NAD: Mesa Boogie Roadster (tips required)

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by migstopheles, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. migstopheles

    migstopheles SS.org Regular

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    Played a gig in York last night and it so happened there was a tantalising deal for a used Roadster head just 5 minutes down the road from the venue, so I swooped in and grabbed it.

    First time owning a Recto in about 12 years, this is an absolute monster of an amp!

    Initial thoughts are:

    - Absolute option paralysis. This is a tweaker's dream and I am only just getting started with the front panel on a couple of the channels, let alone sticking my head round the back
    - What an awesome clean channel. I've stuck my Alpha Haunt fuzz and Life Pedal in front and it takes them like an absolute champ, brutal sound.
    - For the style of metal I play in my main band, I can't use this without a boost (no biggie, the OD808 does exactly what it needs to here)
    - It didn't come with the DIN cable for the footswitch and channel switching with the rotary dial round the back is a bit of a pain

    So for anyone that owns/has owned one of these...

    1) What's the story with the millions of jacks round the back for each channel/reverb/solo etc? The manual says that they're essential for MIDI operation but I'm not clear on how that's supposed to work
    2) Any tips on good starting points for a heavy rhythm guitar tone? Struggling a bit to tame the bottom end with boost without making the top end quite fizzy/grainy... any good starting points would be appreciated, there are sooooo many switches :ugh:

    Photo tax below

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  2. runbirdman

    runbirdman Lackawanna County Volunteer Sheriff's Deputy Contributor

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    The 1/4” jacks can be used with a MIDI interface like a Voodoo Control Switcher to use a MIDI controller to switch all of the functions corresponding to a jack.

    Alternatively EM Custom makes Mesa MIDI interfaces as well so you don’t have to use the 1/4” jacks.

    As for settings, have you been through the Mesa manual? They have fantastic explanations, tips, and tricks for every parameter and also usually have great examples of settings.
     
  3. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Bird Law expert

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    I have a Roadster, and the dials can be a bit hard to get used to. Those jacks are maid for something like an RJM Amp Gizmo, which will take in MIDI signals and use the 1/4" outs to change amp controls https://shop.rjmmusic.com/b-stock-mini-amp-gizmo-midi-amp-controller/
     
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  4. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    Yep, Amp Gizmo or Voodoo Lab Control Switcher for the back jacks so you can switch everything via midi :yesway:

    As for a heavy rhythm tone, my starting point for Rectifiers has always been to set the gain to noon or 1:00, treble between 9:00-noon, mids around 1:00, bass around 11:00-noon, presence to taste, and channel volume around 10:00-11:00. This may be a bit too much low end for the Modern mode, but it's a good baseline for the Vintage mode IMO, especially with the 808 boosting it.

    Definitely read through the manual to get a feel for how each control affects the others for each channel. You won't feel so overwhelmed with option paralysis once you figure out what general combinations of settings you prefer :2c:
     
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  5. viifox

    viifox SS.org Regular

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    Amazing amp. Congrats!

    Keep the MV at at least 11:00 at all times, and put the gain and bass also around noon. These amps will easily flub out if the bass is too high, and the gain will turn into fizz if also set too high. Also, be prepared to fiddle with the knobs every time you play it. It will fool your ears!

    Some people say it sounds better with the fx loop off, but i never noticed.

    I liked the 50w setting for lower volumes.

    Good luck with that beast!
     
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  6. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Step 1: read the manual
    Step 2: keep the bass knob low on the dirt channels
    Step 3: it sounds better louder.

    A lot of tones are in that box.
     
  7. protest

    protest SS.org Regular

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  8. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    For smoother tones, try channel 3 rather than channel 4; 4 is brighter by design. Also, keep the presence knob somewhere between 7:00 and 12:00 to smooth things out (you'll have to experiment to find the sweet spot based on the rest of your rig).


    EDIT: You should be able to find a sweet spot on the bass control that will give you a full enough low end without needing the OD to cut the bass, but you may need to get the rest of your settings right first, then tweak the low end to taste.
     
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  9. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    At least with my 2-channel Rectos, if I'm in vintage high gain, I like the bass around noon and the treble and mids dimed. Otherwise, it kinda has a blanket-over-the-speakers thing going on. In modern mode, I tend to run everything around 1:00, but dial back the bass if the cab is too boomy. Presence to taste.

    As long as the cab and the guitar are aggressive sounding, I can plug straight in. If either the guitar or the cab sounds too warm, then I'll want a high-pass or boost pedal or something to cut the rumble.
     
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  10. Choop

    Choop n______n

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    One thing that improved the overall tone of my old Roadster was to put a Tung-Sol preamp tube in the V1 slot--helped brighten the amp up a little bit. It still was quite smooth sounding, but the amp is a bit dark overall so it more or less helped to balance out the sound.
     
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  11. migstopheles

    migstopheles SS.org Regular

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    Great tips thanks folks :)

    Think my issue is my cab (2x12 Zilla Super Fatboy) seems to not love the recto at all, definitely getting those blanket-over-the-speakers vibes. Putting it through a Bogner cab IR and tweaking the bass/gain/preamp volume is giving me some of the best recorded rhythm tones I've had in years... well, since I sold my Mk 5:25. Remind me to never sell a Boogie ever again :lol:
     
  12. Adieu

    Adieu SS.org Regular

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    How great of a deal was it?
     
  13. cGoEcYk

    cGoEcYk SS.org Regular

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    I have a Tremoverb and it might be it's own beast as far as settings. I play in Drop B (with .65 B) and F# on my 7. Enjoy a coarse grainy midrange sound with minimal fizz. Tend to run Treble quite low (below 9:00), mids almost maxed, bass cut a bit (never above noon), Presence minimal (9:00ish)... enough to add some razor grind but just below increasing the fizz. I use a boost and dial the tone back on it (depends on guitar) to just below fizz enhancement. Use Legend V12's to reduce fizz. It does come to life at around "loud drummer"/on-stage volume. Low volumes are fizzy.
     
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  14. migstopheles

    migstopheles SS.org Regular

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    about 1/3 the price of a new one
     

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