula Pre
EQ IN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
PAGE 16
EQ
FT
SW
EQ LD2
LEAD 1
ON
FT
SW LEAD 2
AC
Formula Pre
GAIN
RHYTHM
LO GAIN
RHYTHM
LD
1
Rear Humbucker
RECORD
GAIN
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
RHYTHM
LO GAIN
IN
ON
Neck or Bridge - Single Coil
RECORD
GAIN
RHYTHM
LD
1
GAIN
RHYTHM
LO GAIN
IN
AC
Neck or Bridge - Single Coil
RECORD
GAIN
LEAD 2
GAIN
RHYTHM
LO GAIN
TREBLE
FT
SW
Formula Pre
Rear Humbucker
RECORD
GAIN
ON
GAIN
RHYTHM
FT.SW.
RHYTHM
LD
1
Neck or Bridge - Single Coil
LO GAIN
IN
MASTER
6600
Liquid Violin Lead - Lead 1 / Orange
O
U
T
P
U
T
LD2
IN
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
LD
1
ON
FT
SW LEAD 2
Formula Pre
AC
Personnal Settings Page
IN
FT.SW.
GAIN
RHYTHM
RECORD
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
LD2
LEAD 1
IN
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
EQ
FT
SW
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
FT
SW
LD2
LEAD 1
IN
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
PAGE 17
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
AC
GAIN
EQ
EQ LD2
MESA BOOGIE
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
EQ IN
GAIN
FT.SW.
IN
RHYTHM
HI GAIN
LEAD 2
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ
EQ LD2
RECORD
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
LD2
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
IN
2200
SW
BOOGIE
FT.SW.
750
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
IN
240
EQ IN
GAIN
MESA
60Hz
RHYTHM
RECORD
FT
SW
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
ON
GAIN
EQ IN
GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
RHYTHM
LD
1
GAIN
EQ LD2
LO GAIN
IN
MASTER
6600
SW
MESA BOOGIE
FT.SW.
2200
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
IN
750
EQ IN
GAIN
FT.SW.
240
RHYTHM
RECORD
LO GAIN
IN
60Hz
O
U
T
P
U
T
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
Personnal Settings Page
IN
FT.SW.
GAIN
RHYTHM
RECORD
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
LD2
LEAD 1
IN
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
PAGE 18
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
AC
GAIN
EQ
MASTER FT
MESA BOOGIE
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
EQ IN
HI GAIN
FT.SW.
IN
RHYTHM
GAIN
LEAD 2
GAIN
EQ
EQ LD2
RECORD
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
LD2
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
IN
2200
SW
BOOGIE
FT.SW.
750
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
IN
240
EQ IN
GAIN
MESA
60Hz
RHYTHM
RECORD
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
ON
GAIN
EQ IN
GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
RHYTHM
LD
1
GAIN
EQ LD2
LO GAIN
FT.SW.
MASTER
6600
SW
MESA BOOGIE
IN
2200
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
MESA
750
EQ IN
GAIN
FT.SW.
240
RHYTHM
RECORD
LO GAIN
IN
60Hz
O
U
T
P
U
T
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
Personnal Settings Page
IN
FT.SW.
GAIN
RHYTHM
RECORD
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
LD2
LEAD 1
IN
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
PAGE 19
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
AC
GAIN
EQ
MASTER FT
MESA BOOGIE
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
EQ IN
HI GAIN
FT.SW.
IN
RHYTHM
GAIN
LEAD 2
GAIN
EQ
EQ LD2
RECORD
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
LD2
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
IN
2200
SW
BOOGIE
FT.SW.
750
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
IN
240
EQ IN
GAIN
MESA
60Hz
RHYTHM
RECORD
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
ON
GAIN
EQ IN
GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
RHYTHM
LD
1
GAIN
EQ LD2
LO GAIN
FT.SW.
MASTER
6600
SW
MESA BOOGIE
IN
2200
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
MESA
750
EQ IN
GAIN
FT.SW.
240
RHYTHM
RECORD
LO GAIN
IN
60Hz
O
U
T
P
U
T
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
Personnal Settings Page
IN
FT.SW.
GAIN
RHYTHM
RECORD
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
LD2
LEAD 1
IN
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
PAGE 20
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
AC
GAIN
EQ
MASTER FT
MESA BOOGIE
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
EQ IN
HI GAIN
FT.SW.
IN
RHYTHM
GAIN
LEAD 2
GAIN
EQ
EQ LD2
RECORD
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
LD2
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
IN
2200
SW
BOOGIE
FT.SW.
750
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
IN
240
EQ IN
GAIN
MESA
60Hz
RHYTHM
RECORD
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
ON
GAIN
EQ IN
GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
RHYTHM
LD
1
GAIN
EQ LD2
LO GAIN
FT.SW.
MASTER
6600
SW
MESA BOOGIE
IN
2200
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
MESA
750
EQ IN
GAIN
FT.SW.
240
RHYTHM
RECORD
LO GAIN
IN
60Hz
O
U
T
P
U
T
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
Personnal Settings Page
IN
FT.SW.
GAIN
RHYTHM
RECORD
EQ IN
LO GAIN
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
LD2
LEAD 1
IN
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
BOOGIE
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
IN
FT.SW.
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
60Hz
240
750
2200
TREBLE
MID
BASS
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
LEAD 1
60Hz
240
750
2200
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
EQ
MASTER FT
LD2
SW
IN
EQ LD2
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
LEAD 1
PAGE 21
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
AC
GAIN
EQ
MASTER FT
MESA BOOGIE
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
EQ IN
HI GAIN
FT.SW.
IN
RHYTHM
GAIN
LEAD 2
GAIN
EQ
EQ LD2
RECORD
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
LD2
LEAD 1
LO GAIN
IN
2200
SW
BOOGIE
FT.SW.
750
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
IN
240
EQ IN
GAIN
MESA
60Hz
RHYTHM
RECORD
FT
SW
Formula Pre
GAIN
EQ IN
LO GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
ON
GAIN
EQ IN
GAIN
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
6600
RHYTHM
RECORD
RHYTHM
LD
1
GAIN
EQ LD2
LO GAIN
FT.SW.
MASTER
6600
SW
MESA BOOGIE
IN
2200
MASTER FT
HI GAIN
MESA
750
EQ IN
GAIN
FT.SW.
240
RHYTHM
RECORD
LO GAIN
IN
60Hz
O
U
T
P
U
T
60Hz
240
750
2200
6600
O
U
T
P
U
T
MASTER
RHYTHM
ON
LEAD 2
AC
LD
1
FT
SW
Formula Pre
Parts Sheet - Formula - Front Panel
LD2 LED
Pt # 394201
EQ IN
LED Pt # 394251
KNOBS (ALL)
Pt # 408113
JACK
Pt # 613600
JACK
Pt # 618112
LED Pt #
IN
FT.SW.
RECORD
POT Pt#
POT Pt#
POT Pt#
591842
592148
592736
LO GAIN
HI GAIN
MESA BOOGIE
POT Pt#
POT Pt# RHYTHM
592148
592150
GAIN
TREBLE
MID
BASS
MASTER
POT Pt#
POT Pt#
POT Pt#
POT Pt#
POT Pt#
592739
592738
592737
592739
SWITCH
Pt # 607101
PAGE 22
JACKS ( BOTH )
Pt# 612391
ALL ( 3 ) JACKS
Pt# 618112
ESA BOOGIE
M
CIRCUIT PATENTS PENDING
LIFT
100%
GROUND
FX MIX
RETURN - L
LD1 - LD2
FX SEND
RHY - LD
EXT
SW
RETURN - R
EQ
EXT
SW
LEFT
REC
OUT
TIP
RING
SLEEVE
RIGHT
MAIN
OUT
HANDMADE IN CALIFORNIA
SWITCH
Pt # 607101
KNOB
Pt # 408113
ALL ( 3 ) JACKS
Pt# 618112
JACKS ( BOTH )
Pt# 618112
KNOB
Pt # 408111
GAIN
POT Pt#
EQ IN
EQ
FT
SW
591046 O
U
LD2
IN
EQ LD2
LEAD 1
LED Pt #
POT
Pt# 581047
10%
592151
394291
Parts Sheet - Formula - Rear Panel
117 V~
1 AMP
60 HZ.
EQ BUTTONS (ALL)
Pt # 408530
394231
POT Pt#
60Hz
240
SWITCH
Pt # 607303
750
2200
6600
T
P
U
T
592151 MASTER
KNOBS (BOTH)
Pt # 408113
RHYTHM
POT Pt#
591046
ON
LD
1
FT
SW
LEAD 2
AC
Formula Pre
SWITCH
Pt # 605373
SWITCH
Pt # 602112
MESA BOOGIE
The Spirit of Art in Technology
Thank you
for trusting MESA/Boogie to be your amplifier
company. We wish you many years of toneful enjoyment from this
handbuilt all tube instrument.
The Spirit of Art in Technology
1317 Ross Street Petaluma, CA 94954
USA
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