F-30 Review

manufacturer: Mesa Boogie date: 12/04/2009 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Mesa Boogie: F-30
Descended directly from the heralded Dual Caliber and Studio amplifiers, today's F-Series are shocking tone monsters.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 8.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.2 
 Users rating:
 8.4 
 Votes:
 9 
reviews (2) 10 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
F-30 Reviewed by: Kevin Saale, on june 04, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 580

Purchased from: Used

Features: 30 watt all tube combo. 4 12AX7s and 2 EL84s. 2 channels both with independent gain, treble, mid, bass, reverb, and master controls. Footswitchable contour mode for the gain channel, foot Switch also changes channel and turns reverb on/off (no indicator for the reverb though). 2 4ohm outs and 1 8ohm out. Headphone/line out jack. Speaker mute Switch. Parallel FX loop with wet/dry mix. This one came with a V30 which is not the original speaker. I use this mainly for fooling around by myself, though it's more than loud enough for to gig. Versatile amp, great cleans and amazing overdrive. // 10

Sound: I'm using a Jimmie Vaughan Tex-Mex strat into this amp. I'm running a Slash wah -> BBE Green Screamer -> Script Phase 90 in the front and a Carbon Copy -> MXR 10 band in the FX loop set at about 60% wet. I play mainly classic rock and blues which works perfectly for this amp. My only fault with this amp is that if any thing it has too much gain (going to try and solve that with a 12AT7 though). I have the gain at about 1/4 and that provides all the crunch I could ever want. There's definitely enough gain for metal, especially with the contour on (the contour Switch basically just adds more gain and boosts the bass and treble, I'm personally note a fan of scooping mids, but the contour works very well). The overdrive is amazing though. I can get an amazing crunch sound in the bridge position, and with the bridge + neck together and the tone rolled down I can get amazing Sanata like lead tone that just sounds better with the green screamer kicked on. For bluesy stuff I usually use the green screamer into the clean side and that works wonderfully. The clean channel took me a while to dial in, but I found that if you turn the mids way down this thing has somewhat Fender-esque cleans, maybe not as good Fender, but all around great cleans. Like all mesas this one can take a bit to dial in, but once you do it's amazing. I'd say this amp is suitable for anything from clean funky stuff to old school metal (maybe even modern metal with some high output pups and a boost). // 10

Reliability & Durability: This amp seems very sturdy and I think it will last a very long time. It was handmade in Petaluma California. When I got it the mid control on the Drive channel didn't work, but I took it to where I bought and their tech fixed it in a bout 15 mins while I waited. Other than that I have had zero problems (granted I haven't had it for long, but mesa's have a reputation for quality so I'm not worried, not to mention it's used so it's been around for a while anyways). // 9

Overall Impression: I play classic rock and blues, and I dabble in metal and some funk. This amp can do all of these genres quite well. If this amp were lost I would either try to replace it with the same amp or look for another mesa as I have fallen in love with mesa OD. I compared this to a mesa express (this is that amps predecessor) and a Traynor YCV50 blue and of course the Hot Rod Deluxe I used to own. While trying out the Traynor one of the salemen showed me this used f-30, I tried it and fell in love. I really don't think you could ask for anymore in this amp as it's already packed with features. If you can find one of these used on Ebay it's a great deal. // 10

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overall: 8.5
F-30 Reviewed by: metallax57, on december 04, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: This amp was made in the early 2000s, I don't know the exact year. It's a pretty simple affair: 2 channels with 3-band eq (with a 'contour' switch on the Drive channel that scoops the mids nicely), FX out/return, recording out, headphone jack, power and standby switch. 30 loud tube watts fill rooms easily when playing out, but also works well at bedroom volume. It's nothing fancy, but everything you need to plug in and play. // 8

Sound: This amp sounds very good. The clean channel is clear and bright (though without the sparkling cleans on my Fender Super), and the distortion is powerful and thick. Without the 'contour' switch pressed down, it gives a decent Vintage-sounding overdrive that switches to a warm, bassy, tubey distortion as the gain knob goes past about 12'o clock. The contour switch gives it a great feel for modern rock and classic heavy metal. I wouldn't call the distortion 'brutal', but I'm sure that's nothing an EQ pedal wouldn't fix. The reverb is just alright, but it gets the job done. The guitars that see the most play through this puppy are my Fender mexi strat (which helps bring out the best in the clean tones) and my Les Paul (gives great body to the distortion). I play all styles of music, and as long as you're not looking for a brutal death metal distortion, this amp can get a good sound. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It's a tube amp, so its always good to have a backup. Mesa's are built like rocks, and I havent had this one too long, but its been around for a while already and doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. the only complaint I have is that on mine, the plastic on the handle is wearing off, but that's nothing a little scotch tape wont fix. // 9

Overall Impression: I play everything from folk to metal, and this amp is good for all of it. It's small and stripped down, but it can handle everything well. If I had any complaints, they would be that the clean channel isn't sparkling and brilliant (Fender has spoiled me), but they're still good sounding. If this were stolen, I'd definitely get another one if I could find it (they're discontinued, unfortunately). All in all, a great amp, especially in comparison with other smaller tube combos around the $500 range. // 9

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