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> Mesa Boogie- Express 5:50, New amp from mesa
JVM
post Mar 7 2008, 02:14 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Mar 6 2008, 03:50 PM) *
So you could get the Supoersonic for it's Mesa sound and the 5:50 for it's Fender cleans. Two amps!!

Have fun! wink.gif


It proved to be true! If anything I am yet more confused now biggrin.gif The gains and the cleans are very similar.


I didn't play them for much more than about 15 minutes each, but I'm going to run down some thoughts I had while testing them tonight. I played the mesa 5:50 express 1x12 and the fender supersonic:

SOUND

The fender had a great fuzz tone with the controls set in a certain way on the bassman setting turned up. You got breakup from the bassman setting at reasonable volume, about 2 on the volume and it started to break up and by four it was full tilt. I didn't find this to be too loud, or even uncomfortable for my ears.

The two amps are very comparable. They both had good cleans and had a lot of gain in them. I've heard reports for both of them that they don't "have enough gain for metal" or that they go to "about sabbath" and not much further. This is simply untrue for both of them. Both have lots and lots of gain for any kind of metal you want to play. Certainly not the gainiest amp in the world, but I think it reaches that threshold where it becomes a bit redundant to add MORE gain, if you know what I mean. Overall I found I liked the fender clean better, mostly because it was more versatile.

I couldn't find much difference that the "contour" knob on the mesa made, I could but it seemed pretty limited.

Both were very loud, but sounded very good at low volumes. Fender usually has a problem where their amps are just far too loud, or rather that it is very hard to dial in a good volume for practice. This seemed to be better. Mesa was even better in this department with the 5 watt switch, which was still ridiculously loud for 5 watts. Don't let the 5 watt switch fool you into thinking you'll get a nice tube saturation at low volumes, the damn things really loud tongue.gif

Neither of them were noisy. I turned the volume all the way up with the gain cranked on both of them and got very little background fuzz (I didn't play at this level, I think the building might have collapsed and the city of raleigh would have experienced an earthquake). This is at least compared to my fender hot rod deluxe, which even on the "drive" (out of clean, drive, and more drive) setting gets a lot of fuzz.

DESIGN

I wasn't sure whether the fender was made US or Mexico, the guy told me it was made in the US.

Both seemed very solid and well built. The mesa, especially, had pretty much an I-beam on the back of it protecting the tubes. Both also seemed well ventilated. The fender was about as big as you would expect a 212 to be, but it was a 1x12. The mesa was a little smaller, the speaker fit in very roomily though.

I found that the fender was easier to see and use. When standing or even sitting next to the mesa, I couldn't see the labels for the topmost knobs. Not a huge deal, but still. The fender also had less knobs, and seemed simpler and faster to find a really good tone. The fender had it's power and standby switches in the back, it would have been nice if they had been in the front like the mesa had them, but its not a big deal.

Both of them were of reasonable weight. I'm used to lugging around my hot rod which is pretty heavy, and these are by no means light, but they're easily managable. The mesa weighed less.

I played the blonde and oxblood supersonic which I find not as visually appealing as the black one, but either way the mesa probably looks a little "better". I do like the vintage look of the fender though.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Man, I am really happy! I know that whichever of these two amps I get, It's going to be amazing. What I mentioned before I left about them being similar sounding proved to be very true, but in the end I found the fender to be a little more versatile. The mesa's 5w switch was handy, but not as much as I expected it to be. I preferred the fender's design, it was simpler and more effective IMO. As such I'm kind of leaning towards it now (surprise! it was the opposite when I left).

One last thing to say, is that these are both great amps. The sound clips you hear on the net, even the ones posted by fender, are pretty much true. You really can make it sound that good. [edit] One thing here, I'd like to point out that the fender official high gain clips sound pretty bad IMO, they sound much better in person.

All that said, I still can't decide. Maybe you guys can help me out tongue.gif Though I prefer the fender slightly, I've also heard that the supersonic is a bit hit or miss and maybe I just played a good one. Then again, there are always people playing these things and reviewing them expecting them to be one thing and not another. And there are almost always isolated cases of things breaking. I've heard mesa has much better customer service than fender. I was very impressed with both of them though, so I think I'll let this one simmer a bit.

This post has been edited by JVM: Mar 7 2008, 02:18 AM


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JVM
post Mar 7 2008, 05:14 AM
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Okay. Made the decision to buy the boogie. Now to sell some gear to finance it.


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MickeM
post Mar 7 2008, 09:44 AM
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QUOTE (JVM @ Mar 7 2008, 05:14 AM) *
Okay. Made the decision to buy the boogie. Now to sell some gear to finance it.

haha ok laugh.gif that was quick.
Thanks for the summary on you side by side test, interesting reading. What got you to make up your mind to choose the Mesa?

You getting a 1x12 or 2x12 btw? So until you have it, congratulations on the soon to be yours amp wink.gif


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JVM
post Mar 7 2008, 01:04 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Mar 7 2008, 03:44 AM) *
haha ok laugh.gif that was quick.
Thanks for the summary on you side by side test, interesting reading. What got you to make up your mind to choose the Mesa?

You getting a 1x12 or 2x12 btw? So until you have it, congratulations on the soon to be yours amp wink.gif


Well, mainly reading about a lot of reliability issues the fender had. Also they didnt have the footswitch set up for me and so I think maybe I didn't actually have the contour knob engaged though I thought I did. That and, well, I've always wanted a mesa tongue.gif

[edit] I'll probably go for the 212. It's $1299 I think. Or I could get the 1x12 which is only about $100 less, and then save up for an extension cab.

This post has been edited by JVM: Mar 7 2008, 01:06 PM


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OrganisedConfusi...
post Mar 7 2008, 01:08 PM
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I'd always go for the Fender every time. Fender amps are incredible. Now somebody buy my a '65 Twin Reverb biggrin.gif


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JVM
post Mar 10 2008, 10:10 PM
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biggrin.gif As it turns out, I've found a store around here that has an overstock of the fenders and I can get a $300 discount on a brand new one... now I may go that route (supersonic for $1000 flat) tongue.gif


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MickeM
post Mar 10 2008, 10:22 PM
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QUOTE (JVM @ Mar 10 2008, 10:10 PM) *
biggrin.gif As it turns out, I've found a store around here that has an overstock of the fenders and I can get a $300 discount on a brand new one... now I may go that route (supersonic for $1000 flat) tongue.gif

hihihi now it's starting. Desicions!!! laugh.gif


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Nick Kellie
post Mar 11 2008, 02:11 AM
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I'm definitely a Boogie man (no jokes please) - I have owned fender and boogie amps... I find certain brands of amp have certain inherent qualities. For my money the boogies are built to last.
I always found the highs on a fender amp are a bit harsh - even when you roll the treble off all the way, there is still an inherent bite - can be quite brash which is great if you want a jangly sound of a twangy cutting country sound. The boogies however, are much more mid rangey, and warmer. I think they have a really round sound which I love. They are expensive, but worth it. I really regret selling my Boogie Mark IV. I used a lone star on a recording which mesa loaned to me - I didn't want to give it back to them! smile.gif
Don't rush into anything and don't compromise because of finance... if it means waiting a little longer and saving up, then do it. Worst thing is to rush into something and buy because the money is burning a hole in your pocket.

good luck!

Nick
ps... i use a mesa Stereo 2:50 power amp at the moment and its great also, haven't had any duff gear from them.
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JVM
post Mar 11 2008, 02:21 AM
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That is true nick. I'm not entirely sure that's what I'll do. I did really like the boogie, especially I think if I had more time with it (for example, I wasn't aware before going to try it that mesa equalization knobs are not independant but all effect each other). But I also do like how the fender sounds, I'm pretty sure I'd be very happy with it. However that mesa is tempting too man tongue.gif


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Nick Kellie
post Mar 11 2008, 02:32 AM
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Cool, well tone is a very personal thing and I know guys that love fender and it suits their style... There's nothing worse than playing with gear that just isn't you. Its a bit like your grandma wearing a mini skirt - it just doesn't go! - oh dear I better go to sleep now, I think Im gonna have nightmares after that image.
smile.gif

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Danilo Capezzuto
post Mar 16 2008, 12:01 PM
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QUOTE (Nick Kellie @ Mar 11 2008, 02:32 AM) *
Cool, well tone is a very personal thing and I know guys that love fender and it suits their style... There's nothing worse than playing with gear that just isn't you. Its a bit like your grandma wearing a mini skirt - it just doesn't go! - oh dear I better go to sleep now, I think Im gonna have nightmares after that image.
smile.gif

Nick

mad.gif dry.gif mellow.gif tongue.gif laugh.gif


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Wayne Kerr
post Mar 17 2008, 09:10 PM
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Hi all. I hope you don't mind me adding my two cents here. I'm brand new to the guitar, having decided last year that I needed a hobby, and learning guitar was something I always wanted to do. After ALOT of shopping around, and figuring that this would probably be the only guitar and amp I'll ever have, I wanted to get something pretty good. I settled on a Gibson Les Paul Classic (in black), and again after ALOT of looking, a Mesa 5:50 Express (2x12). I chose the Mesa because after going back and forth between everything in the store (Guitar Center), the Mesa just sounded fuller and smoother. I went with the 2x12 over the 1x12 only because the difference in price was just a bit over a hundred dollars. That seemed like a no brainer to me. This amp is GREAT! Even at the 5w setting it gets very loud. Since I'm just starting out, and only playing (trying!) at home, I leave it on the 5w setting. Go to their website and you can get much more info than I could give you. The amp comes with a really nice, thick cover. The amp itself is built like a tank. It's all hand made in the U.S. and uses real solid wood, not MDF or particle board. I wish I had known before I got mine that they have a custom shop, where you can order the amp in any finish or color you can think of. Lots of cool pictures on thier website of customs. Oh yeah, the 2x12 also comes on wheels, standard. I couldn't be happier with either the guitar or the amp. Good luck with your choice.
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JVM
post Mar 17 2008, 09:22 PM
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I think I may go with the 1x12 and buy perhaps an avatar extension cab down the road. 1x12 is plenty of speaker and volume for most gigs, if I want to get a bit more air moving around later I can buy the cab smile.gif


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JVM
post Mar 18 2008, 12:21 AM
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Wellllllll

Let me tell you a story then chaps.

So, I sold my parker nitefly to our very own OrganizedConfusion about a week ago. We're working out details and I stopped into guitar center to get a nice box to ship it in.

Over on a rack I noticed they have a parker nitefly-SA in blue (same guitar I'm letting go now, but in a different color) that someone had just brought in used the other day. Funny coincidence. I got to talking about it and the sales guy mentioned they had just yesterday gotten a mesa boogie amp in used as well.

Well, I inquired, turned out to be a mesa boogie f-50 head and 1x12 extension cabinet. The head, $800, the cabinet, $250. Mint condition, factory stickers still on it. WOW! I tried that thing out, how could I resist?

It was pretty awesome my friends O_o ... I was pretty much sold right then and there but I was going to go get some groceries first. So I came back, told the guy I'd slept on it and was ready to make a decision, and bought it for $1142.20!

It has more gain than the express, but not by a whole lot. The clean channel was great. It also has some nice features like a headphone/direct recording output. However since they just got it in yesterday they can't actually sell it to me and let me have it until thursday, some police procedure to ensure they don't sell stolen goods.

I'm pretty happy biggrin.gif

Also, am I hearing things or did I hear that John Petrucci plays a f-100 head?


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Wayne Kerr
post Mar 18 2008, 02:58 PM
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Nicely done! Funny how certain things happen at certain times, huh? Good luck with it.
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post Mar 18 2008, 03:58 PM
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QUOTE (Wayne Kerr @ Mar 18 2008, 01:58 PM) *
Nicely done! Funny how certain things happen at certain times, huh? Good luck with it.

Are you actually called Wayne Kerr as I knew somebody called Wayne Kerr long ago?


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JVM
post Mar 18 2008, 10:01 PM
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QUOTE (Wayne Kerr @ Mar 18 2008, 09:58 AM) *
Nicely done! Funny how certain things happen at certain times, huh? Good luck with it.


Very funny.. but I'm glad it did tongue.gif


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Wayne Kerr
post Mar 23 2008, 06:42 PM
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No, "Wayne Kerr" is something I just made up. Sounds like "wanker", huh? I think it's funny
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Nick Kellie
post Mar 28 2008, 09:57 PM
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congrats JVM!!! how does it sound?

nick

This post has been edited by Nick Kellie: Mar 28 2008, 09:59 PM
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JVM
post Mar 29 2008, 04:33 AM
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I haven't YET gotten to really crank it up and play for a good while, but on (slightly louder than) bedroom practice level it sounds great. Whoooooole lot of bass. It is a little compressed but it's good. Very versatile smile.gif


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