And no matter what you are running, tubes amps make noise, they will never be silent. (unless on standby!)
I understand what you're saying, but I've had this amp for 10 months now, so I know how it SHOULD sound. When it's working right it's actually pretty damn quiet when I'm not playing. (Other than pedal noise, which the NS-2 cuts Completely in this setup. I'm using the ISP to cut the signal for tighter stops... not for "noise" issues).
The new "noise" is only Noticeable when I'm Not playing (when it would Usually be more or less silent). That's not to say it isn't there While I'm playing... I probably just can't hear it over a half cranked Mesa
. It does Not sound fine when I'm playing though, due to the volume drop / swell I mentioned.
I hate Guitar Center, too (and Sam Ash & the others even worse), just kind of stuck when it comes to smaller stuff and I need something fast. I definitely did Not want anything from GrooveTubes, but that's literally All they sold at this particular GC and I was somewhat desperate to see if a new preamp tube would do the trick. I don't mind ordering to get the right thing except that I have to record in about a week for a comp. we're doing that's going out to 3 other countries. Would kind of like it to sound decent, haha. My other guitarist plays through a Roadster, so I could record with that... but I like my setup better.
Anyway, new power tubes are definitely the next step. Feel free to keep more advice rolling in, though.