Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket 1x12 Combo
Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket 1x12 Combo

Subway Rocket 1x12 Combo, Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Mesa Boogie in the Subway series.

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Sharingan 08/22/2006

Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket 1x12 Combo : Sharingan's user review


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Nice little 22w tube combo (on paper, at least). It has two EL84 power tubes and four 12ax7 for the preamp.
One 10" black shadow speaker into 8 ohms (you can also add to it more speakers thanks to two 4-ohm outputs), one footswitch to toggle between rhythm, lead and contour. As for the rest, go to

It's pretty easy to dial it in: 2 gain knobs, one per channel, 2 masters (one per channel as well), and a treble, mid, bass, EQ with presence control. A pretty straightforward and original setup (regarding the gain and master), but very effective, too. That said, it would've been nice to have an equalizer per channel.


Dialing in the amp is easy, once you understand how it works... The manual is short, very clear and really useful.
You only need to connect your guitar to get a good sound, like the manual states, but you need to know how to play with the settings to get the best sounds out of this amp.


This amp is ideal for the music I play: metal, blues, rock.
I took the risk of buying it on ebay but I had luck and it works perfectly, even if it's an amp from the '80s (the golden age of mesa boogie) and it isn't manufactured anymore.
For the time being, I have only played it with my ibanez RG7 620 (a nice ax), and even if I have a good pedalboard, I still haven't plugged it to the amp: The sound of the amp is more than enough (besides, the pedalboard alters things quite a bit so I think it will denature the amp a bit) (go on and plug a metal zone into a dual would be a shame ;)).

The amp respects the guitar pretty well, you can tell the Ibanez sound with a nice boogie touch, it's awesome!

The clean sound with all mesa boogie: Satisfying and correct, it can become crystalline or twangy if you fiddle with the gain and presence knobs. But that's not the amp's main strength, even if it's very good at it

The lead sound: very nice, indeed. Gloomy and with a super character, but not violent. You could even say it's more like an overdrive than a distortion. It's simple, when I plug my ibanez I get the exact same sound as that of Sonata Arctica on the Reckoning Night album. The distortion can remain discreet and it has a not-too-heavy nature. It is ideal for smooth and discreet rhythm guitars and for solos in neck position.

The contour mode: To be honest, it's like a third channel, considering that it's so different from the others. This distortion is HUGE! Outright Mesa distortion: Gloomy, aggressive and heavy, it's awesome to play big, fat metal! Rhythm guitars have a killer punch, just like the solos (especially with the bridge pickup)

It's worth pointing out that all channels have a good precision, even in contour mode. The stand-by switch is very practical to silence completely the light background noise the amp produces (which is pretty common for a high-gain amp ) during
breaks on stage, for example.

I really love all its sounds. They are useful to play different styles.

The only defect I've found up to now, isn't one actually: The speaker is 10" big, which means it is destined to sound sharp, so the highs are more emphasized than the lows (you can tell right away when you EQ it and play). That said, you can put a remedy to that by a connecting 2*12" or even a 4*12" cab to the amp.


I've used it for 4 days and I think I still have a lot of tricks to discover.
I love the fact that such a small-looking amp is so powerful (seriously, when I turn the master to 2 on the lead or contour channels, all the neighbors in my building know it).
I tested other amps before, like the mesa studio 22, which is also very good, but more inclined towards rock/hard rock (and the rest: blues, jazz), a mesa dual rectifier, which was awesome (especially the distortion), but it's huge and terribly expensive, and some other amp brands that didn't quite fit with what I was looking for.

I think its value for money is excellent (especially secondhand, which is the only way you can find it nowadays).

Based on my experience, I would surely buy this product again! (unless I had more money, in which case I'd buy a triaxis preamp, a 2*50 or 2*90 mesa power amp, and a 4*12 rectifier cab... A nice dream!)