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I am totally excited because yesterday I bought my first tube amp, and I purchased a really sweet one: the mesa boogie express 5:25. :banana:

I've been playing guitar for a year. The express replaces my Vox DA-15 digital modelling amplifier. The Vox was a great starter amp, especially for what I paid for it, but as my ear for tone has improved, I grew increasingly disatisifed with muddy distortion, shrill lead notes, lack of responsiveness to picking dynamics, and the occaisionally nasty digital sound.

I wanted voxy cleans, a good crunch, a throaty blues and some creamy overdrive, and this amp does it. It will do up to 80s-era metal on the high-gain settings, but would likely need a pedal for a modern metal "chug chug" sound (either that or I would need a mahogany humbucker guitar).

For the last few months I've been trying all the amps I could find at the Vancouver music shops. I was considering a Vox AC30 and the Traynor YVC40 prior to the Express. The Vox AC30 sounded awesome, but was too large for my apartment, too heavy & bulky to be really portable in my little Toyota, and I wasn't as happy with the high gain at low volumes with the master volume. The Traynor was closer to what I was looking for, but as much as I liked it, the tone of the mesa boogie express was in the back of my mind, and the Traynor, to my ear, did not sound nearly as sweet.

What sold me on the express 5:25 was the ability to switch from 5 watts in class A to 25 watts in class A/B: this allows me to play with friends and be heard over other instruments, as well as overdrive my amp at relatively low volumes on the 5-watt setting. If clean headroom is ever an issue, I'll hook it up to a PA, but I think that day is very far away. This amp also has a feature where extra clean headroom is provided during attack, so it sounds louder than its diminutive size would indicate. The speaker is only 10", which is great for my apartment, but I can hook it up to a cab if I need a fuller sound.

The spring reverb sounds great. There's also a "contour" control, which blends in a pre-set "v"-shaped eq to scoop the mids. It was really easy to dial in some awesome tones.

The small size is great for apartment playing & family life -- it is easy to tuck out of the way. It received wifely approval because it appeared approximately the same size as my Vox DA-15 (okay, a little bigger, but close enough). My wife wasn't sure about me getting an amp upgrade until she heard it -- she immediately admitted that it sounded waaaaay better than the other amp, and since she endures my practicing regularly, she said she was also pleased that I had a better amp. Her untrained ear could immediately hear the difference in quality.

I'm all burned out at work this morning because I stayed up late playing! I have a modest HSS strat copy guitar -- the Yamaha Pacifica 112. The express 5:25 makes this little guitar sound amazing! It now "quacks" on the out of phase settings like a strat should, and there is far greater variety in tone between the pickups. The tone and volume knob on the guitar is now far more responsive. I thought I should upgrade my amp before upgrading my guitar, and now I am really pleased with the decision. I'm actually quite happy with the Pacifica for now, although I may supplement it a mahogany humbucking guitar (maybe a low-end PRS?) in the next six months to a year.

In conclusion, this 5:25 express is a little tone monster! I haven't had it for long, but what a step up on what I was using. I wanted something I'd be happy with for a while, and I think the express 5:25 fits the bill :smile:
 

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It sounds like you got a nice amp there Steve. Costwise, was it cheaper than the AC30 and the Traynor YVC40?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It cost ~$100 less than the ac30, but about $400 more (i.e. 50% more) than the Traynor.

I spent a lot of time with the Traynor until I realized that I like the boogie express more: the express sounds better at lower volumes with the 5 watt setting, and I couldn't bring myself to pay $800 for an amp and still wish for something more.

The boogie certainly wasn't the low-price bargain amp, although it is a good deal by premium amp standards (i.e. compared to the Vox ac30, new Marshalls & higher-end Boogies). It was the one amp that was small, incredibly versatile, and useful for home and practice/small venues.
 

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...very intriguing. i like the small size and 10" speaker. a 12" extension would add great versatility. i've never been fond of boogies, but i am going to have to take a serious look. i'm quite happy with my traynor ycv40wr as a "platform" for my pedals, and it has a very good clean sound, but an amp with a bit of its own character would be a definite plus.

-dh
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I didn't begin my amp search with a mesa in mind ... but after I played with the express, I kept returning to listen to it again after trying different amplifiers. I actually resisted the mesa express choice for some time, because I felt there must be other less expensive amps that would be as versatile and still sound really good. The Express wasn't the best bang for the buck -- that would probably have been the Traynor YCV40 :smilie_flagge17:-- but I didn't want to drop close to a grand on an amplifier and feel that I didn't get the one with the tone I preferred.

... and I didn't realize how much getting a new amp would cut into my sleeping time -- I noodled into the wee hours again last night, so I'm a zombie today again at work:zzz:
 

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funny, a guy over at another forum (http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/index) tried out both the 5:25 and the 5:50, and wondered how mesa went wrong lol.

apparently the stiletto Ace takes 'em both to school. all I know for sure is that i need to try out most of mesa's line lol
 
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apparently the stiletto Ace takes 'em both to school.
That's like comparing apples to oranges man. One is an EL-84-based Mesa aimed at the more budget minded and designed to cover a big breadth of sonic territory. One is an all out Mesa EL-34 rock machine designed to mimic amps usually made across the pond. The price delta alone hardly makes them comparable products.

Edit: I argue if only to jack up my post count this month. :wink:
 

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hey Steve P...
congrats on your boogie purchase...
trust me you wont be disappointed...these amps are tone monsters...
you will find lots of interesting tones...in that box...

there are many who love boogies and from what I have seen a few who hate then as well...
I'm not sure if those who dislike them are just those who dont want to spend the time on a learning curve....since they do require you invest some time in
learning how each stage of the circut affects the others...
but once you get it...most other amps just dont cut it in the tone department

I play thru a lonestar special 1x12 with a 2x12 extention cab...
and I love the sound....
gotta love that class A and the vintage voicing....

enjoy and try to get some sleep....lol
Auger
 

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there are many who love boogies and from what I have seen a few who hate then as well...
I'm not sure if those who dislike them are just those who dont want to spend the time on a learning curve....since they do require you invest some time in
learning how each stage of the circut affects the others...
but once you get it...most other amps just dont cut it in the tone department
\


...i've spent a fair amount of time, especially in the studio, trying to make boogies work for me. perhaps not enough time, because i could never get a tone i liked. as well, quite a few boogies i tried had an annoying hiss.

i try to keep an open mind, and there are a number of models that i would still like to audition, especially the one being discussed here.

-dh
 

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If you don't mind me asking... how much did you pay for it and where did you get it from? Oh, and pics would be nice! :D
 

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\


...i've spent a fair amount of time, especially in the studio, trying to make boogies work for me. perhaps not enough time, because i could never get a tone i liked. as well, quite a few boogies i tried had an annoying hiss.

i try to keep an open mind, and there are a number of models that i would still like to audition, especially the one being discussed here.

-dh
I bought a DC-5 combo about a year ago (my first Boogie). I found it very frustrating dialing in tones for the longest time and I was ready to sell her on numerous occasions. But somewhere along the line we came to terms and I can now dial her in in no time - it's become second nature. I have owned and tried a lot of amps in this past year and I keep thinking about replacing her but, quite honestly, she's versatile, better built, and can sound fantastic.

I liken it to learning to drive a sports car (rear-wheel/standard transmission/etc) At first it's quite demanding and unforgiving and you might just want to get back in your Malibu with it's predetermined shift points and automatic climate controls and accept the safe and easy (but mundane and impersonal) parameters given to you by the factory.

Stick with the challenge though and one day you wake up and all of a sudden it's a piece of cake, and the reward is that YOU have a lot more control over what the car is going to do and when it is going to do it.

So .... perhaps a Boogie (or other complex amp) is something like a high performance sports car - it will reward those of us who have learned how to drive it properly, and most likely punish those that don't.

(Please note that this is NOT a highly developed analogy and was developed in short order by someone who is not necessarily a great driver OR guitar player :D )
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The boogies aren't for everybody, but for those of us who like 'em, they are great!

I have found the express really easy to use. Their "contour" function simplifies a lot of eq-ing, by allowing the user to blend a signal with scooped mids into the dry signal. I'm sure as I get to know the amp better other subtleties will emerge, but thus far it has been really easy.

I looked at some of the higher-end boogies (especially the lone star special), but decided that they were "too much amp" for me as an amateur, noobish noodler :smile:

After taxes, the Express 5:25 was $1,400 at Long & McQuade, and that was with a $75 discount because they couldn't find me the footswitch & had to order me another. Not the cheapest amp out there, but I kept on returning to it after sampling other models because I liked the tone. As I mentioned previously, the ability to switch to 5 watts in class A is really sweet for home practice.

I occaisionally wonder if I should have got the 5:50, but I like the EL-84s and figure that a loud 25 watts is probably sufficient for practicing with buddies, and should I ever gig, I could always hook it up to the house PA.

I'll post some pics after work & after I peel my hands off the guitar :D
 

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i'd just like to point out that 5W class A isnt quiet - a cranked epi VJ can hold its own with an 80W 212 lol
 

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Discussion Starter #18
i'd just like to point out that 5W class A isnt quiet - a cranked epi VJ can hold its own with an 80W 212 lol
__________________

Funny ... my wife said something to that effect last night! :D

Seriously, though, point taken -- I would say, however, that it is possible to get some great tones on the 5W class A setting without making the windows shake ...
 
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