Mesa Boogie Rectifier Shootout
How will the Splawn Nitro Compare?

Mesa Boogie Rectifier Tube Amp  

      Click HERE for Pictures
      Click HERE for Pictures
 Mesa Boogie Rectifier Sounds - all in mp3  Nitro Sounds - all in mp3
Clean Sound
Rhythm Sound
Heavy Rhythm Sound
Lead Sound
Clean Sound
Rhythm Sound
Heavy Rhythm Sound
Lead Sound
 Specifications  Specifications
Dual Rectifier® Amplifier
Hand built in Petaluma, California
100 Watts, Class A/B Power / 4x6L6, 5x12AX7,
Bias Select Switch (6L6/EL34)
Fixed Bias for Consistent, Maintenance Free Performance
3 Fully Independent Channels with 8 modes
(Channel 1=Clean or Pushed, Channel 2= Raw, Vintage High Gain or Modern High Gain, Channel 3=Raw, Vintage High Gain or Modern High Gain
Independent Gain, Treble, Mid, Bass, Presence and Master Controls per Channel
Output Level Control (over all channels, when
Foot-switchable Solo Level Control
(over all channels, when activated)
Selectable Dual Rectifier Switch
Bold/Spongy “Variac” Switch
Assignable Parallel FX Loop w/Send & Mix Level Controls
Slave Out with Level Control
External Switching Jacks for Channels 1, 2, 3,
Solo & FX Loop
5 Button Footswitch (Channel 1, Channel 2,
Channel 3, Solo & FX loop)
Slip Cover
Standard Finish :
Black Taurus, Black Chassis and Polished
Diamond Plate
Head (Width 25-1/2 inches)
New Splawn Nitro 100 watt Head
Splawn tone with more saturation
Voiced for bigger low end and lower midrange
Clean w/ Independent EQ, Rhy and Lead channel
Solo boost and Resonance control
Overdrive channel has an OD1/OD2
footswitch function (which gives you a gain setting for rhythm and lead sounds)
Effects loop
Half power switch
Three button footswitch w/ LED's
F/S functions
#1 Clean & Overdrive
#2 OD1 & OD2
#3 Solo Boost
Heyboer Transformers
with choice of Mullard EL34's, Tung Sol EL34B  or Sovtek KT88's
 Our Views  Our Views
There is no doubt that Mesa Boogie is a world class guitar amplifier maker. This company basically has reinvented itself over and over again through the years mainly thanks to Randall Smith the owner and leading mesa light...

The Rectifier series was developed from scratch by Mesa Boogie some 15 years ago and to date has always been at the heart of the Mesa line up, although they have made other great amps and have now launched the mesa Boogie Mark V Head - another unique innovation in itself.

The Dual Rectifier is the commonest of these amps sold and rightly so, it has an awesome tone especially if you play heavy modern rock styles - you will have undoubtedly heard the recto sound before.

I have used Mesa Kit for many years going back to a Mark III, then Mark IV, then Triaxis and Rectifier kit and it all does exactly what it says on the tin - buy one and you will achieve the sound you hear from other guys with the Mesa Boogie kit.

However, like all things the rectifiers do have good points and bad points.

The dual rectifier has basically three channels (on some amps two) with a 'solo' switch that seems to just add gain for the lead solo. 3 Fully Independent Channels with 8 modes as follows
(Channel 1=Clean or Pushed, Channel 2= Raw, Vintage High Gain or Modern High Gain, Channel 3=Raw, Vintage High Gain or Modern High Gain - thus, the amp can be very flexible indeed.

There are other benefits such as 6L6/EL34 options, but the Bias on these amps is fixed internally so you cannot change it - and Mesa would like you to buy their 'twice the price' tubes to fit in to the amp...  a bad idea if ever there was one.

The amp is NOT settable for various mains voltages - another major drawback, which is in part in my view by design to stop you importing these amps from the USA at about half the UK price. Of course, in the USA the needle swings the other way and Marshall amps are typically as expensive (if not more so) than the Boogie is.

The sounds are subjective, but the best thing on the recto is that heavy rhythm we have all come to love - the lead guitar out of this on the other hand in my view is rubbish - this amp is designed for modern heavy rock with a de-emphasis on lead guitar. You may disagree.

Warranty on this behemoth of an amp is just one year with the regular pittance of just 90 days on the tubes.

This amp, along with other recto models most notably the Road King, can be a real pain to set up to get 'that' sound, as well as overly complex - there is definitely more to go wrong, although I must admit these amps usually go forever in my experience.

There are effects loops etc on this amp, but no midi control.

Options include all manner of finishes if you have enough money - and there's the rub, if you already don't own the mansion and have high riding cd's in the charts - start saving now - you might be able to afford one before they discontinue them!

Negatives: Price, Complexity, average to poor lead guitar sound.


The Mesa Rectifiers are awesomely made kit. BUT - they have a modern sound that can be extremely difficult to get with the wrong cab - more so than most amps - so for this shootout and the price (UK) I rate the Recto behind the Nitro despite it's extra complexity.

The Nitro packs a punch - of that there is no doubt in my mind. This amp was developed for the guitarist that needed that extra drive and more importantly that bottom end that this amp just loves to deliver.

Each and every one of these amps is custom made for the user by Splawn based in Dallas, North Carolina, USA and there is a waiting list - always a good sign of a hot product.

The one on this site was bought towards the end of 2008 and was delivered a few months later in awesome condition which oozed quality right out of the box. There were absolutely no issues whatsoever with this amps pedigree and build quality.

The options when buying enable you to buy an amp customised for you and a unique product. Fortunately, most guitarists have never heard of Splawn amps - and that's a good thing if you are in the market - firstly because the wait time is kept reasonable (and quality will matter at production) but secondly that you will be buying one of the worlds premier manufactured and designed products for what is really an awesome price and extremely hard to beat.

The Nitro is a 100 Watt head which utilises a few tubes (which you can specify at order time) such as EL34, KT88 etc and likely there are more options if you contact Splawn directly.

Basically it's a two channel amp with extra 'solo' options residing on a foot pedal. It does not have all the bells and whistles of some amps on this site, but it does have a effects loop which is switchable, it does have a mains voltage switch for different countries and it does have an awesome tone.

There's also a handy half power switch if you want to be half soaked ( :-) ).

The amp features a great resonance control that can change this fire breathing monster in to somewhat of a pussy (in the nicest sense of the word) so that it is quite tame - for other styles of music than just modern heavy rock.

This amp comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty to the original owner of the amp, but tubes and transformers are just 90 days... it seems every manufacturer wants to semi warranty those parts...  yet in law they would be liable for failure (at least here in the UK they would).

In any case - it is very unlikely you will need the warranty - or indeed the manual - this amp is as easy to play though as you can get.

This amp is one of the best kept secrets and the best priced top end gear amps available anywhere in the world today.

Negatives: None.

Price: $1795 (Street) £1995 (Street)  Price: $1950 ($2250 Export)
What? the Rectifier loses? How can that be? Well, as I said above, the Mesa Boogie Rectifiers are great kit, but tend to suffer from being a little difficult to get 'that' sound we have all heard so many times in real life. Some will disagree.

I have had dual rectifier, triple rectifier and Road King and had the same issues on all three - hard to drive correctly for the sounds you hear in your head, and absolutely too complex - in the case of the Road King it was VERY hard work.
The Nitro is simple. Simple to get the sound YOU want and have heard the Mesa Rectifiers produce so often.

It does not have all the extras and certainly is cheaper (in the UK). so what you lose with maybe this switch or maybe that switch, you gain with the Nitro - turn it on, Crank it up, and instant Karma.