The Mesa/Boogie Mark V 35 has all the tone with less weight and option paralysis of its bigger brother and is priced fairly given the build quality and range of sounds.
From its early days of hot rodding small Fender amplifiers, Mesa/Boogie has evolved into one of the most respected amplifier companies around, with a reputation for sonic versatility and superb build quality. One of their most venerated series of amplifiers is the Mark amplifier, currently in its fifth incarnation. While the Mark V amplifier is a worthy flagship amplifier, its cost and weight might be prohibitive for some. Enter the Mark V 35, one of the “little brothers” to the original Mark V (the other being the Mark V 25 head). How does the Mark V 35 stack up? I checked out the Mark V 35 1×12 combo, so let me share with you my thoughts on this little Mesa powerhouse.
The Mesa/Boogie Mark V 35 amplifier is, as its name suggests, a 35 watt amplifier that can run in 10 and 25 watt modes as well. Based on the flagship Mark V amplifier, it includes 2 channels with 3 modes per channel for a total of 6 different available styles. Each channel sports an independent solo boost and the popular Cabclone speaker emulated out is standard, a feature currently absent on the original 90W version. The spring reverb is all tube and can be applied to each channel independently. A 4 channel footswitch and cover are also included.
The folks at Mesa/Boogie have managed to squeeze quite a bit of tone into a relatively small (and, for a Boogie, affordable) package. The top channel offers Clean, Crunch, and Fat tones while the bottom channel provides MK IV, MK IIC+ and Xtreme options, some of the most celebrated Mesa clean tones from the company’s rich history. The instantly-recognizable Mesa 5-band graphic EQ is standard fare as well. This amp provides a lot of versatility. The top channel offers some excellent crisp “American” clean tones which could easily serve as a platform for overdrive/distortion pedals, though the “Crunch” setting is a viable lead tone in its own right. The amp really shines with the lead channel, with some of the most instantly recognizable Boogie tones contained therein (the Mk IIC+ is the real deal). I used the amp in both a traditional mic’d cab format as well as the Cabclone emulated out, and found the latter to be super convenient as well as sonically desirable. The reverb was rich and lush. The single Celestion C90 speaker was an excellent fit for the Mark V 35.
I have owned a Mesa/Boogie Mark V combo almost since the model was introduced, and I have to say – this little brother is now my preferred Boogie amplifier. All the tone with less weight and option paralysis. Though some might balk at the price I personally think $2k is a fair price given the build quality and range of sounds. The Mesa/Boogie Mark V 35 combo is a keeper.
Name of Gear: Mesa/Boogie Mark V 35
List Price: $2049
Manufacturer Info: Mesa Engineering; mesaboogie.com
Pros: Incredible tonal versatility; classic Mesa/Boogie lead tones