Mesa/Boogie Mini Rectifier Twenty-Five

February 16, 2012

Mesa/Boogie has been hitting on all cylinders in recent years, introducing great new amplifiers such as the Mark V, Electra Dyne, Transatlantic TA-15 and TA-30, Royal Atlantic, and now the new Mini Rectifier Twenty-Five, which is essentially a quarter-scale version of the famed Dual Rectifier. The Mini Rectifier’s polished diamond plate metal front gives it a jewel-like appearance that immediately sets it apart from other pint-sized tube heads. And while it’s the same size as the previous TA-15, the Mini Recto’s fewer switching functions make its control panel look a little more streamlined.

Each channel has independent Gain, Volume, and Tone controls, as well as a 2-position voicing switch and a Multi-Watt selector for 25- or 10-watt operation. On the back are two speaker outs and a tube-driven effects loop with a hard-bypass switch. The included footswitch is for channel select only, and you can also switch channels from the control panel.

Sitting atop the matching Mini Recto 1x12 cabinet (available in straight and angled versions), the little rig looks killer, but the Mini Rectifier’s fun factor really takes hold when you fire it up. Switching between Channel 1’s modes reveals a wealth of tones that range from sparkling clear (Clean mode with the Gain set near half and the Volume turned up) to highly over driven when you crank the Gain knob in Pushed mode. This latter configuration is one of the Mini Recto’s coolest overdrive modes: There’s plenty of gain for crushing rock rhythms and solos, and EQ controls are voiced in a manner that adds warmth to the distortion.

With the Multi-Watt switch on the 25-watt (pentode) setting you get the tightest, ballsiest response, while switching down to 10 watts (triode) softens the attack (and volume) and yields more compression. The ability to set the wattage differently on each channel is hip as it allows you to get just the right dynamic feel for your clean and over driven sounds.

Channel 2 is the Mini Recto’s high-gain domain, and when set to Vintage mode, you get a creamy distortion sound that’s super touch sensitive and responsive to your guitar’s volume setting. With the Gain knob turned up past noon, the abundant sustain lifts your notes readily into smooth, harmonics-laden feedback, while the muscular output stage keeps everything articulate and focused.

 
Inside the metal housing is a neat PCB circuit with handwired leads to the chassis-mounted pots. The sockets for the five 12AX7s and two EL84s are board mounted, which helps to compress the amount of circuitry that must fit into a space measuring only 5" x 11.5".
In Modern mode, the Mini Rectifier goes on the offensive, delivering furious overdrive tones with awesome midrange presence and low-end grunt; even from a bridge single-coil, it’s unreal! Compared side-by-side with a Dual Rectifier 4x12 rig, the Mini Recto sounded almost identical and every bit as fierce. I’ve never heard an EL84 amp do that trick, so kudos to Randy Smith for making it happen! Credit is also due to the Mini Recto Slant cabinet, which kicks out amazingly chunking lows and very upfront mids and highs. Mesa put lots of R&D into making this little cab sound big and badass, and it has absolutely paid off.

Running at 25 watts in Modern mode gives the toughest and most percussive response, while the 10-watt setting gives a more liquid feel and lowers the volume significantly. Noteworthy too is how quiet the Mini Rectifier is; even in high gain and volume settings the hiss is barely noticeable.

With its smart features, cool looks, and ability to nail the Dual Rectifier sound, the Mini Rectifier Twenty-Five is an astonishingly potent package that earns an Editors’ Pick Award.

Specifications

Mesa/Boogie Mini Rectifier Twenty-Five

CONTACT Mesa/Boogie, (707) 778-6565; mesaboogie.com
PRICE $999 retail/street price N/A (padded carry bag included)
CHANNELS Two
CONTROLS (Channel 1) Gain, Treble, Mid, Presence, Master, Clean/Pushed switch, Multi-Watt switch. (Channel 2) Gain, Treble, Mid, Presence, Master, Vintage/Modern switch, Multi-Watt switch. Channel select switch.
TUBES Five 12AX7 preamp tubes, two EL84 output tubes
POWER 25 watts/10 watts
EXTRAS Effects loop w/hard bypass switch. Two speaker outs (8Ω, 4Ω). Footswitch included.
SPEAKER Mini Recto 1x12 Slant cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30 ($449 retail/street price N/A)
BUILT USA
WEIGHT Head: 12 lbs, cabinet: 31.5 lbs
KUDOS A fabulous compact tone machine. Excellent features. Delivers the Rectifier overdrive sound.
CONCERNS None.

More from this Roundup:

Three New Mini Tube Amps
Carvin V3M
Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18 Head
Solid-State Micro Amps
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