While they aren’t the oldest amp manufacturer out there, Mesa Boogie is definitely one of the best. The story of this company is one of the more interesting ones you will hear. It all began with a single repair technician by the name of Randall Smith.
He owned a small music shop in California, and was one day approached by a friend who challenged him to make his Fender Princeton amp sound better. It was more of a joke than anything else.
However, when Smith came back with the result, everyone was impressed. The newly modified Fender Princeton was so good that Smith soon received orders from people all over to do the exact same thing to their Princeton’s.
From that point on Mesa Engineering was born, and it grew to become one of the best and most respected amp manufacturers in the world. Today we will take a look at best Mesa Boogie amps on the market. They are mostly known for their Dual Rectifier model that is used by many metal bands. However enough people already wrote about that amp, so we’ll focus on their less known models today.
Best Mesa Boogie Amps
– Mesa Boogie Mark Five 25 –
Mesa’s new version of their popular Mark Five series comes with the same amount of attention to detail, and even better sound this time around. It’s an award winning amp that is both versatile and simply impressive in all aspects that matter. The Mesa Boogie Mark Five 25 amp head features a somewhat retro design that is simple and intuitive for use.
Mesa Boogie Mark Five 25 head is a 25 Watt tube amp that features two channels and a graphic EQ. Each channel has its own dedicated three-way EQ, gain, presence, and master level controls.
The graphic EQ is applied to both channels, and allows you to shape the sound outside the limits of the three-way EQ controls. Two channels have six modes in total. Aside from clean, you also have varying levels of overdrive and distortion to choose from. This makes Mesa Boogie Mark Five 25 a very flexible little amp head.
The sound is exactly what you could expect from a high tier Mesa Boogie amp. Cleans are defined and offer impressive clarity, while overdrive gives you that vintage tone only a solid tube amp can produce. The more aggressive distortions are just incredible. If you need a face melting metal sound, this amp has you covered.
– Mesa/Boogie Lone Star Special
Mesa Boogie is mostly known for their amp heads, however they have a pretty decent line of combo amps as well. The Lone Star Special is one such model that packs the same heat you can find in Mesa’s most popular amps, only in a more compact and versatile package.
This amp sports a vintage design that is inspired by the amps from the 70s, and it just looks so good.
Mesa Boogie Lone Star Special is a 30 Watt tube amp that features four EL84, five 12AX7 and one 5Y3 tubes. This power is being delivered to a single 12 inch speaker. There are two channels on this Mesa, and each channel can be assigned with a different number of tubes essentially allowing the user to reduce the power from 30 Watts to 15 or even 5 Watts.
The channels each feature their own separate controls which is something you will find on most Mesa Boogie amps. You have two sets of gain, treble, mid, bass, presence, and master knobs with the exception of drive channel which also has a drive knob. Each channels is divided into two sub channels. The overdrive channel features ‘thick’ and ‘thicker’ modes, which offer different types of distortions.
This amp comes across as very balanced, even for a Mesa unit. It’s not as aggressive as their other models by default, but if you want to you can tune in that saturated distortion just fine. The cleans are very warm and clear, while the overdrive can go anywhere from a solid blues tone to a full on metal sound. In all essence it’s a toned down choice for those who don’t need the Dual Rectifier’s Red Channel type of distortion, but still want to have the Mesa Boogie sound.
– Mesa Boogie Bass Prodigy Four:88
When people think about Mesa Boogie amps, in 90% cent of the cases they are thinking of guitar amps. However, this company also makes a selection of great bass amps that deserve a mention as well.
The Mesa Boogie Bass Prodigy Four:88 we chose for you today is a compact little box that brings on a massive sound. It’s the tube amp for those who like to keep things simple.
First thing that you will notice when you first see the Mesa Boogie Bass Prodigy Four:88 is its size. It’s so small compared to regular amp heads. However, it’s compact size hides an impressive 250 Watt tube configuration that includes four KT88 power tubes and three 12AX7 preamp tubes.
In terms of controls, Mesa engineers went for simplicity. You will find a gain knob, followed by a bass, mid, treble controls that come in that unusual order. Next is your voice select knob and the master level knob.
Dialing a perfect tone on this amp is so easy despite the fact that you can choose a whole bunch of options such as the power output and different voices. With this amp it’s all about ease of use, and the ability to shape the sound you need in a matter of minutes.
Once you set everything up, you will experience that unique tube bass sound. There’s loads of projections with just as much definition. If you want to go muddy, you can without having to worry about walking into distortion territory. All in all a pretty impressive little amp head.
We decided to show you a different set of best Mesa Boogie amps. Sure, the Dual Rectifier is probably the best mesa boogie amp out there at the moment, but the rest of their lineup deserves some attention too.
All of the amps we mentioned today are impressive, but they all suffer from the same flaw, their price. However, good things don’t come cheap and that is something we are going to have to deal with.