So many things factor into tone – from your fingers & technique to all the things between your fingers and the speaker (and ultimately your ear). Here are a couple of tips that may help in your approach to dialing your MESA/Boogie amp.
Turn up your Gain and Volume controls, setting them in the ballpark of what you suspect you may need to be as clean, dirty or loud as you desire. Keep in mind that often some of the best high gain sounds (when you really stop & listen) have a lot less Gain dialed in than you might expect. When fine-tuning your tones you might experiment with how far you can back off the Gain controls and still get the amount of drive you are looking for.
The Treble control is the dominant tone control on a MESA amp and the place to start when dialing your tone. The more Treble you have dialed in, the less the Mid and Bass controls may seem to respond. So, of your tone controls, get your Treble dialed first. On many of our amps, you might start with your tone controls at 12 o’clock, if the high end sounds too dark, turn up the treble or back off if too bright. Once you’re in the ballpark with the Treble control, dial Mids and then Bass. Finally, fine-tune the overall character and top end with the Presence control.
A great approach to take with amps where the tone control are placed more forward in the preamp (like Mark Series amps or Lone Stars) is to start with the tone controls off and bring them up (in the order described above - Treble, Mid, Bass & Presence) until you hear the right amount of those frequencies you are looking for. You may find this technique more effective than starting in the noon position. This is especially true for the Bass control. As the gain increases on these amps, you'll find that Bass needs to be rolled back to prevent becoming too flubby sounding. You might dial your Bass control up to a point where it starts to flub out and then roll back on the Bass control to the point where it tightens up. At high Gain settings, don't be surprised to find that your Bass control is barely turned up and yet there is plenty of low end to work with.
For those amps that have a Graphic EQ, Dynamic Voice, Preset Depth or Contour, dial in your sound on the rotary controls first before applying this additional EQ. This EQ is placed late in the preamp (post gain), so it can act as a powerful tone shaping tool (especially allowing you to add huge amounts of low end). Dynamic Voice, Preset Depth & Contour work like a Graphic EQ by creating a V curve as you turn them up. The higher the setting of these controls, the more the Mid-range frequencies are scooped and the Bass & Treble boosted.
Taking this approach should allow you to dial up your tone quickly in any venue. It is far better than trying to write down your settings, as different rooms may require you to EQ your amp differently to arrive at your sound. Don't be concerned about how your settings appear, what is important is how your rig sounds.