Anyone know where I can find a nice summary of Mesa amps?

Mtnbkr123

Member
Messages
517
So...given that:

  1. I am still very intrigued with my very recently acquired Mini Recto amp and vertical 2-12 Recto cab;
  2. I have some spare reading/researching time over the remaining holidays; and
  3. I was given a bunch of gift certificates for my local guitar shop (which has lots of new and used Mesa gear)
I was wondering if any of you might be able to point me in the direction of a nice, accurate, fun-to-read summary of the Mesa amps which have been produced to date. I would like to maybe acquire another one but before I start hunting, I want to educate myself as to the design/tone intentions behind each of the models. I am still very smitten by the build quality of the Mesa stuff. Even the accompanying manual was an awesome, fun, exciting and highly educational read.

Not sure if such a summary exists but in addition to my local guitar shop, there are numerous, inexpensive, some-since-discontinued Mesa amps on Kijiji if I want to go down the "gently used" road.

Thanks everyone, and Season's Greetings.
 

ledzep618

Member
Messages
4,751
Yeah Mesas manuals are pretty robust.

If you're looking at older model discontinued Mesas look at the DC series, specifically the DC5. You can get on for ~$650 and I would put a DC5 up against any high dollar Mesa or other boutique amp, they are that good.

I'd avoid the Nomad and F series personally, they're kind of flat sounding.

Heartbreakers are great, and really any Recto variation like the rectoverb, Tremoverb, Solo 50.

Any old Mark series will sound great, but that's a whole new price tier.
 

Mtnbkr123

Member
Messages
517
Thanks tons for those responses. I really appreciate it. I will get on those later today.

I am going to go on a little Mesa spree once I narrow down what it is I am interested in and A/B a few.

Any general comments on the Lonestar or Stiletto? Also, what about the Express 5:25? Are there any real fails that have appeared in the Mesa lineup that one should generally avoid? The Stiletto perhaps?
 

Vibroluxman

Member
Messages
2,070
Lonestar is beautiful cleans. People often think the OD channel is muddy but I think they try to set them like a marshall. Manual has some good settings to work off of. Stiletto is a marshall on steroids. The OD channels on both sound better when they're loud (i.e. not bedroom friendly).
 

Lance

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,780
If you decide to go with the 5:25 Express, you'll probably want the later + version with the 5-band graphic eq.

With Mesas in general, if the OD channel sound really terrible, turn the low end down. Especially the Mark series.

Dial their amps in with your ears, not your eyes.
 

logdrum

Member
Messages
2,111
Most of the online history snippets stops before the Mark V and also have forgotten some amps
 

NewWorldMan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
662
Any general comments on the Lonestar or Stiletto? Also, what about the Express 5:25? Are there any real fails that have appeared in the Mesa lineup that one should generally avoid? The Stiletto perhaps?
The Stiletto is a great amp, it just wasn't what people expected it to be. Series I was more vintage when people expected a modern, EL34 driven, Marshall voiced metal machine. It was more traditional. By the time Series II came around, folks had lost interest. Some people complained they were too bright, and they are exceptionally bright amps...but a lot of players don't understand how the tone controls on Mesa amps interact and would dial them in (as mentioned above) with their eyes more than their ears.

The Lonestar is fantastic, especially the Classic if you're into Fender type tones. The drive channel is great, you just have to keep the bass low (or off). Check out Andy Timmons for the best demos you'll ever hear of one.
 

lemonpaul59

Member
Messages
2,065
So...given that:

  1. I am still very intrigued with my very recently acquired Mini Recto amp and vertical 2-12 Recto cab;
  2. I have some spare reading/researching time over the remaining holidays; and
  3. I was given a bunch of gift certificates for my local guitar shop (which has lots of new and used Mesa gear)
I was wondering if any of you might be able to point me in the direction of a nice, accurate, fun-to-read summary of the Mesa amps which have been produced to date. I would like to maybe acquire another one but before I start hunting, I want to educate myself as to the design/tone intentions behind each of the models. I am still very smitten by the build quality of the Mesa stuff. Even the accompanying manual was an awesome, fun, exciting and highly educational read.

Not sure if such a summary exists but in addition to my local guitar shop, there are numerous, inexpensive, some-since-discontinued Mesa amps on Kijiji if I want to go down the "gently used" road.

Thanks everyone, and Season's Greetings.
I see you are not into the handwired thing.

The neatness of Boogie internals is impressive, but they tend to look more like computer guts than amp guts. Ribbon cables are not the best for high fidelity applications or guitar amps.

Most here would be far more impressed with hand wired amps, made by a master.

I have several Boogies, and these days, take them very much for granted. Even my Mark IIC+.
 

AD1982

Member
Messages
904
Yeah Mesas manuals are pretty robust.

If you're looking at older model discontinued Mesas look at the DC series, specifically the DC5. You can get on for ~$650 and I would put a DC5 up against any high dollar Mesa or other boutique amp, they are that good.

I'd avoid the Nomad and F series personally, they're kind of flat sounding.

Heartbreakers are great, and really any Recto variation like the rectoverb, Tremoverb, Solo 50.

Any old Mark series will sound great, but that's a whole new price tier.
Pretty much this with a couple of additions and one correction.

The F30 1x12 is a killer blues amp. It's very similar to the DC2/Studio Caliber tonally. The 50 and 100 are okay clean platforms, but the drive channels are pretty pedestrian.

Electradyne is an epic amplifier. Great brit-inspired drive, pretty nice cleans, lush reverb. But damn, they are heavy. Which is the only reason I don't own one. I wouldn't take it anywhere.

The Lonestars are killer clean platforms. Good for low gain applications as well.
 

DreamTheaterRules

Former Lyricist for Calhoun Tubbs
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,539
You have a Mini Rec and a 2x vertical, you need a Mark V25. Sit both on top of the amp and you have all the tones you'd ever need. You have Mark and Recto covered. I say this because if the Mini is "enough" power for your needs, then the V25 will be also. For MOST of my life, if I'd have had either of those amps I'd have been ecstatic. But both... fagetaboutit! And, I like the V25 even better than the Mini Rec. Both small, light and sound great!
 

Edwood

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
536
Thumbs up on the DC-5. Great Amp. Looking to convert mine to a Head-Speaker deal. A bit heavy to me.
 
Messages
3,069
Don't get suckered into a Nomad. I had a Nomad 55, and had trouble ever finding a useable tone. Something went wrong when they designed that one.

Many others are nice though, the DC series are pretty reasonable. I even thought the F-series were ok. Not blow your mind good, but they were useable.

Nomad though? Ugh.
 

theroan

Member
Messages
5,965
Nomad sucks
Stiletto sucks
Express sucks

F series is decent overall, cleans are great. But an EQ in the loop really brings it to life. The gain channel is more Recto voiced, reinforces the lower mids too much so it sounds muffled.
Royal Atlantic was incredible.
Electradyne ok, each mode requires very different settings, so the shared EQ is big draw back. Also very loud.
I prefer the Lonestar Special to the standard Lonestar. The Special has a Voxy/Fender hybrid clean and JTM crunch when dialled in right.

If I had a reason, I'd own a Mark V, Royal Atlantic and Special. My favourite amps. I could only play Mesa and be happy forever though.
 

Mtnbkr123

Member
Messages
517
Nomad sucks
Stiletto sucks
Express sucks

F series is decent overall, cleans are great. But an EQ in the loop really brings it to life. The gain channel is more Recto voiced, reinforces the lower mids too much so it sounds muffled.
Royal Atlantic was incredible.
Electradyne ok, each mode requires very different settings, so the shared EQ is big draw back. Also very loud.
I prefer the Lonestar Special to the standard Lonestar. The Special has a Voxy/Fender hybrid clean and JTM crunch when dialled in right.

If I had a reason, I'd own a Mark V, Royal Atlantic and Special. My favourite amps. I could only play Mesa and be happy forever though.
Thanks. Blue Angel 4x10?
 

DonaldDemon

Member
Messages
8,970
Nomad sucks
Stiletto sucks
Express sucks

F series is decent overall, cleans are great. But an EQ in the loop really brings it to life. The gain channel is more Recto voiced, reinforces the lower mids too much so it sounds muffled.
Royal Atlantic was incredible.
Electradyne ok, each mode requires very different settings, so the shared EQ is big draw back. Also very loud.
I prefer the Lonestar Special to the standard Lonestar. The Special has a Voxy/Fender hybrid clean and JTM crunch when dialled in right.

If I had a reason, I'd own a Mark V, Royal Atlantic and Special. My favourite amps. I could only play Mesa and be happy forever though.
Express series is far from sucking IMO and many others feel the same since they seemed to have sold very well and are still selling. My 5:25 is a great amp. I will agree about the nomad and stilettos though. I happen to not like the F series at all either, gain channel is seriously lacking.

If I were looking to get a new Mesa I would be looking at either the MKV or the new TC-50.
 

Vibroluxman

Member
Messages
2,070
Nomad sucks
Stiletto sucks
Express sucks

F series is decent overall, cleans are great. But an EQ in the loop really brings it to life. The gain channel is more Recto voiced, reinforces the lower mids too much so it sounds muffled.
Royal Atlantic was incredible.
Electradyne ok, each mode requires very different settings, so the shared EQ is big draw back. Also very loud.
I prefer the Lonestar Special to the standard Lonestar. The Special has a Voxy/Fender hybrid clean and JTM crunch when dialled in right.

If I had a reason, I'd own a Mark V, Royal Atlantic and Special. My favourite amps. I could only play Mesa and be happy forever though.
Tell Andy Timmons the Stiletto sucks. He'll be crushed to know about the devastating impact on his tone :p
 




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