Mesa 5:25 Express 1x10 Combo vs. Fender DDRI

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Jazzgear, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Jazzgear

    Jazzgear Member

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    The Mesa costs about $200 more -- which would be the better grab & go combo? Guitar (maybe a delay pedal) and amp, that's it.
     
  2. Bikedude

    Bikedude Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, the mesa is built like a tank, and will give you an OD channel that sounds very good. If you want Fender Blackface type cleans, with quite a bit of headroom get the DRRI. Both are great amps, each do sound a little different. The Drri has nice rev., and tremolo, don't know how the Express Rev. sounds, or if it even has rev. The Rev. in my LSC sounds better than any Fender amp I have. The mesa express is a lot smaller than the drri, width wise and will leave a smaller footprint. I would probably get the mesa.
     
  3. nasonm

    nasonm Supporting Member

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    The 5:25 will also give you a power switch taking it down to 5 Watts as well.
    And yes it does have reverb (no trem though)
     
  4. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    what kind of music will you be playing???

    the drri will need pedals for dirt...
     
  5. ReddRanger

    ReddRanger Member

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    Personally IMO, all things considered (and I really like Fender amps)....versatility, features, quality, tone....I'd go with the 5:25. But that's just me. I've played both, and that would be my choice.

    I should also note, I own the 5:50 (1x12)....and the DRRI was on my list of considerations as well.
     
  6. padavis

    padavis Member

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    For freakin sure! My pops has the 5:25 and I'll tell you what those cleans are heavenly. Its also not near as boxy to me as the DRRI. I really enjoy the snappiness of the 84s.
     
  7. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    My concern with the Express is the 10" in a small enclosure. I had a Mesa Subway Rocket Reverb with similar construction that sounded very boxy. It really opened up through an external speaker cab.

    Bryan
     
  8. 1esotericguy

    1esotericguy Member

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    I played a bunch of 5:25 amps and it surprisingly doesn't sound boxy. That's what sold me on that series. The combo cabs sound really good. I ended up getting a 5:50 just because I wanted a 6L6 sound.
     
  9. Jazzgear

    Jazzgear Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I am convinced on the 5:25...and will return the DRRI I picked up from MF. As it turns out is not as grab and go as I thought. Like someone mentioned. I need pedals for the dirt, otherwise I am too damn loud. Great clean on the DRRI though...much better than the 5:25...but need portability and quick setup and break down....the 5:25 and a delay pedal is all I need along with my axe.
     
  10. Eric Pykala

    Eric Pykala Member

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    You have made a wise decision. My 5:25 is one of the best amps i've ever owned. By the way, lots of sauce to drive a bigger extension. I use a THD 2X12, and that'll get big and loud enough to hurt you.-Eric
     
  11. mrmojorisin

    mrmojorisin Member

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    I had a 5:25 for a while. It sounded pretty good when not pushed hard. But when pushed hard, to try to get the volume up, I did not like the way it compressed. It compressed VERY heavily (and did not get louder). I also thought I'd have trouble keeping up with a loud drummer with it.

    Bottom line: I loved it as a bedroom amp, but not as a grab and go for jams, open mics, etc.
     
  12. Jazzgear

    Jazzgear Member

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    I have an LSC, Mark IV and a Stiletto II -- those would be the ones for the heavy artillery....I want this for really small gigs, like restaurants, business functions, where volume has to be behind the audience.....people have to be able to talk to each other and hear themselves.

    So the 5:25 is perfect or these gigs.
     
  13. Jazzgear

    Jazzgear Member

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    BTW if money was not an issue, I'd be going for a Bogner Metropolis. That is hands down the best EL84 tone I've ever heard...that includes the Matchless stuff I've played.

    But for $1049, there's is nothing on the market the comes close to the 5:25 in features + tone and form factor.
     
  14. Jazzgear

    Jazzgear Member

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    Last night I decided to take the DRRI to a small ~ 200 people room sized gig, before packing it up for return to MF.....and I hate to admit that amp sounded absolutley great...beautiful and plentiful cleans on tap. And the BB Preamp provided just enough to kick it over the top for some moderate gain tones (where I live mostly). I liked the amp enough to make me re-think this decision.

    So today, picked up a 5:25 Express combo to A/B the amps and hopefully test them out together live as well.

    I have to say....thus far, the cleans on the DRRI are miles better then the 5:25...but the Mesa just has so much more to offer in that small form factor -- Darn tough choice.....I do love cleans.....and I might add that I like more the burn and blues modes of the 5:25 than I do the cleans....those EL84s do compress mightily when pushed whcih gives a dark character to the cleans that I am not enamored with.

    Anyway, I am going to wait until this weekend when I can pu them both through their paces at the same time and see which one is going back.
     
  15. just ken

    just ken Member

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    I love the fenders and have an original 65 blackface, but, they're not the be all end all. I was at an open jam a while back (supporting a friend in the audience) and there was a 65 DR and a tweed deluxe and a moderately hitting drummer. The 65 DR just got swallowed up by the snare drum, just absolutely disappeared until the guy would kick in a TS9. The guy playing the tweed, same drummer, same everything else, sat perfectly in the mix, nice crunchy natural overdrive, mids that didn't disappear.

    So, my point, the DRRI has that great blackface circuit, but with it's scooped mids, it can just get lost in the circumstances that you describe. The boogie will probably be more versatile would be my guess. I've got a couple of boogies in addition to my fenders and they get the call more often (though I'll never get rid of my 65 fender).

    Ken.
     
  16. Jazzgear

    Jazzgear Member

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    Agree with you...however, I am first and foremost in the Boogie camp. I too make the call to them for the larger, paying gigs.

    What I am looking for in this next amp, is light weight, low power for those not so large gigs. The last gig I played in the DRRI amp was not MIC'd and I was twice asked to turn the amp down. And this was with a drummer, percussions, bass, two keyboards, and a choir....so I think the DR definitely cut through no problem (maybe too much). And the amp never got past 5...I was actually quite surprised how loud this amp was.

    I really like the versatility of the 5:25....but so far the only guitar I've run through it (at home) that has brought a smile to my face is a CS Clapton strat. All of my other guitars sound a bit dark through it. I play mostly strats.....

    I think that now I could be leaning more towards the DRRI. For these reasons:

    1. Sounded great at a live gig this weekend
    2. All of my guitars sound great through it.
    3. I already have pedals to get the other sounds (though this amp is meant to be a grab N go....)
    4. Surprisingly weighs about the same as the 5:25
    5. the DRRI has superior cleans (my #1 requirement)
    6. In the end....the DRRI was $679 through a coupon discount via MF, while we all know the Boogies can't be discounted, and will cost $1111.94 after tax. That's nearly $500 more for the Boogie.

    Issues however:

    1. DRRI means I will need to assemble a small pedal board (so subtract bit of the cost savigs).....however, I already have the required pedals and power distribution for them (dunlop power brick)....so no extra monies to spend there. I just need the actual board itself....like a pedaltrain jr.

    2. The DRRI can get out of hand loud...no 5 watt class A as with the 5:25, no lead channel for the pure lead tone

    This is definitely a tough choice

    But in the end, I think the DRRI could still get me into the gig in one trip...Amp in one hand, gig bag on shoulder, and small pedal board in the other hand.
     
  17. Mullenski

    Mullenski Gold Supporting Member

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    I've got both amps. Agree that if cleans are #1, the DRRI is it. Have used a Hot Plate with good results to knock down the volume while getting into overdrive territory and out of bright cap/fizz land. It loves the Fulldrive 2. My DRRI pedalboard = Boss EQ, NOC3 Pure Drive, FD2, Boss DD6.

    Two howevers...

    -- The 5:25 is a ton more versatile and covers a bunch more ground easily. Contour seems to help the cleans.

    -- Have you tried a Budda? Love my Superdrive 18. Clean is pretty darn gorgeous (however no on-board reverb or trem) and a whole bunch of different od and distortion on tap. It's louder than the DRRI.
     
  18. DrJamie

    DrJamie Silver Supporting Member

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    Just before that last post, I'm thinking FulldriveII and Fender. I like the cleans much more in the Fender, and there's a lot more overdrive pedals that do great crunch, but not many that help your cleans. I'm really getting old, when I start looking for a more compact amp than the DR though.
     
  19. Jazzgear

    Jazzgear Member

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    Yeah agree...after more A/B'ing tonite, I am convinced with the DRRI...

    The DRRI has the sound I like...and it sounds great with the BB preamp and FD2.....nuff said. The Boogie is going back.
     
  20. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I think you made the right choice. After a bunch of different rigs I am back to clean fendery amps + pedals. You can't simulate good clean tone but you can simulate good overdrive with pedals. I find this kind of rig to be much more versatile and easier to setup (no extra cables for the fx loop -just straight into the front of the amp) than channel switcher.

    Plus when the GAS or boredom hits, its much cheaper and easier to buy, sell or trade OD pedals than it is to get a whole new amp.
     

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