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Old 26th May 2012, 03:43 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2012
Default Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket.

I snagged this little gem out of the classifieds tonight.

I played it for 20 minutes then took it apart, I just had to have a peek. I am currently cleaning it up for reassembly.

Everything seems to work OK. The ad said there was something wrong with the footswitch, seems fine to me. I might redo the leads for good measure.

I have a couple different 10" AlNico speakers I can try out. Right now it has the 10" Eminence Black Shadow deal.

Not sure what all I am going to do with it. I will post here if I feel there is any thing of interest.

All in all a nice little amp. I was going to build another little amp for myself, but this one was too tempting to pass up. I was being to anal about my next amp, this one gets me playing again in the meantime.
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File Type: jpg Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket.JPG (375.3 KB, 140 views)
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Old 27th May 2012, 12:29 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2012
OK so I tore the amp down yesterday, cleaned, inspected and reassembled. I notice one suspect electrolytic cap that I will replace, I will probably do them all as there are not that many.

I had to reattach the speaker binding post on the original 10" Vintage Black Shadow speaker.

I had read were others with this amp complained of a "honk" with the original speaker that went away by plugging into an external cabinet. I can confirm this.

While I had the speaker out I decided to try some different 10" drivers. The "honk" did not seem bad until I compared it against some AlNico speakers I had.

Odd as it may seem, I just used a stereo to compare voicing of the speakers, in free air. I was able to switch between speakers quickly and compare.

The factory speaker does have a strong voicing. It`s a 10", but has the magnet, mass and stiffness of a 12", this IMO causes the odd peak in response.

The speaker I replaced it with is a Jensen P10 AlNico speaker, I am very pleased, this was a very dramatic change in sound for the better. It even does "metal" better then the big ceramic magnet, contrary to what I expected.

I am very pleased. The Jensen sounds much more "tactile",brought some "glass" and "shimmer" to the high end that was absent before.

I suspect the heavy cone, mass spider and the 50watt ceramic magnet of the original speaker robbed the mid-high harmonic content.

Don't pass up those old record consoles or organs people give away or sell for cheap, they are a great source for guitar speakers.

"Back in the day" there was no difference between "HiFi" speakers or "music" speakers, so pretty much everything you find is suitable.

Since they are paper surround, you don't need to refoam, every one I have come across worked, and is "broken in".

Also consider that you will pay a premium for modern day Jensen AlNico guitar speakers, $200-$300 a piece.
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File Type: jpg DSC07356.JPG (232.4 KB, 123 views)

Last edited by Alvis; 27th May 2012 at 12:32 PM. Reason: editing
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Old 28th May 2012, 04:35 AM   #3
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Adelaide South Oz
One thing about the Subway Rocket is that it is really grungy. Take a look at the resistor values on the concertina splitter. 68K and 120K, that gives you huge amounts of distortion.
I had one delivered to me with the elegant fault description of "it sounds like s..t". Further enquiries revealled that it had always sounded that way and it was'nt really a fault at all. I changed the 68K to 110K and the owner went away happy as a dog with two tails.
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Old 28th May 2012, 11:24 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2012
Thanks for that tip Ian, I will make note of that for when I tinker. I will put a few more hours on it first though. So far it sounds good. Maybe because I am from the Nirvana generation. lol

Interesting tone controls too, if you turn them all down to zero, it cuts off the sound, they are more like gain controls for different frequencies.

When I had it apart on the weekend I took the chance to measure the grill frame. I took these measurements and made a duplicate out of 3/4" plywood, it was what I had at hand. The original frame was chipboard.

Onto this new frame I added some vintage grill cloth. I cut them off old record consoles etc from time to time. You would be surprised how well they clean up. There is usually some imperfections, so it is more suitable for smaller projects, like this.

I decided on the cloth you see pictured below. It was choose it because it looks decent and is pretty much void of defects...

...I notice in the picture you can see the edge of a few staples. Whaa.
I can move them back next time I have it apart. (I was thinking all four sides would be covered, but the top has around 3/16" reveal.)
I did not notice the staples indoors.

Great amp. I can get decent tone with the master set at zero, sounds even better opened up a bit, I have not cranked it yet.

It's perfect for me, I'm fairly minimalistic when it comes to stuff like this, just enough features, no useless ones.

100watt heads and 4x12 stacks are for stadiums and wannabes.
A 2x12" extension cabinet is all touring guitarist needs for live gigs, anything beyond that is miked and fed into a PA anyways.

The amp I have been building in my head for the "hundred buck amp challenge" is similar to this, maybe a little simpler. Then I saw this puppy and decided to go for instant gratification. My favorite amp so far.

I even made plans for a dust cover. I will have my Mommy sew it together for me. lol I never put a dust cover on an amplifier before. I'm getting lame in my years.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Subway Rocket Sketchup.jpg (52.4 KB, 102 views)
File Type: jpg DSC07387.JPG (624.6 KB, 96 views)
File Type: jpg DSC07392.JPG (516.9 KB, 95 views)

Last edited by Alvis; 28th May 2012 at 11:29 PM. Reason: edited.
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Old 2nd February 2013, 10:18 PM   #5
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
I have an opportunity to pick one of these up for ~$400. I think that's a pretty good deal. Anything I should be on the lookout for? Great wrtie up btw.
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Old 4th February 2013, 05:34 PM   #6
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
I went ahead an bought it - I figured it's a Mesa/Boogie and it's only $400. the guy had just retubed with Mesa tubes so I'm set for a while. Great tone, loud enough for any gig I play and small and light enough not to kill me during load-ins/outs. Thanks for this thread to help me across the line.
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