Road King Review

manufacturer: Mesa Boogie date: 02/26/2010 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Mesa Boogie: Road King
It has a ridiculously good clean channel and an indescribable range of gain and tone options.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 8.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 8.9 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.6 
 Users rating:
 9.2 
 Votes:
 54 
reviews (4) 28 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
Road King Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 22, 2008
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 2799

Purchased from: Mesa Hollywood

Features: 4 channels, 4 6L6 (Fender type) power tubes, 2 EL34 (Marshal) power tubes. A ton of preamp tubes (mostly 12AX7). 2 Diode rectofier circuits and one tube rectofier circuit. 3 position preamp Switch on each of the 4 channels(3 separate preamp voicings). 2 Effects loop switches. Assignable power-tube, reverb and rectifier combinations for each channel. Gain, bass, mid, high, presence and master for each channel. My combo weighs 128 lbs which sucks until it's starts making sounds. I use it for alt rock in medium-sized venues mostly. It has more than enough power for any situation and I wouldn't turn it up past 9 o'clock unless I was standing at least 100' away from it or wearing ear plugs. // 10

Sound: This amp sounds absolutely amazing. It's a sound that can't be duplicated digitally. I've used Fenders, Gibson's, and Gretches with it and they all sound different but great in their own way. I prefer the single coils of the Fender Stratocaster, Tele, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Duosonic, Mustang, etc., but humbuckers sound good too. The reason I like the single coil guitars with this amp is the fact that it can get huge sounds and plenty of bass like a dense guitar with a humbucker and still maintain the the clarity in the mids and highs of single coil. I can get tons of different sounds from it with just a Strat. The one unbelievably annoying thing about this amp it that it can cut out for a split second when switching between channels in certain configurations. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This thing is built rock solid. I'm sure that it will eventually get tearing in the Tolex and maybe 35 years from now the handle might need to be replaced but I doubt it. It's built as good as the other big amp companies used to build amps 40 years ago. I have a Mesa Boogie Studio Recording Preamp from 1989 and it still works perfectly. // 10

Overall Impression: I play "alternative rock" (I know, genre names are lame) and for what I play this amp has more sounds to try than I could have ever imagined, which makes it great for recording. It also has a pedal which BARELY fits into the back so that most of the time after a gig I have to pack it separately. It can get just about any sound you've heard on a record and at any volume. I don't use channel 4 very much but it comes in handy once in a while when I need a really super high gain channel, a secondary solo channel (the amp has a separate solo boost knob and corresponding pedal Switch) or I can use it as a really raunchy channel with the 1st of 3 preamp settings which is called "raw". I love this amp. If anything goes wrong at a show, it won't have anything to do with my guitar tone. If it were stolen (you'd have to be a complete idiot to lose it) I would replace it with the insurance policy I took out on it. The pops and drop-outs are from the circuit switching in either th pre or power amp sections. It doesn't do it when switching between similar power tube and pre settings at similar volumes. The only way to get around it would be to a/b two separate amplifiers like a Fender Twin and a Marshall. And for the price of this thing, you could almost do that, but you'd have to carry them around and probably still wouldn't be able to get as many sounds. // 10

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overall: 10
Road King Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 17, 2009
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: I just got mine about 3 months ago from eBay and all I can say is that this amp rocks. Everything about it is rock solid and strong. Some people say that the back panel is too confusing but that is not true. All of the knobs are divided up into the 4 channels and you can tweak the sound of each channel. Very handy to get that perfect sound you are looking for. Also love the foot controller. built like a tank. Has 4 channel switches 2 loops, solo, reverb, and a tuner mute. // 10

Sound: I can get anything from BB King to Rage with this amp. You can make a strat play amazing pinch harmonics and have great distortion with some tweaking. Every one of my guitars sound great on this amp. There is a little hiss on the distortion channels. If you turn up the gain it gets louder but it is nothing compared to the amount of volume you have. This thing also could easily handle any gig volume wise. I play a lot of gigs and I have never turned the volume past 4 on the distorted channels. It is just way loud and crisp sounding even with high distortion. Truly amazing sound. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Well, never broken anything and outside is holding up perfectly. So what more is there to say?? It is built really solid and I don't ever see it malfunctioning or breaking. The tubes in it are great and last a very long time. The foot controller is also built like a tank and is nearly indestructable. It also looks wicked cool with it's hammered look! // 10

Overall Impression: This is the best tube amp I have ever played! It is just perfect in every way shape and form and I love it so much. I really love the customization that is possible with this amp and all of the cool features. Very easy to use and make great sounds with. Mesa has always been great and they held up their reputation and then more with this great amp. // 10

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overall: 10
Road King Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 29, 2004
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: Haven't had it long enough to test how destroyed it will be after roadie's but I would expect it to be like any other amp after roadie's and lots of road time, beat to hell but still functional. // 10

Sound: I run it with my '03 strat with hot rails and my '03 tele with stocks. Even though it is meant to be big and bassy I think my tele sounds better on it. The only time it gets noisy is if you run channel 4 in the modern mode with the volume at master output at 7 which I really never need to go to anyway. The amp is very versatile but depending on the cab you mmight get only one sound or you can cover ever musical range possible. the clean channel doesn't distorot at all. I crank the clean a lot and it doesn't break up. I also think that this amp has just about the most distortion you can get out of any amp from any make. // 10

Overall Impression: This is my first full fledged half stack. I must say that anybody who thinks Marshall is supreme is wrong. Marshall is crap. It has crappy distortino and no flexibility. the Road King can cover whatever you need. If it were stolen I would go back to the Hollywood outlet and by ten more. THese amps are incredible. If this amp were to have anything I would say an fx saturater that is sepereate from the distortin saturater. The Road King I have has the fx and distortion saturater going to one knob. Otherwise, I don't think I will ever buy amps from any other company except Mesa/Boogie. // 10

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overall: 4.5
Road King Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 26, 2010
0 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 2750

Purchased from: Sweetwater

Features: This amp was made in 2009. The amp was not as as versatile as advertised. It has 4 channels but only two of them sound almost decent. Each channel has three modes and most of them sound terrible. I wish this amp had a XLR input so I had to buy an adapter. I've used this amp onstage once for a live performance, but I didn't like it. This is also really really heavy to be carrying around. Most preamps I've used are really light. Its also not very portable which makes it hard to travel with. The speakers are also extremely heavy. I don't understand why you would need such a big speaker if the sound breaks up so easily. // 6

Sound: I plug a Shure Beta57 into an adapter and then into the amp for vocals. I play in a pop/rock/indie cover band. This amp is not ver appropriate for my vocal style. In fact, it can barely replicate the human voice. There is a terrible hum when you turn it up past 7 o clock and it causes my mic to feedback. This amp does not sound good at all, I was very disappointed. The first 2 modes on the clean channel sound decent if the gain is low, but it is still very fuzzy and dark. I don't even know why someone would want to use the other 2 channels. They create this horrible rumbling fuzzy sound and make my voice sound terrible no matter what modes you use. Channels 1 and 2 sound ok, but it does distort. If I turn the mids all the way down on channels 1 and 2 my mic gets less feedback, but my voice sounds like something off of a really bad recording. // 2

Reliability & Durability: Yes, but I would only use it as a back up. Most of the time, I'd prefer to plug my microphone into a PA system, but since we play usually play Pop/Rock covers in peoples backyards for parties I don't always have the ability to use a PA system. // 7

Overall Impression: This amp sounds terrible. I would not replace it if it were stolen, I would probably just buy my own PA. I've been singing onstage for 3 years now and I would not recommend this preamp to anyone. For one last comment, I would have given it a better rating if it had and XLR input. I already spent almost $4000 to buy this and a matching speaker and It is almost insulting to have to go out and spend even more money on a good quality adapter. // 3

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