MCII vs Friedman?

pipboy90

Active member
I've been on a tone hunt recently and I just got a BE-100 Deluxe. I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to like it because I played a 2016 BE-100 a few years ago and was not a fan. I felt it really lacked the raw openness and touch sensitivity of the JCM 800 I had at the time. The JCM 800 is still probably my favorite amp.

But the BE Deluxe sounds fantastic in my opinion. Yes, it's still a little more compressed than a JCM but it is really fun to play.

That being said, I still have an itch to get a Wizard. I am pretty confident I would like it based on everything I've read and watched. I'm leaning towards a MCII because of it's high-mid focus which is more aligned to a Marshall than the MTL.

I'm wondering if it's worth returning the BE-100 DLX and shelling out for a new 100W MCII. I know I'm asking this in a Wizard-centric forum, but I'd like to hear from people that have experience with both amp makers.

Some more questions I have:
  • Is there a significant difference in tone between the EL34s and KT tubes?
  • Am I better off getting a MTL MkII?
  • Do these pop up used often enough or am I better off buying new?
 

itsgoodnow

Well-known member
The two amps are just different. Both makers make good products and have some Marshall DNA but different. I have not played a BE deluxe but have owned some Friedmans and played a lot through a regular BE-100. The Wizard MC II is going to be more open, more raw, and less smooth. It also is going to have more grind as it sounds like a hi watt mixed with a Marshall (oversimplification but that approximates it). The wizard will have immediate attack that is almost percussive. No lag. I have heard the BE deluxe is more open than the original but haven’t tried it. The old BE was a lot smoother in the gain structure and also more compressed. Also had more sag and squish and also probably comes across as more Saturated.
  • yes, E-34s and KT power sections sound fairly different. The KT is harder to break up and can sound very smooth and glassy. The EL 34 has a bit more bite and more color is added to the sound. It’s also quicker to break up. 3 different transformers were used in the MC as well and that also slightly changes the tone.
  • On the MTL, it depends. If you want something that sounds like a Marshall style amp the MTL is not it. It also is more expensive used than a MC usually. They really don’t overlap much tonally, maybe in feel a bit, but not sound signature. They’re both worth owning at the same time. I have an MC and an MTL II and owned an MC II KT 150. I may be in the minority but my MTL reminds me of a VHT UL tonally more than anything I can compare it to
  • It varies. MC I and II will show up most frequently. MTL II are relatively new so not so much. MTL I fairly often. KT power sections are the most rare and most expensive. Even though they are hard to get used they take a while to get new and I have a hunch it’ll take even longer now
  • Last notes; you can’t go wrong with any of them and I wouldn’t hesitate to even buy a MTL I or MC I (MC I and II have, basically, the same lead channel). MTL I is basically the same as a II minus some features like a sweep knob (I could be wrong and there’s more revisions between versions but the I and II of both amps will have largely similar tones and capabilities). Other people are more knowledgeable about the amps, revisions, capabilities etc so hopefully I don’t fuck up too much or over simplify. For what it’s worth I love my wizards and 2203 is one of my favorites ever for reference. Hope that helps.
 
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mhenson42

Well-known member
Wow, what a great reply. Thank you @itsgoodnow, that definitely helps. Sounds like the MCII w/ EL34s is the one to get.

don't rule out a Hybrid if you want the gain and saturation of the MTL but the high mid-focus of the MC2. I preferred my Hybrid it to both my MC2 ('15) and MTL mk2 ('20). Mainly because it combined those aforementioned attributes I liked best into one amp. The only thing the Hybrid misses compared to the MTL mk2 is the low-end that you get from the depth knob. Low end is still fine for me, but it's not quite as good as the MTL. I've been thinking about a KT200 Hybrid as well. lol
 

mhenson42

Well-known member
I may be in the minority but my MTL reminds me of a VHT UL tonally more than anything I can compare it to

My Fryette Ultra Lead was my favorite amp right up until the day I got my first MTL. The MTL just takes it up a few notches. Still have my UL though, I could never part with it, even though Wizards are my favorite now.
 

lessarti

Active member
I would say go for it, get the Wizard, you will not regret it regardless of the version or MTL, MC II etc.

I have owned a BE-100, got rid of it as it just didn't get as aggressive or modern sounds, and I like that option. Great amp though and very fun to play leads on!

I have a MC II (2016) and MTL (v1 2012), if you like higher mid focus then MC II all the way. It is one of my fav amps I have ever owned, and been through a ton of amps. Having the Be deluxe AND a MC II would put you in tonal heaven!
 

MetalHeadMike

Well-known member
Clearly a very subjective and personal thing, but here's my experience FWIW. I was very underwhelmed with the BE100 Deluxe and knew it was going back after the first day. To me it lacked balls bigtime. Got plenty loud but just didn't produce much girth or punch and just felt neutered. The tone was ok, but honestly wasn't anything that excited me. It did have a ton of saturation on tap which I did like and took my boost well. Not saying it was a bad amp, just a bad amp for my taste.

The MCII to me is more pure in tone; organic/uncompressed/raw. MUCH bigger sonic footprint and punches and moves a lot more air. It makes the speakers work in a way that produces this wallop/thud like no other amp I've owned. Be forewarned however, it will be a lot less saturated and a very open gain structure with very little compression. It takes boosts very well and you can add compression and saturation to taste with various ODs. Something else very unique with Wizard amps and especially the MCII IMO, is the amp's ability to sound like it's coming apart; like an engine on the verge of redlining, or a shuttle re entering the atmosphere but barely holding together. There's a sweet spot/balancing act between the master and loop level send/return that gets it's to that point, and you can achieve this at very low volumes. I've owned three MCIIs and they all do it. The MTL and Hybrid I had did it to but not to the same degree and I feel it's the mid frequencies and gain structure that makes that difference.

The MTL I and Hybrid we're not capable of the same upper mid grind as the MCII to my ears so I returned to the MCII. As mhenson42 stated, the MCII will lack the saturation of the Hybrid/MTL and the low end depth of the MTL. The Hybrid got about 85-90% there in terms of upper mid grind and would surely satisfy most, but I found myself constantly tweaking with ODs and an EQ in the loop trying to get those MCII mid attack and they just aren't there for me. It's something in the way the MCII attacks the notes; an extra sharpness/aggression on top of the notes of power chords that the other Wizards didn't have...hard to describe, but that's the best way I can put it into words.

I'll throw this out there too. The Morris Perplex'd is an amp worth considering. I grabbed one a month or so ago and it is quite impressive. It's different from the Wizards, but similar in some aspects in that it too has a very pure more organic tone and can get fairly raw, but it has a HUGE low end response if set that way and can get very saturated while remaining very articulate. It also move a ton of air and can do so even at lower volumes; GREAT master. Can be eq'd to have a VERY aggressive upper mid grind and just an angry voicing. Build quality is impressive as well.
 

* velcro-fly *

Well-known member
Wizard would absolutely destroy the Friedman, especially once you start turning them up.
Two things that change everything with these amps...

Volume, and getting it in an actual mix with other instruments. Once the volume goes up its almost an unfair fight, the lack of compression and cut these amps have is unreal. That's just the MC25 which is bit of a pea shooter compared to say an MCII 50 / 100 (but its a flame thrower compared to a Bogner Helios 50)

Getting them in with a mix with other instruments...often the insane massive sounds people dial up with these in home demos aren't close to usable once everybody is playing, it steps on everybody's toes until you dial it back and own your little slice of heaven. Also, had a friend who's a fantastic player try out my MC25 by itself and he was sorta "meh, that's cool but ???" He then stopped by and gave it a go w drums and bass in the room and he was blown away. He stopped 20 seconds in and said " I get it, holy shit..."
 

* velcro-fly *

Well-known member
There's a sweet spot/balancing act between the master and loop level send/return that gets it's to that point, and you can achieve this at very low volumes. I've owned three MCIIs and they all do it. The MTL and Hybrid I had did it to but not to the same degree and I feel it's the mid frequencies and gain structure that makes that difference.
Mike, agreed.

Re: loop send / return..... no pedal in but using the loop return as a the global master....you guys see any reason to NOT run the send all the way up??? I guess if I back that off I can still run the front end hotter. It doesn't seem like its clipping or anything
 
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