Road King review by Mesa Boogie

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.2 (54 votes)
Mesa Boogie: Road King
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Price paid: $ 2799

Purchased from: Mesa Hollywood

Sound — 10
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.

Overall Impression — 10
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.

Reliability & Durability — 10
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.

Features — 10
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.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    blackborrego
    Kid Fisto wrote: nah dude he's right about marshalls, their stack amps are very inflexible and i'll never like them even if i become a hugeass rockstar and all the bands i'm touring with are using them. i'll still have my little old Kustom truckin' away with me....and prolly a Randall or Krank too.
    agree with you krank kicks marshall ass