#1
I am totally excited because yesterday I bought my first tube amp, and I purchased a really sweet one: the mesa boogie express 5:25.

I've been playing guitar for a year. The express replaces my Vox DA-15 digital modelling amplifier. The Vox was a great starter amp, especially for what I paid for it, but as my ear for tone has improved, I grew increasingly disatisifed with muddy distortion, shrill lead notes, lack of responsiveness to picking dynamics, and the occaisionally nasty digital sound.

I wanted voxy cleans, a good crunch, a throaty blues and some creamy overdrive, and this amp does it. It will do up to 80s-era metal on the high-gain settings, but would likely need a pedal for a modern metal "chug chug" sound (either that or I would need a mahogany humbucker guitar).

For the last few months I've been trying all the amps I could find at the Vancouver music shops. I was considering a Vox AC30 and the Traynor YVC40 prior to the Express. The Vox AC30 sounded awesome, but was too large for my apartment, too heavy & bulky to be really portable in my little Toyota, and I wasn't as happy with the high gain at low volumes with the master volume. The Traynor was closer to what I was looking for, but as much as I liked it, the tone of the mesa boogie express was in the back of my mind, and the Traynor, to my ear, did not sound nearly as sweet.

What sold me on the express 5:25 was the ability to switch from 5 watts in class A to 25 watts in class A/B: this allows me to play with friends and be heard over other instruments, as well as overdrive my amp at relatively low volumes on the 5-watt setting. If clean headroom is ever an issue, I'll hook it up to a PA, but I think that day is very far away. This amp also has a feature where extra clean headroom is provided during attack, so it sounds louder than its diminutive size would indicate. The speaker is only 10", which is great for my apartment, but I can hook it up to a cab if I need a fuller sound.

The spring reverb sounds great. There's also a "contour" control, which blends in a pre-set "v"-shaped eq to scoop the mids. It was really easy to dial in some awesome tones.

The small size is great for apartment playing & family life -- it is easy to tuck out of the way. It received wifely approval because it appeared approximately the same size as my Vox DA-15 (okay, a little bigger, but close enough). My wife wasn't sure about me getting an amp upgrade until she heard it -- she immediately admitted that it sounded waaaaay better than the other amp, and since she endures my practicing regularly, she said she was also pleased that I had a better amp. Her untrained ear could immediately hear the difference in quality.

I'm all burned out at work this morning because I stayed up late playing! I have a modest HSS strat copy guitar -- the Yamaha Pacifica 112. The express 5:25 makes this little guitar sound amazing! It now "quacks" on the out of phase settings like a strat should, and there is far greater variety in tone between the pickups. The tone and volume knob on the guitar is now far more responsive. I thought I should upgrade my amp before upgrading my guitar, and now I am really pleased with the decision. I'm actually quite happy with the Pacifica for now, although I may supplement it a mahogany humbucking guitar (maybe a low-end PRS?) in the next six months to a year.

In conclusion, this 5:25 express is a little tone monster! I haven't had it for long, but what a step up on what I was using. I wanted something I'd be happy with for a while, and I think the express 5:25 fits the bill
#2
Sweetness. I was wondering how this lil amp would turn out for someone. Oh, and as far a PRS... you can't go wrong with any of them IMO.
Mesa Dual Rec/ Mesa 4X12 cab
01 PRS Custom 22
06 PRS Singlecut Ann.
1965 Fender Mustang
Ibanez acoustic
AceFrehley Epiphone LP
Takamine Explorer
tr-2 tu-2 / EHX DMM / MXR Script Phase 90 / SMM w/ HAZR
WH-1 Whammy / 535Q Crybaby
#3
guitarrocka,

I see you like the PRS guitars ... why did you select them over other mahogany guitars? Their sound? Playability? Their beautiful woodwork?
#4
^--- basically. I didn't play any guitar that was light enough or as versatile as my CU22. They look awesome, I've never found a guitar that caught my eye as much (with the exception of the Silverburst Les Paul!). The whole mahogany body is a nice touch, but not a biggy with me. The SE Custom is a nice version of the PRS if you're considering one. Check out eBay. I've gotten 70% of all my gear off of there.
Mesa Dual Rec/ Mesa 4X12 cab
01 PRS Custom 22
06 PRS Singlecut Ann.
1965 Fender Mustang
Ibanez acoustic
AceFrehley Epiphone LP
Takamine Explorer
tr-2 tu-2 / EHX DMM / MXR Script Phase 90 / SMM w/ HAZR
WH-1 Whammy / 535Q Crybaby
#6
Awesome, those amps look really nice. I may eventually grab one for my higher gain needs. If you are playing that with your pacifica, I wonder what a Les Paul or Ibanez would sound like through it!

Post some pics. :P
Guitar:
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Amplifier:
Fender Blues Junior - Eminence Red, White and Blues
Effects:
Fulltone OCD
Electro-Harmonix Nano Small Stone
Ibanez DE-7 Delay/Echo
Dunlop Crybaby
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi
#7
I'll post a photo after work, when I peel my hands off my guitar.

I rented a low-end epi lp for the last month, just to try out a mahogany guitar.

It sounded so muddy & inarticulate on my Vox da15 that I didn't use it much. The same guitar had an awesome growl on the boogie express, and the cleans were warm and fat.

I can hardly wait to try a really nice guitar on the boogie express -- the amp makes budget guitars sing, so I bet a great guitar would be awesome!
#8
I bought a 5:50 Express 2x12 recently as well, these Express amps are nice indeed. A wide variety of great sounding tones.
Kramer: 85 Baretta, 84 Pacer Imperial, 85 Pacer Imperial
Gibson 68 LP Custom Shop
Fender 69 Strat
Mesa Roadster 2x12
THD Hotplate
Digitech WH-1
Ibanez TS808
Dunlop 535QC
MXR: Distortion III, EVH Phase 90, EVH Flanger, 10 Band EQ, DC Brick
#9
i haven't tried the 5:50, but I've heard good things about it.

Did you get it instead of the 5:25 for the clean headroom? the Fenderish voicing on the clean channel? the bigger speaker?
#11
Steve BP,

I looked at the 5:25 but I couldn't help but think that only $150 more buys the 5:50. Then I saw the 2x12 5:50, again for $150 more, and figured "what the heck." I wanted to buy something I would be satisfied with and that would last for awhile. I hate buying something and immediately start looking towards the next upgrade.
Kramer: 85 Baretta, 84 Pacer Imperial, 85 Pacer Imperial
Gibson 68 LP Custom Shop
Fender 69 Strat
Mesa Roadster 2x12
THD Hotplate
Digitech WH-1
Ibanez TS808
Dunlop 535QC
MXR: Distortion III, EVH Phase 90, EVH Flanger, 10 Band EQ, DC Brick