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Okay, so perhaps we mentioned that I love the color blue!With so many controls, operation of the Road King can seem quite involved at first – it’s not just a plug-in-and-go affair until you’ve dialed in your primary tones.The cabinet switching also enables you to easily compare the sound of open and closed-back cabinets, or different brands of speaker, though in our testing we didn’t have any open-backed cabinets available for comparison.Based on feedback from users of the original Road King, Mesa/Boogie removed the parallel effects loop and replaced it with a second serial loop.Features Usability Our beautiful looking Road King Series II came dressed in blue bronco vinyl with black cloth grill coverings and black piping, along with a matching Rectifier Traditional 4x12 cabinet.[Note: This cabinet has been renamed for 2006 the Stiletto Traditional cabinet but is functionally identical.] After Senior Editor Matt Pinson’s love affair with a purple paisley-patterned, leather-clad Lone Star, Mesa/Boogie knew that sending us a typical black-wrapped amplifier would be too routine.From a testing and experimenting perspective, the Road King offers unprecedented ability to compare and contrast the influence that different tube selections make on your sound.Because some modes are duplicated among the channels, we were able to set two channels to identical settings but run one with 2x6L6 and the other with 2x EL34 to focus on sonic differences (and then of course try unique options such as combining 6L6 and EL34 tubes together).
Really, if you seek the clean tone from a Fender, the classic rock tone from a Marshall, and the crunch of a Dual Rectifier, the Road King will deliver sounds that are music to your ears. Not only can you assign 6L6 or EL34 power tubes (or both) on a per-channel basis to this four-channel wonder, but cabinet switching enables you to route different channels through different power amp sections into different unmatched speaker cabinets. In fact, it’s entirely possible that based on how you configure your Road King, people will more likely assume your tone is coming from vintage Mark series amps rather than a modern day Rectifier.For guitarists in search of ultimate tone purity, those who scoff at the notion of effect loops (and effects), Mesa/Boogie provides a Loop Bypass setting on the rear of the Road King.This hard bypass removes two 12ax7 tubes from the signal path, along with the effects loops, the master Output volume, and the Solo volume controls.
For seekers of vintage tone, it offered a splendid palette of 6L6-based colors. Imagine your first channel being set to a classic American tweed sound with 100W of 4x6L6 power driving a 4x12 closed-back cabinet while your second channel is set for a British tone, 50W of 2x EL34 power, driving a 2x12 open-back cabinet, and you begin to see some of the mojo this amp possesses.