When we heard rumours of a new series of amps from Mesa Boogie earlier this year, we were excited. The news soon became official when Mesa Boogie presented a three-amp new series of Rectifers, with two heads and a combo. The Badlander takes the classic ’90s Rectifier tone and tightens it even further, and comes with an EL34 output section and some easy ways to integrate it into your DAW setup via Mesa’s new CabClone IR technology.
Update: Pre-orders on the new Badlander amps are open now.
We all remember the sound of the ’90s! Powered predominantly by Mesa Boogie Rectifier amps, to the point where they became a little stale from being heard on every over-produced pop punk album that was released. The amps were originally championed by the metal fraternity, but soon found favour with top producers everywhere for their inherently tight gain tones. I think we all got a little bored of them eventually, to be honest. But now Mesa is back with its new Badlander, an updated Rectifier that uses an EL34 output tube section, along with the company’s new CabClone IR.
A new Rectifier for a modern age?
The Badlander comes in a few formats. There’s a 100 watt head or rack, or if you prefer a bit less power, a 50-watt combo in the same formats, plus as a combo. Each model has two identical channels each, with three dynamic new preamp modes named CLEAN, CRUNCH and CRUSH. And as mentioned previously, it has an EL34 output section which appears to tighten up the sound even more than those original amps that made the company such a household name.
Both the Badlander 100, as well as the lower wattage Badlander 50, will do that ‘Recto’ thing Mesas are famous for. But they are now paired with the new CabClone IR which Mesa claims gives you a ‘seamless DI with Channel Specific IR Assignment of the 8 virtual Cabinets and a Reactive Load’. Basically, they should be a lot easier to record with. They even have a USB port on the back to allow you to upload more IRs, plus an XLR out to record straight to your DAW with.
The dials on the rear allow you to choose which virtual cab you want to play through, and it all looks fairly clean and easy to use… always a good thing. No annoying menus here. You can further knock these amps down in output to a more manageable 20-watts which makes them a lot more friendly for many players. Especially as since lockdown, who can actually crank a 100-watt amp head?
A lot of people will hate me for this, but I think the official Mesa Demo video sounded really flat and compressed. Instead, I suggest you check out Ola Englund‘s demo, as his sounds more ‘real’ and has more bottom end to it. I know YouTube compresses everything and makes it sound awful, and I really tried to like the official demo, but it just left me cold. Whereas Ola’s sounded more like a real amp, rather than a plugin simulation of one.
I love Mesa amps and have owned loads of them over the years, so it’s really nice to see them push the Rectifier forwards into the modern age. Now for the pricing: just under €2,700 for the Badlander 100 Head, €2,319 for the Badlander 50 Head, with the 50-Watt combo positioned in between. When you check out the demo videos below, please check out Ola’s first. And whilst you are there, check out that Candy Apple Solar he is playing… that thing looks sweet!
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