Mesa Boogie Stiletto Deuce Stage II Head
Mesa Boogie Stiletto Deuce Stage II Head

Stiletto Deuce Stage II Head, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Mesa Boogie in the Stiletto series.

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King Loudness 08/10/2011

Mesa Boogie Stiletto Deuce Stage II Head : King Loudness's user review

« Mesa, meet Marshall »

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The Mesa Boogie Stiletto Deuce Stage II is the 100w version of Mesa Boogie's Stiletto series of amps. The Stiletto was basically designed to have more of a Marshall-y character with an EL34 based power section. It is still laid out similarly to a Rectifier head, but the core tones are more akin to a Marshall overall. It is a two channel head. Each channel is set up with identical controls (gain, bass, middle, treble and master volume). Each channel is equipped with two mini switches, one to toggle between 100w and 50w and one to switch between three different modes that each channel has. The clean channel contains Fat Clean, Tite Clean and Crunch modes, and the distortion channel has modes called Crunch, Tite Gain and Fluid Drive. There is also a switch to toggle between bold and spongy power modes. Here's the full list of specs:

Multi-Watt™, Channel Assignable Power Amp (Patent 7,602,927) allows you to assign either 2 or all 4 EL-34 Power Tubes to each Channel for Power Ratings of 50 or 100 Watts of Class A/B Power via independent 50/100 Watt Power Switches / 4xEL-34, 5x12AX7, 2x5U4
Fixed Bias for Consistent, Maintenance Free Performance
2 Fully Independent Channels with 6 Modes (Channel 1 = Fat Clean, Tite Clean or Crunch (Cloning Channel 2), Channel 2 = Crunch, Tite Gain or Fluid Drive)
Channel Assignable Dual Rectification with Recto Tracking™ (Diode or Tube Tracking – Patents 5,168,438 & 7,193,458)
Independent Gain, Treble, Mid, Bass, Presence & Master Controls per Channel
Bold/Spongy “Variac” Switch (Patent 5,091,700)
Output Level Control (over all channels when activated)
Footswitchable Solo Level Control – Patent 6,724,897 (over all channels when activated)
Fully Buffered FX Loop with Send Level Control (over all channels when activated)
True “Hard” Bypass Switch that removes FX Loop, Output Level & Solo Level Controls from signal path
Slave Out with Level Control
External Switching Jacks for Channels 1, 2 & Solo
Chrome Chassis
2 Button Footswitch (Channel 1/2 & Solo)
Slip Cover


Setting up this amp is fairly simple. Each channel is laid out with just core controls and there's not too many different settings to deal with as per certain other Mesa amps. You basically pick your mode, set the EQ to taste and you're off to the races. Dialing in a sound that's pleasing will vary in difficulty depending on what sort of tone you are after. This amp was meant to sound very Marshall-y, but I find that it still has that certain Boogie characteristic that keeps it sounding like what it is - a Rectifier. However, the EL34 tubes and using spongy power can help to "brown" the amp out significantly.


I've tried this amp with various guitars and amps. In my experience it's a very picky amp in terms of what it sounds really good with. The absolute best rig I had set up using this amp was a PRS Mira Korina guitar (with PRS humbuckers) and a Mesa Boogie 4x12 cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. This combination (and a whole lot of treble/presence roll-off on the amp's EQ) created a killer 90s rock tone that reminded me a lot of a slightly more vintage voiced Soldano SLO100 or perhaps a juiced up Marshall JCM800. I found that the clean channel sounded somewhat bland and weak for my tastes. I'm used to more of a Lone Star type clean sound... the cleans on this amp were more of a skinny, weaker British type clean sound, which isn't my thing. The drive tones were pretty cool, but it really depends on the guitar and cabinet that's going with it I found. I tried it with Les Pauls, Strats, Flying Vs, etc, and I just couldn't dig the amp. However the tone with the Mira was obscene.


All in all I think the Mesa Stiletto Deuce is a decent amp for someone looking for a somewhat British voiced rock head that still has a lot of the Mesa flavour attached. For my tastes I prefer the Electradyne or the new Royal Atlantic but this amp certainly holds its own when dialed in to perfection. The $1800 price new has me scratching my head, but you can pick them up much cheaper if you look around...

It's worth a shot, though probably not Mesa's best attempt at a British voiced amp by any means.