A Little Insight into Mesa's Thinking.

Talk about tubes and their effect on your tone

Moderators: Guitarzan, Grandor, ned

User avatar
Guitarzan
Donating Member
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:26 pm
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Contact:

A Little Insight into Mesa's Thinking.

Post by Guitarzan » Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:18 pm

Hi All,
We just had an Andy Timmon's clinic here in town today and several reps came out to promote the gig as well. I had a great talk with Rich Longacre (Mesa's Divisional Sales Rep for the Western U.S.)

First I'd like to let everyone in on the thinking behind Mesa's tube choices. I addressed the tube issue with Rich and asked what Randall Smith thinks of JJ tubes and other assorted tubes as well. His answer was that Mesa (Randall and his engineering group) Select tubes mostly on durability. Their perspective is that if they can put out the amp and have the tubes last as long as possible, without the end user having to change tubes frequently, then, they feel their product is best when viewed in that light.

Contrary to popular belief here (Boogie Board) Randall has experimented with JJ's and various other tubes. His long time Master Tech, Mike Bendinelli, has a favorite tube (Sylvania 6L6's) which he bench marks EVERYTHING off of. Mike claims that the new Chinese 440's that Mesa have in their Recto's/RK's/Roadsters' and LSC's are the closest thing to the old Sylvania's and the sound that he favors hearing. Mesa feels that the JJ's do sound good however, their operational lifetime is not "up to par" with Mesa's guidelines.

Mesa has also had a tough time finding quality EL-34's. Which Rich quickly pointed out that Mesa has looked at the JJ EL-34L and is pleased with it's capablilty. They also have looked at the KT-77 but the jury is still out on that decision. Which brings me to the Groove Tube connection. Mesa is close with Aspen at Groove Tubes and always ask Aspen for his new tubes that are manufactured (here in the U.S.) Mesa supports the production of new tubes here with earnest and looks forward to the day when quality tubes are once again mass produced State side. Rich informed me that the only other tube that "WILL NOT VOID YOUR WARRANTY ARE GROOVE TUBES WITH A #4 to #7 RATING" Mesa WILL NOT replace these tubes if one comes back to them for repairs loaded with GT's, but they Won't void the amps warranty for using them. Got That! Good.

Another aspect that Rich pointed out was the spec/tolerance that Mesa tests for. 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.

Rich pointed out that Mesa buys their tubes from Ruby and most folks in the industry already know this, so for the few out there who don't know this...now you do.

Also mentioned was the addition of Aluminum chassis to the Roadster and Stiletto Ace's. Rich explained that Mesa is using these chassis because of less electrical interference with component placement within the amps as compared to the steel chassis used in the Rectos/Stiletto Duece/Trident's. Mesa is only offering this feature on the above mentioned amps. The cost of aluminum has skyrocketed as of late and offering this material to the public results in Mesa passing on the costs to the consumer. This is not a quality issue with the materials!! It's just that with the circuit design of the Roadster and Stilletto Ace, Aluminum is a better choice of material.

Hopefully this will give everyone here a better understanding of Mesa's thinking and challenges of putting out a quality product while dealing with the business world.

Regards,
Guitarzan
Last edited by Guitarzan on Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Fifty bucks that the Smails kid picks his nose...Fifty more says he eats it"!

User avatar
redmax61
Mark III
Posts: 460
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 1:13 pm
Location: Hampton, VA
Contact:

Post by redmax61 » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:50 pm

Wow, that's great information. I've been running EH EL-34's in my DR (And I've been getting a very good lifespan out of them), but have been looking at JJ EL-34L's. It makes me wonder just what kind of life expectancy I could get out of the JJ's.
Robin F. - Master of my own Density

PRS guitars
Mesa Dual Rectifier
F/A custom built heads
Marshall 4x12 cabs

prs1999
Mark III
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:11 am
Location: Cleveland Ohio

Post by prs1999 » Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:18 am

Glad to hear that Mesa gives thumbs up to Groove tubes.
I know that alot out there think a silk screen'd name on a glass bottle
is hype,but I have had nothing but good luck with G.T tubes.
They have always been my fav's for power sections.
Thanks for the insight Guitarzan.

User avatar
Platypus
Triple Recto
Posts: 3516
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 12:02 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Post by Platypus » Sun Sep 10, 2006 2:22 pm

I can definetly understand this from a buisness point of view but a tube failure isn't such a catastrophic thing to me as an end user who takes a solid interest in what I'm playing through. The off chance that I'll have to replace tubes is worth the 50 bucks to have better tone for the countless times they work perfectly fine.

It is what it is

User avatar
Guitarzan
Donating Member
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:26 pm
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Contact:

Post by Guitarzan » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:39 pm

Platypus wrote:I can definetly understand this from a buisness point of view but a tube failure isn't such a catastrophic thing to me as an end user who takes a solid interest in what I'm playing through. The off chance that I'll have to replace tubes is worth the 50 bucks to have better tone for the countless times they work perfectly fine.

It is what it is

Agreed.
"Fifty bucks that the Smails kid picks his nose...Fifty more says he eats it"!

User avatar
masque
Mark IV
Posts: 620
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:51 am

Post by masque » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:50 pm

this is all fine and dandy but the most important thing about this is how fantastic was andy timmons? he is one of my heros and his new cd "resolution" is killer!!!! did he rock?

User avatar
Guitarzan
Donating Member
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:26 pm
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Contact:

Post by Guitarzan » Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:22 pm

Andy is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He did his first set through an LSC 2x12 with an extention 2x12 cab. Very organic sound, this was his mellow set. The second set was through a Series II Stiletto Deuce. This set just kicked ass! His tone and technique were amazing! His signautre Ibanez was a cool piece as well. Mahagony S-series body with a maple cap in vintage sunburst. The neck was a bit thicker than the original wizard necks, a Wilkinson trem, and two Dimarzio custom pickups. Try and get him in your town, you won't be dissapointed.
"Fifty bucks that the Smails kid picks his nose...Fifty more says he eats it"!

User avatar
Russ
Mark IV Lover
Posts: 3821
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:55 pm

Post by Russ » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:20 am

I would think that Mesa would have to give consideration to GT as a better tube screener than they are themselves because they are without a doubt.

Dexfairshotgp
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:32 pm
Location: Albuquerque ,NM
Contact:

The jj preamp tubes blow chunks

Post by Dexfairshotgp » Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:37 pm

I tried the jj 12ax7 preamp tubes in my dual rec recentlyand honestly i was really displeased with the result. just the overall sound was really dull and flat sounding. the clean had no sparkle the distortion had no gain.. so i ended up putting the mesa preamp tubes back in.. the jj 6l6 on the other hand i'm very happy with. but for some reason unlike most I DO like mesa tubes

t0aj15
Mark IV
Posts: 924
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:30 pm

Re: The jj preamp tubes blow chunks

Post by t0aj15 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:35 am

Dexfairshotgp wrote:I tried the jj 12ax7 preamp tubes in my dual rec recentlyand honestly i was really displeased with the result. just the overall sound was really dull and flat sounding. the clean had no sparkle the distortion had no gain.. so i ended up putting the mesa preamp tubes back in.. the jj 6l6 on the other hand i'm very happy with.
I had exactly the same experience with both my Mark IV short head, and my 50/50 poweramp.

Grandor
Moderator
Posts: 254
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:39 pm
Location: Australia

Post by Grandor » Sun Oct 29, 2006 3:29 am

This is good stuff to hear and its nice to know that mesa aren't just pushing their product for profit.
\m/ Grandor was here \m/
tiger roach wrote:If I wanted things nice and simple, I would play SS amps.

JAZZGEAR
Single Recto
Posts: 1338
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:21 pm

Post by JAZZGEAR » Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:56 pm

"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. [b]The deciding factor to Mesa was the fact that JJ will not give Mesa a price break on mass quantities of tubes[/b]

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.
JP-2C LTD ED. Head
Mark IIC+ HRG Head/Combo
Mark IIC+ DR Combo
Mark IIA Combo (F/S)
Mark V Head
Mark V Custom H/W Bubinga Combo (F/S)
Mark IVB Long Head
Mark III 1x12 SimulClass Green Stripe Combo (F/S)

alejandro
Mark II
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:06 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Post by alejandro » Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:41 am

I've always held firm to this suspicion. All of us geeks at first must wonder why Uncle Mesa uses a Chinese tube somewhere.

I think Mesa is looking ahead. They have no control over the manufacture, but they can control a second round of quality control state-side. 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. Their brand of testing ensures that the next manufacturer can provide a similar product that sounds good and can be pushed for reliability.

I think Mesa and GT and the indie sophisticates are doing a great thing for tubeland. If pure market capitalism had its way here we'd all be gambling drunk.
Last edited by alejandro on Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Parker > Stuff > Tremoverb > Audience.

johnny q
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:31 am
Location: Bergen County, NJ

Re: The jj preamp tubes blow chunks

Post by johnny q » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:37 am

Dexfairshotgp wrote:I tried the jj 12ax7 preamp tubes in my dual rec recentlyand honestly i was really displeased with the result. just the overall sound was really dull and flat sounding. the clean had no sparkle the distortion had no gain.. so i ended up putting the mesa preamp tubes back in.. the jj 6l6 on the other hand i'm very happy with. but for some reason unlike most I DO like mesa tubes
Thank you - I had the exact same experience, I thought it was time to bring the amp in for repair, no joke - it was that bad.

turmoil
Mark III
Posts: 202
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 4:16 pm
Contact:

Post by turmoil » Mon Dec 04, 2006 11:58 am

JAZZGEAR wrote: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 agree. i've had JJ 6L6 tubes in my peavey 5150II for over a year and a half with quit extensive use and they still sound amazing and put out the same amount of output as when i first got them. JJ tubes are my favorite hands down.

Post Reply