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Thread: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Metalman_666's Avatar
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    Default Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    ok so I was doing some thinking, and I've decided on a toss-up between 2 amps to buy when I get the money. Mesa is more well known as far as I know, but Rivera is supposed to have amazing quality. The 2 amps are these: the Mesa Triple Rectifier head, or the Rivera Knucklehead 100 Amp Top head. Which one should I go for??

    Which brand would have ass kicking distortion tones that are great for metal like SoaD, yet have really good clarity and definition under high gain? And also, a decent clean tone, doesn't have to be anything Jazzy, just useable, and would be a versatile amp in general? It would be used with an Ibanez SZ520QM, quilted maple on mahogany, rosewood fretboard, with EMG 81/60 combo.

    So which amp is better... 3 channel Triple Recto, or Knucklehead 100?
    • Ibanez ART600TK (Custom8/Air Norton)
    • Schecter C-1 Classic (JB+Custom Hybrid/Jazz)
    • Schecter A-7 Avenger (EMG 707/607)
    • MIM Fender Strat (Stock)
    • Vox V847 / Crybaby From Hell (Fasel) --> VisualSound Route66 --> Boss BF-2 --> CH-1 --> Fulltone FatBoost 3 --> Line6 DL4
    • Mesa/Boogie Mark IV-B short head (SED =C= 6L6) + Ear Candy BuzzBomb 2x12 (V30/C90)
    • Vox Valvetronix AD30VT

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    Boogeyman of Tone
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    jesus man!!!!!

    how loud do you want to play????

    a triple rec? - thats insane.. i've had one of those on about 4 and nearly shat myself. i think they are 150 watts - unnececary.

    you'd be better off with a Dual Rec as it would sound better at lower volumes

    PM Twilight Odyssey if he doesnt turn up on this thread he plays rivera
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rid
    How do I block my hardtail?

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker y2stevo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Yeh Twilight had me seriously gassing for a rivera..Trust me once he replies to this thread you WILL, attepmt to sell body parts for a rivera..
    Marshall JVM 410C
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Metalman_666's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by nuntius
    a triple rec? - thats insane.. i've had one of those on about 4 and nearly shat myself. i think they are 150 watts - unnececary.

    you'd be better off with a Dual Rec as it would sound better at lower volumes
    one question about the Dual Recto.... isn't the tone different from a triple recto? I thought there were more differences than just volume/wattage.
    • Ibanez ART600TK (Custom8/Air Norton)
    • Schecter C-1 Classic (JB+Custom Hybrid/Jazz)
    • Schecter A-7 Avenger (EMG 707/607)
    • MIM Fender Strat (Stock)
    • Vox V847 / Crybaby From Hell (Fasel) --> VisualSound Route66 --> Boss BF-2 --> CH-1 --> Fulltone FatBoost 3 --> Line6 DL4
    • Mesa/Boogie Mark IV-B short head (SED =C= 6L6) + Ear Candy BuzzBomb 2x12 (V30/C90)
    • Vox Valvetronix AD30VT

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    Senior Member echofinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Mmmph... I am a Rivera man all day long. Been playing one for... well... a long goddam time.

    However, what you need to do is sit down in a store with both those amps and wind 'em up for an hour till you hear what you like. If you want a really distorted tone (your post implies it...) you'll probably end up running with some kind of distortion pedal anyway, so bring your favorite one with you. As both of these amps represent a sizable chunk of cash, no respectable salesperson is going to stop you from doing this.

    Some earlier posts are pointing at your choice in wattage, arguing that you don't need that much in an amp. Rivera and Mesa both offer amps with less wattage, that pretty much do the same thing as the two you listed.

    What they mean to tell you is, tube amps sound best close to or at maximum volume, so try the 40-60 watt range amps cranked up all the way before you convince yourself that you have to buy the 100 watt plus amps.

    I was young and silly when I picked up my 100 watt Rivera, it IS a great sounding, versatile amp, but... I seldom can turn it past half volume at practice, because anywhere past 5 peels paint off the walls and knocks doors off their hinges. The only time I actually get to turn it up all the way is in the studio... or gigs with a venue/stage large enough to allow it. VERY SELDOM!!! (and then I point the amp away from the crowd, so as not to interfere with the sound man)

    The "what amp should I buy?" threads always bug me, because you need to have the amp YOU LIKE when you leave the store, so I decided to post in this one.

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    I'm watching Return of the Jedi with my son, and I feel a disturbance in the force! "Somone somewhere is thinking about buying a Rivera" I say, and then log onto the forum, and voila! This thread.

    Mesa v. Rivera ... for some people, that's a real tough decision.

    There's no doubt that the Rivera is the more versatile of the two.

    Play both? Sure, why not. Bring your OD pedal? Of course, and preferably your guitar, as well.

    Your question is: Which has a better tone. Answer; The Rivera, hands down. Paul Rivera was one of the brain children behind Fender's classic age of amps, and you can hear it in the clean channel. With a Strat, you can achieve the cleanest vintage Fender sound imaginable, all the way to Hendrix and SRV. And that's just one channel!!

    Want killer tube gain? How about 5 preamp tubes, the equivelent of something like 10 gain stages!! And, yes: both channels of the Knucklehead have boosts!!

    You really need to play both. If you want a really focused, damped, dark guitar sound, then the Dual or Triple Rec may be for you.

    But, if you're really looking for the ultimate in versatility, bullet-proof construction, an amp that people will scratch their heads at because they've never heard of it, and then watch as their jaw hits the floor at your first note, and the loudest 100W head on the planet (this is no exaggeration. The Knucklehead is a lease breaker!!) ... and just plain tone for days, then invest some time into a Rivera. But, you'd better bring some money to throw down for a deposit on the amp, because you will probably want it after you've played it for a while.

    Note: If you're trying these amps from a cold start, turn 'em on and leave them on standby for about 5-10 minutes. The Rivera needs 10 minutes to really stabilize, and after 30 min, the tone gets godly. After 1 hr, as the power tubes start warming up, you will notice the amp gets about 25% LOUDER than previously .... it's like heaven!!

    Want proof, Metalman? Go to www.twilight-odyssey.com and check out the clips. These are only demo clips (and mp3), but you'll get an idea. I've had a couple of forum members hear the raw guitar tracks from my upcoming album, and it sounds much better ... they can tell you what they thought of the tone.
    Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 07-24-2004 at 11:41 AM.
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    Senior Member echofinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by TwilightOdyssey


    Note: If you're trying these amps from a cold start, turn 'em on and leave them on standby for about 5-10 minutes. The Rivera needs 10 minutes to really stabilize, and after 30 min, the tone gets godly. After 1 hr, as the power tubes start warming up, you will notice the amp gets about 25% LOUDER than previously .... it's like heaven!!
    Yes!!!

    Be careful buying a Rivera though, it's not unlike joining a cult. If I ever hear my amp say, "Echo my boy, you must commit suicide to board the Rivera mothership which is located in an appraoching comet." I am afraid I shall.

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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    wow new site!?!???

    im sure the one i went on before didnt look like that
    My clips

    Quote Originally Posted by Rid
    How do I block my hardtail?

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    Toneologist HolyDirt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    metalman,
    correct me if i'm mistaken, but didnt you say that, to you, rectifiers sounded "anoying"?
    Last edited by HolyDirt; 07-24-2004 at 12:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by HolyDirt
    correct me if i'm mistaken, but didnt you say that, to you, rectifiers sounded "anoying"?

    who? lol
    My clips

    Quote Originally Posted by Rid
    How do I block my hardtail?

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by HolyDirt
    correct me if i'm mistaken, but didnt you say that, to you, rectifiers sounded "anoying"?

    Who are you talking to? You need to address your posts.
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
    My BLOG, wherein I discuss music recording and the creative process.
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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by nuntius
    wow new site!?!???

    im sure the one i went on before didnt look like that
    Do you like it? Yeah, the new site has been up for a few weeks; still needs work, and I've only been able to keep up with the news ...

    There have been so many reviews from all over the world, it'll take me a week to update the review pages ... I will do that when I'm done mixing the album, I suppose.
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
    My BLOG, wherein I discuss music recording and the creative process.
    My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.
    FACEBOOK page for As Follows.

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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    twilight odyssey your band rocks, very old school

    metal with solo's? i take it music is back on the way up!
    My clips

    Quote Originally Posted by Rid
    How do I block my hardtail?

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    Toneologist HolyDirt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by TwilightOdyssey
    Who are you talking to? You need to address your posts.
    sorry sorry i forgot to click the quote button i edited the post

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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    yeah i think the site is much better
    My clips

    Quote Originally Posted by Rid
    How do I block my hardtail?

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Thanx for the kind comments, Nun ... I expect you to follow in my footsteps! lol
    Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
    My BLOG, wherein I discuss music recording and the creative process.
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    Major General GAS aleclee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Both amps are quite versatile and offer great build quality.

    Each offers its own take on "modern high gain" tones. The Boogie will probably be easier to dial in tones that you hear on CDs since Rectos are used on so many albums these days. OTOH, the KH offers better cleans and has a broader tonal palette (all IMO). The reverb-equipped variant of the KH has some of the juciest 'verb you'll ever hear.

    Personally, I'm a Rivera guy (but mine's a Rake) but you need to let your ears (and budget) make the decision for you.

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    Red&Goldologist joelap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    I just saw 311 live on Tuesday. Their Lead guitarist Tim Mahoney uses Recto's, but Nick Hexum uses a Rivera Knucklehead with a 4x12 cab and a 2x12 Sub. When Hexum played the into to "Down" (their closing song), those first two measures made me change my mind what amp i was saving for... I'm saving for a FOOKIN KNUCKLEHEAD!

    ...AND YOU SHOULD TOO!

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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metalman_666
    one question about the Dual Recto.... isn't the tone different from a triple recto? I thought there were more differences than just volume/wattage.
    Nope...same board. Just the power difference. Which is the main reason for the tone difference. Most people won't be able to do justice with the Triple's 6 power tubes. The tone will just lack the juice that a less powerful tube amp can achieve at less desirable levels of volume. I'd buy a Single, that's all the power you need. Unless, of course, you're a fan of 3 channels. Either way, you'll be blown away by the power of any of these beasts.

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    Default Re: Mesa vs. Rivera... which amp to buy?

    I like the tone of the Knucklehead more. I think it would be better for soloing too. It's a little closer to vintage-like-burning than the Rectumfryer. Another vote for Rivera.

    But maybe this will help you decide?

    www.proguitar.de

    follow the "audio files" links, I think they have clips of both amps there.
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