Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

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bandit2013
Triple Recto
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Location: North Carolina

Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by bandit2013 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:23 am

I guess it has been too long since I played through the Roadster. I ran it though the Horizontal 212 cab. It does have a fizzy tone to it after all. I generally run the amp though an EV loaded OS Recto 412. Either that or the Stock OS Recto 412 cab I use with the RA100 head. The 212 cab is deep sounding and probably too deep for the Roadster. Now I hear the fizz. I had forgotten what tubes I had in the amp so after it cooled down I pulled them. Seems I liked the Mullard CV4004 in V1 and V2 for some reason. When I rolled it the last time I was running the EV cab and that had the best character I would assume. I popped in the stock tubes which was not as fizzy but dark once again. This would work better with the V30 loaded 412 but perhaps would be muddy with the EV loaded cab. Time to move the EV loaded cab into the other room and roll in some alternate tubes. I downloaded the schematic from the tube store as they have the road king II which is nearly the same thing excluding the progressive linkage and dual effects loop. I always wondered where the tone stack was for CH1/CH2 relative to the CH3/CH4 as the signal splits after the 2nd gain stage. Now I have a better understanding why the 5751 sounded really good in V2 for the two lead channels.

If I were to rate the amp regarding what I have now, the roadster is dropping down a few rungs on the ladder and the TC-50 is climbing up (rapidly I might add). Before I popped in the stock tubes in V1 and V2, the Mullard CV4004 had a characteristic that was interesting, easier to pull off pinch harmonics, still with difficulty but achievable. for some reason I think the cathode follower of V3 may be drowning out the sensitivity before it dumps into the tone stack. I am willing to bet (have not tried it yet) that the pinch harmonics would be easier with CH1 or CH2 using tweed or brit voices. I use the amp mainly on CH4 Modern.
The only pet peeve I have with the amp in general is the reduction in volume when changing from Modern to vintage, or vintage to raw. It is almost like a 3dB reduction or more.

NeveSSL
Mark I
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Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by NeveSSL » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:52 am

I kind of hate to say it, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who hears it.

I'm wanting to try out some other Mesa models. I would have sprung for a Mark V if they weren't so much more expensive than the Roadster. Maybe next time. :)

Brandon

bandit2013
Triple Recto
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by bandit2013 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:21 pm

Fixed the fizz at lunch time. To be honest it was terrible. The Mullards in V1 and V2 were in part to blame. Returned to all stock too dark with the 212 cabinet. On a whim, threw in two Svetlana 12AX7 and returned the Sovteck LPS in V6. Holly spit batman, that amp don't fizzlie it sizzles. The Svetlana preamp tubes sounded awesome. Never tried them in this amp. I bought a few just for S&G a while back but only used one or two in the RA100's. They have a bit lower gain than the Mesa, Tung Sol or the Mullards. Not it sounds like I remember it sounding, well at least thought the recto Horizontal 212 cab.

First time I ever took notice to fizz like you mentioned. At least I do not hear it now, and if it is there it is not as abundant at the moment. I was also not digging the clean channels all that much before the tube swap. I did put those Mullards to hard use. Most of the EH and Tungs Sols I have are about done in as well. they just never stay in any amp long enough to die a useful tube death, and as long as they do it with grace I am good with that.

The Mark V is expensive. As are the rest. TC-50 is way too much fun to stop playing though it. (tubes need some burn in to sound at their best, so about 20 hours or perhaps less they sing).

NeveSSL
Mark I
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Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by NeveSSL » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:47 pm

Nice! Glad you were able to get rid of it.

Brandon

bandit2013
Triple Recto
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Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by bandit2013 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:15 am

That was not very difficult to rid the fuzz. However I believe it may be a characteristic trait on the Rectos. Generally at lower volume level things may not sound as they should when hitting the sweet spot, not too many people are willing to play that loud anyway.

How does the JVM sound at low volume settings? That amp in particular has peaked my interests since it came out. Can you run 6L6 tubes in it or is it strictly a EL34 amp? Have fun biasing the amp when you change tubes. It is not as bad as you think but can lead to high voltage potential and electrocution if you are not familiar in doing such (amp chassis needs to be removed to do it). PRS Archon is the other amp I had considered. I think that has adjustment and bias points on the back panel but has been a while since I looked at it in any detail.

NeveSSL
Mark I
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Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by NeveSSL » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:06 am

I could have and maybe should have spent a lot more time with my Roadster to try to get it where I wanted, but it felt rather pointless when there was another amp that did almost exactly what I needed for around the same price. Boy, that's a bad analogy for marriage. Haha!

It actually sounds really good at low volume settings. It is strictly an EL34 amp, but there's always KT77s. Haha! I have to say, the clean channel on the JVM is one of the best I've heard. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is really, really good. I think I read its a copy of a 59 Bassman circuit. Biasing isn't an issue... I bought a True RMS voltmeter years ago for the purpose. :) I don't like taking the chassis out, though, you're right, but its also a hell of a lot easier than my Roadster at least.

I would highly recommend you try to find a JVM to try out. I lucked out last week when one of the two Guitar Centers around me had taken one in on Saturday and I called them on Monday looking for one. That's the one I ended up taking home. I'm going to mod it, though. Going to probably do a blackface clean channel (maybe... pretty happy with it as is... may not change it), Plexi mod to the crunch channel, and of course a Mesa mod to OD2. I think I'm going to leave OD1 alone for now. That should make this amp exactly what I've wanted. It's an incredibly versatile amp, especially with the mods.

Brandon

bandit2013
Triple Recto
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Location: North Carolina

Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by bandit2013 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:32 am

If you get the tone you are after that is all that matters. Roadster may not be for everyone as it can be very dark in its character with stock tubes. Not very intuitive on the controls either as one needs to spend a bit of time to understand where to set it and what is the overall influence. I generally find what I like by ear and just leave it there. It is not all that hard to get the tone you need once you adapt to its tonal range. If I needed more versatility or difference voices I would either choose the TC-50 or the Mark V. However the JP-2C has that tone I have been searching for most of my 30 years....

NeveSSL
Mark I
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Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by NeveSSL » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:48 am

Definitely. I probably should have spent more time with the Roadster, but I've made my peace with it... mostly. :) I'm happy with the Marshall, but I'm already looking at another amp... maybe even a Royal Atlantic. My next amp will likely be in addition to the Marshall, though, instead of replacing it.

Glad to hear the JP-2C worked out for you! It seems like a killer amp.

Brandon

bandit2013
Triple Recto
Posts: 3128
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by bandit2013 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:00 pm

I never played through a combo version and that may even change things a bit. It is what it is. You found something that works for you and that is all that matters in the end.

puppychumful
Bottle Rocket
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Re: Roadster clean channels... very little headroom?

Post by puppychumful » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:37 pm

Hi there,

I also have a Roadster 212 and I also need a bit of advice kind sirs and I hope I am not derailing the original poster's subject as it is basically the same concern!

1. I find the amp has a boxy midrange, a thumpy bass, and an overly directional, focused projection, at least when compared to my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. I would have expected a monster 212 combo to be much more balanced in its frequency response, and to be much more three dimensional in its projection. I'm thinking if I removed the back panel, that might help?

2. The built-in fan is distracting a lower volumes, and AFAICT is not installed on the head version of this amp, do you think it’s safe to disconnect the fan, and if not has anyone replaced the fan with an exact replacement spec that's a lot quieter, and if so which brand / model of fan did you use?

3. I've never compared my Roadster 212 to another Roadster 212, but even on the cleanest settings it has less headroom before distortion than my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. I would have thought, with the Roadster's massive compliment of tubes, and amazing four channel flexibility, it would easily outgun my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe for clean Fender-type headroom, but that does not seem to be the case. I have not biased the amp and I bought it used, but there is very little noise, hiss, hum or any other ugly sonic artefacts suggestive of an amp not operating the way it was designed. It's only the fact that the headroom before distortion is not as robust as I would have expected. Shouldn't the Roadster 212 be able to do the Fender Twin type of thing easily, and at loud volumes?

I figure some of you might advise me to replace the V30 speakers and/or replace some or all of the tubes, or alter the gain structure with a lower gain pre-amp tube, or try a guitar with lower output pickups or single coils, etc (I have tons of guitars so that's not the issue) but I'm not inclined to do amp mods without knowing with certainty how the amp was intended to sound from the factory, because I think I'd rather just sell it, if the Roaster 212 was not intended to be able to cover the same sonic ground as a clean Fender Twin, or a least a clean Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

a. Can the Roadster 212 be adjusted to sound and act like a clean high-headroom Fender Twin (or at least the equal of my clean Fender Hot Rod Deluxe) or is it always going to have relatively lower headroom? Since I have no other Roadster 212's to compare it to, I do not know the design characteristics of this amp well enough to assess if my amp is out-of-spec or if it's operator error, or something else,

b. Will re-biasing the amp help (or it is self-biasing I can't recall) and/or can I bias it cold to increase headroom?

c. As far as the general operation of my Roadster 212, there is no question that it can get insanely loud, and there is no question that it can produce a number of classic and modern distorted sounds, and it is not noisy or hissy, nor does it hum etc, and all the footswitch functionality is great, and the reverb is great, and it will play clean at lower volumes, I just would have expected that it could get that high-headroom, clean, crisp, spanky-snap, at higher volumes, and at the least match my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe if not equal a clean Fender Twin.

d. AFAICT my Roadster 212 operates just the way it was designed to, except (I assume but could be wrong) for that clean headroom concern.

Some searches reveals:

Mesa Boogie's own promo states of the Roadster "Throughout two lower gain Channels, 1 and 2, you’ll discover every classic clean sound..." https://mesaboogie.com/amplifiers/elect ... index.html

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