#1
So a few days ago I was offered a ride to a big city music stoe. And of course I took that opportunity! I could finally buy a new amp after months of saving up. But the problem was that the time I'd get to spend in the store was only about a half hour.
And as I walked in the store I've set my eyes on a Mesa Express 5:25. ZOMG! I thought, I've been hearing some good things about this amp, those promises of recto type gain + lots of other more than useful sounds, and also the ability to switch it to 5W mode and get power tube saturation at lower volumes.
I tried the amp and I've thought this is pretty decent, but not that great, so mostly I was betting on the fact that it would sound a lot better cranked. And that I did not have the settings right. So I've decided I did not want to go home empty handed and bought the thing. Cost me a hefty sum of $1450.

On the way home I decided to take a closer look inside. Well to my surprise the power tubes were not EL34, they were EL84. At that point that point I was hoping the differences between those two tube have been greatly exaggerated.
Plugged it in, played it, twiddled with the knobs for a few days. Well let's just say Mesa were not selling themselves short when they were advertising this amp.

This is what was going through my head when I was playing this amp.

"Hello Mr Bass are you there?",

"Hey Mr Bass can stop bringing Mr Flubb over?"

As I turned the amp and the power tubes starting to break up.

"Am I listening to an 8-track or something?"

What I'm trying to say is that the amp is just so vintagy, with a poor treble response, and a massive lack of bass. Most definitely not a metal amp. Won't say anything about the Recto part >.>. Additionally the 5W mode was no help at all with the volume problem. Oh sure it has AMAZING cleans, and a lovely blues tone, but that's quite below on my list of a searing high gain lead, and a tight thrash metal chug.

Sure I could get myself a Metal Muff, change the tubes, an EQ pedal and buy myself an attenuator. But then I'd be spending over 400 dollars more. Which is quite bad when I'm already 200 in debt.

I learned my lesson, and no more will I just buy an amp based on what anyone else says. Let's just hope though the store gives back cash refunds, or I will have no chance of getting my hands on an Orange Rocker 30, which I have spotted in an another store.
Gear:
Traynor YCV 50 Blue
ESP EC-400
TS-9 DX
Stagg Strat-a-like
MIJ Boss CE-2
#3
The 5:25 is supossed to have EL34 afaik, so thats on you. As for the tone, yeah its not a metal amp and not sold as one. Its not supposed to be a recto. Its supposed to be a mid gain, relatively vintage voiced amp.
#5
never listen to what someone else recommends.
its a waste of your money because you're not going to have the exact same musical
interests in every aspect, so their opinion might be an incredibly **** one for you, like
what just happened.

i got recommened Peavy combos, B-52 combos, Jacksons, Ibanez', and I ended up buying an Alexi SE and a Randall RH150G3...COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from what was recommended
to me, and i'll say im much more satisfied

think for yourself, don't be a noob that listens to what other people tell you, unless you ask a question like "whats an amp that gives high gain, tubes, good for metal, (etc.)" oh and if an amp is that expensive and it ****ing sounds like ass, why would you STILL buy it?
im sorry but that's the stupidest thing i've ever heard.
#6
Quote by CJRocker
The 5:25 is supossed to have EL34 afaik, so thats on you. As for the tone, yeah its not a metal amp and not sold as one. Its not supposed to be a recto. Its supposed to be a mid gain, relatively vintage voiced amp.


This is not exactly what the article said.

But even that’s not the last stop. Each channel is further equipped with its own Contour depth control for added shaping that’s both assignable and footswitchable. Used subtly, Contour adds a halo of depth and chime to gleaming clean sounds. Higher Contour settings, especially in Crunch and Burn, take you into Recto™ turf, tight, huge and menacing.
Gear:
Traynor YCV 50 Blue
ESP EC-400
TS-9 DX
Stagg Strat-a-like
MIJ Boss CE-2
#7
Quote by Fired_Scape
but that's quite below on my list of a searing high gain lead, and a tight thrash metal chug.
Then don't get a Rocker 30.
These go to eleven...
#8
Who told you it was supposed to have Recto gain??? Cause that person's an idiot.

*edit* Wow, it actually said that in Mesa's article? Do those people not have ears? lol

That amp is a Classic rock amp, at best. Not really a replacement to the F Series AT ALL, I don't get how they can replace it with that, the F Series could do everything the Express series could do, and more (well maybe besides the 5 watt setting).

Also...if you're playing metal...I wouldn't be looking at a Rocker 30 unless you want to add pedals. How much are Rect-O-Verbs? You could probably take it back and get one of those, it should do what you want.
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I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
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Last edited by MatrixClaw at Oct 23, 2007,
#9
if i was you, id make it work. different tubes, ubur metal or metal muff, change speakers, etc...... thats me though i like to put my own"handywork" into everything i buy.

IMO - you just needed to research better, and it's ok to leave a guitar store empty handed.
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#10
And that is why I will always recommend the F series over the Express series!


For the gain channel, try doing the follwing EQings, these are what I use for my F-100

Gain: Max, Treble: 10, Mid: 4-8 (adjust as you would a bass adjustment), Bass: 3-4 (leave it there), Volume 3+
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Last edited by MESAexplorer at Oct 23, 2007,
#11
that sucks...i saw a review of a mesa express and it sounded great. all mesa amps are heavily overpriced though. try to return, and do a ton of research on your next amp.
*removed*
#12
I have always thought it was a great blues and classic rock amp, but oh well.....
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#13
Quote by _Buxton_
that sucks...i saw a review of a mesa express and it sounded great. all mesa amps are heavily overpriced though. try to return, and do a ton of research on your next amp.



Mesa amps are not overpriced if you like what you're getting. No other amp on the market has the "mesa" tone. If you don't like to Boogie, get a different amp, simple as that.
Major of 7 String Legion 7 > 6

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#14
Quote by CJRocker
The 5:25 is supossed to have EL34 afaik, so thats on you. As for the tone, yeah its not a metal amp and not sold as one. Its not supposed to be a recto. Its supposed to be a mid gain, relatively vintage voiced amp.



The 5:25 has EL84s. the 5:50 has EL34's.

You bought a $1500 amp that you tried in 30 minutes and you didn't like it, big surprise. Maybe you should have waited a bit until you found the right time to really play with the amp.

Return it, and spend some more time with another amp. $1500 is not small change when it comes to amps. If you could have spent $400 more, then you're in reach of a Mark IV, or you could've just got a JSX of some sort.
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Last edited by Reincaster at Oct 24, 2007,
#15
Yea I have tried the Express and I loved it. But it wasn't good for high gain stuff, that is true.

As everybody has said do not get a Rocker 30, because you won't like it if you don't like the Express.

I would recommend something like a JSX, Peavey 5150/6505 and so on.
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#18
Quote by Serendipity
Aye, which is why, IMO, DC Series > F-Series > Express Series. Contour? Roffle. GEQ kthx. The gain seems to cascade in that order, as well.

I liked the contour


Honestly, I've tried the F series, and the Express series, and I prefered the Express. But, I don't play metal.
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But really... there's no cookie. And if there was, you wouldn't get one.
#21
Yup, the 5:25 has awesome cleans, blues & classic rock tones. In my view, it does these tones better than the F-series.

The Express will do "metal" in the way "metal" was defined 20 - 30 years ago, but it won't cut the mustard if you are thinking down-tuned death metal, thrash or uber-saturated high-gain tones with lots of squealy pinch-harmonics. It will, however, do NWOBHM tones on the 25W setting quite nicely. Since that is the "metal" I was weaned on, I'm very satisfied with the Express.

Mesa's misleading "recto turf" claim has irritated a lot of people searching for a small high-gain amp, causing these disappointed folks to crap all over what is actually a very high-quality clean & classic rock amp.

So ... return it while you can & good luck shopping for a more appropriate amp for your tastes!
#22
Quote by Steve BP
Yup, the 5:25 has awesome cleans, blues & classic rock tones. In my view, it does these tones better than the F-series.

The Express will do "metal" in the way "metal" was defined 20 - 30 years ago, but it won't cut the mustard if you are thinking down-tuned death metal, thrash or uber-saturated high-gain tones with lots of squealy pinch-harmonics. It will, however, do NWOBHM tones on the 25W setting quite nicely. Since that is the "metal" I was weaned on, I'm very satisfied with the Express.

Mesa's misleading "recto turf" claim has irritated a lot of people searching for a small high-gain amp, causing these disappointed folks to crap all over what is actually a very high-quality clean & classic rock amp.


The truth is though...there is enough gain in those amps. Most people who switch to tube don't realize at first how sloppy they might be because solid state amps cover it up really well. It takes a good player to sound good through a tube amp despite their improved tone.

I'm not a fan of the express series at all. I find there is no comparison between the Express and the F's but there are many people who argue against that.
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#23
The truth is though...there is enough gain in those amps. Most people who switch to tube don't realize at first how sloppy they might be because solid state amps cover it up really well. It takes a good player to sound good through a tube amp despite their improved tone.


Good point! It took me some time to adjust to the improved dynamics and tone of a good tube amp. It sounded like my playing had deteriorated when I first started playing on one regularly, when the truth was I could just hear more details, including the cacophonic ones!

I pulled out my old modeller the other day because I wanted one last go on it before I give it away. I found that, although the tone was worse, I sounded like a much better player through it because the amp hid many mistakes.

I also agree on the "they already have plenty of gain" comment -- I've been turning down the gain as I become more experienced with the guitar & tube amp, as a little bit goes a long way.

Chalk it up to cognitive dissonance if you will, but when I bought the Express I was also considering buying a used F-30. The F-30 was just fine, but for me, I liked the Express a little more.

But to each their own! That's why Mesa has Rectos AND Lone Stars, for e.g. -- choice!
#24
Quote by Steve BP
Good point! It took me some time to adjust to the improved dynamics and tone of a good tube amp. It sounded like my playing had deteriorated when I first started playing on one regularly, when the truth was I could just hear more details, including the cacophonic ones!


Tube amps can make your day go from mediocre to great or from great to crap. They'll really let you know how good you're playing.

Then there is always the noobs at guitarcenter who dime the JSXs and think they're gods....
Major of 7 String Legion 7 > 6

Carvin DC747
Ibanez RG2228
Schecter Avenger Custom Shop
and my baby....
Gibson Explorer Studio
#25
Quote by MatrixClaw
Who told you it was supposed to have Recto gain??? Cause that person's an idiot.

*edit* Wow, it actually said that in Mesa's article? Do those people not have ears? lol

That amp is a Classic rock amp, at best. Not really a replacement to the F Series AT ALL, I don't get how they can replace it with that, the F Series could do everything the Express series could do, and more (well maybe besides the 5 watt setting).

Also...if you're playing metal...I wouldn't be looking at a Rocker 30 unless you want to add pedals. How much are Rect-O-Verbs? You could probably take it back and get one of those, it should do what you want.


i thought they replaced the f-series because they were eating into recto sales... so makes perfect sense in a corporate, gippy way.
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#26
Moral of the story:

Take press releases and articles written by any company about itself and its own products with a grain of salt.
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#27
+1
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#28
+2

And I also thought they were F-series replacements.

Well Im sticking with an f-50 anyway.

Also ts- Thats what you get. Next time dont buy an amp just for the sake of going home empty handed.
#29
Well you probably have somekind of refund (TS)

My tip is to leave it back and get a Peavey 5150 or 6505 (same amp, different name :P)
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#31
Quote by Gabel
Well you probably have somekind of refund (TS)

My tip is to leave it back and get a Peavey 5150 or 6505 (same amp, different name :P)


Well I went back today, and traded it in for a Traynor YCV50 Blue, of course I got the rest of my money back. I could've just got a cash refund for the whole thing, and bought a 5150/6505 at an another store, but that thing is way too big, heavy, and loud. And also lacks the sweet ass EL34 saturation.

Either way the Traynor, has WAY more gain than the Mesa. It has enough gain to do 80's thrash, even without a pedal! Although it does sound a lot more bland. I think it's prolly the Sovteks, so I'll be placing an order through The Tube Store on monday to get some JJ's and Tung Sol's.
Gear:
Traynor YCV 50 Blue
ESP EC-400
TS-9 DX
Stagg Strat-a-like
MIJ Boss CE-2
#32
Well the YCV50 is basically a JCM800, so it's probably a good choice then!
Quote by stratman_13
It's okay Gabel. You kick ass.



18watter video demo

My band

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#33
you sir, have earned an invite into the Traynor Syndicate.
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#34
^ already joined ^.^
Gear:
Traynor YCV 50 Blue
ESP EC-400
TS-9 DX
Stagg Strat-a-like
MIJ Boss CE-2
#35
Nice to know that a Traynor can stand up to an Express series.
Peavey 5150
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Roland Microcube

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#36
Congrats on your Traynor -- that's a sweet amp.

Nice to know that a Traynor can stand up to an Express series.


Sometimes, anyway -- I had a Traynor and an AC30 on my short list before I settled on the Express in the end. =^)