Roadster Head review by Mesa Boogie

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (28 votes)
Mesa Boogie: Roadster Head
2

Price paid: $ 1999

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
Channel 1: Clean. Modes: Clean, Fat, and Tweed. Clean is obviously a standard clean tone, Fat adds a smidgen of overdrive and a little more beef in the bottom end, and Tweed adds a little extra mid-punch. Channel 2: Clean. Modes: Clean, Fat, and Brit. Brit adds a little bit of fuzz to the mix. Nice, Thick overdrive with pristine highs and thick well rounded mids. Channel 3 and 4: Dirty. Modes: Raw, Vintage, and Modern. Channel 3 is not really made for the modern sound (something with the circuitry involved), so i would suggest saving that for Channel 4. Raw is, quite obviously, the lowest gain setting for the distorted channel, pretty low on the bass production with sound focusing more on mids and highs for good string to string articulation, great for older style rock (AC/DC, so on...). Vintage offers a slightly beefier bottom end while taking away some of the high and mid-range tone. Better for old school Black Sabbath, Maiden styles. Modern offers the most gain, the most bottom end, least mid range flexibility, and most treble flexibility. Perfect for any music associated with the word metal. With the exception of Channel 3 Modern, enough coaxing will make any channel/mode sound gorgeous. the only thing this amp lacks is the mid range punch some old school Marshalls had. I run this head through a Marshall 1960A JCM series Front Loaded slant cab loaded with G12-T75's and a Diezel Front Loaded with Celestion V30's. I play 3 guitars, a new Schecter C-1 Hellraiser w/Seymour Duncan Blackout pups, a Yamaha Drop 6, and a 1989 Gibson Explorer with a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge. No matter the volume, no matter the style, no matter the venue, this amp WILL give you the sound you need, just remember, MESA's are notorious for being tweaker amps. You HAVE to spend the time shaping your tone, but when you do, and you find it, you will never want to stop listening to this bad boy.

Overall Impression — 10
Hands down this amp is perfect for the price range...the only thing that would beat this out for certain tones i believe is Engl, and Engl's are not as versatile as MESA. I have been playing for 8 years and have never heard anything as good and versatile as this amp (except the Mark IIC+). I love everything and hate nothing about this amp, i would recommend this amp to anyone Who doesnt have one. If it were stolen i would replace it whether i had to write a bad check to do it or not (the first one kind of drained me). If you are reading this review in search of a new amp, put the mouse down, slide the keyboard under your desktop, grab your car keys, go to local dealer, and buy one...no questions...just do it...you'll thank me later.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Ok, so here's a story, I walk into Guitar Center to buy a Mesa Boogie Dual Rec SOLO (yes, solo) head, a Schecter C-1 Hellraiser, a Shure wireless setup, some SD Blackouts, a Boss DD-3 delay pedal, 2 monster cables, and a Diezel cab...Needless to say....they were happy to assist me. I take the Mesa home and go to plug the DD-3 into the effects loop...nothing...bad effects loop....return to Guitar Center! I had to upgrade to the Roadster so i had a head for an upcoming gig, which as a result of Mesa's discount policy, i had to shell out an extra 200 for (i am, however glad i did this, the roadster is sooooo much better). So i take my new Roadster home, and lo and behold a week and a half later (in the middle of recording a demo i may add) one of the pre amp tubes die (i did not know this was the case at the time), no gain, no nothin, got sound, but its horrible... trade for a NEW Mesa Dual Rec Roadster, which does not have any problems with it (we checked it out). Take the NEW head home, play for 1 week...1 week...1...week...and turn it on swapped some power tubes...did some troubleshooting...not the power tubes...imagine that...its a pre amp tube...again... the guy at guitar center did inform me that this was a natural process of shipping and inevitable for the most part, so i am not angry. Funny story, but not too upset, Mesa customer service is extremely personalized and the representatives are extremely educated and informative...i know once Mesa sends me the pre-amp tube, i will totally trust my rig without a backup Live, and i am still rating 10 because except for the effects loop on the original solo head (which was probably a tube anyway), i know just based on their reputation and friends and family Who have owned theirs, that they are extremely reliable amps

Features — 9
I have a 2009 Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster Head, and this thing is chock full of features. 4 channels, 3 modes per channel. FX Loop, Master Volume for all 4 channels and 1 for entire head. All Tube Reverb, Tuner Mute function. Solo Volume control for adding a little volume boost if necessary. Bias selector. 50W/100W selectable output. 2 4ohm, 1 8 ohm, and 1 16 ohm speaker output.FX loop is bypassable. all channels, reverb, tuner mute, solo volume boost and fx loop are all footswitchable. 100W of pure unadulterated tube power. Only dissatisfaction lies in that Master Output volume, tuner mute, and Solo controls do not function if fx loop is bypassed.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    |Heretic|
    kirkadolph wrote: Mark V?!?!?!!?!? Oh my dear sweet lord I just came. Dammit why to Boogies gotta be so expensive. It's either this or a car for me.
    No contest, Mesa wins
    SeanX3187
    Mesa is my favorite amp company by far. although i've never been able to afford them, some kids i occasionally jam with have rich parents so they get nice mesas, and they're such amazing amps. the roadster sounds awesome. and so does the mark v, road king, and the single/double/triple rectifiers. the only problem is they're so damn expensive. i guess it's just a trade-off, one that's definitely worth it i might add. great reviews!
    Pat_s1t
    I did have a fair chunk saved up for one of these, but ending up spending nearly $1200 over the summer. Ah well, I'll have one soon.
    Uunster
    I have a question... maybe a dumb one, but oh well... If I get a solid state head with like 600 watts for like $500. Why would I want a 100 watt tube head for like $2000, if I could 600 watts for way cheaper?
    SeanX3187
    ^because many people the tube tone. IMO, tube amps are much better sounding, not just more powerful like most solid state fans argue. also, 600 watts is ridiculous. i hope you play bass, haha.
    diefordethklok
    SeanX3187 wrote: ^because many people the tube tone. IMO, tube amps are much better sounding, not just more powerful like most solid state fans argue. also, 600 watts is ridiculous. i hope you play bass, haha.
    Lol, I concur about the bass thing. =P
    jpatan
    yeah, i've never played a tube amp until recently, and never understood the price difference either. a few weeks ago i was checking out a gibson les paul studio at guitar center through a marshall half stack with a tube head, and that guitar just SANG! i got it home and plugged it into my spider 3, and it just didn't sound as good. there's something to be said for real tube amps. needless to say, i'm now saving money to replace my spider with a mesa boggie of some type.
    Taint McGooch
    jpatan wrote: yeah, i've never played a tube amp until recently, and never understood the price difference either. a few weeks ago i was checking out a gibson les paul studio at guitar center through a marshall half stack with a tube head, and that guitar just SANG! i got it home and plugged it into my spider 3, and it just didn't sound as good. there's something to be said for real tube amps. needless to say, i'm now saving money to replace my spider with a mesa boggie of some type.
    Yes...replace the spider...I hate to say it but before i went out and got the Mesa i was running a Peavey Valveking 212 combo and unfortunately even that blew the Spider 3 out of the water. But with the Mesa, there's no question...the only disadvantage is there's no modeling, so you'll have to stick to the tried and true stompbox effects/rackmount processing
    Pat_s1t
    ^ What's wrong with that? I'd much prefer an old fashioned pedalboard to a modeling effects unit.
    Taint McGooch
    there really isn't i like the sound from pedalboards and rackmounts...i just like te convenience of modeling units...but i hate the way they tone-suck