Guitar Amplifier Mesa Boogie Electra Dyne 1×12 Combo
With only one volume, treble, mid, bass, presence and master knobs, a three-way Hi/Clean/Low switch, and a power-on switch that also provides full- and half-power settings, the Electra Dyne’s front panel offers the most simple and elegant control array ever found on a Mesa/Boogie amp model. However, a look at the amp’s back panel reveals several uncommon controls and features that allow users to customize and personalize the Electra Dyne’s performance characteristics with typical Boogie flexibility. In addition to mono send and return jacks, speaker outputs and a reverb level control, the rear panel has a reverb bypass switch, a defeat mode that lets you bypass the reverb only when high- or low-gain modes are selected, a slave output with level control for driving external effect processors or power amps, and a unique gain trim control that lets you adjust the balance between the amp’s Clean and Hi/Low modes.
The Electra Dyne ships with a quartet of 6L6 tubes that delivers sparkling Fender-style clean tones and dynamic Marshall-style crunch. The power tubes operate in Mesa’s patented Simul-Class configuration where one pair of tubes runs in extended Class A while the other pair runs in Class A/B. Seven 12AX7 tubes drive the preamp, effect return and reverb sections, providing true all-tube operation and delivering plenty of gain for crushing metal distortion tones.
If you prefer the more compressed and focused sound of EL34 tubes, a 6L6/EL34 bias-select switch allows you to swap tubes without making modifications or bias adjustments. Even though this switch is surrounded by a metal collar to prevent accidental switching, some users or careless techs who haven’t read the Electra Dyne’s outstanding and informative manual may be tempted to change bias settings under the mistaken impression that the amp offers instant powertube switching. Since this is really a “set-and-forget” type of switch, Mesa should have either placed it inside the chassis near the tubes and out of the sight of curious tweakers or restricted access to the switch with a removable cover.
Although all three modes share the same set of EQ, gain and volume controls, this configuration is not a throwback to the “too dark/too bright/just right” conundrum of yesteryear’s three-channel amps. The Low and Hi modes may stack up additional stages of gain, but the overall tone remains consistent as you toggle from Clean to Low to Hi. This should satisfy most players who need an outstanding clean tone, a raunchy, crunchy overdrive tone for rock rhythm and blues soloing, and a sizzling, singing distortion tone for over-the-top solos, without shifting the overall tonality and character too drastically. The Electra Dyne’s treble delivers radiant harmonics while the midrange produces rich and complex tones without the typical nasal honk of lesser amps. Overall, the amp combines the character of Fender Twin and Bassman amps and classic Marshall “Plexi” and hot-rodded nonmaster Marshalls, resulting in an amp that Stevie and Jimi certainly would have adored.
The Electra Dyne’s spring reverb is first class all the way, and the ability to bypass it with a footswitch or configure it to be bypassed only in the Low or Hi mode greatly adds to the amp’s usefulness in gigging situations. The reverb leans more toward the bouncy surf tones of a Super Reverb than the lush wash of a Twin Reverb, but it still sounds mighty fine.
THE BOTTOM LINE
When it comes to tone and features, the Electra Dyne may be the black sheep of the Mesa/Boogie family, but every rocker knows that black is always in style. Don’t let the streamlined single-channel styling fool you—this amp is as versatile and gig-worthy as any other Boogie, but it greatly simplifies the process of dialing in the tones and performance characteristics you want and love.