Mesa Lonestar Classic compared with express + 5:50 or...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jammintree, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. jammintree

    jammintree Member

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    I'm investigating the Mesa Express 5:50 + and the Mesa Lonestar Classic. I'd like to hear some first hand comparisons from those of you who have spent ample time playing both amps. I'm highly considering both of these as a gigging/rehearsal amp, for channel switching in a variety of genres including: Blues Rock, Jazz, Punk, 90's grunge, "stoner rock" RnB and Funk.

    Currently I'm playing a Mesa Maverick 2x12 which I absolutely LOVE. While it is a killer two channel amp it is voiced as having rhythm and lead channels. Both sound great, but I'd like add a 2 channel 1x12 to my arsenal that has a clean and crunch channel. I'm quite satisfied using a TS or similar pedal for lead tones.
     
  2. halcyon

    halcyon Supporting Member

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    I've owned both the Classic (2x12, 6L6) and the Express 5:25. To me, the Express had far better dirt and the Classic far better cleans. There isn't too much overlap in these amps, imo, although that may not be the case when you compare to the 6L6 5:50.
     
  3. vds5000

    vds5000 Member

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    I've owned a first year Lonestar 1x12 which was renamed the Lonestar Classic. A friend of mine had the Express. The Lonestar had better/fuller cleans. You can always add dirt, but you can't add clean, so my vote would be for the Classic.
     
  4. ami_vienna

    ami_vienna Member

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    I agree 100% with everything, and will add that the lonestar cleans are exceptional!
     
  5. guitargod0dmw

    guitargod0dmw Member

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    The Lonestar is a great clean platform. The drive channel is decent (most don't like it) but it's not going to do punk, 90's grunge, or stoner rock.

    I'd do the pedals route over the Express personally.
     
  6. ifailedshapes

    ifailedshapes Member

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    I owned both until a couple days ago. Honestly, both will do what you want. The 5:50+ will get you there easier, but the LSC definitely has a fuller tone. The Express is more fun to play with, if you're a tweaker. You really can't go wrong either way.
     
  7. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    I have played gigged with both.
    Bought a 5:50 cos I much prefer it - why?

    It's way more versatile tonally - you've listed styles as Blues Rock, Jazz, Punk, 90's grunge, "stoner rock" RnB and Funk.
    Well the LS Classic won't even do 90's Grunge, Punk or Stoner rock - Not enough gain.
    It's a great clean amp with gain up to light over drive.
    Has great reverb & clean head room too.

    But does not do what I call distortion.
    It's also 20 pounds heavier and more expensive than either of the 5:50s.

    I really like the LS classic - great amp for clean players or as a pedal platform.
    But for me - 5:50 cleans & reverb are just as good and it has a far greater range of tones on tap.
    Plus it's lighter & cheaper.
    Will easily complete your style list & lots more
     
  8. jammintree

    jammintree Member

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    I've yet to find a "distortion" pedal that really floats my boat, which is exactly why I want a channel switcher with a good crunch tone. I do play clean often and also get some great OD tones with pedals, but for those times when I want a good chunky-chewy rhythm crunch theres no substitute for amp gain. Not to say that there may not be some great crunch boxes out there, I'm sure there are; my goal is for a smaller pedalboard.

    I've wondered about the gain channel on the Lonestar, so is it setup like the Maverick with a rhythm channel and lead channel? Its hard to judge an amps voicing based on shotty utube clips.

    Does the 5:50 have ample clean headroom?
     
  9. Ilduce

    Ilduce And now for something completely different! Supporting Member

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    I can't speak on the lsc, but I own a 5 50 and can tell you that its got tons of clean headroom on tap.
     
  10. Suave Eddie

    Suave Eddie Member

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    Ask your doctor if lobotomy is for you.
    I've never played the Express, but I recently got an original Lonestar 1x12 50W/100W. What's called the Classic now adds a 10W option.
    I can pile on the praise again for the cleans on this amp -- it amazes me every time I play it. On the 100W setting the fullness and sparkle even at low volume is remarkable. The amp is worth it for that alone. I also like the overdrive sounds although it may not be for everybody. And did I mention the incredible reverb?

    You said you wanted to add a 1x12 amp to your collection -- is this because you think it will be smaller and lighter than your Maverick?
    The Lonestar Classic 1x12 weighs 72 lb. which is 3 lb more than a Twin, and the cabinet is on the large side for a single 12. That's why they come with wheels now.
     
  11. jammintree

    jammintree Member

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    Yes, I am looking for a more portable rig, which is why the 5:50 is appealing at close to 50 lbs. For gigs I'll carry whatever I need to fit the bill, but for lots of things a 50watt 1x12 should be more than enough. I'm often content to leave the heavy Maverick at the rehearsal space and haul it to gets when needed. For everything else, I want something lighter with plenty of guts.

    The bottom line is that I need to go and play both amps.

    Do you 5:50 plus players find that the switchable EQ is pertinent?
     
  12. ifailedshapes

    ifailedshapes Member

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    Pertinent to...?
     
  13. Lef T

    Lef T Member

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    Yes,you need to play them both to make your choice.
    I bought a 5.50 + combo a couple of weeks ago so haven,t gigged out with it yet.
    I had a Twin Reverb Reissue that had tons of clean,but at 64 lbs. and a wide
    cabinet,it was jus too heavy to haul around.
    I'm 60 years old and that amp was just too heavy.
    I wanted cleans and when I tried the 5.50 out it had lots.
    I like the eq options and the reverb is really nice.
    I like having the two channels and the fact I can get this amp to overdrive.
    It's only ten lbs. lighter than the twin,but is not so wide and I find it easy to carry.
    I plan to gig with this amp and for sure,it's got some clean muscle to it.
     
  14. jammintree

    jammintree Member

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    Is the EQ feature pertinent to getting great sounds from the amp. In otherwords Is the 5:50 plus a significantly better amp than the 5:50 ?
     
  15. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    The 5 band EQ makes a huge difference in what you can get out of the amp, particularly when running higher gain. The standard tone controls come before the gain stages and are more for shaping the 'character' of the distortion, and the EQ (post gain stages) does the actual tonal adjustments.
     
  16. Ilduce

    Ilduce And now for something completely different! Supporting Member

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    Two other big differences is that the plus has a solo boost and a 25 watt setting.
     
  17. mtperry85

    mtperry85 Member

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    I think plus owners exaggerate the differences between the Express amps... the contour knob gives the non-plus models a significant amount of tone shaping EQ, and while a solo boost is nice, many of us prefer to use a tube screamer or clean boost on our pedal board.

    There's also a watt reduction mode in the non-plus models.... it just happens to be 5 watt.
     
  18. jammintree

    jammintree Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. I've had boogies with a solo feature and usually prefer a TS or similar pedal so to add some salt and pepper for leads.

    I would also think that 5 or 50 watts is plenty of option right? Do plus players find the 25watt mode to be of significant usage?
     
  19. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    There is no exaggeration, the differences are fairly substantial.

    The contour knob gives you varying degrees of the 'smiley face' EQ setting, so if that's what you're after it's perfectly adequate. However, if you want a mid hump or something different, the contour control can't do it.

    As for the solo boost, it is an extra gain stage after the preamp, which will give you a significant volume boost regardless of the gain setting of the preamp. Slamming the front end of an already distorted preamp with a tube screamer will give you a different sound, but it won't give you a significant volume increase as the preamp tubes are already compressing the signal.

    FWIW, adding an EQ pedal and clean boost in the effects loop of the first generation Express amps will bring them up to about the same capabilities of the latest series, so it's not a huge deal either way.
     
  20. The Funk

    The Funk Member

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    The overdrive channels of the lonestars are a mystery to many.

    The classic will do all you are looking to do, especially of you use el34s.

    These amps have a TON of gain. Just not in an obvious way. They are very versatile, but you have to understand how it works. It's probably the amp most prone to user error.

    With the drive on and cranked, the gain up about half way and the channel master above 12:00...... Chances are that's enough gain for pretty much anything you are going to do. And there's more to be had. The overall master volumes will keep your ears working.

    Crank the treble and lower the presence for a very cutting high gain sound.
     

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