Single Rectifier Solo 50 Head Review

manufacturer: Mesa Boogie date: 10/03/2007 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Mesa Boogie: Single Rectifier Solo 50 Head
For those in the know, the 50 watt head has been an underground secret in the world of rock and roll for three decades. Offering a truly useable power band with a bright, fast top end, the vibe of these mid-power amps has always been brash and urgent, with a rebel disposition.
 Sound: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8.2
 Features: 8.5
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reviews (6) pictures (1) 32 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
Single Rectifier Solo 50 Head Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 03, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1270

Purchased from: Mesa/Boogie Holywood

Features: 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. // 8

Sound: 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! // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Single Rectifier Solo 50 Head Reviewed by: Matthiasberndt, on june 17, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1400

Features: It's a 50 watt tube amplifier made in 2007 (don't remember). Two channels with seperate EQs, parallel fx-loop, solo boost. Ch1 has two modes (clean and pushed), while ch2 has three (raw, Vintage and modern). These modes are not "footswitchable" while the two different channels and volume (solo boost) are. The only thing some players might be missing is reverb but if you are desperate for it, buy a pedal! It also has a great "stand by" Switch. // 9

Sound: I use a Gibson Les Paul with burstbucker pickups and play at the moment different types of modern metal. The amp works really well and I have by far the heaviest and cleanest guitar sound compared to all other local players. It really gives me the sound I want. I understand why many claim that Mesa isnt the brand for people playing metal since the low bass-sound is not quit as tight as you might want it. My solution to that problem is to play through a Ibanez tubescreamer which helps! Other reasons why many might not find Mesa as a metal amp is because they go to their music store and try it on a low volume which does not show its capability, Its made to be played at high volumes so to get that brain-destroying sound one needs to turn it up. As many claim, they also need a lot of tweeking before you're happy since the EQs are very sensitive. I don't find it noisy at all. The clean channel does get a little bit distorted at higher volumes (like rehearsing with the band). If you turn down the volume on the guitar that wont be a problem at all. I find this amp so versatile that playing other kinds of music like rock, pop, blues works really well. I can plug in my Clapton stratocaster and get a really smooth and bluesy sound. I mainly use "clean" on the first channel and find "pushed" unnecessary. On channel 2 i use "modern" and "Vintage" which really covers all the sounds one might want for different kinds of rock to metal. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Has never failed me. Since I bought it second hand I made sure to change the tubes just to be sure to get the best sound. Did not make much of a difference which means that the tubes hold up pretty well since the guy had used the amp a lot under the 2 years he owned it. I use a cover for the head to avoid bumps and scratches when I take it for gigs and band rehearsal so it still looks and sounds like new. When you see this amp you will know that it is built to last and in very high quality. // 10

Overall Impression: This amp works great for all kinds of music such as rock, pop, blues and metal. I have been playing for about 8 years and this is my first "stack"-amp. Before I bought it I went to stores and tried tons of different amps mainly marshalls in the same price range and I found that this one killed them all when it came to sound and quality. If it was lost or stolen I would cry and probably get a new one or save up enough money to get the Mark IV or something like that. Its perfect for anybody Who plays some sort of rock in a band in the rehearsal room or on small to medium stages. The only bad thing I can find with it is that is is not a "practice in the room" amp mainly because of the fact that the volumes one would be playing at to get the best sound will make you unpopular with your parents or neighbors. // 9

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overall: 9.8
Single Rectifier Solo 50 Head Reviewed by: martinbg, on march 13, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 1250

Purchased from: ebay

Features: The amp was made around 2007. I'm running it through a friends Marshall JCM900 4x12 cab and occasionally through my crappy Crate 4x12. It's a 2 channel tube amplifier with a clean and a distorted channel. It's a series 2 single rectifier which has an additional 'vintage' setting on channel 2. I play mainly metal and pop-punk and the amp is just perfect for these styles. This monster is really powerful and it could be used for gigs without any problems. To tell you the truth I was thinking of buying the Dual Rectifier and for the price I paid I could've bought a used dual but in the end I'm glad I chose the single. You can get that meaty distortion at lower volumes with the single and that comes handy when we are rehearsing. Our drummer hits like a wuss and he was always complaining that my previous Bugera 333 amp was too loud. Now we are both happy. // 10

Sound: I'm using an Ibanez RGR321EX with a DiMarzio Air Norton in the neck and an air zone in the bridge. This combo can get you almost anything you want but it has its limitations. You know that tone the active EMGs produce? Well you can't get that but then again if I wanted that I would've bought EMGs. When I bought the amp I wanted to see how it sounds without any pedals in front of it. The first thing I tried was the modern mode on channel 2 *surprise surprise*. I turned everything to 12 o'clock and started dailing. This thing is versatile. Immediately I was hooked, I couldn't stop playing while my other band members were like "Dude this thing sounds HUGE!". What I noticed was that this amp has a flubby low end. This is not very good when you are a metal player but it's kind of perfect for punk. However I knew the cure to this well before I bought the amp and the cure is called OD808. Set the lil bastard with overdrive to 0, tone to 12 o'clock and balance to the max. After several power chords I came a little in my pants. The pedal adds definition to the low end and makes the amp sound closer to the dual rectifier, the sound becomes brutal and perfect for metal. If you are planning on buying this amp and play metal on it, don't forget to buy the OD808. Also don't forget to try the EL34 tubes for extra brutality. I know I didn't say anything about the Vintage and the raw settings on channel 2. That is because I don't plan to use them often and because I really doubt it anyone will buy this amp because of these. That is not to say that they sound bad but there are way cheaper amps out there that will provide similar results in this department. Now for the shitty part - the cleans. The clean channel on the single is bad. It's harsh and brittle sounding. Playing with the guitar tone knobs can make it sound decent but how the hell am I supposed to do this when I have to switch from cleans to distortion on stage? Anyway I can live with that. I'm sure with another week of tweaking I'll get better cleans out of that beast. An EQ pedal might also help here. // 9

Reliability & Durability: So far I didn't have any problems. I hope it remains that way. The shop I bought it from provides 2 years warranty and I hope I will never need it. Would I gig with it without backup? Hell yes I will, I'll just keep an extra set of matched tubes in my backpack. // 10

Overall Impression: As I said earlier I play punk and metal and the amp is a perfect match for that (You didn't forget the OD808 did you?). I've been playing for 10 years and I've played on quite a few decent amps. This one however beats the crap out of them. I didn't really understand what the fuss with mesa is all about. Now I know and I'm never letting go. I'm pleased with this amp although I paid a fairly high price for it. The reason I chose it before the dual is not the price tag but the sound. Punk on dual sucks, I'm sure there will be many who disagree but I stand behind what I said. My only wish is that the cleans were as good as the ones in the dual. If someone has the balls to steal my beautiful beast I will hunt the bastard down, strap his head to my rig and CRANK it. // 10

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overall: 7.5
Single Rectifier Solo 50 Head Reviewed by: Philipp Sobecki, on september 03, 2007
0 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 800

Purchased from: eBay

Features: Well, I guess that most of them know the features. Two channels with seperate EQs, parallel fx-loop, solo boost. Ch1 has two modes (clean and pushed), while ch2 has three (raw, vintage and modern). Unfortunatly, they are not footswitchable and have a very different approach to volume and EQ, so that you can't just switch them without tweaking. The solo boost and the channel Switch are footswitchable. // 6

Sound: I was playing an Ibanez RG270DX with a DiMarzio Exolution in the bridge through an Engl 2x12 cab with V30s. The clean channel is really bad. It always breaks up, even at single note playing. Complex chords are impossible, except with turning the guitar volume down to 3/10 and compensating the loss in volume with the solo boost (power amp volume). This is acceptable, but sterile sounding. The pushed mode is pretty good. It has a nice creamy sound for lead playing, I like this one. Too bad that you can't Switch between this one and the clean setting without setting the EQ. Ch1 and Ch2 have a different voicing, so you can't get this sound there. Raw. This is nothing special. It's just a low gain mode for classic rock without any "wow"-effects. It does not have this Class A "thump". Vintage. This is probably my 2nd favoite mode. It has lots of liquid high-gain which is quite good for a certain type of leads. Heavy rhythm sounds are also possible. The problem is, that it sounds rather buzzy and sterile. I've tried to fix this by putting JJ EL34Ls into the power amp, which made it better, but not good enough. Modern. This channel is suited for shredding and easy rhythm playing. This is the tightest channel in the Recto, but it's not tight enough for Necrophagist, because the bottom end is too flubby. It is really great for power chords, though. It has much gain, but after 2:00, the amp sounds very compressed and worse than a solid state amp, so don't use that much gain here. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I can't say much about that, because I had no problems with it. I just don't like the price politics of Mesa. In the USA, the prices are 100% ok, but in other countries, they are way too high. People are just buying them because there is this Mesa-hype, which is similar to that Marshall-fanatism. This is a rip-off. // 10

Overall Impression: There is a myth that Rectos are awesome the metal amps. I'd rather call them awesome hard-rock amps, because they don't do metal that good. It's very important to forget these titles and try the amps yourself. There are so many amps which are better than the recto, so don't be a fanboy and don't buy an amp because there is a "Mesa Engeneering" sign on it. I've sold my recto some weeks ago. // 7

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overall: 9.3
Single Rectifier Solo 50 Head Reviewed by: bigajvigs, on july 26, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 650

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: Not sure the year, will be contacting Mesa about it. Its a Mesa Single Rec 50 Solo )5 12AX7's, two 6L6)... I had always wanted a Mesa and when I saw this on the used portion of GC's site I drove the 2 hours to play with it. This thing rocks, pushed clean is really good but the Modern setting with the Solo feature just screamed... Only thing I wish it had was a Reverb setting but for what I paid I can shell out the extra cash for a Reverb pedal. I may have it modded by FJA and KT 88 biased, I am going to see how she runs with the current tubes... Its just a thought it sounded just fine though how it is:) // 9

Sound: I'm playing a Jackson DK2T hardtail with Seymour Duncans stock, as well as a Epiphone Les Paul Studio. I play metal, metalcore (Trivium, KSE, AILD, Metallica), as well as some Hendrix and my own stuff. This amp on the modern setting paired with my Jackson just SCREAMED. I was able to shred out some riffs, as well as play Like Light to the Flies and Master of Puppets real easy. I just got back into playing guitar and just messing with it I was blown away by the sound. I can easily get some KSE tones (I plan on covering a few songs), and it just was the sound I have been looking for for far to long. When the guy at GC in North Attleboro demoed it to me on the clean pushed and Vintage it just blew my mind. i do not know what he was playing but we had the amp cranked through the 2x12 Recto cab and it just sang. The tones were amazing. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I haven't gotten to play with it since I got it home because I don't have the cab yet... but I am certain that this thing with the right care will last me a long time. This amp seems to be built like a tank. I got it used at a super steal and it had one minor little cut in the tolex but she looks like she would take a beating, but I plan on treating this thing like a baby. I plan on gigging with it once I am ready and my first impression is i wouldn't need any backup besides an extra set of tubes at the ready. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp was what I was looking for for far to long, I had originally started saving up for a Roadster but lost my job and I can tell you that the tones on this are EXACTLY what I have been looking for. I have been playing for about 3-4 years now, I stopped for a long time as I was predisposed chasing other things... But I am now back into playing guitar and needed an amp that would last me quite a while and this is it! If this amp broke I don't know what I would do... If it was stolen I can't say what I would do because I would probably be hearing from the DHS... This thing just screams metal for me, and I am sure with an my MXR EQ I can dial it in even better. I will easily be able to cover a lot of the bands I like sound's, as well as start writing my own songs with this. I plan on getting a 7 string next to expand my musical horizon... I can't wait to see how this amp plays with a 7 string. I just have to get the cab now and start shredding it up. // 10

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overall: 6.8
Single Rectifier Solo 50 Head Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 07, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 750

Purchased from: used

Features: The amp has 5 different modes in two channels, effects loop, bias switch so you can run EL34s instead of 6L6s. PLENTY of power. Footswitch. Extremely versatile (more on this later). The only feature that is bogus is that when you switch out of channel two while playing, you get like a little delay or break in sound... Not noticeable to the audience, but enough to kind of bug me. // 9

Sound: This is where it gets weird. I use a 1991 Fender American Stratocaster with CGA (Carlsen Guitar Audio) pickups in it. I play mainly blues, country, classic rock, and some newer rock. I just started playing with a band that delves a bit more into modernish territory, so I wanted an amp that could cover all of that. I looked at and tested out a ton of different high end amps. I got this in trade for a 750 dollar piece of junk I had (some "custom built" deal), so I took it just to use it as more trade fodder toward something cool. When I hooked it up to my THD 2x12" cabinet with Weber Silver Bells, however, I was SHOCKED. This thing is extremely clear and articulate at high gain levels (channel 2, "vintage mode" half gain), and I can put my Strat in positions 2 and 4 and still sound spanky like a Strat should. When I hit the solo boost button and play in the neck position, I get this FAT, creamy tone with some snarl in there just like SRV. I am a tone wonk, and I have owned many amps. I have played for 20 years, and I know that it seems weird to use a Strat and what I always thought was strictly a "metal" amp with a Strat, but the results speak for themselves. The only effect I run with mine is an MXR carbon copy to fatten up the leads a little. Did I mention that the clean is amazing, too? I run the first channel in "pushed" mode and the gain almost wide open. To clean up, I just roll the volume knob back. If I really want to be jangly, I just turn off the "pushed" mode, and I have all kinds of sparkle and jangle. Not as nice as Fender clean, but damn close. The amp will cover any sound you want, and for the price, it will do a HELL of a job of it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I used to own a Mesa Boogie Trem-O-Verb, and it broke down immediately after I got it. I got a replacement, and that one fried, too, then I got a third one, and that one fried too. I hope that my Single Rectifier isn't as terrible, but no probs yet. // 1

Overall Impression: I set out to find an amp that could cover a very wide range of sounds with a Stratocaster, and I really expected this thing to be a useless pig that I would just trade for a real amp. What I found was that this is probably the most versatile amp I have ever owned. The clean is not as good as my Blackface Twin, and the classic rock overdrive isn't QUITE as good as my Dr. Z 6545, but it is very close, and it can make a Strat sing. I am really impressed. If it got lost or stolen, I would scrounge up the 750 (the street price is low, I have seen them go for 650!) and try to get another one on the used market. I have been playing for 20 years, and I am totally against new stuff, but this thing is a true surprise. // 8

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