Sound — 9
At the moment I use an Ibanez RG with stock pickups, almost always set on the bridge pickup. The pickup pattern is HSH. This amp suits my play style and tone very very well. In some cases I wish the distortion was a little tighter, but again, you can't have everything(well, you can, just not in one amp. Even though Mesa is world renowned for their brutal tone on the recto's, there is always a handful of people bashing everything about them. This is totally unfair. One thing to make sure of when deciding if you want to get this is that you like it's sound. Recto's have a personality and tone all to themselves, and at times can be a little fuzzy. For the people Who plugged one of these in at a store and said it sounded terrible, I have a feeling it was simply the EQ. The EQ on this works a little differently, and the Treble and Gain will shape the impact the rest of the EQ has on your tone. One look at the manual tells you this is not, I repeat, IS NOT a plug and play amp. It takes a good while before you truly start pumping out the tone your looking for, and slight changes in the EQ may make you turn your head twice at the incredible sound you just stumbled upon. Take your time and get familiar before you bash something based on bias only.
Overall Impression — 9
Many people will say that while this is a great amp, it doesn't compare to Engl or Bogner. Well, I don't really agree, as it definitly holds its own, but while I picked this thing up for relatively cheap(about the same price of a Peavey Triple XX after taxes) I really doubt I'd get a Engl Special Edition or a Bogner Uberschall for the same price. Think about the jump your talking about. While I wish I had an Engl or Bogner, it's not going to happen for a long, long time. Luckily, at the moment, I can afford the next best thing.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I haven't had this amp for long enough to determine it's reliability, though I would gig with a backup. The main reason being I don't have enough money to buy another amp of a close enough quality to back this up at a gig. Though from anyone you talk to, whether you like the amp or not, there is no denying that they will tell you it's built solid.
Features — 10
I recently purchased a Mesa Boogie 3 Channel Dual Rectifier 100W Head. One weird thing is that the amp switching is on a knob around the back panel of the unit, though no biggy, since the footswitch it comes with solves this problem. As previously stated a million times, this amp is incredibly versatile. At the moment I'm playing in my music room, and this amp has too much power. For gigs, no one needs to say 100 watts of gut wrenching tube power is more than enough. Yes there is an effects loop, run in parallel, though no headphone jack.