A Little Insight into Mesa's Thinking.

Talk about tubes and their effect on your tone

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nomad100hd
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Post by nomad100hd » Wed May 30, 2007 12:23 pm

If your order JJ pretubes from eurotubes.com he separates out the tubes that have the highest gain, they also have more highs. The JJ 6L6's are awesome, i had to put in my spare mesa 6L6's Reds and they just don't sing like the JJ's. I've heard often that the JJ ECC83 S are a little on the dark side, however i think eurotubes probably does a better job sorting them, because that wasn't my experience with them at all. I get about 2 yrs of use out of them also take in consideration I have an 18 month old who likes to turn daddy's amp off mid strum.

A good way to try different pretubes would be just swap out V1, with different brands and listen.
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Post by mesanomad100 » Thu May 31, 2007 7:56 am

from my experiance mesa tubes are one of the top
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nomad100hd
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Post by nomad100hd » Thu May 31, 2007 9:22 am

when i bought my amp my pretubes were already shot in them so i have no idea what mesa pretubes sound like in my amp.
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Post by mesanomad100 » Thu May 31, 2007 4:03 pm

nomad100hd wrote:when i bought my amp my pretubes were already shot in them so i have no idea what mesa pretubes sound like in my amp.
like it should sound.................f%&# great
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Zen Guitar
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Post by Zen Guitar » Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:20 pm

For whatever it might be worth to those here...

I've A/B'd most of the current production preamp tubes in my Boogie amps, in each of the tube positions. I also found the JJ's to be rather disappointing. A bit dark, dull, flat, and lower in overdrive. Might be great in an amp that was excessively bright by nature, with a lack of clean headroom, but not ideal, IMHO, for any Boogie. Usually results in a duller, more rounded, sound with less apparent overdrive.

Many Boogies, as most of you may know, were designed around Chinese preamp tubes which are on the brighter side and have a good ammount of overdrive potential. What this translates to is that these circuits work closest to how intended when designed, when used with a tube with similar characteristics. My favorite tube has these characteristics, is very 3D and alive sounding, but is very prone to microphonics in high gain slots. About 80% go after about a month. Bummer. However, I prescreened some batches of these and have a stash. The closest thing that I've heard to these is actually the Sovtek EH's that Mesa is currently using. These aren't quite as gorgeous sounding, IMHO, as my fav, but are closest than anything else I've heard that isn't NOS and are plenty durable. I think they're actually pretty great little tubes!

In terms of power tubes, I haven't done AS MUCH A/Bing, but I will comment that, for Boogies, the Chinese 6L6's do, IMHO, sound pretty good and do not at all deserve the bad rap that a lot of people give them. Reliability isn't as good as some, but I've had good luck. The tone works very well with the voicing of Boogie amps. Probably because of the similarities to the Sylvanias used in the original designs, as pointed out earlier in this thread. The best EL-34's that I've heard have been Svetlana's.

Anybody else have some favs?
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CoG
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Post by CoG » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:59 pm

I just popped a GT ECC83S into V1 on my Rec Pre in place of a Mesa "Chinese 2" 12AX7 (V1 is Ch 1 gain.) I'm told that batch of GTs are actually JJs. It's a really obvious difference and I really like it; it's cleaner, brighter, loads more clean headroom, and when you do start to clip it's very smooth and subtle.

This is the opposite of what most guys are looking for, I think. I don't really need a 'classic rock crunch' out of Brit mode. It wouldn't be for everyone but I like my cleans clean, not hairy, and it makes Fat mode a lot more useful for me.
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racer*x*
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Post by racer*x* » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:54 pm

man people could argue this with the chickens and the eggs sitting on top of the amp and still no solution. you guys are leaving out tons of variables in this whole equation. guitars, cabs , technique, the users ability to understand mesa gain stages in different amps, the room its tested in , shall i go on.
I personally love the jj's , i put them in every amp , in every slot! but thats me. to me they are not as harsh and have much more bottom.
my personal experience with gt's is so bad i wont even comment. but i did read an article recently that said the chinese tubes had the least failure rate at the qc level coming off the assembly line. this means jack to me though, i dont care, how long they last as long as they sound good (to me) for however long they last. i retube my amps every 6 months anyway, which might be extreme , but playing three nights a week hard is taxing on any tube. heck , i know some fender guys who grab a tube thats been played to death and stick it in a bassman and claim its heavenly. to them it may be the case. there are so many variations in guitars, pickups, etc its not even fair to compare them. also you dont know what pedals guys are shoving down the throat of there expensive boogieseither. i play boogies cause i love the sound i can get with just the amp and my guitar. ive had so many boogies and marshalls i couldnt remember them all if my life depended on it.
sorry for the rant, count my vote for the JJ's
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Time to Re-tube my Mark IV

Post by stogin » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:33 am

Hey all...these posts have been interesting but I'm interested in hearing more definite opinions on which tubes work best in their Mark IV (or other Mesa amps) and why. Also, what style of music are you playing, and what type of sound are you going for? tube life not important, TONE is the deciding factor for me.

My sitch:

I play hard rock/heavy metal, and just listen to the new Dream Theater CD to get the tone I'm looking for, both ryth and lead. (my next stop is to see what JP used)

The Mesa original set I have installed now are good for this (4 6L6, not sure what pre-amp tubes Mesa use), but seem to lack just a bit of defined crunch. Other than that, I think they sound great, and I'm not sure the tubes are the reason for this small flaw in tight distortion (IMO), but now's the time to experiment.

I realize there are many other factors that go into tone, but I'd like to focus on tubes at the moment.

Thanks and all comments will be greatly appreciated!
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nwoforlif
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Post by nwoforlif » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:09 pm

Sorry have to disagree. My mesa 12AX7A tubes in my DR ARE JJ ECC83-S tubes rebranded to mesa ones! I'll take a picture if you want to see for yourself. I compared both tubes side by side and they look EXACTLY the same. I think the only reason mesa went with chinese tubes is they ARE CHEAP in PRICE and their quality control has nothing to do with it. All tubes go bad. It comes with this territory.

Think of it as amp selling business with a great reputation. Would you pay the supplier for bad tubes NO. I recently bought four sets of STR440 from mesa. Chinese tubes. Two boxes were arcing, therefore bad. Some testing you do mesa! Bullshit! I returned them to the music store and they were happy to refund me. Just like mesa would return them to the tube supplier. Therefore more mesa profit! Good for business. Greater Profit.

I think what really happened is that they returned ALOT of bad JJ tubes in their past dealings with JJ and JJ refused to replace them. They had a really big bad batch. Therefore a bad rap for JJ. Also they probably were not getting them at a cheap price any longer. Reason two to switch suppliers. The slovak republic is a pretty poor country. I have been there. That is where JJ's are made.

NWOFORLIF
JAZZGEAR wrote:"He claimed that in a shipment of JJ's, that they tested, the percentage that passed Mesa standard was very low and it was not worth it to offer JJ's at this time. The deciding factor to Mesa was the fact that JJ will not give Mesa a price break on mass quantities of tubes

This is B.S. from Mesa about the longevity of JJ tubes. I had a set in my MK IV for almost three years and gigging it every weekend and only replaced them because the legnth of time seemed excessive and wanteed to put fresh ones in there.

I think the latter part of the quoted statement is the real reason Mesa doesn't offer JJ tubes.

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Post by fdesalvo » Thu May 01, 2008 9:53 pm

alejandro wrote:...Because who knows, tomorrow a janitor could drop a lit spleef into the dry garbage at one of them factories and it's up in smoke."
lol
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Post by secretsoundz » Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:36 am

JAZZGEAR wrote:"He claimed that in a shipment of JJ's, that they tested, the percentage that passed Mesa standard was very low and it was not worth it to offer JJ's at this time. The deciding factor to Mesa was the fact that JJ will not give Mesa a price break on mass quantities of tubes

This is B.S. from Mesa about the longevity of JJ tubes. I had a set in my MK IV for almost three years and gigging it every weekend and only replaced them because the legnth of time seemed excessive and wanteed to put fresh ones in there.

I think the latter part of the quoted statement is the real reason Mesa doesn't offer JJ tubes.
I agree. JJ's are a lot better than the Chinese crap tubes Mesa uses. My Stiletto came to life when I switched out the stock tubes for JJ's.

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Post by mesaboogie6L6 » Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:33 pm

JJ's all the way. No problems. I don't like the fuzzy, fizzy sound Mesa tubes make my amp sound.
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Post by MarkIVwidebody » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:55 pm

JAZZGEAR wrote:"He claimed that in a shipment of JJ's, that they tested, the percentage that passed Mesa standard was very low and it was not worth it to offer JJ's at this time. The deciding factor to Mesa was the fact that JJ will not give Mesa a price break on mass quantities of tubes

This is B.S. from Mesa about the longevity of JJ tubes. I had a set in my MK IV for almost three years and gigging it every weekend and only replaced them because the legnth of time seemed excessive and wanteed to put fresh ones in there.

I think the latter part of the quoted statement is the real reason Mesa doesn't offer JJ tubes.
So you got lucky and got a good set. Doesn't mean as a group they had a high enough of a pass rate, understand?
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ANIMATED SUSPENSION
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Post by ANIMATED SUSPENSION » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:18 pm

MarkIVwidebody wrote:
JAZZGEAR wrote:"He claimed that in a shipment of JJ's, that they tested, the percentage that passed Mesa standard was very low and it was not worth it to offer JJ's at this time. The deciding factor to Mesa was the fact that JJ will not give Mesa a price break on mass quantities of tubes

This is B.S. from Mesa about the longevity of JJ tubes. I had a set in my MK IV for almost three years and gigging it every weekend and only replaced them because the legnth of time seemed excessive and wanteed to put fresh ones in there.

I think the latter part of the quoted statement is the real reason Mesa doesn't offer JJ tubes.
So you got lucky and got a good set. Doesn't mean as a group they had a high enough of a pass rate, understand?
+1

The reason they failed to meet M/B standards has nothing to do with longevity !! They are tested for gain and noise, and I would guess most failed on the gain factor. I bought a set of untested JJ's years ago and they are flat and lifeless. Build quality is great but tone wise, nah.
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Post by Cutlass_253 » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:04 pm

I think it makes sense. Just imagine how many people don't really know very much about tubes and their tones. Any regular person who has only a minimal knowledge of amps (which I imagine would equal to or surpass the number of people who are tube discerners) wouldn't be able to tell much difference between JJs and the mesa stocks would not appreciate the different tone, and would probably perfer the longevity of the mesa tubes OR not realize that the tubes are meant to be replaced and would play them to failure.

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