Mesa Boogie Nomad 55 Combo
Mesa Boogie Nomad 55 Combo

Tube Combo Guitar Amp of the Nomad series

User Reviews: 4.84

All user reviews for the Mesa Boogie Nomad 55 Combo

Average Score: 4.8 ( 4.8/5 based on 4 reviews )
  3 reviews 75 %
  1 user review 25 %
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iamqman 07/11/2011

iamqman's review "Nomad no more"

5
This was an excellent amp from Mesa Boogie while it lasted. It was a 55 watt three channels with six different modes. Each channel had two separate modes for each giving it the six modes. You have a clean channel, a crunch channel, and an overdrive channel. Each channel was extremely usable and convenient. To top it all off you got a spring reverb and solo boost for soloing.

This amp has some crunch to it with its typical Mesa Boogie style mega gain. This amp could crunch just as good as any other Mesa Boogie amp in their product line. Mesa Boogie is also known for their great clean tones. So the first channel isn't lacking in any way either.

UTILIZATION

Features:

Handbuilt in the USA
55 Watts, Class A/B Power / 2x6L6, 5x12AX7
Bias Select Switch (6L6/EL34)
3 Fully Independent Channels w/6 Modes (Channel 1=Clean or Pushed, Channel 2=Vintage or Modern Gain and Channel 3=Modern or Vintage Gain)
Independent Gain, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Reverb and Master Controls per Channel
Spring Reverb
Output Level Control (over all channels)
Solo Level Control
Parallel FX Loop w/Mix Control
Recording / Headphone Out
Silent Record Mute Switch
Slave Out
5 Button Footswitch (Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 3, Reverb & Solo)
Slip Cover

SOUNDS

This amp I believe was the introduction of the Roadster and Road King series. It has all the same channels, modes, and features but just is a 55 watt version. I love the way this amp sound on the clean channel and the crunch, but this thing lives in channel three on the modern switch mode. This thing will shake down walls with it over the top gain and distortion.

This amp will sound good with any guitar you through at it. I prefer a humbucker equipped guitar with the amount of gain this amp has in store. I feel the rectifier type tone natural attracts the humbucker installed guitar.

OVERALL OPINION

These amps have been discontinued fora while now. You can find them in the classifieds pretty easily for right around $600. not that bad or a price for an extremely versatile amplifier.

I would recommend this amp to anyone who can't afford a Dual Rectifier, Roadster, OR Road King and doesn't mind less power. It still gets plenty enough power and will shake walls...literally.
themaddog 06/07/2011

themaddog's review "Excellent tube combo"

4
This is a 55 watt, 1x12 tube combo amp with three channels. Each channel can be switched between two modes each. The first channel can be set to clean or crunch, and the second and third channels can both be set to vintage or modern. The amplifier has spring reverb. Each channel has its own EQ settings, and the reverb can be dialed up to different values across the three channels. There is also a solo setting across all of the channels that can be kicked on via the footswitch. The footswitch has buttons for each of the three channels, reverb, and the solo boost. There is also an effects loop. The speaker can be unplugged from the amplifier, such as for use with a talkbox in between, and additional speakers can be attached to the amplifier.

Within the power tube section, the amplifier can use either 6L6's, which is what it is designed for, or it can be set to use a pair of EL34's. Within the pre-amp section it uses 5 12AX7 tubes.

The speaker is a Black Shadow.

I can't think of more features that one would really want on a tube combo amp, with the exception of built in effects, but that would probably not be implemented well and would definitely increase the cost, especially when the use of effects is so subjective anyway.

UTILIZATION

I don't own the manual and never needed it, it's very easy to use.

The only thing that's a little clunky on this amp is using the floorboard. It should be longer than it is, because it's easy to hit the wrong button or two switches at once.

SOUNDS

This amp sounds sweet through the Black Shadow. If you want to add a ton of fullness to this combo, the addition of another Black Shadow cabinet makes all the difference in the world on low-end. It produces plenty of volume and can even hold its own against most half-stacks.

OVERALL OPINION

This is a great gigging amp. My only complaint is the small size of the footswitch. Having three channels make it very possible for a guitarist to get by without having to use a POD or other pre-amp distortion. The only issue I've had with it in the seven years I've owned it is the power bulb burnt out.

If croaked or were stolen, I probably wouldn't replace it because I hardly play live anymore, but when I did, it was great having this amp and a Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier half/fullstack to go between, depending on the gig.
alexmar 05/07/2009

alexmar's review

5
- All-tube combo (five 12ax7 + two 6l6) => Possibility to mount el34s, to be tested...
- 50w (big watts!!!) it dwarfs my Carvin XV-112 (but it's only a 1x12...)
- Two Celestion "black shadow" (manufactured exclusively for Boogie, you can't find them in stores, which is a pity because they are excellent. I'll come to them later)
- Guitar input (oh, really?), parallel effects loop with mix control (from 10% to 100%), Slave input to use only the power amp of the combo, one line output (with the possibility to mute the speaker, to record in silence. This feature isn't really necessary but we won't complain!), and to finish up three speaker outputs (2x4 ohms and 1x8 ohms).
- Three totally independent channels, each with two modes.

I don't know what else you can ask of a guitar amp...maybe a second effects loop to insert a gate? And most notably, why is the EQ only available on the 100w version? It's a pity, because it's a very useful tool!

UTILIZATION

- Dialing it in is rather easy but the huge responsiveness of the pots makes it a bit tricky and, besides, there are so many possibilities that it can be disconcerting.
- On the other hand, the sound is good right from the start, as long as you plug in a good guitar, from there you just need to know in which direction you want to go once you've understood how it works!
- The user manual is pretty well made, like always at Mesa Boogie, it goes through all the possibilities and explains in detail the utility of each pot (don't laugh, it's a Mesa Boogie and nothing is as obvious as it seems).

The main asset of this amp is to have three totally independent channels, each with a very distinct sound; For each channel you have: Gain, master, presence, treble, mid, bass, reverb level, and the choice of two modes. (clean/pushed on CH1, Vintage/modern on CH2 and modern/vintage on CH3.)
In other words, a real ocean of possibilities!

Its only defects are the reverb volume and the mix pot for the effects loop, which are on the rear, making things a bit complicated on stage. But the front panel would've been too crowded if they had put them there.

SOUNDS

- It's "versatile" (yes, it is, believe me). I must admit that it really annoys me that this term is used indiscriminately, but in this case, I am forced to use it. With all the controls available you can do almost anything (except for metal, but that's quite normal, considering it's an amp for adults).
- I normally play Les Pauls, a Standard equipped with burstbucker and a Classic with p-94/57 classic+. It sounds terrific with my Telecaster, too, and even my LÂG sounds good with the clean channel.
Obviously, with similar guitars you get fat and juicy sounds, think of a turkey coming out of the oven, grilled and crunchy in appearance, but smooth and juicy inside.

- The clean channel of channel 1 is very usable (it's not as good as my old Fender Silverface 2x12 alnico, but it can stand up to it). With a Strat you can probably get the highly sought-after crystal-clear sound, even if that's not my thing, with the neck pickup (p-94) of my LP you start to get a nice jazzy sound or a big blues sound, with the lead of the telecaster you'll feel at home with Dick Dale by cranking up the reverb a bit...
- The same channel, but in "pushed" mode: With the gain at 9:00 the sound is still clean and it turns "stout" when you turn the control to the right. The distortion appears gradually so you can discover a nice, fat, very "nasal" crunch (awesome for blues!), afterwards you can do whatever you want with the EQ, from Alan Vega with a bit of slapback to Keith Richards if you have a good Tele between your hands. Cranked all the way up with a Tubescreamer you can get into a Garry Moore mood, but a bit less biting.

- Channel 2, "vintage" mode: You can go from a Twin sound that starts distorting to Billy Gibbons. The sound can be dry or extremely fat, depending on the EQ settings, with a somewhat acidic point to it, like certain old amps when cranked all the way (Fender, Hiwatt or Ampeg, for example). The sound literally cuts through the mix and doesn't let itself be pushed around by the cymbals of a drummer in rage.
- Channel 2, "modern" mode with a bit of extra gain and high mids, it can turn a bit "fuzzy" if you crank it up and it starts to rock as it should!

- Channel 3, "modern" mode: In the same line as channel 2, but even fatter, more low mids, more lows they can sound a bit hard if you increase the mids too much. From a big ZZ Top crunch to Jeff Beck and everything in between! It's easy to get a modern sound but not too modern (it's not an Engl or a Randal!)

- Channel 3, "vintage" mode: Same as with the other mode, it's basically the same sound as channel 2 with the same mode, but it't even fatter and with more gain.

The reverb is quite special, very wide and clear, it makes me think of big studio racks that cost and arm and a leg, its only defect is probably being too discreet, even when cranked all the way up (on the bright side, it makes up for lack of taste).
To finish, the solo mode is very practical, you just need to adjust the volume and that's it!

A brief word on the speakers: As I already said, they are Celestion black shadow custom...do you like the Vintage 30? Well, they are four times as musical while being in the same range, an excellent precision, a lot of punch and a jaw-dropping clarity. Just for laughs, I connected the V30 from my Carvin to the combo....and it sounded really crappy in comparison! (OK, right, it's not a 2x12 Bogner) The difference is flagrant and, comparing them like that, you can really tell that the Black shadow is better.

I only give it 6/10 because the original tubes are lousy, you need to change them right away or you risk having a "cardboard" and aggressive sound, which is unacceptable for such an expensive amp. So I loaded it with 5 philips ecc83 (NOS) for the preamp and a pair of Sovtek WXT+ for the power stage and it's a completely different story... (I'm expecting some Sylvania and Telefunken NOS, so I will update my review once I do some tests...

[Edit with new tubes] = Telefunken nos in V1, V3 and V4, Raytheon nos in V2, 12at7 JAN nos as phase inverter instead of the 12ax7 and 6l6 Sylvania nos for the power stage. The result: Much more warmth and depth, a natural compression, you're under the impression of having an AVALON compressor between guitar and amp..., yes, yes, I swear! The 12at7 phase inverter allows you to recover some "air," you lose some gain but you win clarity and definition.
Broadly speaking, in comparison to the original tubes, you get a rounder and singing sound, less sharp and more velvety with a greater overall control...It is really worth it to invest in "real" tubes! The only problem is that it's not cheap ($350 for this set...).

OVERALL OPINION

- I received it this morning, but I had several years its bigger sibling (Nomad 100 1x12) at a time when I had to decide whether to eat or have the best amp in town, I made up for my mistake! It wasn't easy because it hasn't been manufactured for several years and I think the lucky owners of its cousins guard them jealously.

- I love: The potential, it's real machine full of sounds, each better than the other. It's all-terrain side will come in very handy to rockers with luxurious taste (like me) and guitarists who play pop with a double of Patricia Kass. All that is possible. 50w is perfect, its bigger sibling equipped with two 6l6 is a bit of a joke, as soon as you turn the master... The speakers are truly extraordinary.

- I love less: The weight, with its two Celestion C90 its unmovable! Flight case with two handles mandatory if you weigh less than 200lbs and you are not a body builder.
The original tubes are lousy. I have also heard the Rectifier has the same problem, it may be some sort of tradition or something...

The price was excessive at the time, I paid $3600 for the 100w model. With hindsight, I wouldn't buy it again, but I have never regretted buying it, only having sold it.
I got this one for a little over $1800, shipping included. For that price, it's a great deal!
janluc 07/07/2007

janluc's review

5
Tube amp. Read the description at Mesa's website
Power: 55 true watts. It is really loud.
Very comprehensive connections, including effects loop with master, speaker outputs and slave to connect another amp.
3 channels with two sounds each, controllable with the footswitch, plus a solo mode. The reverb can also be footswitched.
Each channel has 7 adjustable settings: gain-volume-presence-treble-mid-bass and reverb (on the rear).
Master volume and solo, plus loop mix.
It's very comprehensive and precise.

UTILIZATION

It's easy to use, but offers so many possibilities that it requires some time and testing to get a hold of it.
The manual is all right (you can find it on their website).

SOUNDS

It suits almost any style because it's super versatile. It provides all classic Mesa sounds and distortion, but beware it doesn't offer the Rectifier sound.
The sounds are of very good quality, be it clean, crunch or distortion.
It's the distortion sounds that make a real difference when compared to Fender or Marshall.

OVERALL OPINION

I bought it secondhand recently and its biggest defect is the price. Secondhand it's doable because it costs the same as a new combo from other brands, but the Mesa touch is truly exceptional. I had an old tube sound and I admit that it doesn't even come close. Another great quality of the Nomad is that it's a true professional amp, both in terms of manufacturing and design.
It has an average value for money, but it really plays in the Majors and there's nothing more to add.
I would buy it again and I know I will keep it until the end of my life.