Mesa Engineering Baron 5881 Amplifiers

4.55/5 (11 Reviews) MSRP : $3995.00


Product Description

Power Amplifier - 150Wpc In Full Pentode Mode, 120Wpc In 2/3 Pentode, 85Wpc In 2/3 Triode, And 60Wpc In Full Triode


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Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rodolfo Tacsan a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 15, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I have owned my Baron 5881 for over two years. In this period I have never had any problem with this stock amp. I have not even changed a single tube. The only maintenance neeeded is adjusting the bias and balance which is so easy and troubleless.

The biggest advantage of this amp which overwhelms any other amp available is the flexibility. You can adjust it to play any kind of music, even with the unit turned on. I prefer to listen rock with one pentode per channel on, one feedback and the rest in triode. Classic and jazz is incredible with all triode and no feedback since it just puts you together with the musicians. The more wattage you put (more pentode), the further back you are put. I think that the full power (160 Wats) puts the listener in the far back rows, which I do not like.

As for the quality of the music produced by this giant I must say that I just love it. Clear, solid or intimate when necessary. I simply stopped looking for other amps and do not inted to change it for any other, unless it be another updated Baron.

Since i live in Costa Rica I do not know how good is the service, anyway, I have not needed it.

I use this Baron with a pair of Sonus Faber Extrema and no preamplifier. Good cables and interconnects are indispensable conditions to achive a good sound. Believe it or not I use a pair of affordable Apature silver cables combined with Spectral 500 interconncts with excelent results.




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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $2000.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by chuck gormley a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 13, 2001

Bottom Line:   
options in setting negative feed back and triode/pentode mode make initial set up time consuming but rewarding. i'm powering paragon jubilee/jems which are dynaudio speaker based systems and i found the best setting at 1 triode/2pentode with a 2 stage negative feed back. (this coincides by accident with randys recommended setting.)i have rolled tubes but ended up using mesas 5881s and yugo's for 12ax7a. this gives me a very neutral stage for very different sources, i.e. bat d5 cd player, cal audio alpha/delta cd, and and oracle/mit/glider turntable. each is very involving in its unique way. bat for orchestral, cal for jazz an vocal. very detailed and very involving. if i want to read i hook up the sf80. this amp isn't an answer to solid state problems for those who want solid state, nor is it a warmish tube amp which will solve problems of speakers with bright high ends (or upper mid-range), but with the right speakers it can be a good foundation for the rest of your system.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by chuck gormley a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 13, 2001

Bottom Line:   
options in setting negative feed back and triode/pentode mode make initial set up time consuming but rewarding. i'm powering paragon jubilee/jems which are dynaudio speaker based systems and i found the best setting at 1 triode/2pentode with a 2 stage negative feed back. (this coincides by accident with randys recommended setting.)i have rolled tubes but ended up using mesas 5881s and yugo's for 12ax7a. this gives me a very neutral stage for very different sources, i.e. bat d5 cd player, cal audio alpha/delta cd, and and oracle/mit/glider turntable. each is very involving in its unique way. bat for orchestral, cal for jazz an vocal. very detailed and very involving. if i want to read i hook up the sf80. this amp isn't an answer to solid state problems for those who want solid state, nor is it a warmish tube amp which will solve problems of speakers with bright high ends (or upper mid-range), but with the right speakers it can be a good foundation for the rest of your system.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Glenn Stout a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 31, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Man are you guys serious about this product. It is a love it hate it unit. Very industrial which I like. Very well built. Great service when it was time to replace original tubes. Some have indicated problems. I found Mesa folks polite and helpfull. The bass is very good but not great. Very tight and clean but not in the best of solid state class. The more triode you dial in and the less NF you use and of course the bass will become weaker. Full triode is not where you set this amp for PF Dark side of the moon. Full pentode should not be used on Natalie Cole. This amp is for someone that likes to get involved with their system and when set correctly it is quite good.

I won't get into associated equipment. It does not matter with the Barron. You can make it sound like whatever will float your boat.

Problem with a product like this is the stupid factor. If you are not a tweeker buy a good push pull tube unit and enjoy the music. Even for a tweeker the Barron can at times drive you nuts.

This amp has great value for the money. It is industrial however. If you like lots of chrome, inch thick faceplates and rosewood trim buy something that will make you happy. It will cost a bit more but we only go around once.

Some of the best sound I have recently heard was this amp Cal audio Alpha/Delta CD and a MFA A3 preamp through a pair of classic Klipsch speakers. The full triode of the Barron made those horns sing on some old Mel cuts from the 50's. When more pentoid was used the results were not nearly as good. Those old Klipsch and Altec horns were used to Mix the old 50's vocal stuff and they still sound pretty good. It was fun anyway.

Bottom line to all this is keep it friendly. It's all about having fun.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $3400.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ben Licera a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 10, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is in response to Mr. Joe Petty's review which I find very entertaining and quite comical.

Mr. Petty accuses me of taking personal about what Mr. Garland had to say of the Mesa Baron. But we shall see who really is taking the issue personal. Mr. Petty writes that Mr. Garland has the right to say what he wants to say about the Mesa Baron. What Mr. Petty does not realize and would not recognize is that, I, too, have the right to respond to a review which I find contradictory to what my experience with the product. To just stay silent would be unfair to the product manufaturer and would be a deservice to other consumers. It seems to me that Mr. Petty is only willing to entertain negative reviews about the Baron, and that any rebuttal thereof is wrong.

If Mr. Petty would only take the time to fully understand what I wrote, he will realize that I merely quoted Mr. Garland on his various views of the Baron and on each of those views, I presented my rebuttal. (In case Mr. Petty is not aware, whenever word(s) or sentence(s) are enclosed in quotation marks, it indicates that the writer is quoting or referring to what someone else has said or written).

Why doesn't Mr. Petty present his rebuttal to what I wrote in the same manner that I presented mine to Mr. Garland's. Then, maybe we can have a meaningful and productive exchange of views and ideas; a discussion that is based on details and specifics, supported by sound reasoning and not mere generalities and ambiguities capped with pure emotion.

If Mr. Petty would only re-read what I wrote versus what he wrote, he will realize that he is the one getting personal, not I.

Well, Mr.Petty, let's take a look at what you wrote:

1. You said that you owned your Baron for 4 years. During that time, you had it repaired 3 times. But you didn't say what the problems were...were they due to defective component or material, or poor workmanship, etc....I am sure that those 4 years were inconvenient, frustrating, and unacceptable. But why did you 4 years to get rid of that headache?

2. You also said you "love the flexibility" of the Baron. However, in that same sentence, you contradicted yourself by saying that you find this " a pain to have this feature.." So which one is it?

3. You consider the sound and flexibility to be Baron's strengths. But at the same time, you indicated that both (sound and flexilibilty) as Baron's weaknesses. How can that be?

4. You consider Baron as lacking "ump in the bass" compared to the 2 tube amps that you own(ed). Since you did not mention what those 2 tube amps are, I can only assume that the Canary 300B is on of them. (Lovely amp, by the way. A friend of mine owns a pair of these monoblocks driving a pair of Solliquy speakers.) I find it quite interesting and intriguing that you find four 300Bs able to reproduce and deliver more bass than a dozen 5881s or a dozen E34LS, given all other conditions remain unchanged (i.e. same speakers, same pre-amps, same music source). Have you ever wondered why tube bass amps usually utilize 5881s. Maybe, these tube bass amp designers don't really know what they are doing. What do you think, Mr. Petty.

5. You mentioned that you owned a Tigris which you consider to be a joke and that it was "one of the worse integrated amps" you owned. What other integrated amps have you owned, Mr. Petty. Anything in this world can be better or worse when compared to something else. The question is what is the criteria for comparison.

I just recently purchased a used Tigris. And last week, I took delivery of a pair of Merlin VSM Millenium with battery BAM. The Tigris played extremely well, producing sensational music.

6. You said that you are getting threats from the people associated with Mesa, which you referred as "the thugs of Mesa". So, Mr.Petty, what have you done about it? I think this is a serious matter that no consumer should take lightly...Have you reported this to the California Attorney General's Office, or at least, to the California Better Business Bureau? I'm sure you can find their addresses thru the Internet....

7. Lastly, you accused me of being personal. Yet, you are the one who put me in the light of "company gorilla" who "seem to come out of the wood work when you say something bad about the Baron..." I don't know you Mr. Petty, and you don't know me. For you to say I'm a "company gorilla" is totally out of line. And unless you have proof to this effect, I think you've just slandered me.

Let me assure you, Mr. Petty, Mesa is not paying me to write what I wrote. I'm just one among the millions of consumers who have same right as you and Mr. Garland to express opinions and experiences about a product.

Now, let's talk about the Baron. Numerous Magazines and professional audio equipment reviewers have given the Baron positive reviews; Chip Stern, John Atkinson, Marc Mickelson, Dick Olser, to name a few. These people can't all be wrong. Can they, Mr. Petty? And if you haven't noticed, the Baron doesn't appear in the advertisement pages of these magazines. So you and I cannot accuse Mesa of buying these positive reviews, can we Mr. Petty????

I welcome your response, Mr. Petty.


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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996




Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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