Mark V review by Mesa Boogie

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (275 votes)
Mesa Boogie: Mark V
2

Price paid: $ 2000

Purchased from: Haggerty Music

Sound — 9
I'm currently using a ESP EC-1000 deluxe with this amp with active EMGs. This guitar isnt the best for softer stuff but it opens this amp for modern metal like no other! This amp suits my musical style perfectly. Most of the time I play hard rock and metal when I'm not with my band but I never thought I'd come across an amazing high gain amp with a beautiful clean channel. This amp has a beautiful clean channel, as much as I love Channel 2 and 3, I can stay on this channel for hours on end. 90w with the gain fairly low is best for maximum headroom and no breakup at high volumes and tweed is great for vintage, "tweed" kind of breakup especially at 45w with the gain turned up and Variac on. Channel 2 is great for Carlos Santana and smooth distortion on the verge of breakup in Mark I mode, but on the flip side if you crank the presence and gain it gets very heavy and brutal, usable for metal! Crunch is my favorite setting on this channel which produces a marshallesque (but very different at the same time) kind of well, "Crunch". I get some great Foo Fighters, MCR, GNR, Velvet Revolver, Skynrd, etc sounds out of this channel and much more. Edge is my least favorite mode on this amp, I guess I don't like its voicing but it sounds very strange, only way I use this mode is if the gain is rolled back for a voxy kind of tone. On to Channel 3, my favorite channel of them all! Channel 3 offers 3 modes, Mark IIC+, Mark IV, and Extreme. I use Mark IIC+ the least, not because its bad but because I like a more modern sounding grind and the other two modes suit it better. This is a great mode for rock leads and the such with the gain a little lower than "chug" volume. Sure it can get great Metallica MOP tones but I perfer the other modes, just my preference. Mark IV I would say, has more saturation than Extreme and is a lot more "Creamy" It depends what mode I'm in, I Switch between Mark IV and Extreme quite often. Great mode. Extreme is what I'm using right now. This channel can get Killer modern metal tones such as Killswitch Engage, Death Magnetic Metallica, Bullet for my Valentine, Atreyu, etc. and has the most low end thump out of all the modes, I cry everytime I hit a palm muted chord and hear the area shake. No joke! The clean is crystal, the distortion is brutal and everything else in between is great. No complaints, not one.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall this amp is a masterpiece. Randall Smith did an amazing job making this amp. I've only been playing 2 years but I know LOTS about gear, trying many different amps before buying this. I tried a few Marshalls, JCM800, and a DSL100 and I must say this amp fits my style better than those two. I love the versatility of this amp. It does EVERYTHING I want, beautifully. I couldn't ask for a better amp. No wonder John Petrucci uses 3 of these live now, all the mode combinations must be insane! Take note, when I first tried this amp, it was the combo which I liked but didn't love. When I bought the head and tried it with my 4x12 cab with V30's it shined, I like it much more, especially for metal. I plan to keep this amp for a very long time, even when I get new gear in the future, I doubt it will replace this beast, except maybe the Mark 6 if that comes! Haha. Don't compare this amp to a rectifier, if your after the recto sound get that, but I perfer this amp because it can get just as brutal as a rectifier pounding, just in its own way. I perfer the clean channel on this amp over the roadster's also.This amp doesn't get a 10 because I don't believe in perfection, theres always small tweaks that can make something better, but this amp gets a 9 because its as close to perfect as anything I've touched. Great amp.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This amp looks very durable and is well built. If I HAD to I would probably gig with it without a backup but come on, every tube amp can have some freak accident with tubes and whatnot mid gig so its best to have a backup, even with this beast. This amp has never broken down, but I haven't had it all that long, only 3weeks.

Features — 9
Ok this amp was made in 2009 and it is VERY versatile. It covers every style I play which includes blues, alternative, classic rock, modern rock, oldschool metal, modern metal and much more. This amp has 3 seperate channels and you can Switch channels on the fly with the footswitch, which is well built and solid. There is no loud popping when switching channel and no delay. This amp has a Parallel effects loop and a knob to control the level of the effects send and also has the option to hard bypass the loop and use the seperate channel master volumes to control the volume while disabling the Solo control and output. The only feature I wish this amp had was midi switching between modes, something that changed the EQ settings along with it because EQ does not translate cross modes very well. I use this amp at home for practicing and also with my band which plays rock, blues, jazz and the such and it keeps up VERY well. This amp is solid. 10w modes are great for home practicing but do not stand up well with a band so kick it to either 45w or 90w. The Variac mode is great for a Vintage breakup sound in a 10w setting, very creamy! This amp has the Mark Standard Graphic EQ that tailors the sound in any direction you want. It has spring reverb that is alright, but I prefer different kinds of reverb for playing (but I still use it, less hassle!) It has the option to choose between Triode and Diode rectification on channel 3 which makes a HUGE difference. You can also choose to use tube rectification or Diode on channel 1 and 2 depending on your wattage choice. There are so many combinations, It would take me months and possibly years to fully explore this amp.

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The^Unforgiven
    I'd really want this amp, too, just a shame that in Finland it's RIDICULOUSLY expensive, the 1x12 combo is 3100 ($4176) on thomann! Lol, might actually be cheaper to buy plane tickets to the States and buy it there than buying it here...
    jesse1994
    xicetraex wrote: SOADriff wrote: How does this compare the the Mark IV? It's just like the Mark IV.. just one more.
    So it's one louder?
    Elgar_Bigsby
    tallica, Bullet for my Valentine, Atreyu, etc. and has the most low end thump out of all
    flmfao
    xicetraex
    SOADriff wrote: How does this compare the the Mark IV?
    It's just like the Mark IV.. just one more.
    AngryGoldfish
    ChucklesMginty wrote: People rate perfect 10s for low-end Epiphones, and this gets an 8.8. xD
    People rate on what their opinion is. The Epiphone guitar, according to them, was obviously a 10 out of 10 for the money . You can't compare a $4000 amp to a $600 guitar. They're an entirely different market.
    von gelb
    @ The Unforgive: No it probably won't be, because my guess is your country will charge you for import taxes.
    bozzat
    im thinking to sell my Randall V2 and buy this. what do you think?
    RocknRory
    I think I gave this amp too low of a score, now I would probably give it a 9.5 or so. User rating wins!
    RocknRory
    Rictus Grin wrote: Couple of mistakes in this review I want to correct. First the Mark V has a series effects loop not a parallel. (Thankfully) Pasted directly from the user manual. Thanks for pointing that out. Recently I played through my Mark V with my friends Strat deluxe ash and it changes it completely. Your guitar choice has a big impact on the tone, keep that in mind. Also Channel 1 and 2 let you select between diode and tube rectification ONLY on 45w mode. If your using 90 or 10, it selects tube in 10w and diode in 90 im pretty sure. I'm still not sure how to set the Mix knob for the effects loop, but Im still lovin this amp. Rock on. "This loop is wired such that the dry signal is in series with the effected (wet) signal." Channels 1 ans 2 switch between diode and tube rectification and channel 3 is diode rectifiaction only. Channel threes switch actually swithces the power tubes from pentode to tiode mode. Not anything major, but it may make a difference to some. Especially since the original Mark 2C+ power tubes were permanently wired in triode mode. So you can get closer to the original that way. (Think Metallica Master of Puppets sound.) Good review though. Not trying to nitpick but those two things make a difference to me in deciding to buy this. (Money saving mode: ON)
    Rictus Grin
    Couple of mistakes in this review I want to correct. First the Mark V has a series effects loop not a parallel. (Thankfully) Pasted directly from the user manual. "This loop is wired such that the dry signal is in series with the effected (wet) signal." Channels 1 ans 2 switch between diode and tube rectification and channel 3 is diode rectifiaction only. Channel threes switch actually swithces the power tubes from pentode to tiode mode. Not anything major, but it may make a difference to some. Especially since the original Mark 2C+ power tubes were permanently wired in triode mode. So you can get closer to the original that way. (Think Metallica Master of Puppets sound.) Good review though. Not trying to nitpick but those two things make a difference to me in deciding to buy this. (Money saving mode: ON)
    dementiacaptain
    rikk666 wrote: i,ve been seriousley eyeing up one of these bad boys since they first came out.but after putting a post on about messa over marshall,splawn.and every body said the marshall,splawn are the bees knees.then again im into mick mars tone.dunno yet though.havent tried the splawn nor can i find one to try.....lmao.
    i live in north carolina so I can!!! im sorry its cool having a desirable brand being made in my home state, but 2nd on the transatlantic
    rikk666
    i,ve been seriousley eyeing up one of these bad boys since they first came out.but after putting a post on about messa over marshall,splawn.and every body said the marshall,splawn are the bees knees.then again im into mick mars tone.dunno yet though.havent tried the splawn nor can i find one to try.....lmao.
    Shor-T Zero
    ChucklesMginty wrote: People rate perfect 10s for low-end Epiphones, and this gets an 8.8. xD
    True, but I would believe this review more. Seems to know what he is talking about, and judges things seemingly fairly. I'm hoping I can play this amp someday...not sure if I would keep my 6505+, get this, or maybe look into an ENGL or Diezel.
    SanJose
    The^Unforgiven wrote: I'd really want this amp, too, just a shame that in Finland it's RIDICULOUSLY expensive, the 1x12 combo is 3100 ($4176) on thomann! Lol, might actually be cheaper to buy plane tickets to the States and buy it there than buying it here...
    Same here dude. I live in Norway. I don't need to say more? Hahaha Sucks that I don't have the chance to even TRY it. I want to try this beast!
    v2a2n2g2
    Really wish I had this amp. Especially since my drummers pound on his drums like a retarded monkey lmao.
    new_age_reject
    I absolutely bloody love Mesa Boogie. If my Marshall half cab wasn't so cheap I would have saved up and got one.
    The^Unforgiven
    I've heard that this amps like a heap of Mesa amps in one. The Mark IV mode, I hear, sounds very much like the original Mark IV.
    AlanHB
    I think you should also mention that you can apply independent EQs for each channel to a degree. Whilst you can't customise each EXACTLY to your liking, there is a "preset" function which combined with different "depth" controls for each channel allows you to choose different depths of a V shape EQ for each channel. What I have is a custom EQ (using the graphic EQ manually) for channel 3, a slightly deeper V for channel one, and a slightly less deep V for channel two.