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User Review

Early Mark Series tone for your rack! - Reviews Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp

Those familiar with the earlier Boogie Mark series amplifiers, such as the Mark II and Mark III will be at home with the features of this preamp, including

- Rhythm and Lead channels with shared EQ
- Individual Lead drive and master
- Rhythm bright switch
- Lead bright and fat switches
- Stereo output with individual levels
- Recording outs
- Switchable Graphic EQ
- Spring reverb
- Ground isolation switch


UTILIZATION

As with any of the Mark series amplifiers, the initial learning curve can be a bit steep. The EQ settings affect each other over the range, so dialing your sound in properly is a bit of a balancing act. Dual drive pots can be a bit of a learning curve aswell, finding a good balance between saturation, feel, and low noise floor. The GEQ is very powerful, and offers great tonal shaping over the modes. Thanks to this, the shared EQ is not too big of a problem, as one can dial in the rhythm channel, and then use the GEQ to perfectly shape the lead channel. The ground isolation switch is also a great feature for quiet operation in most rack settings.

SOUNDS

The Mesa Studio preamp sits between the Mark II and III tonally. The rhythm channel offers a very nice and shimmery clean, and breaks up nicely when pushed harder. The lead channel offers the high gain sounds that put Mesa on the map. The gain is smooth and fluid, even more so than the newer Mark IV and V models. Between the two drive dials, an insane amount of gain can be dialed, but this is not the reason for the design. Between these two, the perfect amount of both feel, and drive can be dialed in. The GEQ, as with most of the mark series, is the perfect compliment to the lead channel, and is the key to some of the more aggressive high gain sounds found in the design.

OVERALL OPINION

I love my studio preamp. It is more true to the original Mark tones than the recent iterations, and offers the sounds in a small and inexpensive package. Pair with your favorite power amp, and there are some GREAT tones available. For the most authentic Boogie tones, I recommend a Mesa power amp.