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Mesa/Boogie Rectifier Recording Preamp - 2-channel Tube Preamp Reviews

5.0 stars based on 6 customer reviews
  • from September 20, 2015

    Truly wonderful

    I've been in search of the ultimate electric guitar sound for years and always assumed I couldn't afford Mesa, and then I picked up a Rectifier preamp for £400 used. People say they are hard to dial in a good sound, but I can't get a bad sound out of it. The recording outs are criticised by many, but it's still best sound I've ever heard direct to my PA, maybe it could be improved by Cab Sim, but I haven't bothered so far.

    I also own an Award Session, Marshall JMP-1, Mesa Formula, Mesa Studio, Marshall 18w clone and Torres Fender clone. I love them all but the Rectifier is hands down my favourite. The Formula might have the edge on cleans, the Studio might have the edge on high gain, the Marshall does that Plexi thing like no other, but if I had to keep just one it would be this one.

    And somehow the used prices of a Mesa pre + power amp + speakers is much cheaper than a combo whilst being far more flexible, but not quite so portable.

  • from Long Beach CA August 1, 2013Music Background:
    recording, jamming, gigging

    High gain beast, and smooth clean tones.

    incredible Mesa Dual rec high gain tones, just like Mesa promised, paired with a tube power section and some Celestion V30, you'll be rockin. The gain saturation is what you would expect with high standards set by Mesa. The voicing is authentic and you can't get it anywhere but from Mesa Boogie. That is what sets them apart. While there are plenty of high gain amps/preamps Mesa Boogie has a unique voicing and you will get it here. This is a box of black magic and the hype is met with and surpassed. Clean tones are a bonus, plus everything in between. You do have to work a balance between the output knob and the master to get good high gain tones, but it only takes a minute to figure out. Hot pickups are the way to go of course. Bottom line, my expectations were surpassed and the tone never gets old. I will never part with this preamp.

  • from Providence, R.I. USA November 11, 2011Music Background:

    Great for overdrive/distortion for bass.

    I'm not using it for what it was designed for - guitar. I'm actually using it for bass to get those " dirty tones " that only tubes can deliver well. It does a great job doing just that. I'm a huge fan and owner of Mesa / Boogie amps to begin with, so this really adds to the mix. Mesa amps are not for everyone. If you're looking to find great tone by just pushing a button like changing a tv channel, they're not for you. If you want to take the time to " tweak " everything, you'll be rewarded with fabulous tone. This preamp is great for bass in both channels for overdriven sound.

  • from Little Rock, AR. March 20, 2011Music Background:
    Home recording enthusiast finally getting that tone.

    Great cleans and that Boogie sound*

    Within maybe ten minutes of unpacking this thing I was able to get a really nice, thick and full distortion. For me the key was getting the right balance between the Master Volume and the Recording Output knobs. If the MV is turned all the way up you'll barely be able to turn the RO up at all without clipping and blowing out your monitors. The result? A crappy, fizzy, buzzy, "Why the hell did I pay so much for this thing?" type sound. Do the opposite and turn the MV down and the RO up. The result? Unconvincing, disappointing sound and frustration at having shelled out so much for something that doesn't even compare to Logic's amp sims or even the Zoom G9.2tt. For a convincing distortion the Master Volume must be at least 50%. I believe this has a lot to do with the "air" you'd get with a real mic and cab setup. Maybe move it up even more to find the sweet spot while also dialing in the perfect amount of RO. Bottom line is: the tone is there, you just have to spend some time with those two knobs to find it. Tailor the sound with the EQ and Presence. Once you spend the time you'll be glad you did.

    *By itself I have a hard time believing I could use it and nothing else to get a nice usable distorted tone recorded. Maybe I am wrong and I intend to spend a lot more time trying to prove otherwise. But A/B'ing with a cab/mic patch and just the unit itself, I was not convinced with only the Recto Pre. And this thing shouldn't need a mic/cab sim but so far in my limited time with the unit it does.

    And my signal chain for this was: Carvin CT3 to Recto Pre to MOTU 896 mk3 into Logic 9.

    On the other hand, insert a cab/mic modelling effect on your input channel and viola. It's there. Throw in a little parametric EQ and you'll be smiling. I ran an instance of Logic's Amp Designer, but only for the cab and mic sim. I used a condenser with a 4x12 cab...of the Mesa clone of course. Moving the mic around uncovered the sweet spot. Adjusting the Master Volume on the Logic amp pushed the sound exactly where it needed to be. The result is just what I was looking for. Thick and full with that Mesa bottom end. I've used the same approach with my J Station (Yeah. Remember that thing?), and Zoom G9.2tt and have created some really nice distortions. With the Recto Pre I beat 'em all. I wasn't able to get the bottom end with the others; with the Mesa I was able to find it no problem.

    You have three distortion modes to choose from on Ch. 2: Raw, Vintage and Modern. My favorite is the Vintage. It has just the right amount of mean distortion with that fat bottom end to suit my tastes. I find the Raw is almost there and the Modern will take some time to tame. Each of those has their uses of course and I can see countless hours tweaking using all three modes to conjure up just about anything I might want. Could I get the EL84 tone with this unit? I doubt it. But I hardly believe anyone who buys this does so to nail that sound, nor do I believe for a second Mesa ever thought of going the modelling/let's-try-to-get-every-amp sound-ever recorded route. The Recto Pre does what it does and does it well, but the user is required to do a little knob twisting.

    So how is Ch. 1, i.e. the Clean Channel? Couldn't be happier. With all the tubes in this thing, you get a really nice clean. Want some breakup? No problem. Adjust the gain a bit and you'll find it. Want as clean as can be? You can get there too. Just plug in and go on the clean channel. If the Recto Recording Pre were simply a high-end preamp I'd be more than happy with the price paid. My former favorite way to record cleans was UA 710 TwinFinity to ART Pro VLA2 to MOTU 896 mk3. Not any more.

    I have yet to try this unit as part of a power amp setup driving a 4 or 2x12. I doubt I ever will but the option is there.

    No on board effects are included, but if you must plug in some effects simply use the F/X loop.

    Hopefully I can write a follow up review after spending a lot more time with this preamp. I'm darn sure going to try to only use the Recto Pre without any help recording distorted guitar.
    If I've given it an honest try after a month or so and still can't nail that Recto sound, I won't be a bit disappointed. As long as the cab/mic sims are there I won't complain one bit with the finished product. I'll be 100% content with the sounds I am recording with this unit. It's definitely worth the price paid even if all I ever did was record my clean guitar parts. But I won't do that. I like what I hear so far and this is just the beginning.

    Typical Mesa build quality, lots of tubes and 100% made in America. Well worth the price paid.

  • from Bel Air, MD February 11, 2011Music Background:
    Professional Hobbyist ;)

    Amazing high-gain + great cleans

    When paired with the Mesa 2:100, you get a stereo Dual Rectifier in your rack. If you love the Dual Rectifier, you will love this unit.
    For soloing, use the Vintage mode in channel 2. This is smooth with a buttery mid-range. It is like a Mark-style amp.
    For crushing high-gain, the Modern setting delivers like crazy. Cut the mids for even more fun.
    For cleans, use the Clean mode or Fat mode for crystal clear tone. Which mode you select depends on the guitar and pickups. The cleans are very good in this unit.
    For break-up cleans, use the Brit mode. This is like the Marshall clean from the late 60s and early 70s.
    For a straight rock tone, use the Vintage mode on channel 2 and adjust gain to taste. Cut the mids to taste.
    This preamp can do it all very well. I am very pleased with this unit.
    My only recommendation to Mesa would be to make this unit MIDI controlled like the Triaxis. Then I would have many different channels immediately available for live performance instead of only 2.
    I have paired the Recto Preamp with the power section of a Diezel VH4 and the Mesa 2:100. The Modern mode has tighter-tracking lows when using the Mesa 2:100. I recommend the Mesa 2:100 with the Recto Preamp.

  • from Panama city fl April 12, 2011Music Background:
    over experienced musician

    imatation or the real thing

    Ive been using amp modelers through a 90/90 mesa boogie power amp for a few years now and Ive been pretty happy but ive got to say that I dont care what computer program you put in a rack there is no substitute for real freaking tubes period.Now I use my digitec 1101 and my line six pro pod for effects and they work great with the recto preamp.The floor board I have with the 1101 works great with all the expression and wah programs.If you go to the grocery store do you want imatation chicken or the real thing.I rest my case sorry axe fx but if I have to protect my home from intruders I want a real gun not a a fake one.

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