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Mesa Boogie Mark V 1 x 12 Combo

The latest combo offering from Mesa Boogie in their "Mark" line makes it hard to get a bad tone.

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The most gigworthy amp made featured

Sound A friend dropped off his dogs, his Mark V and a Nash tele and G&L Asat classic (Seymour Duncan Bridge and tele neck pickups) I also used my RG 520 which is mahogany and has dimarzio breed pickups (way overwound PAF's) I mostly play Blues/rock with some country and metal thrown in (think Merle Haggard to Metallica) with a touch of dark matter thrown in now and again.

I immediately downloaded the manual from Mesa and brought it up on my 22 inch monitor so I could zoom in on the controls front and back, this was of great help as I didn't have to keep bending down to look closely at the panel to tell what I was doing.

I'm pretty quick with amps and I'll have to say four switches on each channel with an eq/preset selector switch by the eq for each channel making it five. Onboard reverb control for each channel and a Tube/diode rectifier control for channels 2/3 when the channel is set to 45 watts and a global solo boost and master volume and more.

I started in 10 watt mode clean channel which goes from a great clean channel to tweed sound using tht top 3 way switch. each channel has it's own controls so no shared EQ THANK YOU.. Gain/Vol/Pres/Treb/Mid/Bass.

Channel 2 can be used as a step of for channel one with a little extra gain or be adjusted all the way to a thick massive metal rhythm channel.

Channel 3 is what an ultimate lead channel should be. Fully adjustable to get your best tone and the preset/contour control comes in extra handy here as it seems to add focus and compression.

Overall the sound is whatever you want it to be with this amp, I don't think it will do an exact duplicate of a blackface fender but neither do the fender reissues.

Reliability I would feel no need to bring a backup and would just bring extra tubes. Since mesa makes their amps to match the tubes they use it's a simple fix if a tube goes out at a gig. I've been using a small mesa (subway rocket) to gig for around three years with no issues so I have no reason to believe this one is any less reliable..

Customer Support Mesa has great customer support, they can be hard to reach at times but when you do they are the most helpful large company I've dealt with. I called about a friends amp that had the reverb out. I had the amp apart and their tech walked me through a couple quick tests. told me what resister was blown and how to change it without disassembling the amp...what could have taken hours took minutes..

Liked about it Sound quality is extraordinary. you can get almost any tone you can imagine from it short of blackface and bogner.
The footswitch has a great layout.
The controls are laid out well as well, once you get used to one channel you've got it like the top switch all the way up is least gain, all the way down is most gain for that channel.

Didn't like Can be hard to set up. when I got it the owner didn't think the footswitch worked right when engaging the eq but it was a matter of a switch being set wrong.
Expensive, ok it goes with the quality but that doesn't change the fact that it's a lot of money.

Overall satisfaction:

By ChrisPcritter
Jan 03, 2011
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My most anticipated review of 2010!! featured

Sound Ok, so as a Mesa/Boogie user since 2003, and anticipating the release of this amp when my Boogie rep first told me about it, I have since had countless hours testing both the head version and the combo. I've also tested the combo alone, and in conjunction with a Mesa Theile (loaded with an EVM12L) and Mesa Recto 2x12, with various Ibanez guitars (RG350, 470, 1570), a Les Paul Traditional, and a Jackson RR24.

I wont lie...even as an experienced Mesa Mark user, it took some time getting used to the INCREDIBLY powerful tone sculpting capabilities of this amp. It's 3 channels include individual reverb control on all 3 channels (which are also switchable from tube to diode rectifier; an important feature in fine tuning your gain sound) and a pentode/triode switch on channel 3 (the most important switch for ultra-high gainers like me - this took me forever to figure out!) Another new added feature is not only do you have presence control on EVERY channel, but you also have a presence depth control, allowing you to further fine tune your gain structure; WOW! The 5 band graphic EQ is where you get your "Master Mesa-sound" and it is capable of being switched on or off for each channel on the amp, or via footswitch for added control, along with the solo-boost feature.

Channel one (Clean, Fat, Tweed) Takes you from soft and gentle Fender-y tones, lilting into buttery jazz (and you can switch into a lower 10 or 45 watt setting to disengage a tube for a different Class A gain structure), or flip the bold switch and roll the gain up and even get some dirt and beautiful crunch out of Channel 1.

Channel 2 (Edge, Crunch, Mark I) Holds all the traditional Mark I sounds, but when I was first dialing it in, I found it to be more transparent and aggressive than just about any period Marshall or (personally, Mark II, or my R2 channel of my Mark III) that I had come across. I found by rolling the gain off on the Mark I setting and with the "Normal/Thick" switch, you could obtain just about any classic rock, creamy sustaining sounds of the 60's and 70's I was looking for. Again, with combinations of the regular EQ, the graphic EQ, and the independant presence controls, each channel is a museum of Mesa/Boogie sounds!

Channel 3 (Mark IIC+, Mark IV, Extreme) Holy. Crap. Of course, this is the grail of metal. The IIC+ is just about 100% spot on...I also ran both the head and combo through a Mesa 4x12 in 90 watts for about 3 hours on this channel and proceeded to blow mine (and the stores) brains out...At first I lingered on the IIC+ settings since it was so awesome, but the Mark IV is just as spot on (you have to remember it runs 7 tubes instead of the real mark IV's 5, so switching the pentode/triode switch REALLY lets you find your tone!) The Extreme setting jumps volume and PUMMELS the preamp with crystal clear ultra-gain...its a whole new Boogie sound...

It took a while to figure this new Boogie out, but if you love amps that you can make you sound like -you- ...this would be the one.

(For some awesome sound clips - check out racerevlons great review!)

Reliability Its built amazingly well! Like all Mesa's, it comes with a protective slip cover, but if you are a gigging and touring musician like me you would probably want some sort of case though to protect your investment so it can last the lifetime it's designed for! Mesa's are some of the best built amps in the business.

Customer Support Its a Mesa. Mesa has the most amazing customer support I have ever had to deal with. Can't tell you how awesome they have been to me and how fast they have got me the parts and stuff I've needed. Always highly recommended - they are the original boutique amp company; since 1969!

Liked about it 1) Freakin amazing tone.
2) Rediculous versatility.
3) Soooo many options.

Didn't like 1) Even as a longtime Mesa user; still a little tough to dial in at first.
2) is boutique.
3) Combo speaker needed some speaker break in.

Overall satisfaction:

By SonicProvocateur
Jan 31, 2010
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Possibly the most flexible combo on the market!! featured

Sound I originally took two guitars to the Mesa Hollywood store to check out the Mesa Road King combo. Ended up checking out the Roadster instead of the Road King, then, just as I was about to leave, they suggested I check out the Mark 5 just for grins. This amp is UNBELIEVABLE. I played it through my Ibanez RG760 with Dimarzio Super 3 bridge and Fast Track 2 Neck, and my mahogany Ibanez Artist with Dimarzio PAF 36th Anniversary bridge and Air Norton neck, in both humbucker and single-coil mode with my installed push-pull coil splitting volume potentiometer. I couldn't make this thing sound bad. Every sound you've ever heard is in there. There are three channels with three selectable modes each. The cleans on channel 1 go from clean, shimmering, and sparkling, to fat and jazzy, to just broken up "cheap dirt." Channel two takes you into the 70's and 80's with everything from Santana to Satriani. Channel 3 is your heavy gain channel and just piles it on with everything from Dream Theater to unbelievable amounts of gain on the "Extreme" setting. You can choose between using the 5-band EQ or a Mid-Contour EQ... or no EQ... this is the most flexible combo I've ever used. Each channel has three selectable power modes: 10w, 45w, or 90w, meaning you can have your clean channel on 90w for maximum headroom, have your crunch channel at 10w for a great touch-responsive crunch, and have channel 3 on 45w for the best of both worlds. Included footswitch means all you'd really need is any effects you want in the loop (also footswitchable). You can also select bewtween a full-power and Variac mode that gives that nice power sag. Bottom line, the Road King, while allowing for the mix of different power tubes, isn't really worth the extra $1000, and the Roadster (for the same price as the Mark 5) just seemed to lack character. With the ability to run this into a 4x12, I can't see ever needing anything else. Best amp I've ever played in this price range. You can listen to my full, narrated review here:

Keep in mind this review is more talking than playing and it's about 13MB.



MarkV_Channel 3_MarkIV.mp3

Reliability This thing is built like a tank. I've only had it for a few weeks, but I've had no issues. I would gig this amp without a backup. If a power tube went out, I'd just switch to a lower power mode.

Customer Support Haven't had to deal with customer support but the guys at Mesa Hollywood were awesome, very indulgent, and even though I had tons of questions, never made me feel like a nuisance.

Liked about it Unbelievable tone shaping options.
Power modes assignable by channel.
Built-in cooling fan that can be switched on or off.

Didn't like Pricey for a combo, but you definitely get what you pay for.
Not available in a 2x12, but you can plug into an extension cab.
Footswitch is a little tough to get out of the storage pocket--once you figure it out though, no problem.

Overall satisfaction:

By racerevlon
Oct 11, 2009
Last updated: January 05, 2010
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