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Mesa Lonestar Special vs Express 5/25 and 5/50

vintage66

Member
Messages
6,673
How similar are these amps? I played the 5/50 with an OCD and liked it a lot. Is the 5/25 good with overdrive/distortion pedals? I don't want any mushing out. I also like how the "clean" channel also has a crunch setting. Does the Lonestar Special's clean channel have a crunch setting or is it totally clean? How is it with dirt pedals? I'm guessing the Express series has more gain on tap.
 

vintage66

Member
Messages
6,673
Sixstrings, great review. I'll definitely have to compare them-haven't played the 5/25 yet either. How are they with dirt pedals? That's one of the problems with my Traynor-they don't all get along with the overdrive channel and I don't like using the clean channel because that's all it is-no od at all unless it's cranked. I'm guessing the Lonestar's fine with them, but the EL84's make me wonder just a little.
 

NickZ

Member
Messages
372
I played a 525 yesterday in a local shop and thought it was a very nice amp.
I used the setting from the manual as a jumping off point and went to town from there.
Very nice cleans and semi cleans and I like the saturation when the overdrive gets kicked up. My plan is to use the combo with the 10 inch for certain sounds and for a more robust tighter sound run it to my THD 2x12 cab.

I had a lonestar last year and liked it for the clean and overdrive but for leads it was missing a little something for me.
 

Waxhead

Member
Messages
6,120
The LSS and 5:25 are EL-84 amps - the 5:50 is 6L6.
5:50 has more clean headroom than the others.
LSS has significantly less gain & is therefore less versatile
I find the clean & reverb on the 5:50 identical to the Lonestar standard.
All are great with pedals.
5:25 combo has more amp hiss than the others and is inferior in tone to the others due to the smaller box. It's lighter and cheaper.
Sixstrings prefers the LSS - I prefer the 5:50
All great amps. Try em all out and make your own decision :D
 

Don A

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,097
I love my 5:50 and played a Lonestar Special, a 5:25 and an F-50 when I bought it.

I was looking for a lighter, less expensive amp capable of higher gain and got that with the 5:50.
It was an added surprise that the 5:50's clean sound was so good.

The LSS' clean sound was even better, though there's less gain available and I didn't like the gain as much.

The 5:25 1x10 combo sounded fine before trying the other amps but after playing the 5:50 1x12 and the LSS, I found the 5:25 to sound very boxy and small.

The 5:50, 5:25 and LSS all had great reverb, better reverb than my '66 Vibrolux Reverb. These amps can surf!

The F-50 had more gain than all of them, though I didn't like the gain as much and the clean sound and reverb wasn't as good as the other amps.
 

tone4days

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,680
i LOVED the LSS when i demoed it with a PRS sc245 and an EJ strat ... the cleans are incredible and the 5watt OD tone was very very happenin' without being deafening ... didnt like the 5:50 so much - it was 'fine' but nothing about it stood out ... havent tried the 5:25 since they came out with the 1x12" combo .. i didnt like the 1X10" combo too well ... too thin sounding
 

vintage66

Member
Messages
6,673
i LOVED the LSS when i demoed it with a PRS sc245 and an EJ strat ... the cleans are incredible and the 5watt OD tone was very very happenin' without being deafening ... didnt like the 5:50 so much - it was 'fine' but nothing about it stood out ... havent tried the 5:25 since they came out with the 1x12" combo .. i didnt like the 1X10" combo too well ... too thin sounding
That brings up another important thing-how it sounds with a strat. I usually end up demoing amps with humbuckers and forget to plug a strat in.

If I got the 5/25 it would definitely be the 12" version.
 

never-enough

Member
Messages
1,045
i have the express 5:25 head.
i dont notice any more hiss from mine than any other tube amp running similiar amounts of gain.

i was not at all interested in th 1x10 combo version of the amp.
i have a 2x10 cab the head sounds amazing through, and it sounds excellent through an oversized 1x12 i have as well.

i think all 3 are cool amps, depending on what you are going for.
i find the 5:50 to be the most flexible.
 

Waxhead

Member
Messages
6,120
The hiss on the 5:25 I tried was very noticable from 3'oclock on the volume, even on the clean channel. Not acceptable for such a price.
the 5:25 definitely has more hiss than the other 2 amps but most of it can be removed by swapping in different/quieter tubes. A lot of owners on the Boogie board have done this.

The 1x12 is definitely better than the 1x10 - less boxy and a fuller, richer tone.
 

stratlad

Member
Messages
517
I used to own a 5:50. For my taste it was superior to the 5:25 for reasons stated above (less power / boxier) and I also wanted clean headroom and the 5:50 had more (and didn't cost a heckuva lot more). I sold my 5:50 not because it was a bad amp, but because I just wanted a more traditional fender tone and the 5:50's clean was just ok and not as powerful as i felt it would be for a 50 watt amp (the other channels sounded louder to me). If I had to have a Mesa though (and I don't) I'd seriously look at the Lonestar series before getting the 5:50.

The 5:50 is however a well built piece of equipment and very versatile. I'd say it's ideal for someone who needs a lot of different good tones in one amp
 




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