Sound — 10
You can get a lot of great tones out of this amp. Lots of high gain, though not as much as the Mark or Recto series. Tone-wise it reminds me of a cross between a Nomad and a DC, but with different options and features, for those familiar with the Mesa line. For those not, it has a wide range of professional tones for about every style of music there is. Any type of rock or blues sounds spectacular on Mesa amps, and this new Lonestar line is no exception. The rectifier select switch seemed to make a more noticeable difference in tone than the Rectifier line. The tube rectifier had a nice mellow sag, but not too saggy. The diode was noticeably more punchier and tight, and a little higher in volume. The overdrive channel has a drive switch which boosts the gain by use of an additional Drive knob when selected. Once selected, the total gain for this channel can be dialed in from the original Gain knob as well as the additional Drive knob, giving a lot of room to tweak things. The overdrive channel has a Normal, Thick and Thicker switch. This made barely any noticeable difference to me. Great tones with lots of gain, though not as much as Rectifier.
Overall Impression — 10
Yet another great Mesa amp. This would be a great amp for someone that need a lot of great tones, but not necessarily the over-the-top Rectifier tone. This amp can be used for almost any style and can do it well. This would be great for someone wanting to get into the Mesa line, but not need the crushing high gain of the Rectifier series or the ultimate tweakability and versatility of the Mark series. All in all, a very cool and nicely laid out amp with some very usable options.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Mesa makes great stuff. Other than being a bit skeptical of typical first-run bugs (from any company), I think this should be as solid and reliable as their other great products.
Features — 10
This amp is loaded with USABLE features that we've needed for a while. Different wattage settings for each setting. I really like being able to have the clean channel run at 100 watts for the headroom, and have the overdrive channel run at 50 watts to push the tubes for the best tones out of both. This feature has even been carried over to the new Stiletto line. This amp also has the option of two different kinds of reverb - warm or bright. I thought the bright was too bright and would probably never use it. The warm was real nice sounding to me. It also has a rectifier type select, 6L6 or EL34 power tube option, extra "Drive" setting for channel 2 with additional gain knob, and a Full-power or Tweed option for that great Brown Sound.