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 Post subject: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 3:32 pm 
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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.

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 7:32 am 
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Mark IV
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For classic rock vintage lo is hard to beat. I much prefer it to the ED vintage low mode. It is less compressed, and has fantastic dynamics. The crunch can be very raw and edgy sounding like a classic marshall, but also clean up nicely by softening up on the pick.

Bass is always tight which has been an issue for me with other amps. From what I can gather you like a lot more bass than me and I suspect you may find vintage low lacking. both clean and vintage high seem to have more stout bass though so you should be able to get where you want. Using the power soak will also help to shift the tone.

Interestingly my 4x10 has deeper bass than my 2x12. It may be that the 2x12 just has more mids, but either way the 4x10 is an interesting alternate. I really like the deeper, but still tight bass and the sparkly top end the 4x10 gives me.

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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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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 10:53 am 
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Thanks for the comments.

I agree that LO is the workhorse of the RA, as with the ED. That is the one mode I spent some time auditioning, and it is killer in the RA. I am not looking for lots of low-end, and actually like the way that the EL34 keeps it tight by rolling it off. The 6L6 bass can get to be oppressive in the ED. I just like to have the ballsy thump that I can't get from the EL84 amps.

I agree with your comments about the 4x10. They tend to be pretty scooped and give a ton of bottom, plus great highs. I pulled mine out of its case to try with the RA this weekend vs. the 2x12 recto cabs I normally use. I will also run it through a 1x12 widebody ported. So many cabs, so little time...

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 3:54 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:08 pm
Posts: 453
Location: Ohio
A Dyne, a Shiva and a RA! Elvis, I need to come visit your music room some time. :D

I'd love to try a Royal Atlantic. I'd love to hear it with some Scumback M types to push it more towards a modded Marshall type sound. I'm still thinking that if I sell my Mini Rec, I'll keep an eye out for a Dyne or RA. I'd like to try both, at least.

Congrats on the score. Can't wait to hear what you think after you've had it for a while. There's a guy at TGP (and you have probably read the threads) who kept going back and forth between loving his Electrodyne more, then loving his Royal more. One month he was SURE one was the best, and the next it would be the other. He did go on at length though about the power and girth of the low mids on the Dyne being what he missed on the RA or ANY other amp in comparison. So I don't think you're going to find THAT level of girth in the RA. But I'm sure it's great.

The three amps I really want to try are Dyne, RA and Archon. In the long term, I don't know if I could get along with the Dyne though because too many people say it's just ridiculously loud and needs to be to really have the magic.

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 4:31 pm 
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Yeah, I wish I could spend more time there myself...

Right now the place is a shambles, so I really need to clean it up this weekend. I just picked up an old Tascam patch bay for $15 so I can more easily switch my floor board between the amp heads. I'd really like to have a set of shelves where the amps are all plugged in, with the signals routed to the patch bay. Though it could wind up a disaster from ground loops. I'm not sure if the patch bay is isolated - that would be really helpful.

It is really great to have a chance to own a few unbelievable amps. It's funny that I wound up with a bunch of Brit-flavor amps after years of F-series and rectifier models. I never could bond with the Mark stuff.

My favorite amp of all-time is the Dyne. What can I say? It's amazing. But you have to run it LOUD. Seriously loud. The only amp so far to give it a run for its money is the Shiva.

I seriously love the Shiva. It is everything that you've read about it. Perfect features for gigging AND home use, though I wish the clean boost were more useable. I believe that that particular function is really for using the clean channel as a classic rock channel rather than a really clean channel. The tone and gain are great with the master right down to zero and it's a log pot so it's smooth from zero to full-on. The power level is spot-on for club gigs (rated 80W, but with 2xEL84, I'd call it 50W, and it certainly sounds more like a 50W than a 100W amp). It has a lot of nice mid-harmonics and a loose feel, and your playing and tone come through it unmercifully. Good low thump but not overwhelming. Interestingly, when I first got it, I couldn't set the gain high enough and it felt anemic and harsh, and now I run the gain much lower and it feels gainy and smooth. Amazing how much we adapt to our equipment. Anyhoo, I ran it through a Bogner 212C which has a TON of low-end, even compared to 4x12 cabs, but much prefer it with a recto 2x12. The tight low-end and punchy response of the recto cabs is much better with a band, and fills out at home as the Shiva gets more bassy at family-friendly levels. Incidentally, the Shiva clean is very nice, but the Dyne's is better.

So I really can't wait to see how the RA weighs in. If it's a cross between the other two (tighter and bolder like the Dyne but with Shiva features), then it will be a big winner for me.

I could definitely see keeping all three. Thus the patch bay...

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 5:58 pm 
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Too much?

Image

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 7:46 pm 
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OK, finally A/B'd the RA vs. Shiva, putting each through both a 2x12 recto horizontal and a stack of two 1x12 widebody ported cabs.

They are similar but different...

Similar
Features (If you consider HI to be like a boost)
General character - EL34 rock tone, not super-gainy, but way more gain than a plexi
Great tone and feel, very lively and would likely do well in a band mix

Different
The Royal Atlantic is WAY more low-end heavy. Night and day. Holy crap, a Shiva couldn't dream of putting out that much low end. Big, huge, gigantic sounding. Really makes the Shiva sound whiny.
The Shiva has way more presence and high-end. Can scream in a way the RA can't. Interesting that the Dyne had a presence knob, but not the RA. I had to run the RA bass low and treble very high.
Gain... this one is a toughie. The characters are so different in terms of low-mid focus vs. high-mid focus. It felt to me like the Shiva had a bit more gain, but it could have been more sizzle that felt like sustain. The Shiva is a bit more lively, but also kind of thin-sounding by comparison. Just really different animals in that way.

Clean vs. clean
I'd give the RA the edge on this one. It's so nice and fat. But the Shiva clean is gorgeous. So win-win.

Master
Shiva wins. I don't know how Bogner did it. Works down to zero, still sounding great. The RA power soaks are nice but... even they seem to bottom-out and then the tone gets wonky at the bottom.

Volume
RA wins. 4xEL34 vs. 2xEL34 biased at high plate voltage. No contest. The RA roars.

Grind
The RA has a more modern, low-mid focus. It's a beautiful thing. The Shiva sings, but the RA grinds. Brutal. Can be a bit stiff, though.

Half-power mode: As always, I hate it. Too soft, I prefer the tighter sound.

Concerns
Audio from my last gig had the Shiva sounding thin. The RA would fix that, but the low-heavy tone may give big ear-fatigue. That's pushing a LOT of power.

Conclusion
I'm keeping both. Have to try the RA with my band to see how it works there. The low-end may be overwhelming, or it may win the day. The RA is amazing, and I will have to A/B it with the Dyne to see if it can displace that amp for top of the heap...

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:03 am 
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Hit that magic moment where I dialed in the Vintage modes just right. Amazing!

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:06 am 
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Mark IV
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Location: Australia
Glad it all working for you. Super amp, after 3 years I still use mine everyday.

I don't think EL84 tubes, at least a pair of them do a very good job controlling 12" speakers. A pair of El34 or 6L6s can do it much better. Usually run my RA in 100 watt mode despite using it at less than 1 watt because I like how powerfull it sounds. 50 watt mode doesn't sound as tight to me.

Really wanted a MK V:25, but two El84s don't do it for me. If Mesa were to bring out a big bottle powered lunch box with the Mojo I'd be first in. Until then I'll have to pretend im still 20 and keep hauling the RA 8)

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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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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:33 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:08 pm
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Location: Ohio
elvis wrote:
Too much?


No such thing, my man! Looks like a whole bunch of awesome!

JJ, I'm 100% with you on a big bottle version of the mini heads. I think a 2 6L6 or EL34 version TA, or a 2 6L6 V25 (50?) would kill.

Or, I'm with the others who said they'd love to have a smaller shell RA 50.

That said, the V25 kicks butt as it is.

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:53 pm 
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I agree. I had a couple F50 amps, and there was so much right with them. I love me a pair of 6L6, that's for sure. Now that I have crossed over to EL34, a medium-head 50W RA that can take either 6L6 or EL34 would be super cool. Not class-A, just regular old 50W A/B.

I think it would be cool to try a MV25 through an old 50/50 power amp.

Incidentally, with all the stuff going on with the RA, the ONE thing that makes it better than the Dyne for me live is the separate Master for Vintage HI. I could live with running the Dyne quieter than I'd like, but I'd really like to be able to get a solo boost on the HI mode. Second is the separate gain control for the Vintage channels.

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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:51 pm 
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The RA is winning out over the Shiva this week at home. I will bring it to rehearsal this weekend and see how it goes. The Shiva can cut, but tends to sound shrill and lacks low-end rumble. The RA can really deliver at the low-end and has a bit more full, balanced tone. That may translate well with the band, or it may sound like I have a blanket over the speaker.

We'll see...

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2x Recto 2x12 Vertical


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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:44 am 
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I rode up to a local Mesa dealer an hour away with a friend so he could demo an RA. I thought it sounded pretty good, and then we switched to LO (Blue) mode. Holy crap! That mode has so much mojo and tone for days! I could live on that channel and be completely happy.

Glad it seems to be working for you so far. The real test will be with the band.

Killer music room, elvis!

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Mark V:25 | Mini Rectifier 25 | Mini Rec 1x12 | Fractal Audio FX-8
'06 EBMM JP6 (Mystic Dream) | '15 Epi ES-339 PRO (Cherry) | '11 PRS SE245 (Tobacco Sunburst)
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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:38 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:45 am
Posts: 131
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Nice setup elvis! Do you primarily run on vintage lo or hi for your distortion?

Not to hijack, but I also just picked up a mint royal from a forum member and the amp is just awesome. It can pretty much cover any style of music extremely well, and is very mark-ish in the distortion characteristics imo. I uploaded a short crappy clip:

http://youtu.be/fZuUVpmDU8E

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Royal Atlantic
JP-2C
Dual Rec Rev F
Recto horiz 2x12
Widebody cb 1x12

Previously:
Recto slant 4x12
Recto vert 2x12
Stiletto Trident Stage II
Mark IV
Mark V:25
Dual Rec three channel
Dual Rec rev G
Dual Rec Multiwatt
Rect-o-verb combo
50 cal+


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 Post subject: Re: NAD: Royal Atlantic
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:43 pm 
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Here it is today. The rack also has a Dunlop Rack Wah on the back rails tied to volume and wah pedals on the floor - very compact!

I got the amp to sound HUGE with a parametric EQ. Cut 3.15kHz by 4dB.

Image

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