Price paid: £ 1249
Purchased from: Guitar Village
Sound — 9
I've used the amp with a Strat, a PRS Custom 24 and a PRS with Narrowfield pups, an SG and a Les Paul with a P90. The great thing is that across the four channels there is a place for all of them. I use the amp mainly for blues and rock and it is amazing. The overdrive you get on the cleaner channels is sweet and warm and the distortion on the heaviest channel (burn) is just rock heaven. It clean up really well, with the tone on the clean channel dominated by the tube types - so it has more middle than a Fender tube amp on this setting, but that's where the contour control comes in so you can scoops out that mid range. It is the most versatile Amp I've ever played.
Overall Impression — 9
If you are looking for one good quality tube amp, but you're worried about covering the full range of tone and style - this amp is definitely worth a go. If there are any drawbacks it's that only two of the four sounds are available via the footswitch - but with a couple of pedals that's all I really need. Also the treble control comes first in the circuit so it's more powerful than the other tone controls - so I set it at the mid level and use my guitar for treble control. That said Mesa Boogie have a great reputation and using this amp O agree. Even though they pitch this as their "entry level" it's all the awesome I could want.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Solid as rock - great construction, heavy duty case and the case cover is deluxe. Hard wearing, pretty portable - only about 20Kg - and it delivers big sounds for that. The cabinet is solid, and the back plate more robust than similar priced Fender amps, although the tubes have slightly less protection. On top there are a couple of metal strips that aide cab stacking and the feet are heavy duty non slip rubber. The front grill is stiff and rugged without getting in the way of the sound. Built for gigging.
Features — 10
The big brother of the Express 5:25, tube amp, hand made in the USA in 2012, with two independent channels, each with two modes. Reverb and contour controls both on a foot switch. Massively versatile. The four modes and the ability to switch between one of the two "cleaner" channels to one of the higher gain channels is fantastic. And the ability to move from 5 to 50 watts allows you practice or gig with ease, moving from a class A to a class A/B with no real impact on tone. There are effects loops, and input / output jacks on the back - but I just use the box.