Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier 3 Channels Head
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Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier 3 Channels Head

Dual Rectifier 3 Channels Head, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Mesa Boogie in the Dual Rectifier series.

content in English
glassjaw7 16/03/2011

Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier 3 Channels Head : Recensione di glassjaw7 (content in English)

"A tried-and-true modern classic"
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The Mesa Boogie 3-channel Dual Rectifier is a 100 watt tube amplifier. This revision of Mesa's popular 2-channel Dual Rectifier that debuted in the early 1990's adds another channel, giving this already versatile tone machine an even bigger arsenal of tonal and sonic options. (This is the early 2000's model, not to be confused with the newer "Reborn" revision)

Each channel has its own eq section, consisting of bass, mid and high controls, as well as separate gain, presence and volume controls. Also included on the front panel are toggle switches for each channel that can select a dedicated voicing for that channel. These voicings cover everything from spanky cleans to blistering high gain and everything in between, which I will describe in detail later in the review.

Rear Panel:

The rear panel is home to many useful controls and connections such as a "slave-out" jack and level control, which allows you to run the Dual Rec's pre and power collectively out to another power amp and line-level effects unit. This is a popular method for wet/dry or stereo setups, or for the player who doesn't like the impurities of using an effects loop. Speaking of effects loops, the Dual Rectifier has a parallel loop with controls for send level and overall mix of the wet sound. The loop can be assigned to all channels, a specific channel only, or hard-bypassed from the signal. I personally don't care for the amp's loop and don't use it due to the fact that no matter the setting, the dry signal is always present and can cause phasing issues between the dry and wet sounds.

1/4" jacks for external switching and selection of channels, solo boost function, and fx loop on/off are included for those who like switching with a device other than the included footswitch, such as a Voodoo Lab GCX or RJM unit and a midi controller. The amp in its stock form does not have midi capability.

A bias selection switch is located on the rear. Stock, the amp ships with 6L6 power tubes, but EL34s can be installed also. The switch must be set to match the type of tube in use.
(other tubes such as KT77s can also be used in "EL34" bias mode due to the amp's fixed bias level. Just be sure tubes are properly matched by the supplier)

You can select the type of rectifiers you want to use with the power section of this amp. A toggle switch on the rear lets you choose between Vacuum Tube rectifiers (the amp ships with 5U4 tubes), or Silicon Diodes which tighten up the response of the amp giving it more immediacy in the attack. Finally, a switch on the rear lets you select Bold or Spongy mode, which sound and respond exactly as described. Bold is tight and punchy, while Spongy cuts the power a bit giving the amp more sag and a "browner" sound.


EDIT:

I recently had my Dual Rectifier modified by amp guru Dave Friedman. This review is based on the stock version of this amp, but I will eventually do another review based on the modifications he made.
Read on for the review of the STOCK Dual Rectifier.




UTILIZATION

Most Mesa Boogies have a reputation for being difficult to dial in, and this amp is no different. The controls of most Boogies are very sensitive. A minute tweak on the presence control for example, can change the tone drastically and will also affect the way the other controls respond. There are sweet spots to be found in the Dual Rec's eq section, and only time spent with your own rig will warrant optimum results.

One thing I can say about Boogie; they can write a manual! They are extremely thorough, describing every function of the product in-depth. While reading the manual upon purchase, I was pleasantly surprised with a very descriptive walk-through of each of my amp's features, examples of settings and starting points for finding my own signature tone, and even a bit of humor! After reading it front to back, I had a better understanding of what the amp was capable of and a sense of pride in my purchase By far, the best product manual I've ever read. (I gave this point a rating of 7, due to the difficulty in dialing in the amp, which may be intimidating or discouraging to some players. Otherwise, this would've been rated an 8 or 9).

SOUNDS

Given the sensitivity of the Dual Rec's controls and the extreme results they produce, not to mention the many tonal options this amp provides, it would be nearly impossible to cover everything in this review, short of writing a novel! I'll try to cover the most significant sounds and features:

With the clean channel's toggle set to "Clean" and the gain set low to moderate, the amp displays a very round and full sounding clean tone, which can be very spanky and tight, or lush and pristine depending on where the mid, treble and presence are set. This is one of the best clean sounds I've ever experienced on a channel switcher! The tone begins to clip and break up when the gain is cranked up past 1:00. This can be very desirable for blues or for modern alt-rock cleans.

Setting the toggle to "Push" takes this channel firmly into the gritty blues or classic rock realm, and has a very dynamic and bouncy, addicting feel. It is a joy to bash out AC/DC riffs or classic double-stop type riffs and lead lines. This voicing spews out a bubbly thick grit. This is truly a great clean channel on its own merits when so many companies tack on a mediocre or dull sounding clean channel as an afterthought. Well done!

Shifting over to channels 2 and 3, which house the Dual Rectifier's classic and trademark aggressive tones, we have three voicing options; Raw, Vintage and Modern. These channels are almost identical to each other, save for the presence control which is set much brighter on channel 3 giving this channel a more modern sound.

Let's back up to channel 2; set the toggle to Vintage and you've got the definitive "Recto" sound that found its way to hundreds of recordings. This is creamy and crunchy gain with a bit of rectifier sag in the low end response. Playing this channel is a joy, as harmonics jump out of the speakers and just the right amount of compression and "give" make the amp forgiving, yet crushing and always present in a band mix.

Select Raw mode and you have a gritty blues or classic rock tone which is still very responsive. This mode is similar to Pushed mode on channel 1, but is more open and clear with more complexity in the high end.
Move on to Modern mode, and set the Rectifier toggle switch to Silicon Diodes, and you've got yourself a searing high gain tone that remains clear and defined and has an aggressive edge that will cut through any mix! This is one of the most recognizable and definitive modern tones around!


Channel 3 can be set up to sound almost identical to channel 2, but as mentioned above, the presence taper is much different on this channel. In my opinion, this channel was designed as the Modern channel while channel 2 suits the Vintage mode perfectly. Feel free to experiment however, as any mode can be used with either channel! Personally, I prefer using both gain channels in Raw or Vintage mode when playing at lower volumes, as Modern mode can sound very shrill and harsh until the amp is turned up quite loud. This mode isn't practical for home use in my experience, and is made for playing at band volume levels.



OVERALL OPINION

The one thing I don't like about the Dual Rectifier is the effects loop. (which Boogie claims to have improved in the latest revision) The parallel design doesn't allow the dry signal to be completely taken out, therefore I can never attain a completely wet mix with my time-based effects. This makes the amp slightly difficult to use for lead players who prefer to use reverb and/or delay. I have been using a BB+ preamp and a Lovepedal Eternity along with an MXR Carbon Copy analog delay pedal into channel 1 set clean for my lead sounds, and it's working just fine!

It should also be noted that for the player to get the most out of this amplifier, switching to a hotter brand/type of power tubes should be considered. Mesa Boogie amplifiers have fixed bias levels, and the stock tubes they ship with are not graded hot, meaning the bias level is actually a bit lower than it could safely be. With a change of tubes (I prefer JJ or Tung-Sol) my amp's tone improved dramatically! This is to be done at the user's risk however as Mesa recommends using only their brand of tubes with their amps.

The Dual Rectifier can be challenging to set up and dial in, and isn't for everyone. If you are a "plug and play" kind of guy/gal, you may want to look elsewhere. If you are willing to put the time in and enjoy tweaking and want an instrument that will grow with you as a player, then I highly recommend this amp!

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