Mesa Mark 5:35 Head - Sweet!
As Usual, Sweetwater delivered on time, no problems and always great people.
It was a long search for a new amp. Over a year. Good thing Mesa came out with this one or I would still be looking. :)
Who in the %^ builds a modern tube guitar amp - WITHOUT REVERB??
Peavey, VHT, Blackstar, PRS, Randall and others, that's who. Absolutely ridiculous.
I was looking for a smaller footprint amp that could do A LOT. This was my pick.
Straight up, forget the 35w barrier. This thing, when cranked via a 2x12 cab is as loud or louder than a 75w SS. Still not loud enough? Patch in the CabClone XLR to the PA. But that is few and far between gigs.
Now the good stuff. I have had Mesa's before. The best one was the Rect-o-verb 50....until now.
They are tough to dial in...Especially to "my" sound. I demand a lot. I don't like pedals so the amp must carry the brunt of the tone changes. With all the control options I can get "my" sound which is a major achievement. I've had other amps but could never quite get what I was looking for. I'm an old rocker from the 70's 80's and need many different sounds for many different songs. In effect, I can get 4 different "channels" from the 2 on board PLUS a great lead solo channel.
1 - clean boomy, (Fender) 2 - slightly broken (think VOX) from channel one using just the footswitch, EQ and pickup selector. (I have a Fender Re-issue Strat) 3. Nice full BIG sound distortion (Marshall) and 4. Really really distortion (Laney) from channel 2. Again using only the footswich, EQ and pickup selector.
All with that touch of Mesa big sound tone. Now stick a couple of pedals in front and you can go just about anywhere.....And that is only the beginning. The dual solo controls are perfect. Set one for leads, one for mute (for on stage tuning). I never have to touch the amp. I can do everything with the FS controller. Nice.
In addition to the Mesa sound, which I knew would be great, I bought this amp for 4 features not found on any other single amp.
1. The off channel look ahead for solo leads via one click on the FS. Play clean for most of the song. When it's time for a dirt lead, boom, switch from the clean channel to channel two, (already set in loud solo distortion mode, aka look ahead) and get your lead loud and dirty then one click back to clean and quiet. When playing in dirt rhythm mode, simply click the solo2 for leads.
2. The ability to shut off the speakers. I do a lot of on-line collaboration (JamKazam) and need the ability to play using ONLY the CabClone XLR output.
3. The CabClone XLR output. 3 selectors for cabinet emulation. They all sound great.
4. Small footprint. No more 4x12 heavy cabs and 50 pound heads for me. It had to fit on an upright 2x12 cab. And it's light. 27lbs.
The only thing on this amp that is not spectator is the reverb. Don't get me wrong. It's better than 90% of most amps out there but I was spoiled with the Rect-o-verb reverb which is simply the best I have ever heard. And it's pricey. Mesa does not allow dealers to discount their product. I find this very irritating. Thus the 4.5 rating. Other than that, its is PERFECT.