GAS - RA100-combo or Lonestar Special-combo

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GAS - RA100-combo or Lonestar Special-combo

Post by kode » Tue May 03, 2016 7:21 am

Hi there,

Please give me some advice - got some GAS.

About a year ago I bought a Rectoverb 25 combo. I loved it at first, and I still consider it to be a good amplifier, but in retrospect I have to admit that it wasn't what I'm looking for.

I used to be in a small teenage band in the nineties, mostly having fun - not being any good ... Since then I haven't been playing for years. But since a year or two I have begun to play again, and I 've come to realise that my musical taste has moved a bit from mainly grunge and a bit of metal to the more bluesy stuff, clean sounds, even some jazzy tunes.
More desired tones:

Long story short: the Rectoverb 25 is a bit too aggressive for my taste.

Since I'm still mostly having fun instead of being any good - "but I'm trying, Ringo - I'm trying ..." - I only play at home at neighbour-friendly volumes, and I can 't justify having more than one amp, or buying a ton of pedals. That will not be changing, since I have no interest in starting a band or gigging.

So I'm considering selling the Rectoverb 25 and buying something else. There are three contenders:
- Mesa Lonestar Special combo
- Mesa Royal Atlantic RA100 combo
- a Fender, like a Deluxe Reverb '59 reissue or something like it

I 've checked out all three, and I'm leaning towards the RA100. It just seems like a great bluesy & versatile amp to me, capable of more gainy grunge stuff too, but sounding far less aggressive and in-your-face than the Rectoverb 25. And I'm especially drawn to it 's power soaks, allowing me to put the power section to work for a nice breakup at "home-volumes". Maybe above all, I couldn't seem to dial in a single bad sound, while testing it at the shop: as if it 's dummy-proof.

I liked the Lonestar Special too, but I found it far less dummy-proof when dialling in tones, and it also seems less versatile to me. Also, it does not have the power soaks...

The 59riDR was nice too, but I can't cranck it up enough at home to get it breaking up, so that would mean buying some extra pedals, having to mess around with cables, etc. ...

Budget-wise they are for sale in the above order: Lonestar Special being the most expensive (100%), then RA100 (70%) and last the DR (61%).
I suspect the RA100 to be the best way to go and being the best bargain currently.

Am I correct? What would you advise? Is the RA100 the best choice for nice crisp cleans, over bluesy breackup, to higher gain -but not too aggressive- sounds? Or will it always be too aggressive for SRV, JimiH, and the likes?

Thanks in advance.
Kind regards.

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Re: GAS - RA100-combo or Lonestar Special-combo

Post by elvis » Thu May 05, 2016 3:25 pm

Sounds like you prefer the RA. I think you will love it for the reasons you stated. The blue channel is perfect for the stuff you seem to want to play. If you are concerned about aggression, just turn the gain down.

The only amp I would say is better for what you seem to want is the Electradyne. Unfortunately the amp has to be loud to sound great, and the shared controls are a bit of a pain.

I also think that the 100W amp will give you better headroom for your cleans and better lows for your dirt channels.

Frankly none of the options are bad, except I'd steer you away from the DR. That is really a one-trick pony. I had a real '65 DR for many years, and while it is a great amp for what it does, I replaced it with an F50 and never regretted it.

Incidentally, the F50 may be worth looking into as well.
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Re: GAS - RA100-combo or Lonestar Special-combo

Post by bandit2013 » Sun May 22, 2016 9:45 am

I would vote for the RA100 Combo. You may find the V30 may get a bit muddy with higher gain settings as I did. Perhaps that was just what I found as the RA100 Combo I got was used and I am sure the V30's that were in it were not original as the solder joints were indicative of this. I did replace them with Celestion G12H75 Creambacks and have never regretted that at all. The RA100 Combo is an amazing amp and it will not get in your face unless you are laying on the floor in front of the amp. I bought my first RA100 for playing more of a vintage rock and blues, I can do the same with the Roadster and Mark V but the RA100 just does it better. Even at 100W without the power soak the combo amp will sound awesome at reduced volume levels. The Hi/Lo can dish out what ever you want and can be tamed to be expressive. The clean channel also has some mojo too, with the gain pushed on the clean (drop the bass) it will definitely chime with some early classic tone that is hard to duplicate with my other amps (except for the Roadster on clean CH1 in tweed mode). The amp is just as much fun at 50W too. I cannot say enough how much I like this amp. Now that I have two Royal Atlantic amps: Head with 412 cab, and a combo, I actually prefer the combo, however the half stack is also fun too. The effects loop is not switched other than the send/return jacks. It will work with both line and instrument level effects. I just love the amp raw but will use delay or chorus from time to time.

IMHO, this is one amp I wish Mesa had not dropped from production (perhaps it is one reason that fueled getting the second RA100 in combo form).


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Re: GAS - RA100-combo or Lonestar Special-combo

Post by bandit2013 » Mon May 23, 2016 6:02 am

Had to add to this: The RA100 with a 5 band EQ in the loop will also add more tailoring characteristics to the amp. I have used the Mesa 5 band EQ pedal with the half stack many of times but not the combo until last night. :shock: That was a treat worthy of attention (no need to keep the Mark V now).

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Re: GAS - RA100-combo or Lonestar Special-combo

Post by theroan » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:07 pm

Having recently switched from a LSS to an RA I can tell you the RA is the better choice. Cleans are similar the gain options are far superior. In a perfect world I'd own both.
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