Price paid: $ 1699
Purchased from: nstuff
Sound — 9
I setup the tone controls as the manual recommended. The book recommends the following settings: volume at 2:00, bass at 12:00, mid at 10:00, treble at 12:00, presence at 12:00, and master at 9:30. This amp delivers that wow factor everyone looks for right from the recommended settings! I bumped the presence down to 10:00, and brought the Mid up to 12:00 and it sounded like a dream. The best way to describe the sound of this amp is Fender Blackface clean channel, and two Marshall gain channels. This amp truly combines the best of both worlds. It also takes pedals like a Champ so you can bring along your Vintage distortion boxes. I really can't pick out bad parts, and I am picky. I bought this to replace my Fender Deluxe Reverb, which is a Legend of an amp. Wow, the Mesa is night and day difference in sound and quality. It truly makes the deluxe reverb look and sound cheap.
Overall Impression — 10
This amp is just amazing; I can't imagine a better amp on the market under $2500. I compared this to the Lonestar, Express, and 2x12 version in the store. I played through them for a while, switching back and forth and this amp sounded much nicer than the other two. The Express sounded as good, but much more boxy and lacked the low end the Electra Dyne had. The Lonestar had the low end, but did not have as good of a gain channel. So I was stuck with the decision between the 1x12 vs the 2x12. This price difference was only $100, but the reason I went with the 1 x 12 is the weight. Both modes are the same physical size, but the 2 x12 model weighs 20lbs more. That might not sound like much, but at 75 lbs the 1 x12 is really heavy to carry, at 95lbs the 2 x 12 is just ridiculous. I picked it up about an inch and said no way. Plus they sounded the same, but the 2 x 12 was just louder. But since they are the same size the bass response is the same. The reason a lot of 2x12 combos sound better is the larger cabinet. After gigging for almost 8 years you realize you just end up micing the amp anyways. So way kill yourself lugging a 95lbs amp around for a little extra volume. Just my opinion.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I own another Mesa Amp that I gigged with for years with no issues. They are handmade in California and use to grade components. That also include a 5 year warranty. Compared to the mass produced amps like Marshall and Fender this amp is on another lever of quality.
Features — 9
This amp for a simple design has a ton of flexibility! You can switch the tubes from 6l6 to EL34, run two tubes for 45 watts or run all four at 90 watts, channel adjustable tube reverb and gain, and three independent channels of gain. It has 6 global tone controls which makes this a simple amp to adjust. This is for the musician that wants perfect tone quick and easy.