Mesa F-50 vs. Express 5-50

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mims2, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. mims2

    mims2 Member

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    I played these 2 models in a store today and seemed to like the f-50 a little more. Can someone tell me how these 2 amps compare to each other. Also, how would they sound in a 2x12 open or closed back cab. I am looking for a good 6L6 amp to replace my EL84 Budda...
     
  2. solarbean

    solarbean Supporting Member

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    I have an F30 - it is an EL-84 based amp. I would imagine the F-50 is the same.
     
  3. mims2

    mims2 Member

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    Hum, I havent looked at the specs but the dealer told me that it is a 6L6 amp...
     
  4. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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  5. mims2

    mims2 Member

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    How does that series compare to the express?
     
  6. Don A

    Don A Silver Supporting Member

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    I played them both back to back a couple of times and decided to buy a 5:50 1 x 12 combo.

    The F-50 has more gain. It's a nastier amp, in a good way.

    The 5:50 has a much nicer clean sound, the reverb is a lot better, the four modes are useful as are the contour controls and 5 watt mode.

    To me, it was well worth paying $400 more for a new 5:50 over a slightly used F-50, though the F-50 would probably get the job done.
     
  7. Trandy

    Trandy Supporting Member

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    That is correct....the F-30 is EL-84 based....the F-50 has 6L6's.
     
  8. mims2

    mims2 Member

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    Thanks for the info. Can anyone tell me how the Express 5:50 works with a open or closed back Avatar 2x12, and what speakers it works well with.
     
  9. coxswain

    coxswain Member

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    I can't tell ya anything about the speakers. However, in playing both amps it seems to me that the express is way more usable with all its modes. What I mean is the crunch and mid gain settings sound good. The F50 may have more "syripey"(sorry I'm awful at spelling) voiced gan with tones of sustain...but I feel that it can get a little muddy for mid gained stuff. To me the Express has a more open sound with also the ability to sustain if thats what you need. The voicing on the express makes it great for leads or rhythm.

    The cleans on the express are better IMHO than the F50. This is saying a lot considering the clean channel on the f50 is really good.

    Chase
     
  10. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    the mesa cleans on the express are insane....
     
  11. mims2

    mims2 Member

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    How about with a closed 2x12 cab?
     
  12. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    i can't answer that but...the cleans on the express 1-12 combo are great and it takes pedals extremely well
     
  13. jcoggins7

    jcoggins7 Member

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    I've tried both and prefer the F-50 to an Express...granted, I am an F-50 owner (bought it before the Express was out). The Express cannot do the high gain stuff as well and the gain sound is slightly different, making it as others have said better suited for mid-gain stuff. The F-50 is better for more high gain stuff, though by no means is it a Rectifier. It's kind of like a mix between a Rectifier and a Mark IV on the gain channel. I really like the way the amp's gain channel reacts to guitar volume knob changes. You can either a) set the gain for a mid-low gain and adjust the EQ, which is more responsive at those levels, or b) set the gain high and adjust with your guitar's volume knob. I do both, depending on what I'm looking for, with great results. All in all, I like the F-series better. Btw, I have also tried the F-30 and the 5:25 and found I liked the F-30 better than the 5:25 as well. YMMV, but I doubt I'll ever sell my F-50, even if I buy a Mark IV and a Rectifier. As for taking pedals, my I use three different Menatones with mine and they all sound great. I've also tested other boutique stuff and found they sound good too.

    As for your cabinet question, you are in luck. While I have tried neither with an open back extension cab, my brother ordered this summer an Avatar closed back traditional 2x12 cab with Hellatone 60Ls in it to pair with his Lonestar, and I have been completely blown away by the results. It makes both of our amps sound so much better than they do with the stock Black Shadow C90s. They get so much richer and throatier like you'd expect a Boogie to sound like without being harsh sounding at all. They push plenty of bass too (though I doubt many have ever found a Boogie lacking in that department). I'd highly recommend one of those cabs. I'd really like to try their vintage and contemporary cab designs side by side to see which one I like most.

    FYI, here's a great thread about stuff you can do with the F-Series with settings, clips, videos, mods, etc.:
    http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=11144628
     
  14. ducmike

    ducmike Silver Supporting Member

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    I like both the F-series and the Express. Though I do like the new features of the Express better, they both sound great. And the Express does come with the same footswitch as the F-series.
     
  15. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    I briefly owned an express. The Cleans as mentioned before were some of THE best I've ever played (I miss it!). Gorgeous reverb too. However I could not get a long with the dirt channel (Flubby w/no definition) so I took it back and got a used F-50 and saved $400. By the way the Express DOES come with a footswitch, and it is (IMO) much improved over the F series. I'd go as far to say it's "Pretty cool" as footswitches go.


    I still wasn't content with the F-50, because there were not enough variations in the dirt tone (Kind of a one trick pony there, but a good one) so I got a Mark IV and now I'm happy.

    In short: If you're NOT doing anything past "Hard Rock" (As in pre 1980), I'd get the Express. If you're doing anything where you want CHUNK, get the F-50.

    My $.02
     
  16. MetalHeadd

    MetalHeadd Member

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    I've played both and far prefer the F-50. The express has nice cleans, but the lead channel is really flat and boxy sounding to my ears. It's not warm and fat like on the F-series.
     
  17. dkbmusic

    dkbmusic Member

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    I own an Express 5:50 2x12 with a matching 2x12 extension cab, and I agree with the comments regarding the awesome clean tones and the great tube reverb on this amp.

    As for the gain, I love the gain sound on this amp. I constantly get comments on how rich and tight the higher-gain tones sound on this amp. If you are not getting nice, tight higher gain tones, take a close look at the Contour control, and the rest of your EQ settings. Most of my EQ is set below 12:00! And the Contour control is very powerful - don't be afraid to crank it all the way...
     

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