NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

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CoG
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NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

Post by CoG » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:33 pm

So I go into Long and Mcquade on my lunch break to put down a deposit this afternoon, and guess what had just arrived, still in the box, still in the stockroom.

Haven't had a chance to play it yet, it's still boxed up in my living room because I really had to come back to work. :(
Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head
MkIII Green Stripe DRG
Lots of Mesa cabs
Marshall JCM800
Also owned: Rec Pre, 20/20, Bottle Rocket, MkIII Purple Stripe DRG, Rev F DR, Rectoverb 50 Series II

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CoG
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Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

Post by CoG » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:28 pm

Okay, just spent like an hour and a half into my Palmer box and it's a keeper. Still figuring things out but the biggest surprise is how much gain there is available, it's like a Mark in that there's way more there than you can use and it's matter of balancing the types of gain you want. I wouldn't be surprised if an RA2 actually decreases the total gain a little.

Controls are ridiculously interactive, fortunately the manual explains it fairly well and you really need to read it-- it doesn't necessarily make sense at first to decrease woofy bass by increasing the treble, but there you go.

Cleans are the best I have ever played on an EL34 amp.

This isn't a "spongy" amp in any way, it's very bold and maybe a little stiff, but I'm used to a Mark III so no surprises there. You seem to dial out the stiffness by adding teeny bits of gain. It's easy to get a "thin" sound by being stingy with gain or master; that power soak is there for a reason.

The biggest difference between this amp and the Mesa tones I am used to is there's not a lot of the low mids. There's bass to be had and while they keep mentioning in the manual how tight the amp is I find it looser than a Mark for sure, and I don't think it would really like a 7-string; I tune to C# on a 6-string and the bass wants to woof. The upper mids are definitely prevalent and add a lot of complexity and colour to rhythm tones in a way a Mark just can't match, and it "sings" like a Recto generally can't.

I agree with somebody's comment that this is the amp Marshall has been trying to make since 1989. It won't be replacing my Mark III but I think I have a really nice JCM800 for sale now, and maybe even my JC77.

edit: Did I mention "unforgiving?" No? Very unforgiving of sloppy technique, especially on the crunchy tones. I think you might wanna look elsewhere if you're strictly a whenever-the-kids-let-me-have-time player.
Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head
MkIII Green Stripe DRG
Lots of Mesa cabs
Marshall JCM800
Also owned: Rec Pre, 20/20, Bottle Rocket, MkIII Purple Stripe DRG, Rev F DR, Rectoverb 50 Series II

BostonRedSox
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Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

Post by BostonRedSox » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:07 pm

CoG wrote:Okay, just spent like an hour and a half into my Palmer box and it's a keeper. Still figuring things out but the biggest surprise is how much gain there is available, it's like a Mark in that there's way more there than you can use and it's matter of balancing the types of gain you want. I wouldn't be surprised if an RA2 actually decreases the total gain a little.

Controls are ridiculously interactive, fortunately the manual explains it fairly well and you really need to read it-- it doesn't necessarily make sense at first to decrease woofy bass by increasing the treble, but there you go.

Cleans are the best I have ever played on an EL34 amp.

This isn't a "spongy" amp in any way, it's very bold and maybe a little stiff, but I'm used to a Mark III so no surprises there. You seem to dial out the stiffness by adding teeny bits of gain. It's easy to get a "thin" sound by being stingy with gain or master; that power soak is there for a reason.

The biggest difference between this amp and the Mesa tones I am used to is there's not a lot of the low mids. There's bass to be had and while they keep mentioning in the manual how tight the amp is I find it looser than a Mark for sure, and I don't think it would really like a 7-string; I tune to C# on a 6-string and the bass wants to woof. The upper mids are definitely prevalent and add a lot of complexity and colour to rhythm tones in a way a Mark just can't match, and it "sings" like a Recto generally can't.

I agree with somebody's comment that this is the amp Marshall has been trying to make since 1989. It won't be replacing my Mark III but I think I have a really nice JCM800 for sale now, and maybe even my JC77.

edit: Did I mention "unforgiving?" No? Very unforgiving of sloppy technique, especially on the crunchy tones. I think you might wanna look elsewhere if you're strictly a whenever-the-kids-let-me-have-time player.
And now there is three of us! Congrats. I've been loving mine A LOT. I agree with everything you've stated. The amp is very un-Mesa like. I could go on and on about this, but I won't since I already have! I enjoy the shift from the low-mids this amp provides, without getting too harsh in the highs as the Stiletto could get.

The cleans are great in that you can still conjure up that Boogie clean, with lots of rich low end -- and have it sit in a different part of the overall mix.

Enjoy your amp. It is definitely a keeper. No, there definitely isn't any sag or compression in this amp. You get what you put into it -- if you are sloppy, it'll show. If you like globs of smooth and compressed high gain tones, this amp isn't for you. It can get heavy, but not in the usual Mesa sort of way.

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J.J
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Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

Post by J.J » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:12 am

Hey Cog, glad you like it. I think Mesa are really onto something with the RA and its cousin the ED.

Iv'e got a nice JCM800 too and it has had no use since the ED arrived. I look forward to trying an RA when they arrive in my shop.

If the RA is the amp Marshall wants to make, then the ED is the amp they used to make, but can no longer get right :lol:
Triple Crown 50 combo
Electra Dyne and Royal Atlantic heads
Express 5:25 1x12 combo
JCM800 2203
Deluxe reverb reissue
Traditional 2x12, 4x10 and 23" 1x12 cabs.

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CoG
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Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

Post by CoG » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:37 am

This evening I'll give it a run with my 4x12 (Recto slant with EVM-12s and RWBs in an X). Went after it again this morning and at least with the Palmer this is not a "modern" amp on its heavy tones. I could definitely get sounds that would fit on a Mastodon or Baroness record, or Blessed Black Wings, but somebody who wants to go faster would probably be disappointed--there's this big throaty "woof" after the initial attack on the red channel when you have the gain up which sounds excellent up to a point but would not work if you're heading for the blackened fjords.
Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head
MkIII Green Stripe DRG
Lots of Mesa cabs
Marshall JCM800
Also owned: Rec Pre, 20/20, Bottle Rocket, MkIII Purple Stripe DRG, Rev F DR, Rectoverb 50 Series II

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CoG
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Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

Post by CoG » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:58 pm

now that I have it through a 4x12... holy sweet jesus do I love this amp.

It's pretty much just like I thought after the first three hours through the Palmer, only better. This is not a Boogie, except in terms of technology. It's a tribute amp. The drive channel is called "Vintage" for a reason, there's no sounds in there that didn't exist before 1986 and they're all from England or some dude's garage in LA.

The power soak thingy is extremely cool, but it's much more "not having neighbours call the cops" than "not waking up the wife." At the really high attenuation levels it doesn't pass the Amplitube test (the point at which, tonally, you're better off just using Amplitube and headphones and saving your tubes.)
Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head
MkIII Green Stripe DRG
Lots of Mesa cabs
Marshall JCM800
Also owned: Rec Pre, 20/20, Bottle Rocket, MkIII Purple Stripe DRG, Rev F DR, Rectoverb 50 Series II

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Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

Post by jeffp » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:26 pm

what speakers are in your 4 x 12 cab?

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CoG
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Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head

Post by CoG » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:23 pm

jeffp wrote:what speakers are in your 4 x 12 cab?
Recto slant with 2 vintage Black Shadow EVM-12Ls and 2 Emi RWBs. The RWBs tame brightness and add a little grind and the EVMs are what they are. Great mix for my Mark III and seems to be good for the RA as well.

Calling it a night, lol, except when I ate a sandwich and made my last post I have been playing for like four hours :D FX loop works great, too. I think with an eq in the loop you could cover some "modern" territory.

We're tracking tomorrow and Saturday and the RA might actually put in an appearance in place of the Mark III, I will post clips if it does...
Royal Atlantic RA-100 Head
MkIII Green Stripe DRG
Lots of Mesa cabs
Marshall JCM800
Also owned: Rec Pre, 20/20, Bottle Rocket, MkIII Purple Stripe DRG, Rev F DR, Rectoverb 50 Series II

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