OK, so I have had an Electradyne for quite a while now, and love it to death. But I found I couldn't quite gig it because I want more gain on the HI/LO modes relative to clean, and you have to turn the thing up so loud to get it to really sound great. I was running it into a Rock Crusher with my band and it sounded fantastic, but was just too much of a pain.
I had considered the RA as a more flexible/giggable alternative, but was always turned off by the arguments that it just doesn't get there the way the Dyne does.
Flash forward, I picked up a Shiva out of frustration and curiosity, and got recalibrated for EL34 tone. It's a great amp, and I have been thrilled with it, but maybe a bit too loose than I'd really like. I'm still working on it. One thing is for sure, it has the best super-quiet Master capability of any amp I've ever owned, and opens up beautifully when turned up. It's keeper, for sure.
So then I ran into some reviews of the Royal Atlantic that compared it to a Shiva and a lightbulb went off in my head. I thought that maybe I should have tried that rather than the Shiva. So I kept my eyes open and ran into a reasonable deal. I tried it out briefly at the seller's home, and mostly bought it on faith. I hope to find that it has a lot of the tone and features of the Shiva, but with better build quality. And maybe a bit more Dyne-like, with the low-mid emphasis.
So far, so good. It seems to capture the spirit of BLUE mode on the Dyne, which is the #1 thing I love about that amp. I still need to ring out the other modes, but clean was OK without spending any time tweaking it, and RED was actually really nice, in that it seems a bit gainier and more compressed than the Dyne RED mode, which is more cutting to my ears. Part of it may be EL34 vs. 6L6. But I've been running my Dyne with EL34 lately (not after today, though...) and it really never got me there.
To be clear, I have been playing classic and modern rock and hair metal with my band. The Shiva gets there, but with more of a classic tone. I want to try a similar tone/gain, but tighter and more modern. I also want essentially the Shiva feature set: Clean channel and Crunch channel, plus boost and extra gain on Crunch channel (the clean boost is useless on the Shiva because it boosts WAY too much, so I discount it as a feature). The RA gives me that (treating RED as a boost on BLUE), with the addition of the per-channel power soak. I love the separate RED/BLUE master, that makes it exactly like the Shiva in the sense of a boost mode. I really like being able to adjust the lead and rhythm volumes easily on the fly from the front panel at gigs.
One thing is for sure, the RA sounds big. Can't wait to crank it up, maybe this weekend. I think it will A/B favorably with the Shiva.
I have also read comparisons between the RA and the Ecstasy. That would be interesting, since I had also considered that amp. But so much $$$, and I'd be worried about the quality and reliability. So far I have been really treated well by Mesa in that sense.
I had been feeling kind of bad that I haven't played my Mesas lately, I'm hopeful that the RA will get me back on that train. At the least, I think I have another terrific amp to play with.
Electra Dyne Head
JP-2C WICKER, Baby!
Mini Rectifier blue LED
Recto 2x12 Horizontal
2x Recto 2x12 Vertical