Review: Mesa Tigris Tube amp
Every piece of equipment I review had been used in my own system under the conditions of my listening room.
Mesa Boogie Tigris is the 20-35 Wt/c push-pull integrated amp of the true double mono design loaded with not so common features:
- Adjustable negative feedback;
- Triode/pentode on-the-fly switching (3 positions, as there are 6 power tubes of 2 types in each channel.)
- Adjustable line level output from the power amp section
- Reference quality headphones output from the power amp section
- Warm-up/operation switches for each channel
- Auto-bias circuit
- 4/8-Ohm outputs
- 4 12AX7s in preamp/input/driver sections,
and combination of 8 EL84 and 4 6V6 in power section;
- Extremely well build, heavy chassis, nice solid American-style look. Very reliable, easily survives multiple UPS shipping.
- There are so many different sound trims you could get using 12 combinations of feedback and power tubes grids configuration that no short description could satisfy enough.
2/3 Triode mode with zero negative feedback (20 wt/c)sounds very suitable for smaller-scale jazz and classical. Tonal picture is lively and quite natural, but not without that classic tube coloration. Soundstage is wide and deep enough, imaging and detail are very satisfactory for the integrated amp.
In pentode configuration with a moderate feedback (closer to the ultra-linear mode, 28-35 wt/c), Tigris is clean and fast enough to rock. Your choice of favorite setting will heavily rely on your speakers and room acoustic. Tigris has a minor bump in the mid-bass that makes you think of high-end monitors to be paired with this amp.
Mesa Tigris is one of the very best choices for the entry-level integrated tube amp.
Excellent performance to price ratio when bought used.
In my system, Mesa Tigris clearly outperformed Jolida hybrid, Golden Tube integrated, Antique Sound Labs monoblocks, and NAD solid-state integrated.
Re-tubing is inexpensive, and technical support from Mesa is first-class.
Generally, Tigris is on the warmer/euphonic/romantic side, and may be not the amp for those who seek neutral and colder sound.
Speakers: Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rods bi-wired (I HIGHLY recommend them in combination with Tigris),
Soliloquy 5.0s bi-wired (nice match, too), Sonus Faber Concertinos, Sound Dynamics 300i;
Sources: Rega Planet 3 w Grado Red/Sumiko Blue Point Special through Antique Sound USA PP-1 phono pre-amp, Musical Fidelity Elektra 624 CDP, Arcam Alpha 9 CDP, McCormack SST-1 transport and Monarchy Audio Model 33 DAC.
Cables: various Cardas speaker and interconnect cables.
Jolida hybrid, Golden Tube integrated, Antique Sound Labs monoblocks, and NAD solid-state integrated.