The Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier is a guitar amp with a sound as bold as its striking ‘treadplate’ chassis. With a huge feature set, it is capable of a vast tapestry of sounds, though it is its monstrous high gain roar for which this amp has earned its acclaim.
The Rectifier series has been Mesa Boogie’s flagship line of amps since the early 1990s, with the 100w Dual Rectifier being the longest-standing and most widely-used model. This amp would go on to define the company and change the landscape of guitar tones, shaping the sound of entire genres of music with a feel and gain level like nothing before it.
Aside from the earliest models (which came in a dual-channel configuration), the Dual Rectifier is a three-channel amp. As is common with most multi-channel amps, each is voiced for higher gain than the one before it so that players can switch between clean, mid and high gain sounds. Its clean channel produces piano-like tones, with high headroom and no saturation unless pushed quite hard. The mid-gain channel offers more of a classic rock, mid-focussed voicing with preserved dynamics. The star of the show however, is the third channel. This is the high-gain distortion that has made the Rectifier a fixture in the arsenals of Metallica, Tool, Foo Fighters, Korn and Dream Theatre, to name just a few. Massive but tight low end that handles low tunings with aplomb, smooth in the and bright but even on the top end, this is the sound called upon by many when heavy is in order.
In addition to the broad spectrum of sounds available across the three channels, further versatility comes in the mode switching on each, which provides a different character within each channel – Clean and Pushed on channel one and Vintage, Raw and Modern on the two overdrive channels. Each offers a variation on the tone and a little more gain, giving a very diverse selection of tones within the one amp. On top of all that, the back panel allows a choice of diode of tube rectifiers and a Bold or Spongy power setting, to emulate the feel of older-style amps. The current production Dual Rectifier adds in the option to drop the amp down to 50w on any of the channels, enabling increased power amp saturation at lower volumes.
More than two decades since it made its first appearance, the Dual Rectifier still sounds as modern as ever. At once both incredibly versatile and distinctive, it will remain one of the defining sounds of rock and metal music for some time to come.
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