Price paid: $ 1270
Purchased from: Mesa/Boogie Holywood
Sound — 10
There is pretty much 5 different "sound types" you can get from this amp: Clean, Pushed, Raw, Vintage and Modern which are the 5 modes you can set this amp to. I use a 7-string BC Rich Warlock guitar with Bareknuckle Warpig pickups (they have an astonishing 26k output) and a 6-string Ibanez RG with stock pickups and in both guitars I can get any sound I want and the sound of the guitar comes through. Don't get fooled by it's 50W, they are real loud, it seemed to me they were even louder than my 120W Crate GT1200H. Despite this, the amp is real quiet, there is minimal hum, if any. Clean is pretty much that, clean. You can however crank up the gain and you'll get an amazing bluesy overdrive with the neck pickup. Pushed is similar to the sound you get when you crank up the Clean mode, but you can get much more Drive this way. In fact, you can get a full on distortion from this mode, all you have to do is crank up the gain and treble. The cool thing on the distortion here though is the sound of your guitar really shines here, making solos sound much more dynamic, making this mode versatille and suitable for almost any kind of music. Raw mode is a mild gain channel which can function as an alternate clean channel when the gain is set low (1-3). As you increase the gain however you start to hear a a really crunchy, chuggy kind of tone which unlike the two higher gain modes, retains the guitars personality almost in it's entirety. It is very good to play rock and for lower gain leads, but don't use this for metal or anything which needs higher gain. Vintage mode is where the Rectifier's Fame of having the killer distortion really starts showing. It has nearly endless gain and the notes jump out of the fretboard with ease. On the lower gain range it sounds really similar to the "Raw" mode, but it is a little warmer. As you crank the gain the voicing changes dramatically, it becomes suitable for metal and meatier riffing. Still, if you are going for metal you don't want to use this mode for it because it does not have a tight bass response. In fact, the bass is pretty flubby here, so you would need to set it around 4-5. Modern is not only my favorite mode, it's also the most brutal mode of all. It has more gain than the "Vintage" mode, yet it retains a real percussive sound and has a real tight bass response which makes it great for metal. It is a little harsh on the high end if you don't know how to control it but once you figure it out it will really show the meaning of brutal distorsion. Overall, this amp sounds simply amazing, there really isn't much to complain about, other than if you don't know how to set the EQ right it will sound like crap!
Overall Impression — 10
This amp can do anything I throw at it, I am really satisfied with it. I play mostly metal and the Modern mode really nails the sound I was looking for. The only thing I don't like about it is that it lacks a third channel like it's bigger brothers (Dual and Triple Rectos). Still, I don't really need it since I only use one channel and control the amount of Drive with the volume knob. I have to be thankful to the people at the Mesa/Boogie outlet in Holywood, they let me crank this beast a bit, which comparing to the Peavey JSX I was going for originally (good amp BTW), it blows it out of the water. The Drive on the Mesa is simply unique, and to the morrons that say it is just like every distortion pedal, go buy a distortion pedal and try getting the same sound. If my amp were to get stolen I would go after the guy Who did it and shove something big up his, you know.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Built like a tank, I have used it on a gig without a backup, but I recomend having spare tubes since you never know. When I bought this thing I had it shipped all the way to Brazil and it got here without a scratch, except for the footswitch which the idiots at customs managed to place right under the amp which got the jack for the footswitch cable offset a little. But the footswitch itself still works, even though plugging in the cable sucks a little.
Features — 8
This all tube amp has 2 Channels, dubbed channel 1 (clean) and channel 2 (distortion), and has a total of 5 different modes. It has a power output of 50 watts coming from 2 6L6s (or EL34s if you prefer) in the power amp section and 5 12AX7 tubes on the pre-amp section. There is a Solo feature which allows you to have a preset volume for when you enter in a solo so everyone can hear. The channels and the solo feature can be switched through the included footswitch or through the channel switching features (which I won't comment on since I have not yet used it). It also has a parallel effects loop (which preserves the tube tone when you use effects) and has 3 cabinet outputs (1 8ohm output and 2 4ohm outputs). To complement the head it has a Slave out feature which allows it to be hooked up to other power amps for more power if needed. A third channel with the same characteristics as channel 2 would be welcome but that can easily be solved by using a pedal as a booster, to increase the gain a little on leads. Other than that though, there isn't really any other features I would need.