Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

5:25 and 5:50's

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JazzHat
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Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

Post by JazzHat » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:10 pm

new to Boogie (well, flux drive pedal on my board.) Have researched, read, and listened to every Boogie demo/review on the net. Was convinced the Lonestar Special was what I'd want. Big surprise when I plugged in. . . thought I'd share FWIW for anyone who does not yet own but may be looking. Spent 5 hours at my Boogie dealer today and played my guitar and pedal board through Lonestar special and Express+ 5:50. . . tried combo, cabs, open & closed backs. Here's what I found, YMMV:

*Forum advice to test play them is absolute ~ I heard so much you just don't hear on Utube. They sound quite different in person. Oh, and take YOUR guitar & rig 'cause that's what you know, eh? Spend the day, not a few minutes.

*LSS is a beautiful clean to warm break-up amp. Very round, warm, retro-casual kind of vibe. The Express is a tighter, more immediate, and focused sounding amp

*Express (I did not play the 5:25, just the 5:50) has a LOT more bottom end (much broader frequency spectrum) The LSS is very balanced, polite, it's great. . . it's the "old" Fender clean (chimey highs & full base.) But the Express into a closed back cab has bottom end that will knock you back a step. Definite difference in the two amps here. If you want base punch = Express. Mellow, retro, impeccably balanced = LSS.

*CLEAN: Both are pristine. Express can dial back the bass and pretty much match the LSS tone. But the Express can also match the Special clean with a HUGE breathy base punch added. When I ran the LSS into a closed back cab & pushed the base it sounded a bit tubby while the Express easily pumped a big articulate base into the room. Both cool amps, Express has a lot more reach into the bottom end here.

*GAIN: Special breaks up into a sweet blues vibe. Going beyond it's a warmer, softer gain sound that ends well this side of metal. The Express again has broader range. It will fairly well match the warm bluesy tones of the Special but easily moves WAY beyond into a full frontal assault.

*Overall, both are incredible instruments and I could be happy with either. The LSS has a more retro look, Express looks "markV-ish." Tonally I found the same thing, LSS more retro while the Express does retro to modern.

LSS is a beautiful instrument (country, blues, soft rock, etc.) The Express will cover those, just adds more range and versatility. FWIW, I took both manuals downloaded on my IPAD & tried to go through the amps "by the book" rather than random knob twisting. Sorry for long first post, great forum, and I've learned a lot here. Hope these impressions will help someone else down the line.
-Jazz

amrose57
Mark II
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:30 pm

Re: Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

Post by amrose57 » Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:08 am

JazzHat wrote:new to Boogie (well, flux drive pedal on my board.) Have researched, read, and listened to every Boogie demo/review on the net. Was convinced the Lonestar Special was what I'd want. Big surprise when I plugged in. . . thought I'd share FWIW for anyone who does not yet own but may be looking. Spent 5 hours at my Boogie dealer today and played my guitar and pedal board through Lonestar special and Express+ 5:50. . . tried combo, cabs, open & closed backs. Here's what I found, YMMV:

*Forum advice to test play them is absolute ~ I heard so much you just don't hear on Utube. They sound quite different in person. Oh, and take YOUR guitar & rig 'cause that's what you know, eh? Spend the day, not a few minutes.

*LSS is a beautiful clean to warm break-up amp. Very round, warm, retro-casual kind of vibe. The Express is a tighter, more immediate, and focused sounding amp

*Express (I did not play the 5:25, just the 5:50) has a LOT more bottom end (much broader frequency spectrum) The LSS is very balanced, polite, it's great. . . it's the "old" Fender clean (chimey highs & full base.) But the Express into a closed back cab has bottom end that will knock you back a step. Definite difference in the two amps here. If you want base punch = Express. Mellow, retro, impeccably balanced = LSS.

*CLEAN: Both are pristine. Express can dial back the bass and pretty much match the LSS tone. But the Express can also match the Special clean with a HUGE breathy base punch added. When I ran the LSS into a closed back cab & pushed the base it sounded a bit tubby while the Express easily pumped a big articulate base into the room. Both cool amps, Express has a lot more reach into the bottom end here.

*GAIN: Special breaks up into a sweet blues vibe. Going beyond it's a warmer, softer gain sound that ends well this side of metal. The Express again has broader range. It will fairly well match the warm bluesy tones of the Special but easily moves WAY beyond into a full frontal assault.

*Overall, both are incredible instruments and I could be happy with either. The LSS has a more retro look, Express looks "markV-ish." Tonally I found the same thing, LSS more retro while the Express does retro to modern.

LSS is a beautiful instrument (country, blues, soft rock, etc.) The Express will cover those, just adds more range and versatility. FWIW, I took both manuals downloaded on my IPAD & tried to go through the amps "by the book" rather than random knob twisting. Sorry for long first post, great forum, and I've learned a lot here. Hope these impressions will help someone else down the line.
-Jazz
Great post. Thanks for the comparison. So the big question - which one are you going to buy?

Al

Len Rabinowitz
Mark II
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:38 pm

Re: Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

Post by Len Rabinowitz » Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:30 am

Easy. Buy them both!
2003 Ash Tele
2005 Sunburst Les Paul
2007 Natural ES 335
2007 Custom Classic Strat
Martin Custom D35
Taylor 314ce
Fender Mexican Jazz Bass
Mesa Mark V:35 Head
Dr. Z 2x12
Eventide H9
Pigtronix Mothership
Boss Slicer
Boss RC 30 Looper

JazzHat
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:56 pm

Re: Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

Post by JazzHat » Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:23 am

LoL! Pretty sure I can't afford two Boogies right now. . . will order the Express+ 5:50 with a Lonestar 1x12 open back cab. Don't know if it's the 6L6 bottles or the circuitry but that big articulate base with vintage Fender chime really got me!

Just trying decide. . . Thinking black vinyl w/gold grill.

babow2
Mark IV
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Re: Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

Post by babow2 » Sat Sep 20, 2014 7:44 pm

Man, check out the British Cabernet tolex with the gold grill! Classy, unique and very rockin.
Amps: Mark 1 Re-issue Simulclass, Mark III purple, Two Rock
Cabs: 1x12's and 2x12's
Guitars: Tom Anderson Classic; PRS Studio; Heritage H-555, a couple custom Teles

JazzHat
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:56 pm

Re: Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

Post by JazzHat » Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:41 pm

babow2 wrote:Man, check out the British Cabernet tolex with the gold grill! Classy, unique and very rockin.
I'll check it out, thanks!

FlamencoD
Mark I
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

Post by FlamencoD » Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:38 pm

Thanks for sharing. I've never played through a Lonestar of any type. I've always been curious, though.

JD65
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:09 am

Re: Demo Day: Lonestar Special vs. Express+5:50

Post by JD65 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:00 pm

The small, nearby Mesa Dealer I visited also had a Lonestar Special Combo and Express 5:50+combo model.

It sounds like you tried a 5:50 head through a 1x12" closed back cab, correct?

I didn't do an A/B of the two, nor did I bring my own rig. Kudos to you for doing so, and giving yourself as much time as possible for the test drive. I wanted more clean headroom and the style I believed - and you confirmed - of breakup in the Lone Star tone isn't what I was looking for.

I came home with a 5:50 Express+ model anyway and am happy w/it. Even though the cab isn't closed back, it has great bass response and the versatility you noted. It wasn't the versus the Lonestar points that got me. It was the versatility in general. I have a mid-80s .22 caliber and love the amp but it doesn't have the headroom for bigger rooms or playing outside. As I've learned trying other Mesa Boogies, their 50 watt models are on the loud side of that rating. I did a run though of its paces in the store and was blown away.

Now I'm spending time refining settings in jams/recording sessions.

All Good.

JD

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