Mesa/Boogie Roadster

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by noodles, May 16, 2007.

  1. noodles

    noodles Contributor

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    Aug 23, 2005
    Woodbridge, VA
    Ease of Use

    This much easier to deal with than the Road King. If you're used to a normal Recto, you can just turn it on and go, without having to spend much time on the back panel. The reverb level knobs now sit with the rest of the back panel channel controls. The effects loop is serial, so there is no worrying about balancing wet and dry signals. All four channels have a universal control layout, cutting back on the learning curve. The manual is incredibly detailed, does an excellent job of explaining how the controls work and interact with one another, and will have you dialing in great tones in no time.


    Four channels: two clean (clean/fat/tweed and clean/fat/brit) and two dirty (vintage/raw/modern), each with three distinct and usable modes. Each channel has volume, gain, bass, mid, and treble knobs, a spring reverb level knob, 100/50w power switch, diode/tube rectifier switch, and loop on/off switch. Short plate spring reverb, a serial effects loop, a built in Variac to drop the AC for a "brown sound", four 6L6 power tubes, two 5UG rectifier tubes, and six 12AX7 preamp tubes. Padded amp cover included.


    The amp is built like a tank, and Mesa's reputation is rock-solid. This is my third Mesa, and I've never had a problem with any of them.


    This is a lot of amp for $1899. It's built by hand in the USA, comes with a five year warranty, and is a veritable Swiss Army knife of usable tones. I could cover an impressive variety of styles with this one amp.

    Customer Support

    I've never had to call them with a problem, but I have spent hours on the phone with them before, asking questions and receiving tone guidance. Mesa is filled with passionate people who genuinely seem to enjoy their jobs and insuring that the customer is 100% happy with their purchase.


    I only had time for about 30-45min before it got too late to make noise, but I was absolutely blown away. Mesa has corrected every little niggle that I had with the Road King.

    Channel 1 clean has less gain, so it stays clean a lot longer. I able to turn up the gain to a little less then half, roll the channel volume to just past half, and things stay surprisingly clear. Before, I had to have the gain on a quarter and the channel volume, and it still wasn't this clean. Mesa talked about the Lonestar cleans being on this amp, and boy is it there, spank and all. I just need my C90 cab to hear them.

    Channel 2 has more gain! The Brit mode absolutely snarls at you, it's so rude and your face. It has a wonderful Marshall-like flavor, I could play in an AC/DC cover band with this thing. Just crank it all up and go. When I backed off the gain, cranked the gain on the tube screamer, and stepped on it, I was rewarded with in your face barking crunchy feedback. I had to take the gain down more on both the amp and the pedal, and do some eq tweaking. You could play 80's thrash like this! The feedback wants to rip the guitar out of your hands.

    Channel 3 and 4 are the same as I remember them, but a bit tighter. Mike's Triple has that extremely tight rhythm tone on 4 and singing highs on 3 that I just envied. I won't say the rhythm is there, but it is closer in that direction. It's a less fizz and lot more of that bark/roar that is just perfect for chunking away in a band setting. The Triple will always be tighter, though--sixteenth note palm muting is where it shines out. The lead tone is almost completely there, it just screams out of the amp. With the bass turned past half, it starts getting really thick, perfect for fat leads--I turned the presence up higher when doing this, just to keep stuff from mudding out. Roll the bass back, start turning up the treble, and fast runs just punch out like a machine gun. Vintage mode sounds great, but damn does the modern mode just fucking smokes. Dare I say that channel four is closer to channel 2 of an old two channel Dual.

    Overall Rating

    I couldn't be happier with my decision. I spent a lot of time sitting on the fence about this, because I was really happy with the Road King. What if the new amp got here, and it wasn't as good? The opposite is what happened, and I couldn't be happier. This is a lot of amp for the money, and every tone on it is usable. It looks metal as hell, is overbuilt like crazy, and is very easy to use.
  2. RobGates

    RobGates Regular

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    Mar 30, 2009
    Vancouver, BC
    Hmmm, right now the mesa boogie roadster on ebay is going anywhere from $1500 to $1999, or right around retail.

    Should have loaded on tube amps during the early 2000s rather than tech stocks. My bad.
  3. Sepultorture

    Sepultorture Murder Machine

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    Sep 14, 2007
    Oshawa, ON, Canada
    did you have the Road King version 1 or 2?
  4. Lava Joe

    Lava Joe Regular

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    Jan 2, 2011
    Nice, glad you like it! Almost had one at one point, sweet amp.
  5. Carvinkook

    Carvinkook Regular

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    Dec 25, 2013
    Sacramento, CA
    I couldn't stand the footswitch routine and the crossed.fingers have that big POP between channels.. 2/3 if I remember correctly.

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