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Mesa Single Rectifier Rect-O-Verb Series 2 50W 1x12 combo

 
2 channel, 5 modes ' Clean, Pushed, Raw, Vintage, Modern. Individual tone stacks per channel: Gain, Treble, Mid, Bass, Presence Reverb and Volume. Overall Master output and Solo output level controls. EL34 or 6L6 power, 5 12AX7's, parallel effects loop, 1x12 Mesa (Celestion) Black Shadow speaker, oversize combo cabinet.


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A Very Versatile Amp Unless You Like Fender featured

Sound I came across this amp in a little shop near me, i saw it in its terrifying blackness (Racism not intended) and so i decided to tackle the beast! First I played a 1979 Fender Anniversary Strat straight in. I Went to the 2nd Channel first (Mostly because i like working with Cleans the most so i saved that for last) and dialed it for the heaviest, most bad ass Overdrive i could tune into it (On the modern setting with the gain right up) And of course she sang, played various tunes like Janes Addiction's, "Stop" and it sounded thick and heavy, even for just a single coiled guitar. I fiddled through other settings on channel two, Vintage and raw. They just seem to offer various degrees of overdrives, but i prefer just to keep it on the modern, its the most crisp and cutting.

Content with that, i then sat the Fender strat down, and picked up my Ibanez RG2550MZ and plugged her in. I then went to channel 1 to the pushed section. Very bluesy, almost SRV tone, but without the amount of depth (But he used a 1x15 so its kinda understandable) and some jazz fusion elements.

Finally, to the area i was waiting for the most. The Clean channel. You see i was looking forward to this the most because for the last few years ive been gigging with a Fender 65twin and for those of you who don't know about fender amps, Fender twins come in one format: Two Speakers, 80 pounds of weight and LOUD. Serious, in most medium sized venues i was running this baby at about one and a half, two if i was feeling ambitious and the twin goes to 10! So i was kinda looking for something that did the clean, but enables me to turn down enough so it didn't kill people, and up enough to warm the tubes. That and doesn't kill my back form the weight and a second channel would be a bonus.

So, rambling stories aside, the mesa's clean channel was absolutely!...... Pants.

it was alright if you like your muddy jazz and upbeat indie but that raw sparkling clean was nowhere to be seen. I even gave it a fair chance by using the fender strat instead of the High output Ibanez but it still sucked clean.

(for those of you wondering, I used a low output guitar on the gain channel, and a high output guitar on the clean channel simply because i wanted to challenge the gain channel (Whether it could still give me heavy tones with such a small input) and challenge the the clean channel's headroom (By using a higher output guitar so it would distort easier)) However on both guitars, the headroom of the clean channel was severely lacking.

I still bought the amp, but thats because i got a great deal on it, and the overdrive channels are seriously the best Ive heard! And ive played just about every popular amp out there, including boutique company's like soldano, carvin, sunn and Diezel (Although it rivaled the Diezel)


Reliability Pretty good, except for the reverb, that broke then when i tried to replace the tank, i found it was soldered on making it impossible. But who the hell buys a mesa for the reverb?!?


Customer Support I have yet to deal with them, but from what i hear, they have a man who sits at a computer and replys pretty quick to emails


Liked about it The overdrive channels!
The Mesa Black Shadow speaker sounds pretty good!
Its not too weighty either, but you wouldnt want to walk too far with it
Looks scary!
Solo boost! Its a great feature if you want to switch on some volume for a solo the kick it off again when you wana fall about into the rest of the band.


Didn't like The cleans are bad if you like a pristine, distortion free clean
The one speaker lacks width, space and dimension. (Can be solved by a cab)
The FX loop is pretty standard. No switch to turn it off either.
The set bias is pretty cold! It comes with 6l6 tubes however i just switch it to the el34 setting because it brings up the bias to engage the tubes a little more.

To sum up, This amp would be perfect for the typical shredder who likes to gig with his metal band shredding and head banging, and when he gets home he can record some of his jazz fusion to upload to his YouTube account.

This amp is also for you if you play harder blues, Any kind of rock, anything to do with metal and if you get a cab it'll last you for every gig you do whether its a small club gig or a big stage gig.

This amp is also perfect for replacing a stack which out of all things in the music industry way overdue being put to the back burner.

I rate this amp a 3 for me (A person who occasionally works with distortion, but mostly with clean sounds)

For any persons i described, it would probably be a 5.

Yours Heavily,
Big The Cat


Overall satisfaction:
 
3.0

By Big The Cat
Dec 18, 2010
 
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Versatile combo... featured

Sound Guitars Used: Ibanez RG440 HSS configuration (Seymour Duncan JB humbucker and two Seymour Duncan Hot Rails), Ibanez '78 AR100, Ibanez SC Classic.

Style: Rock to some Metal, some funk/jazz.

How does it fit: Firstly, no one single amp will do everything. Period. I'm talking about everything. Does most things well. In light of what I just said, I'll try to be fair in my experience and review of this amp. I'll also state the this amp and I guess rectos in general won't be for everyone. Do your homework.

Is it noisy?: The clean channel is pretty quite and so is the OD channel, although on high gain settings it's a little noisy but not overly so. In fact, it's surprisingly quite considering the gain amount. Overall, pretty good in that department.

The Sounds:
The amp has two channels with various modes. The 1st channel has two modes, Clean and Pushed. The 2nd channel has three modes, Raw, Vintage and Modern. I'll try and describe each mode.

1st channel Clean mode:
It has nice cleans, not Fender-like or Mesa Lone Star-like, a little directional rather than a 3D fullness. It may be what I feel is a lack of 'fullness and roundness'. It can sound better and fuller if tweaked with a couple of effects. The top end can sound a little brittle/piecing if the treble is pushed too far. Roll it back and the tone will get fuller but it can lack a little sparkle/presence. A good balance can be found by tweaking the tone controls and the guitars tone pot and use of front pick up. An EQ pedal can help, too. Not an absolutely fantastic clean but good and usable in most cases, especially with the front pickup. I've heard worse.

1st channel Pushed mode:
This is a great mode. It leaves where the Clean mode finishes. This mode can give you some great ACDC-ish and 70's rock drives and tones. EL34's in the power section help here, I feel, a little better than 6L6's. Really good blues type drives and tones, although again, a little more direct in it's attack. In other words, it doesn't feel as 'spongy or saggy' as say a Marshall when it's driven, maybe it's not as compressed as a Marshall but each note rings out rather well. Overall, this is a great mode regardless and when it's pushed with a boost or OD pedal, this mode shines.

2nd channel Raw mode:
Again, this takes over where the 1st channel Pushed mode finishes. This mode is a little dark tone-wise compared to the Vintage and Modern modes and also both clean modes. I really like this mode, though. I use an EQ in the loop and usually boost the top end frequencies a little to add some presence and adjust the treble dial accordingly on the amp. I also do a little more than that with the EQ and amps tone controls but I'll leave it at that. It's for you to experiment. I'll only drop a hint or two.

As far as the overall drive character goes, it's pretty usable. With the gain low, you get a nice break up and as you crank the gain, it gives a nice raw driven tone. An OD pedal with some gain turned up sounds really good. You can get a nice smooth dark-ish tone that reminds me of dark chocolate. This mode is not as compressed as the Vintage and Modern modes, it feels more dynamic, that's why I like it a lot.

2nd channel Vintage mode:
Many recto users regard this as 'the best' mode. I don't disagree. This mode leaves off where the Raw mode finishes. It's tonally brighter, possibly attributed to more mids, treble and presence. The recto crunch is certainly alive in this mode. It can get pretty brutal. Rhythm playing is effortless and with the help of an OD pedal, you can play more fluidly (more on that later). This mode has a nice feel to it, probably due to the more compressed nature than the Raw mode. The gain available is huge, although set too high it can sound a little muddy and too compressed. If it's set that high, you probably need to learn that 'less is more'. There's plenty of useful tones in this mode. Many a style of music can be played in this mode by adjusting the gain and/or rolling the guitars volume.

2nd channel Modern mode:
The least used mode for me. In fact, I hardly use it. Plenty of gain on tap. This mode sounds a lot brighter than the other modes and the highs are more fizzy. Commenting positively or negatively would be unfair to this review. Sorry. You'll have to look for other reviews.

How Brutal is the Distortion?: It's a recto. There is no doubt that this amp can crank it out. It surprises me all the time. No other amp's come close to the recto sound/tone. Copied? Emulated? Maybe.

For a combo with a 1x12 speaker, this amp has a huge sound that will shake walls and windows. No kidding. It's damn surprising just how big this amp sounds. The bottom end is massive. At 50 watts, it's very loud. Don't be fooled. When cranked and the tubes are working at temperature, this amp really shines. Low volume playing is not bad although the tone suffers a little. Surprisingly it still sounds decent.

Other:
Overall, the amp is very good and can cover a lot of ground. Good cleans (say above average), great pushed mode, nice dark Raw mode, fantastic Vintage mode and well, I can't say too much about the Modern mode but I'm sure it has a place. This amp won't be for everyone as the recto's drive 'characteristic' is unlike most other amps. You need to hear it to evaluate whether it suits you.

The various modes have an effect on the tone and volume when switching. You need to adjust the settings when switching modes aas they all sound different. You cannot switch modes via a footswitch except by hand, via little toggle switches on the front panel.

Mesa's in general are 'difficult' amps to dial in. The tone stack is interactive; when the treble is adjusted, it affects the mids and bass and so on. The treble has the most effect, though. Don't expect to come from a Marshall or Fender and just 'set and forget'. It doesn't work that way. Half the trick is to understand what the amp can and can't do.

I mentioned an OD pedal earlier to have a more fluid-like tone with this amp. I feel it's required for solos/leads however, as a rhythm/riffing machine, the amp nails it. As a lead machine, it needs help otherwise your liquidy solos that you'd love to do can sound somewhat choppy. An OD pedal (or two) will do two things:

1. The amp's a little loose as standard. To tighten the amp, an OD/boost pedal is used, usually a tubescreamer type pedal. If you're curious how and why, do some research on the net.

2. It's difficult to play lead/solos without some outside help. The natural state of the amp seems to 'cut off' notes, ie. not sustain, making it difficult to play fluid legato lines, tapping and fast passages. This has been my experience and it's duly noted by many on the net. A 'general' consensus seems to be, 'You want Santana-esque solo tone/fluidity, buy a Mesa Mark series amp!' In a way I agree but the this amp does come through with some help.


Reliability Excellent reliability. I've had no issues with this amp. Owned 2.5 yrs.


Customer Support I have contacted Mesa a number of times by email and they've replied to all of them. Fantastic service.


Liked about it Reliable.

Good to excellent range of tones, drives and versatility that cover a lot of ground for me.

Tube power options: EL34 or 6L6's.


Didn't like The reverb is rather weak sounding. It's not lush and full. Get a good reverb pedal instead.

There's a delay when foot switching from channel to channel. It's under half a second, say 0.3 seconds. A little annoying but apparently cannot be fixed.

The parallel effects loop isn't great. A lot of pedals are affected by it. Most users modify it to series.


Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0

By Blaklynx
Nov 21, 2010
 
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