Mesa / Boogie Subway Rocket

Make / Model: Mesa / Boogie Subway Rocket
Year: ?

Build Quality



Very Good


Like PRS, I first new of Mesa / Boogie as the amp of Santana. Now I know of them as the amp of bad metalcore. But this amp is from the Santana school of design.

The approach Mesa seemed to take:
1. Take a fender circuit, hot rod it
2. Small Combo
3. Big ass PA type speaker

The approach is to let the amp do everything, and reproduce that tone, excellently, in a small package. So they build the cabinet to be transparent, and they use overrated speakers, so as not to have speaker distortion be part of the sound (unlike, say the approach of a greenback in a marshall cab).

The result is pretty good, and works well for acheiving lots of sound. However, it tends to lack BALLS.

The clean sound on this amp is amazing, if you can get over the weird off-axis phase shift of it’s speaker. Dead on, it sounds great.

The distortion channel by itself, is OK, but once you kick on the extra gain option, it sounds great. In fact, it has so much gain, that it will let you drive the tubes into microphonic instability, which the manual warns you about, and results in feedback everytime the cabinet gets excited. So they gave you as much gain, actually more gain, than they could give you.

It has some mojo to it. I was able to really just get lost playing it, go into a flow state, and really enjoy playing. And I did that everyday for the few weeks I had it. So it became something of a hobby, playing this with the PRS. I feel like I rediscovered my guitar playing, as a hobby.

But as a work truck, the lack of Balls is an issue.

So really, not an amp for me. I love the clean sound, and the distortion was great, but something (BALLS) was lacking. So I sold it.

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Llamatism is a collection of things, a cabinet of curiosities, and reports from explorations on things, by Gary Llama.

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