Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 1x12 Combo
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Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 1x12 Combo

Express 5:25 1x12 Combo, Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Mesa Boogie in the Express series.

content in English
King Loudness 11/08/2011

Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 1x12 Combo : Recensione di King Loudness (content in English)

"Good for some, but not for me"
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The Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 1x12 combo amp is designed to be sort of a more portable amplifier that offers all the versatility and features of its bigger brethren. It's a 25w combo amp that is powered by two EL84 power tubes. For those instances where volume is an issue, the amp is switchable down to 5w of power... great for home jamming. It has two channels, each loaded with an identical set of controls. These are gain, volume, bass, middle, treble and contour. Each channel also has reverb and two separate modes on each channel. Here is the full list of specs from Mesa:

Duo-Class™ Power Amp (Patent 7,173,488) allows you to select either:
1 power tube in pure Class A (single-ended) producing 5 Watts
or switching to
2 power tubes in Class A/B to produce 25 Watts via a 5/25 Power Switch / 2xEL-84 & 5x12AX7

UTILIZATION

Getting a good sound out of this amp was far more difficult than I would have liked. Maybe I'm just not a fan of the express series, but I found myself struggling to get a tone that wasn't weak, thin and harsh sounding, especially in the top end. The clean channel was the lesser of the two evils, as after some serious tweaking I finally managed to get a good pure EL84 based clean tone that at its best reminded me of a slightly broken up VOX AC15. The drive channel was a sheer pain to dial in and I could not get the clear singing type of gain sound that I've come to know and love from many Mesa amplifiers... instead I was just greeted with a buzzy and very muddy tone overall. Definitely not easy to get a good sound.

SOUNDS

I tried this amp with various Gibson and Fender guitars. I tended to prefer it with single coil pickups as it was less muddy and got back a little bit of the brightness that was lost on the drive channel when I tried to set it up for a singing, liquid lead tone. I didn't mind the cleans, like I said they reminded me of an older VOX amp at the best of times, and the crunch mode added a little bit more girth and punch to the sound. The drive channel just sounded sterile and fairly lifeless unless I turned the treble down, whereby the sound got fairly muddy and lost nearly all sustain. After about 45 minutes of messing with this I gave up and moved onto another amp... life is too short for bad tone.

OVERALL OPINION

All in all I think Mesa has a good concept with this amp. I'm sure it's great for players who need something with a few more features than the average 25w tube amp and it has a good feature-set. However I just could not jive with the tones of this amp and can't really recommend it based on my experiences. They're about $1,200 new which is fair, but I wouldn't bother looking at them. Personally I'd say that something like the Hughes and Kettner Statesman is more my speed, but that's my opinion.