Had I not had the opportunity to buy this amp I may have settled for a Marshall or peavey. It's now possible to buy Mease Boogie at much lower price as their range has expanded.
For gigging I expect none are better though I'm sure some come close. For practising at home it's far too loud and at low volumes it doesn't sing - this amp needs to be driven hard.
Price: $1000.00 Pounds Sterling
Where Obtained: Bought privately
Bought in 1994, this amp (Mark 3 Simulclass)was the top of the range at that time. This is an all valve job with a switchable "Class A/Simul-Class" setting that changes the amp from 15/100 watt settings. Do not be fooled however, even at 15 watts this amp is VERY LOUD and at the 100 watt setting will put a Marshall Stack to shame. Having a 1 x 12 inch EV speaker in an ash cabinet with a wicker grill, it can hardly be called a stack. In fact some have likened it's appearance to an old transistor radio!
Tone controls for treble, mid and bass allow infinite adjustments and there is a gain control for rhythm and lead settings.
Other features include a five-way graphic on the lead stage. Effects loop. Reverb, presence, DI output (not great).
If looks can deceive then this is the amp to do it. It simply rocks and I have no problem getting infinite sustainon stage during solos. Quite simply I've not heard an amp sound so good - I use a Marshall stack in rehearsal and it comes nowhere close.
Clean, crunch or saturated lead sounds are awesome - I'm always being praised for my sound and this amp is the reason. If you are looking for a variety of quick change sounds then this is not the amp to buy. If you are looking for a light-weight amp to cart around then this is not the amp to buy. However if you simply want a great sound then go for it - you won't be disappointed.
This amp has three switchable modes - rhythm 1 (clean), rhythm 2 (crunch) and lead. The manual gives you a range of sample settings to start you off with particular sounds (for example Rock, Metal, Blues, Jazz, Fusion, Country). If you are someone who likes to experiment with lots of different sound patch using a digital effects processor then this amp is probably not for you. However if you want to get a great guitar sound then this amp most certainly is.
I have had few problems in terms of reliability. The worst was a loose speaker wire just before a gig and i had to play through something else.
Valves need to be checked for seating at every gig, it only takes a second. I have changed the power valves once in ten years and have been gigging most weekends. I had problems with the valve in gain stage one due to squealing, resulting in this being replaced every few months. However I stopped using Mesa Boogie valves after consulting a specialist valve dealer and moved over to Phillips valves instead. There were exactly the same price. I bought two, and am still using the first one two years later! This amp is heavy in construction and heavy to carry but it's worth it
Overall I use this a lot...especially when I can't crank my Marshall JCM 800 2210 or don't want to get all of my rack gear going. Not a ton of sounds like my ADA but all of it's tones are more than just useable. But of all my amps and pre-amps this is capable of the thickest most nefarious tone of all.
Model Year: 1998
Price: $299.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Music Unlimited San Leandro CA
Three channel pre-amp clean, blues and lead but only two are switchable at any given time. One shared eq, gain and master volume. Outputs for power amp, amp input, headphones, mixer and remote footswitch.
This unit is modeled after the Recto series pre-amp. I'm not the biggest fan of the Recto's but if you spend some time you'll find a good tone in there but it has the tendency to blanket your tone a bit more than I think it should...but if you like the Mesa tone it won't be a problem for you.
The clean can be very beautiful but is louder than the lead channel so I adjust this with my guitars volume knob. The blues channel has a real sweet mid-gain crunch to it. The lead channel is what we all wan to know about. The problem here is that you're fighting a battle with mud. I tune down low and use a 7-string and a baritone (as low as Ab) so it's really a fight for me. But with the right tweaking and a Boss GE-7 eq pedal and BBE sonic maximizer I can get the absolute thickest tone I've ever heard. This sound just jumps out of the speakers. This tone is pure aggression but again it's not one of those things where every setting sounds good, but with a little time you'll find something well worth your effort. Works very very well for recording. I use an ADA microcab and run this into my 4-track and it sounds f---ing brutal.
Caveat: do not use this as a stomp box distortion...it does have a by-pass switch but if you try and turn it on and off like your favorite distortion pedal you won't like it. It has a slight lag when you turn the by-pass off and that gets really annoying.
Seemingly easy but I'm not happy with just any old sound and this takes some tweeking...plus I've found that it lacks the high end clarity so I need to use a BBE sonic maximizer and a Boss GE-7 so get its' head out of the mud.
Built like a bomb-shelter. The power plug can be a bit shakey but that is why we have duct tape.