One of the late 80s stepping stones of the Petaluma-based amplifier company, the Mesa Boogie 50 Caliber 50 is a straight-forward 50-watt combo that rocks, twangs, sings and much more.
There’s probably never been a bad review of a Boogie amplifier, mainly because they are first-rate pieces of equipment that deliver top quality tone in all of their incarnations.
This Caliber 50 is from their first year of manufacture in 1987, and was designed to fill an important gap between the Studio 22 and then flagship Mark III in the Mesa combo range.
The Mesa Boogie 50 Caliber Combo Amp is just about everything a portable combo needs to be. Powered by two 6L6 power tubes and five 12AX7 preamp tubes, it delivers 50 solid watts and is capable of generating some monstrous lead tones (think Carlos Santana) while still maintaining plenty of headroom for a super clean tone, as well as thick, full-bodied crunch and overdrive.
Made in Petaluma California, and fully hand wired point to point. The person who wired the chassis signs it.
It features a one of the all-time great rock loudspeakers in the 12″ 8-ohm Celestion Black Shadow that handles up to 90 watts of power.
This amp great for hard rock, but players of all styles will enjoy its warmer tones and overall versatility. Plus the built-in five-channel equalizer really adds to its overall performance variability. While it’s perfect for hard rock & blues, even the jazz guys love this amp.
Its front contains the majority of its controls, including the Input and Footswitch input, Gain (with Pull Lead), Master, Lead Master, Treble, Bass, Middle, Reverb, and Presence, as well as the equalizer, and EQ Auto, Standby and Power switches.
On the back are a Slo-Blo fuse, ground switch, a direct 1/4″ output, two 4-ohm ¼ speaker outputs, and effects loop sockets.
This amp certainly covers a lot of ground. You can dial up pretty much whatever tube sounds you like, and configure it to a certain power setting. It is a compact powerhouse of versatility in a compact package, sporting a killer Celestion Black Shadow 90 watt 12” speaker in a combo configuration that doesn’t weigh a ton.
This one is in very condition for a 30 year old. A few marks on the tolex, but nothing serious. We believe it has not been changed in any way and still delivers that great Mesa Boogie quality tone, just like when new. This is the export model so it is 240 volt – no stepdown transformer required.
Some people may twitch at the price of Mesa Boogie amps, even second hand. But you can spend a lot of time & money buying and trading other amps, looking for that perfect sound. Or you can buy this classic Caliber 50 in great condition for less than a new reissue amp with circuit board rather than point to point wiring. And you CAN hear the difference.