THD Uni/BiValve or Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 Head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by trpullen, Jun 17, 2008.

THD vs Mesa

  1. THD Univalve

  2. THD BiValve

  3. Mesa Boogie 5:25 Head

  4. Other....see my post

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  1. trpullen

    trpullen Silver Supporting Member

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    I have been wandering aimlessly in the sea of indecision. I have an Orange Rockerverb 50 head and 212 cab that I LOVE dearly. It will be living at the new church we are building and I need something for home practice and the occasional grab/go. I do have a second 212 Orange Cab so I could grab another RV0 but thought about branching out a little. I know the RV/212 is hardly grab and go. But...I like 212 cabs and will likely get something vertical and 212-ish to go with whatever I find.

    So far I have tried everything I can think of including:

    • Rivera Clubster Doce (love the clean, hate the gain channel)
    • Vox AC15CC (OK...nothing to write home about)
    • Vox AC30CC2 (nice tone, too heavy for a G/G)
    • Peavey Windsor Studio (closest I have found so far to bedroom volume...average clean. Overall, great for the $$)
    • Fender SCXD (HATE the speaker, not enough kick)
    • Line6 SpiderValve 112 (lame presets and annoying volume shift when changing patches)
    • Mesa Rectoverb (nice, really nice)
    There have to be more but....you get the idea.

    I have played the Express 5:25 but don't love the 10" speaker. I played it through the 12 in the 5:50 combo and liked that a lot. The 5:25 combo with a 12" could be a combo I could love. I have always been a fan of the THD stuff. I suspect I would go BiValve if it had the same personality as the Uni. I really would like an effects loop for my delays but...can be swayed.

    Any thoughts you might have on the subject would be great. I am stuck in analysis paralysis at the moment and just need to get back to playing music. Luckily my wife and kids are in a play at the community theater this month and I have lots of free evenings. :)
     
  2. never-enough

    never-enough Member

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    i have an express 5:25 head, it is the only amp in your list that i am intimately familiar with. i love it. a friend of mine has the 1x10 combo and it doesn't kill him, i think 1 10" speaker just isn't quite enough.
    i think it is a great bedroom amp. at home i use all the modes. the 5w setting is my favorite. i used it extensively while recording my last record. i have used it live but 25w is cutting it real close as far as the amount of clean headroom that i need onstage. i dont think the amp has alot in common with the rectoverb.
    hope it helps.
     
  3. trpullen

    trpullen Silver Supporting Member

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    I would look at the 50 but I am just not a fan of 6L6 distortion. I like the cleans from it and the speaker but...when I go all punk rock with it... ;)
     
  4. Fixxxer

    Fixxxer Member

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    I have owned the THD stuff, and have played the Mesa many times. I would say, without any doubt whatsoever, look to get the MESA. Its is a superior amp in almost everyway, has a KILLER clean and nice overdirve / distrotion to it. You cannot go wrong with the amp.
     
  5. dobro man

    dobro man Member

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    I've never played a THD amp but I have a 5:50 express (and 1x12 extension cab).

    It really does the works no matter what you want of it and also takes pedals well.
     
  6. imjustadrummer

    imjustadrummer Member

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    I think Mesa is coming out with a 1x12 for the express. That would probably be your best bet for versatility and convenience in a grab and go package.

    If you want versatility and convenience above the unique tone of the THD amps, the Mesa is a good choice. THD is coming out with a 1x12 combo cab with their Vintage speaker in it. THAT would kill for grab and go! O/W, you will have take a speaker cab with you. I did that for a year or two when I had my Univalve and the sound was always great. The built in Hotplate helps a lot for lower volume, but you will still need a 6k6 or el84 to get quiet enough. The Mesa will be quite loud still with just 5 watts going.

    Clean headroom will be an issue with the Univalve if that is important to you.

    The Bivalve efx loop is line level and serial. the Mesa is probably parallel which can have some advantages.

    So, unique tone and tube swapping flexibility vs all around versatility...

    (I haven't played an Express yet, but have spent time on a Subway Rocket which was too middy with the 1x10 speaker.)
     
  7. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    I have the THD Univalve and the Mesa Express 5:25 10" combo.

    The Univlave is a great amp -- especially if you like to experiment with tubes. It has no effects loop or reverb -- but it has an attenuator built in. Some don't like the attenuator, but I had good experiences with it. The more attenuator, the more it or will impact your tone. If you like EL84s, you will need to get a YellowJacket adaptor to use an EL84 in the Univalve. The Univlave is advertised as a 15 watt amp, but with the right tubes it is a very loud 20+ watt amp. The Bivalve has an effects loop, but I understand it may not be the best loop.

    The Mesa is a great versatile amp. I like the 10" speaker, but it doesn't do as well when pushed. So, I would consider the head or 12" combo version (I have not tried it).

    You should also consider the US Masters TVA 30 head or combo. Street prices are much less than the two options above. I have the combo ($650 to $700).

    I still have and enjoy all three of these amps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
  8. trpullen

    trpullen Silver Supporting Member

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    Update...

    I tried the Express last night at rehearsal and everything I played sounded like it was on a BOSTON album. Very mid-rangy and either too clean or too overdriven. Never got the thing dialed in. I tried it with the internal 10" and with my Orange 212 cab with V30s. Didn't love it like I do playing alone.

    I am going to do an A/B demo with the Rockerverb and an AD30. I think I am just going to grab another Orange head and call it a day. They just inspire me and frankly, I was forcing myself to try new things....it just does not work. The Orange does.
     
  9. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    The Express does have that Mesa mid tone thing going. Mess around with the contours on and off. That feature can add more of that tone you may not be liking. I found tones I liked a lot right away, but I also struggled tweaking to get away from the mid tones you describe. The manual gives good advice (this is one thing that may turn you off with the Mesa) on how the tone knobs interact and the need to back off on the mid and bass knobs as you increase gain. It can seem overly picky until you get used to it. I prefer not having to radically adjust mid and bass knobs when turning up the gain, but I still really like the Express. I eventually found settings for each channel and type that I can switch between without fussing with the knobs.
     
  10. trpullen

    trpullen Silver Supporting Member

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    The funny thing about the Orange is, no matter where you set the tone controls, it sounds awesome. I tweak them from time to time and they DO work but...I rarely care where they are set. Kinda plug and play from that perspective.
     

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