Mesa/Boogie has launched the latest high-end guitar guitar amp from its flagship Mark Series, with the Mark VII – a collection of three-channel, 90-watt head, combo and rackmount amps that promise a “greatest hits” of Mesa tone.
For many players, the Mark Series is the acme of electric guitar tone, the one amp that can do it all, and the Mark VII is certainly designed in this spirit.
The Mark VII has been designed from scratch, and there are all kinds of fancy goodies here, such as onboard CabClone IR tech, but the three-channel setup and control panel presents a familiar proposition, and so much versatility from one amp. Each channel has three modes that change the character of the preamp – hence the “nine amps in one” boast on the marketing materials. It’s hard to think of a musical situation involving an electric guitar where the Mark VII could not get the job done.
The power can be scaled down using Mesa’s Multi-Watt tech from a full-on 90-watts to 45- and 25-watt modes. These outputs can be channel assignable, allowing you to, say, maintain the headroom on channel 1 at a full 90-watts, while running channel 2 at 45-watts of Class A Pentode power and 25-watts of Class A Triode power on channel 3. Like its predecessors, the Mark VII is designed to mix and match tones and cater to the seekers out there.
At 90-watts, the Mark VII runs on Mesa’s Simul-Class power, which offers the best of both worlds from Class A/B and Class A operation for “the ultimate in vintage tube tone with modern power and headroom”.
Channel 1 comprises Clean, Fat, or Crunch modes. Channel 2 has Fat, Crunch, and Mark VII modes. Channel 3, meanwhile, takes a trip down Mesa memory lane with switchable Mark IIB, Mark IIC+, or Mark IV modes.
The footswitch does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to these amps – as do you, the 1x12 combo is a compact 19” but weighs in at a meaty 58lbs – but everything is accessible via the front panel, with 3-way mini-toggles for each of the channel modes, output power, and for switching the global 5-band graphic EQ on, off or to assign it to the footswitch. Each channel has dials for Gain, Master, Presence, Bass, Middle, Treble.
To the right of the individual channel controls you have the famous 5-band graphic EQ, a trio of Reverb dials – one for each channel – that dial in how much of the tube-driven spring reverb you need. There is a three-way mini-toggle switch for assigning switching the reverb on/off or assigning it to the footswitch, and another for activating the tube-buffered effects loop or, again, assigning it to the footswitch.
Already, this is a lot to take in, but it all makes sense on the control panel. Deciding on what sound to go for is another thing; it could take some time to fully mine the potential of an amp like this.
Around the back, there is more. There is an 8-Position CabClone IR Select Control that allows you to choose from eight Rectifier and Boogie cabinets per channel, with three dials for the channel-assignable CabClone tech.
There is a USB connection for managing your IRs, an Internal Amp Load control, a headphones out, XLR out with ground lift mini-toggle, 1/4” line out, four speaker outputs (two 8 Ohm and two 4 Ohm), and your 1/4” I/O for the effects loop. You also have the inputs for the six-button footswitch and MIDI Thru/Out and MIDI IN, and bias switches for alternating between 6L6 power tubes and EL34s.
Speaking of tubes, the Mark VII has five 12AX7 tubes in the preamp, a silicon diode rectifier, and a quartet of 6L6 power tubes that can be swapped out for EL34s.
The Mark VII arrives with the standard Black Bronco vinyl covering marine-grade Baltic birch cabinets, a black jute grille cloth, and a host of custom finish options available upon request. The combo is fitted with a Celestion Custom 90 12” speaker.
So there you have it, the Mark VII. Where is the Mark VI? Well, Mesa says it skipped the VI, which will remain a prototype. It’s a lot of guitar amp. You can hear it in action above. You can order one now. The Mark VII head and rackmount head is priced $3,499. The combo is priced $3,799. For more details, head over to Mesa/Boogie (opens in new tab).