Mesa Mk iib or Express 5:50?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by sirnabecelot, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. sirnabecelot

    sirnabecelot Member

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    Hey guys,
    I've been looking to get another amp. I own a BF Super and it is too big (physically) to haul to rehearsals. I've been looking for a smaller amp to get to take to rehearsal and gigs if I'm feeling so inclined. I play a strat and 335 and I work off a mostly clean platform and use pedals for hair.

    My choices

    Brand New Mesa Express 5:50 2X12
    $999

    or

    1983 Mark iib w/road case...100W/60W
    $840

    My impressions

    The mark is really flubby when you turn the bass past 3. It is not as loud as I thought it would be. Might need new Power Tubes.

    The express sounds great. It is bigger/more expensive.....not necessarily lighter. Has more features.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. theroan

    theroan Member

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    I would go with the Express. It has some very Mark-esque sounds in it much more flexible, you can them cheaper used as well.
     
  3. rastaman

    rastaman Member

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    Express, you won't be disappointed... except if you have to carry it.
     
  4. ReginaldBisquet

    ReginaldBisquet Member

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    Funny enough, I have direct experience with both:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I still own the Express 5:50. Sounds better, more features, easy to dial in a good tone, 5/50 watt is very handy, solid construction. The IIB was powerful and robust, but it just didn't have that sound I wanted.
     
  5. dughaze

    dughaze Member

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    You don't turn the bass up past 2 or 3 on the Mark amps. The graphic EQ models will shape the tone to where you want it to be. Add more bass or anything with the Graphic EQ and there will be no flub. Does the Mark IIB have a graphic EQ on it? If not then pass.

    What kind of music do you play?
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    value-wise, the Mk II is the obvious choice (used, it's worth what the express is new).

    does the II have the graphic EQ? the secret here is to kill the bass on the knob, and bring it back in with the graphic. do that and it's plenty tight.

    (oh, and it should be loud as crap! might indeed be time for new tubes.)

    that said, if all you need is 30-40 tube watts clean, a fender blues deluxe or peavey classic 30 would fit the bill nicely, lightly, and cheaply.
     
  7. sirnabecelot

    sirnabecelot Member

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    It does not have the eq, but I've heard u can throw an eq in the loop and you're all good? Are they both hand wired? Pcb? Also, all I need is a good clean sound. I don't do much with high gain stuff. Rock, blues, funk, pop.
     
  8. Release

    Release Member

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    I've never played a Mk iib but I have the Express 5:50 and it's an outstanding amp IMO. Takes pedals very, very well, the reverb is excellent, 4 modes (2 on each channel), it's built like a tank, it can get crazy loud and it sounds fantastic at bedroom levels as well. I'm very happy with it.
     
  9. telest

    telest Member

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    No joke, super heavy and bulky for transport. :O
     
  10. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    Not so - it's actually one of the lightest 50w combos available.
    That was one reason why I bought it.
    I prefer the 5:50 to all the Marks except for the Mark V - now that's heavy :)
     
  11. sirnabecelot

    sirnabecelot Member

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    I bought the Mark iib. It could maybe do with a little love.....cap job.....BUT even before this....the note definition is superb!!! My 335 plugged into it just now when I got it home and for about an hr.......I was void of time and sensation other than tonal bliss. I can't wait to see what the cap job will do to this. DEFINITION.....so much in this tone!
     
  12. dughaze

    dughaze Member

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    Awesome. The cleans are a no brainer with the Mesa stuff. You also have in your possession the legendary Mesa Mark liquid lead tone should you ever need it.
     
  13. BarryW

    BarryW Supporting Member

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    the IIb is amazing - I've owned mine since 1980. I haven't tried the other. I did put an EV in the cab and fire it up the other day - WOW, what definition and size to the tone. It scared me, I put it back to sleep as the EV makes it just too darn heavy and I'm old.
     
  14. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    i have a mark 2b.
    bought it in '81, and it is still my primary amp.

    wonderful amp, road proven, every time i look at modern amps and demo them, including the express, i'm just suprised at how well the mark2b holds up.

    the other amps, are just missing something for me.

    the IIb just absolutely OWNS about half the new amps i've tried over the last 10 years.

    i used it exclusively for my most recent album.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    the express sounded a bit thin to me.
     
  16. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    All the Marks are great amps imo - luv em.
    Mark V is probly the best amp ever made but the 5:50 has a few advantages over the Marks 1 to 4 imo.
    It's real easy to dial in, covers much of the same ground as the Marks, has the 5w or 50w power options & is lighter.
    I just don't need 60, 85 or 100w :)
     
  17. rastaman

    rastaman Member

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    Have you carried a 2x12 up and down a flight of stairs? You must be talking about a 1x12. Mesas are built like tanks.

     
  18. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    If it's flubby when you turn the bass past 3, don't turn the bass past 3. :)

    One thing about old Mesas... every single knob has a "too much" setting. A lot of guitarists expect either the amp to sound best when everything is turned up all the way (Marshall), or to sound good no matter how the knobs are set (most well-designed modern amps). On the old Mesas, all the knobs are so powerful and interactive... it takes a while to learn them, but they have SO much range!
     
  19. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    I have a Simulclass IIB from '83. I like mine with Volume at 7 Treble 6.25 (pulled) Bass around 2 Mid at 4 Master to taste Lead Drive to taste and lead master to balance between clean and drive. I put presence somewhere from 0-3 and adjust for the room. Mine has GEQ and Reverb, but usually leave them off. I usually run my lead drive around 3-4 and use a Lovepedal Eternity with the volume set for a boost and the gain no higher than 9:00. This gives me 4 levels of gain before using the guitar's volume knob. The FX loops can be problematic if you switch channels depending on how much gain you run on the lead channel.I like the pull Boost function sometimes as well. If you dime the volume knob and crank the master some it is quite an awesome sound as well. These amps were so versatile for their time and I think they hold their own against a lot of the boutique options these days. I went through a bunch of boutique amps, but came back to the Boogie Mark series. Mine sometimes makes a pop when changing channels but this seems to depend on how much gain is on the lead channel. I had mine serviced recently by Mike B at Boogie and would suggest at least having the caps replaced if they are original.
     
  20. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    hehehehe no I wouldn't buy a 2x12 combo for that reason.
    My 1x12 5:50 weighs 47 pounds which makes it one of the lightest 50w tube combos you can buy :huh
     

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