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Microphone Month

Hands On Review: Mesa/Boogie Rect-O-Verb Twenty-Five

The latest addition to Mesa/Boogie’s famed Rectifier series of amplifiers, the Rect-O-Verb Twenty-Five, has the trademark Recto voice, along with many others, in a compact, straight-forward format. Ripe with features and options, the controls are surprisingly simple. Don’t let the size deceive you; the Recto-Verb Twenty-Five is a flame-throwing monster!

This amp has two discrete, distinctly different channels and each channel has two voices that completely alter the gain, tone, and feel of the amp. In Channel 1, Clean mode starts with big, airy, glassy clean sounds on the lower end of the gain knob’s spectrum and nudges into light break-up with the gain control maxed. Pushed mode starts there and runs the gamut from chimey grit to stout overdrive — the various colors of rhythm guitar. Also an excellent blues lead voice, Pushed mode is both touch and volume-knob sensitive. With the master volume control between 10 and 12 o’clock, I had huge fun coaxing a wide, expressive, dynamic range from Pushed mode with picking dynamics and by riding the guitar’s volume knob.

Channel 2 makes this amp worthy of its Rectifier name; huge, high-gain distortion tones from two distinct voices. The Modern side is pure Recto with a tight, aggressive attack, massive low-end, and high-mid bump that stays percussive no matter how much gain you dial in. The Vintage side is spongier and looser, with nice sag on the attack that adds a liquid feel. Vintage mode begged me to play both long, singing lead lines and fast flurries.

Boogie uses two EL84 power tubes and Multi-Watt Channel Assignable Power switches on each channel that allow for either 25-watt or 10-watt operation. More than just a wattage change, each power setting adds its own character to each of the four modes. 25-watt operation is wired in Class A/B pentode and has a bold attack, increased definition, clean headroom, and an open top-end. Switch to 10 watts and the Class A/B triode softens the attack for a sweeter, rounder sound. 10 watts breaks up quicker at lower volumes, which is more apparent on both of Channel 1’s modes.

The long-tank spring reverb and effects loop are both tube-driven, really adding to the rich sonic detail of the Recto-Verb Twenty-Five. The reverb has a clean, even, long tail that sounds great no matter where you set it. Even at higher settings it’s never boingy and doesn’t cloud your tone.

I have used this amp in a variety of scenarios over the course of a few months and it shines no matter what the context. The compact size allowed me to use it in a duo setting, playing mellower pop and country songs to a smaller crowd. Having independent reverb controls for each channel was invaluable here; I could really get the Channel 1’s Clean mode nice and wet and give a lower gain setting on Channel 2’s Vintage mode a “golden halo.”

Conversely, I used the Recto-Verb Twenty-Five to drive a 2×12 cabinet and played a show with Altitudes and Attitudes, a hard-rock band featuring Frank Bello of Anthrax and Dave Ellefson of Megadeth. The tight, loud 25 watts came in really handy, as did the rich saturation and mammoth sustain.

In the studio paired with my PRS 513, a plethora of tones from classic rock to chicken pickin’ were easily dialed in. In the 1×12 combo configuration, Boogie’s Fillmore 75 speaker is well matched to complement the Recto-Verb’s large sonic vocabulary but it sounds great with other speakers as well. Speaking of, the Recto-Verb Twenty-Five is available in a head-only configuration as well. I love how this amp’s versatility and size bring a new personality to the already stellar Mesa/Boogie Rectifier family.

Don Carr

About Don Carr

With a three-decade career as a professional guitarist in Nashville, Tennessee, Sweetwater's Don Carr has a long list of album credits in multiple genres of music. His resume includes hundreds of radio and television appearances, as well as thousands of live performances in America and abroad as lead guitarist for the legendary Oak Ridge Boys. Don provides Sweetwater with professional insight through product demos, reviews, how-to’s, and group instruction. He is also the first-call session guitarist for Sweetwater Studios.
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