Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Instruments > Guitar Gear & Accessories
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 04-15-2013, 08:04 PM   #1
funk_monk
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Just got a mesa roadster, not entirely what I was expecting

I've been looking for an amp for a bit over a year now. It was originally an 18th birthday present, but I never managed to decide. I looked around for a long time online and tried out various amps.

It seemed that a mesa would be most what I was after, given what I'd tried, and what advice I've been given online. I was looking at the mini recto, and from what I'd gathered from when I tried it it seemed quite nice. I'd always had half an eye on the used market on ebay, and a roadster came up complete with recto cab. I decided that should do nicely.

I'll set out my background, now. I've been playing for a good few years, and have a guitar leagues away from my previous amp. The amp I had was basically one of the starter amps you get in a set. A few years ago I decided I needed a higher quality guitar, so went for an S5470 prestige, which does me well. Basically I've been playing that guitar through a crappy solid state starter amp for a few years until now.

Fast forward to the present, and I now have the roadster. When we went to pick it up from the seller, I had a quick play, and it seemed quite nice, and I know mesas are a pain to dial in, so we went ahead and sealed the deal.

Now I have it in my room, and I can't quite get my head round it. I'm not sure whether it's because I've been playing a solid state amp all those years (albeit with heavy effects covering the cracks), or whether I'm just incompatible with this amp. It completely threw me. I know rectos are known to be a little loose and saggy, but I never expected it to be this much. It's the sort of thing you can't really hear, but you feel. It's almost as if the sound is slightly delayed. On top of that, it has this weird feeling when you dig in, like it's overcompensating for the sag temporarily, giving it this popping character in the bass even when you play high strings, it feels almost like a kick drum (although ovbiously it doesn't sound like one). It's kinda odd, it's like there's almost a "hole" in the sound where no frequencies are present, to the extent that it doesn't feel like normal mid scooping.

Given that I have very little to compare it to, only having had that little practice amp before, I don't know whether this is simply something which is inherant to mesas which I overlooked (in which case I feel free to tell me it's my own fault, since it would be true), or whether there's something a little odd with it. I reckon the amp is about five years old, although physically it's in very good condition. The same is true of the cab. It's possible the tubes are either cold, or simply dying, but again I have very little experience of anything else besides what friends gear I've played and what I've tried in the shops.

I'm planning on selling the cab (the head and cab came as a pair) for something smaller, since I don't have room for it long term. I don't really know how much of what I'm describing is due to the cab.

Current I only have the cab hooked up with an instrument cable (I know, it's a massive sin). While a proper speaker cable would clearly be better (I'm planning on making one soon, screw buying them when I can make a better one for less), I doubt it would make such a pronounced difference.

If it is a case of poor tubes, or wrong bias (which mesa have a history of), then that's something I can deal with. If putting a negative feedback loop in would clean it up then I'd be willing to do that, too (I know my way round electronics). If the feel I'm describing is down to a few componants, then I'd mod it in a heartbeat. My only worry is that what I'm describing is basically a combination of lots of different componants all through the gain stages which would be a nightmare to modify.

What I don't want to do, is to hack this amp to pieces, only to decide later that I'm still not happy with it, and have an amp which has significantly degraded in value.

If it is something that I just don't gel with on a fundamental level, rather than something which is easy to fix or simply me requiring a break in period, then I'd definitely want to move it on. Given how much it cost my parents, I wouldn't feel right if it was something I disliked - I'd rather have no amp at all than be in that situation, and just be rid of the whole dilemma. I don't really know what they'd say if I said it wasn't for me after all and that I wanted to sell it on for something else. Both situations are uncomfortable, but I see the latter as being the lesser of the two evils.

While I was looking for amps, the EVH 5150iii mini caught my eye, and it had been nagging at me in the back of my head that it might be more suitable, but unlike marshalls and other amps it's not something I've been able to try out. Do you think that would be a better match, given what I've described?

Regardless, I'll stick with the roadster for a little while just to make sure it's not simply me being weirded out at first and being incapable of dialing it in properly. However, if it is the case that I just don't get on with it, I feel it would be better to be rid of it and back to square one. If that is the case, then obviously it would be best to stay well clear of any modding.

I'm sorry if this post is a bit of a ramble, I'd probably have structured it better in person. The whole thing just completely shook me and I wanted to know what other peoples take on it would be. If there's anything I haven't said clearly that you would like to know, then just ask.
funk_monk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
Tom 1.0
Hot For Teacher
 
Tom 1.0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UK
hasnt it got like a billion settings, eq and power modes?

Just keep messing around with and for the love of god get a proper cable.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemoninfluence
I'm not familiar with police procedures.



1977 Burny FLG70
Tom 1.0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
Roc8995
Moderator
 
Roc8995's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Mesas take a while to dial in even for people used to tube amps. Give it a fair chance for a week or two first - they take some getting used to.

If there's too much sag for you, make sure you're on diode mode for the rectifier.

And yeah, minus ten points for running it with a speaker cable.
__________________
rr, pe&a
Roc8995 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 08:19 PM   #4
Robbgnarly
Registered User
 
Robbgnarly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NSB, FL
Honestly stop using the amp until you get a speaker cable. When the speaker cable goes (and it will because it is not designed to handle power loads only line levels) you will **** the OT which will set you back about $400.
Probably has a lot to do with your tone.

Rectos have a tone of bass on tap, try lowering it. Have you selected the silicone mode on the back of the amp? That has a big effect on your tone.

what are your settings?

Roadsters can take months to dial in
__________________
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Robbgnarly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 08:41 PM   #5
funk_monk
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbgnarly
Honestly stop using the amp until you get a speaker cable. When the speaker cable goes (and it will because it is not designed to handle power loads only line levels) you will **** the OT which will set you back about $400.
Probably has a lot to do with your tone.

Rectos have a tone of bass on tap, try lowering it. Have you selected the silicone mode on the back of the amp? That has a big effect on your tone.

what are your settings?

Roadsters can take months to dial in
I've been over most of the "basic" settings, although obviously there are many more which I haven't covered. I haven't really had it long enough to have "settings" in the normal sense, because I'm still trying to find a general tone rather than refine what I have.

I general I tend to have the master fairly high compared to the pre since it seems to give better cleans, and the distortion doesn't really suffer if you boost it. I've set up ch2 to be my clean channel, with a slightly scooped mids and bass eq. Ch1 is slightly wooly on the tweed setting, with boosted mids. Ch3 is the classic recto crackle scooped mid setting. Ch4 is similarly gainy but with more mids and less bass.

The first two channels are on 100W. The other two are at 50W so I don't have to push it as hard to get the same tone. All channels are bold, with diode rectification.

Regarding the cable, I don't think it'll be an issue besides being a minor tone suck. I have the master fairly high (compared to what you'd usually use in a bedroom), but the individual volume knobs are fairly low per channel except for Ch2 which is higher because I backed of the gain significantly. The wire in the cable is pretty heavy gauge too, so it's not something I'm worried about.
funk_monk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 08:46 PM   #6
JKHC
Registered User
 
JKHC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by funk_monk
giving it this popping character in the bass even when you play high strings, it feels almost like a kick drum


You'll get used to it. I had the same feeling when I switched from SS to tube.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by FEngHLyan
She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
JKHC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 08:47 PM   #7
R45VT
Doesn't speak guitar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Traffic Town LA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 1.0
hasnt it got like a billion settings, eq and power modes?

Just keep messing around with and for the love of god get a proper cable.


I love your sig. Cathbard-isms...

I will post back later with stuff for TS
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathByDestroyr
See, it's important that people clarify when they say "metal", because I pretty much always assume they are a Cannibal Corpse fanboi.
R45VT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 08:47 PM   #8
Tom 1.0
Hot For Teacher
 
Tom 1.0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by R45VT
I love your sig. Cathbard-isms...

I will post back later with stuff for TS




lol
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemoninfluence
I'm not familiar with police procedures.



1977 Burny FLG70
Tom 1.0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 08:49 PM   #9
Robbgnarly
Registered User
 
Robbgnarly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NSB, FL
When you mess your amp up you will cry like a baby and it will be expensive. Is it really that hard to get a speaker cable?
you can use a 50ft pa speaker cable if it has 1 1/4" ends and it is better for your amp than using the instrument cable
__________________
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Robbgnarly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 09:09 PM   #10
I K0nijn I
Registered User
 
I K0nijn I's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Belgium
I've had a Dual Recto and now have a Lone Star and certainly for drive sounds, I think you have to turn up the amps really loud. They sound not nearly as good on low volume levels as they do on high volume levels.

That said, I spent about a week dialing in the Dual Recto per channel until I was quite happy with it. There's so much stuff going on that you can't dial in some settings you're used to and call it a day, in my opinion.

Spend time with it and start with everything at about half. Or even better, have someone else adjust the amp while you play and make sure you don't see what they're exactly doing.
I K0nijn I is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 09:39 PM   #11
Bigbazz
Registered User
 
Bigbazz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Could be that it is dodgy and needs a valve replacement, specifically preamp valves. When I bought my 5150 it had some characteristics that sound similar to what you're describing that was leaving me feeling disapointed, after some advice I got it revalved and it completely fixed the issue.
__________________
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
Marshall 1960A
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
Fender Stratocaster x3 (2 of them built from bits and pieces!)
Bigbazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 09:52 PM   #12
funk_monk
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbazz
Could be that it is dodgy and needs a valve replacement, specifically preamp valves. When I bought my 5150 it had some characteristics that sound similar to what you're describing that was leaving me feeling disapointed, after some advice I got it revalved and it completely fixed the issue.
The amp has had two previous owners, and I don't know if it's been revalved since it was bought. How long do preamp valves usually last before they degrade?
funk_monk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 09:55 PM   #13
Robbgnarly
Registered User
 
Robbgnarly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NSB, FL
Quote:
Originally Posted by funk_monk
The amp has had two previous owners, and I don't know if it's been revalved since it was bought. How long do preamp valves usually last before they degrade?

It can be days or decades
__________________
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Robbgnarly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 10:01 PM   #14
funk_monk
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbgnarly
It can be days or decades
I think the amp has seen fairly consistant use since it was originally bought. The original owner was in a band (which meant I got a nice flight case, incidentally), and the second owner was a home studio guy.

Besides obvious catastophic failures like a filament burnout, how would the characteristics change?
funk_monk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 10:05 PM   #15
Bigbazz
Registered User
 
Bigbazz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by funk_monk
The amp has had two previous owners, and I don't know if it's been revalved since it was bought. How long do preamp valves usually last before they degrade?


I bought mine at the end of 2004 (it's a 2001 model) from a big guitar stores website, they said it had been recently serviced but were clearly lying out of their asses, anyway the amp came and something wasn't right with the sound of it, or more specifically the response of it, it was almost unplayable in a very similar way to what is explained in the OP.

The valves in my amp had not been replaced, they were Electro Harmonix (the ones that came with the 5150 as stock), I replaced them with a set of JJ's by recommendation of the Guitarist magazine forum (now called Music Radar) and the amp was absolutely amazing after that, it felt incredible, so crisp and responsive, touch sensative like with a clarity throughout all the frequencies, it became much easier to play through.

Safe to say the preamp valves were dead or very close to it, and the new preamp valves brought the amp back to life.
__________________
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
Marshall 1960A
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
Fender Stratocaster x3 (2 of them built from bits and pieces!)

Last edited by Bigbazz : 04-15-2013 at 10:06 PM.
Bigbazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 10:06 PM   #16
Robbgnarly
Registered User
 
Robbgnarly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NSB, FL
The sound will degrade and become muddy/fizzy/lack of gain. There are lots of variations on what happens to your tone depending on which tubes are failing. If it is a used amp, a set of tubes is deff in order for you.
__________________
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Robbgnarly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 10:56 PM   #17
311ZOSOVHJH
G G & A - B A B Y
 
311ZOSOVHJH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Offline
I'm with the rest of these guys. Some of the things you've mentioned are inherent in Rectos, and some may just be not gelling with the amp. I think it is a versatile enough amp that you owe it to yourself to spend more time with it.

I personally would get:

Speaker cable
JJ 12AX7
JAN Phillips 5751


The 5153 is an awesome amp but also quite different. If I had to choose between the two I'd take the 5153. There are amp out there too, like Splawn.
__________________
311ZOSOVHJH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 11:30 PM   #18
lemurflames
Ronnie
 
lemurflames's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Oklahoma
You bought it used. Tube it up. All of the tubes. And replace that cable with a proper speaker cable. They're cheap. Unlike the transformer...

As for the bias, I thought Mesas were fixed bias. I'm not quite sure how it could be wrong. Maybe someone can fill me in...

My 5150 212 was quite bad until I threw out all the old tubes. The sound was far from what I had hoped for. Replaced all of the tubes and now it's a monster.

If you still can't get on with the Roadster after a month, sell it to me.
__________________
ESP LTD AW-7
Schecter Loomis NT
EVH 5150 III 50
PRS 212 DB
Peavey 5150 212
ProTone Dead Horse OD
lemurflames is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 11:51 PM   #19
funk_monk
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemurflames
You bought it used. Tube it up. All of the tubes. And replace that cable with a proper speaker cable. They're cheap. Unlike the transformer...

As for the bias, I thought Mesas were fixed bias. I'm not quite sure how it could be wrong. Maybe someone can fill me in...

My 5150 212 was quite bad until I threw out all the old tubes. The sound was far from what I had hoped for. Replaced all of the tubes and now it's a monster.

If you still can't get on with the Roadster after a month, sell it to me.
Mesas generally have their tubes pretty cold as a stock config. It's fixed bias, but it's fixed being pretty cold.

If I had a proper mic I'd do a recording. The best I can offer is a direct input recording which will be poor at best since I don't have a proper sound card. Would it be worth the bother given it'd be completely cutting out the poweramp?
funk_monk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2013, 12:20 AM   #20
Flux'D
Plays a pitchfork
 
Flux'D's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Southern Indiana
Do you have the manual for it? If not I highly recommend downloading it. I spent about a month with a Triple Rectifier playing and tweaking it, I decided to download the manual and I learned more about the amp in 10 minutes than I did in that entire time. If it's controls are anything like a regular Recto the treble knob is by far the most powerful tonal control on it.


Do you have a recording setup? I'm not sure what you mean by a "hole in the sound". Perhaps the Mesa tone isn't for you? What sorts of tones/styles/bands are you shooting for?
__________________
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60
Flux'D is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:08 PM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.