NAD: Mesa Boogie Express 5:25

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by Axiomatik, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Axiomatik

    Axiomatik Member

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    After a couple months of searching I finally found the amp I was looking for: Mesa Boogie 5:25 Express

    As a new guitar player my requirements were to find something
    • Suitable for low volume
    • Nice Cleans
    • Gain/Master Volume
    • Tube
    • Under $800

    The journey was kind of interesting, the first amp that was presented was the Fender Blue's Junior, but upon more research it gets quite mixed reviews and a lot of people were suggesting the new Fender Bassbreaker 15 as a more versatile alternative for not a lot more money.

    Being new to the guitar world I didn't really have any preconceived notions as to what the "best" amp was. I knew Fenders and Marshalls were good, but didn't really know why or which models. I did a bit more research and found that the Fender Deluxe series are held in very high regard as opposed to the Blues Jr or Bassbreaker.

    This warranted another trip back to guitar center to try all the Fender amps side by side. After playing a Princeton and HRD there was no way I could accept a Blue Junior or the Bassbreaker. But both the HRD and Princeton didn't really suit all my needs. The Princeton had no gain and the HRD was too loud.

    Back to drawing board... At this point I decided to reach out to other brands. That's when I found out about the VOX AC15. It checked all my boxes and I'm even a sucker for the limited edition special color'd tolex models. The only "issue" I had with them is that they are made in china so I decided to look out at the American manufactures before pulling the trigger... (not saying there's anything wrong with things made in china, but I prefer to buy from a NA manufacture when I can...)

    Turns out there are really only 3 manufactures that make amps in the USA that I could find in my budget, Mesa, Carvin and Peavy. That's when I came across the Express series. It seemed perfect, multiple channels, reputation for good cleans and dirt, made in the USA and you could even run it in 5 watt mode.

    Turns out there weren't any local to me to try out, but there was one available on Reverb for a good price. I sent the dealer an offer and voila:

    Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 1x10"

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    So I've had to for about a week now. The cleans are very nice and the gain channel is just what I've been looking for. I can get all the tones I want without having to use a pedal. Speaking of which, as an added bonus the way the LEDs change on the amp with footswitch is very cool. I've heard people complain about the speaker the 10", but I don't think i play at loud enough volume where it would be a concern. For about $600 I don't think there's much better I could have done.
     
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  2. Thunder Dump

    Thunder Dump Silver Supporter

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    These are fantastic little amps. Enjoy!
     
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  3. cherrysunburst00

    cherrysunburst00 Senior Member

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    NICE. CONGRATS. ENJOY!

    You have had a very interesting induction to the guitar-playing world.

    I'm glad it's working out for you
     
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  4. lakeburst

    lakeburst Senior Member

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    Very good amp. HNAD! ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
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  5. Vortex

    Vortex Senior Member

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    Hmmm... You seem to have exercised logic, patience & stayed within a budget. I don't think guitar or this forum is right for you. Get the f&*! outta here! :mad:

    Congrats! :cool2:
     
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  6. Big John

    Big John bigger is better V.I.P. Member

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  7. Axiomatik

    Axiomatik Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    Me as I read this thread:

    (Hangs head in shame that my Express saga has spiraled out of control into two heads AND a cab)



    Although, I must say, yours would probably sound epic with an additonal 1x10 extension cab.
     
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  9. rjwilson37

    rjwilson37 Senior Member

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    Sweet amp and a great price! Enjoy it for a long time and rock on!
     
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  10. Axiomatik

    Axiomatik Member

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    It sounds like you've just gotten 3 times the joy. :)

    Thinking about it, would it be better to get an addition 1x10 cab or a 1x12 cab to try to round out the sound profile?
     
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  11. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Have a great time with it! Nothing like a little Boogie!
     
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  12. rjwilson37

    rjwilson37 Senior Member

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    Oh... Your guitar is stunning as well.
     
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  13. J50315

    J50315 Senior Member

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    Nice setup you got there. I’m sure she will still rattle the window sills, that’s really all that matters at the end of the day. Seriously, happy NAD!
     
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  14. Liquid State

    Liquid State Premium Member

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    congrats - these are great little combos and are very receptive to tone altering the tone with tube swaps.
     
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  15. Axiomatik

    Axiomatik Member

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    Hmm what kind of tubes could I swap to?
     
  16. DMMKLP

    DMMKLP Member

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    Thanks Axiomatic,

    I have similar requirements. Your thread will assist me in my own journey and choices when the time comes to pull the trigger.
     
  17. Liquid State

    Liquid State Premium Member

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    it's been awhile, would have to pull the tube holders off to get the brand names. I had some some gold pin 12ax7's that I put in socket #'s 1 -3 (the 2nd position is actually first gain stage and most important). In socket #4 (phase inverter) I put in a balance 12at7, seemed to smooth out the gain. In socket #5 (reverb) I thin I went with an 12ax7.

    what works best for you will depend on the music you play. We play mostly blues with some classic rock.... not the highest gain stuff.

    Also - I use the crunch channel for gain/OD and the blues channel for clean-ish.

    cheers
     
  18. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    I need to go back and check all the tubes, but the best sounding Express I have played was the 10" combo at Guitar Center, and it had a plain old Mesa 12AX7 in V1. A week later, I found out that the Express amps are wired a bit unusually, and V2 is actually the first tube in the signal chain, so changing that one is going to have the greatest impact on tone.

    I finally took a close look at the tubes in my Express and Express Plus heads, and discovered an odd assortment of tubes, particularly in the old Express. Between the two of them, I found Mesa, Tung-Sol, JJ, even one Groove Tubes 12AX7. I am probably going to buy one whole set of tubes and start there (probably Mesa or Tube Amp Doctor). I will roll a few preamp tubes and see if I can figure out which one gets to stay.
     
  19. Axiomatik

    Axiomatik Member

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    So... I found what I believe was an incorrectly priced 5:25 express plus from guitar center and pulled the trigger... LOL

    so much for being responsible...
     
  20. jimmer_5

    jimmer_5 Senior Member

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    Ha! Congrats and welcome to the nightmare of choosing which you like better. I will hopefully order my tubes in the next day or so and that will help.

    I am guessing the GC guy priced it as an older Non-Plus model. I am curious to hear your opinion. I haven't really done a good job adjusting mine yet - tubes and attempting to be financially responsible are slowing me down.
     

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