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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:19 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:40 am
Posts: 26
First time post, but frequent flyer on the site.

I have been playing for nearly 30 years and for all of my time been using a number of various amps. My latest was a 4x10 Deville and anybody that has owned a Fender Deville knows that these amps have huge bottom end and kill little old ladies volume wise. The number one problem with these amps and many of the rest is that they have no gain and really no versatility. Plus, they weigh as much as a box full of coal.

I researched this site and everything else I can find on the internet. I was nearly sold on that Mark V:25, but I have a very aggressive drummer. Along November last year, it was announced that the 35 W model was coming out and that's what I set my mind to. My music store finally got his pre order in Feb. and I bought the amp immediately. I was sick of having the "Fender Amp Syndrome" and I bought the V:35 blind.
My Guitar is a 2012 American Strat and I use Planet Waves American Stage Cables. Upon plugging in I found out immediately why it can take someone a hot minute or two to re-wire your brain on how an amp works if you have never been with MESA. I decided to go ahead and set up a clean channel 1st. I tried the "clean" setting, but honestly for me no matter how much I tried to warm it up the "clean" setting is just way too thin. It could have its spot, perhaps in the right song where your strumming away at something, but a single note setting "clean" is not (maybe for some just not me) I really found my home on the "fat" channel! I really found the sweet spot to heaven when I cranked the gain on this setting and really jacked up the mid boost a little past halfway @12:30, I dialed in the Bass to the same position and added the EQ with a tradional "V" curve. I used the 35 watt setting and neck position pick up and was able to achieve some remarkable clean tones and chime. It eased me and my worry that the amp might not be warm enough. The "Chrunch" Setting is extremely unusual to me. First, I want to say that within this particular setting you have a huge amount of expandability, you have a nice clean and if you jack the gain up you have a kick-ass old school lead. But, to me you really have to play with your gain and you have to play with the other global settings in order to set it up just right. This might be perfect for you if you're in the 80s band covering some whatever 80s rock. I'm not sure exactly what's in the "clean" part of the saying but there's some killer lead tones built-in to this particular setting, none of which I can use because I need a clean that is super clean and warm. "Fat" does that for me.

I had the most trouble adding warmth into the lead channel 2. Everything that I was not worrying about in channel 1 came to a head in Channel 2. Save "Xtreme" I felt straightaway that the voicing of the 2C channel was missing a lot of warmth. Granted you can dial in quite a bit of warmth using the five band EQ and on the 25w setting I was able to find some really nice blues tones. Don't worry you can add an ass load of life and depth when you start cranking the master and start saturating the tubes. Still though 2C was not my cup of tea.

Where I started to have the most fun with my Strat was in the M:IV setting. With my neck pick-up and the gain @10:30 and with the EQ boosted in the 80hz bass region to 75%, 25watt setting, I started getting some really gutsy blues tones. If you crank the Master up and start really saturating the tubes you will find a massive amount of hidden tone and warmth. In fact in really blowed me away that this little combo could sound so big at that point. I instantly forgot about my Deville and discovered what I've personally been seeking for nearly 30 years. Dial up the gain more and roll the bass back down a bit and you can find a super sustaining lead sound.

As for the "Xtreme" setting, it is incredibly warm and has simply more of everything due to its voicing. A lot of people will use this larger than life setting for a zillion different riffs. It's not my cup of tea and After the former, I know it's in the arsenal but that's as far as it is going. I can't really review this channel. If I were playing modern heavy music and I needed a wall of sound this might be my setting.

The reverb on this amp is good but, if you're trying to compare the reverb to something like an old fender twin or something like an old fender reverb amp, don't. As I said, it is a very good reverb, but it is not an old fender classic. Given everything that I just gained in tone though, I am sure I will forget it before long.
The independent solo knobs are one of the main reasons I bought this amp. I enjoy having a volume boost at the push of a button plain and simple, it appeals to my playing style and it works for me. They are clean and do as designed. They either cut or give more volume to where your master is set.

Cab clone. This feature has so many uses that I'm not going to get into it a whole lot. I personally use a mic and enjoy the sound this amp gives with a mic. That said, there was one instance where I used the Cab Clone and "Open" setting and thought it sounded awesome through that stages PA. I'm on the fence about it, I have been using a mic for years, maybe I should give it a shot a few more times and update. Honestly, this amp is loud enough to kick some serious ass before ever needing a mic or to run the D.I. And yes I can easily play with my aggressive drummer and still have headroom.
I'm not going to review a time tested EQ, you guys know that works.

I will touch the power modes briefly. Channel 1, I fly with 35 W only for the best headroom without break up. My favorite channel 2 setting is the 25 Watt mode. For some reason the amplifier feels like it is at home there. When you crank up the Master at this wattage, you can dial in an unbelievable amount of gain. There is something about my guitar and that single coil neck pick-up that just puts me in complete nirvana, and it does it every time. I feel that it is the amps sweet spot and it is one of the reasons why I totally wanted away from Marshall and Fender and Peavey and blah blah.

This amp is truly an incredible peice. If you're looking for a solid amp that is small and gives a lot of kicking tone this is it. I will say that I like the bite of an EL-84 amp. Having used 6l6 amps in the past I have always felt that I was not roasting the tubes and accomplishing real saturation. This amp allows that on the grandest of scales.

I hope this review has helped someone make a decision and possibly inform prior to purchase. Either way I would like to thank this forum personally as all of you helped me join the MESA family.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:38 pm 
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Mark IV

Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:29 pm
Posts: 567
Welcome to the forum Dodgion556, and EPIC first post! 8)

While I don't own a V:35 (yet anyway), I did audition one recently and thought it sounded fantastic in several modes!
I do own a big MkV and the V:25 and love both of these amps too because they are similar yet also different.
That said, I truly enjoyed the time I spent auditioning the V:35 combo, and while very similar to the V:25, I feel it has its own thing going on with extra power, solo boost features and small combo format. Anyway, glad you are enjoying your new V:35 combo and hope that you continue to discover new great sound offerings out of this amp!

Best of luck to you and enjoy the journey! :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:05 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:40 am
Posts: 26
Thank you MBjunkie!

I was beginning to think my EPIC first post would die in the EPIC first post land, however since you responded you have guaranteed it's survival 8)

I want to take this opportunity to re touch a part of my post. I was way to hard on the 2C setting in channel 2. My problem with this setting was that I felt that it was simply not voiced with enough warmth. In reality this is something that many guitarists will love and I have a feeling that I am way off base with how to set up the 2C mode to get a warmer response with my axe. Further, there are areas that 2C would potentially make the guitar feel faster.

I played the V25 several times before ultimately throwing my cash at the 35. As I said I did it blind because I knew the V25 was awesome and that I had nothing to lose with more wattage and features. Too, by the time I bought the V25 head $1399.00 plus a cabinet $449.00 (which equal $1848.00) I was actually saving money with the combo @$1799.00. The math is simple to me.

I welcome responses, as I too hope to learn from a wonderful forum.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:23 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:22 am
Posts: 269
Location: MO
Great post! It seems to me that there is just not as many 35 owners as I would've thought. But it's still new so maybe we'll see more 35 posters in time. I'm curious to know how much consideration you put into getting the big V. It looks like you've enjoyed the 6l6 clean tones in the past. And the extra modes and options on the 90 watter, imho, are worth it. Class A overdrive with el34s never gets old for me in my V. And it sounds like you might really enjoy Mark 1 mode. But I don't doubt the 35 at all. It seems like an amazing amp, just another great package for that amazing Mark tone.

_________________
PRS 408
Les Paul Custom 08
Edwards Alexi
Mark V
JP2C


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:03 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 74
I am into 3 weeks of owning the V 35... still experimenting and finding that tone that fits my context,

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PRS CE22
Strat EJ, RW 60, CS, Tele 52 RI.
Brian Moore iGuitar. 13 pin Piezo, Seymore HSH
Martin D-28
Mk V:35
Fender DRRI
Flex 3
TM 15
OCD
EP SP SL
TS-9
Boss CE AS TR DD
Vox Wah
EB V
GMajor
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:53 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:40 am
Posts: 26
SamuelJ86, your questions answered!

I truthfully did not give a full Mark V any consideration at all. The truth is I'm getting older everyday, and I was sick of my larger 4x10 Deville. I was sick of the weight and size and lack of versatility. All of that led me to want a smaller more toneful setup. The V:35 hit a notch for me in that it still has the power to kick ass but is light and small enough for me to throw it in the front seat of my Subaru Forestor.
As for me missing the larger bottles of my 6L6 days, I will admit that I miss the warmth. But, one has to put that into perspective. An example of this is that I took my V:35 and hooked (friends Eminence loaded) an extra 1x12 cabinet to it. I noticed straightaway that because I was moving more air that I gained inherent warmth. My next goal will be to find a 2x12 MESA cabinet to throw under it. While I do miss 6L6 warmth I actually dig the EL-84 bite and growl more. The V:35 is extremely focused and as I am a player that enjoys striking the note in a way that encourages bite a growl, the EL-84's are easier to break up and lend to my playing style. The V:25 really does this well also. There's something about striking a note in a way that causes the power tubes to react. EL-84's just plain and simple will break up easier than their larger brethren.

The one time I played a full Mark V I did like it, but given the chance to change I would still take the V:35.- :mrgreen:

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:24 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:22 am
Posts: 269
Location: MO
Well it looks like you know exactly what you want. And there is something to be said for that. Enjoy that ass kicking new amp!

_________________
PRS 408
Les Paul Custom 08
Edwards Alexi
Mark V
JP2C


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:01 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:40 am
Posts: 26
To touch on something else you mentioned SamuelJ86, I don't think we will see a booming trend towards the V:35. Fact is that the V:25 made history and had record sales. If I were a person that already had a V:25 and a cabinet, I would find it hard pressed to buy the 35. Truth is also, that many of the people that bought the V:25 were shopping that smaller package and price. Now, people
Like myself that have the choice will surely be the ones to make the splash for the 35. But, I truly do not see it anytime soon and I absolutely do not see the same splash as the V:25, I don't care how special the V:35 is.
I have a gig coming up this weekend and will post about using the cabclone. I am going to try it and compare my Heil mic vs the clone and post with a review to this thread.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:25 pm 
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Mark IV

Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:29 pm
Posts: 567
All good points Dodgion556 and others!

1). I agree there probably aren't many V:35 owners yet, let alone those that have played one.
2). I also agree that most people that currently own a V:25 with cab probably won't buy a V:35. However, I might be an exception because I like light weight combos that sound great! :lol:
3). However, for people that are considering the V:25, V:35 or Big Mark V....I think the V:35 will get its market share.....especially for those interested in a light weight capable combo amp, and maybe even more especially for those that don't already own a cab to go with the V:25.
4). Some might say that the V:35 doesn't offer enough differences from the V:25 and that is fine, but the V:35 combo I tested sounded "fuller" than my V:25 and it offers Solo Boost in each channel which I consider a big plus.
5). Some will say to just buy the Big Mark V used and have all of the modes and 3 channels. That is a great point for those that feel they need 3 independent channels and all the other modes offered with the Big Mark V. This is a viable point, especially for people that want to select "Clean, Fat or Tweed Mode" from Ch1 and have the Crunch Mode (or Edge and Mark 1) available in Ch2 of the Big V. Personally, I do love all these features of the Big Mark V which is why I still own mine. However, the voice offerings of the 6 modes offered in V:25 and V:35 sound different than their equivalent Big Mark V modes. I think this is largely due to the different power tubes. TBO, I think the "crunch mode" of my V:25 sounds a bit better than the "crunch mode" of my Big Mark V, but on my V:25 I need to set my Ch1 to a great clean sound which it offers in spades. That said, the Big Mark V offers fantastic sounds from clean, crunch to high gain rhythm/solo without question! Some people become overwhelmed with these options (not me).....so the V:25/35 might be a better fit for them?

Anyway, I just thought I offer my thoughts for the taking....
One thing is for sure, the V:35 combo that I auditioned sounded fantastic to me!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:42 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:40 am
Posts: 26
MBjunkie,

Ok, I want to first agree with you on more than a few of your points. But, you have brought up a very valid point that not all of the voicing are the same vs the big V. Fact is that those tones are truly changed by those larger tubes.
This is a problem I have with the 2C mode. The way MESA has voiced this immortal channel for the smaller V:25/35 is much less warm than its original offerings with the larger tubes. It's like MESA was so thrilled to put the 2C circuit in the smaller amps that they forgot that it needed a touch of warmth to equal it out and account for the smaller EL-84.
I will say this though, I think the V:35 has a better rendition than the V:25 on 2C, particularly when you are in 35 watt mode. I also feel the larger transformer heats the V:35 up a little more and gives the amp more roundness than a V:25.

I feel you are right to say that the 35 is more full than the 25, as that was my perceived thought as well.

There is another thing that chaps me about the V:25/35 and that is the crunch channel. For the life of me I cannot figure out why MESA put that voicing in channel 1. There are so many very wicked sounds than can be had in this setting. My problem is that if I want that as my lead channel, I am doomed. Channel 2 clearly is not going to give you a nice clean. Here you have one of the best channels for some wicked lead rock n' roll, but if you use it you will not have a killer dedicated clean channel. So Chrunch for me is out the window, even though I love it as a lead guitar setting. Luckily, The M:IV mode fills in the gap and then some as far as what I want out of a lead channel.

In summary having played all 3 and having played the 25 extensively, I would surmise that you are 100% correct that even though some of the circuits are the same, the big V's larger bottles color the sound more toward warmth.
I would also, agree that the V35 with its larger transformer and extra power may have better perceived warmth and sound more round than the V:25.
As for the point of the larger Mark V being bought used, I don't know. Truth is, that for some reason, these days the stages are smaller and concerts are more intimate. People are wanting more tone out of a smaller package and MESA has caught wind of it. There was a time when playing to huge crowds with a large Marshall stack was all of our dreams, any more though I'm playing to an audience that is setting next to a wall 30 feet away and having a stack or huge combo is just overkill.


Some will make the point for a larger V, they will say that the larger amp will grow with you. A good comparison would be the modern CB radio. During Smokey and the Bandit the character "snowman" said "you know all those smokeys have CB's in there car now" he was referring to the fact that it didn't matter how fast your car was, that the radio could beat you.
I surmise that the moment we could effectively mic a cabinet or the moment MESA put cabclone on their combo's, it had the same effect as smokeys old CB. In some ways modern techniques have simply made those old half stacks useless. Sure, if you are a stadium band, then a stack is for you. But, I'm not a stadium band, I'm just an old washed up guitarist with a bleeding heart standing on some mad buggers Wall.

Keep em coming 8)
Cheers!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:21 pm 
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Mark III
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:28 pm
Posts: 408
Thank you for your excellent and insightful posts, Dodgion.

Just a couple of minor points in defence of the big V, though.

Most notably, the big V by no means locks you into the 90W mode. It can scale down all the way to 10W if need be, which should be very manageable for small venues. Of course whether you want to do so is another issue. IME, the 90W mode simply sounds much better (thicker, beefier) at any volume.

The Crunch mode on the big V sounds, honestly, pretty bad on 6L6 tubes, and I'm not surprised if someone prefers the V:25/V:35 (EL84) version. I don't think the Crunch mode was designed with 6L6s in mind. However...put in EL34s in your big V and you'll never want to leave channel 2. And there's something to be said for the extra bite and aggression EL34s add to your channel 3 sounds.


Last edited by LesPaul70 on Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:31 am 
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Mark IV

Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:29 pm
Posts: 567
Dodgion556,

I fully agree with everything in your recent post (except that the Big Mark V is strictly for loud volume on big stages)! More to follow on that one.
The only real negative that I have for the V:25 or V:35 is that the awesome sounding "Crunch Mode" is in Ch1 and for those of us that require a great clean sound for live playing, the "crunch mode" is lost as previously mentioned by you and others! No question this is a disappointment with the V:25 or V:35 for a live situation where one wants the fantastic clean sound and crunch sound offerings of Ch1 of the mini marks!

That said, I don't find it to be that big of deal for me because I find an excellent "crunch/lead solo sound" out of Ch2 in either the 2C or IV mode offerings on my V:25 and probably would also with a V:35 if I end up buying one.

Regarding the Big Mark V......make no mistake....it can be set to sound very good at low volumes......and one doesn't even have to set it to 10w mode (although there are some fantastic sound offerings in 10w). The channel volume knobs offer a very slow taper that allows for good sounds at low volumes on the Big Mark V even if set to full power.

LesPaul70, the only thing I disagree with you on is regarding the sound quality of the "Crunch Mode" in Ch2 of the Big V. Personally, I think it sounds fantastic with the gain pushed up high, but that is just my opinion! Additionally, the "crunch mode" of the Big V has probably the widest range of sound offerings from any mode in the amp when one experiments.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:58 am 
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Mark III
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:28 pm
Posts: 408
MBJunkie wrote:
LesPaul70, the only thing I disagree with you on is regarding the sound quality of the "Crunch Mode" in Ch2 of the Big V. Personally, I think it sounds fantastic with the gain pushed up high, but that is just my opinion! Additionally, the "crunch mode" of the Big V has probably the widest range of sound offerings from any mode in the amp when one experiments.


I simply couldn't bond with the sounds I was getting from the Crunch mode on 6L6s. They sounded kind of flat, dull and dead to me. But I guess part of the blame lies with the cabs I was using at the time and the fact that I hadn't quite figured out how to dial in my V yet (it was fairly new to me back then). Be that as it may, as soon as I put in some Svetlana =C= EL34s, the whole channel 2 immediately started making sense to me. It sounded to me like it was designed for EL34 power. And since EL84s are sonically somewhat closer to EL34s (than 6L6s), I'm not surprised that some players prefer the Mini version of the Crunch mode to the 6L6 version on the big V.

But as always, YMMV, and I can believe many players can coax out great sounds from the 6L6 Crunch mode.
...Even if I couldn't. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:33 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:40 am
Posts: 26
MBjunkie and LesPaul70,

You both make a wonderful point on the Mark V and if I already owned the larger, V I would defend those very points. Given that I don't own the larger V though one has to consider the argument that pound for pound and inch for inch it is a larger amp. I never said that the larger V is "strictly" for larger stages. My argument is more focused on what one might purchase if the choice could be made.

One would be foolish to say that the big Mark V is incapable of small venues, and I am not saying that at all. My position though is that if one wanted a smaller V, and if it were not enough to get the job done, then today's mic techniques or cabclone (review coming on cabclone after tomorrow night!) would be the ultimate replacement for displacement.

I wish the 2C channel of my 35 sounded like the 2C of the Big V. Man I played that at my mom and pop recently and the Big V 2C is plain and simple better. Likewise, like LesPaul70 has surmised I think the Crunch setting benefits from the EL-84's focused sound.

I want to go on the record and put to rest that I personally do not have a great working knowledge of the larger V. I have no right to say one way or the other. You must remember that I came from a ass load of old school Fender amps that you have to crank up in order to get great tube saturation, by the time that happens your eardrums have exploded and part of the front row is in the hospital. I simply feel that the smaller MESA packages accomplish REAL tube saturation at lower volumes if you know how to do it.

I'm from the old school thought process that I'm not trying to find gain in the preamp section. I'm trying to cook the power tubes and saturate them with power for the tones that I want. Old school Fender boys will tell you that when they cranked those 50's and 60's amps up they were wide open!
Though I no longer subscribe to that brand of amps and am stoked to be a MESA owner, I do still subscribe to their primitive ways. I'm from the school of thought that a kick ass amp and axe are all you need (I do use a simple boss delay pedal in the loop).

This has been a great thread as it has remained informative for someone to be able to read and help them decide on a future purchase. I think that your contributions of the V25 and Mark V add credence to this thread. Coupled with my real world ongoing review of the V35 I hope we are all onto something.

Keep em coming 8)
Cheers!


Last edited by Dodgion556 on Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:51 am 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:05 am
Posts: 12
i'll chime in here as a Mark V:35 (head) owner since February. i ended up trading in my Lonestar Classic (100/50 watt version) for the V35 head. initially it was between the V25 and big V head but then the V35 was released and my local shop had all 3 plus the V35 combo in at the same time so it was easy to compare. I passed on the combo because I was planning on pairing whichever amp I bought with a VHT/Fryette Fatbottom 2x12 with PE50's. I went with the V35 as I thought the differences from the V25 was easily worth the extra $200. I chose not to go with the Big V as I don't need 3 channels, all the extra options which for me creates too much fiddling always searching for a better setting. Finally the additional $750 for the big V can be put to other use in our studio. If I was gigging in large venues maybe I would have gone with the Big V but quite frankly a mic and / or cab clone remedies that situation.

This is the first el84 amp I've ever owned and admittedly was a bit skeptical before plugging in, I don't know how Mesa pulled this off but my skepticism vanished immediately.

Since the amp is primarily used in the studio, crunch mode on channel 1 isn't a big deal for me, if I was gigging a lot it would be nice to have it and fat mode available but channel 2 is every bit as satisfying to me.

Do I miss my Lonestar Classic? Nope, not for a nanosecond.


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