#1
Hello all! I've never had the chance to have this sort of predicament but I am definitely considering myself lucky to be in such a position. I have my heart set on a VoxAC30 combo w/alnico blues. That's the sound I want, hands down. Anything else is just a bonus.

Went to my local shop today to see about them ordering one for me but I saw that they had a used Mesa Boogie Road King - original, not Road King II. It's about the same price as the new AC30 but has way more doodads and gizmos and switches than the Vox. I've always loved the Mesa Dual Rec sound but it isn't the main sound that I'm going for anymore.

My biggest concern is this, will the Mesa Road King be able to get me that classic Vox AC30 clean and breakup sound? That's the sound I want the most so if it can't do that I probably won't buy it unless it gets DAMN close. After too many purchases, I've learned that if I don't get what I originally wanted I will never be fully satisfied with what I bought and will eventually end up regretting that I got something other than what I wanted.

Anyone with hands-on experience with both would definitely be appreciated if they'd chime in.
#2
Well I have a Roadster which is Road King but with only 6L6 tubes in the power section and I don't have nor have ever played a Vox AC30 so take this for what it's worth.

You need to spend some time with channels 1 and 2. My best guess to get close to what you want is Tweed on Channel 1 for the drive sound and either Clean or Fat (depends on how you like your cleans voiced) on Channel 2. The Clean and Fat modes of Channel 1 and 2 are identical. Channel 1 also has Tweed and Channel 2 has Brit. Maybe Brit will be what you want for dirt so then switch Clean or Fat to Channel 1.

You probably want 50 Watts and Recto Tracking as well. Experiment with both Bold and Spongy power - I'm guessing Spongy for what you want.

Regardless, spend some time on channel 1 and 2 and the 4 unique modes. It was easy for me to get on the edge of breakup on clean with just a bit of gain and a Duncan '59 neck pickup. I don't have any single coils.

Channels 1 and 2 are basically off of the F series and/or Mark I

Channels 3 and 4 are channels 2 and 3 lifted from the 3-Channel Dual Rec. For lighter stuff Raw on Channel 3 may be useful for you as well. You can set it up as a dirtier clean channel.
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#3
No a mesa RK sounds nothing like an AC30, but they do sound very good
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#4
Quote by Robbgnarly
No a mesa RK sounds nothing like an AC30, but they do sound very good

+1
I've played the AC30 briefly
Never played a Road King
Own a Rectoverb
And all I could think to add was that you can get good cleans for sure out of the Rectos but they will never be an AC30.

Actually, something like a Royal Atlantic might be better.

What is your budget, what do you play, and what are you looking for in your cleans?
#5
Quote by metalmingee
Well I have a Roadster which is Road King but with only 6L6 tubes in the power section and I don't have nor have ever played a Vox AC30 so take this for what it's worth.

You need to spend some time with channels 1 and 2. My best guess to get close to what you want is Tweed on Channel 1 for the drive sound and either Clean or Fat (depends on how you like your cleans voiced) on Channel 2. The Clean and Fat modes of Channel 1 and 2 are identical. Channel 1 also has Tweed and Channel 2 has Brit. Maybe Brit will be what you want for dirt so then switch Clean or Fat to Channel 1.

You probably want 50 Watts and Recto Tracking as well. Experiment with both Bold and Spongy power - I'm guessing Spongy for what you want.

Regardless, spend some time on channel 1 and 2 and the 4 unique modes. It was easy for me to get on the edge of breakup on clean with just a bit of gain and a Duncan '59 neck pickup. I don't have any single coils.

Channels 1 and 2 are basically off of the F series and/or Mark I

Channels 3 and 4 are channels 2 and 3 lifted from the 3-Channel Dual Rec. For lighter stuff Raw on Channel 3 may be useful for you as well. You can set it up as a dirtier clean channel.


I'll definitely check out channels 1 and 2. There are an insane amount of switches on that amp. I figured there might be a way to get close to a Vox sound if I messed with it enough! I'll have to download and read the manual to see what everything does before I go back in there and try it out. Do you think something like the Sparkle Dirve pedal would get me closer to a Vox sound on the clean Brit channel?

Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
+1
I've played the AC30 briefly
Never played a Road King
Own a Rectoverb
And all I could think to add was that you can get good cleans for sure out of the Rectos but they will never be an AC30.

Actually, something like a Royal Atlantic might be better.

What is your budget, what do you play, and what are you looking for in your cleans?


Well, my budget is somewhere in the $1,200 mark but I'm really not considering anything else. I'll be going with the AC30 if the Mesa won't get me there. The only reason I was considering it is because it's there. I play bars in downtown Nashville so I play a lot of classic rock and country with a few 90's alternative, funk, and pop songs thrown in. I do love the Royal and Transatlantic amps though. I'd really rather have an AC30CC head with a Vox 2x12 cab with the alnico blues instead of the combo but they don't make the head and cab anymore and I can't find used cabs anywhere. Plenty of used heads around but no cabs. I really don't want to spring for the Handwired series unless I get a fantastic deal on it.
Last edited by vjferrara at Aug 14, 2015,
#6
You will definitely want to read the manual at least twice - seriously. Remember that though the Road King is in the Rectifier Family it DOES NOT HAVE THE CLEAN CHANNEL FROM THE SINGLE, DUAL, OR TRIPLE RECTIFIER - it is borrowed from much better clean amps in Mesa's lineup.

The Road King is basically 4 preamps (Channels) and 2 power amps all in one chassis. You can connect any preamp to either power amp.

It's pretty easy once you learn it.

Front Channels:

Each Channel is basically an amp - you pick the mode and then have dedicated EQ, Gain, and Volume. This is repeated for each of the 4 channels.

Channel 1 - Think F-50 Series or Mark I - Clean, Fat, or Tweed
Channel 2 - Think F-50 Series or Mark I - Clean, Fat, or Brit
Channel 3 - Channel 2 from a 3 channel Dual Rec - Raw, Vintage, Modern
Channel 4 - Channel 3 from a 3 channel Dual Rec - Raw, Vintage, Modern

Front Master:

This is where you have the master volume and solo (volume) boost feature. You also choose Spongy or Bold power.

Back Channels:

Each channel has it's set of switches that is repeated for each channel - Rectification (Tube or Diode), Wattage (50 or 100), Reverb, and FX Loop on or off. The RK should also have the power tube selection of either EL34 or 6V6 here.

Back Master:

Then you have the FX Loop send/receive, footswitch plug, etc.

I bought my Roadster for the ability to get just about any sound out of it - and any sound VERY GOOD - like buy the amp for that one sound for all of them. From Fender Blackface cleans to Marshall Crunch to balls out Dual Rec goodness.

Give it a longer whirl and see if they have a return policy. You may want to spend a few hours with it before you decide.

Also check out the Boogie Board for more info - http://forum.grailtone.com/viewforum.php?f=4&sid=8a3085a42ed6eb6a588838134cb309db
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#7
There is a used Vox V212bn cab on Guitar Center under used gear right now for 249.
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#8
I believe it's clean channel is derived from the Lone Star no?

Check out some vids of the Lone Star in action - I bet that will give you a good idea on the cleans.

Sounds like what you really want is an AC30. For what it does - you can't beat it. I just think a Mesa will be more flexible and handle your country - alt 90's stuff without batting an eye.

The AC30 seems more one dimensional to me - but I'm sure there are plenty of owners our there that will tell you it is a very flexible amp
#9
Yeah, it's the lone star for the clean.
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#10
Only series II Road Kings were designed around the Lonestar low gain channels. While the RKI still sounds great in that regard, they are both voiced quite differently at lower gain IMO.

If your heart is set on an AC30 tone, I think you'll find it difficult to achieve that tone with most anything Mesa makes.
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#11
Quote by MatrixClaw
Only series II Road Kings were designed around the Lonestar low gain channels. While the RKI still sounds great in that regard, they are both voiced quite differently at lower gain IMO.

If your heart is set on an AC30 tone, I think you'll find it difficult to achieve that tone with most anything Mesa makes.

Agreed. Channel 2 of both series can do a pretty good Brit tone and both are so versatile. The original RK (used) is currently very nicely-priced, too.
#12
Wow. Didn't notice there were so many replies. I really appreciate everyone's input. I didn't realize how much more affordable used Mesa's are. I had always thought that the Transatlantic Series was out of my reach but it seems like there are a few around town that are in my price range. I'm definitely going to check them out. One amp that can do Vox, Fender, AND Marshall tones is all that I could ever ask for.

Any suggestions on possible replacement speakers for it from Eminence? I'm mostly familiar with their speakers and can easily try them out so I'd like to stick with them if possible. The TA-30 that I'll be trying out has one C90 and the other is a Fender speaker of some sort. Might try to talk him down a bit on his price so I can afford to put in new speakers as well.

Quote by metalmingee
You will definitely want to read the manual at least twice - seriously. Remember that though the Road King is in the Rectifier Family it DOES NOT HAVE THE CLEAN CHANNEL FROM THE SINGLE, DUAL, OR TRIPLE RECTIFIER - it is borrowed from much better clean amps in Mesa's lineup.

The Road King is basically 4 preamps (Channels) and 2 power amps all in one chassis. You can connect any preamp to either power amp.

It's pretty easy once you learn it.

Front Channels:

Each Channel is basically an amp - you pick the mode and then have dedicated EQ, Gain, and Volume. This is repeated for each of the 4 channels.

Channel 1 - Think F-50 Series or Mark I - Clean, Fat, or Tweed
Channel 2 - Think F-50 Series or Mark I - Clean, Fat, or Brit
Channel 3 - Channel 2 from a 3 channel Dual Rec - Raw, Vintage, Modern
Channel 4 - Channel 3 from a 3 channel Dual Rec - Raw, Vintage, Modern

Front Master:

This is where you have the master volume and solo (volume) boost feature. You also choose Spongy or Bold power.

Back Channels:

Each channel has it's set of switches that is repeated for each channel - Rectification (Tube or Diode), Wattage (50 or 100), Reverb, and FX Loop on or off. The RK should also have the power tube selection of either EL34 or 6V6 here.

Back Master:

Then you have the FX Loop send/receive, footswitch plug, etc.

I bought my Roadster for the ability to get just about any sound out of it - and any sound VERY GOOD - like buy the amp for that one sound for all of them. From Fender Blackface cleans to Marshall Crunch to balls out Dual Rec goodness.

Give it a longer whirl and see if they have a return policy. You may want to spend a few hours with it before you decide.

Also check out the Boogie Board for more info - http://forum.grailtone.com/viewforum.php?f=4&sid=8a3085a42ed6eb6a588838134cb309db


Brilliant explanation. Thank you for that.
Last edited by vjferrara at Aug 17, 2015,
#14
Quote by NakedInTheRain
porque no los dos? used randall RM combo, and order a vox and mesa mark module from jaded faith or salvation mods.


House burned down a few months ago and my girlfriend and I are living with her parents until we can save up enough to buy a house. I'll get a few more amps eventually but for now I'll settle for one.
#15
holy shit, sorry to hear that.

i was talking about one amp - randall RM series. you can use the preamps of different amps, and change between them as you would a channel switching amp. i have a fender blackface module, jcm800 module, and dual rectifier module, all footswitch selectable in my RM100.
#16
yeha i think those amps are radically different.

but to me, id take the road king any day. period.
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#17
Well, I ended up going with the Mesa TA-30. I did enjoy the Road King but, after spending a solid hour with it I just couldn't get the clean tone that I was looking for. After 2 minutes with the TA-30 I had pretty close to exactly what I wanted. A little bit more time with the amp and I was sold. I am completely fine with the mix of speakers that are in there at the moment but I will definitely be looking to upgrade them soon. I emailed Eminence and they said that the Legend EM12 would be exactly what I was looking for in terms of finding a speaker that will play to the amplifier's strengths. I haven't found a lot of info on it but I haven't found anything negative so that's a plus. I really like the CV75 too, I'm just not sure of how concerned I should be about a ceramic speaker. I've heard some fairly negative things about ceramics in general but I haven't had time to research.
#18
The TA-30 is a good amp probably the best thing you could get from Mesa if you're looking for an AC30ish sound

I thought I posted in this thread saying that if the sound you're after is an AC30, then get an AC30, but I guess I didn't lol. Still, congrats!
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#19
Quote by CL/\SH
The TA-30 is a good amp probably the best thing you could get from Mesa if you're looking for an AC30ish sound

I thought I posted in this thread saying that if the sound you're after is an AC30, then get an AC30, but I guess I didn't lol. Still, congrats!


Thank you sir! It is definitely NOT a Vox but, the chime is there. It's the closest I've come to to getting that type of sound from anything other than a Vox. To my ears, I get the Vox chime but with Mesa characteristics. So far I am very pleased with it. At some point I will be buying an AC30 or the AC15 2x12. Still want to look over and see a Vox next to my guitar at some point
#20
Quote by vjferrara
Thank you sir! It is definitely NOT a Vox but, the chime is there. It's the closest I've come to to getting that type of sound from anything other than a Vox. To my ears, I get the Vox chime but with Mesa characteristics. So far I am very pleased with it. At some point I will be buying an AC30 or the AC15 2x12. Still want to look over and see a Vox next to my guitar at some point

Good to hear- I've been looking hard at the TA-30s, in part for some of the exact same reasons you state. Congrats on the new amp!
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#22
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Good to hear- I've been looking hard at the TA-30s, in part for some of the exact same reasons you state. Congrats on the new amp!


Thanks! The TA's are way more affordable than I had realized. I talked my way down to $950 for my 2x12 combo.


Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Congrats.


The T/A is cool amp for sure. I played it through a Mesa 4x12 and it ripped. My only complaint was that the control panel was little tight

Do an official NAD please after you've broke her in.


Thanks! The control panel is a bit of a pain. I really don't like that it's flipped so that you have to be behind the amp to read it or read it upside down if you're in front of it. The lettering is a bit hard to read as well. Thinking about coloring it in or using a label maker so I can read it more easily.

I definitely plan on doing a proper NAD and NGD as well. Just bought an Epi LP Florentine not long ago and I have really enjoyed it. It might take me a bit to do them and reviews because I'd like to retube the amp and get new speakers broken in as well. I also never like reading reviews from people that just bought their amp or guitar. I'd like to get to know them before telling other people about them.
#24
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Oh wow. I only played the head. Yeah - the control panel is worse on the combo because it appears to be upside down if you are facing the amp.


I've noticed more than a few combo amps, including the AC30, have their control panel upside down when you're facing the amp. Seems a little ridiculous to me, especially if you consider how many people complain about that sort of thing. If I could've found a TA-30 head and 2x12 cab for around what I got the 2x12 combo for then I would've definitely bought that instead. I don't usually like combo amps. I've always been a head and cab kind of guy. It took me WAY longer than it should have to realize that 4x12's are almost completely unnecessary My back was screaming for years that I didn't need a 4x12 before I finally listened!